Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Whoa. A week sure flew by in a hurry. I meant to say something about this in advance, but I have been pretty much out of pocket and not even online much for the past couple of weeks. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the biggest one pretty much includes Hammer Wife and I having another baby a couple of days ago. So I haven't really been working, and I really haven't even been on the grid at all for the most part.

But I've still been keeping in touch with what's going on in the world, and frankly I would've probably had a ton to write about if this had been a normal past week for me. So with that I will leave you today with some random thoughts on the things that have happened in the world of sports since last we spoke. As always, in no particular order.

For starters, Plaxico Burress has got to have the worst big-time lawyer in the world. This guy somehow managed to get two years in real-life prison, out in 20 months for good behavior (fat chance), simply for carrying a weapon into a New York nightclub without it having been registered in New York. Now, the gun was registered in the state Plax purchased it in, mind you, and he had been through the interview process and answered all the questions associated with registration of such a gun, but the law in New York says that all concealed handguns must be registered in the State of New York in order to be possessed in the state.

Now don't get me wrong -- what Plaxico did was bad, and more importantly, it was clearly a crime under the laws of the State of New York. All that law requires is possession of a gun, and that gun not to be registered in New York, and you are guilty of violating the law. Period. And Plax clearly satisfied both elements of this relatively clear crime. Yet Plax's "lawyer to the stars", Ben Brathman, first decided to take the unusual step of Plax testifying as part of the grand jury hearing to determine whether or not Plaxico would be indicted for illegal possession of a handgun. Normally a defendant is not at all involved in the grand jury process, but I guess Ben Brathman thought he might be able to win some leniency from the grand jury in some form by presenting the mitigating circumstances of Plaxico's situation. Unfortunately, all the mitigation in the world doesn't change the fact that Plax carried a gun not registered in New York into a nightclub in New York, and the grand jury quickly voted to indict as seemed obvious to everyone but Plax's big-money lawyer. Brathman's follow-up strategy of talking tough on beating the charges and in plea negotiations with the Manhattan DA also totally failed, as Brathman again tried to deny the fact that violation of New York's unregistered gun law carries a mandatory statutory prison term of 3 1/2 years. So why is the DA going to agree to Plax doing no jail time when it is clear as a bell that Plax violated a state law, and that law clearly stipulates a 3 1/2 year minimum jail term for any violation?

In the end, Plax will serve two years in NY state prison. All because he bought a gun, registered it in the state of purchase, and then carried it with him into a nightclub in New York City one night. He never intended to use the gun and certainly had not intent to harm or injure anyone in any way, and again he had registered the gun he was charged for. And yet he's getting two years in jail.

I certainly hope he didn't pay Benjamin Brathman too much up front for his "expertise". If I'm rich and famous and I'm charged with a crime in the future, I wouldn't even consider talking to Brathman about my case.

Staying in the NFL for a minute, there's always Brett Favre. What can you even say at this point? I mean, clearly he is a selfish, self-centered individual who cannot see what others can see about him. Favre hasn't been a good quarterback for years, literally, and the havoc he has caused for three or four different NFL teams over the past several seasons with his complete unwillingness to decide on his future by any deadlines he or potential suitor teams have set is nearing legendary levels at this point. But you know what? At this point I am through being pissed about Favre and his magical ego tour. I'm actually interested and excited to watch how he plays this year, especially on a team that I consider to be pretty mediocre overall in Minnesota. They're not bad by any means, but Favre has really made his bed at this point, and now the whole country is going to be watching him weekly, with most of them probably rooting for him to fall flat on his pretty face.

And speaking of people who fans will love to hate this year, my Eagles' acquisition of Mike Vick is still in the forefront of my mind. In the end, I think I have a similar feeling to the Vick situation as I do about the whole Favre debacle -- as I have discussed previously, what Vick did is reprehensible to be sure. And I'm still embarrassed as all getout that it's going to be my team -- my Eagles -- who Vick will be suiting up for all through this season. But as I wrote about previously, I don't really have any problem with Vick getting signed by somebody, and in my heart I know Vick deserves the second chance after 23 months in prison and 32+ games suspended if an NFL team is willing to put up with all the shit that will surely go along with employing him. And, as with the Favre situation, at this point I am more excited than anything else about seeing just what the crazy mind of Andy Reid comes up with as far as where and how to play someone of Mike Vick's athletic caliber. Will McNabb and Vick both line up behind the line and make defenders guess who will get the snap from center? Will Vick line up as a wide receiver or tight end as has been rumored of late? Will Vick even have set plays run for him to come out of the backfield with the potential to bust through some holes? There are just a whole lot of ways Vick can be integrated into this offense, and I can foresee people tuning in just to see what the Eagles do next with him on the roster.

Before I go today, I would be remiss if I did not mention Your World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, who have continued trucking along and at this moment sit at a season-high 22 games over .500, thanks in no small part to what has become at this point an indisputably strong starting pitching rotation. The first nice surprise has been Pedro Martinez, although if you've followed P-Mart's career along then I suppose his performance thus far for the Champs hasn't been that out of character. Basically, just as I've been saying here for over a month now, P-Mart has become a decently solid 5- or 6-inning starter. He will probably never sniff the 7th inning again in his major league pitching career, but he's usually good for 5 or 6 innings, getting himself into trouble maybe twice and giving up 2-4 earned runs. But he seems to have sufficient stuff to avoid the big meltdown innings and getting rocked early most of the time, which has been helpful for the Phillies at the bottom of the rotation and hopefully will continue to do so.

But the real story with the Phillies success this year, and in particular in the second half, lies in two other pitchers, both of whom were tangentially involved in the possible trade talks for Roy Halladay just before the trading deadline. First, you've got J.A. Happ, the 26-year-old phenom making his first attempt at being a starter in this, the third season where he made at least one appearance for the major league club. Happ is you recall was required by the Blue Jays as part of any trade for their ace Roy Halladay, and Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro had even offered up Happ as part of a 4-player proposal, which Blue Jays' GM J.P. Ricciardi rejected because it did not also include #1 Phillies pitching prospect Kyle Drabek. Well, the rest is GM legend history as Amaro then opted to keep both Drabek and Happ, and to trade a few other lesser prospects for Indians' starter Cliff Lee instead. More on Lee in a minute, but Happ has continued on being just tremendous since narrowly missing being traded thanks to the Jays' GM being outmaneuvered by Amaro. Since the Phillies kept Happ and acquired Cliff Lee on July 29, J. Happ is 4-0 for the Phils, three of those wins on the road including wins at wildcard-fighting Atlanta and Chicago plus a 7-0 shutout win at home against the wildcard-leading Rockies. In those four starts, Happ has pitched 29.2 innings, or well into the 8th inning on average per start. And in those 29.2 innings? Just one home run and four total runs allowed, for an awesome 1.26 ERA this month. Simply put, the guy has been a total pimp for us and this is why myself and so many other Phillies fans were thrilled with Amaro's move keeping Happ and not giving in to the Blue Jays' ludicrous demands for Halladay instead.

Meanwhile, Cliff Lee's performance since he came to Philly instead of Roy Halladay on July 29 makes J. Happ seem like Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams in the 1993 World Series. If there was any doubt about Ruben Amaro's genius in this, just his first year as a General Manager of a major league baseball team, after letting Pat Burrell and his 12 home runs so far in 2009 go to the Rays and picking up Raul Ibanez in the offseason, picking up an effective Pedro Martinez for peanuts a couple of months back, and then managing to keep both J. Happ and Kyle Drabek in making a big trade before the trading deadline, then what Cliff Lee has done in Philly has got to ice it. Now in five starts for the World Champions, Cliff Lee is 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA. No that's not a typo. Lee has pitched 7, 7, 8, 9 and 9 innings in his five starts so far for the Phils, giving up a total of 26 hits in those 40 innings -- none of them home runs -- and a grand total of three earned runs. In 40 innings. He's also pitched 39 strikeouts compared to just six walks during that time period, so this is a guy with the total package of impeccable control and awesome power across the board. And you know what the best part is? During this same time period (since July 29), Roy Hallday has gone 2-4 with an ERA of 4.40, giving up 8 home runs and allowing opposing batters to hit .324 against him. I knew this whole thing was going to blow up in Ricciardi's face, toying with his ace's emotions like he did by publicly broadcasting his desire to trade the starter to a contender, and then turning down some very powerful offers including top prospects plus guys like J. Happ and leaving Halladay high and dry with a losing team for the second half of the season, but it's good to see someone's ineptitude come home to roost once in a while. But hey I'm not complaining -- Ricciardi's big gaffe was Ruben Amaro's gain, and I have to admit as a Philly sports fan it feels good for once in a long while to be the team that took advantage of someone else's ineptitude instead of the team getting taken advantage of.

OK that's all for now. I may have some more this week but next week on Monday I should be back and better than ever on my regular posting schedule as things begin to return a little bit back to normal in my home and in my life.

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Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

First off congrats to you and your wife on the new family member.

What else can you say about the Phillies right now? The 19th Solo triple-play in baseball history (2nd in history to end a game) from bench player Eric Bruntlett. J.A. Happ and his marvelous 9-2 record. (Remember Rigg's I copyrighted Happ's Chaps at the end of last year!)
Cliff Lee being what every phan wished Halladay would have been, for far less! Pedro has 2 wins in 3 starts....now if Lidge could just get his rear in motion.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Congrats on the new addition!

10:52 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Congrats on the new one.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

couple of things..
im going to think about a book recommendation knowing that you loved replay...great great book..
congrats on your new baby...most amazing thing ever..
and its brafman..

11:50 PM  
Blogger BWoP said...

Mazel tov!

12:44 AM  
Blogger Fred aka TwoBlackAces said...

My congrats to you and Mrs Hoy on the arrival of your 'little hoyazo'!

1:29 AM  
Blogger jjok said...

grats on the kiddo, bub!

2:40 AM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

"on a team that I consider to be pretty mediocre overall in Minnesota"


Set aside crappy QB and coach for a second and name where the Vikes are lacking. Kick return team?

Football aside, congrats on the new kiddo!

3:10 AM  
Blogger PokahDave said...

Congrats on the baby...boy or girl?

3:34 AM  
Blogger OhCaptain said...

Big congrats on the little bundle! Enjoy!

4:11 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Congrats to you and hammerwife and the two hammergirls on the new hammerchild . so did you add a 3rd female or a boy?

8:09 AM  
Blogger Iak said...

Congrats Hoy!

very nice icing on what has been a great summer for you.

i too am curious - bar or bat down the road?

10:17 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

It's a Hoy boy.

9:24 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Plaxico didn't stand a chance. Bloomberg already made it a point that they would go after him hard, and the NY law is VERY strict. Oh, and congrats on the Boy Hoy.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Been following your blog for a while. Congrats on the new addition.

Back in 2007, you wrote a few entries on Bayes Theorem and poker. I Googled it and your blog was the only link that came up that didn't use Bayesian Probability to predict win rate or player type.

I wrote a recent entry on my blog and thought you might appreciate it.


If you don't mind, can you take a look at it and let me know what you think? Also, did you ever come up with other situations where applying Bayes Theorem would be helpful?

9:56 AM  

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