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Monday, February 04, 2013

Bill James Mailbag - 2/4/13

One of many interesting things here is that I don’t think the “Bard wanted to start” point has normally been hit quite so hard.

When teams make a trade, do they try to make sure that the trade works for both teams?

... It is pretty much universal that you have to protect your reputation in negotiations; in other words, you can’t say things about the players you are trading that are just not true, or it will ruin your reputation and make it hard for you to trade.  You can’t tell people that so-and-so is a great team leader if he’s really a turd. 

But to go to the next level, that you HAVE to try to make sure the other team gets value. . .not quite.  In a lot of businesses in which you make frequent transactions, you have to be sure you’re not shorting the other guy because… you get a reputation as somebody that people don’t want to trade with.  We might call it “Parity Discipline.” But in baseball, you don’t make THAT MANY trades; you might make a handful of meaningful trades a year.  You make a big trade with somebody; you probably don’t expect to make another trade with him for five years.  It’s not a big enough number of trades to enforce Parity Discipline.  If he’s dumb enough to trade you Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, that’s his problem, not yours.

[Earl] Weaver wrote extensively about [Earl] Williams in his autobiography—Weaver thought Williams had the tools to become a catcher, but Williams just didn’t want to do it, and the situation didn’t work out… How would you go about determining how a team should proceed in this situation?

It’s a mistake generally to try to make a player do something that he doesn’t want to do…

With the Red Sox, sometimes I have an idea to help the organization, and I KNOW that it’s a good idea, but I can’t get people to buy into it.  Same thing. ..you can “force” the idea forward sometimes, like putting Earl Williams at catcher, but it fails on the ground if the people who have to execute it don’t believe in it…

we had a reliever last year who wanted to start.  It was a complete bust, and he had a lost season. 

We regret the lost season, but do we second-guess ourselves for giving him a chance to start?  I don’t.  I don’t think most of us do.  Many times you CAN’T give the player the chance to do what he wants to do.  MOST of the time, you can’t give the player the chance to do what he wants to do… But when you CAN give a player a chance to do what he wants to do, you have to do it, because the players HAVE to buy into what you’re doing, or there is no chance that it is going to work.

Expansion, more divisions, wild-card, 2 wild-cards… Are you a fan of the growing opportunities for more teams to get a chance to win the World Series?

...If it was my choice, here’s what I’d do.  I’d add two teams, break them into four leagues of eight teams, and four teams would make the playoffs—period.  I think Wild Cards and small divisions, generally, cheapen the championship, and make the contest less interesting. 

It’s NOT about the best team winning.  The best team doesn’t win, most of the time, no matter how you run it.  If you put all 30 teams into one league and said that the only champion was the team that had the best record in the regular season, I doubt that the best team would win any more often.  It’s not about that… It’s about making THIS game important—the June 16 game between Atlanta and Seattle, let us say—it’s about making THIS game important because you have to win these games to earn the championship.

The District Attorney Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:12 PM | 122 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, red sox, sabermetrics

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Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
   101. smileyy Posted: February 06, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4364357)

I see no reason why anyone besides your wife or girlfriend, and your doctor ever needs to see you naked.


Nor is anybody irreparably scarred should they happen to.
   102. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4364362)
Nor is anybody irreparably scarred should they happen to.

I don't know, I'm in pretty bad shape these days.
   103. Greg K Posted: February 06, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4364385)
I see no reason why anyone besides your wife or girlfriend, and your doctor ever needs to see you naked.

This is another fun exercise. Non-family/girlfriend/doctor who have seen me naked.

Hmm...I suppose it's mostly just friends at various times. Though I'm actually one of the more demure of my friends when it comes to nakedness. It's like a natural law - if a party goes long enough eventually someone is going to get naked. Though as I move on in the world I'm beginning to feel like smileyy in his earlier comment...what I thought of as normal for friends to do growing up, I'm slowly learning is not normal at all for the vast majority of the civilized world.

Oh, right, and anyone in my neighbourhood who was looking out the window the night I ran my block naked.

I suppose for me the family/shower thing may actually just spring from house geography. In my parent's house the rooms are kind of designed in a circuit. My parent's bedroom and the washroom are both connected to the main hallway, with the shower-room between them, and only accessible from one or the other. So, if someone's using the washroom, you enter the shower through my parent's room. If you don't want to disturb people sleeping in my parent's room, you get to the shower through the washroom. I guess as a matter of convenience our family just naturally didn't worry too much about that kind of thing.
   104. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4364428)
This is another fun exercise. Non-family/girlfriend/doctor who have seen me naked.

If you exclude all medical professionals (I've had six surgeries, half the medical professionals in NYC have seen me naked), I think that's a null-set for me.
   105. zonk Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4364451)
This is another fun exercise. Non-family/girlfriend/doctor who have seen me naked.


Does the internet count as one person?
   106. Greg K Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4364463)

Does the internet count as one person?

I didn't know Grady Sizemore was a Cubs fan!
   107. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4364519)
Am I the only one who has lived in a community where co-ed showering (and bathing, and toilet use) was the norm? There was a very small number of older women who bathed alone, and one, shy, middle-aged gent (there was a single, full bath set aside for this private use), but all other facilities were co-ed, and it was the norm to shower with another person or other people of any gender and age, according to happenstance.

No one else?

I see no reason why anyone besides your wife or girlfriend, and your doctor ever needs to see you naked.
No offense, snapper; this just seems very odd to me. I'd put it in the converse, that there's no reason to ever be concerned about other people seeing you naked. If you don't mind me asking, what was the norm in your house when you were growing up?
   108. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4364813)
Am I the only one who has lived in a community where co-ed showering (and bathing, and toilet use) was the norm?

No idea. Where did you live? 1460?

I can't imagine a scenario like you describe happening...at least, anywhere I've lived. What "facilities" are you describing? Like a public bath or something?
   109. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4364817)
Where did you live?


Some sort of home for the disabled, sounds like.
   110. OsunaSakata Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4364847)
Am I the only one who has lived in a community where co-ed showering (and bathing, and toilet use) was the norm?


Were you part of the Mobile Infantry in Starship Troopers?
   111. SoSH U at work Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4364856)
Am I the only one who has lived in a community where co-ed showering (and bathing, and toilet use) was the norm? There was a very small number of older women who bathed alone, and one, shy, middle-aged gent (there was a single, full bath set aside for this private use), but all other facilities were co-ed, and it was the norm to shower with another person or other people of any gender and age, according to happenstance.


Sneaking into the girls locker room to get a cheap peek does not consistute co-ed showering.

   112. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4364863)
Am I the only one who has lived in a community where co-ed showering (and bathing, and toilet use) was the norm? There was a very small number of older women who bathed alone, and one, shy, middle-aged gent (there was a single, full bath set aside for this private use), but all other facilities were co-ed, and it was the norm to shower with another person or other people of any gender and age, according to happenstance.


I'm guessing it might have been an old-fashioned nudist colony, and that this "one, shy, middle-aged gent" was only there because his wife dragged him along.
   113. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4364915)
I go to the YMCA a couple times a week to work out, and shower there with all the other guys. Travel with friends and stay in the same hotel room. In both instances plenty of people have seen me nude who were not family, SO, or doctor. I will also occasionally (ususally in the middle of the night) wander the house naked. I guess in theory neighbors could cvatch a glimpse, but that is their problem not mine. I am not ashamed about nor hung up on my body. I would wear fewer cloths but I live in MN - brrrr, more cloths better.
   114. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4364928)
that this "one, shy, middle-aged gent" was only there because his wife dragged him along.


For how many years did you endure this indignity, Andy?
   115. bunyon Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4364934)
In theory, I agree with the folks saying nudity is no big deal and one shouldn't worry about it.

In practice, I was raised as an only child in a house where nudity wasn't done, in a town where it really wasn't done and in a state that couldn't be more puritanical if it were lifted from earth and dropped in New England in 1604. So, in practice, no one sees me naked. And I don't want to see anyone else naked, either, thanks very much.

It's aggravating but I'm old enough to be unlikely to change.
   116. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4364946)
not too different from me, bunyon (less puritanical states and not an only child but a very religious household ... i'm definitely still a little uptight about this stuff, though i see no need to be)

outside of locker rooms/communal showers, backstage, docs, and special ladies... i can only think of one, a friend walking into my hotel room. probably a dorm mate or two as well, but i'm not aware of it.
   117. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4365047)
Pool showers are different. Most indoor pools require you to shower before you go into the pool and even those that don't require it have showers available. Out in the open and communal obviously. So naturally people of different ages would pass through the showers pre-pool and some wouldn't have the suit on yet.

None of that carries over to the non-pool related showers were people go to clean off after exertion.

James's antisocial bent has morphed into pathology in the Paterno/Sandusky case. He's full of ####.
   118. villageidiom Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4365049)
I will also occasionally (ususally in the middle of the night) wander the house naked. I guess in theory neighbors could cvatch a glimpse, but that is their problem not mine. I am not ashamed about nor hung
heh heh [/beavis]
   119. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4365068)
heh heh [/beavis]


I thought of this while typing, and decided to leave it out there (so to speak).

:)
   120. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4365077)
I will also occasionally (ususally in the middle of the night) wander the house naked. I guess in theory neighbors could cvatch a glimpse, but that is their problem not mine.


In such instances, I for one require my cats to wear little blindfolds.
   121. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4365301)
Am I the only one who has lived in a community where co-ed showering (and bathing, and toilet use) was the norm?

No idea. Where did you live? 1460?

I can't imagine a scenario like you describe happening...at least, anywhere I've lived. What "facilities" are you describing? Like a public bath or something?


What's 1460?

No, it was an intentional community of around 100, part of a loose affiliation of similar communities, though the numbers fluctuated depending on the larger economy. In lean times we'd get more people interested in visiting or joining who figured if they were going to be unemployed, it'd be more fun and interesting to be unemployed on a farm without a lot of the hang ups that come with life in the bigger, badder world.

We had probably 20 core members who were there for seven years or longer, another 20 there for between three and seven years, and as many as 60 who were anything from very temporary to seriously considering longer stays to people who were taking a couple of years off before grad school...

The labor system was one of the most interesting features. One hour of any kind of work was the precise equivalent of any other kind of work. An hour of tech work that would net $200 an hour on the outside was the same as an hour spent baking bread. The one exception was child care. We started out with an hour of child care valued the same as an hour of brain surgery, but as the number of children increased, it became impractical to continue that rate of exchange, so one hour of child care became worth 1/2 an hour of any other kind of work

Parents with young children were given a child care budget in the form of hours (say, 45 hours a week, or 25 each for a couple; it might have been 55 total for infant care) that they could then give others for looking after their children, of even pay themselves, if they wanted more time with their kids.

Required work: You handed in your 'labor sheet' at the beginning of the week. Think of a grid with one row with days of the week along the top, and hours of the day in the first, leftmost column.

Enter your scheduled work in the appropriate boxes, and indicate your remaining preferences on the back of the sheet, such as, "Daryn, please give me a bread baking shift one morning, and don't schedule me for anything after noon on Wednesday, as I'm making a lumber run into town.

The hours per week people were required to work varied with the community's economy, but when I left it was 42.5 hours a week. You took hours for doing your own laundry, for commuting time (which might involve walking in the woods for twenty minutes to get to the wood shop), for kitchen clean up, and so on. 13 hours were budgeted for a dinner shift: 5 hours each for 2 cooks, 3 hours for 1 helper. If you were sick, you took 8.5 hours for that day to cover your labor quota. No one checked up on you, but there were always a couple of known malingers.

Hours in excess of the 42.5 hours one worked each week were accumulated towards vacation. There were always a couple of people chronically behind (and a couple of workaholics a year plus ahead--you could also simply give someone 'hours', in return for x or y, or just because), and I think there was some probation system for people who got something like a month behind in their work quota. Maybe once a year or every two years someone was asked to leave because they just couldn't get their work done, though we also had someone who was very sick and couldn't work at all, to the point where they became a labor budget item, and taking meals to "Fred", or keeping him company became part of ones labor quota.

"Labor Scheduler" was an interesting position to fill. It meant getting to know everyone, and doing some pretty complicated arranging by hand.

And, yes, in addition to co-ed bathrooms and bathing facilities there was a well attended co-ed sauna, though there was also a women's sauna one night a week, and a men's group that reserved it for a couple of hours a week as well. Both were the topic of minor grumbling. There was also one floor of 16 building that were entirely or partly residences reserved for women only, also the topic of minor grumbling. Otherwise, everyone, including guests, were given their own room for the duration of their stay. Not having a private place seemed to make for problems.

Interesting times.

   122. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4365316)
What's 1460?


Pretty much the Dark Ages, I guess, assuming they weren't a hoax.
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