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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

S.I.: Posnanski: Why We Miss The Obvious (Mariners Edition)

Or…Let’s Run This Pennant Up the Flagpole and See if Anybody Salutes it.

It all seems so obvious now, doesn’t it? Bringing back Ken Griffey? Trading for Milton Bradley? Giving 32-year-old Chone Figgins (and his lifetime 99 OPS+) a big-money four-year deal based mostly on one good season (and them moving him to second base)? Signing 32-year-old Jack Wilson to a multi-year contract though he had not played a full-season in two years? Going into the season with Rob Johnson, and his 58 career OPS+, slotted as the regular catcher? Trading for light-hitting Casey Kotchman and inserting him as the Opening Day No. 3 hitter? Building up all sorts of hopes about Ian Snell as a No. 3 starter? Making the moves of a “contender” when the team finished dead last in the American League in runs scored in 2009 and were outscored by 52 runs? Trading a 25-year-old one-time phenom Brandon Morrow and his 98-mph fastball for an older hard-throwing reliever with the same first name (Brandon League)? Expecting another low ERA closer year from David Aardsma? Letting go of Russell Branyan who was one of only two good offensive players on the team in 2009 (he led the team in OPS+)?

Yes, it seems so obvious now that the Seattle Mariners were likely to have a terrible crash this season. And it probably should have seemed obvious in February too. And it probably WAS obvious then — Monday’s firing of manager Don Wakamatsu was etched in stone back before spring training.

But a whole lot of us missed it. Why?

I tend to think of it as the “12 Angry Men Syndrome…

Repoz Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:01 AM | 211 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, history, mariners, media, sabermetrics

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:39 AM (#3612479)
Personally, I think Henry Fonda talked 11 other guys into letting a guilty man go.
   2. frannyzoo Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:46 AM (#3612481)
That Mariners narrative includes excessive love for two heroes who haven't really helped nearly as much as the adulation would have one believe. Griffey, Jr. is mentioned here, and especially harshly in this Dave blogpost at USS Mariner.

The other is Ichiro!, who represents everything I like about baseball...but let's face it, isn't the player Seattle thinks he is. Which is like a cool version of Babe Ruth mixed with Roy Hobbs, Jackie Robinson and Johnny Depp.

And Ichiro! isn't and can't be that. So Seattle 2010 is terribly addicted to players (now one player) who will never win them a championship, and never did. Addicted to the point that having nine Ichiro! types all over the diamond/lineup in 2010 sounded like a great idea.
   3. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:47 AM (#3612482)
Why?

I think a lot of Sabr types fall in love with GMs who make a lot of little moves that get the Sabr thumbs up. Shapiro was similarly overrated before he got canned. I said the same thing in the offseason when Marchman and Cameron began showering Zd with love.
   4. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:56 AM (#3612484)
Shapiro was similarly overrated before he got canned.


Did I miss this?
   5. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:02 AM (#3612486)
Addicted to the point that having nine Ichiro! types all over the diamond/lineup in 2010 sounded like a great idea.


Nine Ichiros would win a heck of a lot more games than the M's actually did this year.

This is the standard lazy "team sucks, blame the best player" analysis. Their real trouble was a haphazard roster loaded with an excess of 1B/DH types that Bradley had to play in the field, among other problems. When the creaky 1B/DH's cratered, the 2B/3B situation turned into a quagmire, you get a lineup of Ichiro and blackholes.

I think a lot of Sabr types fall in love with GMs who make a lot of little moves that get the Sabr thumbs up.


Or just have a chat with the basement rubes. New media can be bought (figuratively) the same way as old media, only they are cheaper whores. You only have to sprinkle them with a bit of attention, spout some current buzzwords, to bring them into your corner. Call it the DailyKos Syndrome.
   6. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:08 AM (#3612491)
Until just now, I still had this image of the Mariners as a well-run organization in my head from 7 or 8 years ago. But wow, I was just looking at their franchise page on Baseball-Reference...I didn't realize that they hadn't made the playoffs since that 116-win team in 2001, now 9 years ago. Since then, they've finished in last place as many times as they haven't, with this year likely representing another last-place finish.
   7. Good cripple hitter Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:10 AM (#3612493)
Or just have a chat with the basement rubes. New media can be bought (figuratively) the same way as old media, only they are cheaper whores. You only have to sprinkle them with a bit of attention, spout some current buzzwords, to bring them into your corner. Call it the DailyKos Syndrome.

I don't know about that. Bavasi was friendly with M's bloggers (IIRC, he spoke at one or more of their events), they universally liked and respected him as a person, but they also all hated him as a GM.
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:16 AM (#3612498)
Did I miss this?

I guess. Fangraphs had Cleveland as the 4th best organization in the Majors a couple years ago and they used the same superior front office reasoning they used to justify the M's ranking this year to justify that ranking as well.

Edit: Oh, I see, nope, I'm wrong, Shapiro didn't get canned, he's going to be the team president at the end of the season. My mistake.
   9. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:22 AM (#3612501)
I guess.

I think he was referring to the alleged "canning" of Shapiro, which didn't happen.

I still had this image of the Mariners as a well-run organization in my head from 7 or 8 years ago.

You missed the entire Bavasi reign of terror? Ah, you're lucky, you.
   10. bobm Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:24 AM (#3612503)
[2]

Griffey, Jr. is mentioned here, and especially harshly in this Dave blogpost at USS Mariner.


Seems like a product of stress connected to the #6org meme:

?indakind on August 9th, 2010 1:56 pm
Dave – I really admire your writing both here and elsewhere but it seems you had your fan goggles on when ranking the Mariners #6 in your Fangraphs organizational rankings. I know that the jury is still out on the front office (1 overachieving year, 1 underachieving year) but this is quite a mess that now needs to be cleaned up.

?Dave on August 9th, 2010 1:58 pm
Does this look like a thread about the organizational rankings? Get over it.


IMHO maybe a heartfelt mea culpa would be better received.
   11. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:26 AM (#3612505)
they used the same superior front office reasoning they used to justify the M's ranking this year to justify that ranking as well.


Cameron now is trying to kick most of the blame for the Griffey situation (see#2) above the head of Jack Z. Presumably the Mariners suits were just as greedy and meddlesome back in March when #6org happened. (To be fair to Lincoln/Armstrong, it isn't like USSMariner is providing a shred of evidence on this.) It's pretty hard to square how the same Lincoln/Armstrong/Z combination could be considered so highly then but are suddenly the height of incompetence and perfidy now.

ETA. Browsing through the ussmariners trainwreck right now, this stretch captures the spirit of their comment section pretty well

?RRR on August 9th, 2010 12:07 pm
[off-topic]
?FelixFanChris420 on August 9th, 2010 12:10 pm
[off-topic]
?greentunic on August 9th, 2010 12:12 pm
[off-topic]
?CYK on August 9th, 2010 12:13 pm
[off-topic]
?FelixFanChris420 on August 9th, 2010 12:15 pm
[off-topic]
?greentunic on August 9th, 2010 12:18 pm
Agreed
   12. bookbook Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:42 AM (#3612507)
Dave Cameron doesn't owe you - or anyone - a mea culpa. He's wrong sometimes. So? So are we all.

"Get over it" is at this point the correct reaction.


(The grammer obsession over at the thread has always been my own personal bugaboo. Seemingly, that's lightened up a bit of late. Maybe it was Derek's thing more than Dave's?)
   13. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:47 AM (#3612509)
Expectations for the M's were high before the season started largely because the rest of the division didn't appear to be particularly good, either. The consensus seemed to be that they'd played over their heads in 2009 and had shored themselves up to be at least that good again, which put them in striking distance of the division lead.

As a Mariner fan, I thought most of the offseason moves looked smart, up to a point. The Griffey signing wasn't a plus, but it seemed tolerable as long as he didn't play much. Things started turning sour when it became clear that both he and Sweeney were going to make the team, which pushed Bradley into the field more, as mentioned above. Shifting Figgins across the infield didn't make much sense either. All that didn't happen until spring training, though.

On paper, all the changes should have resulted in a push. The real problem is that every single move backfired. To a man, they're all underperforming drastically, well below what could reasonably be expected.
   14. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:52 AM (#3612512)
Our 3-29-10 Prediction Thread: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/prediction_thread_and_baseball_image/

I'm really hurting:

AL EAST: Red Sox
AL CENT: White Sox
AL WEST: Angels
AL WILD: Yankees
AL MVP : Kendry Morales
AL CYA : Jon Lester
AL ROY : Brett Wallace

NL EAST: Phillies
NL CENT: Cardinals
NL WEST: Giants
NL WILD: Mets
NL MVP : Albert Pujols
NL CYA : Johan Santana
NL ROY : Madison Bumgarner

* No batter will hit more than 45 homeruns.
* We will have a 20+ game winner.
* The American League will win the all-star game; the starting pitcher for each side will be making his first all-star appearance.
* Carlos Silva will be more valuable than Milton Bradley. ;) Justin Upton will be more valuable than Albert Pujols.
* The Pirates will finish over .500, despite their lack of players who are good at baseball.
* A closer will win the Cy Young Award.
* The only no-hitter of the year will be thrown by...... John Danks.
* Gary Sheffield and Jermaine Dye are the only two prominent currently unsigned players who will play this year.


Well..... let's see.

1. My playoff picks weren't that bad, as it's at least possible I could get 6 correct, and the Mets and Angels will at least finish over .500.

2. My CYA picks are both in the top 10 of their league (by WAR), but have no real shot at winning.

3. My ROY picks are embarrassing.

4. My MVP picks are embarrassing. EDIT: I said this before realizing how well Pujols is doing in the triple crown categories (I just know he's been struggling all year.) He's somehow fifth in AVG, second in homers and first in RBIs. I had no idea!

5. My "no 45 homer guy" and "at least one 20 game winner" both look very likely.

6. Carlos Silva has been much more valuable than Milton Bradley.

7. And according to the goofy BBREF fielding stats, Pujols only has a 0.6 WAR lead over Upton.

8. But my one no-hitter prediction has been as wrong as could be. ;)
   15. xbhaskarx Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:59 AM (#3612516)
IMHO maybe a heartfelt mea culpa would be better received.


Anyone who thinks Dave Cameron would ever admit that he's wrong has been paying less attention than the guy who thought Shapiro had been fired and the guy who forgot about the Bavasi era.
   16. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:08 AM (#3612517)
Dave Cameron doesn't owe you - or anyone - a mea culpa. He's wrong sometimes. So? So are we all.
But not all of us are so sneeringly insufferable when we think we're right.
   17. JJ1986 Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:20 AM (#3612519)
Our 3-29-10 Prediction Thread: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/prediction_thread_and_baseball_image/


I got Josh Johnson pretty right. That's about it.
   18. xbhaskarx Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:22 AM (#3612520)
sneeringly insufferable when we think we're right.


That could have been a link to anything he has ever written.

From the Fangraphs comment section: "Jim Rome of stat nerds."
   19. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:26 AM (#3612522)
I think the error Cameron et all made is that.....well, Cameron knows a LOT more about baseball than I do (than most of us here, I suspect). But he's not an "insider."

The essence of early saber stuff--remember that Bill James polemic?--was about admitting and leveraging that non-insider status.

It seems natural to tout and predict good things for saber-friendly front offices. But the problem with judging front offices as sabermetric friendly is that you can't use sabermetrics to make that judgment. The judgment itself depends on one's insiderhood. In fact, I'd say, whenever you stop analyzing data and numbers, and start evaluating front offices based on what the front offices say about data and numbers, you're in murky waters.

Cameron et all thought it was gonna be a cutting-edge stats-friendly front office, and as a result talked themselves into supporting dubious decisions.
   20. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:43 AM (#3612524)
Cameron et all thought it was gonna be a cutting-edge stats-friendly front office, and as a result talked themselves into supporting dubious decisions.


What dubious decisions did they make though other than Morrow for League? That one was weird from the start because Morrow had a chance to be a starter, but other than that, their moves seemed at least defensible. Getting Cliff Lee for almost nothing was universally praised. It's just that the team isn't that solid. That didn't begin with Zduriencik.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:48 AM (#3612525)
Davo those predictions are positively Criswell-like.
   22. xbhaskarx Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:49 AM (#3612526)
It's just that the team isn't that solid. That didn't begin with Zduriencik.


But he made the moves of someone who believed he had a solid team.
   23. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:50 AM (#3612527)
What dubious decisions did they make though other than Morrow for League?

Switching Figgins' and Lopez's positions seemed dubious at the time and those two are having terrible seasons. I still don't understand why in the world they did that. Getting Milton Bradley when he wasn't going to be a full time DH seemed like a mistake from the get go. Going with Kotchman over Branyan was another bizarre move. Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head.
   24. 33Boots Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:52 AM (#3612529)
What dubious decisions did they make though other than Morrow for League?


They got rid of their weight room.

http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/mariners-say-goodbye-to-their-weight-room/

I don't think that was ever posted here. So so goofy, and so betraying their ignorance.
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:03 AM (#3612530)
They got rid of their weight room.


That's kind of an extension of what Nick Swisher was discussing above. While it wasn't posted here, it was touted by some as an example of the cutting-edge thinking the M's were employing that set them apart. Whether it actually works (and it might - it's not like the M's failure this year means this approach to training is a failure) wasn't considered. But just because no one else is doing it doesn't mean that what everyone else was doing was wrong.
   26. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:04 AM (#3612531)
I think in general we overrate how important a SABR-oriented front office is. Money and luck are much more important.
   27. ian Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:31 AM (#3612533)
I like the implicit allusions of post #6.
   28. rfloh Posted: August 10, 2010 at 09:14 AM (#3612540)
That's kind of an extension of what Nick Swisher was discussing above. While it wasn't posted here, it was touted by some as an example of the cutting-edge thinking the M's were employing that set them apart. Whether it actually works (and it might - it's not like the M's failure this year means this approach to training is a failure) wasn't considered. But just because no one else is doing it doesn't mean that what everyone else was doing was wrong.


IIRC, it was linked here / mentioned here several times.

I even remember saying that I consider the decision somewhat questionable.

And yeah, I remember various sabery writers such as Neyer, praising it, without them realising that their paeans of praise just exposed their lack of knowledge of sports science.
   29. Repoz Posted: August 10, 2010 at 10:29 AM (#3612541)
I'm still hanging in. Ubaldo!

AL East: Rays
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Rangers
AL WC: Red Sox
AL MVP: Longoria
AL CY: Lester
AL RoY: Matusz

NL East: Braves
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Rockies
NL WC: Phillies
NL MVP: Tulo
CY: Ubaldo!
NL RoY: Heyward

Rays over Braves
   30. zachtoma Posted: August 10, 2010 at 11:12 AM (#3612549)
Personally, I think Henry Fonda talked 11 other guys into letting a guilty man go


In all likelihood, he probably did. But the point was that the apparent certainty of the case was actually an illusion, and could be broken down if you reasoned through it. And that is the more important consideration, for a juror, than whether or not you think the accused did it. I think the story is actually made a lot more powerful by the fact that though the young man probably was not innocent, they still did the right thing.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 12:25 PM (#3612565)
I think the error Cameron et all made is that.....well, Cameron knows a LOT more about baseball than I do (than most of us here, I suspect). But he's not an "insider."

I don't know if the first part is true. Maybe he knows a lot more about building a projection system, or the arcana of dense sabremetrics, but I'm not sure he knows more about the game in general. We're talking about a 20-something self-taught afficianado, not some pseudo-Bill James who has spent 40 years studying the game. Technical proficiency does not equal insight.
   32. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 12:27 PM (#3612568)
Personally, I think Henry Fonda talked 11 other guys into letting a guilty man go
Racist!
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 12:29 PM (#3612569)
In all likelihood, he probably did. But the point was that the apparent certainty of the case was actually an illusion, and could be broken down if you reasoned through it. And that is the more important consideration, for a juror, than whether or not you think the accused did it. I think the story is actually made a lot more powerful by the fact that though the young man probably was not innocent, they still did the right thing.

Or maybe he used hand waving and dubious tricks to confuse the jury.

Maybe the female eye-witness wore reading glasses. Maybe the old man eye-witness could move faster than Fonda's shamble.

It's a good movie, but basically just a setup for a heavy dose of liberal white guilt, and blame society, not the criminal ideology.
   34. joeysdadjoe Posted: August 10, 2010 at 12:49 PM (#3612575)
After all the moves I remember trying to predict a Mariners lineup.Ichiro,Figgins then Guttierez and Bradley somewhere in there and a lot of WTF?
   35. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:06 PM (#3612583)
It's a good movie, but basically just a setup for a heavy dose of liberal white guilt, and blame society, not the criminal ideology.

I don't think this is true at all. the defendant's blackness is just one more piece of evidence AGAINST the defendant the jury has to work there way around. It also serves a dramatic purpose of ratcheting up the drama. Or are we going to pretend there wasn't prejudice in New York City at the time the play/film was made? Did they let the defendant go because he was a poor ignorant negro boy or because of a sense of fairness in justice. I guess if you think the former then the film is a case of white liberal guilt (and it's interesting you throw the word "liberal" in there, as I suppose white conservatives have no need of guilt) and if you see it as the latter the film posits a solution to the puzzle of our complicated racial history, that our systems of justice and rationality can be constructive. It's an interesting movie because it's such a rohrschach test. My older brother loved the movie and I think it's because he's deaf and sees the defendant as an outsider like he is and so is a sucker for the triumph of the underdog films. Rocky is his other favorite movie, naturally.
   36. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:13 PM (#3612588)

Maybe the female eye-witness wore reading glasses. Maybe the old man eye-witness could move faster than Fonda's shamble.


It's not the job of the defendant to prove his innocence, and you can't convict on "maybes".

It's a good movie, but basically just a setup for a heavy dose of liberal white guilt, and blame society, not the criminal ideology.


Unless he didn't do it, in which case he's just innocent.
   37. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:16 PM (#3612591)
I think in general we overrate how important a SABR-oriented front office is. Money and luck are much more important.


Perhaps, but they had money - their opening day payroll was $98 million, 9th in MLB.

And while I think you do need to be lucky, I don't know that luck accounts for them being the third worst team in all of baseball.

Our 3-29-10 Prediction Thread: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/prediction_thread_and_baseball_image/

I'm really hurting:


Get over it!
   38. Tim Marchman Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:16 PM (#3612592)
I thought, and wrote, that this was pretty obviously a .500 team. I'm not surprised that they're playing well below that, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Bradley and Figgins were playing well, Lee were still on the team and they were in the hunt. Strikes me that there's a lot of revisionism generally going on surrounding the Mariners—Zduriencik wasn't getting praise this spring for dropping MBA buzzwords, but because he'd added arguably the best pitcher in baseball, a guy a year removed from leading the league in OPS and an important player from a division rival while cutting payroll. That he lost a lot of talent over the winter and that the Mariners were no superteam to begin with meant this probably wasn't going to add up to a division title, but he put a rebuilding team in position to win if things broke the right way without compromising the team's long term interests. That's impressive, and it wasn't zealotry to be impressed by it.

Should this season affect one's read on Zduriencik? Of course. But so should his record in Milwaukee, his excellent 2008 and 2009 off-seasons, and more general points about how he has a solid long term plan and the skills to see it through. I really dislike the praise of process in absence of results and its inverse, and there's nothing more absurd than, say, praising Mark Shapiro while scoffing at Ken Williams because you get what the one is on about while you find the other's methods opaque. But it will take more than one bad season for me to think I was really off about Zdurienick.
   39. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:19 PM (#3612593)
I don't think this is true at all. the defendant's blackness is just one more piece of evidence AGAINST the defendant the jury has to work there way around.

Wasn't he supposed to be some swarthy foreigner? Puerto Rican or Italian or Jewish or some such?
   40. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:22 PM (#3612597)
Nice post, Tim - sums up my feelings better than I could.
   41. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:26 PM (#3612599)
Nice post, Tim - sums up my feelings better than I could.

Secondededed. I figure them for .500-ish which looked like it would keep them in the hunt in the AL West. Letting Branyan go and replacing him with Kotchman was the headscractcher for me. I also wasn't bullish on Figgins but I thought Bradley would be pretty good once they did the obvious and made him the DH by May.
   42. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:30 PM (#3612602)
On paper, all the changes should have resulted in a push.


I just don't think this is the case. Any fair-minded observer -- ie, not David Cameron -- could look at this team before spring training and see that it was very likely to finish last in the league in runs scored. It had already been a very bad offense the year before, and Z neglected to do anything about it: instead, he let his best hitter go and picked up an alleged "good fielder" to play 1B, as if somehow saving five or six runs at the margin (generously) was going to make up for the fact that they were losing 10-15 runs at the plate. This was a team that projected to have two good hitters, and neither of them were exactly Albert Pujols: Ichiro, a nice little hitter with no power, and Figgins, who at his best was much the same -- but Figgins, in particular, was not to be counted on for his "best"; as often as he's good, he's bad. No, he couldn't be expected to crater the way he did, but even if he'd met his average (.360 OBP, 97 OPS+) he wasn't going to pull this team out of the doldrums single-handed, and more people should have seen that.

The truth is that the Mariners out-performed their Pythag by 10 games last year; it's hard to improve a baseball team by 10 games, and the Mariners very distinctly did not do that. You couldn't have guessed they'd be as bad as this, but expecting them to be good was silly from the get-go. And though I've grown weary of picking on Cameron for this business, he does ask for it, by behaving as though he is a master of all recondite knowledge, when in truth he's not much more than just another obsessed internet fan. Yes, everybody's wrong sometimes, but very few are as absolutely certain they're right, even when their opinion is obviously stupid.

the Mets and Angels will at least finish over .500


I think the technical term for this is "counting one's eggs before they're hatched". The Angels are currently right at .500, and the Mets a game below.
   43. bunyon Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:35 PM (#3612605)
Wasn't he supposed to be some swarthy foreigner? Puerto Rican or Italian or Jewish or some such?

Yep.

It basically comes down to whether or not you believe in "reasonable doubt". I know many who don't, really, and I can see an argument that society, in order to maintain order, might need to err, occasionally, on the side of conviction. I don't buy it and think we're a long way from being in a position that such measures are needed, but I can understand the argument. If time allowed, I think it would be beneficial for the jury to be able to go back out after it's over and announce a preliminary verdict and give its reasons why. Then the defense and prosecution could address those reasons. The jury could then go back and continue deliberation.

Having sat on a jury recently, I came to the conclusion that the trial was rigged - not to a conclusion but for the comfort and benefit of the judge and lawyers. Little attention was paid to making the jury comfortable or putting them in a position where they could stay alert and engaged. There were several older folks on the jury who needed more frequent breaks and the number of times we were marched out of the courtroom to stand in the hall was maddening. In the end, it didn't seem that "truth" was very high on the list of things the court was concerned with. I'm certain we got the case right, but it was a pretty simple case, not helped by the defendent taking the stand (note to self: never do this). In a more complicated case, I can well imagine that jurors just get overwhelmed and the system does little to help them.
   44. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:40 PM (#3612606)
It's a good movie, but basically just a setup for a heavy dose of liberal white guilt, and blame society, not the criminal ideology.

What nonsense.

In all likelihood, he probably did. But the point was that the apparent certainty of the case was actually an illusion, and could be broken down if you reasoned through it. And that is the more important consideration, for a juror, than whether or not you think the accused did it. I think the story is actually made a lot more powerful by the fact that though the young man probably was not innocent, they still did the right thing.

Yes and no. I don't agree that the defendant was probably guilty. I think he was supposed to be innocent. But I do agree that the point of the movie is that the apparent certainty of the case was an illusion; Fonda pointed out that the jurors' superficial and lazy reasoning had blinded them to the weakness of the case.

The movie had very little to do with "liberal white guilt" or race relations, and absolutely nothing to do with the causes of crime in our society IMO. It's about perception and deductive reasoning.

(BTW, the defendant was Puerto Rican.)
   45. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:48 PM (#3612610)
Strikes me that there's a lot of revisionism generally going on surrounding the Mariners—Zduriencik wasn't getting praise this spring for dropping MBA buzzwords, but because he'd added arguably the best pitcher in baseball, a guy a year removed from leading the league in OPS and an important player from a division rival while cutting payroll.


I disagree. He got a lot of praise for finding F-Gut, basically giving up nothing he needed to get him. He found David Aardsma. He was able to dump an expensive malcontent in Yuni Betancourt. He picked up Ryan Langerhans - a sabermetric darling. He was putting an emphasis on defense - Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, Casey Kotchman, Langerhans, F-Gut, Jack Hannahan - at a time when defensive metrics were all the rage. JoPo talks about narrative (and I'm reading "Black Swan" right now which is all about revisionist narrative), and the narrative at the time was Jack Z. was one of the few guys that get defense. I remember an annoying post by a Mariners fan at Fangraphs lecturing about how stupid other teams were for vastly underrating how important defense was, but Jack Z understood. Of course many in the stats community (including myself) were excited.

And then he got Chone and Cliff Lee and that's when the MSM got excited too. They were an 85 win team that had previously sucked and they were making a big splash. Everyone was on board by then. But the stats community was on board long before Cliff Lee.
   46. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 10, 2010 at 01:50 PM (#3612612)
It basically comes down to whether or not you believe in "reasonable doubt". I know many who don't, really, and I can see an argument that society, in order to maintain order, might need to err, occasionally, on the side of conviction. I don't buy it and think we're a long way from being in a position that such measures are needed, but I can understand the argument. If time allowed, I think it would be beneficial for the jury to be able to go back out after it's over and announce a preliminary verdict and give its reasons why. Then the defense and prosecution could address those reasons. The jury could then go back and continue deliberation.

I agree with this. I think the point of the movie is that reasonable doubt is important, because even in a case that *appears* to be obvious, there's a very good chance that things don't add up and the defendant is innocent. But I don't think the movie is try to sell the idea that the defendant is *probably* guilty, but the jury should find him innocent for the sake of the system.

Back on topic...I basically agree with Marchman, but I do think that the Mariners made a number of very odd moves that were ignored or rationalized because they didn't fit the "Jack is a genius" theme. e.g., Silva for Bradley and moving Figgins to 2b.
   47. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:01 PM (#3612623)
I think it would be beneficial for the jury to be able to go back out after it's over and announce a preliminary verdict and give its reasons why. Then the defense and prosecution could address those reasons. The jury could then go back and continue deliberation.


I agree, won't happen though...
Yes and no. I don't agree that the defendant was probably guilty. I think he was supposed to be innocent.
I think the screenwriter deliberately left that open. I don't it's possible on the "evidence" presented to determine guilt or innocence with any degree of certainty- which I think was the intent.

I think the opposite of 12 Angry men is the real life OJ trial- where if the jury had bothered to go through the evidence and the prosecutions and defense arguments they'd realized that he was guilty and the defense's police conspiracy theory was pure BS... But the prosecution was inept and the jurors WANTED to find him not guilty
   48. Good cripple hitter Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:02 PM (#3612624)
Silva for Bradley was an odd move? Silva was expensive, unhealthy, a malcontent and a terrible pitcher. Bradley was expensive, unhealthy, a malcontent, and an average hitter with a history of being above average. There were lots of things that could (and did) go wrong with Bradley, but Silva was completely toxic for the Mariners.
   49. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:03 PM (#3612626)
Neyer quoted a post from this thread in his blog today.
   50. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:05 PM (#3612628)
Neyer quoted a post from this thread in his blog today.

It is a pretty great movie.
   51. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:09 PM (#3612633)
Silva for Bradley was an odd move? Silva was expensive, unhealthy, a malcontent and a terrible pitcher. Bradley was expensive, unhealthy, a malcontent, and an average hitter with a history of being above average. There were lots of things that could (and did) go wrong with Bradley, but Silva was completely toxic for the Mariners.

I hated the move at the time and said so. Not because I thought Silva was worth anything, but because I thought adding Bradley was a big mistake. I thought they should have just released Silva.
   52. Ron Johnson Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:11 PM (#3612637)
Silva for Bradley


What's odd about that move? OK, the guy's a jerk. OK he misses a ton of time. But he had a pretty good track record as a hitter. Anybody who saw the wretched on-field performance coming has gifts that he's better not be using for evil.

There was every reason to expect him to be part of a 3 man table setting squad (with Lopez likely to rack up a ton of RBI)

That doesn't make for a good offense, and it doesn't make a great deal of sense for an offensively challenged team to part company with Russ Branyan.

But moving Carlos bleeping Silva was likely to be a positive in itself. Bradley was likely to play well while sane. Basic CW moves.
   53. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:15 PM (#3612640)
Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley thread

Seems like most agree it was a good move for the M's/ridiculously stupid move by the Cubs. Even you Confined! (although you did express more reservations than most)
   54. bunyon Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:16 PM (#3612641)
I think the opposite of 12 Angry men is the real life OJ trial- where if the jury had bothered to go through the evidence and the prosecutions and defense arguments they'd realized that he was guilty and the defense's police conspiracy theory was pure BS... But the prosecution was inept and the jurors WANTED to find him not guilty

That is sort of what I was talking about. My experience was a three day trial that was, relatively, straightforward (complete with defendent who took the stand and essentially confessed). In my case, several of the jurors were clearly struggling to stay engaged - they were trying hard. I actually came away impressed with my fellow citizens. We were a diverse (in all respects) group and we were good people. But it was three days of...I don't know how to describe it. It wasn't boring, but lots of boring time. It wasn't painful, but lots of painful moments. It was tedious. Mostly, it was a feeling of a total lack of control. And the hell of it was, the baliffs and assistants were very nice and tried to do as much as possible for us. But the setup just precluded any sort of consideration for the jury. I simply can't imagine what the OJ jurors dealt with. Maybe they were racially motivated or blinded by celebrity but the sheer volume of time sitting and information presented and loss of control of their own lives for that period, damn, I would not want any part of that or to say with any certainty I could come out on the other end and make the simplest logical deduction.
   55. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:22 PM (#3612646)
I thought they should have just released Silva.


The fact that Silva has been a pretty good pitcher for the Cubs after having been totally useless for the M's doesn't speak very well for the Mariners organization.
   56. madvillain Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:23 PM (#3612648)
On the related note of Seattle sports, I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Emerald City for the first time on an extended 2/1/2 week vacation earlier this summer.

Took in a Sounders game and a Mariners game. The Sounders run that city. Quite the atmosphere at Qwest, even with the upper bowl closed they pack in 38k+. And it's a loud 38k. Nonplussed with the garlic fries though, although I can see their appeal.

It was sad as a baseball fan to see that atmosphere and then a few days later seeing the scene at Safeco.

Also, the Olympic peninsula is double rainbow mind-blowingly awesome.
   57. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:32 PM (#3612656)
I thought it was a pretty stupid trade on Z's part and a decent one on Hendry's part.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3612658)
I would mention that as the draft guru for the Brewers Jack ignored defense. And said so. The Brewers draft reflect that in guys like Fielder, Weeks, Hart, Braun, LaPorta, Gamel just to name a few. Everybody can hit. Defense? Not so much.

The only position where Jack openly expressed a defense first mindset is shortstop.

So when it came out of Seattle that he was all defense all the time I was mildly surprised to say the least.
   59. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:35 PM (#3612660)
The fact that Silva has been a pretty good pitcher for the Cubs after having been totally useless for the M's doesn't speak very well for the Mariners organization.


Also, we have the natural experiment of two pitchers who had been good for the Pirates before cratering and being traded away for nothing in 2009. Tom Gorzelanny is now good again, and Ian Snell isnt.
   60. Randy Jones Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:37 PM (#3612662)
Silva for Bradley was an odd move?


The odd part was expecting Bradley to be anything other than a full time DH.
   61. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:40 PM (#3612666)
I don't think Larry Rothschild gets as much credit as he should. I know every time a pitcher gets sent to the Cardinals people talk about Duncan working their magic or every time a young pitcher came up in ATL Leo was thought as the guy that would turn them into CYA winner but you almost never hear about Larry.
   62. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:41 PM (#3612667)
Seems like most agree it was a good move for the M's/ridiculously stupid move by the Cubs. Even you Confined! (although you did express more reservations than most)

Damn that internet! Maybe "hate" was too strong, but I did think the praise for the Mariners was over the top and unjustified.
   63. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:42 PM (#3612670)
I think the opposite of 12 Angry men is the real life OJ trial- where if the jury had bothered to go through the evidence and the prosecutions and defense arguments they'd realized that he was guilty and the defense's police conspiracy theory was pure BS...


But why would they, when they had far more pressing issues to determine such as whether Mark Furhman was a racist?

But the prosecution was inept and the jurors WANTED to find him not guilty


The prosecution was inept in many different ways:

* Chris Darden, in an unbelievable statement to the jury: "He's OJ. We don't want to do this to this man." Really, Chris? You don't want to put a butcher behind bars?

* Darden, getting Simpson to try on the glove.

* Clark, declining to introduce Simpson's statement to the police into evidence -- during which Simpson admitted to bleeding in his car, home, and driveway on the night of the murders -- because in the statement Simpson professed his innocence. Um, the case had gone to trial, so obviously Simpson wasn't agreeing that he committed the murders.

* Etc etc etc.

But despite the prosecution's numerous missteps, they succeeded many times over in showing Simpson was guilty BARD.

If one ignores all of the DNA evidence, all of the Fuhrman nonsense, all of the "gloves don't fit, you must acquit," all of the other garbage, there is one set of facts that makes him guilty as hell:

The murderer (who we know from the crime scene just happened to be wearing Simpson's style of shoes in Simpson's size) had a cut on his left hand, determined by the blood drops leading away from the crime scene. Simpson had a fresh cut on one of his left fingers. One of the gloves that Furhman found (I forget if it's the one Furhman was hilariously accused of "planting") was slit on the same finger Simpson was cut on. There was blood in Simpson's car, in his home, on his driveway. Simpson admitted to bleeding, in his car, in his home, on his driveway.

In this universe, that basically seals the deal.

(Also, for good measure, there was an NFL telecast of Simpson wearing the same style glove, and a receipt from Nicole showing that she had bought a pair for him. As to the cut, his explanation in his police statement was that upon hearing of the news when he was in his hotel room in Chicago, he was so angry that he slammed a glass down and thusly managed to cut himself, in the exact same place that the glove Fuhrman planted was slit.)

I do wonder how in the hell he managed to get rid of the knife. One theory is that Kim Kardashian's father carried it away for him (at one point Bobby K was seen carrying a duffle bag out). More likely Simpson brought it to the airport with him and disposed of it either there or along the way.
   64. zachtoma Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:48 PM (#3612678)
But I don't think the movie is try to sell the idea that the defendant is *probably* guilty, but the jury should find him innocent for the sake of the system.


I wouldn't say that the movie tries to sell that idea, but it never dismisses it, which I think is very important to the story.
   65. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 10, 2010 at 02:52 PM (#3612684)
Neyer quoted a post from this thread in his blog today.

Woohoo! I'm famous!
   66. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:04 PM (#3612690)
I wouldn't say that the movie tries to sell that idea, but it never dismisses it, which I think is very important to the story.

That's fair.
   67. BDC Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3612697)
the rest of the division didn't appear to be particularly good [...] as a Mariner fan, I thought most of the offseason moves looked smart, up to a point

Conversely, as a Ranger fan, I wasn't sanguine at all in April. Could the Rangers extrapolate their modest 2009 success? If you'd told me that Scott Feldman and Rich Harden were going to be collectively useless, I wouldn't have given you 50 cents for their chances. Did $6.5M for a creaky Vladimir Guerrero look like a smart move? Was Josh Hamilton going to evaporate for good? Could Andrus hit his weight? Could Borbon?(don't answer that). Was Michael Young definitively on the downward spiral? What rock did they find Colby Lewis under?

Some days I think I'll wake up and read something exactly like TFA about the '10 Rangers, and all this first place stuff will turn out to have been a dream.
   68. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:17 PM (#3612704)
What's odd about that move? OK, the guy's a jerk. OK he misses a ton of time. But he had a pretty good track record as a hitter. Anybody who saw the wretched on-field performance coming has gifts that he's better not be using for evil.

There was every reason to expect him to be part of a 3 man table setting squad (with Lopez likely to rack up a ton of RBI)

That doesn't make for a good offense, and it doesn't make a great deal of sense for an offensively challenged team to part company with Russ Branyan.

But moving Carlos bleeping Silva was likely to be a positive in itself. Bradley was likely to play well while sane. Basic CW moves.


I think this ties back into what comment #19 here was talking about. Acquiring Bradley was an obviously good, no-brainer move from a pure sabermetric standpoint. But when you bring in the human factor, acquring Bradley on the heels of his season in Chicago - which saw a performance crash (OPS+ 18 points below his career OPS+ entering the season, SLG down 80 points) and ended with a suspension - is something that probably 25-28 MLB GMs wouldn't even think of doing.

The Lopez-Figgins position swap seems the exact same. It's a DMB move, where you're moving the pieces around the chessboard. In real life, the evidence suggests that all it managed to accomplish was to screw up 2 of your 4 or 5 potentially decent hitters.

You can look at those two moves, say "small sample size", and write off the Mariners' season as unforeseeable, or you can look at those two moves and see them as cautionary tales about the limitations of pure statistical analysis when it comes to building an MLB team.
   69. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:25 PM (#3612710)
Kiko:

The odd thing is that in Milwaukee Jack was never associated with taking some myopic or narrow view. I cannot imagine him signing guys based on the approach you describe.

Then again, they didn't know one of the guys they acquired from Texas was a rapist.

I don't know what to think.......
   70. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:38 PM (#3612721)
no, no, no. you see they thought his nickname was therapist every time they read an article about the guy. They were valuing clubhouse chemistry.
   71. wjones Posted: August 10, 2010 at 03:57 PM (#3612738)
Our community theatre did a version of 12 Angry Men last year, and I was fortunate enought to be cast as Juror #3 (the Lee J. Cobb/crazyguy role). Thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I actually won best supporting actor at our awards banquet this summer. Two things struck me about his character, as portrayed by Cobb, that I tried to incorporate in my performance. The first, if you notice, he kept pulling out a picture of his kid, and staring at it when he started a rant about the defendent, and the dialogue almost always became general at that point, whereas when he was talking about the evidence, he was very clearly and directly addressing the defendent and his actions. The second thing about him was that he wanted people to listen to him, and be impressed by how much he knew, by how he had made himself successful, which was even more important than him being right, which he very much wanted to be as well. This type of person, when put in such settings, tends to be offputting, regardless of how logical his arguments seem to be, because of the way he presents them, while someone with the personality of Juror #8 (the Fonda role) can sway people even with incomplete arguments because of his demeanor and persuasiveness. Whether intentional or not, this is another lesson to be learned from this movie.
   72. DL from MN Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:10 PM (#3612748)
The grammer obsession over at the thread


Yeah, I know Frasier was set in Seattle but that was years ago. They need to let it go.
   73. Don Malcolm Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:54 PM (#3612801)
Re 12 Angry Men (there are more than 12 angry men in Seattle right now...):

Note to wjones: the argument in a criminal case will always be incomplete (absent direct visual evidence), just as is the case with statistics, which Mark Twain banishes to the unspeakable regions beneath outright lies. In fairness to juror #8, he never suggests that he knows what actually happened and simply tries to determine if the testimony is credible enough to withstand scrutiny (the timing issues for the old man to get to the door, the fact that the key witness for the prosecution is suppressing the fact that she needs glasses, etc.)

Fonda explicitly says that he doesn't know for sure that the kid didn't do it, but that the evidence as presented was not sufficient for him to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the kid was guilty.

Cameron would be inspired casting for Juror #3, BTW.

As for the M's, note to Pos: many of us were highly skeptical of the situation from the get-go. The drumbeats for the M's began last year when they graded out as a "great defensive team" and exceeded their Pythag. One thread here that should have been pivotal in teasing out fact from Kool-aid was the one where Sean S. was asked to look at defensive rankings and determine if it was possible to be a "great defensive team" but not be a winning team...one recent example discussed was the 2002-2003 Angels, who played pretty close to the same defensively according to the rankings but had vastly different results overall.

That little exercise should have planted the seed of an idea that the 2010 M's could be good defensively but still not be a winning team.

Tne M's were predicated on preventing runs, and in the first month they hovered at .500 because they did a good job at just that (3.22 ERA). Unfortunately, the M's bullpen was made out of old chewing gum and quickly snapped into a thousand tiny pieces in May and has remained so ever since. When Lee came off the DL, the M's had a brief run of .500 ball again because three starters (Lee, Felix and Vargas) carried the team, but it still didn't make the M's more than a .500 team.

Since 2000, only twelve teams have played better than .300 ball in games where they've scored three runs or less. The M's are currently 13-55 in such games (.191). That pace--68 in 113 games--extrapolates out to 97 for the whole year, which would be the most in the AL since 1978.

In order for a team to do well in such a situation, they'd have to win an inordinate number of games where they scored 2 or 3 runs. The M's aren't doing that. The aggregate AL WPCT in games where teams score 2 and 3 runs is .292 (121-293). The M's (as you'd expect) have the most of these type of games (38, league average is 30), but they're just about league average in them (11-27, .289). The two teams who are bucking the odds are the Red Sox (14-16, .467) and the Blue Jays (13-19, .406).

The huge, insurmountable problem, of course, is that the M's have played 30 games where they've scored 0-1 runs. That's twelve more than the AL average. Even the Rays, whose run scoring foibles have been distorted somewhat due to having been no-hit twice, have only 19 such games (and just five shutouts, also right at league average).

Now, the '69 Mets actually broke .500 in games where they scored one run (9-8), but the overall WPCT when you do that is .111 (and it's .081 since 2000). All in all, this approach is probably not even the sixth best strategy for winning ballgames...

The problem is that the M's would only be a .500 team even if their pitchers could be as good overall as they were in April and June. Trying to win games by limiting run scoring is only half the battle. The M's are doing OK at such a strategy at home: in games where the total number of runs scored is six or less, they're 18-13 at Safeco. (However, the White Sox are 14-4 at home in such games, and the Twins are 13-5: overall, teams play .580 ball in such games at home, which is right where the M's WPCT is.) The problem for the M's is that the ballpark is doing more of the run suppression than the pitchers: they only have 18 such games on the road, and are just 6-12 in those games.
   74. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 04:57 PM (#3612806)
65. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 10, 2010 at 10:52 AM (#3612684)
Neyer quoted a post from this thread in his blog today.

Woohoo! I'm famous!


Looking at your comment and then at mine, I have to say Woohoo! I'm a plagiarist!
   75. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:04 PM (#3612814)
Then again, they didn't know one of the guys they acquired from Texas was a rapist.


I thought it turned out that Zduriencik knew but that his superiors didn't, at least not until they were blindsided by the info at a press conference.
   76. CrosbyBird Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:06 PM (#3612819)
One of the gloves that Furhman found (I forget if it's the one Furhman was hilariously accused of "planting") was slit on the same finger Simpson was cut on.

My guess is that the jury didn't agree about "hilariously." (Not that I think you're wrong, mind you.)

The prosecution spoon-fed the defense an argument about government misconduct and incompetence. They did enough things wrong that some people may have honestly and in good faith believed that every bit of evidence they provided was suspect. It's not like police never plant evidence or lie.

I still feel like the OJ trials led to the right result for the system. I don't think you can ever reward the prosecution with a conviction if they screw up that badly; it's a terrible precedent for future criminal investigations. When the civil trial came around, with its lower standard of proof, OJ lost.

This type of person, when put in such settings, tends to be offputting, regardless of how logical his arguments seem to be, because of the way he presents them, while someone with the personality of Juror #8 (the Fonda role) can sway people even with incomplete arguments because of his demeanor and persuasiveness. Whether intentional or not, this is another lesson to be learned from this movie.

I don't think Juror #8's arguments are incomplete at all. He's saying "we're not sure because of this possibility and that possibility." He doesn't bamboozle the other jurors, but exposes their positions as speculative, and convinces them that speculative positions are not appropriate for criminal conviction. I don't think there's a single moment where Juror #8 says definitively that the defendant is innocent, and that's the point. You don't need to prove innocence. (Whether an individual agrees or not, he or she is directed as a juror not to hold a different standard.)

Juror #3 is a classic example of conclusion-driven argumentation. He wants the defendant to be guilty because he can't do anything to punish his own child, and he'll cling to any piece of evidence that supports his position. As soon as one piece of evidence is disputed, he jumps to another piece of evidence that he claims in itself is proof-positive that the defendant is guilty. The lesson, I think, is that he's going about things in entirely the wrong way... you don't reach a conclusion and pick evidence to support it; you review evidence and find the appropriate conclusion. Remember, Juror #3 had a lot of support early on, it wasn't until his personal bias was exposed that people really started jumping ship.
   77. Tripon Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3612828)
Porn title: 12 Angry Penises.

Anyway, the talk about 12 Angry Men reminded me of my own Juror experiences, and one that I don't want to replicate. It was a case of a Grandfather sexually molesting his grand daughters, and after a week long trial, and 3 days of deliberation, we hung 11-1 on one charge, and 10-2 on two other charges. Many in the Juror expressed similar feelings to what buynon expressed. And the defendant did take the stand in this case, and I felt lied on the stand. Many of his family members took the stand to defend him but they were character witnesses defending that I felt was a guilty man due to his own admitted actions. (One of them was him wrestling with a 'bad' back, so he forced his granddaughters to sit on him. And then he would roll on top of them. Other one was when he would grab his children and forced them to sit on his lap and never let them go. There were many other details like that where the behavior was odd and couldn't just be explained away.

In the end we hung, because of a juror who thought we simply did not get the culture and background of the defendant (she was of the same ethnicity of the defendant) and we weren't going to change her mind. In the midst of all this was a very good defense lawyer, and an incompetent prosecutor as well.

One of the most frustrating experiences I had, and one I wish to never repeat.
   78. wcw Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:16 PM (#3612835)
I think what wjones says gets at the greatness of the picture. Yeah, it's a message piece, but most such are junk. This one is great instead. I don't want to go further off topic (I didn't expect much from the Ms, but as a fan of an NL team that's pretty meaningless). Out of naked self-interest, though, could those who dislike 12AM please post a films-everyone-says-are-good-that-I-don't-like list?
   79. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:18 PM (#3612836)
My only experience with the jury system was in Philadelphia. Go into a large room around 8 AM and then stay there until a break for lunch. Come back after lunch and about a half hour later my names gets called. We get sent out of the room where we are told that we can go home. I was pretty pissed about the whole thing. From what little information I was given it seemed like they knew that they needed a lot of the people in that room and most probably none after lunch but instead of dismissing us all en masse they simply did it piecemeal to hide the fact that they wasted our day.
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3612845)
The lesson, I think, is that he's going about things in entirely the wrong way... you don't reach a conclusion and pick evidence to support it; you review evidence and find the appropriate conclusion.


Unfortunately that's what people do, almost all people almost all the time.

In the end we hung, because of a juror who thought we simply did not get the culture and background of the defendant (she was of the same ethnicity of the defendant)


Maybe she was right, and maybe she was just covering for a fellow "member of the tribe"- what's frustrating is that its very hard for "outsiders" to KNOW. My wife will reflexively defend literally ANYTHING the Chinese government says or does to "outsiders"- and yet the reason why she and half her relatives are here is that they despise that Government (and she will every now and then admit to me that such government is horrible)- but she just doesn't get my argument that her support of that Government from outside criticism is counterproductive. But you see this all the time in any immigrant or other insular community- a "member" does something "bad" but the community will literally attempt to build a wall to protect that individual from any outside justice (or retribution).
   81. Blastin Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3612847)
@ 77: Crash! (But wait, no one really says that's good, right?)

Confession: I missed the Indiana Jones boat. I was slightly too young to be sentient enough to see them in theaters, they weren't really played around the house (I was the oldest), and then by the time I realized how big they were, I was left a bit cold, though that may be because everyone else LOVED them from childhood, by virtue of my being usually the youngest in my grade/class, and I never had.
   82. DA Baracus Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:31 PM (#3612851)
is something that probably 25-28 MLB GMs wouldn't even think of doing.


Which just adds to the "they're so smart, thinking outside the box!" mentality.
   83. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:34 PM (#3612855)
My only experience with the jury system was in Philadelphia. Go into a large room around 8 AM and then stay there until a break for lunch. Come back after lunch and about a half hour later my names gets called. We get sent out of the room where we are told that we can go home.

Which is exactly my jury experience in Manhattan. And I WANTED to sit on a jury. I'm very curious about the whole process.
   84. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:36 PM (#3612859)
Confession: I missed the Indiana Jones boat. I was slightly too young to be sentient enough to see them in theaters, they weren't really played around the house (I was the oldest), and then by the time I realized how big they were, I was left a bit cold, though that may be because everyone else LOVED them from childhood, by virtue of my being usually the youngest in my grade/class, and I never had.

Hey, hey, hey, take that to the Inception thread.
   85. Tripon Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:38 PM (#3612863)

Maybe she was right, and maybe she was just covering for a fellow "member of the tribe"- what's frustrating is that its very hard for "outsiders" to KNOW. My wife will reflexively defend literally ANYTHING the Chinese government says or does to "outsiders"- and yet the reason why she and half her relatives are here is that they despise that Government (and she will every now and then admit to me that such government is horrible)- but she just doesn't get my argument that her support of that Government from outside criticism is counterproductive. But you see this all the time in any immigrant or other insular community- a "member" does something "bad" but the community will literally attempt to build a wall to protect that individual from any outside justice (or retribution).


The majority of the jury were men, and one thing we agreed with as men, you do not do any of the things described by the defendant and prosecutor. No way the actions of this man could be argued away innocently.
   86. Blastin Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:39 PM (#3612864)
He asked, I obliged. I will shut up now.

I'm a little scared to even start reading that thread.
   87. Eddo Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3612869)
I wouldn't say that the movie tries to sell that idea, but it never dismisses it, which I think is very important to the story.

I always imagined a parody of 12 Angry Men would have the Fonda character (Juror #8) vote "guilty" in the final vote, thus starting the whole process over again.
   88. shattnering his Dominicano G Strings on that Mound Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3612871)
Actually, Salfino would be an even finer choice for Juror #3 than even Cameron could be.
   89. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:45 PM (#3612873)
I have been on several juries. The toughest part is staying engaged as there is a lot of wasted time.
   90. billyshears Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:56 PM (#3612882)
I still feel like the OJ trials led to the right result for the system. I don't think you can ever reward the prosecution with a conviction if they screw up that badly; it's a terrible precedent for future criminal investigations. When the civil trial came around, with its lower standard of proof, OJ lost.


I understand the law full well, but I still think the fact that there even could be a civil trial is a perversion of the prohibition on double jeopardy.
   91. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:00 PM (#3612887)
I have served on two juries and found the experience interesting. In each case they were multiple day trials and there is a lot more sitting around and waiting time than there is actual testimony. The first one was a case of an insurance company was being sued for not paying someone because they felt the claim was fraudelent. We found for the insurance company though there was a funny moment in the jury room when we realized that the best thing the plaintiff had in his favor was that he was too stupid to pull something like this off (when asked on the stand if he was married he responded "no." His wife was sitting in the courtroom at the time).
   92. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3612891)
I understand the law full well, but I still think the fact that there even could be a civil trial is a perversion of the prohibition on double jeopardy.

Why? Completely different standards of proof. One can also be civilly liable for damages where there is no crime committed, so I don't see why acquittal should be a bar to a civil judgement.
   93. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:06 PM (#3612893)
but I still think the fact that there even could be a civil trial is a perversion of the prohibition on double jeopardy.


How so?
1: What does the prosecution ####### up the criminal prosecution have to do with the Goldmans suing OJ for money?

2: You do know the burden of proof is different, a not guilty verdict does not mean, we found him innocent, no one can sue him for it, it means we the Jury find that there is insufficient evidence to find the deft guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil burden of proof is "preponderance of the evidence" which essentially means "more likely than not"

What could be a perversion of double jeopardy is when someone is acquitted in sate court and then charged in Fed court for the same acts. I say "could be" rather than is, because it seems to me that many times the deft's life/liberty were never really in jeopardy in the state court action- the jury/judge was biased/bought off, the prosecutor took a dive....
   94. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:11 PM (#3612900)
The prosecution spoon-fed the defense an argument about government misconduct and incompetence. They did enough things wrong that some people may have honestly and in good faith believed that every bit of evidence they provided was suspect. It's not like police never plant evidence or lie.


Did Fuhrman plant the cut on Simpson's finger, too?

I realize you're not arguing that, but there was plenty of evidence available for conviction even if you think the police engaged in the most massively impossible conspiracy to frame someone, ever. And the cops et. al. basically have to all decide immediately upon arriving at the crime scene to frame Simpson, despite not all of the numerous parties even knowing each other, despite the penalty for doing so in the state of California.

Anyway, the police sometimes plant evidence, as you say, but (in 1994 Los Angeles) almost never for the purpose of framing an innocent person for a crime. Cops usually "testilie" to get around the 4th Amendment ("I saw a bulge in his pocket, so I searched him and found the drugs; I saw him drop the drugs when I was chasing him."), which is bad, but is completely different from just planting evidence on an innocent person.

I still feel like the OJ trials led to the right result for the system. I don't think you can ever reward the prosecution with a conviction if they screw up that badly; it's a terrible precedent for future criminal investigations. When the civil trial came around, with its lower standard of proof, OJ lost.


But as you know, it's not about "rewarding the prosecution;" it's about seeing justice done. If the jury thinks the prosecution, despite its incompetence, has proven the case BARD, the jury should convict.
   95. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:14 PM (#3612903)
(when asked on the stand if he was married he responded "no." His wife was sitting in the courtroom at the time)


Ever see the lists of alleged actual trial testimony?
Lawyer: Before you began the autopsy did you check the victim's pulse
Witness: No.
Lawyer: Did you check to see if he was breathing?
Witness: No
Lawyer: Did you do any test to determine if he was still alive?
Witness: Test? No.
Lawyer: So he could still have been alive at the time you began the autopsy?
Witness: If by alive do you mean he was capable of practicing law? Sure, from what I've seen today being headless wouldn't stop that.
   96. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:16 PM (#3612905)
I understand the law full well, but I still think the fact that there even could be a civil trial is a perversion of the prohibition on double jeopardy.


Not at all. The defendant's life or liberty is not at stake in a civil trial. And a civil trial is to redress the injury of a private party, while a criminal trial is brought on behalf of the state/people.
   97. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:19 PM (#3612906)
but there was plenty of evidence available for conviction even if you think the police engaged in the most massively impossible conspiracy to frame someone, ever. And the cops et. al. basically have to all decide immediately upon arriving at the crime scene to frame Simpson, despite not all of the numerous parties even knowing each other


This, the OJ defense's conspiracy theory held less water when looked at closely than Garrison's JFK conspiracy theory. Of course the defense in theory doesn't have to "prove" anything- but when a prosecutor submits evidence A, B & C, a good defense lawyer is going to have to explain how and why A, B & C does not add up to guilt- and the OJ defense may have hoodwinked that jury, but there explanation for why A, B & C didn't lead to guilt was essentially irrational when broken down.
   98. Srul Itza Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:19 PM (#3612907)
He doesn't bamboozle the other jurors, but exposes their positions as speculative


I don't agree. The positions weren't "speculative". The woman claimed she saw him do it. The old man claimed he saw him fleeing the scene right when the murder took place.

Fonda did what the defense attorney should have done -- he poked holes in the case by showing that there was a question about whether they could have seen what they claimed to have seen.

If the kid had been defended by Vincent Gambini("Were these magic grits?" "How many fingers am I holding up?"), the jury would have had an easier time acquitting.

EDIT -- Oh, and that business where Fonda walked around and found an identical knife? Mistrial, baby.
   99. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:22 PM (#3612910)
Note that in his statement to police, Simpson alternately confessed to both (1) bleeding in his home, and (2) cutting himself later in Chicago.

With minimal other evidence you could have convicted Simpson on his statement alone - yet the prosecution refused to bring it in.

And why did Simpson give a statement to the police? Because he had an idiot for an attorney -- Howard Weitzman, a celebrity attorney who was basically out of his depth in a murder investigation.
   100. billyshears Posted: August 10, 2010 at 07:11 PM (#3612954)
How so?
1: What does the prosecution ####### up the criminal prosecution have to do with the Goldmans suing OJ for money?

2: You do know the burden of proof is different, a not guilty verdict does not mean, we found him innocent, no one can sue him for it, it means we the Jury find that there is insufficient evidence to find the deft guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil burden of proof is "preponderance of the evidence" which essentially means "more likely than not"


Why? Completely different standards of proof. One can also be civilly liable for damages where there is no crime committed, so I don't see why acquittal should be a bar to a civil judgement.


Not at all. The defendant's life or liberty is not at stake in a civil trial. And a civil trial is to redress the injury of a private party, while a criminal trial is brought on behalf of the state/people.


The state is using the force of it's authority to impose punishment on the defendant in two separate trials that are attempting to prove the same thing.

I understand that one case is brought by the state/people and the other is brought by the victim, but I don't think that is relevant to the issue of whether the defendant's rights have been violated. The state will impose punishment on the defendant in both instances.

I understand that the burden of proof is different, but to me that is irrelevant - could the state try a defendant who was acquitted in a second trial if they imposed a standard of "beyond a scintilla of a doubt" in the second trial? In some ways, I find the lower burden of proof in a civil trial of this nature to be especially problematic - the state can impose a financially crippling penalty on a person that may be more severe than imprisonment based on a low burden of proof as punishment for criminal behavior.

I understand that in one trial the defendant's life or liberty is at stake and in the other trial, only his property is at stake. Constitutionally, I think this is the most significant point. The financial penalties imposed in a civil case of this nature can be so severe that I think this becomes a distinction without a difference.

In the end, while I agree with the concept that a victim is entitled to redress from it's assailant, I do have a problem with the civil suit functioning as a second bite at the apple to punish an individual for criminal behavior that the state can't prove the defendant committed to the burden of proof that we typically deem necessary to punish criminal behavior.
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