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NEVER call Jerry Seinfeld a phony.
Kramer's friend Mike Moffit learned that the hard way.
"Like you didn't call me a PHONY?"
"Jerry! First of all, I think you completely misunderstood what I said. I meant it in a complimentary way. I mean, you know when people say he's bad, it really means he's good?"
"Use it in a sentence."
"Man, that Michael Jordan is so phony!"
I think Mike might be on to something here.
What if there was a fantasy baseball league where bad really meant good?
This isn't an entirely new concept. A few years ago, our friends David Jacoby and Bill Simmons over at Grantland started a bad quarterback league.
Can you imagine a league where Aaron Rodgers is worthless and Curtis Painter is a first round pick?
These leagues actually exist. And you're about to witness one firsthand.
Welcome to the underbelly of fantasy baseball, where giving up a home run is better than actually hitting one. I give you The League of Shame. Let's see what pitchers are leading the league in awful.
Before we get started, here's an overview of the league's scoring system.
Home runs: 3 points
Walks: 1 point
Earned runs: 1 point
Hit by pitches: 2 points
Wild pitches: 2 points
Errors: 3 points
Losses: 5 points
Wins: -3 points
Strikeouts: -1 point
Quality starts: -5 points
Complete games: -10 points
Shutouts: -15 points
Now let's check out the leader board.
Jarrod Parker, Oakland A's, 125 points: Parker is like the Steve Jobs of being bad. The man's an innovator. Check out this horrible stat line:
April 14 vs. Detroit: 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1 HBP.
What a train wreck. After disappointing everyone in the shame community by allowing just one run in 6 1/3 IP at Tampa Bay, Parker bounced back with this doozy against Baltimore: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's, 1 HR, 1 WP.
Now that's more like it. Nobody makes losing look easier than Parker (1-5, 7.34 ERA, .345 BAA).
Joe Blanton, Los Angeles Angels, 124 points: Well, maybe I spoke too soon. Blanton has been flat-out terrible this season (remember, in this league that's a good thing).
Once considered mildly acceptable in legitimate fantasy leagues, Blanton has been a fixture in The League of Shame for several years now. He's lost six out of seven starts with an ERA over five. He's also among the league leaders in home runs (eight in 41 1/3 innings) and hits allowed (63).
If there was an Un-Cy Young award for 2013, Blanton would definitely get my vote.
Philip Humber, Houston Astros, 117 points: Call it the curse of the perfect game.
Humber pitched the game of his life against the Mariners last April. Since that start, he's gone 4-12 with a 7.70 ERA over 122 2/3 innings. Only two of Humber's appearances this season have been quality starts and he's tied with Parker for the league lead in wild pitches (five).
His masterpiece (by League of Shame standards) was a 30-pitch bloodbath against Cleveland back on April 20 (8 H, 8 ER, in just 1/3 of an inning).
Who knew the AL West could produce so many Hall of Shamers? In case you're wondering, Humber was recently moved to the bullpen.
Wade LeBlanc, Miami Marlins, 103 points: You had to figure at least one Marlin was going to be on the list. Alex Sanabia (2-5, 4.85 ERA), Jon Rauch (6.75 in 11 relief appearances) and Ricky Nolasco (2-4) were all knocking on the door, but ultimately it's LeBlanc who gets the nod.
Pitching in front of about eight people at Marlins Park, LeBlanc has produced a humiliating 0-5 record with 47 hits allowed in 35 1/3 IP. Only one of his seven outings could be considered a quality start. Even lefties aren't afraid of him (.289 AVG against). Who says having no talent isn't a talent?
Edwin Jackson, Chicago Cubs, 87 points: Jackson's inclusion on this list may seem a bit suspect at first.
Jackson's resume is actually pretty impressive. He's been to an All-Star game, thrown a no-hitter and less than a year ago, he was a solid contributor on a division winner (10-11, 4.03 ERA in 31 starts for the Nationals in 2012).
Then Wrigley Field happened. Jackson (0-5, 5.93 ERA) is absolutely getting hammered at home this season (0-3, 9.00 ERA, .352 AVG against at home). Maybe he's allergic to ivy.
But wait, there's more. Only 12 pitchers in the National League have given out more free passes than Jackson in 2013 (18 in 38 IP). He's also committed two fielding errors and he's winless in his last eight starts. Maybe there's a reason why Jackson is on his eighth team in nine seasons.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies, 76 points: You're looking at the crown jewel of awfulness.
Being terrible doesn't come as naturally to Halladay as it does for others (he's won two Cy Young awards and carries a 3.37 lifetime ERA), but that hasn't stopped him from dominating the Shame League. Halladay's nightmarish performance against Miami on May 5th was particularly impressive (2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 1 HR).
Sadly, Halladay's full mediocrity may never be reached. Doctors have determined that Halladay needs shoulder surgery and there's a good chance he's done for the season. What a shame for The League of Shame.
Curious about where Mets ace Matt Harvey ranks in The League of Shame? Through seven starts, he's at negative 51 points.
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