Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, March 22, 2013

Neyer: Bill James on overrating ground-ball pitchers

Toward the end, Bill writes ...

  When I talk about ground ball pitchers getting hurt, I’m not really talking about guys like Adam Wainwright and Andy Pettitte, with Ground Ball Rates around 38% or Ground Ball /Fly Ball Ratios around 5 to 4. In that context, I was talking about the guys with really extreme Ground Ball tendencies, like Chien-Ming Wang and Brandon Webb. Those guys, it seems to me, always self-destruct after a couple of years, unless their name is spelled “D-e-r-e-k-L-o-w-e”. I don’t know why.

... and he concludes, “However, many of the statements which have been made by sabermetric advocates of ground ball pitchers are also inaccurate. But I will leave it for them to clean up their own messes.”

I think that’s fair. I think some of us just sort of assumed that since home runs are bad and ground-ball pitchers tend to give up fewer home runs, then ground-ball pitchers are good. But it turns out the difference between ground-ball pitchers and fly-ball pitchers tends to be exaggerated. The only significant difference is between extreme ground-ball pitchers—of whom, there aren’t many—and fly-ball pitchers ... and Bill argues that those extreme ground-ball hitters usually get hurt after two or three years anyway.

In fairness to extreme ground-ball pitchers, Bill hasn’t offered in this essay any systematic injury analysis; just a long list of sinker-ballers who did get hurt. It’s a compelling list, to be sure. Maybe there’s something particularly dangerous about throwing sinkers that sink enough and are fast enough to fool the world’s greatest batters.

Thanks to DC.

Repoz Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:55 AM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:22 AM (#4394078)
If James' conjecture is correct, I suspect it may have to do with the mechanics that produce these violent sinkers. Wang and Webb in particular were felled by shoulder injuries, though this is not entirely the province of sinkerballers. Rich Harden and Chris Young both were (are?) extreme flyball pitchers who have had shoulder problems. Guess I'll have to RTFA.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4394080)
this is not a new thought for bill. he has been muttering about ground ballers since bill swift went belly up. bill thought swift would be the be all to end all and went swift crashed and burned james was vexed.

   3. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:26 AM (#4394081)
Brandon Webb was good for over half a decade. Yeah, he eventually exploded his shoulder, but up until that point he was going on about 5 years running as the most durable pitcher in baseball. In general, I don't buy this premise. Here are the "true" sinkerballers of the past decade.

2003-2012, SP, >400 IP, >57% GB%, Ranked by GB%

1 Brandon Webb 198 GS1318.2 IP64.2 %
2 Derek Lowe 323 GS1926.2 IP61.9 %
3 Chien-Ming Wang 120 GS741.1 IP59.3 %
4 Tim Hudson 283 GS1869.1 IP59.1 %
5 Jake Westbrook 242 GS1491.0 IP59.1 
6 Roberto Hernandez 153 GS911.1 IP58.2 %
7 Aaron Cook 219 GS1332.2 IP57.5 


This group doesn't strike me as particularly injury prone as compared to any other random grouping of 7 starters. 5 of the 7 were worth > 20 fWAR over that span.
   4. Tricky Dick Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:44 AM (#4394086)
The article is behind the paywall, and Neyer's excerpt doesn't mention that James performed a study, which didn't support his preconceived view about groundball pitchers. He concludes: “So what do we conclude? Well. ..I still don’t really like Ground Ball pitchers, but I do concede that I was, in the past, too radical in my distrust of them."

That study doesn't relate to the speculation that extreme groundball pitchers are more injury prone, which appears to be anecdotal.
   5. bookbook Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4394087)
Hudson's one IOC the underrated pitchers of this generation. Any chance he makes the HOF?
   6. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:58 AM (#4394091)
This group doesn't strike me as particularly injury prone as compared to any other random grouping of 7 starters.


Between injury, ineffectiveness, usage patterns and so on (which all factor into selection bias issues) finding a control group of pitchers for any given thesis always seems to be a huge issue. I don't have anything to help, just pointing out the obvious.
   7. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:59 AM (#4394092)
The Hudson and Mulder trades still fascinate me. It's almost as if the universe had to balance the equation to keep everything from falling apart.
   8. GuyM Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4394100)
It's too bad that James seems determined to be the Pete Rose of sabermetrics, concluding a brilliant career with years of sub-replacement-level analysis. As with Rose, even years of crappy performance can't obscure the greatness of the career: the peak was too good and too long. But still, it's unfortunate. James should open a bar, entertain customers with stories about the glory days of the 1981 Abstract, and enjoy being "Bill James."
   9. AROM Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4394119)
Red Sox keep him around, so they must feel he's contributing something. In that situation he can't really offer any useful ideas to the public.

But still, it's unfortunate. James should open a bar, entertain customers with stories about the glory days of the 1981 Abstract, and enjoy being "Bill James."


That's pretty much how I view everything that comes from his website.
   10. Worrierking Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4394126)
James should open a bar, entertain customers with stories about the glory days of the 1981 Abstract, and enjoy being "Bill James."


"Sabermetricians these days don't have the same guts and and intensity like me and Pete Palmer and the boys did in the early days. They're too worried about girls and iPhones and their mom's bringing them meatloaf to the basement. Two Bud lights, that'll be $7.50"
   11. Guapo Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4394139)
Sabremetricians were far from fans of Wang. I remember every time I read an article about him it was that his success was unsustainable based on his k rate and he'd be coming down to earth any day now. And his career exploded after he hurt himself running the bases, not pitching.
   12. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4394143)
Hudson's one IOC the underrated pitchers of this generation. Any chance he makes the HOF?

I doubt it, but he seems to have a pretty good HOM shot. Kevin Brown was another durable groundballer.
   13. SG Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4394144)
It's too bad that James seems determined to be the Pete Rose of sabermetrics, concluding a brilliant career with years of sub-replacement-level analysis.


I tend to take a lot of what he says in public with a grain of salt these days. My guess is that his more innovative stuff is being kept in-house.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4394145)
2003-2012, SP, >400 IP, >57% GB%, Ranked by GB%

1 Brandon Webb - 198 GS, 1318.2 IP, 64.2 %
2 Derek Lowe - 323 GS, 1926.2 IP, 61.9 %
3 Chien-Ming Wang - 120 GS, 741.1 IP, 59.3 %
4 Tim Hudson - 283 GS, 1869.1 IP, 59.1 %
5 Jake Westbrook - 242 GS, 1491.0 IP, 59.1 %
6 Roberto Hernandez - 153 GS, 911.1 IP, 58.2 %
7 Aaron Cook - 219 GS, 1332.2 IP, 57.5 %


Barnaby, where'd you get that list? I can't find GB% on BRef PI.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4394163)
I doubt it, but he seems to have a pretty good HOM shot. Kevin Brown was another durable groundballer.


Agree, but again, another pitcher that is significantly better than Jack Morris. Jack Morris is going to get in through the veteran's committee if he doesn't go in next year, there will probably be 50 pitchers on the outside looking in, who were better than he was.

   16. GuyM Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4394167)
I tend to take a lot of what he says in public with a grain of salt these days. My guess is that his more innovative stuff is being kept in-house.

So your theory is that James' subscribers get to see the stuff that the Sox review and say, "hmmm, thanks Bill, what else have you got for us?" Perhaps, but I doubt it. I'm sure his work for the Sox is more specialized, to meet their needs, but I see no reason to think it's higher quality.
   17. zack Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4394178)
Isn't there a belief that sinkers work better when the pitcher is tired? That could have something to do with it, if either the player or the manager is deliberately pitching tired.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4394185)
Isn't there a belief that sinkers work better when the pitcher is tired? That could have something to do with it, if either the player or the manager is deliberately pitching tired.


Makes sense. If they are getting better results deeper into the game, the manager might keep them in longer. Adding that to the theory that the true damaging to a pitcher happens when they are tired and you have a mechanism almost designed to increase injuries among true groundballers.
   19. Mayor Blomberg Posted: March 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4394208)
Kevin brown sat at 1.45:1 (59%) over his 19 year career.
   20. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 22, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4394250)
Derek was looking like a fly ball pitcher in last nights game, or at least in the fourth inning. I do hope he catches on with the Rangers, though. I always pull for the veteran trying to gut out one more year.
   21. djrelays Posted: March 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4394258)
Rob Neyer's opening comment: "* I've eliminated Bill's [deleted: preference for] hilarious insistence on two (or three!) spaces after each period. Sorry Bill!"

Rob Neyer is obviously a young pup who's done most of his writing on a computer. Had he spent a good part of his career working on a typewriter for a newspaper his muscle memory would insist on two spaces before starting a new sentence.

Computers allow for justified type at the flick of a switch, typewriters didn't. Thus, James is justified for using multiple spaces.

(Ack! I just realized I've inserted two spaces before each sentence. It's a habit nearly impossible to break [and I did it again!]).
   22. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4394275)
For a long time I would write stuff out and then have Word (or whatever) replace two spaces with one everywhere. I eventually broke myself of the double space habit.
   23. Srul Itza Posted: March 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4394309)
What is wrong with 2 spaces after a sentence?
   24. zack Posted: March 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4394311)
I'm only 30 and I always doublespace. I didn't know it was out of fashion until the last year or so.
   25. Pingu Posted: March 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4394313)
I'm only supposed to put one space after periods?

I must have been drunk when they sent out that memo.
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4394322)
I think the idea got into James's head long ago with the career arc of The Bird, arguably the patron saint of the Sabermetric Era's low 90s hard sinker groundball pitchers. His obsession kind of showed itself with his multi-thousand word rant in the Historical Abstract about how The Bird was going to suck anyway, even if his shoulder hadn't blown, since he had such low strikeout rates.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: March 22, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4394327)
What is wrong with 2 spaces after a sentence?


Reporters were always taught one, since space itself was valuable. I don't think that should govern anyone else's usage.

Of course, it doesn't matter if you put one or two after you're period in your posts here. Primer is going to make it one space for you, so you might as well save your space bar thumb the work.
   28. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: March 22, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4394355)
I was taught to doublespace after a period growing up and that's what I always do.

And, like all civilized people, I use the Oxford comma.
   29. puck Posted: March 22, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4394365)
What is wrong with 2 spaces after a sentence?

Apparently one space is typographic convention and the two-space thing started when we were typing on monospace typewriters--the two spaces were needed to contrast with all the white space caused by the proportional spacing. I had no idea it was even a thing until Farhad Manjoo was ranting about it on Slate.
   30. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4394373)
I still do the two-space-after-a-period thing. As others have said, it was common practice in the typewriter days, and it's a habit I find difficult to break. For that matter, I can't think of a good reason to break it.
   31. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 22, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4394424)
I'm also a Gov. George Wallace typist, and I say: "Two spaces now, two spaces tomorrow, two spaces forever!"
   32. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: March 22, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4394438)
People who complain about 2 spaces after a period are self-obsessed weenies and scolds who should have been drowned at birth.
   33. zonk Posted: March 22, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4394450)
Apparently one space is typographic convention and the two-space thing started when we were typing on monospace typewriters--the two spaces were needed to contrast with all the white space caused by the proportional spacing. I had no idea it was even a thing until Farhad Manjoo was ranting about it on Slate.


Yeah... as the rant says, every official style sheet under the sun -- except some oddball academia discpline... psychiatry I think? without (re)-RTFA.... now says that using two spaces after the period is incorrect. Only one space should follow the period.

However, I still do two spaces - mostly because that's how I learned and double-tapping the space bar is a force of habit I'm not going to or interested in trying to break at this point.

We actually had a big effort last year to try to get our in-house analysts/editors to cease using two spaces after the period.

The ironic thing is that as we have started integrating more and more machine learning and semantic interrogation/automated classification and enrichment into our publishing -- two spaces as a standard would actually make a lot of things a wee bit easier. We build ontologies and relationships down to individual sentences in some instances - but as we publish case law, regulations, et al - a lot of our content has various constructs where periods are used extensively in strings. Add to that the non-standard (in normal writing/language anyway) capitalization and such. You can regexp your way around most of it, of course, but more than once us on the technology side have mused how much simpler a lot of this would be if the two space thing had been kept holy!
   34. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4394451)
James puts 3 to 5 spaces after each sentence and randomly varies the number. At some point he got annoyed at someone insisting one or two (I forget which) spaces was the only correct thing to do and anything else was wrong, and now goes out of his way to put random high numbers of spaces after each sentence. He's been doing it at least since he started Bill James Online.

One space after each sentence is standard now. It was two recently enough that my high school teachers, in the late 1990s, taught me to always use two. Good thing for me it was never my nature to do what I was told.
   35. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 22, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4394464)
People who complain about 2 spaces after a period are self-obsessed weenies and scolds who should have been drowned at birth.

A friend of a friend used to know somebody whose cousin was drowned at birth for complaining about two spaces after a period, so this isn't funny.
   36. Karl from NY Posted: March 22, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4394468)
I was taught to doublespace on Apple IIs in elementary school. I have never even entertained the idea of breaking the muscle memory to do otherwise. Even though it's completely unnecessary in the online world because HTML collapses consecutive whitespace to one anyway.
   37. vivaelpujols Posted: March 22, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4394471)
I had no idea it was even a thing until Farhad Manjoo was ranting about it on Slate.


What an #######
   38. gehrig97 Posted: March 22, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4394476)
Interesting premise, but not sure I'm buying it with such a tiny sample size (Wang, in particular, is a convenient but highly questionable inclusion on this list: he injured his foot running the bases, which was thought to mess up his pitching motion, which led to the arm troubles -- had nothing to do with wear and tear on his arm).
   39. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 22, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4394500)
I stopped double spacing and using Oxford commas about 15 years back, though I've intermittently gone back to the latter - they're useful.
   40. geonose Posted: March 22, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4394511)
I stopped double spacing and using Oxford commas about 15 years back

I'm not sure why anybody would want to go to the effort of deliberately single-spacing after a lifetime of double. How did you train yourself? And if you forgot, did you go back and delete one?

As for the Oxford comma, its absence in a sequence of three or more is always jarring to my eye. On top of that, I can't think of any justification for not using it.
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4394527)
As for the Oxford comma, its absence in a sequence of three or more is always jarring to my eye. On top of that, I can't think of any justification for not using it.


More often than not, the Oxford comma does clarify what would otherwise be cloudy. But not every time.

My brother, Thomas, and Steve like having sex with farm animals.

If you use the Oxford comma, then it's not clear if this is two people (Steve and my brother Thomas) or three (Steve, Thomas and my unnamed brother).

Like the extra space after periods, I had the Oxford comma drilled out of me by my very first journalism professors. At my current publication, we'll slip it in when its exclusion would lead to confusion, but otherwise eschew it.

   42. escabeche Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4394532)
"Only one space after a period" is a relic of the time when people mostly produced documents on desktops and laptops. iOS uses "double space" as the standard mode of signaling a new sentence.
   43. JJ1986 Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4394540)
a relic of the time when people mostly produced documents on desktops and laptops.


I remember 2012 like it was only last year.
   44. Dan Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4394545)
"Only one space after a period" is a relic of the time when people mostly produced documents on desktops and laptops. iOS uses "double space" as the standard mode of signaling a new sentence.


That's a shortcut for automatically inserting a period. It still only types one space.
   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4394549)
More often than not, the Oxford comma does clarify what would otherwise be cloudy. But not every time.

My brother, Thomas, and Steve like having sex with farm animals.


I didn't know Oxford had an animal husbandry major. #the3wassilentyousee
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4394552)
I use two spaces after a period and I will never stop. Never!
   47. billyshears Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4394557)
Also, the punctuation should go on the outside of the quotation mark, unless the punctuation is part of the quotation.
   48. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4394562)
My room mate when I moved up to the cities did electronic publishing (mostly advertising) for a living. He cared deeply and eventually convinced me to switch.

EDIT: The two space after period. And I agree with #47, but sometimes it looks horrible and I switch for aesthetic reasons.
   49. Eric Ferguson Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4394567)
This is the kind of sh*t I visit BBTF to escape, guys.
   50. Mark S. is bored Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4394581)
My brother, Thomas, and Steve like having sex with farm animals.


Oxford comma can be safely ignored with better writing, such as:

Steve and my brother Thomas like having sex with farm animals.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4394592)
Oxford comma can be safely ignored with better writing, such as:

Steve and my brother Thomas like having sex with farm animals.


Sure, but that's true with all ambiguous sentences like this. The challenge, frequently not met, is recognizing when the sentence can be interpreted another way.
   52. philoye Posted: March 22, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4394627)
Double spacing after periods is an artifact from typewriters (specifically typing class in high school). It did not exist from Gutenberg until 1950 or whatever.

Part of why it is going away is in online use, consecutive whitespace is ignored, so double, triple spacing has no effect. Your browser will treat it as a single space. So you guys are welcome to pound out as many spaces as you'd like, but us typography nerds won't be subjected to this bizarre practice.

If you are absolutely set on double-spacing you can put in non-breaking spaces manually by typing non-breaking spaces using:

&nbsp


Here is an example.  Doesn't it look stupid?
   53. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4394634)
My brother, Thomas, and Steve like having sex with farm animals.

If you use the Oxford comma, then it's not clear if this is two people (Steve and my brother Thomas) or three (Steve, Thomas and my unnamed brother).


The sentence in your example, if it's referring to just two people, would properly be punctuated as "My brother Thomas and Steve like having sex with farm animals." No ambiguity there. Written with the commas, it can only refer to three different people. I know because Ben Yagoda told me.
   54. bookbook Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4394664)
I've always preferred single spaces, Oxford commas, and anything but Courier font.
But y'all can do what you want.
(I also prefer punctuation outside the quotation marks, but not living in England, I'm stuck
With the US punctuation rules on that one.)
   55. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4394683)
Part of why it is going away is in online use, consecutive whitespace is ignored, so double, triple spacing has no effect. Your browser will treat it as a single space. So you guys are welcome to pound out as many spaces as you'd like, but us typography nerds won't be subjected to this bizarre practice.


This caused me to look at the source code on the Hey, Bill page at Bill James Online... and yes, James actually does use 2-5 consecutive ampersand-nbsp's after every sentence, varying the number every time. Direct quote from the source:

On the second issue. . ..there is a very long tradition of profiteering in this manner.!nbsp;!nbsp;!nbsp;!nbsp;Numerous lynchings were "commemorated"!nbsp;on post cards, and!nbsp;post cards showing and celebrating the lynching of Leo!nbsp;Frank (and many others) were commonly sold and widely available through the 1940s.!nbsp;!nbsp;!nbsp; John McGraw carried with him...


I replaced the &'s with !'s to stop the interwebs from converting my non-breaking space tags to actual non-breaking spaces. But you get the idea.
   56. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4394689)
#52, I vastly prefer the way that looks to the alternative.

I actually didn't know people stopped using double spaces until this article. Very strange. I just (Oct 12) finished an MS thesis paper and definitely used double spaces throughout, and they were very anal about formatting, so I'm surprised.
   57. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4394694)
30 - I changed because I was asked to by my employer.
Big "believer" in 47/quotation punctuation.
   58. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4394713)
The challenge, frequently not met, is recognizing when the sentence can be interpreted another way.


The challenge is quitting those farm animals. You wouldn't believe how gentle they can be.
   59. bjhanke Posted: March 22, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4394786)
I had to learn to stop using double-spacing at sentence end when I did my first book on a computer (1988). At the time, the style sheets essentially said that you use double spacing in monospaced fonts, like Courier, and single spacing for proportional fonts. Typewriters, of course, had monospaced fonts. The much newer change is the concept of omitting the last comma in a list. So, now it's Joe, Charlie and Jack. Ten years ago, it was Joe, Charlie, and Jack. I don't know why (or exactly when) that changed, and I still have trouble with it. It's much more recent than using only one space after a sentence. It may also vary by style sheet, of which there are, basically, three. AP, which is Associated Press and is intended for journalism, differs slightly from MLA (Modern Language Association), which is designed for academic journals, and Chicago, which is designed for everything else. - Brock Hanke
   60. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: March 22, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4394792)
I had no idea that double spacing was not the norm any more. In High School we were taught to use it, same with college.
   61. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM (#4394809)
What is wrong with 2 spaces after a sentence?


I negotiate and draft contracts, and there isn't a lawyer in my biz that doesn't use 2 spaces after a period. It's never been an issue.
   62. Dan Evensen Posted: March 23, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4394824)
Yet another thread hijacked into a discussion about grammar? I feel like I see one of these every day here. Maybe we should have a monthly thread devoted entirely to grammar, sort of like how we have a thread devoted to politics and one to the lesser sports.

Makes me long for the good old days of no-registration BBTF, when a thread hijack was generally a lot more rude and clever. Cookie Monster, where art thou?
   63. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 12:58 AM (#4394826)
I negotiate and draft contracts, and there isn't a lawyer in my biz that doesn't use 2 spaces after a period. It's never been an issue.


Maybe this is why firms won't hire me. I need to go edit my resume now.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: March 23, 2013 at 01:02 AM (#4394828)
I was taught 2 spaces, and thought that that was the only correct way to do it. But someone convinced me within the last year to change to the single-space. I assumed that the double space would be an unbreakable lifelong habit, but, to my surprise, I was able to switch the way I type almost instantly.
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: March 23, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4394830)
Yet another thread hijacked into a discussion about grammar? I feel like I see one of these every day here. Maybe we should have a monthly thread devoted entirely to grammar, sort of like how we have a thread devoted to politics and one to the lesser sports.


I don't mean to be mean, but instead of complaining about thread hijacks, maybe people should try and steer the thread to in topic comments. It's ridiculous to see people who have not participated in the thread on topic, to then pop in here and complain about thread hijacks.

There were plenty of in topic comments on this thread, a hijack only happens when the thread doesn't show speed enough to prevent a hijack. Come in and join the discussion. Prevent the hijack with on topic discussion, instead of a piss and moan about a thread hijack.
   66. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 23, 2013 at 03:11 AM (#4394850)
Barnaby, where'd you get that list? I can't find GB% on BRef PI.


FanGraphs.
   67. bigglou115 Posted: March 23, 2013 at 04:36 AM (#4394852)
Also, the punctuation should go on the outside of the quotation mark, unless the punctuation is part of the quotation.


Are you from Europe?

This was one that cost me an A on my first brief in law school, the punctuation goes inside the quotation mark more often than not. The general rule is to put the punctuation inside the quotation mark. The exception would be if you asked a question, but your quote wasn't a question. For example:

Did you just say, "hello"?

As opposed to:

Did you just ask, "what's up?"

Both are correct, what is not correct is:

The sign changed from "Walk", to "Don't walk".

This is not the rule anywhere other than America, as near as I can tell.

edit: btw, this is another one of those things they get right over there. The overall ease of the metric system leads me to believe that were baseball created in Europe sabremetrics would have been invented and perfected in the 1950s.
   68. Swedish Chef Posted: March 23, 2013 at 05:21 AM (#4394853)
The overall ease of the metric system leads me to believe that were baseball created in Europe sabremetrics would have been invented and perfected in the 1950s.

Like we have perfected football stats? If baseball was invented in Europe there would have been one stat, runs. RBI? Bah, nerd.
   69. bigglou115 Posted: March 23, 2013 at 05:57 AM (#4394855)
Like we have perfected football stats? If baseball was invented in Europe there would have been one stat, runs. RBI? Bah, nerd.


If it shows how non-globalized my thought process is, I had literally no idea what you were talking about for like 5 minutes. That's how long it took me to remember Soccer was a thing, and it was made in Europe, and ya'll call it football. Do you call American football gridiron? Is that really a thing or just something people are trying to get everybody to say?
   70. Greg K Posted: March 23, 2013 at 06:19 AM (#4394858)
Do you call American football gridiron? Is that really a thing or just something people are trying to get everybody to say?

In my experience you call it "American Football".

Sorry, I should correct that for UK punctuation. 'American Football'.
   71. Swedish Chef Posted: March 23, 2013 at 06:37 AM (#4394860)
Do you call American football gridiron? Is that really a thing or just something people are trying to get everybody to say?

"American Football", or a suitable translation, like "Amerikansk Fotboll". Of course, there is seldom any need to distinguish between the sport and the league here, nobody cares about local leagues or college ball, so "NFL" works too.
   72. bigglou115 Posted: March 23, 2013 at 06:53 AM (#4394864)
"American Football", or a suitable translation, like "Amerikansk Fotboll". Of course, there is seldom any need to distinguish between the sport and the league here, nobody cares about local leagues or college ball, so "NFL" works too.


Interesting. When I was learning Arabic the book always translated it as gridiron, and I was wondering if that was a European thing as I didn't know where else that word could have come from.
   73. billyshears Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:31 AM (#4394869)
Are you from Europe?


I am not. I just think punctuation outside the quotation makes more sense. Much like #61, I also negotiate and draft contracts for a living. I have begun to follow my preferred approach to punctuating quotations in my documents (the European approach). I have found many who are willing to to accept this approach as correct. I have also found that lawyers aren't all that militant on the two spaces thing.
   74. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:43 AM (#4394873)
I think periods outside the quotation mark looks ugly and disconnected, but that may be Stockholm Syndrome talking.
   75. Greg K Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:46 AM (#4394874)
I mostly put punctuation outside of the quotation marks because in most of my writing what I'm quoting are documents that I have to record with total precision. To me putting a comma inside the quotes seems to imply that the comma exists in the original text I'm quoting (which it doesn't), so I feel that's more accurate. To be honest I had no idea there was even a convention about it.
   76. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 23, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4394881)
   77. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4394906)
That Slate article LINKS TO ANOTHER ONE ABOUT CAPS LOCK.


Interesting article, and I have little doubt that its conclusion--that capital letters are making their way out of our written language--is correct. I'm not sure whether it'll take merely 30 years or 100, but that's the direction the language is moving.

More generally, whether crotchety old whiners like myself like it or not, txtspk isn't just a teenage fad, it's English evolving in front of us. I can foresee a time in the not-too-distant future--probably not during my lifetime, but probably during my grandchildren's--whn vwls n a lot of sprflus cnsnnts fal nto gnrl dsuse.
   78. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4394931)
whn vwls n a lot of sprflus cnsnnts fal nto gnrl dsuse

The Gdanskians are way ahead of us on this.
   79. Mayor Blomberg Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4394940)
The sentence in your example, if it's referring to just two people, would properly be punctuated as "My brother Thomas and Steve like having sex with farm animals." No ambiguity there. Written with the commas, it can only refer to three different people.


Only if you have more than one brother. If you have one brother and toss in his name anyway, it's your brother, Thomas, ...
   80. BDC Posted: March 23, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4394969)
"Bus" list for Tim Hudson, centered on him in terms of Starts and ERA+:

Player             W  GS ERA+     IP
Carl Hubbell     253 433  130 3590.1
Joe McGinnity    246 381  120 3441.1
Stan Coveleski   215 385  127 3082.0
Billy Pierce     211 432  119 3306.2
Tim Hudson       197 405  126 2682.1
David Cone       194 419  121 2898.2
CC Sabathia      191 383  125 2564.1
Dutch Leonard    191 375  119 3218.1
Jimmy Key        186 389  122 2591.2
Dave Stieb       176 412  122 2895.1
Kevin Appier     169 402  121 2595.1 



This suggests he's got something of a HOM case already in terms of quality and longevity, but of course without the high IP and thus Wins totals that prevailed for such starters in the early 20th century and got Hubbell and McGinnity and Coveleski to the HOF. (Hey, there's how to avoid the ####ing Oxford comma, just keep repeating "and.")

Here's a list with the same criteria, but "through age 36" instead of complete career:

Player           W  GS ERA+     IP
Eddie Plank    251 406  123 3432.2
Whitey Ford    232 422  132 3053.1
Warren Spahn   224 404  127 3231.0
Tim Hudson     197 405  126 2682.1
CC Sabathia    191 383  125 2564.1
Kevin Brown    180 399  130 2776.1
Jimmy Key      180 378  122 2512.1
Dave Stieb     175 409  123 2845.0
Kevin Appier   169 402  121 2595.1 


Hudson doesn't have some of the charismatic accomplishments of Plank or Ford or Spahn (another way!), but if he keeps cranking out the 16-9 seasons for another few years, he's going to have some impressive career totals.
   81. bigglou115 Posted: March 23, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4395001)
I am not. I just think punctuation outside the quotation makes more sense. Much like #61, I also negotiate and draft contracts for a living. I have begun to follow my preferred approach to punctuating quotations in my documents (the European approach). I have found many who are willing to to accept this approach as correct. I have also found that lawyers aren't all that militant on the two spaces thing.


Oh definitely. I've only been a lawyer for less than a year now, and I'm still learning what I can and can't ignore from law school, but I knew all along that lawyers and judges are much less demanding than a legal writing professor. That said, I have a few appeals going before the Arkansas Court of Appeals, and I've been told by multiple clerks to make sure my briefs would garner at least a B in legal writing.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: March 23, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4395043)
Is that really a thing or just something people are trying to get everybody to say?

In Aus/NZ it's about an equal split among "gridiron," "American football" and "NFL." It is way more popular than baseball and, surprisingly to me, the NBA. The latter could be an age thing and maybe the kids are more into NBA ... certainly you see a lot of NBA jerseys around and Lebron is used to sell shoes.
   83. Swedish Chef Posted: March 23, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4395048)
   84. Ebessan Posted: March 23, 2013 at 07:07 PM (#4395082)
The overall ease of the metric system leads me to believe that were baseball created in Europe sabremetrics would have been invented and perfected in the 1950s.

The metric system can get bent. "190 centimeters? That's so much shorter than 205!"
   85. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4395106)
I tend to take a lot of what he says in public with a grain of salt these days. My guess is that his more innovative stuff is being kept in-house.

So your theory is that James' subscribers get to see the stuff that the Sox review and say, "hmmm, thanks Bill, what else have you got for us?" Perhaps, but I doubt it. I'm sure his work for the Sox is more specialized, to meet their needs, but I see no reason to think it's higher quality.


Everyone falls off. Even Picasso. Matisse was reduced at the end of his life to doing cut-paper compositions. One reason we're stuck with such shitty mainstream media work is that the people who are good when they're young get to stick around forever. How else do you explain Eddie Murphy?

But, yeah, sadly, Bill's not interesting these days. He wasn't all that interesting, either, as early as the 1990s. We'll always have the abstracts, though. That was a Ruthian peak.
   86. Srul Itza Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:29 PM (#4395107)
I actually didn't know people stopped using double spaces until this article.


I actually had heard somewhere that one space was the new standard for word processing. I did not pay much attention at the time, but I guess it is the new wave, as I am seeing it more and more when I am sent documents in Word or WP. Still, as a long time touch typist, putting two spaces after the period is pretty much a matter of muscle memory now.

I was taught to NOT use the oxford comma. I think it looks odd when I see it.

I was taught to put the punctuation inside the quotation marks, and I mostly do, but sometimes it just looks wrong.

As to Caps Lock, I hate that key because there is some combination of keys that I keep hitting by accident that turns on the all caps function in the font, so that even when I hit the Caps Lock key again to turn it off, it stays on. I have to go into "font" on the ribbon and uncheck "all caps". I would be very happy to see that key go away.
   87. JoeHova Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4395111)
I've always thought double spacing and oxford commas look hideous and make text appear disjointed. Especially double spacing.
   88. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 24, 2013 at 03:19 AM (#4395202)
Who are these people teaching not to use the Oxford Comma and why do they hate civilized society?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Francis
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogThe Economist: The new market inefficiencies
(19 - 2:21am, Oct 01)
Last: David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R)

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2014 Discussion
(14 - 2:17am, Oct 01)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogSpector: Stats incredible! Numbers from the 2014 MLB season will amaze you
(33 - 2:11am, Oct 01)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(4079 - 2:01am, Oct 01)
Last: Joey Bot

NewsblogAL WILD CARD GAME 2014 OMNICHATTER
(1121 - 1:58am, Oct 01)
Last: Textbook Editor

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1958 Ballot
(13 - 1:55am, Oct 01)
Last: neilsen

NewsblogWSJ: Playoff Hateability Index
(15 - 1:45am, Oct 01)
Last: if nature called, ladodger34 would listen

NewsblogBrown: Winners And Losers: MLB Attendance In 2014, Nearly 74 Million Through The Gate
(33 - 11:27pm, Sep 30)
Last: Bhaakon

NewsblogMLB’s Biggest Star Is 40 (And He Just Retired). That Could Be A Problem.
(76 - 11:27pm, Sep 30)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8172 - 11:26pm, Sep 30)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

NewsblogESPN: Ron Gardenhire out after 13 Seasons with Twins
(42 - 10:49pm, Sep 30)
Last: The District Attorney

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1959 Discussion
(6 - 10:35pm, Sep 30)
Last: MrC

NewsblogThe Calm-Before-The-Storm and Postseason Prediction OMNICHATTER, 2014
(110 - 10:25pm, Sep 30)
Last: JE (Jason)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(455 - 10:08pm, Sep 30)
Last: The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB)

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-30-2014
(19 - 7:51pm, Sep 30)
Last: Leroy Kincaid

Page rendered in 0.8919 seconds
52 querie(s) executed