Category Archives: Dating

What is Moneyball and what the hell is Brad Pitt doing in a baseball movie?

He could talk baseball all night. And you'd listen, right ladies?

Moneyball opens this week and it could be the greatest date movie of all time.

Why? Not only is the entire movie about the intricacies of building a baseball franchise (just slightly below orchestrating a bank robbery in terms of guys’ fantasies) but the builder of said baseball franchise is none other than Achilles himself, Brad Pitt. So if listening to explanations of advanced baseball statistics bores you, at least the one doing the explaining is someone you’ve been fantasizing about since you were in middle school.

But a two hour movie can be tedious so you might as well possess a rudimentary grasp of Moneyball’s premise. Simply, Michael Lewis wrote a 304-page masterpiece about how the Oakland A’s (under Billy Beane’s guidance) revolutionized baseball thinking by relying on advanced statistics rather than eye-ball tests and gut feelings to construct the most efficiently successful team for the least amount of money. Brad Pitt plays the real-life character of Billy Beane, the man in charge of building a baseball team on a Payless Shoes budget.

Yours truly read all 304 pages in one sitting meaning if you want us guys to join your book clubs, don’t make us read The Great Gatsby. We’ll have all 448 pages of Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses read and annotated with a literary critique by noon tomorrow if you put it on your book club’s list. But I digress…

Example of Moneyball ? For example, you may feel Channing Tatum is hotter than Justin Timberlake but your friend thinks JT is way cuter. Using the principles of Moneyball you would construct some formula that would take into account Tatum’s abs, tan, and muscles to derive a number that trumps Timberlake. Your friend may come up with a formula that uses JT’s voice, personality, and body of work that defeats your boy Channing. But your mutual braniac third friend combines both formulas and concludes that Justin Timberlake is indeed hotter than Channing Tatum.

Quick, clean, and no more debate. Moneyball helps baseball managers rate players more accurately than ever before and aids journalists in predicting what may happen. These statistics have relatively accurate predicting power so one can reasonably understand how a baseball player and team will perform next year. Imagine being able to reasonably predict how Justin Bieber’s next year will go compared to Bruno Mars based on statistics?

Lastly, these statistics help baseball fans compare players from many years ago to the players of today. You keep hearing how good-looking Paul Newman was, but all you really know about Paul Newman is that he’s the guy on the salad dressing bottles. But with Moneyball statistics, you could derive a formula that rates Newman in his prime better looking than today’s Matt McConaughey taking into account the fact that Newman probably thought buttered steak and beer were healthy and McConaughey has been on an insane workout program and hasn’t had a carb since Contact.

Regardless of how you feel about baseball (ok, I know you think it is boring) you should be a good sport and invite your guy to see Moneyball. Worst case you can stare at Brad Pitt and munch on Mike & Ike’s and if it really isn’t what you like, tell him to get you some popcorn because after all, no guy has ever refused a concessions request at a movie theater. Enjoy the movie and enjoy the treats!

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Filed under Baseball, Brad Pitt, Dating, Food, Good Movies, Moneyball, Numbers

The Denver Quarterback Battle: Door 1 or Door 2?

Picture yourself on a blind date game show featuring a cheesy host with fake teeth and weird hair. You’ve just eliminated the gentleman behind Door #3 because he raised the “I live in my mom’s basement and I work as a clown for kids’ parties” red flag.

You’re left with the reckless, daring, and thrilling one-night stand behind Door #1 who you wouldn’t bring home for Thanksgiving dinner. Door #2 has revealed himself to be clean-cut, safe, and the driver of a Volvo station wagon because, well, it’s a reliable and economic car to transport the whole family.

You aren’t just choosing the man behind the door; you are potentially choosing the future life that comes with the guy too. Questions begin to race through your head.

Will the wild guy settle down? Can he ever care for anyone but himself? Can you ever really trust him? Is he going to get arrested? How do you feel about being the look-out during bank robberies? All valid questions for the bad boy.

And for the good chap behind Door #2: Will he ever try something new? Can he protect you in a New York subway? Does he own any pants that aren’t khaki? How do you feel about going to bed at 9:30 p.m. on Friday nights?

Making decisions based on potential and less on available facts are more of a leap of faith than anything else. You can ask all the questions you want and you can even go on a date with the bad boy and a date with the choir boy, but in the end, you just have to take the plunge and go for it.

This is what’s happening in Denver with their current quarterback situation. Only one quarterback can play at a time and a wrong choice can lead to a disastrous season. But a right choice can lead to glory. And Denver has two quarterbacks just itching to go on a date and strut their stuff.

Door #1 - Tim Tebow: the risky wild child on the field...

Door #1 is Tim Tebow. While he is as straitlaced as

they come off the field, his football game is extremely risky. There has never been a quarterback quite like him and it’s impossible to predict the outcome of his career. He could easily bomb and he could easily be great just like the bad boy who could leave his youthful follies behind as he ages or spend 25-to-life behind bars.

Door #2 is Kyle Orton. He’s the safe pick because there have been hundreds of quarterbacks like him throughout history; average arm strength, average accuracy, average talent, and average results. But the range of failure to success is much smaller than with Tebow. The chances of Orton completely bombing are minimal, but the chances of Orton winning the championship are also minimal. He’s the definition of the safe choice just like the choir boy who’s guaranteed to be the designated driver for every guy’s night (that is, if he even has guy’s nights).

Door #2 - Kyle Orton: he's plain and average and safe...

The Denver coaching staff is currently sitting on the stool next to the host with the weird hair and creepier smile asking Tebow and Orton “What’s their idea of a perfect date?” or “If you’re a car, what kind of car would you be?” And how will they answer? In the form of four preseason games and currently, Orton is slightly ahead of Tebow so it appears Denver is leaning toward playing it safe rather than taking a risk.

Life is too short to be dull and everyone knows you can’t change a person who doesn’t want to be changed. Knowing that, good luck Denver. Choose wisely…

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Filed under Dating, Football, Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow

The Save

You’re out on a blind date with someone you met online. Through emails, you learn you both enjoy movies, going out to dinner, and sometimes staying home to enjoy a quiet evening watching TV. This wouldn’t differentiate Leo DiCaprio from Leo da Vinci (a creative guy like him would love movies and TV).  So to learn more about him and because you are “tired of kissing frogs and are finally looking for your prince,” you agree to meet for dinner.

When he wasn't working on masterpieces, da Vinci enjoyed curling up with popcorn to watch Cougar Town.

As you’re getting ready to leave your apartment, you text your BFF to call you 20 minutes into your date so you can always play the “My nephew just peed his pants at school so I have to bring him home and I know it’s 8:45 on a Saturday night, but it’s one of those special Saturday night classes for gifted eight year-olds who want to learn more about the subtle nuances of Finding Nemo” card if the date is heading toward catastrophe. Your friend agrees, but you say you probably won’t need it because you have so much in common and the one blurry photo of him in a hat and sunglasses was cute.

But you sit down and before you can even say anything, he tells the waiter that you’re splitting the check. And he starts to squeeze a lemon into his water and mixes in packets of sugar to save money on ordering lemonade. And he launches into how when he’s not arranging used printer cartridges into scale models of Canadian cities, he’s collecting rain water in his homemade reservoir to have enough for the impending national debt crisis.

You’re polite, so you chime in that there will probably be enough water for everyone but this only starts to make him wave his arms and shout loud enough for the cooks to hear. Yikes…

And… Ring!!!

Your friend comes through with the phone call, you nail your excuse, and you are on your merry way to a bottle of wine in the comfort of your own apartment. That is a save.

The greatest save-master of them all: Mariano Rivera

And a save in baseball works the same way with just a lot less awkwardness. The pitcher is struggling in a close game and there are base-runners everywhere. The hitters coming up are scary and the coach really wants to win this game. So much like how you were rescued by a phone, the coach will call the bullpen with a dugout phone to let the closer know he’s coming in to pitch. And if the closer does his job and gets the hitters out, he records a ‘save.’ The closer saves the game when the situation is dire (the lead being three runs or less) just like how your friend rescued you from a sticky situation. Only the best relief pitchers are entrusted to save the game, just like how you wouldn’t entrust your getaway plan to your 85 year-old aunt.

So the next time you’re out on a perilous blind date, know that there are baseball closers everywhere, along with your BFF, ready to save the day from terrifying hitters and equally terrifying online acquaintances.

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Filed under Baseball, Dating, Save

The Yips

Parallel parking is easy when practiced in front of your house with cones and trash cans. It does, however, become infinitely more difficult when attempted in front of a swanky restaurant in between a BMW 7-Series and a Maserati with outdoor diners picking apart your every mistake. Soon, passerby begin to gravitate just to watch you take the wrong angle and start over for the umpteenth time. Put enough pressure on yourself while allowing the situation power over you, and you’ll fail more at parallel parking than Meadow Soprano.

Meadow can't park...

If you’re the type who’ll park three blocks away and pay $10 to avoid parallel parking in front of everyone, then you may have a case of the yips.

The yips are dangerous. Powerful enough to end careers and contagious enough to shun those afflicted, the yips are that little anxiety monster that grows and grows and eventually takes over in pressure situations.

In the athletic arena, it could look like Chuck Knoblauch launching short throws from second base into the stands, or Jean Van de Velde scattering golf shots all over the last hole to lose the British Open, or Mark Wohlers unable to find the strikezone, or LeBron James disappearing in the fourth quarter in the NBA Finals, or any Florida State kicker when trying beat the University of Miami. Those are just a few examples but the list is miles long of athletes who can do their task without trouble when no one is watching only to fail miserably when the lights burn brightest.

Some call it ‘white line’ syndrome. Step on the playing surface between the white lines of the football field, basketball court, baseball field, or parking space and the athlete can begin to over-think the most mundane of tasks. Short field goals become tricky, free throws are impossible, throwing strikes are out of the question, and parallel parking is calamitous.

Yours truly even yipped a stop sign some years ago. You know, those big, red octagonal warnings that have stop written across? I had a date in the passenger’s seat and my mind was preoccupied and sure enough, whoop-whoop! The policeman lectured me on paying more attention (no ticket!) and did understand that the sign was behind a large banyan tree. But had I been driving alone I certainly would have been locked in on the stop sign. The circumstances of my date and trying to think about saying all the right things led me to completely yip a stop sign!

Fortunately, no one was hurt and I have since learned from that experience. I have yet to miss a stop sign since! The yips can drive those afflicted one of two ways: Learn from them and improve, or, succumb to them and wash out.

When Rory McIlroy yipped away the Master’s many thought he would struggle in future similar situations. But he learned from the experience and won the very next major tournament convincingly. The aforementioned Van de Velde never came close to winning another major tournament ever again.

From champion to wading in muck: The Yips

So fear not. You may have badly screwed up that last date when you spilled all that wine on his smartphone and white Brooks Brothers shirt. Now you know you have to concentrate a little more when pouring wine. But don’t avoid that same situation; that would be succumbing to the yips. And don’t avoid parallel parking either. Find a teensy-weensy spot during happy hour between a Bentley and a Mercedes and yell “Take notes!” as you put on a show one-timing the parking job and saying “You’re welcome,” to the group ready to pounce on your smallest mistake.

No one really knows how to defeat the yips, but apprehension certainly isn’t the cure. Might as well be aggressive…

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Filed under Baseball, Basketball, Dating, Football, Golf, Yips

The Pickle

Editor’s Note: The following scenario is merely hypothetical and in no way reflects the true wholesome nature of the devoted readers of Eye Black & Rouge.

Imagine the confident new advertising executive sweeps you off your feet and asks you out for drinks after work. You agree because he has the George Clooney thing going on and Ocean’s 11 is one of your favorite movies.

You know you probably shouldn’t go for drinks but saying no would be impolite, right? One chardonnay and you’re telling him you have to let your nonexistent dog out of your apartment.

You walk through the door he’s holding for you (of course, right?) and you glance toward the bar only you notice the guy you really like who you’ve been dating for a few weeks is the bartender. Your ‘hubby’ told you he was a bartender but not at which bar.

You’re in a pickle, sister…

On one side is Clooney; your superior at work. On the other is the bartender who may be slightly less than a boyfriend but you can feel the invite to meet his parents coming soon (and you’re looking forward to it).

The Greeks would call it caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Those who did not pay attention in Greek mythology class would call it between a rock and a hard place. But baseball people call it a good old fashioned pickle.

In baseball, a pickle (or run-down) occurs when a baserunner is caught between two bases with a fielder at each base. The fielder with the ball chases the baserunner toward a base and when the time is right, throws the ball to the other fielder to tag the runner out. The runner, seeing that the ball has gone from one fielder to the other, stops and runs away from the fielder who just received the ball. A thrown ball will always travel faster than the runner so the runner is trapped.

This continues until the runner is eventually tagged out. And the runner is usually 99% of the time tagged out at the pro level very quickly. The fielders are too good, too fast, and the odds are too long for the runner which is why being in a pickle feels like there’s no way out (in both baseball and in life).

But you think on your feet. You’re smart and you see a small window out of this ad executive/bartender situation (not the bathroom window; you’re not a coward). You confidently lead Clooney straight over to the bar and introduce him to your bartender guy.

“Uh, this is my boyfriend, Sam,” you begin gesturing toward the bartender. “Sam, this is our new advertising executive. I thought it would be good for you two to meet. Sam, my boyfriend, has so many good ideas. He’s always critiquing commercials when they come on TV,” you explain. “What’s that idea you’re always talking about?”

Sam then launches into his idea of Subway or Quiznos selling 3″ sub ‘bullets’ so people can try a variety of sandwiches in one meal. Clooney is listening intently and since you did your homework, you know he’s on the Quiznos account. They’re hitting it off and you’re starting to breathe easier. You got your boyfriend’s (he is now) ideas in front of the right guy, Clooney some fresh ideas, and yourself out of a pickle that wasn’t looking too promising.

One glass of chardonnay? Better make it two…

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Filed under Baseball, Dating, Pickle

Baseball: A game of signs

A stare lasting a shade too long. A subtle smile. Hair twirling. Compliments. Over-laughing at fairly lame jokes. Playful touches to the arm.

These are all subtle signs a lady might use to let a guy they are interested in know that they are indeed interested. Or maybe not. Or maybe. Or who knows? Maybe said lady is just really friendly.

If these signs have a purpose and the guy doesn’t pick them up, you can get annoyed and perturbed at how dumb we can be. If you were just being friendly, and the guy reads into them just a little too much, we can end up looking stupid. Signs and signals are only valuable if the message is received loud and clear from sender to receiver.

For as dumb as ballplayers look,

Thinkin hurts ma brain...
Thinkin’ hurts ma brain…

sound (“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” – Yogi Berra), or act (buying steroids with easily traceable checks), every player has to memorize a complex system of signs and signals.

For example, my bunt sign for high school baseball was a tap on the top of the head to “open the box” of signs. Then the bill of the cap was touched as an indicator that a sign was coming. Exactly two signs after the indicator, the right wrist (left wrist meant something entirely different) was touched to indicate bunt followed by a touch to the chest to “close the box” of signs. If the box was never opened, closed, or if the indicator was never touched, no sign was on even if the coach touched a varying appendage that meant something.

Throw in the fact that the indicator changed every inning and the idea that if you missed a sign, your playing time would be in jeopardy, and suddenly ballplayers aren’t so stupid.

These signs apply to every strategy in baseball. Coaches reside in the dugout and must relay the signs to their first and third base coaches who must then relay the signs to various players. All this must be done without the other team knowing or the strategy would become worthless.

Pitchers and catchers have their own form of signs for every pitch. For example, my catcher puts down one finger for a fastball, two for a curveball, three for a change-up, and wiggle four fingers for a split-finger fastball. Should the hitter pick these signs up and know what pitch is coming, their ability to hit the ball is increased exponentially.

This is why a certain level of gamesmanship is conducted to “steal” signs. Knowing what the other team is going to do before they do it can be the difference between winning and losing.

Going back to the dating example, imagine if everyone wore their personality and intentions on their face for all to see. Would you date “I’m a borderline psychopath who may or may not have missed  my medications?” Or how about “I’m only in it for the sex and when I finally get it, you will have a better chance contacting Osama bin Laden?”

Knowing the other team’s signs is exactly the same. You know their intentions and you can respond accordingly. But then again, what’s the fun in that? Don’t you want to date “I’m a total cheapskate who likes to order water with lemons then I mash-up the lemons and add sugar to make lemonade so I don’t have spend money on lemonade?’ And you’re surprised that guy would make you pay for your meal…

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Filed under Baseball, Dating, Signs

Basketball: The Pick and Roll

At a casual glance, basketball is a simple game consisting of putting the ball through the hoop more often than the other team. To accomplish this, however, basketball is a horribly complex game rife with intricate plays, formations and strategies to maximize opportunities to score. While a team’s playbook may resemble an unreadable prescription written by a hyperactive doctor, one easy play stands out from all the rest because it is ridiculously effective and easy to implement: the pick and roll.

To illustrate, picture yourself at a crowded club. You are with some friends having a good time when the prototypical creep (slightly too old for the establishment, clothes noticeably too tight, using dance moves from yesteryear, smells of far too much cheap cologne, perhaps sunglasses at night, and the general aura of scumbag) makes his way toward you and offers to buy you a drink. You tell him that you already have a drink, you are not thirsty, you are training to become a nun and have given up alcohol; basically anything to ward off this disaster waiting to happen.

However, he was not born with the wherewithal to pickup on subtlety, so he continues to try and win your affections with more drink offers, dance offers, and other offers that may not be printable. Now he is bordering on harassment, so you call your girlfriends over to initiate the perfect pick and roll. Yes, that’s right. You have run a pick and roll before, you just never realized it until now.

Girlfriend A (we’ll call her Madison) and Girlfriend B (Samantha) make their way toward you. You walk away from the creep and he tries to follow. Madison and Samantha quickly position themselves between you and the creep, effectively blocking his path. Now you bolt in a different direction, using the crowd to your advantage and you escape out the exit, making your way to another club with names such as Destruction, Catacomb, or Hellish.

On the basketball court, the pick and roll works like this: Player A (You) has the ball and is being guarded by Player X (The Creep). Player A’s teammate, Player B (Samantha), runs over and basically stands to one side of Player X (called a “pick”) blocking his ability to effectively guard Player A. Player A then dribbles toward the basket. Player B “rolls” away and stands open, ready to receive the ball. Player A has the option to continue toward the basket to try and score, or pass to Player B letting him try to score. The play takes between 3-5 seconds, and when done correctly, is a potent weapon for any basketball team. Teams can run this play every time without it losing effectiveness. Karl Malone and John Stockton, both former members of the Utah Jazz, put together Hall of Fame caliber careers by implementing the pick and roll for 18 years together.

Stockton and Malone resembled the perfect chemistry of Thelma and Louise. Only, Stockton and Malone wouldn’t have died in the end. They would have figured out a way to escape and would still be at large, sipping mimosas at some posh villa in the south of France.

That’s the power of the pick and roll. It can allow you score at will on the basketball court, aid your escape from a perverted creep at a crowded club, and help you run-off to the south of France to drink mimosas, rather than having to drive off of a cliff to a fiery death.

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Filed under Basketball, Dating