It has been an interesting few days in our coverage of the ongoing Jamie Moyer saga here at Dubsism.
First, on Saturday Moyer seemingly put an abrupt end to his pitching career which has spanned four decades when he asked for his release from the Orioles, and his wish was granted. This came as a bit of a shock seeing as when Moyer signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles in early June, he told the club he’d make three starts at Triple-A Norfolk, and then the Orioles would have a decision to make on whether or not to promote him. In those three starts, Moyer went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA, he gave up just 11 hits and no walks in 16 innings pitched while striking out 16. That certainly seemed to be good enough for the O’s to bring Moyer up considering the pitching woes they’ve had.
Well, not according to Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette. The Orioles, who are for the time being a contender in the AL East passed on Moyer, prompting him to ask for his release. This is how Duquette explained this to the Baltimore Sun:
Duquette said the Orioles already have two lefties in the rotation in Brian Matusz and Wei-Yin Chen, plus swingman Dana Eveland in the bullpen. And lefty Zach Britton is in Norfolk, as is right-hander Chris Tillman, who has been pitching well lately.
Uhhh, what ever you say Dan. Those four hunks of chop-meat are why you signed Moyer in the first place, but hey, it’s your funeral. Out of the guys Duquette mentioned, Chen is arguably the best, and he ain’t all that good, and Brian Matusz is threatening to be a “Kerry Wood” type model in under-realized potential. Let’s be honest, nobody really believes the Orioles can survive the AL East, especially not with the pitching staff taking on water like it has been. Let’s be even more honest, the Orioles are this season supplanting the Toronto Blue Jays in the role of the AL East’s “Little Engine That Thinks It Can,” except Toronto realized that its pitching staff is imploding faster Oprah Winfrey’s latest diet plan, and they saw value in Moyer.
That’s right…say hello to your newest Toronto Blue Jay, Jamie Moyer.
Last night in Boston, the Blue Jays lost their fourth starter in two weeks when Henderson Alvarez left the game in the sixth inning with right elbow soreness. The MASH unit formerly known as the Blue Jays pitching staff has also seen Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, and Drew Hutchison sidelined with arm issues.
To that end, the Jays have made two moves this morning. First, they recalled pitcher Scott Richmond from the minors and he is expected to join the team tonight in in Boston and pitch out of the bullpen for the time being. The Jays also signed Moyer this morning, but before he gets a steady diet of Molson and back bacon, he will be assigned to Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, with no timetable having been established at this point as to when Moyer will join the big league club.
Your Jamie Moyer Fact of the Day: If Moyer makes the Blue Jays 25-man major league roster, he will be teammates with the 45-year old Omar Vizquel, who this season became the became the oldest player to start a game at shortstop for Toronto.
So pass the Geritol and take off, ya hoser.
A few minutes ago, the child molestation trial of former Penn State Jerry Sandusky went to the jury. Now that we are on the verge of the end of this chapter of this terrible saga, it is time to look at four things that will be a part of the Penn State future no matter what the jury finds.
1) Jerry Sandusky was convicted in the court of public opinion months ago.
That means there will be big negatives regardless of what the jury does. Since there are only three possible outcomes here, there are also a limited set of responses.
- The jury finds him guilty.
This will result in a never-ending self-congratulatory parade of the self appointed moralists I called out at the beginning of this mess. Don’t get me wrong, I got kicked off the Penn State island for saying Sandusky deserved to go to prison and that Joe Paterno needed to no longer be the head football coach. The problem is as I explained in the linked article that even if Sandusky rots in prison, we still haven’t solved the situation that allows the creation of the next child-raping monster. All the “Sandusky getting raped in the prison shower” jokes you are going to hear won’t change that.
- The jury finds him not guilty.
Get ready for a damning of the jury system as a whole much like we saw after the O.J. Simpson murder trial. You saw this after Barry bonds essentially got off after being flayed in the court of public opinion, and there’s even similar grumblings about Roger Clemens. Imagine what will happen after all the media folks who swore Sandusky was headed to the slammer get a face full of judicial egg.
- The jury doesn’t return a verdict.
A ‘hung jury” is the worst case scenario. Not only would it result in a spate of media debate over guilt or innocence, but I’m fairly certain we will be treated to a never-ending series of civil suits, not the least of which may very well be the Paterno family suing the university for wrongful termination.
2) It’s a blessing Joe Paterno didn’t live to see this.
The bottom line to all of this: The sole reason Paterno had to lose his job was because he was the “face” of a diseased culture; a diseased culture which meant EVERYBODY had to go, form the university president to the lowliest graduate assistant. Everybody needed to go, which is why the “who knew what when” argument was so utterly pointless when it came to Paterno. Again, I covered this argument in the linked article: I won’t rehahs it here.
3) An entire university will suffer due the acts of one person.
Never, ever forget this is all about Jerry Sandusky. The actions of everybody involved in this, with the sole exception of his victims, were reactions based on the actions of Sandusky. But it is hard to not notice that Penn State as an institution has suffered because of Sandusky.
For example, peruse the listings of the Big Ten Network when it comes to the ever-present classic football games they are always showing. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a Penn State game. The fact Penn State has suddenly dissappeared from the Big Ten network is odd considering that PSU has figured prominently in the conference since joining it nearly two decades ago. I’ve seen more games with perennial B1G bottom-feeder Purdue than the Nittany Lions. Is this a quiet shunning? Nobody knows but I would love to ask that question to somebody at the Big Ten Network.
4) There’s only two things that really matter in all of this:
Making sure the victims get all the help and support they need, and ensuring this never happens again.
Originally, I was just going to comment on this piece written by Grant Bisbee from the San Francisco Giants blog McCovey Chronicles. But, the more I explored his theory, the more I saw this was morphing from a comment into another patented Dubsism-style breakdown.
Either way you slice it, the dominant Tim Lincecum that won two Cy Young awards has seemingly vanished into thin air. The reasons are complex, and not plainly obvious. I think Bisbee has nailed the best take on this, but I also think he’s missing one important factor. I intend to bring out that point as I walk through his points.
Say, here I am, after another dismal Tim Lincecum start! Boy golly howdy, this is fun. His FIP tonight was Walter Johnson riding a hippogriff and wielding a flaming scimitar made of testosterone and diamonds. His actual game was a shitstorm. Again.
There were four phases to tonight’s game [Lincecum's start against the Seattle Mariners last Saturday].
Phase 1: The Fanboyening
I didn’t give a damn about the home runs. Seriously. I didn’t have a here-we-go-again moment. I didn’t start throwing things and swearing. Lincecum’s problems this year haven’t been because of dingers. He missed a pitch to Casper Wells, and he paid for it, and I’m thinking that the Jesus Montero homer came on a not-great/not-egregious slider on the inner-half of the plate. But I’m so convinced that Lincecum’s problems are entirely due to problems with runners on — mechanical or mental — that I didn’t get into a funk.
When a pitcher is in a wretched stretch, how do you tell the garden-variety bad luck from the awful pitching? It’s impossible. And because I was so sure Lincecum’s problems had to do with stretch-related issues, I chalked up the homers to the it-happens gods.
I’m agree that giving up home runs isn’t the big problem, but the number of homers he’s served up so far this season is indicative of a problem. To this point in his career, an average Tim Lincecum season sees him allow 15 long balls in a season, assuming a full campaign of 34 starts. That breaks down to .4411 home runs per start, or essentially one every other game. However, this year, Lincecum has already allowed 8 home runs in 14 starts, or .5714 long balls per start. While that is an increase of 30%, it still really only means one homer every other game.
It the other ballooning number which should have Giants fans hitting the panic button. At the 14 start point in the 2012 season, Lincecum is 40% of the way through. But far too many of his other numbers are far above what you would expect. Look at what Lincecum’s numbers actually are in 2012 compared to what would be expected after completing 40% of the season.
- Expected: 5-4, 2.74
- Actual: 2-8, 6.19
- Expected: 31.6
- Actual: 55
- Expected: 74
- Actual: 80
- Expected: 97.2
- Actual: 83
- Expected: 34
- Actual: 41
Ponder what could make all of those numbers trend downward so soon after a Cy Young winning season as you consider Bisbee’s next phase.
Phase 2: Winston Wolf’s Sound Advice
Then Lincecum started mowing Mariners down. The change was crisp. The fastball was hopping. Say, said the jerkwad who hasn’t been paying attention for the last eight games, this looks like the old Lincecum. Wurp derp herp. I wasn’t buying it.
I was so convinced of the part up there in Phase 1, that I didn’t buy into Phase 2. Lincecum looked great. But he was so good that the Mariners weren’t getting him into the stretch. Three up, three down. Three up, three down. He looked good, but he wasn’t being tested in the stretch, so I couldn’t buy in completely.
In the immortal words of the aforementioned Winston Wolf, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet. The reason is rather simple, and noted by Bigbee’s derp guy. See, even old Lincecum got shelled once in a while, and especially with runners on base. Welcome to Phase 3…
Phase 3: Tim Lincecum Gets in the Stretch and Screws Everything Up
This happened when Tim Lincecum got into the stretch and screwed everything up. It was so, so predictable. The fifth inning started with a leadoff single. This happens to the best pitchers, like Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, and Not-In-The-Stretch Tim Lincecum. And once that happened, cripes, everything went into the sewer. So predictable. So awful.
Hell, I don’t know. I refuse to play amateur psychologist or pitching coach from 800 miles away, so I’m not going to pretend that I know if the problem is mechanics or gray matter. But when Tim Lincecum has a runner on, he’s the worst pitcher in baseball. When the bases are empty, he’s Tim Lincecum. I don’t have the aptitude to run the numbers and found out how many extra runs a pitcher would give up if he just went from the windup with every pitch, allowing runners to steal willy-nilly, as if they were moving an AT&T U-verse receiver into the garage.
But it’s already at the point where I’m wondering about it. Tim Lincecum in the windup, regardless of the runners on base, is a much better option than this. At least that would give us an idea whether it was mental or mechanical. Let the single turn into a triple with two stolen bases. Don’t care anymore. At least give us some answers. What in the absolute hell is up with Lincecum when runners get on base? I’ve never seen anything like it.
I’ve never seen anything like it with Jamie Brewington, William VanLandingham, or Todd Wellemeyer. And I sure as heck didn’t expect to see it from the guy with two Cy Youngs and a World Series win.
So, why does the presence of a base runner turn Tim Lincecum into Marilyn Manson?
BECAUSE TIM LINCECUM IS COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF PITCHING FROM THE STRETCH!!!
So that we clearly understand each other, I’m going to say that again.
TIM LINCECUM IS COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF PITCHING FROM THE STRETCH!!!
Somewhere, at some horrible moment in history there was this skinny kid with a wild delivery which allowed him to hurl a baseball in a virtually unhittable manner. Then there was some dipshit pitching coach who told him that once he had a runner on base, he should alter that delivery in a manner that makes his pitches more hittable than Tina Turner after Ike had a few lines of blow.
That pitching coach should have his pee-hole welded shut so he can never reproduce.
I know there is the conventional wisdom which preaches about pitching from the “stretch” with runners on base. Ostensibly, this is done to shorten the pitcher’s delivery, thus making it harder for a runner to steal a base. The trouble is in Lincecum’s case, this takes his fastball from unhittable to bounding through the outfield, if not flying over it entirely.
The bottom line if you are the Giants is that Big Time Timmy Jim is now 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. That simply can’t continue. Many other pitchers were exiled to the bullpen by this point, and the Giants insist that won’t be the case here and manager Bruce Bochy says the team has no plans to skip Lincecum’s next turn in the rotation.
Either way, this needs to get figured out now. The whole key to this problem is velocity. Lincecum’s fastball has been coming in at an average of just over 90 miles per hour this season, but I’ve seen him still hitting 94 on occasion. He still has plenty of gas in his arm, and he knows how to tap into it when he needs it, but he seems either to feel pressure to not give up runs or just hasn’t the confidence to just cut loose. There’s a bigger baseball brains in the Giants dugout who can figure out the answers, but there’s one even I can see.
TIM LINCECUM IS COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF PITCHING FROM THE STRETCH!!!
From PennLive, the following is offered completely without comment…
BELLEFONTE — An Internet-born character called “Pedobear,” which mocks pedophiles or is their mascot, depending on which website you believe, is at the Centre County courthouse this morning, outside the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial.
The trial is winding down. The defense is expected to finish its case today. Ex-Penn State coach Sandusky denies allegations that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years, all of whom he met through his Second Mile children’s charity.
The bear character, meanwhile, was interviewed by some media. Its website is vague about what the bear does exactly, but does point out that it’s not for the easily offended.
Alleged child-raping monster meets internet meme…we are very near the end of civilization.
Remember the other day when I called the Washington Nationals a bunch of “pimply-faced prodigies who by graduating from Harvard at age fifteen have already accomplished more than a middle-aged dipshit writing some blog which gets four readers a week ever will.”
Let me introduce you to Beau Hossler, who as a 17-old brace-faced little punk has by virtue of performance at the U.S. Open this past weekend pretty much topped anything anybody who either writes or reads this blog will ever do on the links.
Forget the fact that he didn’t end up as the low amateur, forget the double-bogey on the 18th hole on Sunday that cost him that opportunity. Sunday showed the kid is human, unlike the performance gave on Saturday. During the third round at Olympic, Hossler backed every one of his bogeys with a birdie, but in the final round, he posted back to back to back bogeys on holes 3, 4, and 5. He did post three birdies, but four more bogeys and the aforementioned double at 18 allowed future University of Texas Jordan Speith to pass for the honors as low amateur.
Like I said, forget the ending. Just look at what this kid accomplished. He finished at 9-over 289, which was good enough for a share of 29th place, which just so happened to be good enough to put him ahead of every single guy who has won a major tournament since the last time Tiger Woods won one. Speaking of Woods, look at the span on Friday when Hossler was the outright leader in this tournament; this also happened to be during the time everybody thought Tiger was “back” and was going to run away with the Wanamaker Trophy. He finished seven strokes better than his idol Phil Mickelson.
Consider all that, then consider this kid qualified for a golf tournament where participants get a courtesy car; one he isn’t even old enough to drive in California.
The spectacle on Saturday of watching this kid walk tall amongst the cypress trees of the Olympic Club was a sight to behold. Just by being there, Hossler became the first high schooler since Mason Rudolph to qualify for consecutive U.S. Opens, but he played at a level far above “just happy to be there.” His run during this tournament had fans yelling “Beau Knows Golf!” while pleading for autographs.
It gave me cause to look back to what I was doing at age 17. I won’t go into details, but it involved far more cutting classes and Old Milwaukee than it should have. It also gave me cause to look back at my career as a golfer, which never got anywhere near anybody yelling anything at me other than “Jesus, you’re never going to find it…just drop another one already.” However, I bet I’ve more 7-irons around a tree than Hossler has, which helps to explain why my days on the links are in my life’s rear-view mirror.
So, no matter how the U.S. Open ended, this is really a beginning for Hossler. While the rest of the golf world goes back to orbiting the shopworn Tiger Woods discussion, Hossler will go back to Santa Margarita High School to finish his senior year. Then it’s off to defending national golf champion Texas next year.
In the meantime, there’s the California State Amateur tournament, the Sahalee Players Amateur tournament, then the Junior Worlds, the Junior Amateur, and U.S. Amateur. Not to mention he plans to go through the PGA qualifying school as an amateur. If that weren’t enough, there’s his new goal of qualifying for three straight U.S. Opens.
In other words, while this may be the first time you’ve heard of this kid, it likely won’t be the last.
Beau, here’s to a long career of you making me feel old.
It’s been a tough 2012 if you are Giants 1B/OF Aubrey Huff. In fact, it’s been a downward spiral for Huff ever since his arrival in the City by the Bay. Signed by the San Francisco Giants prior to the 2010 season as an answer to their seemingly perennial offensive woes, Huff posted a seaosn which landed him in the top ten for National League MVP voting. But it has been a slide down one of San Francisco’s famous hills ever since.
2010 saw Huff post a .290 batting average, 26 homers, and he drove in 86 runs in 569 at-bats. 2011 saw those numbers drop to .246/12 HR/59 RBI in 521 at-bats. If 2011 was a bad dream for Huff, then 2012 must be a full-on “Freddy Krueger-meets-nude-Oprah” nightmare.
If it weren’t bad enough that Mrs. Dubsism loves to refer to him as “The Girl” based strictly on the fact for the longest time she thought his name was actually “Audrey,” this is the year it’s been made clear to Huff his job is in jeopardy. Not only does he have hot prospect Brandon Belt pushing him for the job as “tall lefty bat who can play first base or corner outfield,” now he’s got Melky Cabrera complicating the outfield picture by threatening to become only the third player in Giants’ history to rack up a 200-hit season.
For openers, and for a host of reasons, Huff is down to 58 at-bats in which he’s gone .155/1 HR/5 RBI. That combined with everything else I’ve already mentioned are all likely contributors to the fact Huff has already been on the disabled list earlier this season for an anxiety disorder. If that weren’t enough, in yet more proof of the “when it rains, it pours” phenomenon, Huff managed to injure his right knee during the on-field celebration following Matt Cain’s perfect game on Wednesday night. Wanting to avoid the crush of Giants rushing on to the field via the dugout steps as the final out was recorded, Huff lept over the dugout railing and upon landing awkwardly on his right leg, he twisted his knee and got an all-you-can-eat faceplant meal of the infield warning track dirt at AT&T Park.
As a result, Huff underwent an MRI, and subsequently the Giants have placed him on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season. Huff was diagnosed with a sprained knee and the roster move is retroactive to June 11. The conventional wisdom is that the injury is not serious and Huff should be ready to return when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list later this month.
The dirty little secret is that Huff may have just “Wally Pipp-ed” himself. To fill his spot on the roster, the Giants called up outfielder Justin Christian, who served as San Francisco’s designated hitter on Friday night. Christian just happens to be hitting .364/7 HR /31 RBI to go with 10 stolen bases and a .972 OPS in 60 games at Triple-A Fresno, and he gives the Giants another speed-burner off the bench to go with Emmanuel Burriss.
However, it is expected the torrid-of-late Brandon Belt is going to get the lion’s share of the at-bats and starts at first base during Huff’s convalescence. Considering the late-inning options Christian presents, and considering the fact Belt is showing all the sings of blossoming into the slugger the Giants have envisioned. Not only did Belt homer in Cain’s 14-strikeout masterpiece on Wednesday, he has now gone deep in three consecutive games, including an impressive blast into McCovey Cove on Thursday for his second career “splash hit” and the first by a Giants’ hitter this season.
Given his dismal performance and the seeming on-rush of the youngsters, I’m not inclined to bet the Giants are in a hurry for Huff’s return, especially when there are no “do-overs” in the big leagues.
For a better view of what may be the end of Aubrey Huff as a San Francisco Giant, the faceplant is visible at the 9:10 mark of this MLB.com video. SB Nation also has GIFs giving you two different angles of Huff’s tumble.
Signs We Are Near The End Of Civilization: The “Steve Urkel/Mega Shark” Guy Is A Big Enough Celebrity To Throw Out The First Pitch
Call it what you will, but this weekend’s series between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees could be seen as a possible World Series Preview. It could be seen as a changing of the guard amongst the powers in baseball. After all, the Yankees are old; if it weren’t for Jamie Moyer, I’d be using all my “old” jokes on them. Not to mention, the Bronx Bombers are going to run into major luxury-tax issues if they decide they want to keep some of their star players.
In contrast, the Nationals are frightfully young; like that pimply-faced prodigy who by graduating from Harvard at age fifteen has already accomplished more than a middle-aged dipshit writing some blog which gets four readers a week ever will. Not to mention the Nationals are only going to get better; not only are they disgustingly young, they are loaded with prodigy-level talent. Bryce Harper is a uber-stud waiting to happen, and Stephen Strasburg is the brightest young pitching star in baseball today. Top that off with their impressive collection of pitchers who are under 30, and it is very clear the Yankees are yesterday, and the Nationals are tomorrow.
But this is still today, and today is when the Yankees can get honest-to-goodness stars to throw out the first pitch at their games. If that fails, they have a never ending supply of former stars players they can trot out.
On the other hand, by virtue of being in D. C., once a year the Nats’ can get the President. But after that, it seems the pickings get slim. As proof, I offer Jaleel White.
In case you don’t recognize the name, White is likely most remembered for playing annoying super-geek Steve Urkel on the almost-as-equally annoying sit-com Family Matters back in the 90′s. Since then, he’s brought us such cinematic masterpieces such as Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus.
If we’ve learned anything from this, its that there is a lag between success on the diamond and landing real stars to toss out your first pitches. Stay tuned to Nationals games for the reat of this season; I can’t wait until we see the stars of Piranhaconda or Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus on the mound in D.C.
Last Saturday, Moyer made his debut with the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
He dominated. In five innings, Moyer allowed only a single while notching his first minor league win in almost twenty years. One measly hit, no walks, and five strikeouts.
Last night, Jamie Moyer pitched well in his second of three promised starts for Norfolk. Moyer took the loss as he was topped by Toledo’s Jacob Turner in a 3-2 loss. He allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits. Moyer threw 103 pitches, 66 strikes, and went to a three-ball count just four time. He struck out seven, despite pitching between 81 and 73, using an arsenal he himself humorously refers to as “slop.” The Tides’ official Twitter feed posted that Moyer had yet to throw a pitch over 82 mph at the time of his seventh strikeout in the fifth inning.
Don’t be surprised to see Moyer up with the big club soon. Baltimore signed Moyer hoping he could add something to a shaky pitching staff. Couple that with the fact the Orioles reinserted Tommy Hunter into the starting rotation Saturday, and the fact they have moved the struggling Jake Arrieta to the bullpen, it becomes quite possible the next time the O’s need a fifth starter Moyer gets the call.
But that’s not the fun part. How can it not be when we are talking about a 49-year old guy pitching in the minor leagues?
Just look back at all the names on this Norfolk team. We’ve mentioned before the Tides boast former All-Stars Miguel Tejada, and Nate McLouth, not to mention Brian Roberts who just returned to the big club; plus respectable former major-leaguers Joel Pineiro, J.C. Romero, and Bill Hall. There’s even not-so-respectable ex-big leaguers like Oscar Villarreal, Pat Neshek, and Lew Ford. Even the managerail staff includes skipper Ron Johnson, hitting coach Denny Walling, and pitching coach Mike Griffin.
But the gem in all of this: before last night’s game, Moyer took it upon himself to hassle the coach who was pitching batting practice for the opposition.
“Throw strikes,” Moyer shouted toward former teammate Leon “Bull” Durham (from 1986-1988 the two played together for the Chicago Cubs). Moyer went on to follow his own advice as he displayed exceptional command and didn’t walk a batter.
While he has been down on the farm, Moyer has been approached by teammates, coaches, and even opponents all of whom are seeking the secrets to pitching and fending off the ravages of age. Given that, it should come as no surprise that Moyer was asked during a post-game press conference what can he teach the Tides? To paraphrase, Moyer explained the secret to pitching can’t be given away, it must be observed; it lies in a combination of every batter’s swing and every pitcher’s arsenal, none of which are the same. But the beauty came from the fact that Moyer saw the question coming at cut off the questioner mid-sentence with the beginning of his answer.
The UND athletic department received a package Wednesday that drew a few chuckles — at the expense of the NCAA.
The package included the 2011 NCAA Division I football championship banner intended for North Dakota State, which claimed the title in January with a win against Sam Houston State in Frisco, Texas.
The NCAA shipped the championship banner with good intentions but sent it to UND — North Dakota State’s biggest rival.
It’s an honest enough mistake even for the dilcues at the NCAA.
The package was addressed to Mr. Brian Faison, Athletics Director, North Dakota State University, Hyslop Sports Center, Grand Forks, N.D.
For those of who who don’t know, North Dakota State University is in Fargo, where the University of North Dakota is in Grand Forks. Trust me, I’ve lived in North Dakota, and trying to tell the difference between Fargo and Grand Forks is like trying to feel the difference between a lemon and a lime while wearing boxing gloves.
But the NCAA is still a bunch of dipshits…
Ever since this fight last Saturday, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same discussion. It tends to revolve around the same three points.
- Manny Pacquiao won the fight.
- The judges screwed Manny Pacquiao.
- Boxing is rigged.
I have to admit, after watching this fight twice, I can see valid arguments for all three points. But rather than makes this all about gut reactions, I thought this would be a perfect time for another Dubsism-style break-down. As I am prone to do, let’s go through this on a point by point basis.
1) Manny Pacquiao won the fight.
In order to truly understand what happened here, one must have an understanding of how boxing is scored. Short of a knockout, or the referee or ringside physician stopping the fight (a “technical” knockout), boxing is judged on a completely subjective basis. I’ve written before about how events without an objective scoring system cannot by definition be called sports. The reasons for that are laid out in the linked piece, but the important part for purposes of this discussion is the fact a subjective system leaves the outcome up to the whims of the judges.
You read that right. Boxing judges at the professional level can decide a fight however they damn well please. Since everything is a judgement call, there’s really no way to say they are “wrong,” even when they are clearly, blatantly, obviously wrong. This is an important distinction because it doesn’t work this way at the amateur levels. In the amateur world, fight judging is actually a fairly straight-forward process as their is a criteria upon which to judge; whoever lands the greater number of punches wins. Granted, that system is still subjective and clearly not fool-proof, but at least everybody knows the deal up-front.
That’s why it is all subject to intrepretation. In a fight with no knockout, it all becomes whatever the judges feel like. With the knockout being the only real standard, there’s a fat load of nothing dictating anything beyond that. When you couple that with the fact boxing has so many different styles; some guys fight backing up, while others are “counter-punchers.” For some reason, these styles are often penalized because they both seem as though a fighter is retreating or simply reacting. Other judges love guys who just throw a lot of punches and don’t pay any attention to how many of those thrown pouches actually landed.
In professional boxing matches are scored round by round. The fighter winning the round gets 10 points, and the fighter who loses the round gets nine points. Every time a fighter is knocked down, he loses a point. This means a round with one-knockdown would be scored 10-8, however a seriously lopsided round without a knockdown can also be scored is also scored 10-8 completely at the judge’s discretion. Referees can also deduct points for holding, low blows, or other rule violations. Not to mention, the judges can take points away from a fighter for no other reason than they want to. from giving a fighter fewer points just because they think it should be so, although it’s frowned upon. At the end of the fight, the fighter with the most points wins.
What does this all mean? It means you are asking the question “did Manny Pacquiao win the fight” you are asking the wrong question. He didn’t because the judges said he didn’t, and there’s nothing anybody can do to change that.
I’m not saying it is right; I’m saying that’s the way it is.
2) The judges screwed Manny Pacquiao.
The first thing one must understand here is that there really are no qualifications for being a boxing judge. One would like to assume they would be people with a background in boxing; that they would be knowledgeable when it comes to the “Sweet Science.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Judges aren’t ex-fighters or referees; they don’t even need to know a goddamn thing about boxing. The only requirement to be a judge is to be selected as one by one of any number of state boxing commissions. Much like the judges when scoring fights, these boxing commissions have nothing solid upon which to determine who would make a good judge. In other words, a judge can be anybody who may or may not be familiar with boxing, and they then are allowed to decide the outcome of fights based on little more than whatever they feel like.
They have virtually no guidelines or penalties for poor performance, which means there is no way they could have screwed Pacquiao, because that presupposes Pacquiao had a legitimate claim to victory. Remember, it doesn’t matter what anybody who wasn’t a judge thought…as previously mentioned, the judges are the sole arbiter of who wins and they are the sole arbiter of deciding how a fighter wins. If they said Pacquiao lost the fight, he lost the fight. Forget about knockdowns, knockouts, or who landed more punches. If the judges decide the fighter wearing the blue trunks is the winner because they like blue, that’s it.
Again, I’m not saying it is right; I’m saying that’s the way it is.
3) Boxing is rigged.
At the same time, I think this statement is both ridiculous and accurate.
As far as ridiculous is concerned, just look back at the two previous points. You can’t rig something that essentially has no rules. As far as accurate is concerned, it is really more of a misuse of the word “rigged.” It’s like saying professional wrestling is “rigged;” it’s not “rigged” so much as it is scripted. In the case of boxing, there isn’t a vast conspiracy out there to fix the outcome of fights, rather there is an epidemic of incompetence coupled with a complete lack of regulation and accountability.
All of the people who are screaming this is the worst judging catastrophe in boxing history simply do not know boxing history. The history of boxing literally drips with these sorts of shams. This one just so happens to involve boxing’s biggest star. Ask anybody who has been watching boxing for any amount of time and they will tell you of this sort of thing happens all the time. It means it is really time to understand why this keeps happening.
It keeps happening because there is no one regulatory body to ensure it doesn’t.
First, you have the aforementioned patchwork of state boxing commissions, which while they vary in terms of quality and/or competence, they all share the same characteristics of not holding judges accountable. As a rule, judges are not made available to the press before or after fights, and in many states they aren’t held to answer for their decisions. Granted, some commissions will get rid of some of the biggest dopes, but in most states judges have near complete impunity.
This means boxing itself is left to deal with the failings of its judges, which are really more a symptom of an enterprise controlled by individual promoters willing to do anything to protect their turf rather than have an interest in the game’s long-term future. This is why nobody does anything about terrible judges, and until they do, this is what boxing has been and what it will continue to be.
In other words, it may be petty, self-centered, possibly even corrupt, and arguably in it’s death throes in terms of popularity, but boxing isn’t rigged. You have to have rules to break for something to be rigged.