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Thursday, January 19, 2012

SBNation: Bois: The Bob Famine

In baseball, the name “Bob” has gone from extremely common to a marginal curiosity and nexus of confusion.

There was one active MLB Bob last year, Bobby Abreu, whose given name is “Bob” but goes by “Bobby”. In 2010 there were two - Abreu, and Bob Howry, whose given name is “Bobby” but goes by “Bob”. In 2009 we also had Bob McCrory.

In the future, will “Bob” be as unheard-of for baseball players as “Dick”? Can Bob Stumpo restore glory to this appellation?


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Former Sox flack takes hacks

Dirt gets dug!

It turns out that Fenway dirt isn’t dirt at all. In the infield, it’s a substance called “Turface,” a brick-red clay material that Henry had ordered to match the color of the crushed brick that makes up the warning track in the outfield. I brought this up at a meeting, and we landed on the idea of giving away little plastic bags of the stuff, labeling it authentic Fenway Park infield dirt. “Dirt,” Lucchino said, twisting up his face. “We’re going to give our fans bags of dirt?” His reaction seemed to sink the notion right there. But on the next trip, to New Hampshire, we brought along about 100 little bags of the dirt — which of course had never been closer to the Fenway infield than the dugout. But that didn’t matter. The bags disappeared the instant they were shown off to the admiring crowd.

Players get played!

I said something about how if he [Henry] was socializing with Playboy Playmates, keeping him out of the press was going to be problematic. He simply scoffed and insisted he’d never dated a Playmate.

Nomah’s a space cadet!

I’ll never forget the time, at some point after the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, that NASA arranged for two female astronauts to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Sox home game and deliver a brief tribute to their fallen colleagues… I didn’t normally mingle with the players, so it was a bit of a thrill to be sitting wedged among Nomar Garciaparra, Tim Wakefield, and other stars. Nomar curiously watched my interaction with the two women, who were dressed in their bright-blue flight suits, and finally nudged me and asked who they were. I explained that they were astronauts. “Hey,” Nomar replied, “I saw this show on Fox that said we never really went to the moon. The whole thing was faked. Can I talk to her about that?”

“Sure,” I said, eager to witness this conversation.

Coleman diplomatically handled the inquiry from Nomar. “I’ve heard about that,” she said, “but it would have to be an enormous conspiracy.”

“Did you see the show?” he quickly rejoined. “It was really convincing…. I don’t know.”

She hadn’t seen the show and looked plaintively at me as other players began to join the conversation. “Hey,” I said, trying to change the subject. “Cady is going to spend six months on the International Space Station. Talk about training for the big show.”

Intrigued, Nomar asked about the size of the space station. “It’s really big,” Coleman said.

“Is it as big as Fenway Park?” Nomar asked.

“No, not that big,” Coleman replied. Then she started looking around for ways to illustrate the dimensions of the orbiting vehicle.“How far is it from home plate to first base?” she finally asked. About six players yelled in unison: “Ninety feet.”

“It’s about that size,” she told them.

“That’s not big,” Nomar said. “That’s small.”

Me oh Mia!

scotto Posted: January 04, 2012 at 10:33 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, media, red sox, steroids

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Neyer: Elect Jeff Bagwell To The Hall, And Cooperstown Will Bloom Again

Apparently “Craig” only needs a first name, like Cher, Madonna or Snooki.

This morning, Craig [Calcaterra] wrote a couple of compelling Hall of Fame-related posts.

In the first, he noted that attendance at the Museum is way, way down: more than 20 percent just from 2007 through 2011… In the second, Craig gave some Calcaterrian whatfor and whatnot to three Chicagoland Hall of Fame voters who have (again) not voted for Jeff Bagwell because of suspicions that he used performance-enhancing drugs (not including amphetamines, because hey if Willie Mays used greenies it’s cool)...

While I believe Bagwell should be in the Hall of Fame, I’ve never quite understood the argument that a Hall of Fame voter—if he thinks steroid use is germane—should ignore every scrap of evidence that doesn’t appear in the Mitchell Report or wherever… I believe that it’s intellectually indefensible to disqualify a player solely because you think he used steroids ... but I also believe it’s perfectly defensible to decide for yourself, based on everything you’ve seen and heard, if a player did use steroids.

Some of that makes sense, I hope. And I really didn’t intend to get into this whole thing. Really, I just wanted to express my mild surprise that Craig didn’t make any connection between Hall of Fame voting and Hall of Fame visitors. The Hall of Fame derives 98 percent of it publicity from one thing: new Hall of Famers. But lately—and for some years into the future, I’m afraid—a great deal of that 98 percent is going to be negative. It will be about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield and Mike Piazza and all the terrible things they did, and there might well be years when literally nobody is elected to the Hall of Fame. You think attendance has been down? You ain’t seen nothing.

The District Attorney Posted: January 03, 2012 at 11:50 PM | 240 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, awards, baseball geeks, hall of fame, history

Monday, January 02, 2012

Sporcle: Name the top 1,000 players by B-Ref’s WAR

You’ve twenty minutes; go!

Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 02, 2012 at 05:58 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, history

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Posnanski: F.C. Lane

My excerpting here is felonious to the Phelon part.

If you have numerous hours/days to kill, I heartily recommend going over to the Baseball Magazine Archives (The wonderful LA84 Foundation has many of the magazines from 1908 to 1920) and just typing in any keyword at all.

I first went over the to those archives because of a story that appeared on Fangraphs a few weeks ago with the nerd-friendly title, “Was wOBA actually invented nearly 100 years ago?” Fangraphs’ author Sam Menzin refers to a story that F.C. Lane wrote in 1916 called “Why the system of batting averages should be changed.”... What I found, however, is a lot greater than that just one story…

Two months later—in May of 1916, Lane’s second batting averages article appeared, and it is even more fascinating than the first. It is called: “An Improved System of Batting Averages.” And it is a point-counterpoint between F.C. Lane and an old sportswriter named William Phelon…

The third F.C. Lane article about batting averages appeared less than a year later—January of 1917—and it is the most complete and involved of them all… Lane and the people at Baseball Magazine had watched and carefully compiled the records of 1,000 hits in games during the 1916 season played by every team (and including one World Series game)... he figured out that:

A single is worth .46 of a run.

A double is worth .79 of a run.

A triple is worth 1.15 of a run

A home run is worth 1.55 of a run.

Pause once more to think about this. He only looked at 1,000 hits in 1916. He came up with a quirky system to figure out how many runs scored. Now, jump ahead 50 years. John Thorn and Pete Palmer wrote “The Hidden Game of Baseball,” an all-time classic. In it, they introduced the Linear Weights system. For it, they used computer simulations and ALL the data available going back to 1901.

And this is what they determined.

A single is worth .46 of a run.

A double is worth .80 of a run

A triple is worth 1.02 of a run

A home run is worth 1.40 of a run

The District Attorney Posted: January 01, 2012 at 09:38 PM | 365 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, history, sabermetrics

Friday, December 30, 2011

Raposa & Roth: To Live and Die in Three Rivers Stadium, Or: The Face of Michael Cimino

And here I thought Richard Meltzer and Zoo World had folded up their giant DuPont plastic circus tent.

David Roth: I wish William Friedkin would make a gritty, rainy-looking movie about the greenie-soaked MLB clubhouses of the 1970s. Gene Hackman wearing a hat and a cheap suit with Sanka stains on it. Interrogating Bake McBride about something.

David Raposa: To Live and Die in Three Rivers Stadium.

David Roth: Roy Schneider is miscast as John Candelaria, but does his best.

David Raposa: John Cazale would be a brilliant Kent Tekulve.

David Roth: Doomed, vulnerable, wearing sunglasses in the shower. It is good casting. There’d be a dangerous-seeming chase scene with bullpen golf carts. And in the end Dave Kingman somehow gets away with it, because that’s the way it works in the big city.

David Raposa: I like movies that make you think while making you side against Dave Kingman. And it’s a good thing you picked Billy Friedkin; imagine the budget if Cimino was behind the camera?  While I’d love to see a Russian Roulette sequence featuring Bert Blyleven in his “I [HEART] TO FART” tee, I would also like to not cause a double-dip recession in the process.

David Roth: Harmon Killebrew yelling things at him in Vietnamese. It would be harrowing, but not as harrowing as photos of Michael Cimino himself. He looks like Linda Hunt playing David Bowie.

Repoz Posted: December 30, 2011 at 02:10 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, hall of fame, history, special topics

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-20-2011

Milwaukee Journal, December 20, 1911:

Mrs. Helen Hathaway Britton, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, believes that every woman should be a baseball fan.
...
If women went to the ball game more, advises Mrs. Britton, instead of sitting home wondering what her next door neighbor is going to wear at Mrs. So and So’s theater party, she would find better contentment.  Again, she would find companionship with her husband more agreeable.  Also it would help to keep hubby home nights, for he would then have something live to talk about with his wife.

Pass.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-14-2011

Toledo News-Bee, December 14, 1911:

During the world’s series between the Giants and Athletics, Billy Gould, a vaudeville artist, was working at a New York theater. Billy was anxious to keep tab on the game and asked an English actor to run out and get the score. The Britisher came back and said:  “It’s now 100,000 to 30 in favor of the Giants.”
...
“Put it down in black and white,” bawled Gould, and the Englishman produced the following figures:
New York 100 000
Philadelphia 000 030

A fun story, but that line score never happened.  Game Four may be the game being referenced; the Giants scored two in the first and Philadelphia scored three in the fourth.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Finn: Q&A with MLB Network’s Brian Kenny

I haven’t been this riveted to a TV show since Roy Thinnes got a severe pinky cramp and had to hide it during a whole The Invaders episode!

The resistance from—I guess you could call it the long-established media, since mainstream applies to the internet these days—seems to be fading. Writers such as Keith Law or Dave Cameron at Fangraphs have BBWAA membership, which is a wonderful, progressive development. But there’s still that challenge of making sabermetrics accessible to the those who are skeptical or intimidated. How do you approach that challenge on the show?

Kenny: “That’s always the challenge in knowing where the line is. I want any baseball fan to be able to tune into the show and have a passing knowledge of statistics to be able to watch the show and enjoy it. So I really take my time and take particular care to explain the methodology and to explain what some of these new analytical tools are and how they are used and why they work.

At the same time, I stress this is not math class, a lot of times I try to say, hey, this is wins above replacement. Try not to get caught up in what goes into the number, just look at what the numbers are telling us. We can look at OPS, we can look at weighted on-base average, let’s see what all the evidence is telling us. I don’t get caught up in one number because there is no magic number. A fan is already looking at the numbers. How do you know someone is a good hitter? He hits .300. He drives in 100 runs. Those are metrics. They’re just not the best possible metrics to analyze production and project future performance. There are other numbers for that and we’re going to teach people what they are and how to use them.”

...Before I let you go, I have to ask since he’s one of my favorite players and his Hall of Fame candidacy is cause of sabermetricians: Does Tim Raines belong in the Hall of Fame?

Kenny: “Tim Raines is two Hall of Famers.”

Repoz Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:01 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, baseball geeks, history, media, projections, sabermetrics, television

BPP: The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame, Version 2.0

Uh-oh…don’t let Danny Peary see this.

45-Tie. Harold Baines, 28 votes (Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 5 yes, 26 no): Guys like Baines illustrated an interesting point for this year’s project, earning far more votes by and large than many of the 19th century greats on the ballot, but with a much lower percentage of their voters saying they belonged in the Hall of Fame. Certainly, I doubt too many people will cry foul about this over Baines, a very good designated hitter for much of his career but no immortal. His 2,886 hits, 384 home runs, and .289 batting average are all respectful but they don’t demand a plaque.

45-Tie. Roger Maris, 28 votes (Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 11 yes, 17 no): It’s been 50 years now since Roger Maris hit 61 home runs, and there are those who still consider him the single-season champion. This and his back-to-back MVPs for his 1960 and star-crossed 1961 seasons are the main things he has going for his Hall of Fame candidacy. Given that the museum rarely enshrines players on the strength of short-lived brilliance from Smoky Joe Wood to Lefty O’Doul to Denny McLain and many others, Maris’s chances don’t look great, though he’ll surely live on in the hearts of fans regardless if he ever has a plaque.

45-Tie. John Olerud, 28 votes (Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 5 yes, 23 no): Olerud might be Keith Hernandez minus the mustache and the cocaine and with a batting helmet that he wore in the field. Both men were slick fielders and good contact hitters in their prime, and Olerud even got the attention of Ted Williams. “Olerud hits more straightaway than I ever did,” Williams wrote in his 1995 book with Jim Prime, Ted Williams’ Hit List. “He gets the bat on the ball very well. He has a great attitude and always waits for a good ball to hit. But he may lack one key ingredient to make a legitimate run at .400: speed.” Williams was right.

Repoz Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:49 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, hall of fame, history, site news

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ron Kaplan: The end of The Sporting News as we know it?

Even long lost members of Spinks family look to the heavens for an answer!

image

The memory was brought to mind by a piece by Samir Husni, aka “Mr. Magazine” about TSN‘s decision to move from a bi-weekly to a monthly publication. He’s mostly concerned with the ethics of subscription fulfillment (or the lack thereof) as the magazine undergoes the transition. Seems TSN is trying to shortchange their readers by cutting back on the remainder of issues they’re allowing based on how much of the subscription remains because the cover price will be increasing substantially. How the mighty have fallen.

TSN, which has gone through numerous incarnations in the last several years (currently under the auspices of AOL?), used to be considered “The Bible of Baseball.” I used to buy it because they had recaps of every game from the previous week along with the box scores. Then it was just box scores. Then they were gone. Suffice it to say, it is lo longer the sports publication of my youth.

Repoz Posted: November 13, 2011 at 01:39 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, business, history, media, memorabilia

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baseball By The Yard: Coach McCreary: The effects of tension

Bear McCreary for a moment here…Eureka!

To get an idea on the effects of tension, try this quick experiment.  Sit down at a table and place your dominant arm on the table in front of you so that the arm from the elbow to the finger tips is resting on the table.  The palm should be facing down but not completely flat on the table.  Just relaxed.  Now tense up all the muscles in your forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers at once and while doing so, try to quickly tap your finger tips on the table.  Tough to do, right?

This time completely relax your arm and rapidly tap your fingers on the table.  Much quicker this time?  That’s because there was no tension.  Your muscles used to tap were calm and able to perform at their fastest speed.  Incidentally, those same muscles are important in the process of throwing and hitting.

When the mental side of a player feels fear, anxiety, stress, and/or worry, the physical side often reacts by tensing up parts of the body.  Many times the player is unaware that this is even occurring.  One major goal of learning and training the mental side of the game is for players to better recognize when this is happening, what parts of the body are being effected, and most importantly, what to do about it.

Repoz Posted: November 12, 2011 at 02:14 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks

Saturday, November 05, 2011

ESPN: Kurkjian: O’s, Dan Duquette near deal

The Baltimore Orioles are close to officially naming Dan Duquette as their next general manager, two sources confirmed Saturday.

Duquette, formerly a GM for the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, interviewed in Baltimore Friday and was traveling to Baltimore Saturday to finalize a contract.

The twilight’s last gleaming?

villageidiom Posted: November 05, 2011 at 06:21 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, expos, international, orioles, red sox, rumors

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NPR: Noe: Baseball Umpires Aren’t Perfect, OK?

Phew! I haven’t seen this much over-thinking since…okay, since whenever the Cardinals last played.

What interests us is whether players succeed or fail, whether they achieve or get lucky. The judgment that a ball is a strike is, really, the judgment that a pitcher delivered a a pitch that the batter ought to have hit. This is not so much a judgment about where the pitch was located, as it is a judgment about whether the pitcher or the batter deserves credit. It is, in the original sense of the term, a forensic judgment. It is, therefore, a decision made within the context of the game, with its distinct interests, problems and dynamics. From this standpoint, umpiring — together with official scoring — are an ineliminable part of the sport. Exernal Realism seems helpless to account for this forensic side of baseball.

External Realism and Internal Anti-Realism are extremist views. A better view — let’s call it Internal Realism — grants that there are no baseball facts apart from the internal standpoint of the game.

There is no merely physical, practice-independent conception of what a “fair ball,” a “home run” or a “strike” even are. These are events that only exist inside baseball. At the same time, Internal Realism acknowledges that disputes about whether a runner was really out, or whether a ball was in the strike zone, also unfold inside baseball. You don’t need to step outside of the practice and take up “a view from the outside” to call plays in baseball. A concern for whether a call was correctly made is something we do precisely from the inside. These questions have the significance they do because we are interested in the game, because we are participants.

Mattbert Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:16 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-27-2011

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, October 27, 1961:

Joe Cambria, a baseball scout who has signed more than 500 youngsters to professional contracts, wishes he had latched on to just one more.
...

Fidel Castro, a right-handed pitcher who since has been accused of left-handed political leanings, was rejected by Cambria in the mid-1940s.

“Castro had a good curve ball, but not much of a fast ball” Cambria told Bill Tanton of the Baltimore Evening Sun.

In retrospect, as a fringy right-handed soft tosser, Castro probably would have been back in Cuba by 1952 anyway.  Not everybody can be Bob Tewksbury.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Posnanski: Bullpen phones

I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?

Here’s what we know happened. In the eighth inning, with the score tied, Tony La Russa picked up the phone and asked for Marc Rzepczynski to begin warming up. But here’s where it gets tricky. That’s all bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist heard. But La Russa would say afterward that what he actually SAID was that to get Rzepczynski AND Jason Motte working… he then noticed that only Rzepczynski was warming up. He then picked up the phone and called Lilliquist again to get Motte working. Fortunately, we have a recording of that conversation:

La Russa: “Hey, I told you to warm up Motte.”

Lilliquist: “You want me to buy you a yacht?”

La Russa: “Yes, that’s right, warm up Motte.”

Lilliquist: “Where am I going to come up with that kind of money?”

La Russa: “I don’t think it’s funny at all. Warm up Motte.”

Lilliquist: “You see a swam of dots?”

La Russa: “Yes.”

Lilliquist: “Guess what?”

La Russa: “Hey, man, there’s a game going on here. Just do it, all right? We’ve got a game to win.

Lilliquist (to Lance Lynn): “Hey, start warming up.”

La Russa was already having an astonishingly bad day. Before the game would end, his team would give up three outs on sacrifice bunts and two more on impossibly stupid stolen base attempts—it’s not often that a manager (or his players; it would be said that one of the busted hit-and-runs was called by [Albert] Pujols) can take personal responsibility for five of the 27 outs. He also ordered an intentional walk that backfired*, and later brought in the aforementioned Lance Lynn to come in only to intentionally walk another batter. This day was the managing equivalent of the day the Principal had in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

*As all intentional walks should.

But as absurd and illogical and freaky as all that was, nothing touched the phone call nightmare. And, unlike many, I believe the phone call nightmare justification because it’s simply the most plausible of all the incredibly stupid explanations for what happened.

The District Attorney Posted: October 25, 2011 at 08:03 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, cardinals, rangers

Monday, October 24, 2011

NYT: Pig Farmer’s True Prizewinner is His Fantasy Team

Only a fantasy article, but I wish I could be the Assistant Pig-Keeper…

The National Fantasy Baseball Championship, a contest paying a top prize of $100,000, draws an elite collection of contestants — computer geniuses, deep-pocketed stockbrokers and money managers, maybe the odd young man or woman looking to be the next Billy Beane or Theo Epstein.

But the contest over the years has produced only one two-time champion: Lindy Hinkelman, a 59-year-old pig farmer from Greencreek, Idaho.

“Raising pigs and this baseball thing really go together,” he said. “There are certain things in farming — keeping track of productivity, indexes for your sows, the genetic lines there. To do well, you’ve got to be pretty proficient in numbers. Math has always been my strong suit. I can see things with the numbers.”

thranduil Posted: October 24, 2011 at 08:47 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, fantasy baseball

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Posnanski: To DH or Not To DH

Since 1986, the DH World Series rule has been tied to home park. When the game is in an American League park, they use the DH. When it is in a National League park, pitchers hit for themselves.

Brilliant Tweeter CashMoneyMark asked an interesting question: From what we can see in the limited number of games which league has had the advantage?... There is no definitive answer to this, I think, because of the small sample size mentioned above. But it seems to me—and this is surprising to me—that it plays any role at all, it actually hurts the National League more to play WITH a DH, than it hurts that American League to play WITHOUT one.

First: Start with the World Series records since 1986:

American League home record: 44-21 (.677 winning percentage)

National League home record: 37-29 (.561 winning percentage)

... But here’s the interesting part, at least to me. American League teams have unquestionably been better offensively with the DH. On the road, with the pitcher hitting for himself, AL teams have averaged about 3.77 runs a game. With the DH, they average about a half run more per game… The National League, though, offers the shocker. At home, with pitchers hitting, they average 4.15 runs per game, which is pretty close to what American League teams score at home. But on the road, using the DH, National League teams have scored only 3.4 runs per game, meaning they score seven-tenths of a run LESS per game with the DH than they do with pitcher’s hitting…

What this probably says is that the DH is not that big a factor one way or another … certainly not as big a factor as home field advantage. But I would love it if Tony La Russa, citing this history of NL teams score more with the pitcher hitting, just had his pitcher hit in the American League park. He’s the only guy who would try something like that, and I have to say it could be his crowning tactical moment, beating hitting the pitcher eighth, beating the triple switch, beating everything. If he had his pitcher hit in Texas, and the Cardinals won the Series, Tony L would become even more of a folk hero than he already is.

Obligatory “don’t give him any ideas.”  (Well, that and St. Louis has 11 runs with a DH as I write this.  But I still thought it was an interesting finding.)

The District Attorney Posted: October 23, 2011 at 02:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-19-2011

New York Times, October 19, 1911:

His mind unbalanced as a result of the feverish interest displayed in the outcome of the Giant-Athletic contract while watching the bulletin board returns here yesterday, Allen McGyre, 14 years old…disappeared from his home last night.
...

Shortly after the result of the eleventh inning was posted the boy left the bulletin board downcast, and later was found lying across a trolley track by E.H. Low, who took him home.

When Edgar Renteria ended the ‘97 World Series, I sighed, shrugged, and took out the trash.  I saw that coming a mile away.

After Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in Super Bowl XXV, though…yeah, I can see how the kid would want to be alone.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baseball Think Factory Quizbowl Questions

BBTF is now a worthy topic for pop culture quizbowl. The entire tournament is here.

18. Answer the following related to various running jokes at the Baseball ThinkFactory website, for 10 points each:
[10] One recurring poster uses this name of the protagonist from Ring Lardner’s You Know Me Al. The poster imitates this character’s semi-literate style to comment on the baseball issues of the day.
[10] A hilarious running joke involved the phrase, “Sure, I’d listen if [blank] called,” a reference to an interview involving this former manager saying he would listen if for no apparent reason, the Red Sox contacted him. This recent Hall of Fame inductee won the 1982 World Series with St. Louis.
[10] Posters frequently mock Joe Morgan for suggesting that this man, not Michael Lewis, wrote the book Moneyball. This man is noted for his sabermetric friendly policies during his time as GM of the Oakland Athletics.

The link should call up a Word file. Look for Bonus #18 or search for the words in the excerpt. You’ll find the answers there.

OsunaSakata Posted: October 18, 2011 at 04:17 PM | 274 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, baseball geeks, cardinals, community, red sox

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Posnanski: The Cubs

“F———goat,” comedian and Cubs fan Jeff Garlin is saying, and I must admit that the quotes that follow are not as precise as I might like because it’s hard to take notes when Diet Coke is spurting out of your nose. “A goat? OK, let’s get something straight. It is not a curse to not want a goat at a baseball game, all right? That is not a curse… You know, this was a time when people dressed up. I mean nobody would let a goat into a game now, and people dress like pigs. Back then people wore suits to games, they wore hats. There wasn’t a team in baseball that would be like—‘Sure, oh yeah, the goat’s fine.’

Joe Mantegna got his first big acting job in 1969… In 1984, Mantegna was doing “Glengarry Glen Ross” on Broadway… Then, in 1989, the Cubs lost to the Giants in the playoffs, and that’s when the realization hit him: It wasn’t going to happen. Ever. He expected this realization to break his heart, but the simple truth is: It freed him. He could love the Cubs in a different way. For more than 20 years now, he has watched the Cubs and enjoyed the Cubs but he never again let the Cubs break his heart. “I hate to say this, ” he says, “but I"m walking on the dark side of the road. I know they’re not going to win. I just know it. I’ve accepted it. It’s a good feeling. It’s like I’m embracing a team that doesn’t even exist. It’s like I’m a fan of the St. Louis Browns… I just decided I’m through losing my mind. I’ve accepted the inevitable. I’ve totally surrendered.

“Understand this: The Cubs will never win. Never. But if that day ever comes where the Cubs win, I think what we should do is collectively agree to stop playing the national pastime and embrace soccer. Join the world community. See why the rest of the world is so nutty about it. That would probably bring peace of the Middle East. If the Cubs ever win, it should be for the best of the planet.

More analysis of Cubs’ history (mostly not by celebrities) in the article’s other 6,951 words.

The District Attorney Posted: October 13, 2011 at 11:35 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, cubs, history

Saturday, October 08, 2011

MGL: Worst Managing Ever?

Many of you know how much I hate TLR’s in-game managing.  I think he is atrocious and today he did not disappoint.  I said before the game started to my son and someone I know in the Cards front office that Tony would do something dumb just to show how “smart” he is.  It didn’t take long.  Even before the game, he inserted Nick Punto into the lineup in place of John Jay. Now Punto is probably the better defender than Schumaker at second, but Punto has no bat whatsoever.  My sim estimated that that cost the Cards around 1.5% in WE.

Something dumb to show how smart he is.

Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 08, 2011 at 05:59 AM | 219 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, cardinals, phillies, sabermetrics

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Posnanski: John Clark Made The Right Choice

I have a soft spot for commercials endlessly repeated during the playoffs.  Go fig.

Phil Jackson Audi commercial: This is actually THE BEST commercial in the playoffs, and might be the best sports-commercial performance since the heyday of Peyton Manning… Jackson is in a restaurant, walking by a chef who is yelling at one of his employees.

Chef [to Jackson]: “These people, huh?”
Jackson: “You know, I’ve found that anger is the enemy of instruction.”
Chef [who does not recognize Jackson]: “You don’t know the egos I have to deal with.”
Jackson [after pause]: “You’re probably right.”

Those three words — “You’re probably right” — are so perfectly delivered… seriously, I want to give the guy an Emmy, an Oscar AND a Tony. Sheer perfection. I want to believe that Jackson did that on the first take. I can watch that commercial 500 times in a row, and I will laugh (or at least smile) every single time he says that line.

Tony La Russa overmanaging commercial: Oh, wait, that’s not a commercial — that’s real life.

I must admit: I’ve actually grown to enjoy the La Russa overmanaging act. It’s a classic now — like seeing Don Rickles in Vegas or something. The playoffs would be poorer without it. Of course, that does not take away the joy of watching his ridiculous intentional walk to Carlos Ruiz explode into a million pieces…

I should add that earlier in the game, La Russa had Garcia intentionally walk Hunter Pence so he could face Ryan Howard. I’ll repeat that: He intentionally walked Hunter Pence so that he could face Ryan Howard in a big situation. That one worked, and it probably said more about Howard than it did about La Russa.  As my friend Keith Law tweeted: When teams are intentionally walking players to face the guy you are about to pay $25 million per year — lefty-lefty matchup or not — well, that’s probably not a great contract.

“I should have married John Clark” AT&T commercial: OK, this is the worst commercial on television. The worst. Nothing is even close… I have never seen two less likable people in one commercial. The man looks like the sort of guy who would break your lawn mower and keep promising to pay you for the repairs. The woman makes Nurse Ratched look like Florence Nightingale… It’s pretty clear that there’s only one winner in this whole commercial. And that winner is: John Clark.

The District Attorney Posted: October 06, 2011 at 03:53 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, television

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What Is Theo Epstein Worth? | FanGraphs Baseball

I am positive this is the case.

That brings up a pretty interesting question – what is a Major League General Manager worth? As Buster Olney wrote over the weekend, GMs draw salaries in the range of $800,000 to $2.5 million per season, and their supporting staff make significantly less than that. Olney quoted a “high ranking executive” as saying that “you could fund an unbelievable front office for what it takes to pay a couple of utility infielders.” And he’s right – the cost of acquiring talent to fill your baseball operations department is a fraction of the cost of acquiring talent that actually puts on a uniform.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 04, 2011 at 02:00 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, red sox, rumors, sabermetrics

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Neyer: Rumor: Theo Epstein Leaving Red Sox For Cubs

Why would Epstein leave?

Remember, he’s almost left before. Six years ago, Epstein exited the Red Sox for roughly a month before returning to the fold. Perhaps that was merely a negotiating ploy—he presumably did well, financially—but the relationship between Epstein and his bosses has not always been 100-percent highly functional.

I don’t know Theo Epstein anything like well enough to read his mind, but it’s certainly possible that he’s simply ready for a change. I’ve had two great jobs in my life—before this one, I mean—but at some point it’s just time to try something different. And what else, really, is there left for Theo Epstein in Boston?


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