PAYING THE TROLLS

Lance Zierlein: Every spring, people on Twitter hate me

Titans adding help for Marcus Mariota? Nope. Fuel for trolls. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The term “troll” has become an infamous addition into our country’s lexicon thanks to the anonymity of social media - most notably Twitter. By now, we know that the world is filled with miserable people who use Twitter as a method of intentionally attacking others in an attempt to elicit a response.

Since being hired by NFL.com in the fall of 2014, I’ve been lucky enough to handle draft analysis for the website which includes draft profiles, team needs for all 32 teams, and television and digital broadcast duties at the Combine and during the NFL Draft.  It also includes mock drafts.

Mock anger

Nothing, and I mean nothing can prepare you for the angry hordes and Twitter trolls that you will be faced with when you release a mock draft on a national scale. For starters, you have to develop a feel for which prospects are really first-round worthy. Figuring that bit of information takes studying draft history, learning positional value and then understanding player evaluations in that particular draft.

Secondly, you have to have a feel for team needs and you have to understand that teams often pass on drafting what the fanbase considers to be the “top need” in order to draft a good player at another position. There is no way for any normal mock drafter to know the narrative of what a team needs most and who they are most likely to draft like a hardcore member of the fanbase. So when you make a selection that doesn’t match the narrative of need or player, get ready.

The NFL’s twitter account has 24.6 million followers. When the NFL tweets my mock drafts out to that many followers, I ready myself for a barrage of angry fans and hopeful trolls looking to assail me with gifs of trash cans on fire, people dying of laughter, and little children vomiting. I typically take four to five hours to finish a mock draft. I put an excessive amount of time and effort into my mock drafts and get vomiting children for my hard work.

When the initial deluge of gifs finishes, I’m left with at least one angry fan base. After my mock 3.0 was released, the Tennessee Titans fans were the offended party because I gave them tight end Hayden Hurst from South Carolina. Apparently many mock drafts are pushing tight end to the Titans and the fans are beyond fatigued with it.

I gave them tight end because Delanie Walker’s contract is up and the Titans will need to find another tight end who can help as a run blocker and pass-catcher for Marcus Mariota. This didn’t align with Titans fans and they’ve spent the last 20 hours telling me how lazy and stupid I am and that I’ve lost my credibility. Sometimes I wonder if they even realize that this isn’t their actual pick.

Show recommendation

Catastrophe - When  my wife and I were in Chicago visiting friends last summer, one of our friends suggested we watch Catastrophe on Amazon Prime Video. For starters, he said that the combination of Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan was absolutely hilarious as couple who has a one-weekend stand and are forced to make life decisions after she gets pregnant. They decide to marry and give it a shot and the show revolves around their relationship (abroad in England) and her pregnancy.

The show moves forward with different story-lines over the next two seasons, but if you are married you will probably recognize many of the conversations and situations they find themselves in. The show is written and acted by Delaney and Horgan and they capture real conversations and real issues in a unique and effective way.

 

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Houston gets back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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