Saturday, March 01, 2014
I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: whether civilization peaked during the reign of Queen Victoria, or the reign of Jimmy Carter.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
Former NBA star guard Tracy McGrady is looking to start a career as a professional baseball player.
Saturday, January 04, 2014
I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about:
Sunday, December 01, 2013
I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: day-to-day changes in President Obama’s approval rating, and Jack Morris.
let me just tell you that I’ve found the best possible gift for any basketball fan: basketball-printed and basketball net-printed leggings... Even better, both the ball and net leggings have matching t-shirts to go along with them. Personally, I’d pair the basketball shirt with the hoop leggings, since it’d give you the appearance of being a gigantic human basketball going in to an elongated human rim, but that’s just me. At just $150 per pair of leggings — and $175 apiece for the shirts — you can afford to mix and match the looks.
Sunday, November 03, 2013
Bill, are there any teams that don’t make use of the newaadvanced metrics. Ifn not, which teams were the last holdout?
I think the Royals are the last holdout.
I am wondering if you are aware of a review written by Dorothy Rabinowitz in today’s Wall Street Journal of a TV docudrama called “JFK: The Smoking Gun”. The film is somewhat based on the book “Mortal Error”, which you describe in “Popular Crime” as one of the two best books on the assassination. Check out what Rabinowitz has to say: “That’s not to say that the theory (that Kennedy was accidentally shot by a Secret Service agent in addition to being shot deliberately by Oswald) hasn’t convinced some people, including Malcolm Gladwell . . . (who) had reported in a 2012 online exchange how he came to see the convincing wisdom of the Secret Service agent explanation by reading Lebron James, baskerball star. Mr. James had praised the theory in his own book.” This is a pretty embarrassing error, don’t you think? I wonder if the Wall Street Journal employs copy editors.
It’s more funny than embarrassing. I’ve worked with the Wall Street Journal, and I’ll tell you that their standards of double-checking/fact checking are the highest in the industry. But that’s a good one.
Congratulations, Bill. Don’t have a question, but thought your readers might enjoy an updating of your “Dynasties” accounting system. When that article was written in July of 2012, the current Cardinals had accumulated 15 points, and were tied for the designation of 21st Greatest Team of All Time. Since then they’ve picked up 4 more points, and are now tied for 14th with the 1900-12 Pirates and 1927-32 Athletics, vaulting past such celebrated teams as the 1976-86 Yankees and the 1926-35 Cardinals. Perhaps that’s cold comfort for St. Louis fans, but their club is advancing into very elite territory. The Red Sox’s improvement is less dramatic: They had 13 points after the 2009 season, and now have 14. This moves them up from a tie for 24th place with 5 other teams, to 24th place all by themselves. That’s right, 1885-89 St. Louis Browns; you’re now in Boston’s rearview mirror.
Thanks for doing that. I thought I was going to have to do it myself. .. .
In what area will the biggest jump be made in sabermetrics in the next few years? As a casual observer, it looks like defensive shifting and pitch framing by catchers analysis will take a big jump forward soon.
1) I don’t have any idea what to make of the pitch framing stuff.
2) The breakthroughs in shifting have already occurred, although that is not to say they are finished. But the next movement there, one would think, would be the comeback of the bunt, which should—one would think—be able to defeat the shifts for ordinary hitters (not David Ortiz), and thus drive the shifts into remission. I would guess.
Friday, November 01, 2013
Welcome to the 2013-14 NBA season!
I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: trolling.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Joe Sheehan’s got a lot of strong opinions, and occasionally I disagree with him strongly. But agree or disagree, Joe’s always worth reading. From Tuesday’s newsletter (sorry, subscriber-only), written in the wake of a) Ned Yost making a bizarre decision in the ninth inning of a game the Royals needed to win, and b) the Eagles winning with a highly innovative offense ...
Where are the MLB Chip Kellys? Forget whether you agree or not that the Blur can work in the NFL and just focus on the fact that he’s thinking about how to win with a level of creativity that just doesn’t exist in our game… The NFL has become a league of innovators, with coaches and coordinators aggressively attacking the problem of how to move the 22 pieces around in ways that give their side an advantage. The NBA is actually even more interesting right now, with many teams leveraging statistical research to find the most valuable shots—ones at the rim and from the deep corners—and how to move the ball and players around to get them. Erik Spoelstra all but invented a new offense to take advantage of LeBron James’ skills.
MLB has nothing like that. The only current area of innovation in MLB is in defensive spacing… There’s no lineup innovation. There’s no roster innovation. No one is packing the roster with one type of player or another. No one is introducing new tactics. No one is doing what Kelly or Spoelstra or Art Briles or Mike Brey has done, which is to apply their mind to the question of how to win and come up with a new answer.
I think Joe’s about half-right here.
Here’s where he’s wrong: Baseball isn’t football or basketball… Baseball’s not a bunch of guys running around. Generally, it’s a bunch of guys standing around, punctuated by brief spells of a few guys running around highly circumscribed places. Runners on first and second, batter hits a fly ball to medium-depth left field ... What is the manager supposed to do? That’s just one case, but there are a lot of cases just like it. Essentially, in football and basketball the coach might influence nearly every minute of play, but in baseball the manager can do relatively nothing.
Here’s where Joe is right: Baseball managers, more than the coaches in any other sport, are slaves to convention.
And maybe they’ve got a good excuse. Because baseball has been around the longest, there’s been more time for Convention Wisdom to accrue, and Conventional Wisdom is usually pretty smart. The game does seem to find a natural balance. Stealing bases and bunting don’t make as much sense as they once did, and so there isn’t as much stealing and bunting as there once was. Getting the platoon advantage with your relief pitchers works well, and so managers get the platoon advantage more often than they used to. Nobody’s innovating, really, but managers do respond to the sport’s changing conditions, even if just subconsciously.
They could respond more quickly, though, and they could innovate. The extreme defensive shifts are a great example, and I don’t think Joe’s giving managers enough credit for that. Again, though, Joe’s basically correct. And I think the “problem” is simple: Baseball managers are actually middle managers. When a football coach is hired, he assumes the weight of his new team’s performance. For now, Chip Kelly is the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Eagles win, he’ll receive most of the credit. If they lose, he’ll be fired and might never work in the NFL again. Bill Parcells used to get hired to turn franchises around. And with that responsibility came freedom. To hire players, to fire players, and to try some unorthodox things. If you win, you earn the right to try more unorthodox things. Just look at Bill Belichik [sic].
Baseball’s not like that… baseball managers are hired to change attitudes, not systems. Because there’s not much left in the systems that can be changed. Sure, maybe Ned Yost bunts more than he should. But the Royals have bunted just 33 times this season. In 1970, Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Orioles were credited with 64 sacrifice bunts.
Ned Yost’s problem isn’t that he isn’t innovative. Ned Yost’s problem is that he doesn’t understand the principles that some managers understood 20 or 30 years ago. Today the best managers aren’t really ahead of the curve. They’ve just managed to keep up with it.
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