Reviewing and Informing

From August 29th, 2016 — Colin Kaepernick is a true American:

ESPN, and the media at large, has failed its viewership for not delivering the facts of the matter. They chose to generalize the story by making it a protest of the National Anthem, when in reality it’s about unarmed black people getting wrongfully shot and not receiving justice from the police department.

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers started Colin Kaepernick at quarterback instead of Blaine Gabbert. It was Kaepernick’s first start of the 2016 campaign, which came only days after he agreed to restructure his contract in the most team-friendly way possible. In essence, he was never going to start until he reworked his contract, as the 49ers didn’t want to risk him getting injured and be on the hook for more money down the road.

The 49ers lost to the Bills on Sunday, 45-16.

But the real story are some Bills fans, who decided Sunday was an appropriate time to show how patriotic they are:

Nothing says America like the threat of assassinating a black person, or trying to limit someone’s free speech rights. The Buffalo crowd was heard chanting “USA, USA” during the National Anthem on Sunday, at the same time Kaepernick continued his protest.

Kaepernick said:

“I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality this country says it stands for. To me, I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold the United States to the standards that it says it lives by.”

This is what I have such a hard time understanding. Kaepernick’s protest is the American thing to do, and is patriotic. It’s the people who are crying out against him that are being un-American, and un-patriotic. But I just assume many, or most, of them are Donald Trump supporters, and don’t really understand the difference.

And what is so wrong about the media informing people of that truth? Are they afraid of taking a stance because they don’t want to alienate their viewers?

These questions are rhetorical, but the answers should be obvious. For some reason, a lot like the around-the-clock news cycle, ESPN (as an example) wants to make every topic up for grabs. Or a 50-50, there are two sides to every argument, proposition.

In reality this doesn’t work. There is a right answer and a wrong one. But because Billy Bob represents something like 10-15% of the U.S. population, the media has decided that his voice should also count. And I tend to agree with Hillary Clinton, which I already feel dirty admitting, that these people are deplorable. And we shouldn’t be propping up their hateful ideology.

I’ve said it once and I’ll likely say it again before it’s done: Kaepernick is a patriot and more American than a great majority of people in this country. People are hung up about him kneeling during the National Anthem, but that’s the smallest piece of this puzzle. The reason he’s kneeling is what’s important.

Wanting to change America for the better does not make someone un-patriotic. It’s the most patriotic thing to do.

* * * * *

From October 12th, 2016 — Perception vs. Reality vs. Clayton Kershaw:

Contrary to the story-driven media, there is still no evidence that clutch exists. There is no evidence that people who perform well during the playoffs have something in their genes that those who play poorly do not. Things happen during a short playoff series, and that’s it.

Until Kershaw pitches one of his gems in a NLCS, or a World Series, the narrative that he isn’t as good during the postseason will continue to be a theme. But when he does and the media flips in the opposite direction, opining that Kershaw got over his demons or some such bullshit, the simple truth will be that he has been that pitcher all along.

On Thursday, during the 5th and deciding game of the NLDS matchup against the Washington Nationals, Clayton Kershaw was brought in with one out in the 9th inning and the Dodgers leading by one run. Runners were on first and second and arguably the Nationals hottest hitter, Daniel Murphy, was at the plate.

What’s interesting is Kershaw had pitched just two days before — on the day I wrote the article embedded above — and threw over 100 pitches and was entering the game on just one day of rest. Normal rest for a starter is four days. This isn’t generally how teams decide to utilize their $200-plus million face of the franchise.

But Kershaw escaped the jam, inducing Murphy to pop out to second before striking out the final batter to send the Dodgers into the next round. It was an epic moment in a fantastic winner-take-all Game Five.

Tonight, Sunday, pitching for the 4th time (and starting for the 3rd time) in 10 days, Clayton Kershaw followed that with an encore performance. It was perhaps the best start of his playoff career. He ended his night going 7 innings and allowing no runs on 2 hits and a walk, striking out 6 Cubs hitters.

Because the Cubs won on Saturday night, the series is now even at one game apiece. The two teams now head to Los Angeles for Game Three on Tuesday.

I note this now, after two strong performances — both coming in games where only one run was the difference — with a bit of confirmation bias. My thesis, supported by real evidence (or lack of evidence from the other side of the isle), that “clutch” doesn’t exist and that Clayton Kershaw is not a different (or worse) pitcher during the postseason, has proven correct… at least for one start.

It’s really, really fucking hard to reverse the narrative against you, but especially when it starts out negative. I mean, if Kershaw goes out and gives up 5 runs in 3 innings his next start, people will again lament that he isn’t a Big Game pitcher.

On the other hand, pitchers like James Shields and Madison Bumgarner will always be known as “clutch postseason pitchers,” due to a few good starts they made at the beginning of their playoff careers. When they have bad starts, it’s out of the ordinary, since it doesn’t fit in with the narrative.

For Kershaw it works exactly the opposite. He’s going to have to continue to be good, or else people are going to say his “good” starts are out of the ordinary. Again, because it doesn’t fit the narrative that he’s two different pitchers: the guy from the regular season vs. the guy in the postseason.

Here’s to hoping he keeps being excellent. For one, that makes me right. And I like being right.

But more importantly, I just don’t want to hear these uninformed clowns on TV who don’t care about math spreading lies to an audience that doesn’t know better.

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