1. Rob Kearney
2. Derek Poundstone
3. Magnus ver Magnusson
4. Mikkel Leicht
5. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
6. Krzysztof Radzikowski
7. Terry Hollands
8. Eddie Hall
9. Brian Shaw
10. The undead Mountain from GoT
11. Getting hit by a bus
12. Mariusz Pudzianowski
Is it just me, or does it seem like sports trend of using and studying more statistics (especially newly tracked numbers) to improve your team not really affecting hockey all that much. There’s been a trend toward Finnish goaltenders who are great at not giving up rebounds and forcing the puck to the corner, but I don’t think that was due to any study of the actual numbers, just people realizing that the goaltenders coming from Finland are awesome.
Something else I’ve never understood is the whole dump and chase style of play. It just looks like a way of giving up the puck to the other team. And the people behind the delightfully nerdy named NHLNumbers.com are tracking this data on their own and coming to the obvious conclusion:
Carrying the puck in is way better than dumping it in, more than twice as good — and it’s not because of odd-man rushes or player skill or any other external factor; it’s just because having the puck in the opponent’s zone headed towards the goal is a lot better than trying to outrace the opponent to try to get the puck in the corner.
Most people don’t recognize just how big the difference is, and the data suggests that teams should be trying harder than they are to carry the puck in. If coaches are telling their third line to dump the puck, they are probably giving away scoring chances. If coaches are telling the players to dump the puck in borderline situations where they think carrying it might lead to a turnover, they are probably giving away scoring chances. Even regrouping and trying again might be better than dumping the puck in, especially when the team has their top line on the ice.
Of course this all needs to be taken with a grain of skepticism, as the dataset is very small and who knows what a larger amount of data will say about these preliminary conclusions.
People are always working magic with their video editing software of choice. And sometimes they make videos that are on the edge of believability. Here’s on such video of a perpetual baseball machine:
After watching it a bit, you can spot the fakeness, but that’s not what I care about. I start wondering if there’s a game to be made using multiple pitchbacks in some crazy configuration. Maybe some kind of Double Dare or Guts type game of getting a certain number of balls off some pitchbacks into a bucket?
Or what about this video that was recently played on SportsCenter because they thought it was real:
Now I want to play some basebowling. The pins would have to be much lighter to actually topple like bowling, but it could be set up… maybe a tennis ball and some plastic kids bowling pins?
Happy almost first Saturday in May. You know what that means… It’s Derby Time!
So grab your over-sized hats and substantial fascinators because the 140th derby is tomorrow. Pour yourself a strong mint julep, find your rose garland, and sing along to My Old Kentucky Home.
Now that you’re mostly prepared, it’s time for learning about the horses, and for that I’m going to strap a feed bag of useless untrue horse info to your face:
Vicar’s In Trouble (20-1) – Sounds like a newspaper headline out of Boston, but I actually think it’s a dirty joke based on the horse’s parents names: Vibrant, by Vicar and Into Mischief. Why I’m betting this horse: He’s being ridden by a female jockey. And not just any female jockey, the best female jockey. And I think it’s time for a lady to win the derby.
Harry’s Holiday (50-1) – This horse is ranked 19th of the 20 horses in the Derby, but I think the name was just created to pull some royal buzz. Yesterday Prince Harry parties hard at a Miami bachelor party after split from Cressida Bonas… Sounds like a pretty good holiday to me. Why I’m betting this horse: The longshot odds… Just imagine the winnings potential!
Uncle Sigh (30-1) – Yup, it’s a horse named after a dude on TV. Uncle Sigh is named for Uncle Si Robertson from A&E’s reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.” I hope the jockey has a duck call in his mouth and is quacking the whole race. Why I’m betting this horse: Wounded Warrior Stable pledges to donate 10-percent of his earnings to various charities supporting injured veterans.
Danza (8-1) – Just when you get over the surprise of a horse named after a TV guy… Danza was named after Tony Danza, and got the name in a horse naming contest. Also, there are horse naming contests!? How do I get a piece of that action? I know tons of dudes on TV’s names! Why I’m betting this horse: Tony Fucking Danza! And the Jockey pretty much has a superhero alter-ego name: Joe Bravo.
California Chrome (5-2) – Everyone loves California Chrome. It’s so shiny and nice, and he’s won his last 5 races. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. He’s already won more money than all the other horses here – he’s starting to not care. It’s time for CC to lose. And when he does, we can all say he sucked so bad he could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.
Samraat (15-1) – I never know how to pronounce a double a in words like this. Is it sam-rat or sam-ra-at? Also, I always hear it in my head like Mumraaa the Everliving. Anyway, let’s just go with the English translation of this Indian word: “Emperor.” Why I’m betting this horse: He’s the Emperor and he’s got a new groove.
We Miss Artie (50-1) – I was hoping this horse was named by someone who really wanted Artie Lange back on the Stern show or something, but no — Artie is just the daddy horse name. Do you think some race horses have daddy issues? So many of them are named after them and are expected to be as good as or better than their fathers. Is this the way we’d want our horse children treated? How many suicidal horses must we lose before we learn!? Why I’m betting this horse: Because I miss Artie, don’t you?
General A Rod (15-1) – On one of the sites I was researching horse info, this horse’s name is written as General a Rod. Which instead of honoring a A. Rodriguez becomes an insult for the guy leading your army. Who’s in charge here — General a Rod Up His Butt? Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. I don’t like ol’ Purple Lips A-Rod and the real horse’s namesake no longer owns the horse.
Vinceremos (30-1) – Horses are so often named after their parents. Is this horse the love child of @VinnyCaravella and @chrisremo? Why I’m betting this horse: Because of Vinny and Chris even though they have nothing to do with this horse or horse racing or Kentucky.
Wildcat Red (15-1) -This horse is coming out of the gate with no quarterback. It’s a 2 full-back formation and those other horses will never see it coming. This trick has worked pretty well so far as Wildcat Red has either been first or second in all 7 of his previous races. Let’s hope those other horses haven’t been studying the tape too much. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. I don’t bet on communist horses from Venezuela.
Hoppertunity (SCR) – Someone caught on that this wasn’t actually a horse, but was, in fact, a team of rabbits in a horse suit. Maybe next year bunnies.
Dance With Fate (20-1) – Have you ever tried dancing with fate? She’s a terrible dancer – so predictable and it ends with the same dip every time. Also, horses can’t dance well — they have 2 left feet. Why I’m betting this horse: Because of the pretty pink shirt the jockey wears.
Chitu (20-1) – Anyone know what a Chitu is? Is he the son of Chiwon? I’ll admit that was a terrible joke, but I really don’t know what a Chitu is and Google is no help. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. This horse might as well be named Blasted Samoflange (actually, that’d be an awesome horse name) because I don’t know what the heck it is.
Medal Count (20-1) – Medal Count is the worst, most awful part of Olympic coverage. Useless info. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Why I’m betting this horse: Yesterday was his third birthday, and I have to assume there is a child, that speaks horse, who will go to the paddock before the race and inform them of this. The horses will collude to allow Medal Count to get a win. Cartoons have never led me astray before.
Tapiture (8-1) – His dad (sire in horse terms), Tapit, played a mean guitar solo to woo his mother (dam in horse terms). She was named “Free Ride” but was actually the prude of the stables. When Tapiture was born, Tapit chose the name because he was the son of Tapit and an awesome guitar jam. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. Tapiture is a stupid name created by a stupid horse.
Intense Holiday (8-1) – Half brother of Harry’s Holiday in the second slot. He is a bastard child as his dam never won a race, but I think that just drives Intense more. The sibling rivalry is huge between these two: Harry’s won more races, but Intense has won more money. The Derby could be the deciding factor in this sibling war. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. I only bet on one Holiday bother to keep the rivalry going.
Commanding Curve (50-1) – With a sire of Master Command this horse could have been named Commanding Anything, yet somehow they chose the worst possible word. How does a curve command? Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. This is the worse name here and it doesn’t deserve to be recognized at all.
Candy Boy (15-1) – As the son of Candy Ride, Candy Boy makes complete sense. That’s more than we can say about Commanding Curve. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. The other horses are gonna say Candy Boy needs to shut his mouth, go down Know Your Role Boulevard, just off Jabroni Drive, and check himself directly into the Smackdown Hotel, where we will be waiting to layeth the smacketh downeth on his candy ass!
Ride On Curlin (15-1) – I’m pretty sure this is the indie hipster pick of the race. (Other than his dad being the richest horse in history that is.) Owner: Daniel Dougherty is furniture dealer from Louisville, Kentucky. He bought Ride on Curlin for $25,000 and then turned down a $1 million offer after the horse set a track record at Ellis Park. Trainer: Billy “Bronco” Gowan trains a small number of horses at Churchill Downs training center in Louisville, Kentucky. Jockey: Hall of famer, Calvin Borel of 2009 longshot Mine That Bird fame. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m a hipster.
Wicked Strong (6-1) – Yeah khed. Boston strong dude. Reds Sox, and Pay-chits, and Brunes are winnahs too so this horses is best. Gimme some steaks tips and Budweisers and I’ll see you at the Frog Pond. Why I’m betting this horse: Boston Strong and 5% of his winnings go to the One Fund.
Pablo del Monte (50-1) – The replacement for Hoppertunity is Pablo Del Monte. Ever wonder what was in those fruit cups? Well, it’s horse. Now you know. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. Pablo was probably the one that tipped off the authorities that Hoppertunity wasn’t a real horse. And snitches don’t get my bets.
So let’s get out there and yell at some horses for 3 minutes after drinking whiskey for 3 hours!