Block.

After I left Virginia to go back home, I bounced around community colleges for a few years, mostly for the sake of hammering out credits here and there. I went to one in 2009, in my hometown, and couldn’t enroll into any desirable classes, so instead I wound up taking microeconomics and film and a couple others that I don’t remember. At the time I couldn’t stomach sitting in one place for so long; every second felt like my insides were eating away at me; I’m pretty sure I only went to each respective class a few times before I stopped going altogether. All I recollect is watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window in film and that the economics professor was a large black man who dressed really sharp and had a strong African dialect. Other than that, it’s just a big blur of raw emotion from a point in my life I think about from time to time that I wish I could forget completely.

At Virginia Tech I took general courses, but since I tested fairly well in english and math on the SAT I was able to forego the bullshit freshman classes and jump straight into advanced calculus — which I wasn’t all that well prepared for — as well interpersonal communication and communication theory (instead of English 101, or whatever). College really isn’t all that different than high school, it’s just supposed to feel more important (and expensive). In my 2nd semester I suffered from a classic case of across-the-country homesickness, as well as what I considered to be a legitimate case of depression; between winter break and spring break I went from 160 pounds down to about 125, and most days couldn’t even get myself out of bed in the morning. Most of the time I would just lay around all day with my stomach in knots, and if I was feeling particularly brave I would get up and hit my afternoon class. That’s the only place I felt understood, to an extent.

One snowy day after class, in February — I remember the wind chill was seven degrees, because I checked — my communication professor asked me what was going on, because apparently I’d grown gaunt and lacked my typical cheery facade. She was a lady in her late 20’s, pretty young for a college professor, with a fragile body made of nothing but bones, black hair, and she wore red lipstick almost every day. She used to teach at Radford University. Her and I developed a relationship of sorts; I knew early on she didn’t really give a shit about anyone else in that class, probably because she liked the way I wrote papers and I was the only COMM major in a class filled by nothing but business majors. She was an artist.

It became a thing whenever I did show up to class, that afterwords I would walk her to her bus stop about 10 minutes down the road. I never truly opened up to her, but she understood my situation, so I generally differed and let her talk about her own experiences with depression. It was a brief remedy for the longest and loneliest month of my life, but I’ll always appreciate her for, if nothing else, knowing I had someone who was tangibly there to genuinely give a shit about me. I didn’t go to her class the last couple months of the year, but she always emailed me whatever assignments I had to complete, and gave me an A+, which was also nice.

But that’s the timeframe where I can pinpoint where life actually started, in a relative sense. The agony never felt so real, mainly because I didn’t know what agony was. I didn’t feel like an 18 year-old anymore; I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of 18 year-olds and I was somewhere else looking down upon myself, which is really only saying I was the 18 year-old, and it was me surrounded by a bunch of children. Maybe that’s a narcissistic way of putting it, but still.

It’s nothing against Virginians, or my friends out there, but everyone just seemed too motherfucking nice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a nice guy and I like nice people, but nice is something that, at times, can be hard to relate to. I was stranded 3,000 miles from where I wanted to be, couldn’t eat or sleep, and the biggest problems in my friends’ lives were the assignments they had to turn in the following week. I wasn’t on the same page as anybody, so I just bottled everything up and put on a smile like I had not a care in the world. Well, that’s pretty much what I do anyway, but back then it was different.

I write this now because, inexplicably, I still feel those knots in my stomach. Whether I’m 3,000 miles away or in a community college or just going through the motions of my life, that feeling has never left. The inception was the winter of 2009. Since then, unless I’ve been high or drunk out of my mind, eating has been more of a chore than a pleasure, and my sleep schedule has been fucked for I don’t know how long.

Some nights I lie awake, thinking the next day everything will be different, that I’ve been living in a dream state for the last half-decade. That all my obsessions and neurotic tendencies will wash away and I’ll all of a sudden go back to my previous state of normalcy.

But then the next day passes, and then the next, and after this long I have to believe what I once was is long dead and gone, and this is the person I am. I have no problem with that; invariably I’m comfortable with the way I look and the way my mind operates, and my grasp on reality — albeit incomplete — is lightyears from where it was a few years ago.

I know who I am and I know what I want. Have for a long time now. Naturally I’m going to appear a lot happier than I actually am, I’m just waiting for the moment where that happy facade is no longer a facade. Like it used to be.

Fuck it.

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Diamondbacks fleeced by Angels, White Sox, in Mark Trumbo trade

A couple weeks ago when the Angels traded CF Peter Bourjos to the Cardinals for 3B David Freese, it left footprints from owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia, furthermore giving off the impression that if the once supposed power struggle did exist between Scioscia and general manager, Jerry Dipoto, Scioscia was the victor. By default, it’s illogical for a major business’s manager (Scioscia, signed through 2018) under contract longer than the general manager (Dipoto, signed through 2014); imagine a scenario where your job security was better than that of your boss; and understand that this isn’t merely a hypothetical when it comes to the Angels, but a reality.

Nonetheless, Peter Bourjos — for some reason — never received the proper love he deserved from his manager, and without a position to play, they dealt him for an older, lesser player in David Freese. Bourjos will now roam center field on an everyday basis for the best franchise in the National League, while the Angels are straddled with an aging 3rd baseman who will rot away beneath the marine layer of Angels Stadium.

Today, however, Jerry Dipoto exhibited his prowess as a GM, trading perhaps the most overrated player in Major League Baseball, Mark Trumbo, while receiving two middle-of-the-rotation starters in return; one from the Diamondbacks (Tyler Skaggs), one from the White Sox (Hector Santiago).

The White Sox, meanwhile, parlayed their #4 starter for center fielder Adam Eaton, who should start everyday from the get-go;

The Diamondbacks, oddly, get Mark Trumbo and a player to be named later, or cash considerations, from both the Angels and White Sox.

So the deal looks like this, in an easier-to-digest form:

Angels receive: LHP Tyler Skaggs, LHP Hector Santiago;

White Sox receive: CF Adam Eaton;

Diamondbacks receive: 1B/3B/COF Mark Trumbo, PTBNL or cash (Angels), PTBNL or cash (White Sox).

There’s a reason why, in baseball, three-team trades are so rare. It’s because one team inevitably gets the short end of the stick while the other two teams, generally, benefit. While the White Sox turned a #4 starter into an everyday center fielder, and while the Angels turned a defensive liability who can’t do anything but hit for some occasional power into two immediate rotation candidates, the Diamondbacks gave away a promising left-handed starter and a young, controllable outfielder, and all they got in return was a big white guy who can’t get on base.

Mark Trumbo, 27, broke into the major leagues in 2010, and in three full big league seasons has produced 95 home runs and 218 RBI, which is what you’ll hear talked about so much from the media pundits who still believe that is the key to offensive production. What you won’t hear — mainly because who wants to hear negativity? — is that he cannot defend any position on the diamond, and he can’t draw a walk to save his life.

In three years Trumbo has produced on base percentages of .291, .317 and .294, respectively, with strikeout rates of 20.9%, 26.1% and 27.1%, also respectively. Because he hits home runs, on the surface, all his sins are forgiven; from an early age we are conditioned to believe home runs and runs batted in are the end-all for offensive performance; in the modern era, inquiring minds are instructed a different blueprint, driven by OBP; the more a player gets on base, the greater the potentiality for said player to cross home plate. Mark Trumbo is not that guy. He just isn’t.

Over the last three years, the Angels have created for themselves a track record of terrible front office decisions, starting with signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $242 million contract, to Josh Hamilton’s 5-year, $125 million deal, to trading Jordan Waldon for Tommy Hanson, to the Bourjos-for-Freese swap, and oh hell I don’t think it’s worth your while to keep going.

Selfishly, as a fan of the Rangers, I’m not sure if I feel more disappointment that today’s trade actually made the Angels better — by 3-4 wins — or more shocked that, against all odds, Anaheim is indeed capable of making clever front office decisions. Tyler Skaggs was a hot prospect once upon a time and, if all the pieces fall into place, could make for a decent #2 starting pitcher someday. Hector Santiago, although he doesn’t possess the same hype or ceiling, could produce better than his #4 label pitching half his games in such a run-suppressive ballpark.

Now, I’m not saying a rotation of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards is enough to bring home an AL West title in 2014, but it’s a solid step in the right direction in comparison to what the Angels were looking at before. With Mike Trout still leading what should be an offense to be reckoned with, pitching is all Anaheim needs to compress the gap between themselves and the Rangers, and Athletics. As I referenced, the aforementioned rotation isn’t talented enough to compete with the two best teams in the West, and their bullpen is still a clusterfuck, but if Dipoto can swing a couple more arms this offseason, the Halos can at least throw their hats in the ring next season.

After being a non-factor over the last few years, that’s probably more than most Angels fans could ask for at this point.

On The Road

When I found him in Mill City that morning he had fallen on the beat and evil days that come to young guys in their middle twenties.

He was out to get back everything he’d lost; there was no end to his loss; this thing would drag on forever.

Here I was at the end of America — no more land — and now there was nowhere to go but back. 

Aren’t you tired enough of yourself by now?

* * * * * *

* * * * * *

Somebody once told me — or maybe I randomly saw it on TV — that a person’s behavioral tendencies are, for the most part, cemented by the time they are, like, five years old. Imagine for a second that this is true, that you have no tangible control over your own Nature; is that something you are willing to submit to?

I don’t know; I mean, as much sense as it makes, it’s one of those things I pretend isn’t true, even though it probably is. I suppose if ignorance is bliss then I’m a sad man by choice. I don’t recall what it was like to be a five year-old, aside the general Let’s All Learn The Alphabet and Paint Pictures From Recycled Chocolate Milk Cartons On Warn Paper. I don’t remember what it was like being a five year-old because nothing was really worth remembering back then.

There was a time, maybe a few years back, where I felt a pretty deep connection to existentialism, probably from reading The Fountainhead and Crime and Punishment in succession. I became so bent on personal growth, as if the universe was pulling me in a different direction against my will, and the concept of objectivism made too much sense to pass up. A bonafide contrarian till the death of me, it was my elixir from the Brave New World-style predestination that I never rationally invested myself in; I was also proud to break the chains of tradition within my paleo-conservative foundation of religious relatives.

There was just something magical and wonderful about the idea that everything doesn’t happen for a reason. After all, for all the good I’ve accomplished, and all the bad I’ve done and am going to do, these are things under my own control, for better or for worse, and I’m regrettably comfortable wearing the outcome like a millstone. And so it is.

Nowadays, either to simplify my reality or through sheer neglect, my former existential worldview has slowly deteriorated. Or, maybe it’s just engrained in me to the effect that it’s not even worth mentioning anymore. I’m not sure. As a truth, it’s clear that if I wanted to change, I could simply change and that would be the end of the story. However, if there was to be a trump card to reason and logic, it would have to be Nature; my Nature, that is; the person I sadly and uncontrollably am. If that person was locked into place as a five year-old then it wouldn’t matter if I was objectivist, or whether or not I believed in god; it would just be. In a Darwinist sort of way, I would be at the mercy of what cannot be controlled, which, seemingly, is just as intellectually frustrating as if there was a god and everything was predetermined.

I’m sorry about some things, and not so sorry about others, but I’ve made my bed and I’ll sleep in it, too. Experience is an invaluable commodity, and in the past I’ve deliberately acted against what I felt was right, because I fancied myself as a writer and writers need material. To feed my insatiable curiosity, sometimes I have to poke the sleeping dragon just to see what will happen next. I’ve done this enough that my appetite for trolling has understandably lessened, and now I don’t care as much to disrupt the demons that don’t need disruption. Maybe it’s some newfangled maturity that’s dawned over me, or maybe something’s died as I’ve grown older;

I used to not want to believe it, but people don’t ever truly change, and I’m no exception. I wish I’d known what you already knew.

In the end, even though it can be complicated and tough to digest, life is pretty simple, really. Things happen, and things don’t happen; people give shit, and people take shit; if you are still here to tell the story, that’s something.

ER

Yankees sign most attractive outfielder on the market, apparently because he’s the most attractive outfielder on the market

Per everywhere, the Yankees have signed center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, 30, to a mammoth 7-year, $153 million contract. Much like the 5-year, $85 million deal New York gave to Brian McCann, I don’t dislike the acquisition because of how much money is involved; I dislike it because the Yankees are seemingly going against everything they’ve been preaching over the last couple of years. That being to save money, to let the ridiculous contracts they’ve already committed expire. By investing $238 million to two players on the wrong side of 30, combined by the king’s ransom they are likely to pay Robinson Cano — who is also on the wrong side of 30 — the Yankees look to be doing the same thing all over again.

So, even though New York signed one of their rival’s most talented players, it’s the Red Sox who are smiling right now.

In spite of a litany of injuries, when healthy, Ellsbury has been one of baseball’s most productive outfielders since 2007, ranking 12th in MLB amongst OFs in Wins Above Replacement (+23.7 fWAR). However, not counting his rookie season where he played in only 33 games, over the last 6 years Ellsbury has missed 290 games, or about 30% of the maximum allotment. The Yankees will be paying Jacoby roughly $22 million per year between 2014 and 2020 — his age-31 through age-37 seasons — in hopes that his body breaks down less than it did when he was in the youthful prime of his career. Based on historical evidence suggesting that even healthy players decline in health and production once they reach their early-30’s, the financial investment in Ellsbury, more than most players his age, carries an excessive amount of risk.

Namely, mostly all of Jacoby Ellsbury’s skill set is predicated by his ability to run, whether he’s roaming the outfield chasing down fly balls or stealing bases. Since 2008 he’s averaged 38.7 stolen bases per season, which is elite, and his aggregate Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has been almost 50 runs better than the average center fielder in that time. Make no mistake: This is an elite, or very close to elite, player when he’s on the field.

The problem, as you can imagine, is that the Yankees are paying Ellsbury to be that player moving forward, which he isn’t. At some point over the next few years he’s going to lose a step (or two) on the base-paths, in the outfield, and his value will consequently diminish. That makes it paramount to the Yankees that Jacoby Ellsbury remains productive during the first 2-3 years of the contract, because by year-4 — his age-35 season — he will very likely be a corner outfielder, lacking the plus-speed necessary to remain in center field, while lacking the power necessary to keep up with other corner outfielders in baseball.

If he’s only going to be league average over the final 3 years of the contract, then the Yankees are going to need to see a major return over the first 4 years. At $22 million AAV, New York is essentially paying Jacoby to be an All Star-caliber 4-Win player, but whether it be injuries continuing to plague him or general age-related decline, it’s going to be extremely difficult for the terms of the contract to be justified.

The Yankees have some severe holes to fill this offseason, both in the starting rotation and in the field, which is why their initial signings of McCann and Ellsbury reek of some sort of sad desperation to appeal to the old-school New York fans. If the process of about a decade ago led the Yankees into the quagmire they’ve been in over the last handful of years, I see no reason why it won’t repeat itself.

At least based on what I’ve seen so far this winter.

Manufacturing a trade for David Price

Just to be clear, I’m a Rangers fan. So most of the meaningless diatribe I post about baseball has to do with them. With that as a caveat, tonight we’re talking about baseball, and it has to do with them.

Since the summertime, when the mainstream media realized what many people had realized several months (or years) earlier — that David Price has just two years remaining before reaching free agency — then obviously the Texas Rangers were interested, because I guess the media still believes the myth that pitchers can’t succeed under the Arlington sun, and that the Rangers are perpetually desperate for pitching. (FanGraphs fact check: Since the beginning of 2010, only one pitching staff in the major leagues [Detroit, +89.5 fWAR] has produced more Wins Above Replacement than the Rangers [+88.3 fWAR].)

With that in mind, Texas should again have another strong rotation complemented by perhaps an even stronger bullpen in 2014. The top four starters should include some collection of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez, with the 5th starter likely being Colby Lewis if he’s healthy, or Nick Tepesch if Lewis isn’t healthy.

Despite Joe Nathan opting out of his contract to look for the final large payday of his career, the bullpen is the real strength of the Rangers. Unless president and GM Jon Daniels decides on something crazy, like using Alexi Ogando as the 5th starter, then the bullpen should include Ogando, Joakim Soria, Neftali Feliz, Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross. Not including some trade, the Rangers will have an excessively deep stable of arms even if they don’t do a damn thing on the free agent pitching market.

But, still, let’s assume they do. Let’s assume they are eyeballing David Price and the Rays.

Conspiracy Theory #1: The Rangers recently signed LHP Martin Perez to a 4-year, $12.5 million deal, with team options in 2018, 2019 and 2020 that would maximize the contract to 7 years and $37 million. In other words, an extremely team-friendly deal, and being that the Rays are starved for resources to afford prime talent, maybe the Rangers signed Perez to make him an attractive trade piece.

Conspiracy Theory #2: The Rays recently signed a minor league scout who also wrote for Baseball Prospectus, the great Jason Cole, who has followed the Rangers and their prospects since I was a little boy. He is arguably, if not with complete certainty, more knowledgeable vis a vis Texas’s farm system than any other man on the planet. Why do the Rays want him now? To pick out a few diamonds in the rough in a potential Price trade?

Next, what could the Rays possibly want for David Price?

Being that they are the Rangers, an organization with a fruitful minor league system conflated by an escalating budget, they are mentioned more than any team when it comes to big-name free agents and soon-to-be-traded stars on the trade market. That’s why David Price would, in theory, make so much sense to be traded there. Because he’s (a) getting too expensive for Tampa Bay and (b) a pitcher the Rangers can afford both now and two years from now when he becomes a free agent. Plus, you know, Price is really damn good, and Texas likes that about him, too.

The trade market, however, can be a slippery slope, dependent on which players are being moved as well as which teams are doing the moving. That’s why it’s so difficult to predict trades in a vacuum. Because if we’re looking at the most recent major trade the Rays made, it was last offseason when they fleeced the Royals for their top prospect — Wil Myers, as well as three solid complementary pieces — for two years of James Shields, and Wade Davis, a fledgling starter who provides a little value in the bullpen. If I looked at that in relation to the Rays dealing David Price, who is both younger and more talented than is Shields, then I would say the package Texas would need to send in return wouldn’t be worth it to them. A reasonable facsimile to the Myers-for-Shields trade would be something like the Rangers giving up top prospect Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt*, Luke Jackson, and Roman Mendez. In other words, it’s a trade the Rangers would never make.

*At the time of the Shields trade, Mike Olt was the #2 prospect in the Rangers organization. Later in the year, in July, Jon Daniels made Olt the centerpiece in a deal to ascertain Matt Garza from the Cubs. Garza went 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA — a 3.65 xFIP — in what most consider to be 84.1 wasted innings. Olt, meanwhile, was dealt alongside minor league pitchers C.J. Edwards, Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm, so Chicago figures to come out of that trade looking pretty nice. 

All told, the Rays know this fact.. They know the Rangers’ front office is smarter than the Royals, so Tampa’s expectations would have to come down. Of course since it’s David Price, the Rays wouldn’t exactly be giving him up for pennies on the dollar, but rather a trade that would, from their perspective, go down from a complete ripoff — like the Shields trade — to something closer resembling “fair”. Especially when acknowledging that the Rangers are not desperate for pitching, and they would actually hold a decent amount of leverage during the trade discussions.

After Ian Kinsler was traded to Detroit, Texas’s logjam of middle infielders was ostensibly erased, meaning they have no motivation whatsoever to include Jurickson Profar in a trade. He’s the 2nd baseman, and that’s that. But, if Profar — the Rangers’ unequivocal number one trade piece — isn’t available, then what might Tampa Bay be interested in?

For starters (pardon the pun), the Rays would need a guaranteed major league piece, someone who could provide value even if none of the minor leaguers came to fruition. To satiate this, let’s include either (a) the aforementioned Martin Perez, or (b) Derek Holland, who is signed — with all his options picked up — to a meager $45.3 million through 2018, about $9 million AAV over the next five years.

Next, the Rangers would have to give up a deep collection of highly sought after prospects. For David Price, the most prized commodity on the trade market, the price in terms of prospects would need to be substantial. Texas has one prospect, catcher Jorge Alfaro* (Baseball Prospectus’s #2 prospect in the organization), that is probably twice as valuable as any other prospect in their system, so the Rangers will do anything they possibly can to ensure he won’t be leaving the organization.

But if the Rays can’t get their hands on Alfaro, then they might want to take a look at the Rangers’ middle infield depth. With Elvis Andrus signed for the next 9 years, and with Jurickson Profar under team control for at least the next 6, it means they have very little need for players like shortstop Luis Sardinas (Baseball Prospectus’s #4 prospect in TEX’s org) or second baseman Rougned Odor (BP’s #1 prospect in the org), ultimately rendering them expendable. If the Rangers included either, or both, in a trade, it would severely lessen what else the Rays could get their hands on. So let’s say Texas included them both.

*Logically speaking, some of you might ask “Why is Jorge Alfaro twice as valuable as any other prospect when he isn’t even the highest-rated prospect on the farm? The answer has to do with the position Alfaro plays, catcher, which is scarce in baseball. While Rougned Odor might be the most sure thing prospect in Texas’s minor league system, the position he occupies, second base, is much easier to fill than having a good catcher. 

Finally, a pitcher. A trade really wouldn’t be a trade unless there was some filler prospect to cap it off. Luke Jackson (BP’s #7 prospect in TEX’s org), 22, features a hard fastball with inconsistent secondary offerings, making him the perfect low-risk, worst-case-scenario-is-he’s-a-relief-pitcher prospect. His ceiling, of course, is as a middle-rotation starter, and could flourish given the Rays’ track record of developing pitching. Alongside Holland/Perez, Odor and Sardinas, that trade could work. So that’s where we’re at.

The Rangers receive: LHP David Price (signed through 2015)

The Rays receive: Either LHP Derek Holland or LHP Martin Perez;

2B Rougned Odor;

SS Luis Sardinas;

RHP Luke Jackson.

A true Rangers’ fan might then say, “Yo, Eric, what the fuck are you thinking?”

Which is really to say that most die-hard Ranger fans are future-oriented, cultivated by a lifetime of heartbreak and defeat when it comes to baseball. To have been a Ranger fan before 2010 was to be thinking about the year after before that season had even started. Though, that mentality wasn’t as defeatist as it was realistic; it was just a fact the Rangers were bad. But, then, naturally, Texas became a model franchise, making the only thing that matters as what’s happening in the here and now. It’s what turns rational people into reactionary robots. We have to win this year, or else fire everybody. And the process that was once slow catalyzed meteorically into just another of the many things we need instant gratification from.

Of all the warm memories that have been born over the last 4 years — the best 4-year stretch in the 50-plus-year history of the Rangers organization — the one I regret the most is that baseball transformed itself from something I loved into something I loved that I also have expectations for.

Still, there’s no goddamn way I would bankrupt the farm system to trade for David Price. Though I find the trade I proposed above to be vaguely realistic, it’s not a trade I would make if I were in Jon Daniels’s shoes. Texas’s starting rotation is already good enough to win the American League West, and there’s no guarantee that David Price would re-sign in two years if he was, hypothetically, already a member of the organization. But this isn’t about what I would do, or what I want.

This is about what the Rays want.

Week 13 in the NFL

Well, the Thanksgiving Day games went about swimmingly as could have been expected. For the sake of my picks, here’s to hoping Sunday winds up in the same fashion:

[As always, road teams are in CAPS, and all game lines come courtesy of bodog.eu.]

Colts (-4) over TITANS

Browns (-7) over JAGUARS

BUCS (+7.5) over Panthers

BEARS (+1) over Vikings

Eagles (-3) over CARDINALS

Jets (-1) over DOLPHINS

PATRIOTS (-9) over Texans

Bills (-3.5) over FALCONS

49ers (-8) over RAMS

Chiefs (+6) over BRONCOS

BENGALS (+1) over Chargers

GIANTS (-1) over Redskins

Seahawks (-5) over SAINTS

The NFL landscape has changed over the last couple of weeks, and as a Chiefs fan, it’s gotten a little realer than even I want to believe. Two Sunday nights ago, losing by 10 on the road in Denver, I wasn’t as dejected as I thought I was going to be, because let’s be honest: Should I really have expected the Chiefs to beat the Broncos? Probably not.

But then last week happened, a crushing 41-38 loss at home to the Chargers. Again, it’s not a complete shock. But why did it have to happen like it did? I gave an excessive amount of ground to the Football Gods to let me down easily this year after a 9-0 start for my Chiefs. The problem with following a 10-point loss to the Broncos with a last minute, 3-point loss to Philip Rivers and the Chargers is, it tells me Kansas City is still pretty damn good. Not undefeated-type good, but certainly good enough to be one of the two representing wild card teams in the AFC. But if I’m keeping it real with myself, if the Chiefs are good, but not good enough to win a Super Bowl, then I’d rather just have them be the worst team in the NFL — like last season.

And that’s sort of where I’m at psychologically when it comes to football right now. 

While teams like Minnesota and Atlanta, and Jacksonville and Houston each stand at 2-9 — all vying for the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft — my favorite team is 9-2, tied for the best record in the league, and still I’m finding a way to look at them in an intellectually frustrating light. That is a first world problems meme if I’ve ever seen one.

It all comes down this twisted worldview I have, maybe or maybe not exclusive to professional sports. It basically believes if you aren’t going to be the best, you might as well be the worst for a little while, to give yourself a better shot of being the best down the road. And when I say you I mean the teams your root for.

So that’s where I’m coming from. The Chiefs are really good this year, and in no way am I giving up on their chances this season, but it would be an easier team to invest my Sundays in if I thought we had a realistic chance at winning it all, or if we were just pathetically bad and I could build up hope for the future. If that makes sense. Because that’s how the story unfolded last year, and the hope I generated or felt or whatever put me in the position I’m in now. Now that My Team is one of the best in the NFL. So in a sense I guess I got what I asked for. I forgot what I’m complaining about.

This is how I objectively view the top-4 teams in each league:

AFC

1. Broncos;

2. Patriots;

3. Chiefs;

4. Bengals;

NFC

1. Seahawks;

2. 49ers;

3. Saints;

4. Lions;

Other than that, what is there to say?