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Forever Giants:1987 NL West Champion San Francisco Giants Year 30 (105)

Monday, March 2, 2015

1986 is 

My WAR calculation is a combination of Baseball-reference and Clay Davenport; I believe it to be the "best" WAR number available for historical comparison. 8 WAR is an MVP quality season. The parenthetical is a career Giants WAR total with the eventual goal of a top 100 Giants of all time. The record is pythagorean adjusted for 162 games.



1987 93-69 NL West Champions (lost to Cards in NLCS in 7 games)
C Bob Brenly 3.95 (16.05)
1B Will Clark 4.8 (7.6)
2B Robby Thompson 1.8 (5.3)
SS Jose Uribe 3.35 (7.75)
3B Kevin Mitchell 2.9
LF Jeffrey Leonard .65 (8.6)
CF Chili Davis 1.3 (16.6)
RF Candy Maldonado 2.25 (3.75)
1B Mike Aldrete 3.6 (5.2)
SS Chris Speier 2.05 (23.45)
SS Matt Williams .55
C Bob Melvin 1.05 (2.15)
CF Eddie Milner .65
3B Chris Brown -.2
1B Harry Spillman -.1
SP Kelly Downs 2.1 (3.7)
SP Mike LaCoss 1.9 (2.75)
SP Atlee Hammaker  2.3 (10.2)
SP Mike Krukow  -.25 (7.25)
SP Dave Dravecky 2.25
SP Rick Reuschel -.05
RP Scott Garrelts 2.2 (7.65)
RP Greg Minton .4 (25.75) Last Season
RP John Burkett 0

-93 pythagorean wins, there hadn't been a better Giants club since '62.  The Giants had a 3-2 NLCS lead but couldn't close out the Cardinals to win their first pennant since that season.  We made the Mitchell deal, Matt Williams came up - they joined Clark and Thompson from the year before and we see the core of this next phase of Giants clubs.  Speier returns after a decade and he'll eventually join the list below.  Minton joins it now.  Something interesting is that there were no drags on the entire roster; not a single Giant was worse than -.2 WAR. 

Forever Giants 
1. Willie Mays CF 151 (40.25 NY, 109.75 SFG)
2. Christy Mathewson SP 103.35
3. Mel Ott RF 101.7 
4. Carl Hubbell SP 67.05
5. Juan Marichal SP 63.35
6. Willie McCovey 1B 61.65
7. Roger Connor 1B 56.9
8. Bill Terry 1B 53.05
9. Amos Rusie P 52.95
10. Travis Jackson SS 47.25

11. Art Fletcher SS 45.3
12. George Davis SS 44.15
13. Mike Tiernan RF 42.1
14. Mickey Welch P 41.55
15. Buck Ewing C 40.9
16. Larry Doyle 2B 37.15
17. Frankie Frisch 2B 36.8
18. Hal Schumacher SP 36.6
19. Bobby Bonds RF 36.4
20. Gaylord Perry SP 36.1

21. Johnny Antonelli SP 33.35 (22.3 NY, 10.05 SFG)
22. Orlando Cepeda LF 33.2
23. George Burns LF 31.1
24. Art Devlin 3B 30.7
25. Joe McGinnity P 29.35
26. Tim Keefe P 29.05 
27. Johnny Mize 1B 28.85
28. Freddie Fitzsimmons P 28.6
29. Jack Clark RF 28.5
30. Dick Bartell SS 27

31. Jim Barr P 26.45
32. Roger Bresnahan C 26
33. Greg Minton RP 25.75
34. High Pockets Kelly 1B 25.5
35. Alvin Dark SS 25.25
36. Ross Youngs RF 25.25 
37. Jeff Tesreau SP 24.4
38. Jouett Meekin P 24.25
39. Darrell Evans 3B 24.1
40. Hooks Wiltse P 23.95

41. Hank Thompson 3B 23.75
42. Sal Maglie P 23.45
43. Freddie Lindstrom 3B 23
44. Gary Lavelle RP 23.3
45. Jim Ray Hart 3B 22.6 
46. George Van Haltren CF 22.1
47. Bobby Thomson CF 21.75
48. Chief Meyers C 20.85

Tendown March 1 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tendown 164 is here. This is Tendown 165




1. They still spank kids in some Florida public schools; which, juxtaposed with a 2015 reality that some parents in this country get police at their doors for letting their kids walk home from the park, is sort of astonishing.  Not astonishing - the race of the kids who get spanked.

2. O'Reilly tells so many lies. Falklands.  Kennedy.  El Salvador.  LA Riots. Also - all of this.

3. Here's the craziest right wing thought I've heard in awhile.

Walker argued that when Reagan fired the PATCO air-traffic controllers over their illegal strike, he was sending a message of toughness to Democrats and unions at home as well as our Soviet enemies abroad. Similarly, Walker believes his stance against unions in Wisconsin would be a signal of toughness to Islamic jihadists and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Lest you think this was a one off...he said it again.

4. What's Taibbi writing about this week? The NFL Combine.

5. What the hell is going on In Chicago?

6. I'll hold out for Bernhard Langer's breakfast burrito.


7. Two guys having good years.
    

8. I also, liked season one of Parks and Rec.




And one more...

11. 

Lived long.  Prospered.




                    That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,

                                                                              Jim.                                                                                                                               

Forever Giants:1986 San Francisco Giants Year 29 (104)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

1985 is 

My WAR calculation is a combination of Baseball-reference and Clay Davenport; I believe it to be the "best" WAR number available for historical comparison. 8 WAR is an MVP quality season. The parenthetical is a career Giants WAR total with the eventual goal of a top 100 Giants of all time. The record is pythagorean adjusted for 162 games.


1986 90-72
C Bob Brenly  3.45 (12.1)
1B Will Clark  2.8
2B Robby Thompson 3.5
SS Jose Uribe 2.65 (3.4)
3B Chris Brown 2.7 (5.45)
LF Jeffrey Leonard 1.2 (7.95)
CF Dan Gladden 3.2 (7.3)
RF Chili Davis 4 (15.3)
OF Candy Maldonado  1.5
C Bob Melvin 1.1
1B Mike Aldrete 1.6
OF Joel Youngblood .55 (2.8)
CF Randy Kutcher .95
1F Luis Quinones -.85
1B Harry Spillman .75
SP Mike Krukow 3.85 (7.5)
SP Mike LaCoss .85
SP Vida Blue 1.55 (17.5)
SP Kelly Downs 1.6
SP Steve Carlton -.05
RP Scott Garrelts 2.75 (5.45)
RP Jeff Robinson .05
RP Greg Minton -.3 (25.35)

RP Terry Mulholland -.95

-A 20+ pythag improvement over the previous season; this is the first 90 win pythag, sort of amazingly, since '68.  18 years without a Giants team as good as this one from a franchise that used to have 90+ pythags every season.  Will Clark homers off Nolan Ryan in his first big league at bat. Vida wins his 200th game.  Steve Carlton is signed at midseason; Mike Scott no hit us on my 16th birthday to knock us out of the division race.

Forever Giants 
1. Willie Mays CF 151 (40.25 NY, 109.75 SFG)
2. Christy Mathewson SP 103.35
3. Mel Ott RF 101.7 
4. Carl Hubbell SP 67.05
5. Juan Marichal SP 63.35
6. Willie McCovey 1B 61.65
7. Roger Connor 1B 56.9
8. Bill Terry 1B 53.05
9. Amos Rusie P 52.95
10. Travis Jackson SS 47.25

11. Art Fletcher SS 45.3
12. George Davis SS 44.15
13. Mike Tiernan RF 42.1
14. Mickey Welch P 41.55
15. Buck Ewing C 40.9
16. Larry Doyle 2B 37.15
17. Frankie Frisch 2B 36.8
18. Hal Schumacher SP 36.6
19. Bobby Bonds RF 36.4
20. Gaylord Perry SP 36.1

21. Johnny Antonelli SP 33.35 (22.3 NY, 10.05 SFG)
22. Orlando Cepeda LF 33.2
23. George Burns LF 31.1
24. Art Devlin 3B 30.7
25. Joe McGinnity P 29.35
26. Tim Keefe P 29.05 
27. Johnny Mize 1B 28.85
28. Freddie Fitzsimmons P 28.6
29. Jack Clark RF 28.5
30. Dick Bartell SS 27

31. Jim Barr P 26.45
32. Roger Bresnahan C 26
33. High Pockets Kelly 1B 25.5
34. Alvin Dark SS 25.25
35. Ross Youngs RF 25.25 
36. Jeff Tesreau SP 24.4
37. Jouett Meekin P 24.25
38. Darrell Evans 3B 24.1
39. Hooks Wiltse P 23.95
40. Hank Thompson 3B 23.75

41. Sal Maglie P 23.45
42. Freddie Lindstrom 3B 23
43. Gary Lavelle RP 23.3
44. Jim Ray Hart 3B 22.6 
45. George Van Haltren CF 22.1
46. Bobby Thomson CF 21.75
47. Chief Meyers C 20.85

Forever Giants:1985 San Francisco Giants Year 28 (103)

Friday, February 27, 2015

1984 is here.

My WAR calculation is a combination of Baseball-reference and Clay Davenport; I believe it to be the "best" WAR number available for historical comparison. 8 WAR is an MVP quality season. The parenthetical is a career Giants WAR total with the eventual goal of a top 100 Giants of all time. The record is pythagorean adjusted for 162 games.



1985 – 67-95
C Bob Brenly .9 (8.65)
1B David Green -.3
2B Manny Trillo .55 (1.05)
SS Jose Uribe .75
3B Chris Brown  2.75
LF Jeffrey Leonard -.95 (6.75)
CF Dan Gladden .5 (4.1)
RF Chili Davis 3.3 (11.3)
OF Joel Youngblood  .8 (2.25)
1B Dan Driessen -.5
IF Brad Wellman -.8 (-.95)
UT Rob Deer -.15
C Alex Trevino .35
RF Ron Roenicke  1.5
IF Ricky Adams -.2
1B Scot Thompson -.8  (.65)
1B Gary Rajsich -.6
2B Dwane Kuiper .2 (-2.6)
SS Johnny LeMaster -.6 (-4.05)
SP Dave LaPoint 2.1
SP Mike Krukow 3.75 (4.65)
SP Atlee Hammaker 1.2 (7.9)
SP Jim Gott 1.65
SP Vida Blue .3 (15.95)
SP Bill Laskey 1.15 (6.85)
RP Scott Garrelts 2.9 (2.7)
RP Mark Davis 2.4 (2.3)
RP Greg Minton 1.15 (25.65)

-The worst San Francisco team; there are clearly two distinct eras in San Francisco baseball to this date, the Mays teams were good to great, pretty consistently, for nearly 15 years, and post Mays, the teams have been mediocre to poor for almost that same length.  This is the worst Giants club since '56 and there hasn't been a worse Giants team since '43.  Davenport gives way to Roger Craig by the end of the season, and Tom Haller loses his GM job.  The Giants drew under a million in attendance. This it for Kuiper, now, Kuiper was bad, 600 PA and a negative two and a half WAR.  But that's far overshadowed by, to this date, the worst Giant in 103 years; Johnny LeMaster soaked up 3400 PA as a Giant and produced -4.05 WAR.  He's Bizarro Mays, the least valuable Giant to date.

Forever Giants 
1. Willie Mays CF 151 (40.25 NY, 109.75 SFG)
2. Christy Mathewson SP 103.35
3. Mel Ott RF 101.7 
4. Carl Hubbell SP 67.05
5. Juan Marichal SP 63.35
6. Willie McCovey 1B 61.65
7. Roger Connor 1B 56.9
8. Bill Terry 1B 53.05
9. Amos Rusie P 52.95
10. Travis Jackson SS 47.25

11. Art Fletcher SS 45.3
12. George Davis SS 44.15
13. Mike Tiernan RF 42.1
14. Mickey Welch P 41.55
15. Buck Ewing C 40.9
16. Larry Doyle 2B 37.15
17. Frankie Frisch 2B 36.8
18. Hal Schumacher SP 36.6
19. Bobby Bonds RF 36.4
20. Gaylord Perry SP 36.1

21. Johnny Antonelli SP 33.35 (22.3 NY, 10.05 SFG)
22. Orlando Cepeda LF 33.2
23. George Burns LF 31.1
24. Art Devlin 3B 30.7
25. Joe McGinnity P 29.35
26. Tim Keefe P 29.05 
27. Johnny Mize 1B 28.85
28. Freddie Fitzsimmons P 28.6
29. Jack Clark RF 28.5
30. Dick Bartell SS 27

31. Jim Barr P 26.45
32. Roger Bresnahan C 26
33. High Pockets Kelly 1B 25.5
34. Alvin Dark SS 25.25
35. Ross Youngs RF 25.25 
36. Jeff Tesreau SP 24.4
37. Jouett Meekin P 24.25
38. Darrell Evans 3B 24.1
39. Hooks Wiltse P 23.95
40. Hank Thompson 3B 23.75

41. Sal Maglie P 23.45
42. Freddie Lindstrom 3B 23
43. Gary Lavelle RP 23.3
44. Jim Ray Hart 3B 22.6 
45. George Van Haltren CF 22.1
46. Bobby Thomson CF 21.75
47. Chief Meyers C 20.85

30 Seasons of Survivor vs. 30 Real Worlds vs. 30 Wrestlemanias.

Thursday, February 26, 2015



The start of the 30th season of Survivor necessitates a pivotal pop culture analysis as we are also in the midst of the 30th season of The Real World, and (true story) there have also been 30 Wrestlemanias.

It’s time for the Ultimate Triple Threat Match.  Judging such a spectacle would require someone with demonstrated immersion in all three events.  Say, someone who had ranked every Wrestlemania match.

I’m willing to answer my country’s call.   I love my country, no matter what any former New York mayor might say (I’m looking at you, Dinkins). If I don’t analyze 30 years of lowbrow popular culture, the terrorists win. 

Wrestlemania vs. Real World vs. Survivor – let’s go year by year to see which (Roman) reigns supreme.

(points are awarded in the inverse of the rank…you’ll figure it out)



One.
1.       Survivor Borneo (Spring, 2000) 3 pts
2.       RW New York (Summer, 1992) 2 pts
3.       Wrestlemania (1985) 1 pt

This is a hotly competitive race for the top spot; the first Real World had a jagged quality that would quickly become hard to locate in the reality genre.  When Julie and Kevin fought about race on the street it seemed (maybe in the early 90s “These Are Days” sort of way) to be less about product placement or badly paid writers generating storylines and instead just two people trying to work through a difference on an important issue.  Survivor wins though; 125 million people watched at least some portion of its finale, the Tagi alliance set the template for the way reality competition would be played, and Richard Hatch was a more nuanced and compelling heel than Roddy Piper.  It’s a qualitative estimation that sinks Mania (it was also only a closed circuit product, just touching significantly less of the culture) as a ranking of the all time Survivors or Real Worlds would still have their first endeavor high on the list, and no one would say that Wrestlemania was a particularly good show despite (more because of) a main event appearance by Mr. T. Here’s how popular Survivor was, Colleen finished 6th and got the female lead in a studio comedy.  Here’s how popular Survivor was, when the GOP nominee for President George W Bush went on Regis’s show, his guest co-host that day was 4th place finisher Sue Hawk, notable for her speech at final tribal council.  This year’s 4th place finisher will not be interviewing Jeb with Kelly Ripa. 


Two.
1.       Survivor Australia (Spring, 2001) 3 pts (6)
2.       RW Los Angeles (Summer, 1993) 2 pts (4)
3.       Wrestlemania II (1986) 1 pt (2)

Same order in the second season; Real World brings us Tami, getting her jaw wired shut to lose weight, having an abortion, having David kicked out of the house (“It wasn’t not funny!”) to create a reality TV trope; she’s the standout character of this group even before marrying/unmarrying Kenny Anderson.  The rest of the cast can’t carry that weight; however, and Australia gave us Michael Skupin burning off his skin, All American Colby and the (for its time) devilish Jerri. We had an older woman (Tina) as the winner and a younger woman, Elizabeth not yet Hasselbeck, who would eventually spend years misleading the gullible and the infirmed.  Mania’s pretty bad, this year, bad in three separate cities.  You could comfortably never see either of the first two Manias as even the biggest wrestling junkie. 


Three.
1.       RW San Francisco (Summer, 1994) 3 pts (7)
2.       Wrestlemania III (1987) 2 pts (4)
3.       Survivor Africa (Winter, 2001-02) 1 pt (7)

This is a hard vote against Wrestlemania III, which contained both one of the biggest matches in its history (Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant) and one of its best (Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat), but San Francisco, probably to this date, is the best of all Real World seasons (Puck v. Pedro would have been a 4 ½ star match). Rachel, 20 years later, remains in television as a right wing talking head (married to a future Real Worlder, Congressman Sean, who believes vaccines are fascist) and Judd and Pam turned their flirtation into their own Real World marriage.   Survivor’s good, with Ethan, Lex, and Tom – but not comparable to the rest of this field. 


Four.
1.       Wrestlemania IV (1988) 3 pts (7)
2.       Survivor Marquesas (Spring, 2002) 2 pts (9)
3.       RW London (Summer, 1995) 1 pt (8)

This is a bad matchup; pretty easily the worst efforts from both Survivor and Real World to that date and a fairly uninspiring Wrestlemania as well.  Mania has a tournament to crown a new champion, and its winner (Savage) was significantly more credible than Survivor’s (Vecepia) in a season where that show introduced a purple rock to screwjob Paschal out of the game.  Real World was drab; Neil getting his tongue bitten off the high point (well, not for him) of a season that included a pre-Human Stain Jacinda Barrett.


Five
1.       Wrestlemania V (1989) 3 pts (10)
2.       RW Miami (Summer, 1996) 2 pts (10)
3.       Survivor Thailand (Fall, 2002) 1 pt (10)

Five years in and we have a three way tie in this three way dance.  Middling efforts all around; Mania (in its second straight year at Trump Plaza, which feels as sad as you’d imagine but the slots are as loose as Hogan’s punches) features a well built and worked Hogan v. Savage main effort (the Mega Powers Exploded because Hogan’s eyes lusted Elizabeth), Miami ups the RW sex quotient with a shower threesome; and Survivor’s winner (Brian Heidik) was a terrific player with all the charm of a CSI villain of the week.  There aren’t many elements in wrestling more satisfying than a good, long build for a main event that actually pays off in the ring – and Mania was able to do that this year.



Six
1.       Survivor Amazon (Spring, 2003) 3 pts (13)
2.       RW Boston (Summer, 1997) 2 pts (12)
3.       Wrestlemania VI (1990) 1 pt (11)

Tight here, solid efforts all around; Amazon introduced us to Rob Cesternino, who brought a level of craftsmanship not yet seen in the game; he overshadowed eventual winner Jenna (who would later marry/divorce prior winner Ethan, and would eventually…”compete” is not reflective of her performance…let’s go with attend a wrestling match in which she was a listed competitor) and her best pal Heidi (now married to MLB pitcher Cole Hamels) despite their removing clothing for peanut butter, as stunt they turned into a big Playboy payday.  Boston was fun, Syrus was probably the first Real Worlder to effectively use the “hey, come back and see the house” strategy to bang locals, Montana drank at the daycare center, Sean kept quiet his lack of belief in evolution and desire to destroy the American working class.   Mania was in Toronto and featured an apparent torch passing from Hogan to the Ultimate Warrior, the only match out of the 14(!!!) on the card to get even 12 minutes.


Seven
1.       RW Seattle (Summer, 1998) 3 pts (15)
2.       Survivor Pearl Islands (Fall, 2003) 2 pts (15)
3.       Wrestlemania VII (1991) 1 pt (12)

Real World pulls an upset here; Pearl Islands had breakout characters Rupert and (future wrestling manager) Johnny Fairplay (RIP to his grandmother) but Seattle is an all time great Real World season.  Irene gets slapped (by Stephen, who was, in fact, a homosexual); Boston David starts sleeping with someone in production and breaks down in a car (I love you Kira!!)  Linsdsay and Janet are just the right amount of too cool for school.  Boston Rob and Amber showmance their way to the All-Stars finale and then spin through multiple incarnations as a low level celebrity couple.  Mania has a really good Savage/Warrior match with Randy reuniting with Miss Elizabeth at its conclusion but the pro-War cheerleading of the main event angle just brought down the event below the level of the other two.  Much like the snubbing of American Sniper at the Oscars, Fox News should take the third place finish of Mania VII as a sign of leftist perniciousness. 


Eight
1.       Wrestlemania VIII (1992) 3 pts (15)
2.       Survivor All Stars (Spring, 2004) 2 pts (17)
3.       RW Hawaii (Summer, 1999) 1 pt (16)

An easy Mania win; it’s the first Mania with two four star matches (Savage v. Ric Flair and Bret Hart v. Roddy Piper) and that overcomes a particularly bad main event (Hogan v. Sid, father of a future Big Brother competitor…don’t get me started on Big Brother).  Here, Mania overcomes a Real World carried by Ruthie’s alcoholism, Teck Money’s charisma, and Amaya’s lack of self esteem; I liked grumpy Survivor All-Stars, with entitled veterans who wanted to position themselves as larger than the game (that’s become another reality trope – watch the live feeds of an episode of Big Brother when a returning player decides to refer to production by their first names…I told you not to get me started, this is your fault.)


Nine
1.       RW New Orleans (Summer, 2000) 3 pts (19)
2.       Survivor Vanuatu (Spring, 2005) 2 pts (19)
3.       Wrestlemania IX (1993) 1 pt (16)

Come on be my baby tonight.
Come on be my baby tonight.
Well I've seen the way you treated other thugs you've been with,
Come on, be my baby tonight.

Survivor has a collection of interesting women (Scout, Twila, Eliza) and a worthy winner (Chris Daugherty); Mania has Jim Ross in a toga, but they both fall to David’s sweet, sweet tunes from N’Awlins. The only better song to come out of a reality show is Miss Lawrence's Closet Freak.


Ten
1.       Wrestlemania X (1994) 3 pts (19)
2.       Real World Back to New York (Summer, 2001) 2 pts (21)
3.       Survivor Palau (Spring, 2005) 1 pt (20)

Ten seasons in – it’s Real World out in front. Both Mania and Real World return to New York in their anniversary seasons; it is entirely possible that, as of this date, the two best Wrestlemania matches ever (Bret Hart v Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels v. Razor Ramon, both 5 star classics that advanced the form like the invention of movable type) are here as WWF makes a turn away from Hulk Hogan to a more athletic style of wrestling.  Survivor has Stephanie, battling from underneath like Katniss; Real World introduces us to Coral and her foil, wrestling wannabe Mike, who, at present, is the Miz, now a WWE veteran. 



Eleven
1.       Real World: Chicago (Spring, 2002) 3 pts (24)
2.       Wrestlemania XI (1995) 2 pts (21)
3.       Survivor: Guatemala (Fall, 2005) 1 pt (21)

A down year all the way around, Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel helps elevate a card whose main event featured Lawrence Taylor; future MTV Challenge cornerstones Aneesa and Tonya joined Cara in carrying Chicago to a narrow win during a season in which the Housemates lived through 9-11. Survivor added a hidden immunity idol that is a significantly less welcome gimmick than the ladder used in that Michaels/Razor match from Mania X. 


Twelve
1.       Real World Las Vegas (Winter, 2002-03) 3 pts (27)
2.       Wrestlemania XII (1996) 2 pts (23)
3.       Survivor Panama (Spring, 2006) 1 pt (22)

Here’s how competitive this year is; Survivor introduces us to Cirie, like Curt Hennig, one of the best never to win the belt; Mania’s got one of its all time great matches, 60 minutes between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, but Vegas is the year Real World entered its attitude era, embracing train wreck TV and setting the template for the genre as did it 11 seasons previous.  Brynn and (future Hulk Hogan trainee) Trishelle were a little broken and desperate for fame; it was claustrophobic and riveting.  This will be controversial as the body of collective wisdom sees this as the year RW became too trashy (as if such a thing exists) and prefigured the state of reality to come.       


Thirteen
1.       Survivor Cook Islands (Fall, 2006) 3 pts (25)
2.       Wrestlemania XIII (1997) 2 pts (25)
3.       Real World Paris (Summer, 2003) 1 pt (28)

A strong Survivor; there might not be a better Survivor player (both tactically and aesthetically, although it’s really just the latter evident in Cook islands) in 30 seasons than Parvati (we also meet Ozzy, Penner, and a worthy winner in Yul in a year the tribes were divided by race; “goddamit” says Vince McMahon, “we can have a separate division just for the Mexicans?”)
Mania’s got one all time great match, Bret Hart beating Steve Austin in a match where they flipped roles, and its the Real World where we met CT, who would become a key building block of The Challenge, for which Real World would eventually be seen as a developmental territory.



Fourteen
1.       Wrestlemania XIV (1998) 3 pts (28)
2.       Survivor Fiji (Winter, 2007) 2 pts (27)
3.       Real World San Diego (Spring, 2004) 1 pt (29)

Mania lacks the all time great match of the prior couple of years, but does have Mike Tyson, a Cactus Jack/Terry Funk tag team, and Shawn Michaels’s last match for several years, that garners it the win. Survivor’s got a likeable winner in Earl, a likeable best player in Yau Man; and even with future red carpet walker Jamie Chung (and alleged future A-Rod side piece Robin) RW San Diego settles for third. 


Fifteen
1.       Survivor China (Fall, 2007) 3 pts (30)
2.       Wrestlemania XV (1999) 2 pts (30)
3.       Real World Philadelphia (Winter, 2004-05) 1 pt (30)

Mania’s a one match event, Steve Austin meeting the Rock, and Philadelphia (which is also where Mania was held) for my money, is the worst RW season of the first 15 as the franchise spends the past three cycles clearly cowed by the pearl clutching reaction to the Vegas season (“two girls in bed with one boy, oh my stars!”) The Chinese location helps Survivor, as does the undeniable physical appeal of Amanda Kimmel, the snarkiness of winner Todd Herzog and brute force of Gravedigger James.  That sounds like a wrestling character, and there was a wrestler, Ashley, who was an early elimination.  Halfway through and we’ve got a three way tie.  Excitement!  Who you got to take the whole thing?  Who you got?  Who?  You? Got?


Sixteen
1.       Survivor Micronesia (Spring, 2008) 3 pts (33)
2.       Wrestlemania 2000 (2000) 2 pts (32)
3.       Real World Austin (Fall, 2005) 1 pt (31)

Mania is fine; it features a terrific tag team collision matchup of the Hardys v. The Dudleys v. Edge and Christian (more broken bodies in those tag matches than any three Real Worlds put together) and a good, but too short, match between Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, and Chris Jericho.  That’s enough to pull it ahead of a solid Austin group (including two couples, Wes/Johanna and Melinda/Danny, both of which are no more; 14 seasons later Wes is still running the Challenge, he’s MTVs Triple H); but this is an easy first place call-- this is Survivor’s Fans vs. Favorites year, bringing back Cirie, James, Amanda and an electric performance from the winner Parvati. 


Seventeen
1.       Wrestlemania X-7 (2001) 3 pts (35)
2.       Real World Key West (Spring, 2006) 2 pts (33)
3.       Survivor Gabon (Fall, 2008) 1 pt (34)

Maybe the greatest Wrestlemania ever including three 4 star matches (a rematch of the tag from the year before, Angle against Benoit and Rock vs. Austin). Real World escaped its post Vegas run of last place finishes as both Johnny Bananas and Paula Walnuts came out of Key West. It’s a Survivor season notable only for future celebrity rehabber Sugar Kiper and Corinne’s willingness to bring the mean. 


Eighteen
1.       Survivor Tocantins (Spring, 2009) 3 pts (37)
2.       Wrestlemania X8 (2002) 2 pts (37)
3.       Real World Denver (Winter, 2006-07) 1 pt (34)

Real World offers a really boring season in a really boring city (shots fired!) to fall further behind while Wrestlemania didn’t bring much in terms of match quality in its return to Toronto, but the intergenerational meeting of Hulk Hogan and the Rock provided a talking point.  Survivor was really flavorful, we met Coach, Tyson, Stephen Fishbach and the winner JT



Nineteen
1.       Wrestlemania XIX (2003) 3 pts (40)
2.       Real World Sydney (Fall, 2007) 2 pts (36)
3.       Survivor Samoa (Fall, 2009) 1 pt (38)

Sydney was good, the best RW since Vegas, Trisha gets kicked out for shoving Parisa; Cohutta and KellyAnne have a mismatched showmance, and we meet probable sociopath Dunbar.  But it’s a tough year; Mania has two four star matches (Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar nearly fighting to their mutual death, Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho) and the end of Steve Austin’s career against the Rock.  Survivor, even with the debut of the cyclonic Russell Hantz can’t get out of third.


Twenty
1.       Wrestlemania XX (2004) 3 pts (43)
2.       Survivor Heroes vs. Villains (Spring, 2010) 2 pts (40)
3.       Real World Hollywood (Spring, 2008) 1 pt (37)

Look at this matchup.  Holy cats this is a good matchup. My favorite Wrestlemania moment, the show closing event hug between Eddie Guerrero (who beat Kurt Angle in a four star match) and Chris Benoit (who beat Shawn Michaels and Triple H in an even better match) as it ratified a “workrate based” style of wrestling not often privileged in WWE. I’m likely to pick Wrestlemania XX over the birth of your children as an all time great moment.  We also have arguably the best Survivor season --vibrant all star characters (booked in a babyfaces vs. heels format, just like Cowboy Bill Watts would have done) and bold game play – Colby, Jerri, Coach, Boston Rob, all fill out the card underneath Russell and Parvati’s main event work and the surprise of Sandra becoming not only the game’s only two time winner, but probably the most significant two time winner in US reality competition history.   Hollywood’s pretty bad; Real World made a permanent move to hour long episodes, many of which here centered around Joey’s substance abuse.  The non-Survivor body count in this paragraph is high. 


Twenty-one
1.       Wrestlemania XXI (2005) 3 pts (46)
2.       Real World Brooklyn (Winter, 2009) 2 pts (39)
3.       Survivor Nicaragua (Fall, 2010) 1 pt (41)

Mania hits a period where the top of the card is laden with the promoter’s son in law and a children’s character whose first name onomatopoeically rhymes with Yawn, but earlier in the night we saw the debut of a good gimmick, “Money in the Bank” and just an all time great Shawn Michaels v. Kurt Angle match; Brooklyn isn’t bad, although it centers around a real emotional fragility of the housemates, there’s a struggling transgendered person, a struggling abuse victim, a struggling veteran, a struggling dude with a bow tie.  Here’s how bad Nicaragua (with multiple quits and an all time bad winner) was, I forgot about it in my initial pass, necessitating a feverish rework of these final ten rounds.  Look at the lead Mania is building up!


Twenty-two
1.       Survivor Redemption Island (Spring, 2011) 3 pts (44)
2.       Wrestlemania 22 (2006) 2 pts (48)
3.       Real World Cancun (Summer, 2009) (40)

A pretty mediocre lot here; Survivor looked to position the show as a face off between Boston Rob and Russell, but the latter got bounced early leaving the former for an easily dominant win.  The Redemption Island gimmick, meaning that eliminated competitors weren’t really eliminated, is the most easily despised of all reality competition twists. No Last Chance Kitchen for me, thanks – if your torch is snuffed, the next time I need to see you is the reunion.

Mania wasn’t great, but did have several good matches, including Edge v. Mick Foley, that carved out a good show in spite of the main event.  Clearly, RW made the decision that Brooklyn was a little heavy, as Cancun was maybe the emptiest season of RW ever.


Twenty-three.
1.       Survivor South Pacific (Fall, 2011) 3 pts (47)
2.       Real World DC (Winter, 2010) 2 pts (42)
3.       Wrestlemania 23 (2007) 1 pt (49)

RW pivoted earnest again looking to capitalize on their audience’s Obama propelled interest in politics (short form Obama review – health care good, drones bad – if the Dow had grown to 18,000 and Bin Laden was put in the ground during a GOP Presidency Fox News would call for a fifth head on Mt. Rushmore) it only marginally worked (Emily and Ty had an interesting showmance) but it beats out a Wrestlemania centered around the possibility of Donald Trump losing his hair (which worked for box office, but involved Donald Trump, as unpalatable a television personality that exists in the 21st century); they both settle comfortably behind an interesting Survivor with Cochran’s maneuvering, Ozzie’s cockiness, Russell’s nephew carrying on the family name, and the winner, Sophie.


Twenty-four
1.       Real World New Orleans (Summer, 2010) 3 pts (45)
2.       Wrestlemania XXIV (2008) 2 pts (51)
3.       Survivor One World (Spring, 2012) 1 pt (48)

This is a tight round; New Orleans had a combustible group, Preston battling Ryan, Knight showmancing Jemmye, Mckenzie always blacking out.  We’re entering a Bad Girls Club universe now where the RW production company is about to really push the 7 strangers who live in a house envelope on a lower tier cable channel (to put BGC in a Real World context, remember Julie asking Heather B if she was a drug dealer during RW1? If that happened on Bad Girls Julie would have been stretchered out of the house) You can see elements of that here as that RW mixture of earnestness and exploitation tips toward the latter in a way that made for good TV.  Mania was also largely good, again, built around a celebrity (Floyd Mayweather) and containing some solid matches, including Ric Flair’s WWE retirement, Edge v. Undertaker in the main event, and CM Punk winning Money in the Bank. Survivor was dominated by Kim Spradlin, whose game was more methodically precise than entertaining. 


Twenty-Five
1.       Real World Las Vegas (Spring, 2011) 3 pts (48)
2.       Survivor Philippines (Fall, 2012) 2 pts (50)
3.       Wrestlemania XXV (2009) 1 pt (52)

A super, super competitive silver anniversary round.  Mania has a great (but a tick overrated, as late period Undertaker tended to be) Undertaker/Shawn Michaels match and another CM Punk Money in the Bank win, but suffers, again, from mediocre work at the top of the card.  Blair Freaking Warner was on Survivor (and Jeff Kent, an all-time great second baseman, the return of Penner, super charismatic Malcolm, but mainly…) Blair Warner was on Survivor.  But its Real World that hits the casting jackpot again with megavolatile Adam and Dustin “Fratpad” Zito; back to back Real World wins getting it back into the game with five seasons to go while Survivor and Wrestlemania continue their battle for the lead. 

Down. The Stretch. They. Come.


Twenty-Six
1.       Real World San Diego (Fall, 2011) 3 pts (51)
2.       Survivor Caramoan (Spring, 2013) 2 pts (52)
3.       Wrestlemania XXVI (2010) 1 pt (53)

It couldn’t be much closer, both this round and through 26 seasons.  Wrestlemania’s still good, putting a coat of paint on the previous year’s show with The Undertaker retiring Shawn Michaels in the best match of the night; Survivor also played a familiar tune and wasn’t bad, but having players so freshly removed from the show like Malcolm, Phillip, an unhinged Brandon Hantz and Cochrane gave this season a tick of a greatest hits vibe. RW found the right collision formula again, with the right wing showmance between Zach and Ashley pitted against, sort of, gay castmembers in Sam and (bisexual and maybe bipolar, Frank). 


Twenty-seven
1.       Survivor Blood vs. Water (Fall, 2013) 3 pts (55)
2.       Wrestlemania XXVII (2011) 2 pts (55)
3.       Real World St. Thomas (Summer, 2012) 1 pt (52)

Even with a cast member named Latoya Jackson, the three year RW run ends; sometimes the mix of people works, sometimes you get Brandon, whose addiction issues were better suited for an episode of Intervention than Real World. Same solid formula for Mania, with Triple H sliding into the role of losing to the Undertaker (Real World had long since been eclipsed as MTV flagship, first by the Hills, and now by Jersey Shore, and Snooki wrestled at this Mania while the Miz was, sort of incredibly, in the main event). Survivor continued its formula by bringing back more returnees, doing a couples twist that included brothers Artis and Vytas, season two winner Tina and her daughter, a Big Brother winner, Hayden (in the lower tier of American BB winners; he was on the friendly, as opposed to the strategic end of a dominant alliance...dammit, don't get me started on Big Brother) and Tyson, who dominated the game. 


Twenty-eight
1.       Survivor Cagayan (Spring, 2014) 3 pts (58)
2.       Real World Portland (Spring, 2013) 2 pts (54)
3.       Wrestlemania XXVIII (2012) 2 pts (56)

This is a tight matchup; Survivor breaks format here, going back to an all new cast and crushing it with a new breakout star, Tony, who plays the game like his hair (such as it was) was on fire.  Mania has a well worked version of its formula, with CM Punk v. Chris Jericho eclipsing both the Undertaker v. Triple H rematch and the return of The Rock, meeting Yawn, er, John Cena.  Real World responds to its declining ratings by taking nearly a year between seasons 27 and 28 and returns with a strong effort; a good showmance between Johnny and Averey, bisexual football player Marlon and one handed egomaniac Jordan, and Hurricane Nia, who got into maybe the biggest fight in RW history and suggested putting a hit out on her castmates. 

Only two seasons left. 


Twenty-nine
1.       Real World Ex-Plosion (Spring, 2014) 3 pts (57)
2.       Wrestlemania 29 (2013) 2 pts (58)
3.       Survivor San Juan del Sur (Fall, 2014) 1 pt (59)

Real World gets the nod here; it takes another near year off and retools, breaking the wall between cast and production as a regular matter of course and introducing a twist where the ex partners of the cast move into the house.  Mania does what it does, Punk moves into the lose to Undertaker role, Cena and the Rock meet again, Brock Lesnar returns from UFC to face Triple H.  An okayish Survivor season, they go back to the Blood vs. Water gimmick a little quickly, and one half of a team who competed on the Amazing Race comes out on top.  Survivor and Wrestlemania separated by a point, Real World right behind….lets get to…

The thrilling conclusion. 


Thirty
1.       Wrestlemania XXX (2014) 3 pts (61)
2.       Real World Skeletons (Spring, 2015) 1.5 pts (58.5)
3.       Survivor Worlds Apart (Spring, 2015) 1.5 pts (60.5)

And so it ends.  But in true wrestling booking, we have a disputed finish.

At the time of this writing, RW is nearing the end of the season; it continued with the previous year’s formula of a wild twist, this time with the “skeletons” that cast members had in their closets; I’m awarding a provisional tie between it and Survivor, which has just begun its season with a pretty good amount of hype for its cast.  At season’s end, that half point will either be awarded to one of those two shows. If Survivor can get that half point, it pulls into a first place tie and then, perhaps we go five more minutes, or go to a special judges panel, or the next Survivor season and Wrestlemania 31 are locked inside of a 15 foot high steel cage!  Two enter - only one survives (snort)!

Mania’s going to get the win here for the final round, the big, big win as this Mania includes maybe the biggest surprise in Wrestlemania history, Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker, and one of the great moments in all of wrestling, Daniel Bryan (probably the best North American wrestler of the 21st century) capturing the WWE Championship in the main event. 

By the narrowest of margins and on the back of Daniel Bryan – it’s Wrestlemania (Yes! Yes! Yes!) which wins our Triple Threat Match, by a half point over Survivor…unless this turns out to be a Dusty finish…

Tune in for the next battle, 118 elements in the periodic table vs. 118 seasons of Australian Rules Football.  See you then!


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