Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fantasy Submission

Thanks to Lewis for this beautiful work of art.

Monday, February 27, 2006

What does constipation of the brain look like?


This.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Macha's Worst Move of 2006


I don't know if any of you saw Neil Hayes' fluff piece on Macha from the Contra Costa Times this morning. It tries, but fails, to paint Macha in a good light. While Macha is recounting just how hard the guys played last year, Hayes neglects to mention that all that hard work would have paid off had the A's had ANY OTHER FUCKING MANAGER!!! Macha cost us the division, last year, plain and simple. And don't give me that injury shit, either. The Yankees, Braves, and Angels all had extensive injuries last year, but when they had to endure starts from their Seth Etherton's and Ryan Glynn's, those managers knew when to take them out. Macha....well...didn't.

Anyway, so that got me to thinking. In light of the fact that Hayes' article was designed to sway public opinion regarding him, it only seems fair that the other side gets a voice in the debate. So I was wondering: What was the single worst move Macha made last season? Now, I know that trying to pick out Macha's worst move in a season that consisted of nothing but terrible moves is like looking for a specific grain of sand in the Sahara desert, but I have attempted to wade through all the shit, and select what I believe to be Macha's shining moment of stupidity in 2005. Was it Yabu in the Tenth? Leaving Zito in to face Belliard? Leaving Glynn in to face Beltran? Was it his year long fixation with the most inefficient lineup he could come up with? All terrible moves to be sure, and all costly to the team, but, at least in my opinion, Macha's worst move of the season came on September 16, in Boston. Yes, this was the Yabu in the Tenth game, but Macha lost this game for us six innings before that, in the top of the 4th. Let's recap the situation, shall we?

In the previous 7 games, the A's had grounded into 15 double plays. That's an average of more than two per game, for an entire week. They had grounded into a then AL-leading 139 double plays on the season. Scott Hatteberg had grounded into 22 himself, and his OPS' the last three months had been .672, .633, and .548. Scott Hatteberg was, in no uncertain terms, the least valuable player in the American League last season.

Pitching for Boston was knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. As you might expect with a knuckleballer, 82.4% of baserunners were successful stealing bases against him last year. The knuckleball is a pitch that travels 65 miles per hour, and catcher's have a difficult time handling. It's basically an invitation to steal a bag.

In that 4th inning, 4 of the 5 batters had gotten base hits, including a double by Mark Ellis. A 1-0 deficit had turned into a 2-1 lead. With Jay Payton at first, and Eric Chavez at third, up to the plate stepped Scott Hatteberg. Hatteberg had been a GIDP machine the last week. In fact, he had grounded out to the infield seven times in the last 3 games, resulting in two double plays, and another where he reached because the throw pulled the Cleveland first baseman off the bag. Quite simply, there was only one person in the universe that didn't know that Hatteberg was going to hit a grounder on the infield, and unfortunately that one person was Ken Macha.

So while I don't need to tell you what happened here, I will anyway. While Jay Payton was certainly no basestealer, he is a fairly fast runner, and should have been sent. With Wakefield pitching and Mirabelli catching, there is almost no chance you will be thrown out. "Ok," I told myself before that at-bat. "Not even Macha is dumb enough to let this inning end with Hatte's predictable double play, right? I mean, he was dumb enough not to put Melhuse in Hatte's stead in the first place, and had been dumb enough not to do that all season, but surely, he would send Payton here, right?"

The first pitch came in from Wakefield, and Hatteberg fouled it off. Payton wasn't running. The second offering from Wakefield was high, and Hatte watched it go by to even up the count at 1-1. Again, Payton failed to take second. "What the fuck is Macha doing?" I yelled loudly. "He's not going to send him, is he?" Wakefield wound up to throw his third pitch to Hatteberg, and again Payton remained chained to first base. Wakefield's knuckler didn't dance. It was flat, it had spin, and it was heading right for the middle of the plate. Hatteberg's eyes opened wide, he cocked back his right shoulder, and took a mighty swing.....

....and hit a weak grounder to second base.

Graffanino fielded it, flipped to Renteria at second for one out, and then back to first base for the inning ending double play. The A's would not score again, and would later lose when Yabu hit Manny with the bases loaded in the 10th.

Now, you might be wondering why I selected this moment as Macha's single worst move of the year. Well, I selected it for many reasons. But basically, it was the perfect storm of ineptitude. So many factors had to come together in this instance that allowed Macha to fuck everything up so badly, and fuck it up he did. To wit:

1) It required Macha to ignore the previous 2.5 months of Hatteberg's performances, and put him in the lineup, instead of the much superior hitter in Melhuse, AGAIN.

2) It required Macha to completely ignore recent history, which had found the A's grounding into 14 double plays over the previous four games.

3) It required Macha to be completely unaware of his opponent, as Wakefield's slow knuckler is simply unable to prevent base stealing.

4) And last, but not least, it required Macha to once again freeze when a situation required for his brainwaves to fire.

You see, those other moves, like bringing in Yabu instead of Street, or leaving Zito out to get killed, were merely awful moves that everybody could tell were awful before they happened or didn't happen. But they were just singular moves. They didn't require Macha to have paid attention the last week, or for him to know what was going on. They merely required Macha to be able to look up and see that his pitcher was struggling, or that maybe bringing in your best pitcher instead of the scrub with the game on the line might be a heady maneuver. But with this double play, so many factors were involved, and each had to go perfectly in order for Macha to fuck it up so badly. It was like a Rube Goldberg machine of retardation. If it were a board game, it would be called Moron Mousetrap. If one thing doesn't happen, the machine fails, and Hatte doesn't hit into that double play. If Melhuse were in the lineup like he should have been, no double play. If Macha had been paying attention at any point that season, no double play. If Macha knew his opponent, no double play. And of course, if Macha had put all these variables together and sent Payton, no double play.

You see, with so many things, people merely see the finished product. You don't see the millions of parts that went into it, you just see a spaceship. When you look at another human being, you don't see neutrons smashing together, primordial sludge, single cells, multiple cells, invertebrates, or New World monkeys; you just see another human. But it takes a special ingenuity of reverse engineering to break something down like Macha's non-move here to show you how he had to be a moron on about four different levels to lose this game for us. This was the Peter Principle gone haywire. Macha should have been kicked out of baseball before he achieved the rank of bat boy, but somehow became a manager. And with each new promotion, he evolved a new set of special retardation skills. And each new set was put into in-action here. It was an awesome display of idiocy, the likes of which we may never see again until April 3rd. But for one night, it was perfect. It was all perfect.

And on September 16, 2005, in a 3-2 loss to the RedSox in ten innings, everything came together perfectly for Macha. Every stupid inclination, every game day nap, every inability to adapt came to the forefront, and Jay Payton was left at first base while Scott Hatteberg grounded into a double play.

It was, in no uncertain terms, Macha's worst move of the season.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Fantasy Baseball With Fire Macha

It's common knowledge that Greg and I can out-manage Ken Macha, but can any of you dopes out-manage us? I doubt it, but we're willing to give you, our loyal readers, the chance to do just that.

Just send me your best Macha story, haiku or photo-shopped pic and, if it doesn't suck ass, you might just get the chance to join the most prestigious fantasy baseball league in all the land.

I would only ask that if you commit to this league, you DO NOT abandon your team. If there's anyone I hate more than Ken Macha, it's that asshole that stops checking on his team in May.

We're anxiously awaiting your submissions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Shot by Stupid's Arrow


Ah, Valentine's Day; a day when a young man's fancy turns to heart shaped chocolate boxes, 40 dollar rose bouquets, and cubic zirconia (she'll never know). Named after St. Valentine, the patron saint of stupid lineups, Valentine's Day is pretty much the lamest holiday there is. No girls wearing slutty nurse outfits, no candy, no big feasts, no presents, no getting drunk, and no firecrackers. But for baseball fans, Valentine's Day marks the occasion where the spring training reporting date can be referred to in hours instead of days. Soon, the boys of summer will lace up their cleats at their Arizona homes for the first time all season, and our national pasttime will have officially returned.

Unfortunately for Macha, instead of being paid a visit by Cupid, the God of Erotic Love, he was paid a visit by Stupid, the God of.....wait, there is no God. Anyway, Stupid shot Macha approximately 43 times in the face with his arrows of idiocy, and A's fans have to bear that cross. Sure, Macha might have his engineering degree from some second rate school in Pittsburgh, but he's not fooling anybody. It's like when you were a kid watching "Winnie the Pooh" on Saturday morning cartoons, and all you could say was "Give it up, Christopher Robin. You're not fooling anybody. We all know you're fucking that bear." Anyway, it's like that. Macha trying to think is a lot like me trying to come up with a cogent analogy connecting Macha and Valentine's Day; it's just not going to happen. Thankfully, Cupid rhymes with Stupid. I don't know where this post would be without that.

So fellas, whether this Valentine's day finds you alone and sexless, or attached and broke, you can take solace in the fact that Spring Training begins in less than 100 hours, where you will be treated to a month of dumb articles about everybody being in the best shape of their lives, and listen to Robert Buan attempt to only get about 90% of what he says on his broadcasts wrong.

Anyway, love is in the air, people. While we can all hope that Cupid, instead of shooting Macha with an arrow of love, accidentally shoots him with a poison-tipped arrow of death, I think we all know that it's not going to happen. Because this is Valentine's Day, and dreams never come true on Valentine's Day. Unless you're a woman, and you like stuffed animals.

God Damn Macha.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Contributions


This was the first thing that came up under google images using the search term "contributions." That fucking rules. I think that might be Rod Beck, but I don't know for sure.

Anyway, a few of you have asked about writing some guest articles for the site. Well, we wholeheartedly encourage those efforts. If you have something you want to say about Macha, email either me or Roman, or both of us, and we will put it through the rigorous process of determining whether or not what you created was funny. If it is, the article will be posted.

If you would like to become a regular contributor with full time posting powers, simply submit a couple or three articles, pictures, or some other creation as your application. However, you can't be funnier than us. Imagine how Jon Stewart must feel being the executive producer of the Colbert Report, a show that makes his daily crapfest look like it belongs on UPN (which, it probably does). If we determine that you're worthy, we'll bestow you with your green jacket (green like the mold on Macha's brain) of posting.

Remember, FireMacha.com is YOUR website, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

MachaPedia

When I visited WikiPedia earlier today to see if I could find some information on monkeys who juggle chainsaws, I quickly got to thinking about another monkey: Ken Macha. So I went to his page and noticed that it didn't mention just how god damn stupid he really is. And since WikiPedia is the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, I decided to do just that. So I added a few facts to the bottom of Ken's page. I didn't make anything up; everything here is true.

Apparently the commie-philistines who run WikiPedia can't handle the truth, which makes them exactly like Tom Cruise, except a little less crazy and a little less gay (hopefully), but in the interests of posterity, I was able to capture the magic in screen grab form.

Enjoy.



In the meantime, please check out the Fire Macha page on WikiPedia.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ken Landers

Hi, I'm a transplanted Pittsburgher living in the Bay Area, and unlike one of the commenters on your blog I knew the Pirates would never hire the idiot. They know a wimp when they see one. They knew enough to dump Rincon, who truly has blossomed under Macha's tutelage and conditioning program.

When the Pirates rejected Macha, I celebrated like a fool thinking Macha was out of baseball.
Having been present at both of the recent Angels' celebrations, the news shortly after # 2, that Macha wasn't coming back, was the only solace to the memory of his tenure here.
My rage towards Macha has reached your level. We all know how many games he has and will cost us. From the stupid owner/idiot who thanked Macha for god knows what to Mr. Beane, who brought him back, to Macha himself, I am finding my anger at unprecedented levels.

So a friend of mine asked me tonight if I wanted to go to Opening Night. The choice is either, don't go to any A's games, or go to games, and somehow avoid a jail or prison term by choosing to not run onto the field to bash Macha.

What do you suggest? What are you doing?

-Will



Will,

You're spot on about Pittsburgh. They don't tolerate wimps. From The Steel Curtain to inner city coal miners, Pittsburgh isn't a city for the weak. I'm sure the Pirates front office got one whiff of Macha's ideas about the batting order or how to complete a sentence, and quickly decided they didn't want that asshole within 2,000 miles of their team. For a franchise that hasn't finished higher than 4th since the turn of the new millenium, I think it's pretty clear that the Pirates are a lot smarter than the A's. Sure, we've got some division titles and playoff appearances since then, but gloating over that fact would be a lot like somebody with terminal cancer doing jumping jacks when their culture test for strep throat came back negative; It's all about the bigger picture. The Pirates told Macha to get the fuck away, and we gave him 2.6 million dollars to ruin our team for the next 3 years. Pittsburgh is most definitely smarter.

And don't beat yourself up for prematurely thinking that Macha was not only out of the A's hair, but out of baseball altogether. Both Roman and I made that mistake as well. It's a lot like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Part II: The Secret of the Ooze. When Casey Jones crushed the Shredder in the dumpster at the end of the first movie, we all went home thinking he had been eliminated. Yet, within the first two minutes of the sequel, Shredder's bruised and battered hand reached the light of day under all that garbage down by the pier. The Turtles' nemesis had returned, just like ours had. You can't kill the undead. The only difference between Macha and a Zombie is that Zombies are much better at articulating and enunciating. The next time Macha gets through a sentence without stumbling like a drunken crack addict will be the first. Marco Scutaro kind of looks like Splinter; I wonder if he has any advice on how to get rid of the asshole. In the first Turtles movie, Splinter merely moved aside and let the Shredder jump off that building. Wouldn't it be cool of Scutaro tossed Macha off the Empire State Building? That would rock. I imagine it would look a little something like this:



I don't know about you, but that's giving me chills.



Anyway, on to your final question, Will. You want to know if you should even bother with Opening Night, because you just know that it's going to end up with Macha singlehandedly ruining the season for us. You said you were there the last two Elimination Days, and got to watch the Angels celebrate on our field. Well, why not go for three? I can certainly understand and appreciate your fatalist attitude. I mean, why bother with existentialism when Macha is just going to fuck it up in the long run? But life is not about the finish line, life is about the chase. "No pain, no gain," right? Just think about how much you've gained these last three years, and you owe it all to Macha. The sports teams I follow are the A's, Niners, and Cal Bears; it doesn't get any more masochistic than that. So bring on the heartbreak, I say. We'll be facing a lefty on opening night; With any luck, Macha will bat Kendall third. It's always a hoot when your third place hitter doesn't even have the ability to hit the ball out of the infield. So go to the game and enjoy it. Buy a $7 beer, fraternize with all the Bay Area Yankees fans, listen to Giambi give a bunch of interviews where he refers to "Mr. Steinbrenner" and "Mr. Torre" and "Mr. Conte" and "Mr. HGH" and "Mr. What happened to my testicles they used to be a lot bigger," and go home with an empty feeling in your stomach when Macha pinch hits Kielty against Farnsworth, and he grounds into a rally killing double play. But most importantly, have fun!

And if you run onto the field and bash Macha in the face, I'll send you a Fire Macha t-shirt when you get out of prison. And I promise we'll do what we can to help raise funds to pay your fine. If the dummies on AthleticsNation were willing to give $5,000 dollars to battered women and neglected children, imagine how much they'll be willing to donate to a cause that is actually worthy? The mind boggles with the possibilities.

Good luck in whatever you decide, Will. I'll be there on April 3rd. Like I said before, I'm a masochist. Hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mail Call!


I'm a huge A's fan and just came upon your site. I'm not particularly anti-Macha; actually, I blame mostly other things for the failures of the past five years (ex. Byrnes and Tejada's baserunning mistakes in Game 3 vs. Boston in 2003-- not the coach's fault). I even point to pitch-calling by the catchers (Hernandez calling fastball high after fastball high from Zito vs. Manny in Game 5 in 2003). And the Zito vs. Belliard this thing from this year was totally lucky; the curveball broke down and in (quality pitch), and somehow Belliard turned it around inside the foul pole. Some of the material seems to be just fodder for bashing and not thought of until after the game was lost (the whole "hindsight is always 20/20" thing).

Anyway, what are the big things that stick out as far as bad managing decisions that Macha has made that cost us huge games or playoff wins, in your mind? Do you think Art Howe was much better? Just curious to know.

Thanks.

-Sean



Thanks for the letter, Sean. It's always nice to hear from A's fans, and dissenting opinions are welcome, because if my opinion cannot withstand the scrutiny of the other side of the argument, then perhaps I should re-examine my position.

However, my record of never being wrong continues unchecked, as Sean overlooked a few important details in his note. Actually, just one detail: that Macha's brain is a hunk of garbage.

Ok, first things first: Byrnes' and Tejada's brain freezes in Game 3 against Boston? 100% not Macha's fault. Professional ballplayers should know to touch home plate; they shouldn't have to be reminded by anybody. Byrnes and Tejada are morons, so Macha is completely exonerated from blame.

But the other two incidents? 100% Macha's fault. Let's look at them a little more closely. First up, is Zito vs. Manny in Game 5. Sean maintains that Hernandez was at fault for his pitch calling in that at-bat, and I'll address that claim later. But first, it is necessary to point out that Zito should have never been throwing those pitches in the first place, and the only reason he was is because Macha was asleep.

If you'll recall, Zito was starting that game on 3 days rest, the first time in his career he had undertaken such an endeavor. And for those of us watching the game, it was plainly evident that he was tiring in the 5th inning. In fact, he had allowed both a single and a walk in that frame, but Millar was thrown out at second trying to stretch his single into a double. Everyone who was watching that game (a group that does not include Macha, btw) was thinking that Zito should probably be taken out after that 5th frame. At any rate, he started the 6th, because Macha was still napping, and promptly allowed a game-tying homer to Jason Varitek. No ifs ands or buts about it, that pitch was a meatball, and Varitek crushed it. Any other manager gets somebody up after that. But not Macha. Because he was still sleeping.

2 of the next 3 batters reached, 1 via walk, and 1 via HBP. It is abundantly clear that Zito's control has vanished by this point in the game, and he needs to be taken out. However, nobody was warming up, so when up to the plate came Manny Ramirez, the homerun had already happened, we just hadn't seen it yet. So where was Chad Bradford, I asked? Not only had Bradford completely OWNED righties all season, but he had already struck Manny out the two times he had faced him in the series. He had completely tied him up in knots in both of those at-bats. Perhaps he should have been in the game? There was absolutely no excuse not to get him warmed up after Varitek's homerun, where he would have had 3 batters to get loose. The wrong guy was in the game at that point. Now, as to Sean's point that Hernandez should not have been calling high fastballs? Well, he wasn't. The gameplan that series was to bust Manny inside at the hands, something A's pitchers had done extremely well up until that point in the series. Zito left it over the plate because he was finished and his control was gone. That is why this is 100% Macha's fault. He didn't have the right guy in there, and when that happens, it's the wrong move, regardless of the outcome. It's entirely Macha's fault.

And as for his AB against Belliard last year? Same thing. It was obvious to anyone who was watching that Zito shouldn't have been pitching that 7th inning. He had been struggling all game, and was absolutely finished. Here is what I wrote that night on the subject. I held back my emotions for this post, I hope you appreciate it. Anyway, it was the same thing. Zito was finished, and his pitches weren't sharp. You know what happens to un-sharp curveballs in the big leagues? They get crushed into the outfield bleachers. The outcome of that AB surprised nobody but Macha.

But rather than go through instance by instance how much I hate Macha, I will address Sean's larger point, which is that I, as well as other fans, have the ability of 20/20 hindsight, so everytime something goes wrong, we can fit the facts to make it Macha's fault. That, in essence, it is the players who decide the outcome of games, and the manager is just along for the ride. But this is not true. For every situation in a game, there are a number of moves Macha can make. He can go with a number of pitchers, a number of batters, or defenders, and position them any way he wants. Most of the time, there will be one move that represents the best chance of attaining a favorable outcome. And most of the time, Macha chooses the wrong guy to put in. Yabu in the 10th? Wrong move. Hatte over Melhuse? Wrong move. Moves like this are more publicized because they end up going against the A's. But that doesn't change the fact that had Yabu gotten out of that jam, or had Hatte hit 4 homeruns that game, it still was the wrong move. How many times a year does Macha leave the starter in too long, either trying to get him a win, or steal just one more inning out of the guy, and end up getting burned? You have to do what is going to give your team the best chance to win. And most of the time, Yabu over Street and Hatte over Melhuse is going to be the wrong move. You don't know what is going to happen in a game before you go in (unless you're an A's fan and you're predicting an idiotic lineup or stupid pitching changes). You just have to know which players to call for in which situations. Where the fuck was Bradford in that game 5? Street was warmed up; why the fuck wasn't he brought in? And had Macha done both those things, and they STILL turned out poorly, well, that's when we realize that players aren't perfect. Bradford may have allowed that homer to Manny. Street might have come in and promptly allowed the winning run to score. Bases loaded, 1 out, and Manny Ramirez up at the plate? It would be tough for the 1999 Pedro Martinez to get out of that jam. But the right players WEREN'T in the game in those situations. The right players are NEVER in the game in those situations. Macha might as well be using a damn dartboard to decide his moves. And, as expected, he got burned.

I hate Macha because he never gives our best players the chance to win the game. I hate him because he insists on batting our worst hitters 2nd and 4th all season without realizing that there are better options. I hate him because he doesn't fight for the team, and I hate him because he's dumber than dog shit, and listening to him speak is the equivalent of receiving a root canal in your anal cavity. Sean, what I am doing is not 20/20 hindsight. It is you who is using post hoc rationalization in order to defend him, but in the end, whether wittingly or unwittingly, you're defending a criminal, a coward, and a nincompoop. The manager is not simply along for the ride in a baseball season. The manager can and does have an effect on the game. Unfortunately, with Macha, it's never the good kind of effect, only the bad kind.

Do I think Art Howe was better than Macha? Absofrigginlutely I do. Much better? No, not much better. But tangibly better. Howe would have brought in Bradford and Street in those situations, and somebody else would have been pitching to Belliard, I can promise you that. But Howe had his own problems, they were just fewer than Macha's. As far as Macha's bad managing decisions, it's pretty much everything I've described. Macha doesn't know how to adapt, react, or anticipate anything that happens in a game. He'll let himself get backed into a situation where Rincon HAS to face a righty, or where Byrnes HAS to do the same. Other managers toy with him. It's like at the end of a chess game, how some guy will manage to have 3 pawns, a bishop, and a rook (11 points), and his opponent just 2 pawns and 2 knights (8 points), and the underdog will win because he has the ability to use positioning to his advantage, and his opponent is sitting there with his thumbs up his ass, eagerly sacrificing his pieces while trying to get his pawns across the board, but in the end his pawns get killed too because he doesn't have the pieces left to protect them. The underdog had no business winning that game given the situation, but did, because his opponent was a retard. Well, Macha is that retard.

And that's why, every September, our opponents say to us, "Checkmate, Ken. Checkmate."



Thanks for the letter, Sean. If you would like to rebut any or all of my claims, send me a note, and you will be granted a forum on this site. FireMacha.com is not about censorship because it doesn't have to be. We have the truth on our side, and we're just trying to make a difference in people's lives, while at the same time calling Macha a testicle-tickling loser.