Entertainment Roundup: Lunches and Finales

A lot of the same old entertainment news this week… Bieber should be deported, Lohan has ended her reality stint with less fans, and Gweneth is still trying to save GOOP. But, here’s the few new things that have caught our attention:

rs_560x420-140416143356-56-lunchbox-dad_ls_41614Creative Lunches
Too cute to eat? As a hobby for his daughter, Lunchbox Dad creates lunches of his daughter’s favorite interests. Overall the creations are pretty healthy; I’m not sure how filling they would be though. His daughter may spend her entire lunch showing off her food, rather than eating it.

Jills not Paid
The Buffalo Jills are suing because they’re not getting paid properly. We saw the Jills perform last year, and they were as good as any other professional cheer squad. They should definitely be paid more. Heck, my food at the stadium cost more than they make per game.

Hard-Hitting Reporting at TVGuide
TVGuide does it again with another insightful look at TV finales. They’ve chosen the best upcoming season finales that you should tune into. Are they getting paid by these shows to mention them? Because yet again, they have made note of every upcoming finale there is and deemed a Must-Watch.

Links of the Day 4/22/14

The Wild won last night, which should lift the spirits of a disenfranchised populace.

Kyle Gibson: Lucky or good?

Manchester United, after having their previous manager for decades, fired their new one after less than a year.

The Twins keep looking to patch the tiniest of holes.

SCOREBOARD
Football League Championship
Blackburn 4, Birmingham 2 – It’s actually not impossible for the Rovers to get to the promotion playoffs. Extremely difficult, but not impossible.
Tippeligaen
Rosenborg 2, Bodo/Glimt 2 – The Trolls really should start getting some wins.
NHL
Minnesota 1, Colorado 0 (OT) – Mikael Granlund should get a statue for his performance last night.
MLB
Chicago 3, Detroit 1 – See, AL Central? Detroit can be beaten this year.

A college basketball tournament to follow the heart of European club Soccer

Kansas

One thing that I have always appreciated about European soccer and something that I can’t stand about the American version (and more or less, something that I am increasingly bothered by with American sports in general), is that regular season dominance is awarded. The real prize goes to whomever played the best over the course of the season, rather than to a particular team that got hot at the right time.

Another thing I appreciate about the way the continental soccer approach works, is that it fold many different national associations into one competition at the end fo the year. Even better, the rules are out there for everyone to see. You know, going into the season, essentially, that you need to finish better in your league to get a place in the continental competition. There’s really no committee that has the nebulous task of seeding or even deciding whether or not you should be in the tournament.

Several years ago, I had the brilliant idea of adapting college basketball to the European soccer model, and implemented it via a Whatifsports simulation. I did that again this year, but I won’t delve too deeply into the simulation itself, but how the tournament was constructed. In Europe, there are two continental competitions, the Champions League and the Europa League, and I am setting up two tournaments here as well. There are 32 conferences in college basketball, which works out nicely into a knockout tournament. It’s as simple as that. The 32 conference champions were seeded based on their RPI in a basic knockout tournament.

The second tournament, the non-Champions tournament, is a little stickier. I opted to make it open to 68 teams, which makes it a little bit messier. The Europe League is open to domestic cup winners, which we will interpret as “conference tournaments” and other best placed teams. How do you find the “best place teams”? In Europe, different national associations get teas in the continental competitions based on their national “coefficient” which is basically just rating their association based on how well they have done in previous international competitions. Though it’s not perfect, this is basically what RPI tries to do. So conferences will get a certain number of teams in based on how their RPI rates against other conferences. Conferences ranked 1-6 get 4 teams in, in addition to their conference champion, 7-10 get 3, 11-20 get 2 and 21-32 get one. Again, the conference tournament champion is assured a spot, and then the final spots are granted to the teams who finished best in conference that didn’t win the the regular season or tournament championship.

Oh, but there’s more. Like I said, the conference tournament champion is guaranteed entry in the secondary tournament. Sometimes, teams win their regular season AND conference tournament championships. It happened 14 times this year. In these cases teams that have won their regular season tournament get entry into the non-Champions tournament upon losing in the Champions tournament. Because of this, we have to do two things with non-Champions tournament. Instead of a regular bracket, we will have a seeded draw. The top half of the teams, based on individual RPI, are randomly selected to play against the bottom half every round. Additionally, they need to start their tournament a round sooner to whittle the field down. The teams are relegated from the top tournament in the secondary tournament as the secondary tournament begins its third round of play.

Because of the inconsistent number of teams, there will also be a team or two that get a bye in the secondary tournament once in a while, also selected at random from the top half of available teams. In the end, the winner of the secondary tournament plays the winner of the Champions tournament for the overall title.  Like I said, I ran the tournament through whatifsports over the weekend. You can see how it turned out here (apologies if it’s confusing. I’m sure it is. Let me know if you have questions)

There was no point, really, to this. It wasn’t out to prove anything, but it was simply a way to look at things differently, and see how it would work. This is different from the NCAA Football sim we do every year, because that actually looks to solve some problems. Still, this simulation had a few interesting results. For example:

- Wisconsin – Green Bay made it to the Champions Tournament Final Four by defeating Louisiana Tech, Arizona and Louisville.

- SMU, left out of the actual tournament, beat Indiana State, Kentucky, St. Joe’s and North Dakota State before falling to Duke, a pretty healthy run overall.

- Kansas defeated Florida and Wichita State to win the Champions and overall championships. Kansas!

The Twins get some hustle

Fuld

The Twins have claimed former Ray and A Sam Fuld, who is known for his hustle. He’s a guy that really get’s after it, and battles his tail off out there. He’s gritty, is all heart and would be Nick Punto, if Nick Punto was an outfielder. Fuld even won something called the Heart and Hustle Award. Twins assistant GM describes Fuld as “a gamer, a guy who comes to play every day.”

Oh but wait, there’s more. Punto is 5’9, while Fuld is 5’10. They are both grads of California schools. Niether has ever hit more than 4 home runs in a season. They have OPS+ of 76 and 80 respectively. Punto got more playing time because he played for a team that didn’t understand the negative value he added to the team, while Fuld missed time simply because he spent a good deal of his career with a smart team, the Rays. Also, Fuld is flashy in the outfield, but isn’t necessarily a great fielder.

The thing the Twins were definitely missing from their great runs in the mid 2000s compared to now is Nick Punto. Mazel Tov on adding him again.

Links of the Day 4/20/14

Hello and Happy Easter, everyone. Or Happy 4/20, if that’s more your style.

Here is Twinkie Town’s 2014 Top 30 prospects.

Here is Bill Simmons with a pretty good breakdown of what it’s like to own a professional sports franchise.

Sim Bhullar has declared for the NBA draft. 

SCOREBOARD
MLB
Texas 6, Chicago 3 – The Rangers allowed a run for the first time since Wednesday.
NHL
Colorado 4, Minnesota 2 – Hey, at least it wasn’t as backbreakingly awful this time!

Rating Gibraltar’s Premier League, based solely on the team names

Gibraltar

Recently, UEFA, Europe’s governing body decided to allow Gibraltar — Hold up, I can’t carry on talking about Gibraltar without noting that, due to a tenuous international situation between Spain and Britain regarding Gibraltar, and a general lack of space, they had to put the airport right in the middle of the doggone city.

Gibraltar2

Quick, the light turned yellow, get through the intersection and land!

Anyways, Gibraltar is all kinds of messed up. Every team has someone named Duarte on it, and the first place team has a +60 goal differential. Last place has a -80. They play 14 games a season. Still, somehow, the winner of the Gibraltar Premier League will get entry in the Champions League first qualifying round (and they will get a team in the Europa League as well, and I desperately hope Rosenborg will end up flying into this weird ass airport)

Anyways, a fun thing about Gibraltar is their 8 teams, since they can’t really claim to be from anywhere by Gibraltar, have a bunch of creative names. Here they are, rated in order of silliest to least silly.

Lincoln Red Imps
College Europa Cosmos
Lions Gibraltar
Lynx
Manchester United
Gibraltar Phoenix
Glacis United
St. Josephs

I should note that “Glacis” means downhill, basically. The Red Imps are like smaller versions of the Red Devils who play for Manchester United. No no, the one in England. But the Imps are like Englands Man U because of their dominance. This is their 12th win of the Gibraltar Premier League in a row.

Oh, before I wrap this post up, here is a list of the Second Division, which is even more delightfully named.
FC Brittannia XI
Boca Juniors (named after an Argentine team, in a British dependency. Weird)
Cannons FC
College Pegasus
FC Hound Dogs
FC Magpies
FC Olympique
Leo Parilla FC
Lions Pilots (!)
Mons Calpe SC
Red Imps
Sporting Glacis

More teams need to be named after flying horses.

Links of the Day 4/19/14

Holy buckets, it’s 60 degrees and raining. Sorry for copying in a map instead of the picture of the food yesterday. That was stored on my clipboard from a post at Victoria-Weather. Go check out that site, why don’t you.

The NBA playoffs begin today. Here is a bracket. This is a sports blog.

Mr. Met dare not approach the president.

Speaking of the NBA, the Jazz won a meaningless game against the Timberwolves, and their draft lottery chances took a hit.

SCOREBOARD
MLB
(Yesterday)
Texas 12, Chicago 0 -The American League Central has some catching up to do.
Kansas City 5, Minnesta 0 – Lots of singles, not any runs.
(Today)
Kansas City 5, Minnesota 4 – Kurt Suzuki hit a home run, had 3 runs batted in. The fact that is so highly regarded  by Twins fans says bad things about the team’s chances this year.

On the Menu: Cilantro-coconut chicken and broccoli

I made an egregious mistake when I made this, and you will be surprised as to what it was. This was essentially chicken with some stewed vegetables. What is often the case when stewing veggies like this, the flavor needs to come from the broth they were stewed in. This broth had everything, it had ginger, it had garlic, it had shallot, it had jalapeno…. and it was all very flat.
Oh, when I tasted it while it was cooking, it was deeply flavorful, with a lot of texture, from the sweet coconut milk to the biting jalapeno, all playing with the salty chicken breast, but then I made my mistake. I plated it over rice. The depth of flavor was lost. The broth was too thin, and rice is such a big block of starch that it overwhelmed everything. I think it would be better as a type of soup. There are leftovers, I’ll try it and let you know.

Links of the Day 4/18/14

Good afternoon. I think I would trade those two Twins wins yesterday for one Wild win.

A nice breakdown of Chris Colabello and whether or not he’s actually any good.

Last night’s Game 1 hurt. It hurt bad.

Is Yasiel Puig receiving death threats?

SCOREBOARD
MLB
Minnesota 9, Toronto 5 – The Blue Jays issued 12 walks to gift the Twins a double header sweep.
Boston 3, Chicago 1 – It was a double perfect game through 5, and then, it wasn’t.
Stanley Cup Playoffs
Colorado 5, Minnesota 4 (OT)- Ugh. Terrible. The Wild were within 15 seconds of winning it.
Football League Championship
Blackburn 0, Yeovil Town 0 – The Rovers are done caring about this season.