Public Service Announcement

Readers of Freedarko, I have a request of you. In efforts to spread STYLE to athletic enterprises beyond the domain of NBA basketball, we--I--need you to help vote one of the most Freedarko up-and-comers in Major League Baseball to the all-star game. The Twins' Francisco Liriano, the young Dominican with the magic arm is a candidate for the final spot, and as we speak, he is an extremely close second in the race. As of last night, he was in the lead, but with your help, we can catapult him back into the lead.

Read today's Mcsweeney's FD piece and talk shit. Then vote for Liriano here.


At 7/06/2006 12:13 PM, Anonymous spider said...

Nowitzki and Garnett, the most talented players in the league? I think a certain No.23 and a certain No.24 (née 8) would say something about that. Throw McGrady and Iverson into the conversation also.

At 7/06/2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

the un-edited version read "all-around talented." and that is coming from a wolves fan who is a quarter german. but yeah, you're right, i should have thrown lebron in there too.


At 7/06/2006 12:22 PM, Anonymous Kandi said...


just put in my 25 for liriano. I agree though with your assertion; I've always wondered what a KG/Dirk Combo would look like.

At 7/06/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

if anyone's missed me, it's because i got burglarized and now my household is down two laptops.

about the sf's. . . the recluse and i once had a lengthy email exchange about exactly what the prototypical sf was. he argued that it was a guy too tall and not quite handle-istic enough to man the two, but not tough enough for the 4. i suggested that there was once a golden age of sf's, like english, bird, mullin, and lots of other scorers who were "smooth" or "natural scorers" and made like one all-star game.

this was in the context of melo, before and after. in his first two years, melo's bizarre melange of decent all-around skills, listless application, and useless physique seemed like a slapdash attempt to create a versatile player. it didn't help either that he was constantly compared, albeit opitmistically, to bron bron.

this season, though, he's toned up, found his range and rhythm, and generally comes off as what he is: a dude who dribble a little, is crafty with the feet, can make the speedy or athletic play every now and then, and mostly just puts the ball in the basket and cleans up after himself. maybe this is still just a "not a 3, not a 4," but i like to believe that it has its justification in a position of yore.

At 7/06/2006 1:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i meant "not a 2, not a 4"

At 7/06/2006 1:23 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...


pitchers are inherently the most stylish players in baseball. not even fucking close.

lone exception: sometimes catchers who can hit or utility players who are fast

At 7/06/2006 1:40 PM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

Pitchers may be the MOST stylish, but you can't leave the good centerfielders out of the discussion. Griffey in his prime, Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand in the field, et cetera and so on.

I voted for Liriano three times but then I got bored.

WV: kzoxwk -- the sound a wooden bat would make if it could somehow carry an electric charge.

At 7/06/2006 1:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

proof that baseball is fucked up: defense is more stylish than offense.

At 7/06/2006 1:49 PM, Anonymous TZ said...

Relievers, specifically, I think fit in with the FD mold.

Bob Wickman = Stack?

At 7/06/2006 1:55 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Interesting angle, the only offense I take with the McSweeney's piece is your notion of Wade AND Shaq dominating the Finals.

Strangely, the new test case to your concept has only been mentioned in the first comment here in this section: LeBron. Now that he's officially a SF (I would have loved to see him starting at PG and be even more of a unique beast that he is now), the Cavs face exactly the challenge that you describe as a fruitless enterprise.

Compared to most of the teams in the league they are relatively well-set with Z at center, but that judgement rests on the idea of building a team in a traditional matter. I'm not sure that's the way to go with a one-in-a-million player like LeBron. Then there is the Jordan/Bulls model to follow, but I'm not sold on Hughes and Snow/Damon Jones giving LeBron as much as Pippen and Ron Harper did for Jordan.

I guess this is really the perfect test case, because as you perfectly put it, small forwards should try to play either big or small "instead of trying foolishly to master the game of hoops in its totality". LeBron is probably the only guy in the league to try to master the game completely and not be laughed at. BTW, I would qualify Artest as the only other guy really capable of playing big AND small.

And one more question for you US experts, since I don't have ESPN classic and basketball really reached Europe only after the Dream Team: how does James Worthy fit into this whole SF discussion? From the few things I've seen, he seemed like a guy perfectly suited to play small, but also had a great baseline spin-move in the low post. Prototype? Anomaly?

At 7/06/2006 2:11 PM, Anonymous Ragtime said...

IMO, true style is rooted in necessity but is then exagerrated for the sake of meaning.

The pitcher argument raises a good point about style in baseball: that specialists are necessarily more stylish than generalists due to the discrete and explicit demands of their positions.

Somehow though, this rule doesn't translate well in basketball. Maybe the SF is the most stylish player in the game, but it is more a function of the betweenness of the position and the freedom to do everything than having a singular skill set.

In the NBA, the SF has the best shot at being a generalist, more than any other position. Drexler, O. Robertson, Lebron, Magic, and Bird are some of the most stylish players in the game, and they could do it all.

Yet another difference between baseball and basketball.

At 7/06/2006 2:26 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

as a huge james worthy fan, i'd say that he fits nathaniel's old school small forward mold perfectly. he was actually a 4 in college and was kind of like a really quick power forward. in that email exchange with shoals, i posited that pippen reinvented the small forward position as having more guard skills than before. i think we were basically saying the same thing, i.e., that carmelo was more of a throwback 3 than a new school point forward ala pippen, grant hill, or lebron (i guess). lebron is really in a class by himself, like pippen meets magic meets a hummer.

At 7/06/2006 3:31 PM, Anonymous spider said...

A "3" often has a cool name like Kelly, Kiki, Adrian, Worthy, Lebron, Carmelo. I don't think any other position can claim such style in its ancillary appellations.

At 7/06/2006 4:36 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

In response to Kaifa, It's tough to cite the Jordan/Pippen formula as some Other Way that anyone can buy into. Pippen was an all-timer, and this is proven as much by the fact that more recent star 2/3 pairings have flamed out as it is by the fact that he was able to carry them deep into the playoffs absent MJ.

In a way, it's really just a matter of getting your points inside and out; it just so happened that the 1st and 2nd options in the post for Chicago were also Mike and Scottie. They played both roles on offense, exploded the other team's perimeter on defense, and lugged around some 7-footers on the roster to check Patrick Ewing. It was a precarious idea that was only made possible by the uniqueness of that combo, however, it never went against the inside-outside paradigm.

For today's league, an equivalent template would be putting, say, T-Mac and Bron together. (In finishing that line, I almost wrote T-Mac and Artest, but that might end the world.)

At 7/06/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

just voted 5 times for liriano. it will be such a joke if dude doesn't make the team. best arm in the game.

and while i once would have agreed with shoals that pitchers are the most stylish (i think this is somehow the reason behind my love of duncan), i don't think it applies in a post-lastings world. lastings milledge, personal savior of my spring, has the potential to be the most FreeD baseball player of all-time. just sayin.

At 7/06/2006 5:20 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

@salt_bagel: Very true. I immediately thought back to that amazing Knicks-Toronto series a couple of years ago when VC was still trying and T-Mac was starting to explode. But even those two together couldn't have reproduced that Jordan/Pippen formula, not on offense and with no chance in hell on defense.

So what should the Cavs try to do? Z as that inside presence? Wasting some of LeBron's abilities by posting him up more often? Restructure the team around their star SF in totally new way?

At 7/06/2006 5:21 PM, Anonymous natural oils said...

vlad has to be very very FD, or is that too obvious? no batting gloves, no body armor. cannon of an arm that's just a little off target. he'll swing at anything and hit it hard.

wv: qztuak - the noise biggie would've made if he'd been a duck?

At 7/08/2006 11:31 PM, Anonymous donnn nelson said...

just got back from a braves game, where it occurred to me that jeff francoeur is top-five on the most-FD-player-in-baseball list.

vlad-style "cannon arm", which he alternately uses to launch lasers to the plate and flings to nowhere in particular. he'll put up a .260/30/110 line this year that'll look normal on the surface level until you see the .280 OBP to go with it.

in his first 162 games, jeff's been SI's "the natural," taxi-squad on the WBC team, sub-.200 hitter braves fans wanted to demote to AAA, and a new incarnation as the designated GW-RBI guy. his is a full life.

At 7/10/2006 2:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

El Zurdo is the most awesome player in the whole of the MLB and it's just sickening that he is not starting this game! i am not totally up on this but i think they are throwing sean penn out there to start. one mind-blowing historical tidbit that perhaps dwarfs kazmir-for-zambrano (no, it definitely does, and this isn't really secret): in 2003 the crook who is currently eating of liriano's hard-earned banquet at the mid-summer classic, AJ Pierzschzinszcki, was traded by the twinkies to the giants for Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, and near-ace Boof Bonser!!!!

At 7/11/2006 9:04 AM, Anonymous Dennis Scott Fitz. said...

...that most limited of all specialists, the "well-rounded" man...


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