Saturday, July 16, 2005

So many choices...

This is pure brilliance. Who do you hate more, Chris Berman or Stuart Scott? Joe Morgan or John Kruk? Vote now.

Monday, July 11, 2005

My sentiments exactly...

Idiots captures the home run derby perfectly...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

From my comments on FJT

Yeah, I listened to Gubizca for a few minutes yesterday as well. It was amazing, a stream of callers who all seem to get their sports news exclusively from Plaschke columns. There’s this one caller, Patricia, who calls every week. All she wants is heart…a whole team of nothing but Darrin Erstad and Paul Loduca. And, Hee Seop Choi is the worst defender ever (not something I necessarily disagree with) but where were these people when Shawn Green was sucking at first base last year? Talking about his heart, of course, and how he’d sacrificed for the team…the team that was paying $15 million per year to GIDP. Whatever.

This is a lost year. And, even if I wanted to, I don’t have much energy left to defend Depodesta. But these idiots just piss me off more. If they succeed in getting what they want, chiefly, running Depo out of town and hiring Steve Phillips (or some other retread loser) I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the Dodgers…

Even more so after today's game.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Chris Berman and Stuart Scott

Is there a worse pair of sportscasters anywhere in the world?

Brazoban

Considering Billy Beane's view of the save as a stat and the relative value of closers, I think there may be a real upside to Gagne's stint on the DL and Brazoban's opportunity to close. He's already picked up 7 saves, proving that "he has what it takes," I guess. This will make him a much more valuable commodity in terms of trade value when Gagne does come back. As much as I like Brazoban, and think it's great to have good power arms in the bullpen, a middle releiver can only take you so far. If he continues to throw well, and racks up a few more saves, I think that Depo could have a really great opportunity to flip him for a good bat or some top quality prospects this summer. And whatever he brings back in trade could really be what makes the difference this year. We may have gotten very lucky. So far, Gagne's injury hasn't really seemed to hurt the club, and it may have created a very valuable bit of trade bait.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Underestimating the fog

A commenter, the first commenter ever in fact, mentions that Bill James' article Underestimating the Fog is available now. Check it out.

[Update]: After reading the article, I have a couple of comments. I guess, it's obvious, but we always need reminding that you can't prove the non-existence of something. With continued effort, you just make it more and more unlikely. This is how I feel about clutch hitting. It's not impossible that it exists, but I think it's unlikely. The main reason why this debate is still going is that people intuitively beleive in clutch hitting. If they didn't, this would have ended long ago. I see no reason (although I don't have any hard data for this) to trust mass intution. Not only that, but I feel that in order to suggest that something which is not supported by hard data be true it should at least make sense in terms of how we understand the world. Other people have gone through this before, so I won't do it here, but there is no good theory that would explain why clutch hitting should exist. I compare this to my own non-baseball pet peeve, homeopathy. There is no data that suggests that it works appreciably better than a placebo, yet many people swear by it. Again, we can't prove a negative. However, for homeopathy to work as it is described, it would have to break the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. As such, I don't beleive that it works, even though there's no way to absolutely prove it. I feel the same way about clutch hitting, regardless of what Bill James says now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Scientific method

There has been an interesting discussion going on between Economist Steven Levitt and bloggers by way of Sabernomics over the validity of Moneyball and Billy Beane's approach.

I guess I just don't get it. I think Moneyball has been one of the most misinterpreted works in recent memory. This is partly due to the sensational way in which it was written, but that's also why it was a best seller. As far as I can tell, there are two things that it says that Beane has done. One is to actively search for market inneficiencies and exploit them (something done naturally by all successful small market clubs), which seems kind of obvious. The second thing, and by far the most interesting, is applying the scientific method to baseball. It basically says two things, future performance can be predicted based upon past performance, and that performance can be measured quantitatively. He suggests that these quantifiable measures of performance are more reliable than any other measures, which is what has pissed off so many scout types. On base percentage just happened to be one example. Whether or not it is the best example, the only example, or one that has been used exclusively by the A's is kind of a silly discussion, mostly revolving around the way in which Moneyball was written.

The difference between 'statheads' and 'scouts,' in this debate seems to be based on whether or not they think the scientific method is valid, and this is what makes the debate so ridiculously idiotic.

I guess Levitt's point is that people have taken Moneyball as gospel, without questioning any of its conclusions. That may be true. It may even be true that many of the conclusions in Moneyball are flat-out wrong, but that doesn't negate the underlying superiority of the approach. Sometimes you get lousy results due to bad experimental design, bad data, or bad luck, but that doesn't mean the methodology is wrong, it just means it needs to be corrected and we need to try again. I think the real lesson in Moneyball, and Billy Beane/Bill James et. al real contribution to baseball has been the application of the scientific method and that is undeniably good.

It's not just winning, it's who you beat...

I have to say that taking two out of three from the White Sox was extra nice. Not just because the Sox have been one of the hottest teams in baseball. Or, because they are supposedly the 'anti-Beane small-ballers'. It's even better because my wife is from the Chicago area. And, while she doesn't follow baseball closely, she does take every opportunity she can to rib me. On Tuesday she read me an article, titled "White Sox Clobber Athletics 6-0," from the Chicago newspapers describing the A's loss, which mentioned the "Athletics' inept offense" and Chicago's "dominant pitching." Today, however, I can have the last laugh, as our inept offense scored just enough runs to take two of three from the mighty chisox.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tony Gwynn: Best hitter ever?

For some reason I get Best Life magazine. It's the kind of magazine that is apparently written for executive types who are interested in finding the best rooms at the most expensive resorts, finding the best foods for sex, and why 'streetball' has such an attraction to us all (does it, I didn't realize). Anyhow, it does make entertaining bathroom reading as I look through pictures of Ralph Lauren suits I will never be able to afford. My $20,000 yearly stipend only goes so far. In any event, there is a section titled "The Best List," and it lists the best things in a number of categories. The one that caught my eye was "Best Hitter: Tony Gwynn." Now, I'm not someone to knock Gwynn because I loved watching him play, but best hitter? Come on, now. He's not even the best hitter of his era. I don't know what they were thinking...maybe auditioning for the LA Time sports page?

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