Yo Joe! Bowling, Jays, College Kicks

From Brilliant Reader Alex:

Yo Joe! If the Jays and Royals both miss the playoffs (Jays almost certainly will, and you never go wrong betting against the Royals), whose fans should be more disappointed? The obvious answer is the Royals … but I think the answer might be Blue Jays fans, for a few reasons:
- The Royals have overachieved this year … the Jays have a better run differential than KC.
- The Jays have been hit hard by injuries, with Lind and, especially, Encarnacion spending time on the DL, to say nothing of Izturis (zero games), Lawrie, Rasmus, and so on.
- Even if things don't go right for the Royals next year, they have a young nucleus and hope, and the Tigers should only get worse. The Jays, on the other hand, have missed a rare opportunity when both the Yankees and Red Sox aren't very good.

Joe:

Good points. Both sets of fans should obviously feel hugely disappointed. But the Jays sort of fell out of it a while ago while the Royals still cling to that second wild card, even while manager Ned Yost is apparently taking a crash course called “How to be a manager.” The overall disappointment might go to Toronto but if the Royals miss the postseason this year it will be more of a punch in the gut.

From Brilliant Reader Jeremy:

Yo Joe! I understand it varies per team, coaching situation/stability, system, etc., but at what point does a team realize that a quarterback doesn't have what it takes to be successful in the NFL? The Browns, for example, have gone through Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden for less than two seasons each. Was that really enough time to make a complete assessment and decide that they wouldn't be successful in the long run? For comparison's sake, Joey Harrington (who is now 35 by the way, whoa) had four seasons to show that he wasn't very good - but at least by then there was little room for doubt.

Joe:

I actually find the whole concept of NFL quarterbacks succeeding/failing to be absolutely fascinating. Would Tom Brady have been a star if he the Browns had drafted him? Would Akili Smith have flamed out if he had been selected by a coach like Belichick? The Kansas City Chiefs were DYING to draft Brady Quinn — would his story have been different if that had happened? Would it have been worse? RGIII was so good his rookie year — viewed by many as THE quarterback of the future — and now he’s beat up and many Hogs fans think Kirk Cousins is the right guy.

The NFL quarterback position is unique, I think. It takes so many divergent skills — many that scouts and coaches themselves seem unable to pinpoint. The facts that Joe Montana was a third-round pick and John Unitas was released and Kurt Warner was bagging groceries tell me that everybody is sort of guessing. There are certain players who OBVIOUSLY have all the skills — Manning, Luck, Elway, etc. Sometimes even players like that fail, though.

Anyway, I’m fascinated by the whole thing. I don’t think NFL teams give quarterbacks enough time to develop but, then, the NFL is not a development league. It’s a win-now league. It’s rare for a quarterback to get the Aaron Rodgers treatment, where he gets to learn from a great starter for a while. Perform quick or you’re out. It ain’t fair but you know what Jerry Glanville said NFL stands for — Not For Long.

From Brilliant Reader Cory:

Yo Joe! Say the Angels (or any other AL team you choose) advance to the World Series and are given a choice: They can play the NLCS winner OR the Colorado Rockies, but the Rockies will be given four outs an inning. Normal DH rules will apply. What do they do?

Joe:

I’d want to do a full investigation but my gut feeling is that you would rather face the 1927 Yankees than the 2014 Colorado Rockies with four outs. You’d rather face an All-Star team. Four outs is WAY too big an advantage — my sense is Rockies would win by 10 runs.

But I admit I’m guessing a little. I’m sure some other Brilliant Readers will have some thoughts.

From Brilliant Reader Lee:

At pretty much the exact same time as the Thanksgiving scandal, just 2 or 3 months later the R&A rules regarding groove depth came into
effect. Tiger has not won a major since. If there had been no sex
scandal, don't you think that this would be raised as more of an
issue.
He was always wild off the tee relative to other players. … He always made remarkable recovery shots from the rough … The groove rule was specifically designed to make the rough penalise
players more.
Tiger has not won a major since the rule change. … It just feels as if first the Sex Scandal, then years later the injuries have obscured what could well be the reason, and at the very least would be a major talking point about the reason.

Joe:

I asked Tom Watson about this very thing. He suggested that the groove changes were not major enough to affect Tiger adversely. I’m not saying he’s right but he does know a little more about golf than I do, and he did not buy the theory at all.

From Brilliant Reader Rick:

So I get that you don't want to spoil the suspense of your top picks before you finally get to Duane Kuiper at #1. But since you have immersed yourself in evaluating players from every era, perhaps you could disclose this opinion: if you had to create a roster using the all-time best players from each team, which club would come out on top?

The obvious answer would be the Yankees, who can field Hall of Famers at every position. But other teams can match up well with them at the plate (the Tigers come to mind), and while the Yankees can throw Hall of Fame pitchers like Whitey Ford and Lefty Gomez, the Red Sox can start Cy Young and Lefty Grove (and the Sox Roger Clemens was better than the Yanks Roger Clemens).

Joe:

A new project! I might play around with this one when I get some free time (2058). In the meantime, I’m pretty sure the Yankees would be the best, but I’d sure like that Dodgers pitching with Koufax and Kershaw. The Cardinals would be awfully good too.

From Brilliant Reader Rich:

Yo Joe! There were 302 events in 26 sports at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 98 events in seven sports at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Why don’t some sports lobby to be shifted to the Winter Olympics, in order to increase their visibility? I’m thinking specifically of an event like wrestling, which is played during the winter at high school and college levels. Wouldn’t that be an enormous benefit to some sports?

Joe:

I’ve been lobbying for years to make bowling a Winter Olympic sport. They say you can’t have a winter sport without snow or ice — but there’s plenty of ice in bowling … to cool the beer.

From Brilliant Reader Rick:

Your comment on doing away with specialized kickers brought back an idea I’ve had for years, because specialization applies to more than kickers. You have third down pass rushers, third down backs, nickel defensive backs, punt returners, etc. What if you could only substitute on first down? If you’re on the field for first down you stay there until another first down is made or possession changes.
It would mean the development of players with a wider assortment of skills, and would help eliminate the extreme body types. How many 350 pound linemen would there be if you didn’t have the luxury of subbing them out after a play or two? How many prima donna wide receivers would there be if they had to be able to block on third and short?
If I can’t have that one, my second favorite idea is this: A golf tournament where everyone shows up at a muni on Thursday morning and is handed a bag of rental clubs and a dozen random balls. THAT would be entertaining golf.

Joe:

I have also wondered if the crazy specialization in football is part of what has made the game more dangerous … I’m actually strongly in favor of changing the substitution rules a bit in football. I’d also like to see less coaching from above and more players calling their own plays. But I’m guessing both ships have sailed.

The golf tournament would be great … they should have a wooden racket tennis tournament the same week.

From Brilliant Reader Byron:

Yo Joe! My friends and I have had this argument for a while (over 20 years), but never got a conclusive answer. You're our only hope. Here's the scenario: if animal fighting was allowed, which would win between a gorilla and a grizzly bear? Assume that both are equal amounts angry (I don’t know how you’d determine this) and both are on a neutral field (maybe in Wichita) so that environment doesn't affect each combatant’s performance. I say the grizzly bear in a walk.

Joe:

Finally an important question. The guy in this video says he picks the grizzly bear, and he sounds authoritative. But I can say without hesitation that Magilla Gorilla stomps Yogi Bear.

From Brilliant Reader Dan:

Yo Joe! Here's one I've thought about from time to time. In college football, why isn't the holder of a field goal or extra point down when he receives the ball with a knee down.I guess it's "just the way it is", but always kinda thought it was an oddity that's rarely pointed out.

Joe:

Great. You’ve ruined college field goals for me forever. You are exactly right.