One of the nice things about summer other than vacationing and trying new beers is that we occasionally get to sit back, put our feet up and shoot the breeze with a few people who drop by our cardboard box headquarters.
Most conversations are pleasant, but once in a while some real pricks stumble in. We caught up with The Ombudsdouche
in late August. The Douche usually nitpicks our stellar pigskin journalism to death. This time he wanted to talk about circus elephants
Go figure. We don't claim to understand how his mind works. What follows is the transcript of one weird conversation.
CHIEF TROLL: Douche, always a pleasure. What's on your mind?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: The thought hadn't occurred to me. But since you opened the door, do you really think Favre is on the juice?
CHIEF TROLL: He's old, he had a great year...think about it. It's a logical conclusion. Like we said in the article, athletes who suddenly perform at an extremely high level at an old age face the inevitable accusations of performance enhancement of one kind or another. Look at Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Interesting you would choose those three. Armstrong is in one of the most corrupt sports on the planet. When you talk professional cycling, it's more about who isn't on the juice.
CHIEF TROLL: Alright, I'll give you that. Hey, nothing wrong with a lay up now and then.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: As for Clemens, didn't he win 24 games in 1986, only two years into his major league career? We're not exactly talking about a late career bloomer, here. As for Bonds, look at the physical transformation.
CHIEF TROLL: Physical transformation?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Look at photos of Bonds early in his career vs. later. They don't even look like the same guy.
CHIEF TROLL: That was him? I think that was another guy with the same name.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: No, I assure you it's the same guy. Are you also saying guys like Nolan Ryan and George Foreman were on the juice? What about Phil Niekro or Charlie Hough? Jackie Slater?
CHIEF TROLL: No, we're not saying that. We're not saying anything, actually. We have no proof. We're just saying ... how does a guy have his best year ever at age 40 without some type of performance enhancement?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Best year in terms of what?
CHIEF TROLL: Completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD-INT ratio and passer rating, as the article stated.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Isn't Passer Rating really just a formula reflecting other variables?
CHIEF TROLL: Correct.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: So, in Favre's case, you're really talking about improvement in three independent measures: completion percentage, yards per attempt, and TD-INT ratio, is that correct?
CHIEF TROLL: Guess so, yeah.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: I don't read everything you publish, but hasn't CHFF written some pretty good articles about the evolution of the passing game, of passing efficiency? Is that a factor here?
CHIEF TROLL: Probably plays a part, yes. But in Favre's case the point again is timing. He just happened to have his best year at age 40.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Do physical enhancements cause a person to be more accurate, to make better decisions?
CHIEF TROLL: I see where you're going with this. Look, he's a gunslinger. Physical enhancements could cause him to be more accurate on those crazy, long passes he throws, you know, having the juice to get the ball in there. The result would be increased completion percentage and increased yards per attempt, the other statistic we mentioned.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Bit of a stretch. I haven't been a big follower of Favre throughout his career. You're saying Favre could never really wing it, but all of a sudden late in his career he developed a cannon of an arm?
CHIEF TROLL: (long pause) Well, no, he could always wing it.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Mmmm. Let's turn to TD-INT ratio for a second. I'm no expert, but aren't the main benefits of performance enhancement drugs is that they build strength, quickness, and aid in recovery times?
CHIEF TROLL: Generally speaking, that's our understanding yes.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Any mental benefits like increased intelligence, better decision making, that sort of thing?
CHIEF TROLL: Not that we're aware of. Some people might say there are mental drawbacks like rages or increased aggressiveness.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: I could see how increased aggressiveness might help an athlete, actually. Let me take a look at Favre's stats from last year again (reading). The thing that jumps out when you compare his 2009 stats to stats from earlier in his career is the lack of interceptions. He threw only 7 last year. He's thrown as many as 29 before. Aren't interceptions, or lack of them, one of the key components in achieving a high passer rating?
CHIEF TROLL: They are significant, yes. What's your question?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: If Favre would have thrown INTs at the same rate last year that he's thrown on average in prior years, he would have thrown about 22 picks instead of 7.
CHIEF TROLL: Sounds about right.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: That would have put his 2009 passer rating at 95.5 instead of 107.2.
CHIEF TROLL: Is this going somewhere?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Well, all other things being equal, had Favre thrown for 1,000 less yards last year his QB rating would have been 99.4. Had he thrown 10 less touchdowns his QB rating would have been 100.9. Had he completed 60% of his passes instead of 68% his QB rating would have been 100.3. It seems the biggest factor that caused Favre to have his best year ever was his lack of interceptions, a trait linked more to decision making or cautiousness than it is athletic ability or aggressiveness.
CHIEF TROLL: Uh...can you repeat the question?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: I'm sure you can point to a scientific study supporting the positive affect of performance enhancement drugs on mental acuity or decision making?
CHIEF TROLL: Beer?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: No thanks, I'm working.
CHIEF TROLL: Look, aside from all that, there's the age factor. How does someone show up game in game out, injury free, in a game where most men his age have slowed down, if not long since retired?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Excellent point. That's the evidence I was looking for. Like I said, I haven't been a huge follower of Favre in the past. I take it he was injured occasionally when he was younger and missed games, but now at age 40 miraculously displays unusual physical stamina and endurance inconsistent with his earlier career?
CHIEF TROLL: Um...not exactly.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Are you saying that's not the case?
CHIEF TROLL: Yes. I mean, no, that's not the case. He's never missed a game actually.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Interesting. By the way, I heard something about an email observer bringing this to your attention?
CHIEF TROLL: Yes, that's right. We've had our own suspicions of course, but when we learned others also had the same suspicions we thought it worth bringing to the public...out of a...ah...sense of ...er...journalistic responsibility.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Doesn't this guy run a blog reviewing WWII books?
CHIEF TROLL: Among other things, yes.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Aren't you a WWII buff, personally?
CHIEF TROLL: (voice rising) What does that have to do with anything?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Relax....relax. We're just having a conversation. Nothing, just sayin'.
CHIEF TROLL: Look, maybe we jumped to a few conclusions about Favre. Maybe...eh...we were just having a little fun. You don't know hard it is coming up with stuff that stands out, that separates you from the pack.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Separates you from the pack? Isn't most media and reporting crap?
CHIEF TROLL: Why yes, Douche, yes it is.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Then would not reporting simple factual truth and debunking real myths set one apart from the pack? Wouldst thou forsake the eternal glory befitting a sage of cosmic pigskin truths for the satiating but fleeting pleasures gained cavorting with earthly hackeths?
CHIEF TROLL: Do you always talk like this?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Usually only to your wife. I don't know what came over me. Must be my classical training.
CHIEF TROLL: Sounds more like Classics Illustrated. What was this business about elephants earlier?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Like I mentioned, I'm sensitive to their plight. But I'm also a realist. There will always be people in this world who choose to put on a circus. But shouldn't they be held to at least some standard of ethical conduct in terms of how they care for elephants?
CHIEF TROLL: We're not the ethics police. Besides, people don't really care.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Can't argue with you there.
CHIEF TROLL: Exactly. So what's the big deal?
OMBUDSDOUCHE: Audiences have only so much tolerance for bullshit, which is why even nickel and dime operations have clowns trailing the elephants with shovels. You've got to maintain some semblance of decency or people are going to walk out. No one wants to see shit in front of them.
CHIEF TROLL: That's a very good point, Douche. You know, I could grab The Buggered Boy, that kid from Bleacher Report in the Eagles costume, Private Comey, and The King. Maybe that dude with the blog would agree to dress up like Patton. I think I've got a few shovels in the garage.
OMBUDSDOUCHE: That's a parade of clowns if I've ever seen one.
CHIEF TROLL: Will you leave now?