Monday, August 26, 2013

may the odds be ever in your favor

Odds of this league making its inaugural trip to Vegas without me doing an odds column to preview the trip: 10,000 to 1

Odds that Kris Norris selected his beloved Aaron Rodgers with the #4 overall pick: 3 to 1

The question here is not the K Rabbits' desire to reunite with his longtime man crush but rather the opportunity that Rodgers falls so far. If Brandon takes a QB, I think he goes for Drew Brees. That or he can never again cross the Louisiana state line. VZ could take Rodgers just to be an a-hole or in some weird scheme to secure future draft picks in 2034. Umphlett hasn't been known to take quarterbacks early in drafts but he's not exactly been known for employing the same strategy two years in a row either. I think it's a safe bet to assume Kris will be nuzzling Rodgers' non-ironic mustache very soon.

Chances Billy does this move at some point in Vegas: 2 to 1

Chances that this is Jimmy's reaction: 1 to 5

Safest bet ever.

Odds on first junior Playoffs?!? league members to take over management duties in the next five years:

Flying Crouton/Bacon Bit: 5 to 1
Executive Vice Commish/Senior Vice Commish: 150 to 1
Sweet-N-Low: 25 to 1
double click: 30 to 1
Thunderette: 50 to 1

Mostly this is a function of age (although it's safe to assume The Commish might have to be committed to an asylum before he ever gives up control of his team... Al Davis went more quietly into the night than he will) as well as the future ability of promising progeny to handle the reins of a big league franchise. This kind of transition hasn't exactly worked out well for Hank and Hal Steinbrenner or Jim and Jeanie Buss. (Christina Pagniachi pretty much saved football in Miami though.) Too many more fifth place finishes and the restless of the Crouton might give in. You might remember him taking over an interview with behind the numbers last year. Rumor has it he is making a power play to oversee draft day operations on the ground for the KayakPirates squad in Vegas. The future is now.

Chances that Brandon gets married in Vegas over the weekend: 500 to 1
If he does, odds on his betrothed being his current girlfriend vs. the field: PUSH

I don't think it's going to happen but if you're inclined to bet on a long shot, I say bet the field on this one. Just a pure math play.

Over/under on the number of times the words "drunk like a fox" are said: 70

I'm taking the over. Way over.

Chances AJ makes the worst pick in the draft: Off the board

Six years running. No reputable casino is putting odds on that. Might as well bet on an SEC team winning the national championship. No money in it for the bookmakers.

Pre-draft odds to win Fantasy Bowl XIII:

BackwoodCrazyCajuns: 5 to 1
black is for sunday: 8 to 1
The Commish: 10 to 1
the icon: 12 to 1
KayakPirates: 14 to 1
Jerry's Belt Buckle: 18 to 1
showmedamoney!: 25 to 1
K Rabbits: 30 to 1
The Institute: 50 to 1
40 acres & a mule: 100 to 1

Chances this is Jimmy's reaction to being ranked third on this list: 1 to 5

Chances this is my reaction to his reaction: 2 to 1

Odds that this is in AJ's wardrobe for Vegas: 5 to 2

Chances that these are the full contents of Kris' suitcase: 2 to 1

Chances we ever have another Vegas draft again after this year: 10 to 1

We all have to make it back alive first.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

pay for performance

You may have heard about Dan Wetzel's column this week proposing to pay players in the Little League World Series. One can only assume this is a tongue-in-cheek pushback against those who are clamouring for college football players to get their share of the billions of dollars being profited from their labor. Wetzel though does his part to style the column as an actual argument deadpanning every line he writes.

The term "pay the Little Leaguers" tends to send those incapable of seeing nuances into intense anger. Take a deep breath. This isn't about paying every kid who's playing ball in your neighborhood, just the ones who reach the big stage and are put on television. This isn't going to cause the formation of a union with an inevitable strike or contract holdout.  

And no one is really getting "paid." Call it "prize money" or a "scholarship" or something if it makes you feel better.  

The players deserve something from this booming, expansive event, even if it is just a few grand that go directly into a college scholarship fund or some kind of trust (if they don't go to college) that can't be accessed until age 18 or 21. A similar system could be worked out for international players based on their own cultural norms.

He goes on to cite how Little League Baseball, Inc. turned a profit of $2.8 million last year and ESPN has signed on for a $4 million cost to put these games on television.

I hardly want to give this unserious argument more credit than it deserves but as a little league coach myself I feel the need to respond to Wetzel's hyperbole.

As a coach, I'm a volunteer. I don't get paid or negotiate a contract. Not hoping that exposure here will get me to the next level in my profession. There's no shoe contract or endorsement deals to chase. There's just the thankless job of herding a dozen 12 year old boys and their parents through a season of ups and downs in the summer.

And I love it.

The kids love it, too. And, who knows, maybe some of them one day go on to play baseball professionally at some level. However, unlike college football players nothing is keeping them from doing it now. If the New York Yankees want to sign a 12 year old kid, why not? There is no age limit to participate in Major League Baseball. These kids at the LLWS aren't held back because of an arbitrary number on their birth certificate (for some more arbitrary than others, Danny Almonte) but they are held back by their skill level. The MLB is a meritocracy (at least when it's not corrupted by PEDs) and these kids are fun to watch but not ready for the big leagues by any stretch.

College football players face the opposite problem. Is there any doubt JaDaveon Clowney is ready to be lining up against his peers on Sundays? But the reason he can't be paid to excel at his sport is because of an arbitrary age limit imposed by the NFL and in which college football is a co-conspirator. After all, who is going to protect their product if the best players in the game can leave?

While $2.8 million is a nice sum for a company like Little League Baseball, Inc. and certainly helped by the lucrative ESPN deal, it's not even scratching the surface of college football money.

In college football, just the 15 richest programs are bringing in more than $1 billion in revenue. And there are about 100 more schools to account for in Division 1. When the NCAA recently decided to go to a playoff system for major college football, ESPN paid $5.6 billion for the rights to televise the games.

So while it might be a fun or cute thought exercise for Dan Wetzel to talk about paying Little League players, let's not confuse it with the actual injustice going on in college football. That's the nuance we should spend more time exploring.

Monday, August 19, 2013

btn #702

The Vegas preview pod featuring my new btn correspondent as well as a conversation with the Commish about the past, present and future of the Playoffs?!? fantasy league.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

btn #701

behind the numbers returns with the icon announcing breaking news detailing his trade with The Institute. We go on to discuss if The Commish is overrated, the injustice of NCAA rules and look ahead to the keeper deadline in this megapod.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

behind the numbers renewed for season 7

Creator touts “best season in our show’s history”

Media contact: Brent Woodcox,

Raleigh, N.C.—btn network President and CEO Brent Woodcox announced the renewal of the behind the numbers podcast for a seventh season today. Along with the renewal behind the numbers founder and executive producer Brent Woodcox was rewarded with a lucrative contract to continue managing the website, social media and online presence of the various btn multimedia endeavors.

The CEO said, “Working with an incomparable talent like Brent Woodcox is its own gift. Honestly, when the time came to sign the check to keep him onboard my only question was when I should stop writing zeroes.”

Woodcox initially demurred, “This is really a team effort. Actually, no it’s not. Not at all. I do all the work and I am incredible at it.”

“Doing this show for seven years has been a joy. We’ve seen a lot of changes and I didn’t know that we would ever be in this position. There have been many imitators over the years but most have been forgotten by the crushing judgment of history. Meanwhile, we’re focused on building out our global brand. Our ratings have never been higher and I am excited to kick off what I am sure will be the best season in our show’s history.”

The popular podcast’s seventh season will include 13 episodes and be supplemented by blogs and other online content as in the past. Woodcox promised “surprises” to come as well as new formats and more of the experimentation that has pushed the mold of fantasy entertainment and become synonymous with btn.  He also pledged extensive coverage of the league’s signature event and milestone—Draft Day in Vegas.
“It’s a real pleasure to continue to cover the personalities, the rivalries and the controversies of the greatest fantasy league in America,” Woodcox said.
The podcast will return with new episodes on August 15.