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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Neyer: Joe Girardi plays the percentages ... until he doesn’t.

BINDERS! I guess the hot hand fallacy chapter fell out.

The Yankees are behind by exactly one run in a game they exactly must win. There is a left-handed pitcher on the mound, with big platoon splits. The Yankees’ next scheduled batter is yet another left-handed hitter.

Raúl Ibañez.

Yes, there are people who follow the New York Yankees, or work for the New York Yankees, or are paid good money to talk about baseball during national television broadcasts, who seem to believe, as one particularly irascible friend of mine puts it, “that Ibañez has some magical pixie dust than enables him to hit home runs at will, and that someone put the voodoo kibosh on Swisher and A-Rod that won’t go away until they each get two consecutive hits.”

Ah, there they are: Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez, our switch-hitter and our right-handed hitter, sitting on the bench. Both have been struggling lately, as you’ve no doubt heart. Swisher started for the Yankees in right field all season; he’s been benched. Rodriguez started for the Yankees at third base all season, and also made $31 million all season; he’s been benched.

Against those struggles, Joe Girardi might have considered this salient fact: Over the last two seasons, Raúl Ibañez has been gifted with 194 at-bats and posted a .206 batting average. With four home runs. Which is to say that against left-handed pitchers, Raúl Ibañez hits like a shortstop. A weak-hitting shortstop with a .236 batting average.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez and Swisher awaited on the bench.

Repoz Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:24 AM | 176 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

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   101. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4274297)
Yes, they do choke. They overcome it by (a) facing a very low percentage of "chokable" moments as a percentage of overall moments (*); and (b) extraordinary physical skills.


We've measured "chokable moments" with things like LIPS and hitting with RISP. Pick your own definition. Players don't choke. A handful (Paul Molitor and one other that I can't recall) met any reasonable definition of clutch based on RISP hitting over his career IIRC, but you would expect SOME players to be at the extreme edge of any distribution.

It is entirely plausible, and not remotely internally inconsistent that A-Rod could both (i) get nervous and choke more in the clutch than a good college player; and
(ii) have had the career he did. It is an intellectual fail to suggest otherwise.

(*) Which the uninformed and underinformed spin as "small sample size." The very reason choking is hard to prove statistically is that players are presented with so few moments to choke.


So, you can't define the "chokable moments" ahead of time, so you can't measure it after the fact, but that won't stop you from claiming that ARod by and large chokes in his chokable moments.

Does that about sum up all you have to offer on this subject?
   102. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4274303)
Rick Ankiel wants to know how he rose to "the pinnacle of his profession."
   103. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4274304)
Not sure it's quite what you're looking for but Pedroia going to bat for Youkilis when Valentine called out Youk in the press earlier in the year seems at least to be along those lines. I don't know that anything associated with the Red Sox' 2012 season is something we want to be in favor of. Youk wasn't quite being "scapegoated" and "singled out" (he was legitimately playing poorly at the time) but I think it's roughly similar.

Didn't Jeter come out on Giambi's behalf many years ago?


Thanks. Yes, I think both of these are similar enough (A-Rod was also "legitimately playing poorly" in the 2006 and 2012 ALDS's) to work as examples of what SugarBear could plausibly be looking for if members of the Yankees thought that A-Rod was being unfairly scapegoated (although, I also think the lack of such statements doesn't mean nobody in the Yankees organization feels this way).
   104. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4274306)
Is "mom's basement" the SABR-equivalent of Godwin's Law?


If mom's basement is a Fuhrerbunker, certainly.
   105. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4274310)
We've measured "chokable moments" with things like LIPS and hitting with RISP. Pick your own definition.

Right now, we're talking about the postseason. An AB in the 7th against the Royals in June doesn't simulate that.

As we noted in the other thread about this, elite golfers around the world freely admit to being nervous in big moments. It beggars belief that elite baseball players -- at least some of them -- wouldn't feel similar pressure.

So, you can't define the "chokable moments" ahead of time, so you can't measure it after the fact, but that won't stop you from claiming that ARod by and large chokes in his chokable moments.

Does that about sum up all you have to offer on this subject?


I offered plenty yesterday re golf and A-Rod. The definition applicable to A-Rod is the postseason. He doesn't get out of slow starts well, and has shown this tendency for years. All indications are that both his Yankee managers -- the men around him ever day -- have believed this to be the case. Joe Torre took action a mere three games into the postseason -- he pretty clearly thought A-Rod was facing (and had faced) chokable moments.
   106. spycake Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4274321)
You have a couple of potential benefits. One is that if you can get back into the game or take a lead you can manage a bit differently in terms of matchups.


Not sure why you can't play matchups in the middle innings, actually it might be easier because your opponent will be less likely to pinch-hit that early. If your opponent has any reasonable weapons on the bench, they will probably be deployed in the 8th/9th and you might want Robertson/Rivera/whomever in the game at that point.

I'm obviously not a huge fan of modern closer usage or "saving" relievers or such things, but when you've got a stable of solid relievers, I don't think Girardi's usage is bad at all.
   107. JL Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4274322)
You have a couple of potential benefits. One is that if you can get back into the game or take a lead you can manage a bit differently in terms of matchups. Secondly if you go to Robertson in the 8th you get one inning out of him. If you go to him in the 4th or 5th you can could get 2 or 3 innings out of him if he is effective and efficient.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't see any way you get three inning Robertson. 60.2 IP in 65 games this year. Two innings seems possible, but even that is not automatic.

I see you point about the score, but I think overall it is minor at best. The guys Girardi did use has ERAs of 3.34, 2.82, 3.33, 3.74 and 4.35 (Chamberlain). I don't see any dreck here that really stands out.

   108. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4274323)
What would be a real-life example of a player, manager, or team executive objecting to a player being "scapegoated"? I can't think of one off the top of my head.

In addition, I would like some examples of a manager demoting a player, and other players going to the manager and objecting and either changing the manager's mind or being told to shove it by the manager. And the examples can't be from a book published 15 years after the fact because a) who knows if that's even what really happened and b) we're only a couple of days from the benching.
   109. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4274326)
My guess is that Ankiel was injured in some way.
   110. JJ1986 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4274332)
My guess is that Ankiel was injured in some way.


And Blass and Sax and Sasser and Wohlers and Knoblauch?
   111. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4274335)
As we noted in the other thread about this, elite golfers around the world freely admit to being nervous in big moments. It beggars belief that elite baseball players -- at least some of them -- wouldn't feel similar pressure.


I didn't say they don't feel pressure; I said their performance isn't impacted by it. Elvis said that he felt butterflies before every show.

Most of us would be nervous delivering the evening news; Katie Couric isn't - or if she is, it doesn't affect her performance.
   112. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4274337)
And Blass and Sax and Sasser and Wohlers and Knoblauch?


Why would that be implausible?
   113. JJ1986 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4274344)
Why would that be implausible?


Because they could make comparable throws in practice or in other situations and only had problems during games.
   114. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4274346)
Not sure why you can't play matchups in the middle innings, actually it might be easier because your opponent will be less likely to pinch-hit that early.


The issue is that it's a little easier to do when you have fewer outs left. If it's the fourth inning and I've got to get 17 outs and I try to play lefty-right I could be in a situation where I HAVE to get 2-3 innings out of Robertson. By going to Robertson first I can react to what he does.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't see any way you get three inning Robertson. 60.2 IP in 65 games this year. Two innings seems possible, but even that is not automatic.


Agreed. But you get 1.1 or 1.2, that helps. Any extra you get gives you a little wiggle room. If you start from the premise that Robertson/Soriano are the two best NY relievers then waiting until the 8th means you are maxing out at 2 innings from your best pitchers. Why not get 4 or even 3 or 2.2 or 2.1?

It's not quite the extreme example but in Game Seven of the 2007 ALCS the Red Sox started the sixth inning with the 2nd best reliever, Hideki Okajima then went to Papelbon in the 8th. Obviously not as extreme but it was the first time since his MLB debut on Opening Day that Okajima had come into a game to start the 6th. Rather than trying to piece it together with Timlin and Lopez in the 6th and 7th Francona got a bit aggressive and it paid off.
   115. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4274349)
I didn't say they don't feel pressure; I said their performance isn't impacted by it.

They admit their performance is impacted by it; see, e.g., Tom Watson.(*) Or the Steve Blass of golf, Ian Baker-Finch, who within three or so years of winning the British Open couldn't hit a fairway and could barely break 85. It was entirely mental -- he started thinking about things that never entered his head before and was never able to banish the thoughts.

Golfers also speak of being "in the zone," in which negative thoughts (preferably, all thoughts) disappear. Thinking of any kind tends to be counterproductive to swinging a stick and hitting a ball the way you want to -- and any kind of negative thoughts even more so. It's tough to keep negative thoughts away, particularly when the games are big and you aren't playing/hitting well. Plus, your mind just works differently in bigger moments; if you're a swing tinkerer, you'll tinker after going 0-6 in the playoffs whereas you don't give a #### about an 0-6 during the year.

(*) It's not just pressure; it's anxiety and other thoughts and mental processes that interfere with performance.
   116. AROM Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4274366)
Elvis said that he felt butterflies before every show.


And as Bill Simmons seems to work into everything he writes, Bill Russell used to puke before big games.

Blass/Ankiel/Knoblauch is notable because it is extremely rare. What A-Rod is experiencing is not rare at all. Every year, even his MVP seasons, I'm sure you can pick out several 3 for 22 (or whatever it is) stretches. It's especially not rare for this Yankee playoff run, as Cano, Swisher, Chavez, and Granderson are all hitting just as poorly.
   117. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4274373)
Joe, right or wrong, will be playing the percentages in a TBS broadcasting booth next year, after the Yankees get swept.
   118. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4274383)
I offered plenty yesterday re golf and A-Rod. The definition applicable to A-Rod is the postseason. He doesn't get out of slow starts well


Except when he does (2000).

and has shown this tendency for years.


Except for when he doesn't (2009).

   119. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4274386)
Every year, even his MVP seasons, I'm sure you can pick out several 3 for 22 (or whatever it is) stretches. It's especially not rare for this Yankee playoff run, as Cano, Swisher, Chavez, and Granderson are all hitting just as poorly.

And a golfer can miss a 5-foot putt even if he isn't nervous. Doesn't mean the one he missed because he was nervous wasn't because he was nervous.

   120. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4274389)
Except for when he doesn't (2009).

He was 2 for 4 in each of the first two games in 2009.
   121. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4274395)
Blass/Ankiel/Knoblauch is notable because it is extremely rare.

What's more notable about them is just how much mental factors can impact performance -- essentially inhibiting it entirely. On the continuum between that and the "total consciousness" the Dalai Lama promised Carl Spangler lie all number of lesser, but clearly tangible, impacts.

It doesn't make sense that mental factors act to either: (a) completely inhibit performance; or (2) not inhibit it at all -- right?
   122. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4274397)
Ray's arguments on this issue are hilarious. Was Mackey Sasser also injured?

Look, the logic is really simple and IMO unassailable. The ability to perform under pressure varies in humans - some are better than others - and thus that ability will also vary in professional athletes. There is no skill or attribute under the sun that all mlb players have in perfectly equivalent measures. The idea that any teensy little bit of deficiency in this skill will be weeded out by the player development system is absurdly illogical.

We can argue to what extent that effects MLB performance, to what extent it can be detected, and to what extent any of this has to do with ARod. I think that 99.9% of the time that people talk about mlb players being clutch or chokers they are probably wrong. But the idea that a thought experiment can prove that all mlb players are equally "clutch" is absurd.
   123. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4274398)
My guess is that Ankiel was injured in some way.


haha. classic
   124. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4274402)
Blass/Ankiel/Knoblauch is notable because it is extremely rare. What A-Rod is experiencing is not rare at all. Every year, even his MVP seasons, I'm sure you can pick out several 3 for 22 (or whatever it is) stretches. It's especially not rare for this Yankee playoff run, as Cano, Swisher, Chavez, and Granderson are all hitting just as poorly.


I completely agree. I have no idea if ARod is clutch or a choker or nothing. The point of the Blass/Ankiel/Knoblauch examples is to get Ray to admit that at some point in major league history, in some extreme case, psychology might have mattered. But he won't do that, and it frankly makes him sound like a clown.
   125. KronicFatigue Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4274405)
SBB gives valid examples in [115]. But, players also think stepping on foul lines, wearing dirty socks, and eating chicken before games is also important. Just b/c a player thinks something about their own performance doesn't mean it's true.
   126. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4274410)
Add Kevin Saucier to the list. The iron laws of baseball evolution proved he was immune to pressure, and self-selected him as such -- right up until he got a little wild and within a couple months was so screwed up he couldn't have hit the strike zone if it was the size of Jupiter, whereupon he quietly stepped away at age 25.

You can look it up: 1.65 ERA in 1981, last game July 25, 1982.

Maybe he should have gone to Dr. Ray ....
   127. Ron J2 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4274418)
Paul Molitor and one other that I can't recall


Tony Fernandez.

Bear in mind that I had a limited data set (14 years of data -- manual data entry too)

Since then I've come up with a handful more. Still not a heck of a lot more than you'd expect if BA with RISP is random.

What's interesting though is that I found nobody who had enough PAs to qualify for the study and met the definition I'd set (as David Grabiner pointed out, 95% confidence is not what a mathematician calls statistically significant) of a choker. Rickey Henderson was as close as anybody in the 14 years I had data for. And for his career he hit 14 points worse with RISP)

I did another study of late/close (for the 90s only) and the list reads pretty much the way you'd expect.

The best of the 90s in late close are (by hand so I may
have missed somebody):

Edgar Martinez  .341/.482/.523
Barry Bonds     .293
/.455/.554
Mark McGwire    .254
/.440/.561
Jeff Bagwell    .294
/.444/.534
Tony Gwynn      .371
/.435/.517
Frank Thomas    .290
/.438/.487
Ken Griffey     .285
/.394/.532
Rafael Palmeiro .286
/.365/.539
Albert Belle    .279
/.376/.522
Gary Sheffield  .281
/.409/.463
Jim Thome       .259
/.388/.485
Mike Piazza     .283
/.379/.497 


(No it's not by OPS. It's by OBP*1.7+SLG)

As you'd expect, nobody has really good numbers compared to their overall results.
   128. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4274423)
It just doesn't make sense that all chokers would be culled from the herd. There are fat ballplayers, dumb ballplayers, ballplayers with bad eyesight, at least one deaf ballplayer, ballplayers with terrible arms, ballplayers that are horrible people and horrible teammates. They make it somehow. If choking is really a problem for Prospect X, it will certainly impact his numbers, his development, and it will impact the attention he gets, everything. But Prospect X's skills might be off the charts, they might be more than enough to surmount the difficulties that his choking creates.

I want to reiterate that I think that "choking" is probably something that is so rare and so minor and is definitely something to difficult to define or identify that it's a factor that you almost never need care about. But to blindly assert that it doesn't exist - it just defies everything we know about everything.
   129. Ron J2 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4274426)
#116 Mickey Mantle had a run (1961-63 -- yes, battling injuries) where he hit a combined .130/.216/.217 in 3 series.

David Grabiner used to post a list of great players who had a terrible start to their playoff careers.
   130. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4274458)
What would be a real-life example of a player, manager, or team executive objecting to a player being "scapegoated"? I can't think of one off the top of my head.

John McGraw sticking up for Fred Merkle?
   131. Ron J2 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4274459)
#128 My point is that you're really not going to be sure that you've misidentified something. Take Albert Pujols' start to this season. All sorts of explanations. Ray would opt for sometimes #### happens and it turns out he'd be right.

We're conditioned to find patterns even when none exists, so I start from a Voros' law point of view.

Now remember I'm not the guy who denies clutch/choke exists. Any time somebody has actually provided me a meaningful definition I've found a tiny number who could plausibly (IE 95+% confidence) meet the definition. And boatloads of players who drift from clutch to choke basically at random.

For myself I think it's plausible that ARod has specific, exploitable weaknesses and that the elite pitchers (what you tend to see in playoffs) are more likely to be able to consistently exploit those weaknesses. (Though as noted in this thread, he has a good record against Verlander)
   132. BurlyBuehrle Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4274465)
Not exactly. It merely implies that if you believe the mental side of the game can and does drive the physical side and performance


Isn't this the very essence of the "debate" between "sabermetricians" and "traditionalists?" If the "mental side of the game can and does drive the physical side and performance," shouldn't that be measurable in some way? Since Jeter is mentally tougher/more clutchy than A-Rod, we should see a measurably superior performance by Jeter in the playoffs, right? Except, as pointed out above, we don't see that. Please identify, specifically, how the "mental side of the game can and does drive...performance," if when we examine performance, we can't discern a difference between two players asserted to be different "on the mental side of the game."

It is entirely plausible, and not remotely internally inconsistent that A-Rod could both (i) get nervous and choke more in the clutch than a good college player; and (ii) have had the career he did. It is an intellectual fail to suggest otherwise.


Either your definition of "in the clutch" is different from "postseason baseball," or else, since their performances are roughly equal, both Jeter and A-Rod are chokers.

Your argument collapses completely when the facts are examined.

In ALDS play, Jeter's line: 343/397/519 - 916 OPS; A-Rod's line: 242/331/376 - 707 OPS Advantage: Jeter.
In ALCS play, Jeter's line: 257/340/412 - 752 OPS; A-Rod's line: 301/416/583 - 999 OPS Advantage: A-Rod.
In WS play, Jeter's line: 321/384/449 - 833 OPS; A-Rod's line: 250/423/550 - 973 OPS Advantage: A-Rod.

So, again, which is it - both Jeter and A-Rod are chokers? Jeter doesn't think the ALCS is important, since he obviously hasn't performed well in that playoff round? OPS is not capturing properly/accurately A-Rod's "choking" and Jeter's "clutchiness?"
   133. alilisd Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4274468)
2006 was. That's when Joe Torre first made it clear he thought A-Rod was choking in the postseason (and no one really disagreed).


Or, since this was only 4 games, it was when Joe Torre first thought he could stick a needle in A-Rod becasue he didn't like him. Hey, it has as much basis in fact as your argument.
   134. AROM Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4274470)
Let's say A-Rod is a true talent (if he's feeling no pressure) 260/350/450 hitter right now, just picking numbers out of the air. For those who think he's a choker, what is your expectation of his batting line? What's the magnitude here?

Is he still better than an average MLB hitter? As good as average? better than a random AAA hitter? better than a pitcher hitting?

DON'T post his actual 2012 postseason stats. I can look that up myself. I'm asking what you think A-Rod would hit if he played a full season under the exact mental conditions he's dealing with now.
   135. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4274478)
Take any split in the data. I guarantee you that ARod has hit poorly in some random split - say, the 5th and 15th of each month or whatever - and if you were only watching those games you'd believe, you'd swear up and down, that ARod couldn't hit on the 5th and 15th of each month. You'd swear he couldn't hit on alternate Tuesdays. You'd swear he couldn't hit with the temperature between 72 and 76 degrees. You'd swear he couldn't hit from the hours of 8pm and 8:20pm.

The playoffs are not different. A random split of the data, a random slice of 20 or 30 PA samples. And people think they are seeing patterns in it, only because they are watching at that specific moment. Pick any random week of ARod's career - first month of May - and see if his performance per year has fluctuated up and down. I guaranfuckingtee you that it has.

This. Is. Lunacy.
   136. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4274492)
Take any split in the data. I guarantee you that ARod has hit poorly in some random split - say, the 5th and 15th of each month or whatever - and if you were only watching those games you'd believe, you'd swear up and down, that ARod couldn't hit on the 5th and 15th of each month. You'd swear he couldn't hit on alternate Tuesdays. You'd swear he couldn't hit with the temperature between 72 and 76 degrees. You'd swear he couldn't hit from the hours of 8pm and 8:20pm.

The playoffs are not different. A random split of the data, a random slice of 20 or 30 PA samples. And people think they are seeing patterns in it, only because they are watching at that specific moment. Pick any random week of ARod's career - first month of May - and see if his performance per year has fluctuated up and down. I guaranfuckingtee you that it has.

This. Is. Lunacy.


I agree with every letter of this. The thing I don't agree with is the crazy idea that you have logically proved that no major league player has ever or could ever choke.
   137. BurlyBuehrle Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4274499)
Is he still better than an average MLB hitter? As good as average? better than a random AAA hitter? better than a pitcher hitting?


More to the point, better than Raul Ibanez? FWIW, the answers to your questions, all of them, are a resounding yes.
   138. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4274501)
If the "mental side of the game can and does drive the physical side and performance," shouldn't that be measurable in some way?

Sure. Take the extremes of Saucier/Blass/Sasser/Knoblauch and extrapolate back.

I'm not sure why you'd limit that to "measurable," when "observable" is the more useful and applicable term. Statistical inference is not the only way to observe something.

I guarantee you that ARod has hit poorly in some random split - say, the 5th and 15th of each month or whatever - and if you were only watching those games you'd believe, you'd swear up and down, that ARod couldn't hit on the 5th and 15th of each month. You'd swear he couldn't hit on alternate Tuesdays. You'd swear he couldn't hit with the temperature between 72 and 76 degrees. You'd swear he couldn't hit from the hours of 8pm and 8:20pm.


But that would be random noise, with no possibly sensible explanation. Postseason performance has a potentially perfectly sensible explanation -- mental things we know to exist, such as pressure and anxiety, causing less than peak physical performance, an effect and a process we also know to exist.

Again, the fact that a golfer sometimes will miss a 5-foot putt with no pressure does not mean that pressure could not cause him to miss a 5-foot putt. And the fact that A-Rod will sometimes go 2-16 doesn't mean that a time he went 2-16 wasn't caused by pressure/anxiety/mental factors. That's the logical fallacy you seem to be tripping up on.
   139. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4274508)
Professional athletes sometimes say they are affected by nerves, especially in new situations. For example, Arsenal's Oliver Giroud did so earlier this season:

Olivier Giroud has admitted being affected by nerves when the chances arrive since his summer move from Montpellier to Arsenal, but is confident the goals will come soon.

The 25 year old French international told FIFA’s official website : “I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull the trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France,”.
   140. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4274523)
The 25 year old French international told FIFA’s official website : “I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull the trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France,”.


No, Ray told me that that is impossible.
   141. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4274526)
Giroud must be injured.
   142. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4274562)
DON'T post his actual 2012 postseason stats. I can look that up myself. I'm asking what you think A-Rod would hit if he played a full season under the exact mental conditions he's dealing with now.


He wouldn't hit anything, because Girardi wouldn't play him. Girardi thinks he is worthless as a ballplayer right now. Girardi is playing someone who is 0-15 instead of him. Girardi doesn't think he's a better hitter than Gardner, or Ichiro, or Ibanez.

Girardi also doesn't think he's a better hitter than Nunez -- a player they thought so little of that he wasn't even on the roster to start the ALCS.
   143. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4274569)
Look for A-Rod or Boras to try to save face this winter by "leaking" the "fact" that A-Rod was "injured" this postseason. That'll be good December tabloid/FAN fodder.

Book it.
   144. alilisd Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4274571)
As you'd expect, nobody has really good numbers compared to their overall results.


And as you'd expect they are some of the best hitters of the 90's.
   145. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4274572)
By the way, is Robinson Cano the chokiest of chokers? He just went 0-29 in the playoffs, so if that doesn't qualify him as a choker, I really don't know what does. The designation appears to be purely random.

Ibanez had a hot week, so of course he's a magic man. The whole thing is such nonsense.
   146. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4274596)
I patiently await Girardi to release his lineup, as I am in the mood for a good laugh.

By the way, if small 2012 postseason samples are all that count, ARod is 3-5 against lefties this postseason.
   147. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4274598)
Ibanez had a hot week, so of course he's a magic man. The whole thing is such nonsense.


Until, of course, last night when he couldn't produce in the clutch.

Choker.
   148. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4274600)
I'm curious why you won't engage my arguments, Ray. Nobody on this site thinks that Ibanez has magical clutch powers.
   149. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4274605)
Except for when he doesn't (2009).

He was 2 for 4 in each of the first two games in 2009.


That was an example of when he didn't choke in any way, shape, or form for the entire post-season (something I didn't think he could do since he's always a choker).

The 2000 example was when he started badly and recovered to do quite well (something you said he could never do).
   150. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4274608)
Look for A-Rod or Boras to try to save face this winter by "leaking" the "fact" that A-Rod was "injured" this postseason. That'll be good December tabloid/FAN fodder.


It's not only tabloid fodder but I think it's reasonable. The guy is 37, missed a month and a half with injury then came back and played well below his established norms for the month of September. I would bet that he IS well below 100% physically right now.
   151. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4274616)

The 25 year old French international told FIFA’s official website : "I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull the trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France,".


Are early season games really "clutch" moments in the EPL?

Maybe he's using the "freezing up" excuse to cover for the fact that the opponents/skill level in the EPL is much higher than the French league, and he's not really good enough to compete.

If you want to point at potential football choking, someone should examine what the hell happens to England when it comes time for penalty kicks in important international matches...
Is it possible for multiple players in multiple years in multiple tournaments to "choke" as a group?
   152. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4274619)
That was an example of when he didn't choke in any way, shape, or form for the entire post-season (something I didn't think he could do since he's always a choker).

Then you misunderstood. Surprising, since I explicitly wrote something completely different than what you think I think. In 2009, he got off to a hot start and was thus far less likely to fall prey to self-doubt, anxiety, and other mental factors that inhibit performance in many elite athletes and that tend to creep in when things aren't going well.

Nobody cares anymore about 2000. It's the Stone Age for these purposes. Feel free to continue your one-way conversation about it.
   153. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4274635)
Are early season games really "clutch" moments in the EPL?


Why not? This is just one guy, who are we to say when he should and should not feel the pressure?

> edited to simplify.
   154. Ron J2 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4274640)
#151 For the longest time England simply didn't practice penalties. I know that sounds crazy, but evidently practicing for it meant expecting it and that was somehow some kind of moral failure.

This year because of injuries and the pattern of substitutions they were left with very few regular penalty takers in the lineup.

One of the guys who missed his penalty(Ashley Cole) has precisely zero international goals -- in quite a few games (and is somewhere around 7th on the depth chart of penalty takers for his club). Hell of a player, but goal scoring is not what you expect from him.
   155. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4274644)
Didn't Bill James have something in one of the 80s Abstracts were he talked about a (generic) player coming up to the big leagues, gets off to a hot start, but can't maintain it because he doesn't really see himself to be as good as his numbers, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy? Something along the lines of, "AAAA guy gets called up, hits .340 in his first 60 ABs, and asks himself a question someone like Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs would never ask themselves, thus hurting his chances to ever be as good as Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs."

I don't know that it was a full essay; it may have just been a couple paragraph blurb.
   156. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4274645)
Since Tim McCarver is raving about him in today's playoff game:

2006 ALDS: 1.000 OPS (12 PA)
2006 ALCS: .133 OPS (15 PA)
2012 NLDS: .427 OPS (23 PA)
2012 NLCS: 1.000 OPS (10 PA)

Marco Scutaro: clutch or not?
   157. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4274653)
Marco Scutaro: clutch or not?


Impossible for us to know, of course.
   158. JL Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4274663)
Since Tim McCarver is raving about him in today's playoff game:

2006 ALDS: 1.000 OPS (12 PA)
2006 ALCS: .133 OPS (15 PA)
2012 NLDS: .427 OPS (23 PA)
2012 NLCS: 1.000 OPS (10 PA)


Yes, provided he stays under 13 PAs. So I figure he has only two more good PA's left for this series.
   159. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4274683)
So basically the argument is that ARod should have PH for Ibanez because a LF pitcher was on the mound even though Ibanez was the hottest hitter in the lineup? And Girardi is an idiot even though he managed a lineup that kept the Yankees within 2 runs of the Tigers most of the night with a SS that some people didn't think should have been playing who ended up hitting an HR. This is even with the tying and go ahead runs on base in that last inning? Wow.....that is a hell of a crystal ball.
   160. JJ1986 Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4274691)
a lineup that kept the Yankees within 2 runs of the Tigers most of the night


That's one way of putting it.
   161. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4274697)
Chavez at 3rd again tonight.
   162. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4274722)
Considering he only gave up 1 run and struck out over 20 A's in 2 games I would say that they did pretty well
   163. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4274764)
So basically the argument is that ARod should have PH for Ibanez because a LF pitcher was on the mound even though Ibanez was the hottest hitter in the lineup?


Yes.

And Girardi is an idiot


Yes.

even though he managed a lineup that kept the Yankees within 2 runs of the Tigers most of the night with a SS that some people didn't think should have been playing who ended up hitting an HR.


Yes.

This is even with the tying and go ahead runs on base in that last inning? Wow.....that is a hell of a crystal ball.


It's not a matter of a crystal ball; it's a matter of putting your players in the best position possible for them to succeed. Girardi failed at that utterly.
   164. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4274786)
That's the comment you respond to? Are you joking? You are flat out ignoring arguments you can't handle.
   165. McCoy Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4274817)
I do think terrible chokers have been culled from the MLB herd. That isn't to say that not one single terrible choker has ever gotten a PA or played for more than one season but I doubt there are a lot of them in any one season, I doubt they get a lot PA, and I doubt they play for very long. Nor does that mean that a player cannot develop into a terrible choker at some point in time.
   166. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4274828)
I do think terrible chokers have been culled from the MLB herd. That isn't to say that not one single terrible choker has ever gotten a PA or played for more than one season but I doubt there are a lot of them in any one season, I doubt they get a lot PA, and I doubt they play for very long. Nor does that mean that a player cannot develop into a terrible choker at some point in time.

Cosign. A player may become a choker at some point; at that point, his MLB career is likely to end very quickly, like, say, Blass's did.

But in general, more or less every MLB plate appearance has more pressure packed into it than just about anything I've ever done. "Oh, there are only 30,000 people in the seats today, plus quite a few more in front of their TVs, watching everything I'm doing, and I'm only hitting against one of the 300 best pitchers in the world. Thank goodness it's not the playoffs, or I'd be under real pressure."
   167. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4274832)
Blass, Ankiel, Sasser, Knoblach, Sax all developed mental blocks about making certain throws for inexplicable reasons. They were not hurt, the did fine in practices. In the games they could not perform the way they wanted to. It's not a fatal disease for all: Sax recovered from his problems, and Saltalamacchia went through a phase where he had a case of Sasser-itis.

I think that's quite a bit different from calling it "choking," since every one of these guys developed a mental hangup that affected all their game performances, not just big ones.
   168. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4274839)
But in general, more or less every MLB plate appearance has more pressure packed into it than just about anything I've ever done. "Oh, there are only 30,000 people in the seats today, plus quite a few more in front of their TVs, watching everything I'm doing, and I'm only hitting against one of the 300 best pitchers in the world. Thank goodness it's not the playoffs, or I'd be under real pressure."

Once you get used to it, you don't even realize the people are there. It becomes second nature and part of the activity.
   169. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4274841)
So by this same logic, Leyland should have been running Valverde out there to "close", eh? You can't have one without the other.
   170. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4274846)
Once you get used to it

How does one get used to it in the first place if one cannot function in high-pressure situations?
   171. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4274856)
How does one get used to it in the first place if one cannot function in high-pressure situations?

Because the pressure doesn't have anything to do with the number of people in the stands or the fact that the game is on TV. Obviously, if you can't function and play in front of people, you're going to get weeded out, but that isn't the source of the pressure or the anxiety.

   172. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4274862)
Obviously, if you can't function and play in front of people, you're going to get weeded out, but that isn't the source of the pressure or the anxiety.

OK. How about playing in front of scouts who are deciding whether you're worth a shot to begin with, or playing in the minors to earn a chance to move up, or trying to hold down a spot in the majors as a rookie? These guys have played under constant pressure for their entire careers.
   173. madvillain Posted: October 17, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4274938)
OK. How about playing in front of scouts who are deciding whether you're worth a shot to begin with, or playing in the minors to earn a chance to move up, or trying to hold down a spot in the majors as a rookie? These guys have played under constant pressure for their entire careers.


No kidding. I was a borderline juco talent in HS and one time my coach arranged a few scouts to come to one of our games. I #### the bed fairly quickly in that game and I went on to have a completely mediocre college career as a starter on a DIII academic school squad.

Now imagine you're a MLB player good enough to get drafted or go D-I out of high school: you've dealt with incredible pressure you're entire career. That idea that MLB players fold under the pressure of October or a late inning AB is simply ludicrous.

All the real mental midgets (including myself) are weeded out long before MLB.
   174. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4275002)
Nobody cares anymore about 2000. It's the Stone Age for these purposes. Feel free to continue your one-way conversation about it.


Of course you don't care about any information that completely blows your theory out of the water.
   175. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM (#4275007)
Alex Rodriguez has never choked in the playoffs half as hard as Joe Torre's ass-melding to the bench while ants ate Joba Chamberlain.
   176. Howie Menckel Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4275010)

"Alex Rodriguez has never choked in the playoffs half as hard as Joe Torre's ass-melding to the bench while ants ate Joba Chamberlain."

The best part was how the bugs seemed to fear Mariano once he got out there.
Maybe it's not just dogs that can smell fear.
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