Thursday, March 26, 2009

It Is The Poll That Never Ends... just goes on and on my friend. Some people (i.e. me) started posting it not knowing what it is, it is the poll that never ends....

That's right, the 'best HBO show' poll is still rolling. The championship round resulted in a three-way tie between Band Of Brothers, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Wire. Ergo, we're down to one final brouhaha between these three very different shows to determine who the true HBO champion actually is.

Voting is open here until Saturday, so hurry up and let your voice be heard. If you don't vote, I'll either a) send Leon to your house to get all up in your ass, b) send the Easy Company after you or c) tell Stringer Bell that you're trying to rip him off. Either way, it won't be pretty.


Not to be outdone, the Thunder Treats blog is getting into the action with its own series of polls to determine the winner of their annual Cougar Madness tournament. It's down to the final 16, so here's my take on the remaining field. (p.s. Attention female readers, I am genuinely curious to hear about who women think is the best-looking of the bunch. Since lord knows I have no idea how women think.)

* Mary Louise Parker. Not unattractive by any means, but I suspect she's gotten this far due to weak opponents (Vanna White? Shannon Tweed?) and residual popularity from Weeds. If this bracket is held in 2001, I would've voted against her solely because of her poorly-written West Wing character.

* Lucy Liu. Has gotten incredible mileage out of being the hottest well-known Asian actress in Hollywood over the last decade. Her fame will be noted for all eternity thanks to Andre 3000 name-dropping her in 'Hey Ya.' She would probably be my pick from this side of the bracket.

* Bridget Moynahan. If the blog owner had a sense of humour, he'd rig the vote so that Moynahan made it to the finals only to lose to, say, Michael Strahan's ex-wife. Or Kate Mara, if we pretended that she was about 10 years older.

* Elle McPherson. I'm guessing she's probably held up pretty well since her SI Swimsuit Issue days, but I think she's here by benefit of relatively weak opposition (Nicole 'Who?' Sheridan and Michelle Pfeiffer).

* Halle Berry. Probably the overall favourite to capture the title. In a way, her fame actually kind of prevents her from an upset defeat. Berry has been considered one of the best-looking women in the world for a solid decade now, so you figure there may be a bit of backlash or perhaps just a temptation to vote for someone else just for the sake of fresh blood. But then you actually realize, "Hey wait, Halle Berry still looks as good as ever...damn, she really is gorgeous." She'll be hard to take down.

* Kate Walsh. Nothing against Kate Walsh, but....really? Her? In the final 16? Berry is going to run through her like a hot knife through butter.

* Jane Seymour. I'm not sure she should be in this tournament. She's 58 years old, thus putting her a bit outside the accepted age range for cougars, which is generally considered to be from 35-50, with a possible five-year extension granted up to 55. Fifty-eight, in the words of the holy hand grenade scripture, is RIGHT OUT. That said, Seymour would be a heavy favourite in the 55-70 division.

* Courteney Cox. I've long been a Cox supporter (hmm, that sounds odd) ever since her Ace Ventura days, though I dunno, she's gotten increasingly brittle over the years. But let me make a bold prediction: if you collected these same 16 women 20 years from now, I'd bet that Cox would look the best of the bunch.

* Carla Gugino. A very underrated dark horse. Fun fact: the last two times I've seen Gugino in a movie, she's been taking it doggy-style from Robert De Niro and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, respectively.

* Teri Hatcher. Whoa whoa whoa, flag on the play. Teri Hatcher?! Seriously? In the sweet sixteen? This is the same woman who won the 'TV star who looks the worst in HD' award, and that was two years ago! She is the prime reason I've avoided watching Housewives in hi-def, since I keep fearing that her face will suddenly resemble a Nazi who just opened the Ark of the Covenant. I find it hard to believe that she knocked off both Vanessa Williams and Kristin Chenoweth to get this far. Hopefully Gugino lays the smack down.

* Diane Lane. Another major favourite. Lane's biggest asset is the fact that since she only really broke into major fame in 2002 at age 37, she's been working the cougar thing for as long as she's been in the public eye. She's even the namesake of Bill Simmons' Diane Lane All-Stars of hot actresses over the age of 40.

* Debbe Dunning. Never heard of her prior to a Googling, but it turns out she was the redheaded 'tool girl' on Home Improvement. I guess I could Google her again to find out what she looks like now, but meh, I've already lost interest.

* Jennifer Aniston. Just another slap in the face for poor Jen. While Angelina Jolie is routinely a high seed in any internet hot chick bracket, Aniston is relegated to the NIT that is Cougar Madness. Couldn't these brackets have been arranged so that an Aniston-Cox matchup was a possibility?

* Famke Janssen. My pick to win. Everyone loves Famke Janssen. The fact that she's beaten Daisy Fuentes and Selma Hayek on the way to the Sweet Sixteen is a testament to her popularity. I just saw her in Taken, and she looks as hot as ever. (btw, I'm looking forward to Taken 2, which will feature Liam Neeson running roughshod over the Mount Tremblant medical staff.)

* Monica, Bellucci, pardon me. She can't win, if for no other reason than it would be really weird to have Mary Magdalene win a 'hot cougar' tournament. I mean, how hot could she be if she couldn't even seduce Jesus?

* Sela Ward. Meh. To clarify, that's 'meh' in the sense of 'not too impressive within the context of a celebrity cougar tournament,' not in the sense of 'she isn't very attractive.'


And, just to answer something that Kyle brought up in the comments the other day....let's compare the career numbers of these two starting pitchers.

Pitcher #1: 216-146 (.597 winning percentage), career 3.46 ERA, career 127 ERA+, 436 starts, 83 CG, 3261 innings, 3116 strikeouts, 4.38 career strikeout-to-walk ratio, 1.137 career WHIP, three Cy Young runner-up placements, three World Series rings, and in the postseason, an 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA over 19 starts.

Pitcher #2: 254-186 (.577 winning percentage), career 3.90 ERA, career 105 ERA+, 527 starts, 175 CG, 3824 innings, 2478 strikeouts, 1.78 career strikeout-to-wak ratio, 1.296 career WHIP, placed third twice in Cy Young voting, three World Series rings, and in the postseason, a 7-4 record and 3.80 ERA over 13 starts.

Seems like the first pitcher is pretty clearly better, doesn't it? There really isn't anything that Pitcher #2 can point to as an edge except durability, and even that is tempered by the fact that Pitcher #1 spend the first few years of his career as a reliever. As you may have guessed, the first pitcher is the recently-retired Curt Schilling, who will almost certainly go into the Hall of Fame, and he'd tentatively get my vote if I had one. The second pitcher is Kyle's hero, Jack Morris, who I wouldn't vote into the Hall of Fame under any circumstances.

The fact of the matter is, it's hard to spin Morris' 105 career ERA+ when discussing his HOF case. That's his fatal flaw. I'm not saying that ERA+ is a perfect stat, but in gauging how good a player was in relation to his era (which is, in my opinion, the only way you can really judge ballplayers in a historical context), it's a pretty good way to determine who was better than who. I'd reckon that 105 would be one of the worst ERA-pluses of any pitcher in the entire Hall of Fame. Morris was a good pitcher for a long time who played for some very good teams, but there just wasn't anything overtly unique about him that would require immortality in Cooperstown. One game (Game 7 of the 1991 World Series) doth not a HOF career make.


Hal Incandenza said...

Too soon.

Hal Incandenza said...

Nice analysis.

The last ten starters to be inducted through the writers' vote (going back to 1987) had the following career ERA+: Niekro (+115), Sutton (+108), Ryan (+111), Carlton (+115), Seaver (+127, same as Schill), Perry (+117), Jenkins (+115), Palmer (+126), Hunter (+104), Drysdale (+121)...for an average of +115.9 (not weighted for the number of seasons played by each player).

So, you weren't far off (only Hunter's ERA+ is lower, i.e. worse, than Morris's).

Although, if nothing else, this seems to prove to me that more SPs should be in the HoF. 10 in 25 (26 by next year)? That's crap. Don Drysdale is one of the ten most recent starters to be inducted! He joined the Dodgers in 1954!

creejay said...

Famke Janssen for the win...hope she's in Taken 2.

Hal Incandenza said...

Sorry, that should read "going back to 1984." Initially, I thought I had ten starters stopping at 1987, but then I realized I was including Bruce Sutter (whose ERA+ is an impressive +136).

Anonymous said...

Catherine Zeta-Jones would have taken it- IF she had been included.