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Saturday, January 19, 2013

BravesJournal: Some Evidene of a Greenie Effect

He opined that (1) the effect of amphetamines should be most pronounced on day games after night games; (2) batting should be more affected than pitching, on the grounds that even Whitey Ford probably drank a little less the day before he was supposed to pitch; and (3) the effect should be bigger in the 1970-74 period than in the 2006-2010 period, since in the latter period there was testing; indeed, in the prior period I don’t even think it was illegal.

He then said: “Hey, JonathanF: you’ve put together a database of every baseball game ever played. Can you try it?” So I did. I really didn’t expect to see anything, so I was a little surprised.

Taking every game from those two periods, I compiled a simple TeamOPS number for every game (H+W)/(AB+W) + (H+D+2*T+3*H)/AB. I then compared the average teamOPS (simple averages here – you don’t do anything fancy when you don’t think you’re going to get anything) separately for day games after night games (which I called greendays) and all other games.

I did this year by year and got the following results. The “difference” column measures the team OPS difference between greendays and non-greendays. The bold results are statistically significant.

Rickey! the difference between kangaroos and Zoras Posted: January 19, 2013 at 01:06 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, peds

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   1. Rickey! the difference between kangaroos and Zoras Posted: January 19, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4350647)
I'm sure there still is no spoon, of course.
   2. tshipman Posted: January 19, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4350666)
This is really like half of an article. There would be a lot more work needed to show anything.

For example, team OPS might be affected by backup catchers being more likely to play in day games after night games. Or, as a commenter mentioned, that lights are much better today than previously, making the difference less pronounced.
   3. John Northey Posted: January 19, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4350676)
I think the point of the article is to show a potential effect and encourage others to do some deep digging to see if the initial effect is a real one.
   4. Rickey! the difference between kangaroos and Zoras Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4350682)
Yeah, I don't think Jonathan or Alex are presenting this as a conclusive finding. It's more of a "I had this conversation at the bar and decided to run a simple scan of the numbers, and unexpectedly, this came up." What I do like, and what I thought was link worthy, is that he actually bothered to put together a hypothesis and test it.
   5. tshipman Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4350691)
Yeah, I don't think Jonathan or Alex are presenting this as a conclusive finding. It's more of a "I had this conversation at the bar and decided to run a simple scan of the numbers, and unexpectedly, this came up." What I do like, and what I thought was link worthy, is that he actually bothered to put together a hypothesis and test it.


The piece is titled, "Some evidence of a greenie effect." But there is no evidence. There's the lack of negative evidence. That's the most you can claim.
   6. booond Posted: January 19, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4350694)
It should be titled "Interesting Data on Day Games after Night Games." I'm not denigrating any of the work they did but there isn't much here to tie this phenomena to amphetamines.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: January 19, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4350759)
I'm not denigrating any of the work they did but there isn't much here to tie this phenomena to amphetamines.

No, but one guy tossed out an hypothesis about what a greenie effect would look like and the data are superficially consistent with that. But of course you're right in that you would never be able to ascribe this to greenies with anything remotely resembling certainty no matter how much data you had.

For example, team OPS might be affected by backup catchers being more likely to play in day games after night games.

This would lead to a lower OPS in day games after night games, not higher. (OK, some backup Cs are better hitters, worse defenders than the starters but not generally). Other backups are more likely to play day after night too. But the playing of backups on day after night might be more common now than 30-40 years ago (I have no idea).

Lights are worth checking out but just in general you'd need to start with your standard day/night split. Somebody else can do the legwork on all the years but for 1971 MLB, they hit 27 points of OPS better in day games overall so the 16 point bump in day after night looks trivial compared to that. If anything, that's evidence that greenies not greater than a night of boozing. In 2006 they actually hit 2 points worse in the day but that puts the observed effect 13 points lower than the overall effect which is essentially the same effect of day after night (vs. overall day/night) seen in 1971.

   8. Dale Sams Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4350787)
So far as I can tell, Amphetimines became prescription only in 1965 and a Class II drug in 1971.
   9. jdennis Posted: January 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4350898)
the effects seem pretty minimal. people make the argument that logically equates amphetamines to steroids as PEDs, and while those people would even say that the effect wasn't as big, that change is very small compared to the blatantly obvious steroid effect. also, didn't the dh come into effect during the window?
   10. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 20, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4351092)
blatantly obvious steroid effect

There's a blatantly obvious steroid effect?
   11. Morty Causa Posted: January 20, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4351099)
Steroids synthesize with protein to make muscle. Do greenies?
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4351294)
There's a blatantly obvious steroid effect?


Yes, look at all those records that guys like Bartolo Colon and Manny Alexander set.

   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 20, 2013 at 09:16 PM (#4351513)
From Dr Gary Wadler himself:

Baseball's steroid-testing program is now in its fourth season and its third incarnation, having been strengthened twice under pressure from the federal government. However, until last November baseball had resisted banning amphetamines, synthetic stimulants that, some within the game argued, were not true performance-enhancers -- an assertion that is contradicted by leading authorities on the use of drugs in sports.
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"There was a huge outcry [in the scientific community] when baseball claimed there was no evidence that amphetamines were performance-enhancing," said Gary Wadler, a professor of medicine at New York University and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency. "But stimulants can be potent performance-enhancers."


source

Amphetamines were also among the first things banned in the Olympics in 1968.
   14. rfloh Posted: January 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4351598)
Steroids do not synthesise with protein to make muscle. Neither do greenies.

   15. rfloh Posted: January 20, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4351601)
They probably increase protein synthesis, including by increasing dna transciption to mrna, and possibly incrasing satellite cell proliferation and differentiation
   16. DA Baracus, Braves Travel Agent Posted: January 20, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4351603)
For example, team OPS might be affected by backup catchers being more likely to play in day games after night games.


There's also a "house money" effect that could be at work. Day games are almost always the final game of a series, and if the team won the first two games of the series managers are more likely to give a regular player a day off in the third, probably even more so if it's a day game.

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