Friday, September 15, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: The Last Saturday Night EVER!

We’re back!

The hiatus was unintentional, but I hope you missed me nonetheless.  Did you miss me?

micah (Micah Cohen, politics editor): I mean, Al Gore made a freaking movie after he lost and no one was like, “Why is he making this movie?” (At least, as far as I can remember.)
And Gore is a good comp because he too won the popular vote.
natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): There’s something about the overlap between Clinton being representative of the establishment — she is nobody’s idea of an underdog — and her being a woman makes it especially tough for her.
perry (Perry Bacon Jr., senior writer): The “she should not write a book because she is distracting from the Democrats’ strategy” crowd is making such a dumb argument that it’s not really worth debating it.
micah: A lot of the criticism of the book goes something like “Clinton is blaming everyone else for her losing” instead of taking responsibility. Now, she very much does take responsibility for losing in the book. But she also points to other factors that helped Trump and hurt her…
natesilver: That criticism is such a dumb argument that it’s not really worth debating it.
I started following @natesilver538 right around the election, and I’ve been reading a goodly amount of his stuff ever since.  Folks keep screaming “FAKE NEWS!” and talking about how the polling was wrong, but reading Silver’s actual works makes it clear that he was not wrong.  Rather, as also happens sometimes when you play D&D, the country rolled a “1”.  Or maybe a “20” depending on your point of view.  Regardless, saying that something is “unlikely” is not at all the same as saying that it’s “impossible,” and really, what Silver said before the election was that he wasn’t sure that the assumptions pollsters were making about voting demographics were accurate.
Regardless.  The focus of this piece is more about the coverage of Clinton’s specific post-mortem, which--like a lot of Americans--is a thing that I personally have very little desire to read.  The coverage of the book is another matter, however, especially as Silver and company begin digging into the claims, counter-claims, and ulterior motives of the folks covering Clinton’s book.  That stuff, I think, has something to say about the actual world and how it’s changing.
I will say this, though: Al Gore didn’t make a movie about losing the election.  He made a movie about a specific issue that he thought the body politic was ignoring, which he also believed was imperiling the planet.  Clinton could probably do that, too, especially with a topic like gerrymandering, and it might well-received.  People don’t like her—I don’t think there’s any arguing with that—but what seems to set people off about this book in particular is that she’s re-rehashing all the old debates all over again.  As Silver points out, that’s tough when she is already “nobody’s idea of an underdog.”  She still lost horribly and can’t seem to get over it.
 The incomes of middle-class Americans rose last year to the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau, as poverty declined and the scars of the past decade’s Great Recession seemed to finally fade.
Good.  Except they buried the lede:
Yet the census report also points to the sources of deeper anxieties among American workers and underscores threats to continued economic progress.
Middle-class households are only now seeing their income eclipse 1999 levels.
Inequality remains high, with the top fifth of earners taking home more than half of all overall income, a record. And yawning racial disparities remain, with the median African American household earning only $39,490, compared with more than $65,000 for whites and over $81,000 for Asians.
So.  Are we ready to put down the pitchforks?
It’s still unclear if Beckham will be ready to go for the Giants’ next game, a Monday Night Football clash with the Detroit Lions. His status has been the same ever since heinjured his ankle in the team’s second preseason game. “Day-to-day for OBJ” has such a familiar ring to it by now, it might as well be a presidential slogan. But it is clear the Giants, and Manning in particular, need their spark plug back.
I had a choice in Fantasy Football this past weekend.  Play the Giants’ TE Evan Engram or the Cowboys’ TE Jason Witten.  I was matched up against a guy who had OBJ on his roster and kept him active, on which basis I pulled out a (very) narrow victory despite starting the Houston Defense, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan in lieu of Matthew Stafford, and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey ahead of teammate Jonathan Stewart, none of which was smart.  Engram did jack shit, alongside the entire NY offense.  Likewise, the Jags absolutely blasted Houston, Stafford put in an MVP performance, and even Stewart had a very nice day running the football.
A win is a win, I guess.  But OBJ is and apparently will remain 100% of NY’s offense.  That doesn’t inspire confidence, nor do I expect him to play soon.  Dude is obviously banged up pretty bad.  I thought the Giants might trot him out last week to try to move dictate coverage a bit, but at no time did I expect him to be the game-breaking force that he has been throughout his career.  Not on a bum ankle against a divisional opponent that’s seen his game a few times.
Also: Brian Cushing tested positive again.  So the Texans are imploding, and I guess maybe it’s a good thing that I picked up Chicago’s Defense on the waiver wire.  They don’t inspire confidence, but man, who is Houston gonna beat at this point?
"I saw a little girl in a pink hoodie with blond hair, and it turns out to be Bieber. I sit down, and I say, 'Hey, so you wore my shirt and everything onstage,'" Manson recalled. "He was one of those touchy people that hit you when they talk, and he comes up to about d**k height. Then he goes, 'I made you relevant again.'"
Weird, right?
Punchline: Not only is the Biebs performing “Beautiful People” as part of his current set list, he’s also selling Manson t-shirts without Manson's actual approval.  Manson’s “revenge” plan of no-showing a would-be duet strikes me as both obvious and ineffectual, however, and the Biebs is still playing Manson’s song in public.  The article notes, though, that Beiber's people paid Manson quite a bit for the bootlegged t-shirts.
I’m not even going to quote the article.  Instead, I’ll quote my friend Joe from A Hoosier on the Potomac (via FB):
“Bleacher Report isn't even assessing whether Army can win, but whether they can cover the spread.  I would never write off the Army Team, but I am managing my expectations.”
The spread is 30.5 points, and BR still took OSU to cover.
In his weekly roundup of Army’s offensive performanceSal Interdonato pulls out several nuggets that surprised me in retrospect.  But that’s why I like to use stats for analysis rather than my memories of what I saw in-game.  For example, it seemed during the game that Bradshaw was carrying on practically every decent offensive play, and that the QB Keeper was really doing the bulk of the work in the triple-option.  But really:
Triple-option distribution:  Fullbacks (Darnell Woolfolk, Calen Holt, Andy Davidson) 26 carries, 99 yards, 2 TD; Quarterback (Ahmad Bradshaw) 25 carries, 147 yards, 1 TD;  Slotbacks (Kell Walker, John Trainor) 11 carries, 65 yards.
So yeah, Bradshaw found a bit more space than did his fullbacks, but the distribution was actually pretty good.  That’s encouraging, though I think we’d still like to see the slotbacks get a few more carries going forward.
Also, yardage distribution by quarter makes it pretty clear that this game wasn’t quite as close as it might have looked heading into the 3rd quarter:
Rushing yards by quarter: First quarter – 92 yards; Second quarter – 57; Third quarter – 90; Fourth quarter – 83.
Really, Army’s defense let Buffalo off the hook for just fifteen minutes, at the same time that the Bulls’ defense held stout against the triple-option.  Three big busted-coverage plays aside, though, Army did a nice job controlling both the ball and Buffalo’s offense.  We see that in both time-of-possession and the comparison of first downs made by either team.
Granted, you can lose a game on busted plays if you make enough of them.  
* * *
Your Bridgeport Bluefish are playing their last Saturday night game ever this weekend, and we have tickets.  In addition to all the other madness, it’ll be Star Wars night, and until recently, it looked like the Bluefish might even make it to postseason play.
Alas, that’s not going to happen.  Instead, my beloved ‘Fish are going to slink off into the dark night of history, unloved and unmourned by a local community that too often took them for granted.  
There’s blame to go around, but mostly I blame Bluefish management for their inability to develop an actual marketing strategy.  “If you build it, they will come,” may work in the movies.  In reality, you need to reach out and make yourself relevant to your local community.
That’s all I’ve got, folks.  See you next week.

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