It was a dark and stormy night, perhaps somewhere in the world; however, in my environs the unblocked sunlight radiated from our nearest star and penetrated through the depleted ozone layer of the Earth’s atmospheric shell (for it is on this planet that our scene lies) before gently reflecting off the ecru walls surrounding my cubicle and onto a computer screen which hadn’t been cleaned for several months. In honor of one of the the best known examples of superbly horrendous writing from the 19th century, I may have found its rival for the 21st century. In particular, I have found a writing sample so bad that it can only be called a masterpiece. Fashioned as a countdown of the most terrible New York Yankees trades, the piece reads like the most terrible countdown of NYY trades instead.
Like it or not, the nerds have changed how we look at sports. Thanks to sabermetricians, statistics like OPS and WAR are as recognizable as HR and RBI. Similar to WAR (wins above replacement) for baseball, WiSh (win shares) is an all-encompassing statistic for basketball. Ranked by WiSh, the Top 5 players in NBA history are: 1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 2) Wilt Chamberlain; 3) Karl Malone; 4) Michael Jordan; and 5) John Stockton. Without a doubt, each one of those players is a legend of the game. As an all-time NBA ranking, however, it’s just doesn’t work.
Alternatively, the Top 5 players ranked by total MVPs are: 1) Michael Jordan; 2) Bill Russell; 3) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 4) LeBron James; and 5) Wilt Chamberlain. Aaahhh, much better. Arguably, MVP awards provide a better proxy for all-time greatness than win shares. Regardless, WiSh still can be useful to establish a threshold above which a superstar can be defined. Similarly, it can determine a threshold below which a bust can be defined.
While no one involved with Gigli will appreciate the following statement, the movie has become synonymous with a Hollywood failure. It’s why I probably don’t even have to tell you that Gigli rhymes with really. The movie had many flaws (e.g. inane story, bad acting), but it was DOA due to the nonstop coverage of its stars’ scandalous off-screen relationship. In particular, there was no need to see Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez attempt to have a fictional relationship when their actual relationship had played out in front of the media for almost a year. In the movie, Affleck’s character overcomes the hurdle that Lopez’s character is a lesbian. In real life, Affleck overcame the hurdle that Lopez was married. Which conflict seems more interesting to you? After the movie’s flaws were exposed, already weak ticket sales became nonexistent. In fact, Gigli holds two dubious box office records: the largest drop-off in ticket sales after an opening weekend (82%); and the largest drop-off in theaters after two weekends (97%). With production costs rumored to be around $75 million and worldwide ticket sales of $7 million, Gigli earned its spot as the #4 Box Office Bust. Somehow, there still are three movies that were even worse.