AS WE FAST approach the splendor of Selection Sunday - exceeded these days in the holy trinity of American weekend celebrations only by Super Bowl Sunday and Easter Sunday - I am reminded of the unholy trinity of cottage industries that have grown remarkably in recent years:
Let's deal with them in reverse order, which, alas, is going to put me in a bad mood for the rest of the column because I always get cranky thinking about Nate Silver.
Who is Nate Silver? He's the boy next door with all the algorithms. Revered in analytical circles - the Jonas Salk of sports and political data - Silver can forecast just about anything accurately by calibrating everything but a toaster oven.
His science-based approach might put pundits out of business. Indeed, Silver's New York Times blog is filled with information, as opposed to my column - essentially, a thinly disguised blog - which is filled with, well, nonsense.
So do I hate him because I feel threatened by his intellectual superiority? No.
I hate him because this statistical debris and so-called greater understanding is wearing us down.
So some guy can study polling and determine which candidate will end up with more votes? BIG DEAL. I can bait a hook while wearing a batting glove.
All this micro- and macro-analysis puts us in a really bad place; it's misplaced energy. Yeah, I know, I'm a relic of a lost civilization yearning for a rotary phone. But trust me, folks, we're taking a step in the wrong direction. And assuming the world is flat - as I do - I believe we are now just several steps from falling off the face of the Earth.
You see, besides the fact that we should redirect our priorities to stuff that really matters - like climate change or failing schools or gun violence - all I want to do is watch the games in relative peace. I don't need breakdowns of batting average on balls in play or true shooting percentage; I'm just rooting against the Knicks.
Anyway, Silver has a rabid fan base. Every time I tweet something playfully dismissive about him - yes, I am on Twitter; that's an entirely different life-changing faux pas - I lose 10 followers.
(Actually, anytime I tweet about anything, I lose five followers. It's a curious phenomenon - people decide to follow you, then when they see how you think, they unfollow you. If I never tweeted again, I'd have a million followers by Labor Day; on the other hand, if I tweet hourly, I'd have no followers by Memorial Day.)
Geez, I spent so much time on Nate Silver, I don't have much space left for draftniks and bracketologists, so I'll have to be brief and blunt.