Thursday, July 31, 2003

And the Winner is . . .

The trading deadline's here, and while I love that as much as anyone, I'm not going to write about it. The reason? You can find that anywhere. There's too many great bloggers and too many big time web sites out there to think that I could add anything original. So instead, I'll tell a joke. Really.

A baby walks into a bar and crawls up on a stool.

The bartender says, "What'll you have?"
The baby says, "I'll have a bottle."
The bartender looks at for a second and says, "You sure you want that?"
And the baby says "What? You got breastmilk on tap here?"

Wrote it taking care of my son. Oh, and if I have to make one trading deadline comment, I'll say that I'm getting REALLY excited about the prospects of my future employers, the Boston Red Sox.

The RIP SI contest has come to an end and we have a winner. My wife thought it said R.I.P. SI, so I had to tell her that we only want to insult Sports Illustrated, not blow up their building. Anyway, the winner is Ray Murphy, a good friend of mine and the author of maybe the best football-related novel ever written, Empire and Victory. Here it is (the letter, not the novel):

In the recent Kobe issue, you printed a letter from
Dave Eisenberg, from which you cut the first sentence.
I agree with you that Reilly, these days, needs all
the editorial protection he can get. But you were
short-sighted to cut Eisenberg's letter. As a daily
reader of his blog (, I
find him far more insightful and funny than the turgid
Reilly. You should check out the blog. Here's an
excerpt from today, regarding the DAPRA brainchild:

"If you bet and win, do you get investigated by the
FBI? What would stop a terrorist group from having
"sleeper cells" wager on acts of terrorism and then
committing them, and then getting to use Pentagon
money to plan their next attack? Would anyone of any
minority group ever dare to wager? Would you see some
American buying drinks in the bar when a U.S. embassy
blows up in Morocco, because he got 30-1? Would people
put together office pools hoping for an explosion in
France? And only two Senators, TOTAL, are opposed to

In other words, SI, you edited the wrong guy.


Ray Murphy

You can buy Empire and Victory at Empire and Victory

We have Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor winners, and lots of BAP scores. Let's do the PDMOH first.

Adrian Beltre of the Los Angeles Dodgers - Beltre goes 3 for 3 with a walk. Unfortunately, it was for the Dodgers, who couldn't do anything with it. None of Beltre's plate appearances contributed to the Dodgers scoring in any way.

Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies - Helton went 3 for 3 with a walk.

Magglio Ordonez of the Chicago White Sox - 3 for 3 with 2 walks, including a homer.

Jason Giambi of the Yankees - 3 for 3 with 2 walks, including a homer

Teams with a PDMOH winner are now 15-4, and are now scoring 7.11 runs per game.

BAP scores. We'll do yesterday's first, then Tuesday's:

Tampa Bay 5 Toronto 3

OBP - TB .333, Tor .316
SLG - TB .419, Tor .273
BAP - TB .649, Tor .447

All three correct.

Cincinnati 3 Colorado 2

OBP - Cin .368, Col .216
SLG - Cin .382, Col .306
BAP - CIn .641, Col .351

All three get it right.

Mets 2 Milwaukee 0

OBP - Mil .306, NY .250
SLG - Mil .167, NY .321
BAP - Mil .361, NY .500

OBP blows it.

Texas 9 Boston 2 From Tim at Musings From RSN

OBP - Bos .343, Tex .390
SLG - Bos .500, Tex .571
BAP - Bos .457, Tex.780

All three get it right.

New York 8 Anaheim 0

OBP - NY .359, Ana .200
SLG - NY .471, Ana .207
BAP - NY .769, Ana .200

No contest.

From Tuesday -

Chicago 9 KC 6

OBP - Chi .432, KC .361
SLG - Chi .775, KC .457
BAP - Chi .822, KC .541

Again, not close.


BAP 41-1
SLG 36-6
OBP 28-12-2

Questions or Comments For Dave

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


Talk about on fire. Would you believe that someone has started a thread entitled "The Next Voros McCracken?" If you've found this site through that thread, make sure to check out the "BAP for Beginners" link over on the right. For those regular readers who don't know who Voros McCracken is, I can sum it up best by saying he was a guy living with his parents who wrote a few articles about statistical trends he'd discovered and got a job out of it - with the RED SOX!


Anyway, the link for the thread is The Next Voros McCracken?

There's a ton of BAP stuff today (including a new formula!) but there's a couple of other things I want to cover first.

While I have received some emails of support in my beef with Sports Illustrated, I so far only have one entrant in the RIP SI contest. See details below.

Teams being tracked by the BAP Research Project Team - Boston, KC, Cleveland, Baltimore, the White Sox, and maybe Anaheim. All others are still available. Email me for details.

Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor Winners -

Mike Lieberthal of the Philadelphia Phillies - 2 for 2 with a walk. Doesn't seem like much until you realize that there were only 13 baserunners the whole game.

Marcus Giles of the Atlanta Braves - 5 for 5.

Desi Relaford of KC - 3 for 3 with a walk.

Teams with PDMOH are now 13-2, and are scoring 7.2 runs per game.

BAP WARNING - the rest of today's entry is going to be loaded with stats and definitions. If you are not a Stat Freak, stay away, unless your job is boring you to tears.

Last night's results - I always type this wrong the first time and get "resluts", and the fifth grader in me always giggles.

Tampa Bay 9 Toronto 8

OBP - TB .372, Tor .372
SLG - TB .487, Tor .541
BAP - TB .767, Tor .721

A big score for BAP. The only one to get it right.

St. Louis 2 Montreal 1

OBP - Stl .182, Mon .133
SLG - Stl .290, Mon .200
BAP - Stl .394, Mon .226

All three percentages analyze the info correctly.

San Diego 8 Pittsburgh 7

OBP - SD .400, Pit .372
SLG - SD .514, Pit .324
BAP - SD .683, Pit .628

All three get it right.

Florida 2 Arizona 1

OBP - Ari .212, Flo .324
SLG - Ari .233, Flo .303
BAP - Ari .273, Flo .441

All three get it right.

BOS 0.875 0.438 0.780
TEX 0.744 0.349 0.351

Boston 14 Texas 7 A preview of the Patriots-Cowboys football game this fall, brought to us by Tim of Musings From RSN

OBP - Bos .438, Tex .349
SLG - Bos .780, Tex .351
BAP - Bos .874, Tex .744

All three get it right.

BAP's record now stands at 35-1.

OK, those of you who are still here, the true stat junkies, huddle up.

Below are formulas for measuring BAP for individual players. I've been mulling this over from the start, and I put it all together last night and this morning. You will also be able to find this information from now on in BAP For Beginners.

32-86-24 ...Hut!

Oh no! Two football references! Can you tell training camp has opened?

Alright, I'll shut up. Here we go.

BAP For Individual Players

In order to come up with a BAP score for individual players, we need to figure out just who should get credit for bases gained in all of the acts that gain Extra Bases. Let's go through those one by one:

Sacrifices - Credit for the Extra Base will go to the hitter. If it is a squeeze play, credit will be divided evenly between the batter and the runner.

Sacrifice Flies - If a runner goes from first to second or second to third, he will get credit for it. If the SF scores a run, credit will be divided evenly between the runner and the batter.

Fielder's Choice - Any base gained during a fielder's choice will go the runner who has advanced the base.

Double Plays - The lost base will be charged to the hitter.

Stolen Bases - Credit goes to the runner.

Fielder's Indifference - Credit goes to the runner.

Wild Pitches - Team Base. No player gets credit for the first base. The runner wil be charged with a lost base if he is thrown out.

Passed Balls - Same as Wild Pitches

Errors - Same as Wild Pitches

Base Running - The runner will get credit for any bases beyond the number of bases of the hit that has caused him to run. Example - 2 bases on a single is 1 EB.

There is one inherent problem in BAP for individual players. A player's opportunities to advance on the bases are directly related to the performance of players hitting around him. It might be better to get a look at a player's base running ability independent of his hiiting ability, in which case we could use a formula such as this:

(# of times a player advances from first to third on a single) + (# of times a player advances from second to home on a single) + (# of times a player advances from first to home on a double) + ( # of times a player scores from third on an out in play that is not a double play) + (all other Extra Bases) - (base running outs) divided by Opportunities, where Opportunities = (# of times a player is on first when a single is hit, and no other baserunner is blocking him) + (# of times a player is on second when a single is hit) + (# of times a player is on first when a double is hit) + ( # of times a player is on third and there is an out in play, except for double plays) + (all base running outs).

There are ways to gain Extra Bases in this formula that are outside of the Opportunities listed, such as stealing bases. In those cases, because they are either very rare or because they are already independent of what the player's teammates are doing, we consider those to be bonus opportunities that the player has created for himself, and the player is only charged for them if he is thrown out.

Comments or Counseling for Dave

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Jab and Move

Richie Sexson was THE MAN yesterday in New York. In the Brewers 4-2 win over the Mets, Sexson went 3 for 3 with a walk to earn his second Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor in three days. Included in those 3 hits was his 29th homer of the season, and his 80th RBI. And that walk? It was intentional, with two out and no one on in the eighth inning. Teams with a PDMOH winner are now 11-1, and have scored 7.83 runs per game.

The Utah Jazz are in trouble. With Karl Malone gone to the Lakers, and Calbert Cheaney still a free agent, their racial policy may finally become exposed. Having Malone as a figurehead kept people from talking about the fact that the team seems to be around 50% white every year, in a league that has to be at least 80% black. With the Jazz looking to make a splash in free agency, they go after Brad Miller, the very big white man formerly of Indiana, but don't get him. Maybe Miller was smart enough to realize that you can't build a winner using only 20 % of the league talent pool. Their are only four African-Americans on the Jazz roster right now, none of whom played in more than 61 games, or more than 19.1 minutes a game. Its hard to see how any major free agent will ever choose to join that kind of environment, in a city that must have as little of an NBA lifestyle as imaginable. Well there's money of course, but you get the idea.

This is a political story, but because its also about gambling and its non-partisan, I feel its ok to talk about it, and too good to pass up. From Yahoo:

"The Pentagon is setting up a stock-market style system in which investors would bet on terror attacks, assassinations and other events in the Middle East. Defense officials hope to gain intelligence and useful predictions while investors who guessed right would win profits. Two Democratic senators demanded Monday the project be stopped before investors begin registering this week."

Just how desperate is the Pentagon to even joke about something like this? If you bet and win, do you get investigated by the FBI? What would stop a terrorist group from having "sleeper cells" wager on acts of terrorism and then committing them, and then getting to use Pentagon money to plan their next attack? Would anyone of any minority group ever dare to wager? Would you see some American buying drinks in the bar when a U.S. embassy blows up in Morocco, because he got 30-1? Would people put together office pools hoping for an explosion in France? And only two Senators, TOTAL, are opposed to this? Here's the link?

Pentagon's Futures Market Plan Condemned

The BAP Research Team needs volunteers. This site has developed a small, slightly obsessive group of BAP fanatics, but we do not as of yet have enough volunteers to do complete research. The goal (dream might be a more accurate word) is to have someone tracking every team for the rest of the year. The total amount of time you would need to invest would be about 15 minutes a day.

Now that we're accumulating more data, we can present it in new ways, too. Below is BAP scores grouped by the hundreds, and the range of runs you will get for each grouping:

1.000 = 13 runs
900-999 = 12 runs
800-899 = 9 to 9 runs
700-799 = 4 - 10 runs
600-699 = 2 - 7 runs
500-599 = 2 - 6 runs
400-499 = 2 - 5 runs
300-399 = 0 - 4 runs
200-299 = 0 - 2 runs

BAP scores -

Cincinnati 6 Philadelphia 5 (10 innings)

OBP - Cin .487, Phi .310
SLG - Cin .590, Phi .289
BAP - Cin .795, Phi .558

All three percentages analyze the data correctly.

Florida 3 Arizona 2

OBP - Ari .270, Flo .273
SLG - Ari .324, Flo .355
BAP - Ari .500, Flo .559

I seem to be doing Arizona games every day. All three get it right.

Anaheim 2 Oakland 1

OBP - Oak .265, Ana .281
SLG - Oak .323, Ana .267
BAP - Oak .371, Ana .375

SLG misses.

The Standings:

BAP 30-1
SLG 26-5
OBP 19-11-1

Dave's Email

Monday, July 28, 2003

Eisenberg Sports Declares War On Sports Illustrated

Taking Care of Business
Every Day
Taking Care of Business
Every Way
Taking Care of Business
It's all mine
Taking care of Business
And working overtime
Bachman Turner Overdrive

I couldn't believe these guys even had a site. Turns out, they're still a band!

I'm quoted in Sports Illustrated letters this week (the Kobe mugshot issue) and I'm furious. It was in response to Rick Reilly's column a couple of weeks ago, in which he uses the entire last page of the magazine to make frozen Ted Williams jokes. This is how my quote appeared in the issue:

"He's been dead for over a year. It's time to let Teddy Ballgame rest in peace."

What does this mean in relation to the article? It's so vanilla its hard to tell. Considering the topic and the letters surrounding mine, which cracked more jokes about Ted, you might form the opinion that I think cryogenics is wrong, and that Ted should be buried. While I admit I would be more comfortable if Ted were buried, I never met the man, don't know his family, and don't pretend to know what his wishes were. In the end, whether or not he was buried, cremated, frozen, or shot out into space, he's gone.

He's gone, he's gooooone, and nothing's gonna bring him back. He's gone.The Grateful Dead

So my goal was to say "Hey! Show some respect for the deceased and his family." I understand that SI has the right to edit my comments, and with that in mind, I tried to deliver my message in an entertaining and respectful way with as few words as possible. There are people in the letters page who seem to have a couple of hundred words, yet SI still felt the need to edit this (or something close to it):

I believe the saying is Rest in Peace, not Rest in Dirt. Teddy Ballgame has been dead for over a year. It's time to let him rest in peace.

This has a much more specific direction, right? Aside from changing the emotion of the letter, they cut out the most interesting part, the only part worth printing. Well, I'm going after them. Join me in blasting SI for deflecting criticism of their magazine, and distorting the comments of their readers. You could say something like this:

"Hey SI, don't diss Eisenberg Sports. Make sure to quote David Eisenberg correctly the next time he bothers to write to your egotistical magazine."

Or even better, come up with something of your own. As a matter of fact, let's turn it into a contest. Email them your message, cc me on it, and the most entertaining rip on SI will appear on Thursday. The only rule is that you have to mention me and the blog. Also, if you could give them a link to here, that would be great too, but its not required. Here's a link to the page with the email address:

Sports Illustrated

At the bottom-left of the page, there is a section marked Email The Editor. That's where you want to go. Or, you can just copy it from here, and paste it in your email:

Even if you don't wish to enter the contest, an email on my behalf would be much appreciated. Thank you for your support.

We have one Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor winner today, and he is Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays. Carlos went 3 for 3 with a walk and a homer. His Blue Jays won 10-1, meaning that teams who have a player in the lineup who gets on base or advances a runner in every at bat are now 10-1, and are scoring 8.2 runs per game.

BAP scores

Montreal 13 Atlanta 10

OBP - Mon .421, Atl .444
SLG - Mon .778, Atl .643
BAP - Mon 1.056, Atl .761

OBP gets it wrong. Montreal has the highest BAP score so far, in a game where they've scored the most runs so far.

Los Angeles 1 Arizona 0

OBP - LA .265, Ari .294
SLG - LA .324, Ari .143
BAP - LA .371, Ari .294

OBP gets it wrong. With the scores so low, you would think this series was being played in 1968.

Colorado 6 Milwaukee 1

OBP - Col .351, Mil .359
SLG - Col .419, Mil .250
BAP - Col .703, Mil .359

OBP gets it wrong.

Florida 7 Philadelphia 6

OBP - Fla .477, Phi .375
SLG - Fla .553, Phi .469
bAP - Fla .674, Phi .625

All three get it right.

St. Louis 4 Pittsburgh 3

OBP - Pit .303, StL .385
SLG - Pit .241, StL .343
BAP - Pit .429, StL .538

All three get it right.

Boston 6 New York 4 from Tim at Musings From RSN

OBP - Bos .368, NY .405
SLG - Bos .548 NY .389
BAP - Bos .684, NY .667

OBP blows it.

Boston 5 New York 4 from Tim at Musings From RSN

OBP - Bos .368, NY .325
SLG - Bos .545, NY .417
BAP - Bos .711, NY .525

All three get it right.

Another bad day for OBP.

Comments? Counseling?

Sunday, July 27, 2003

All Things Must Pass

The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 yesterday, and with it, BAP's winning streak came to an end. It was also an unusual day in that there were only two games that qualified as BAP games, which is a good thing, because it gives me a little time to focus on this one game that broke the streak.

Here are the main stats for the game:

OBP - LA .250, Ari .241
SLG - LA .182, Ari .259
BAP - LA .361, Ari .310

I have to say that games with real low scores - and 1-0 is as low as you can go - have worried me from the start. Almost by definition, a 1-0 game means that the two teams are either squandering opportunities, or not getting any opportunities at all. When this happens, any one small run of luck can throw the stats out of whack. To give an example, you can get a bunch of hits and only give up one, but if your hits are evenly divided over the course of the game and your opponents' hit is a homer, then you're screwed.

Well, something like this happened yesterday. The D-Backs put a single and a triple together in the fifth inning, and that was all they needed. Meanwhile, the Dodgers had 13 bases advanced, but couldn't get a run home. This is not a surprising performance for a team that expects Jeremy Burnitz and Rickey Henderson to save their offense, but still, it's so complete in it's ineptitude that it's worth taking a closer look at:

1st inning - With two out and a man on second, Paul Lo Duca strikes out.

6th inning - With two out and a man on second, Cesar Izturis strikes out.

7th inning - With the bases loaded and one out, guess what Dave Ross does? That's right, he strike out. With two outs and the bases loaded, Alex Cora decides to be original, and grounds out.

8th inning - With runners on first and second and one out, Shawn Green strikes out. Paul Lo Duca then walks. Up comes Jeremy Burnitz, who with the bases loaded and two out, fouls out.

BAP and OBP both missed this game, but SLG got it right. Do you want to know what is surprising me the most in all of the stats I'm keeping? It's how poorly OBP is doing. Over and over again we're seeing low scoring games where a homer or two win it, and OBP blows it. This brings up an important question:

IF OBP is consistently analyzing data from low-scoring games incorrectly, is the stat overrated?

I'm not sure what the answer to that is. But I do know that if I'm in a pitcher's duel, maybe now I want someone like Richie Sexson in my lineup, who can hit a ball out of anywhere, any day, even if he's not the top first basemen out there.

Sexson, by the way, is yesterday's only winner of the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, going 4 for 4 with a homer. The Brewers scored eight runs but lost, ending yet another streak, the winning streak of teams that have a PDMOH winner in their lineup. The record of those teams is now 9-1, and they are scoring 8.0 runs a game.

My two big streaks done in by the Dodgers' hitting and the Brewers' pitching. What can you do?

Comments? Counseling?

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Saturday Night Live

A somewhat quick weekend update. For real action this weekend hit Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat

Rich was one of the first BAP supporters, and does lots of interesting stuff over there. He only writes on weekends, so you know you'll be getting his best material, unlike the Triple A presentation you'll see here to today.

Here we go:

Friday Night's Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor Winners (for making only positive contributions on offense) goes to:

Derek Lee of the Florida Marlins - 3 for 3 with two walks, a stolen base, and a homer
Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies - 2 for 2 with a homer, a SF, and a hit by pitch

Both of their teams won, scoring 11 and 7 runs. Teams that possess these Medal winners now have a record of 9-0 with a runs per game average of 8.0. Pretty damn good.

BAP vs. OBP vs. SLG

If you need definitions check earlier in the week.

New York 4 Boston 3 Done by Tim of Musings From RSN

Tim has enthusiastically joined the BAP Research team, and will be tracking the Red Sox for the rest of the year. One of the reasons I don't write specifically about my Sox is that there are so many good Sox blogs out there already, and Tim's is as good as anyone's.

OBP - NY .325, Bos .405
SLG - NY .441, Bos .343
BAP - NY .750, Bos .548

OBP blows it.

Toronto 5 Baltimore 3

OBP - Bal .343, Tor .371
SLG - Bal .344, Tor .438
BAP - Bal .400, Tor .781

All three percentages analyze the game correctly.

Minnesota 6 Cleveland 5

OBP - Min .350, Cle .289
SLG - Min .378, Tor .351
BAP - Min .650, Cle .632

All three get it right.

Montreal 9 Atlanta 8 (11 innings)

OBP - Atl .392, Mon .373
SLG - Atl .646, Mon .488
BAP - Atl .784, Mon .804

BAP kicks butt!

Oakland 3 Anaheim 2

OBP - Oak .325, Ana .278
SLG - Oak .459, Ana .353
BAP - Oak .575, Ana .472

All three have it right.

Arizona 2 Los Angeles 1 (15 innings)

OBP - LA .140, Ari .304
SLG - LA .152, Ari .353
BAP - LA .255, Ari .421

I thought this game would be tougher, but all three get it right.

San Francisco 5 San Diego 2

OBP - SD .265, SF .273
SLG - SD .226, SF .310
BAP - SD .371, SF .529

All three get it right.

Results for last night:

BAP 7-0
SLG 6-1
OBP 5-2

The standings:

BAP 20-0
SLG 16-4
OBP 13-6-1

Comments? Counseling?l

My Mistake

Apparently, I was wrong. No, not BAP. That's doing fine. It's about me posting all weekend. I have a baby in my lap while I'm doing this, and all sorts of family stuff going on, so the commentary will wait to Monday. But I will put BAP numbers up sometime today and tomorrow, so you can check in for that, if you'd like.

Have a Great weekend.


Friday, July 25, 2003

Idiot Wind

You're an idiot, babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe
- Idiot Wind, Bob Dylan

Man, that would have made a great blog title. As it is, I'm using it to display some of the sillier performances in yesterday's baseball games. All of the info comes from ESPN's game logs, which I've come to enjoy as much as my morning boxscores. For the second straight day, there is no winner of the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, but there's a lot to cover with BAP updates. So let's not waste any time, and get right to it.

Idiot Wind All-Stars

- David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. With the Red Sox down 6 runs in the sixth inning, Ortiz gets thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.

- Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks. With the game tied at 2 in the eighth and the bases loaded with two outs, Webb, who already has a double in the game, bunts. He becomes the third out.

- Brian Fuentes of the Colorado Rockies. It's a scoreless game in the eighth inning, and Fuentes is so unnerved by the 44-year-old man with no stolen bases on first base that he balks, and let's him walk to second. The runner is Rickey Henderson of course, but still, this has to be some kind of record.

- Jose Guillen of the Cincinnati Reds. This is my favorite. Jason LaRue fouls out to Pirate firstbaseman Randall Simon. Guillen is doubled off of second.

- Adrian Beltre of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Beltre has a game straight out of Little League. He goes hitless in three at bats, makes an error fielding, another one throwing, and gets hit by a pitch.

- Jose Reyes of the New York Mets. Trailing 2-0 in the fourth with no outs, Reyes gets thrown out trying to go from first to third on a single to center.

- Matt Walbeck of the Detroit Tigers. You knew there had to be a Tiger in here somewhere. The 33-year-old catcher gets so excited over the Tigers 4-run lead that he attempts to steal a base, something he has failed to do successfully this millenium. He is thrown out.

- Magglio Ordonez of the Chicago White Sox - Ordonez gets thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, and a double into a triple.

BAP puts its undefeated record on the line.

The descriptions of BAP have been made in some detail over the last few days, but to go over it again briefly, it's an attempt to account for all of the extra bases gained in a ballgame that don't show up in OBP or SLG. So far, it has accurately predicted the winner of every game using that game's data, something OBP and SLG haven't done.

Here's an example of an innings, and how I score it:

-Top of the 4th inning
-A Nunez grounded out to first.
-J Suppan singled to left.
-J Kendall singled to left, J Suppan to second.
-J Wilson flied out to deep right, J Suppan to third.
-B Giles doubled to right center, J Suppan and J Kendall scored, B Giles tagged out at third attempting to advance on throw.

The Pirates get an extra base (EB, I guess) when Suppan moves to third on the flyball. On the next play, there's an EB when Kendall scores from first on a Giles' double. But when Giles is thrown out at third, he costs the team 2 EBs for losing the double. The total Pirates EB score for the inning is 0.

You can find the formula in yesterday's entry. In the meantime, let's get to the games. We only look at games that would be hard for any statistic to predict - one-run games, and those in which the loser has at least as many hits as the winner. The current standings:

BAP 7-0
OBP 4-2-1
SLG 4-3

San Francisco 3 Arizona 2

OBP - Ari .390. SF .226
SLG - Ari .405, SF .517
BAP - Ari .610, SF .613

OBP gets it wrong. This is the hardest game yet for BAP. San Francisco scores all three of it's runs on home runs.

Los Angeles 1 Colorado 0 (11 innings)

OBP - Col .179, LA .237
SLG - Col .111, LA .171
BAP - Col .275, LA .359

I thought this game would be tougher, but all three get it right.

Minnesota 6 Kansas City 2

OBP Min .303, KC .242
SLG Min .448, KC .387
BAP Min .500, KC .412

All three get it right.

Milwaukee 2 Houston 1

OBP - Mil .389, Hou .235
SLG - Mil .357, Hou .226
BAP - Mil .472, Hou .324

All three get it right.

Chicago 4 Toronto 3

OBP - Chi .377, Tor .250
SLG - Chi .333, Tor .286
BAP - Chi .453, Tor .408

This game gave me a heart attack. I thought BAP got it wrong, and I'm walking around my house cursing Magglio Ordonez after I rechecked the OBP and SLG stats, when I sit back down and check EBs. Sure enough, not only did I make a mistake counting, but I also missed a play after Ordonez's last blunder that added two bases.

Of course, this raises the question of me making mistakes on other games. I don't doubt it, being a research team of one publishing daily, but I will say that they would probably not occur with the OBP and SLG results. Those are far easier to calculate, because I don't have to accumulate the data myself. And with most of the BAP scores there has been such a huge difference between the two teams that a small mistake wouldn't change the result. But yeah, if anyone wants to volunteer to check my results, I'd love the help.

Oakland 3 Seattle 0

OBP - Oak .297, Sea .308
SLG - Oak .344, Sea .206
BAP - Oak .459, Sea .333

OBP gets it wrong.

Today's results:

BAP 6-0
SLG 6-0
OBP 4-2

Total results:

BAP 13-0
SLG 10-3
OBP 8-4-1

BAP remains undefeated! Prove it wrong if you can!

We publish on the weekend here, folks. So if you've got this far, make sure to come back tomorrow.

Comments? Counseling?

Thursday, July 24, 2003

BAP wins the pennant!

So I get an email from Paul Sporer, who has a great blog that's even younger than mine, and he basically says, "Hey, I think you're on to something with BAP, but you need more data". He's right of course, and I knew that, but was trying to avoid it. Anyway, I'm so pleased to get a positive response to anything I write that I tell him "Yeah, I'm going to have the BAP scores for every game tomorrow".

Just a plain ridiculous statement on my part. I currently have a research team of one, which consists of myself, and if I plan to do a daily blog, I can't spend three hours putting stats together for each entry. While doing every game would be the most thorough, it is not necessary to start there to see if BAP works. I didn't do a good job yesterday of explaining why I picked the Cards - Padres game to introduce BAP, so I'm going to explain it now, and at the same time explain why I don't need to do every game at this point. Here it is:

BAP is largely OBP and SLG based. OBP and SLG are great stats, much more useful than batting average, and if you look at the OBP or SLG for both teams in most games, you will be able to tell who the winner is. Because BAP relies so heavily on both of them, it makes sense that in any game where there is a significant difference in the score, all three percentages will come out in favor of the winner. What I'm hoping BAP does is fill in the missing pieces, and gets the games right that the others miss. The beautiful part about the STL - SD game was that STL had more hits, a higher SLG, and an equal OBP, but lost the game. BAP had SD with a better percentage, the only of the three to do so.

Today, I'm going to give all three percentages for any one-run games, and any game where the loser had the same amount or more hits than the winner. By doing this, I'm using the games that would be the hardest to predict for any statistic. This leave me with six games - Florida at Atlanta, Philly at the Cubs, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Houston at Milwaukee, The White Sox at Toronto, and Anaheim at Texas.

There has been a slight change in the formula. I like to call it The Grudzielanek Rule, named after the Cubs second baseman who led off an inning yesterday with a double, only to get thrown out attempting to stretch it into a triple. It seemed wrong to subtract only one base for a runner erased, when he was going to get credit for two bases when counting total bases. So now the formula is this:

BAP = # of bases advanced / # of plate appearances
where bases advanced equals total bases + walks + HBP + extra bases gained - bases gained by a baserunner lost.

If you want to see how I came up with extra bases gained, see yesterday's entry.

Here we go!

Philadelphia 3 Chicago 0
OBP - Phi .257, Chi . 206
SLG - Phi .333, Chi .194
BAP - Phi .457, Chi. .206

All three get the winner right.

Houston 3 Milwaukee 2 (11 innings)
OBP - Hou .238, Mil .279
SLG - Hou .316, Mil .289
BAP - Hou .326, Mil .273

OBP gets it wrong.

Texas 12 Anaheim 9
OBP - Ana .435, Tex .429
SLG - Ana .700, Tex .571
BAP - Ana .848, Tex .976

Only BAP gets it right.

Pittsburgh 6 Cincinnati 5
OBP - Pit .390, Cin .350
SLG - Pit .622, Cin .405
BAP - Pit .690, Cin .439

All three get the winner right.

Florida 5 Atlanta 4 (12 innings)
OBP - Flo .367, Atl .255
SLG - Flo .444, Atl .214
BAP - Flo .560, Atl .319

All three get the winner right.

Chicago 7 Toronto 6
OBP - Chi .395, Tor .341
SLG - Chi .405, Tor .486
BAP - Chi .698, Tor. .610

SLG gets it wrong.

If you're scoring at home (or as Keith Olberman used to say, "or even if you're alone"), the final standings, in the hardest games to analyze, are:

BAP 6-0
OBP 4-2
SLG 4-2

BAP wins the pennant! BAP wins the pennant! It's Unbelievable! BAP goes undefeated, and in all six games, BAP shows the largest difference between the winner and loser. So far, it seems as though BAP can interpret game data better than OBP or SLG. Someone please prove this wrong, before I get too excited.

Tomorrow, we'll give the scores again, but instead of explaining the rules, we'll show some of the more ridiculous game scenarios. If it doesn't get more entertaining soon, my wife is going to stop visiting the site, and she's my most loyal reader.

Check out Paul's blog For Rich or Sporer

Comments? Counseling?

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

How About Bases Advanced Percentage?

Got the game I was looking for last night, played around with the numbers a bit, and I think I may be on to something. The contest was between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres, on the West Coast. There was a 19 year age difference between the starting pitchers, Jeff Fassero for the Cards and Oliver Perez for the Padres. I could talk about that for an hour, but I really want to stay on the game. The Padres won 3-2, but why?. Figuring that out is going to take some work.

Here are the major stats for the game:

St. Louis - OBP. 333, SLG .294
San Diego - OBP .333, SLG .214

They have the exact same On-Base Percentage. There were no homers in the game, and only one extra base hit, a double by the Amazing Albert Pujols. Both teams had one sacrifice fly, and one sacrifice bunt. The Padres could have tied all of their hits together for one big inning, but didn't. So what happened? How did the Padres win this game?

Here's the log for all of the events on the field that don't make it into any way that we commonly display baseball statistics:

1st SD - Gary Matthews Jr. moves from first to third on a single.

4th SD - Brian Buchanan goes to second on a wild pitch.

5th SD - Ramon Vazquez scores on Ryan Klesko's sacrifice fly. On the same play, Matthews moves to third. On the next play, Matthews scores on a fielder's choice grounder to third, with Mark Loretta being out at second.

6th STL - Orlando Palmeiro scores, and Pujols goes to third, on a sacrifice fly by Scott Rolen.
6th SD - Lou Merloni goes from 1st to 2nd on a bunt by Eduardo Perez.

7th SD - Klesko goes from 1st to 2nd on a grounder to 2nd.

8th STL - Perez lines into a doubleplay, 2nd to short. Rolen is caught off of 2nd.

9th STL - Kerry Robinson bunts Jim Edmonds to 2nd.

There's a lot going on here. For the game, San Diego has picked up 7 extra bases advanced, the Cardinals only 3, with one baserunner lost in a double play. The Padres have accumulated 5 extra bases by the end of the 5th inning, when they already have a 3-0 lead. Gary Matthews Jr. has picked up three of those bases, which means that along with his two hits, he has accounted for five bases in three plate appearances, by the fifth inning.

Let's take a deeper look at that SD fifth: Here's the complete log, from ESPN:

-G Stephenson relieved J Fassero.
-Bottom of the 5th inning
-R Vazquez walked.
-G Matthews Jr singled to center, R Vazquez to second.
-M Loretta hit by pitch, R Vazquez to third, G Matthews Jr to second.
-R Klesko hit sacrifice fly to center, R Vazquez scored, G Matthews Jr to third.
-R White grounded into fielder's choice to third, G Matthews Jr scored, M Loretta out at second.
-B Buchanan struck out looking.

Two runs on a walk, a single, and a hit batsman. I didn't see this game, but it seems as though Klesko's sacrifice fly was deep enough for Vazquez and Matthews to move up, but not so deep that Loretta goes to 2nd. Or else Loretta could have moved up, but didn't. It wouldn't have been a crazy move to attempt it if it was fairly deep, because it would have drawn the throw and allowed the run to score. Or did Matthews draw the throw, and Loretta still didn't move up? Regardless, Matthews gets himself to third, and Loretta stays at first.

On the next play, Rondell White hits a grounder to third and Rolen gets the force at second, but they don't get the doubleplay, and Matthews scores. Did Rolen have a play at the plate and decide to gamble on getting two? Did Matthews have a great jump on the play? Did the secondbaseman get taken out on the throw? I don't know, but the Padres pick up a key base and what would turn out to be the winning run.

As for, the Cardinal at-bats, in no inning do they pick up an extra base without giving up an out, and they even erase a baserunner with a bases-loaded double play in the eighth. Everything else is sacrifices and fielder's choice.

Alright, let's get to Bases Advanced Percentage, or whatever it should be called:

BAP = # of bases advanced/ # of plate appearances
where bases advanced equals total bases + walks + extra bases gained - base runners lost.

I'm not a math major, so please correct me on any of this, or let me know if there's a major flaw.

BAP for STL -

(10 total bases + 3 walks + 3 extra bases - 1 baserunner erased) / 38 = 15/38 = .395

BAP for SD -

(6 total bases + 5 walks + 7 extra bases)/ 35 = 18/35 = .514

Now, there's a difference. St. Louis is getting .395 bases for every plate appearance, while San Diego gets .514. Unlike OBP or Slugging, I can look at these two numbers alone, and see that San Diego should have won this game. So now the question is, is it an accurate portrayal of the game, or coincidence?

Feedback is essential.

On to the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor. We have one winner today, Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins, who went 4-4 with a walk in the Marlins' 9-1 win over Montreal. This brings the record of teams with a PDMOH winner up to 7-0, with an average run total of 7.71.

Comments? Counseling?

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Murder By Numbers

The Red Sox did me a favor last night. I really didn't want to watch them play the Tigers, but I've gotten more excited about the wildcard race the last couple of days with the Sox gaining a split against Toronto, and the A's being swept by the Twins. Once the score was 6-0, I felt it was safe to switch to Oakland at KC. The game had appeal on several levels, the most obvious being that the Royals are in first place, and the A's are, well, the A's. But it was also the major league debut of Rich Harden, the young flamethrower who has blown his way through the Oakland minor league system. Last, it was a matchup of two teams playing distinctly different styles, with the A's being the darlings of the patient hitter advocates, and the Royals having success with "little ball", third in the league in stolen base attempts.

The competing philosophies were of special interest to me because I've been thinking a lot about things that were neglected in the SABR world's new 'traditional" numbers. On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage are definitely better than Batting Average. But OPS? Anyone who has looked at it has figured out that a point in OBP is worth 1.5 to 3 times as much as a point in Slugging, yet a player's OPS (which for those of you who don't know, just adds the two together) is becoming an increasingly more common term, used by even sportswriters and announcers. OPS should have come and gone, just like 8-track tapes, quickly outdated. But it seems as though it's going to be around a while.

This brings me to Ralph Wiley's column, in which he suggests that SABR folk are using stats to discredit statistics that are now being controlled by American-born Blacks, specifically Rickey Henderson's stolen base record. While everyone knows this is garbage, it is not incorrect to say that no one these days talks about the importance of speed. And I don't mean stolen bases, I mean all speed.

How come, with all of the records being kept out there, no one is putting any real importance on a player's ability to go from first to third on a single, to score from second on a single, to go from second to third on a ground ball to the right, etc.? All of this information is available, all of it could be quantified, but it isn't.

And the numbers have to be relevant. Take two completely opposite teammates, Ichiro Suzuki and Edgar Martinez. How many more bases is Ichiro's speed worth in a season? 20? 50? 100? 150? Wouldn't this be important to know before you could evaluate the two players? But no one knows.

So anyway, getting back to the A's-Royals games, Harden and the other young pitcher Cory Snyder, didn't disappoint. Between them, they threw so many groundball outs that I half expected someone to pull a Satchel Paige and sit his outfielders down. On top of that, Harden hit 101 on the gun in the fourth inning. Not bad for a debut, and I would say that if he builds on this outing everyone ahead of the A's is in trouble, again.

At the end of eight innings the score was tied at 1, and these were the "important" stats for each team:

Oakland - OBP .154, SLG .160
Kansas City - OBP .260, SLG .167

Clearly, neither team was lighting it up. While KC has better numbers, its such a small sample that it would be hard to say who was ahead just from looking at them. Tied at 1 seems perfectly reasonable. But here's the kicker:

In every single half inning that someone reached base, someone is either advancing bases or making outs in a way that is not reflected in either OBP or Slugging.

That's right, every single time. There were eight such occurrences. Here they are:

1st KC - Beltran stole second.
2nd Oakland - Tejada goes from 2nd to 3rd on a grounder to the right, then scores on a sacrifice fly by Hernandez.
3rd Oak - Long hits into a doubleplay.
3rd KC - Febles advances from first to third on a single by Guiel, but Guiel is thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double.
4th KC - Ibanez hits into a doubleplay. Harvey is safe at third on an outfielder's error.
6th KC - Guiel gets to third on a fielder's choice where they don't get the lead runner, then scores on a sacrifice fly by Ibanez. Beltran is picked off first.
7th Oak - Tejada to 2nd on a wild pitch.
8th KC - Febles is caught stealing.

That's quite a bit of information that isn't used in OBP and SLG. I assume that no one thinks it's irrelevant. How can we accurately evaluate any player when none of these acts are built into our major percentages?

So the question becomes, "What do we do about it?". The answer returns, "Solve it another day." But at least, let the conversation start. There is still a lot of work to do.

In other news, nobody won the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, and all of the NBA players made it safely home to their very large beds.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Open House

Welcome to the World
It's not all I'd have given you
Just shining pieces of a dream
Almost could have been
And still might yet come true
- Welcome to the World, Ratdog

Waking up with an endorsement from Aaron's Baseball Blog is kind of like the day I tried to sell my condo by myself, with some help from my Dad. You want to get everything just right, but before you know it, there are thirty strangers at your door wanting to take a look around, examining everything. You quickly realize that there's no point worrying about the fact that you can hear the neighbors flush the toilet through your paper-thin walls (or the lack of pictures due to Blogger not letting anyone update right now), and to just roll with it. After all, I'm really proud of the place.

Take a walk with me
C'mon and talk with me
- Welcome to the World, Ratdog

So here's a quick tour of my home's best stuff. I like the paint job we did upstairs (Brother Blood, 7/13), the new hardwood floors (6/24 Bruce in Fenway), and the pool right outside the back door (6/23 Larry Doby and the Negro Leagues). And there's also that great snapshot of me on that wall over there (7/8).

As for today, let's move on to what normally would have been a "Jab and Move" column.

I've been thinking a lot recently about reviving the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, and today seems like the perfect day to do it. The PDMOH goes to players who do something positive during every single plate appearance of a game, and do not do anything negative on the base paths. These players never get recognized on ESPN or even in their own local papers, unless they go 4 for 4, so in that way winning the PDMOH is a unique achievement.

Here are today's winners of the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor!

Darren Bragg - 3 for 3 with two walks!
Rich Aurillia - 4 for 4!
Magglio Ordonez - 3 for 3 with a walk and a homer!
Shannon Stewart - 4 for 4!
And my favorite . . .
Scott Rolen - 2 for 2 with three walks, a homer, and a stolen base!

The teams of those six players went 6-0, and scored 45 runs. That's 7.5 runs per team that has a hitter who doesn't make a mistake. Coincidence?

The great parity that exists in baseball (no matter what Selig says, although it's interesting how much quieter he has been since the contract situation has been resolved) has produced a ton of great baseball series as we enter the second half of the season. Here's the rundown on all of the key series this past weekend:

Toronto at Boston - The Sox win the last two to split the series. They have a three game lead in the wildcard race. Toronto is 7 back.

Oakland at Minnesota - I know us statheads don't believe in wake-up calls, but WOW! The Twins sweep the series. The A's are now 5 back of Seattle. The Twins are still 6.5 behind KC.

Seattle at KC - The Royals take 3 of 4. Seattle has gone 11-16 since June 18.

St. Louis at LA - They split the series.

Colorado at SF - The Giants sweep, crushing the Rockies' tiny playoff dreams.

The clash of playoff contenders continues this week, with Oakland at KC, Toronto at NY, Montreal at Florida, Chicago at Atlanta, and Arizona at San Francisco.

NBA Police Blotter
We have a bunch of new names to add this week. Please welcome Samaki Walker, Gary Payton, Jason Caffey, Sam Cassell, and Chris Webber. All of these names appeared in the paper recently in connection to criminal activity.

One last plug for myself. I've got a better way to determine the College Football National Champions than anyone, and it's different than what you'll see anywhere. If you like College Football, make sure to come back for that. Of course, you might want to come back tomorrow, too.

Comments? Counseling?

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Ken Griffey Jr.

All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday
- The Beatles
(sorry again, AG)

Everyone knows just how great Ken Griffey Jr. was as a Seattle Mariner. By the time he left there at the age of 29, he already had 398 career homeruns. He won Gold Gloves every year from 1991 to 1999. He hit in the top ten in OPS eight times. The list could go on and on.

But even bigger than the stats was the hype. Griffey was the symbol of the Seattle Mariners, and really, for all of baseball. He was usually considered one of the top three players in the game. He caused a national flack by wearing his baseball cap backwards during batting practice. Griffey was a celebrity, the man most likely to break Aaron's record, back when it looked a whole lot harder to break. Who in baseball now equals Griffey's Seattle career in terms of youth, performance, and notoriety? Nobody. You could make a case for ARod, who is a better player, but he doesn't have the fame outside of baseball that Junior did. Outside of baseball, he wasn't as famous as Kobe, but bigger than say, Michael Vick.

I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
Oh, yesterday
Came suddenly
- Yesterday, The Beatles

The switch to Cincinnati has not gone as planned for anyone. Here's Griffey's injuries just as a Red, as taken from the Cincinnati Post:

Sept. 11-end of season -- Partial tear of left hamstring.

April 29-June 15 -- Partial tear of left hamstring.

June 24-July 22 -- Strained right hamstring.

April 6-May 25 -- Partial tear of patella tendon in right knee and partially dislocated right kneecap.


July 17 -- Ruptured right ankle tendon.

April 5-May 15 -- Dislocated right shoulder.

It's that ruptured ankle tendon that has finished this season.

Apparently there were some boos as they took Griffey off of the field. Most people would say that Griffey has been the victim of bad luck since he has been in Cincinnati, but I think another big culprit is unrealistic expectations. Here's stats for Griffey's last four years in Seattle, and his first year in Cincinnati, when he played in 145 games:

1996 - OBP .392, SLG .628
1997 - OBP .382, SLG .646
1998 - OBP .365, SLG .611
1999 - OBP .384, SLG .576
2000 - OBP .387, SLG .556

The first thing I see with this is that his power has dropped three straight years, but another way to look at that is that his power had dropped for two straight years before going to Cincinnati. At the time, everyone blamed the effect on Safeco Field, and didn't really expect a drop in Griffey's performance. But Safeco didn't open until the 1999/2000 season.

Also, notice how his OBP is higher in his first year as a Red than any of the last three as a Mariner. And if you go by the Paul DePodesta method of "OBP is worth three times SLG", then his first year in Cincinnati is better than his 1998 season as a Mariner, when he hit 56 homers. Considering that Griffey is 30 years old in 2000, just slightly beyond most player's peak year, this is right about where you would expect Griffey's numbers to be.

So it's not just that Griffey has had all bad luck once he got to the Reds. Now, I know what you're thinking: Griffey has missed a ton of time since 2000. OK, let's look at that. Here are Griffey's numbers for 2001 and 2002, his age 31 and 32 seasons, and the numbers in Seattle for the next two years previous, 1995 and 1996, when he is 24 and 25:

1995 - 111 games, .402 OBP, .674 SLG
1996 - 72 games, .379 OBP, .481 SLG

2001 - 111 games, .365 OBP, .533 SLG
2002 - 70 games, .358 OBP, .426 SLG

Almost the exact same number of games, a worse year both times the second straight year with an injury. The total stats for the first two years are better, but if you had to rank the seasons from best to worst, they'd come out 1995, 2001, 1996, 2002. And the first two years were in the Kingdome.

That brings us to this year. In another new park, one that definitely rewards power hitters, here are Griffey's stats for his injury-riddled 2003 season.

53 games .370 OBP, .566 SLG

Griffey's career numbers? .379 OBP .562 SLG

Ladies and Gentlemen, the man can still hit. We just have to keep him on the field. It's similar in that way to Mark McGwire, who missed all sorts of time in what should have been the prime of his career.

Of course, keeping him on the field will not be an easy task. His Mariner injuries were usually his wrists and hands, but his Reds injuries have all been to his legs, much worse. So how do we go about resurrecting Junior's career?

The first thing we have to do is get him out of Cincinnati. They will always want Mariner Ken (sounds like Barbie's sailor boyfriend) as opposed to Red Ken (Barbie's brush with Communism), and they ain't gonna get him. I've got a feeling that Junior feels the same way, and is always tryng to be the Gold Glove centerfielder, to live up to outdated expectations. He needs a new start.

So let's take a look at that contract . . .


It's a whopper. 12.5 million for the next five years, with a team option for a sixth (don't laugh) that carries with it a 4 million dollar buyout. Griffey is owed another 12 million in deferred payments.

The Reds need out of this, and so does Junior. So here's the deal: The Reds give him the 12 million they owe him now, the 4 million buyout now, and another year's salary for his off-season rehab and his trouble. Griffey gets a check for 28.5 million dollars, the Reds save 50 million dollars, everyone wins.

Griffey is now free, and very, very, rich. He can sign a much smaller contract with much lower expectations. He can also get out of centerfield, and for that matter, the outfield. Junior should look for a team that wants a DH, and a fifth outfielder, and that's it. With those legs, Junior can't be on the field except for emergencies. So we need a team that will only need him as a DH next year, that will have an opening at that position . . .

Seattle anyone?

OK, that may not be the best idea. Too much history, and we want Ken away from that kind of thing. What about signing for two mil a year in some place like KC, or Oakland? The point is, there's options, and Junior can still finish his Hall of Fame career on a high note.

So don't give up, Ken! There's hope for you yet!

Friday, July 18, 2003

A Working Class Hero Is Something to Be

Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. There, I said it. Yesterday, I pointed out that I was "totally against Rose being reinstated". But now I think we should get Peter Edward Rose on the ballot and in the Hall as quickly as possible.

No, I wasn't swayed by Johnnie Cochrane's argument - although I have to say that if my best friend were Cochrane or last night's prosecuting attorney Alan Dershowitz, I'd quit my job and start robbing banks - but by the sentiment put forth by former players, the jury, and the 79% of ESPN voters who tapped the mouse in Rose's favor. Pete Rose has become something of a martyr, a hardworking kid who made good, made a mistake, and needs to be forgiven. There is a belief that there needs to be Justice for Pete Rose. People like Rose.

But what if people didn't like Rose? What if we were talking about Albert Belle, or Milton Bradley? What if he were a different color, or from another country? If Pete Rose had accomplished all of the same things in the same way, but had been a kid from San Pedro de Macoris, spoke very little English and had returned to The Dominican at the end of his career, been convicted of tax fraud and been accused of but not admitted to gambling on baseball, would there be this vast amount of support for his Hall of Fame induction?

By the way, did you see the part with Bill James? James had already been torn apart by Dershowitz, and had come across as an exposed pseudo-academic opinionated elitist in trying to defend his criticism of the Dowd Report, when Cochrane asked him this:

Cochrane: Are their any players in the Hall who had previously been inelgible?
James:Yes, there are the Negro Leaguers, and the players who got in from the Veteran's Committee.

What is the implication of that?! "Well, we let the NEGROES in, how can we keep out the gambling tax cheat?"!

Pete Rose is the hometown hero of Cincinnati Ohio, plays the People's Champion card well, and is up against Bud Selig, an easy target. Baseball is, in the end, an entertainment industry, and so if Pete Rose is who America wants, then give it to them. To me, stifling Pete and his supporters by making him a museum piece is a hell of a lot better than having him parade around as a victim of Baseball's tyranny. And then maybe the next time he gets busted or declares bankruptcy, he will be recognized for what he is, a lying, cheating criminal-with-a-gambling-problem Hall of Famer who has embarrassed all of Baseball.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Jab and Move

Tonight is the Harvard Law School Mock Trial of Pete Rose. ESPN gets full credit for carrying this event. From the setup of it, it appears that this is all Harvard's idea, and ESPN was just smart enough to know a good thing when they saw one.

Everybody knows about the famous lawyers involved, but there's also a lot of baseball people. Jim Palmer is a witness for the prosecution, as is often miserable Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and Lester Munson, who writes for SI and is considered an expert on the Dowd Report. If your Pete Rose, the fact that the expert on the document most important to your case is on the other side is a bad omen.

But it's the defense witnesses that are most interesting. Check out this roster: Hank Aaron, Bill James, Bill Lee, and Dave Parker. I'm really surprised to see James in there. I remember him teeing off on Joe Jackson in one of his abstracts, so I thought he understood the seriousness of any kind of sniff of gambling within a sport.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am going in to the trial totally against Rose being reinstated. I know gamblers, and with the kind of money Rose was throwing around, I believe he bet on baseball, and probably allowed it to influence some of his decisions on the field. And he signed off accepting that lifetime ban. But I'm willing to try to be objective, and I'm very curious about tonight. I'll give a more detailed opinion of the whole thing tomorrow.

Did anyone see that Bud commercial during the All-Star game about the moat for a warning track? I swear, I've been joking about that with friends for twenty years! Has everyone thought of that, or is it just a wild coincidence, or is the ad executive someone I used to hang out with? Now I'm waiting to see if there's another commercial with my other idea - a bottomless pit in centerfield.

Final All-Star game comment, I swear: Everyone knows it's easier to be a starter than a reliever, and that a lot of great relievers are just failed starters, like LaTroy Hawkins. It's a small piece of evidence, but check out these numbers from the All-Star game:

Relievers - 5 innings, 9 runs
Starters - 12 innings, 4 runs

Lots of great matchups this weekend with playoff implications for both teams, including Toronto at Boston, Oakland at Minnesota, Seattle at KC, Montreal at Philly, St. Louis at Atlanta, and Colorado at San Francisco.

If you want to read a story of true baseball heartbreak, check out Aaron Gleeman's Bobby Kielty story at Aaron's Baseball Blog

I think that Aaron's blog has become so popular now that he probably tipped off Toronto GM JP Ricciardi to Kielty's talents. The price of fame.

Comments? Counseling?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

All-Star Recap

"At the end of the game, there was a little more intensity the way we were coming back. Guys were having good at-bats. It was definitely an advantage for us to win because we weren't supposed to get home field this year. And more guys stayed around to watch the end of the game.'' - Jason Giambi

""It went by so fast, I don't really remember running around. After something like that, you can't really feel your legs under you. You feel like you're floating around the bases. It was pretty cool." - Hank Blalock, who is 22 but looks about 12, on hitting the game winning homer

"I'm thinking that the second half of the game could be the most interesting thing we've seen in an all-star game. You're going to have lots of very good players out there actually trying to win this thing." - Eisenberg Sports

Not well written, but I got the sentiment right.

"I'll be thinking about it again in October. I know that. But there's nothing I can do about it now. There's nothing I could change. Hopefully, it will be our team that gets to go out there in the World Series and say, 'Now we get a chance to pick him up.' But I know this: Whoever makes the World Series will think about it more than I will." - Eric Gagne

"Two cities are going to look back on this game just before they enter the World Series, and realize that what happens tonight may have altered the history of their franchise." - Eisenberg Sports

Sometimes you look pretty smart. Of course, sometimes you're just full of Yogiisms:

"My wife told me that I can't invite a blog reader to the game between the Red Sox and Toronto on Sunday in Fenway. Even though I have an extra ticket that I can't give away. " - Eisenberg Sports


That was some game. With a prediction of 6-3 National League, I felt like a certifiable genius at the end of 7, when the score was 6-3 National League. Gagne was coming in for the eighth, and John Smoltz was planned for the ninth. It wasn't to be, but man, what a great game.

You can still find some incredibly close-minded people who believe the outcome of the game wasn't affected at all by the "This Time It Counts" campaign. But we saw a lot of things we don't normally see in an all-star game, including:

- Six players from each team didn't play.
- A manager arguing a call on the field.
- An outfielder sliding across the warning track in to the wall in order to cut off a ball.
- A manager admitting he held a player out of the game longer so he could avoid having him hit against a lefthander.
- Six players getting more than half of the American League At Bats

This game was played with real baseball game intensity, regardless of how many Selig-Haters and purists stomp their feet and pout "It's an exhibition! It's an exhibition!". Actually, the game had more intensity than a lot of regular season games, like the Brewers vs.,well, most everyone. The All-Star game is now actually some kind of weird hybrid between an exhibition and a playoff, with managers still trying to play people, but everyone playing to win. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

My predictions went really well for all of this game except the last inning. I said Mike Williams, Armando Benitez, Lance Carter, and Mike MacDougal wouldn't pitch, and they didn't. I thought Eddie Guardado shouldn't pitch, but he did and got rocked. I thought Randy Wolf should have been saved for a lefty matchup, but Dusty gave him a full inning, and he gave up a run. What I wish I said, because I was thinking it but it didn't make my entry,was that I was worried about Woody Williams getting hit because he didn't do well in the lnterleague games, and I wondered if Dusty would use Dontrelle Willis, seeing that he waited so long to add him to the roster. Woody got hit, Dontrelle didn't play.

But hey, a good time was had by almost all. I'm sure in the off-season we will see some tinkering with the selection process, which is needed. And we have our All-Star game back, the best one out there. It's a good day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

This Time, It Does Count - Handicapping The All-Star Game

If you've been to any baseball message board or forum this week, you've probably come across some spirited debate over the relative merits of ballplayers both in and out of the game. I'm as guilty of this as anyone, shouting from the rooftops about Milton Bradley getting royally screwed. But sprinkled throughout these discussions are comments by people of how disgusted they are by the whole process, how meaningless the game is, how they're not going to watch the game now, how they never watch the game.

There's a bunch of things wrong with that, of course. First of all, why are you arguing about the selections if you don't care about the game? And you're still getting to see most of the best hitters against most of the best pitchers. But the most important thing of all is that in the end, the game is not meaningless. Two cities are going to look back on this game just before they enter the World Series, and realize that what happens tonight may have altered the history of their franchise.

The home team has won the last seven seventh games. I consider this something of a fluke, being a Red Sox fan, I have to. But still, no matter how many game 7s the Sox lose, I still want that game 7 at home. And you know what? I bet the players and managers do too, and assuming there's no blowout, I'm thinking that the second half of the game could be the most interesting thing we've seen in an all-star game. Your going to have lots of very good players out there actually trying to win this thing.

The odds are even out of Las Vegas, with the over/under at 9.5. So who's going to win? Let's start with the pitching staffs. I'm figuring that for each team the starter will go two innings, then seven other pitchers go one. A starter will be saved in case it goes to extra innings, and a lefty or two will be saved in the pen. Below the pitchers are listed with the starting pitcher first, then the rest of the starters, then the relievers, by ERA:

AL - Loaiza 2.21, Moyer 3.02, Mulder 3.03, Sabathia 3.27, Clemens 3.28, Halladay 3.64
Donnelly 0.41, Hasegawa 0.81, Foulke 2.53, MacDougal 2.59, Guardado 3.41, Carter 4.17

The AL has five lefties on their staff (Moyer, Mulder, Sabathia, Guardado, and Foulke), which is surprising. I'm betting that either Halladay or Sabathia are saved for extra innings, and that MacDougal, Guardado, and Carter don't get in to the game. The median ERA for the guys left is 2.99.

NL - Schmidt 2.30, Prior 2.54, Willis 1.98, Williams 3.18, Wolf 3.23, Wood 3.36, Ortiz 3.50
Smoltz 0.84, Gagne 2.09, Wagner 2.47, Benitez 3.18, Williams 6.29

What is it with NL all-star pitchers and the letter "W"? Almost all righties except for Wolf and Wagner, so Wolf will be saved for a matchup. Benitez and Williams won't pitch, and I don't think they'll use Prior unless it is necessary. So it's going to be something like Schmidt for two, then Wood, Williams, Willis, and Ortiz for the first six innings, then finishing with Wagner, Gagne, and Smoltz. Wow! Median ERA for probable pitchers is 2.47.

I think there's a huge pitching advantage for the NL. They have all of the best closers, and AL hitters won't face a lefty unless the NL wants them to, or it's Billy Wagner. My guess is that the AL is going to have to get an early lead to win this game, so let's look at the lineups. The OBP and SLG for American Leaguers is only against righties, because we know that's all they'll face. The NL numbers are the totals:


Posada - OBP .403, SLG .491
Delgado - OBP .446, SLG .692
Soriano - OBP .343, SLG .522
Glaus - OBP .328, SLG .481
ARod - OBP .374. SLG .542
Anderson - OBP .337, SLG .610
Matsui - OBP .354, SLG .455
Ichiro - OBP.359, SLG .462
Edgar - OBP .368, SLG .500


Lopez - OBP .352, SLG .636
Helton - OBP .441, SLG .637
Vidro - OBP .418, SLG .516
Rolen - OBP .379, SLG .534
Renteria - OBP .382, SLG .482
Pujols - OBP .432, SLG .690
Edmonds - OBP .398, SLG .668
Sheffield - OBP .423, SLG .596
Bonds - OBP.496, SLG .719

Most of these players will play the first four to five innings. The median OBP for the AL is .359, for the NL it is .398. For OPS, the AL median is .500, the NL median is .636.

I've seen enough. The starting pitching for each team is pretty equal. The NL opening lineup is better than the AL lineup, which will only get to face righthanders. If the NL gets ahead, they have three dominant closers to finish the game.

National League 6 American League 3

My wife told me that I can't invite a blog reader to the game between the Red Sox and Toronto on Sunday in Fenway. Even though I have an extra ticket that I can't give away.

Comments? Counseling?l

Monday, July 14, 2003


...little patience, mm yeah, mm yeah
need a little patience, yeah
just a little patience, yeah
some more patience, yeah
need some patience, yeah
could use some patience, yeah
gotta have some patience, yeah
all it takes is patience,
just a little patience
is all you need
  • Patience, Guns and Roses

  • - Ok, I know it's a step below some of the other ones. But I don't go out of the way to find a song. They just kind of pop into my head while I'm writing, and then I check the lyrics to see if they make sense. The song really has no connection to pitch counts, so this was the best I could do.

    For those of us baseball statheads who read Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which I guess is probably all of us, one of the more controversial points was A's executive Paul DePodesta's assertion that a point in On Base Percentage is worth threes times as much as a point in Slugging Percentage. It seems as though most people who are really, really good with numbers agree that they are not worth the same amount, and that OBP is worth 1.5 to 2.0 times as much as SLG. But three times? DePodesta's increased number was based largely on the fact that guys who walk more draw more pitches, and more pitches means that the opponent's pitcher tires sooner, and allows you to go deeper in to their bullpen against their lesser pitchers.

    As a Sox fan watching the Yankees great run, this has frustrated me for years. You could see the Yankees taking pitch after pitch against Pedro, just hoping to get him out of the game a little sooner. Of course, they did this against other pitchers too, and why not? If you know, KNOW, that the other team has the starting pitcher on a pitch count, how can you not take pitches when you are up to bat?

    Theo Epstein has thankfully righted the Red Sox ship, spending the off-season acquiring a batch of players with patience - Todd Walker, David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Jeremy Giambi. They still have Nomar, who drives me absolutely crazy, but the Sox have figured it out, and that gives me more cause for optimism than anything I've seen all year.

    So is DePodesta right? I thought I'd take a look at it. Here are the league leaders for highest and lowest pitches faced per at-bat, for each position:

    The High Team
    1B Jim Thome 4.1
    2B Roberto Alomar 4.2
    3B Scott Rolen 4.1
    SS Jose Hernandez 4.1
    LF Brad Wilkerson 4.4
    CF Johnny Damon 4.0
    RF Bobby Abreu 4.3
    C Jason Kendall 4.0

    The Low Team
    1B Ken Harvey 3.3
    2B Brandon Phillips 3.4
    3B Vinny Castilla 3.1
    SS Deivi Cruz 3.0 - Nomar climbs out of the basement!
    LF Jay Payton 3.3
    CF Marquis Grissom 3.3
    RF Ichiro 3.3
    C Pierzynski 3.1

    The High team faces an average of 33.2 pitches per times through the order, the low team faces 25.8. Adding a pitcher to the order at 3.0 pitches per at bat, those numbers change to 36.2 and 28.8. If we assume that over the course of the game a team goes through their batting order about every two innings, then after six innings the opposing pitcher will have thrown 87 pitches against the low team, but 102 pitches against the high team. From that, we can draw two conclusions: The pitcher who's thrown 102 pitches is probably coming out of the game after six, and there is a much greater chance that he got pummeled in the sixth, and is already out of the game.

    But there's more. The OBP for the high pitch count team is .362. For the low team it is .319. Just to compare that to real life, a team with a.362 OBP would lead all of baseball, while a team with an OBP of .319 would be tied with Tampa and the White Sox at 24th.

    So if you combine all of this together, If my team is taking more pitches, and getting on base more often, then my team is getting through the order faster. And if my team is getting through the order faster, it may be that the starter reaches his 100th pitch in the fifth instead of the sixth, which gets me into the bullpen faster, which means my team gets to face lesser pitchers . . .

    a pretty good argument for taking a few pitches. Just a little patience, yeah.

    Jerry Stackhouse was arrested yesterday. Along with Kobe and Damon Stoudamire, this brings the number of NBA arrests this week up to three. That's getting close to one percent of all NBA players in a week. Can you imagine this happening where you work? I went looking for a website that had a list of all NBA arrests but I couldn't find one, so I'm starting one here. From this day forward, any NBA player who gets busted will be mentioned here, at Eisenberg Sports. So take it easy, fellas.

    Just a little patience, yeah.

    Comments? Counseling?l

    Sunday, July 13, 2003

    Brother Blood

    I've got scars from livin, scars from love
    Strike me dead if I'm lying
    I've got brothers below, and brothers above
    With all of our blood we are tryin
    I keep tryin, for everything
    It comes a piece at a time
    I've got a mountain I'm determined to climb
    But I took the heat, created the beat
    And I've got the heart of a lion
  • Brother Blood, The Neville Brothers

  • In boxing, there is no pretending that you are a Tough Guy. You can't scowl at the cameras, stare down your opponents, or pump your fist in the air, and earn your reputation. It has to be done in the ring, toe to toe, in a battle with more intensity than maybe anything in the realm of human experience except for war.

    If your name was Vernon Forrest, you might have paused for a second to believe that you had climbed that mountain. After upsetting Sugar Shane Mosley, one of the very best fighters in the world at any weight level, Forrest went out and did it again, earning himself a reputation as a legitimate champion, and securing a massive contract from HBO. Life was looking good for Vernon Forrest. But he had yet to meet Ricardo Mayorga.

    Mayorga is a heart attack. Throwing wild power punches from nearly impossible angles, he knocked a self-satisfied Vernon Forrest senseless six months ago. Believing like Mosely did against him that it was a fluke, Mosely stepped back into the ring with Mayorga last night, looking to recapture his title, restore his name, and regain his career. He had talked about staying out of a brawl with Mayorga this time, using his superior boxing skills to carve out a decision. Many boxing analysts felt that was entirely possible, including Max Kellerman, the ESPN boxing analyst that now has that weird show with reporters, who picked Forrest to win a decision.

    But it wasn't to be. In a scary sport, Mayorga is as scary as they come. Mayorga throws this punch where he lifts his hand high over his head, and brings it down at such an angle and with so much force that you think he is going to drive his fist right through the floor. He came out truly prepared to kill Forrest, and in the first couple of rounds Forrest hit the ground maybe three times just from being pushed around and trying to get the hell out of the way. By the fourth round Forrest's legs were pretty much shot, and though he hung in there valiantly, and won enough rounds to maybe steal a draw, everybody knew who was in control in that ring.

    Ricardo Mayorga won a majority decision last night, and retained his title. He may now be in a position to get the winner of the Oscar de La Hoya - Shane Mosely fight, two guys who I am sure want no part of him. Here's a great link about Mayorga's prospects:
  • Interesting Fights Ahead For Mayorga and Judah

  • I keep tryin, for everything
    I don't count the cost
    But I see an ocean I'm determined to cross
    'cause I took the heat, created the beat
    And I've got the strength of a dragon
  • Brother Blood, The Neville Brothers

  • Ask an American what they know about the Tour de France and they'll tell you three things: One, it's in France. Two, it's a bicycle race. Three, Lance Armstrong has won it. From the press coverage in the U.S., you would think there are no other Americans in the race. But after seven days of racing, Tyler Hamilton of Marblehead, Massachusetts sits in 20th place, only five spots behind Armstrong. One other thing: On the first day of the race, Hamilton was involved in a crash in which he broke his collarbone. His plan is to hang in there as long as he can.

    I've got the fire of the gospel, a river of blues
    And I've got the soul of belief
    And I keep trying, for everything
    It's been a long, long road
    I've got a song that's about to explode
    I was born to the beat that pounds like the heat
    And I've got the drums of the spirit
  • Brother Blood, The Neville Brothers

  • Tim Howard finished his career with the MetroStars of Major League Soccer yesterday. His next stop? Manchester United, and the Premier League. Howard becomes the third American goalie in the Premier League, along with Brad Friedel of Blackburn Rovers and Kasey Keller of Tottenham Hotspurs. Howard has accomplished all this while also having Tourette's Syndrome.

    Speaking of Tottenham Hotspurs, I read maybe the most disturbing sports story I've ever read last night, and it involved them. Tottenham has long been home to a large Orthodox Jewish community, and apparently some of their opponents' fans have chanted anti-Semitic slogans for years, going so far as to create a "hissing" noise that is meant to imitate the sound of Nazi gas chambers. Even some of the writer's statements are bigoted, but here's the link:
  • So you think we've kicked racism out of English football?

  • Comments?

    Saturday, July 12, 2003

    Climb to Safety - Handicapping the National League Race

    You can hear, hear it coming
    Like a train out of control
    Surely leaves you wondering
    Exactly where your ticket goes

    Scream at the conductor
    He's been dead for twenty tears
    Hear the other people laughing
    As he grinds through every gear
  • Climb To Safety, Widepread Panic

  • With 90 games gone, the National League is what it always is, a topsy-turvy, everchanging jumble of baseball teams. Cincinnati Reds fans are in the countdown for the firing of their manager, Bob Boone. The Cubbie faithful have had to endure the Corking incident and the bizarre comments of Dusty Baker on their way to a .500 record. The Mets, Pirates, Brewers, and Padres? Their seasons never even got out of the station. Still, there are eleven teams that are over .500. Yet with the exception of the Braves and Giants, none of them can be sure of even making the playoffs, and when you consider the recent histories of the Braves and Giants, getting over the hump is a concern for everyone.

    Nowadays, bullpens alway decide these things. Once you get to the seventh inning, you know those guys will be warming up, and one of them will be on the mound when the game is decided. So of course, with the trading deadline only 18 days away, the hot commodity is relievers. But why wait so long? One of the few things that I regularly rant about, even did it yesterday, is that so many teams have decided to wing it with their bullpen, even while they approach and break the 100 million dollar mark with their payroll. The Marlins paid big yesterday, sending three quality minor leaguers to Texas for Uggie Urbina. Boogie Uggie Uggie Come On!

    Go to grab your nerve you find that its been missing
    Seems you've lost your faith in everyone you know
    I surely hope that you don't plan on winning
    Best start paying more attention to the ones that throw you clear
    You are seconds from the impact and we're moving way too slow
  • Climb To Safety, Widepread Panic

  • So who is going to make a late seaon deal? The Cardinals always seem to find a way to get something done. The Giants are rumored to be after Armando Benitez. And the rest, who knows? Don't forget there will be American League teams in the bidding as well. Boston, New York, Toronto, and Kansas City are all still in the race, and all need bullpen help. There's just a whole lot of teams who have been
  • putting out the fire with gasoline
  • .

    So handicapping the National League race is a fool's game, but what the hell. Here's my own abbreviated look at the standings as of this morning:

    NL East winner - Atlanta 60-31

    Houston 49-43
    St. Louis 47-45, 2 back
    Chicago 46-46, 3 back

    San Francisco 56-36
    Arizona 51-41, 5 back
    LA 48-43, 7.5 back
    Colorado 49-46, 8.5 back

    Wildcard Race

    Philly 51-39
    Arizona 51-41, 1 back
    LA 48-43, 3.5 back
    Montreal 48-44, 4 back
    Colorado 49-46, 4.5 back
    Florida 48-45, 4.5 back
    St. Louis 47-45, 5 back
    Chicago 46-46, 6 back

    It's going to get crazy. Let's see what the oddsmakers think. These are the current odds to win the National League pennant:

    Atlanta 13-5
    San Francisco 4-1
    Arizona 9-2
    Houston 7-1
    St. Louis 8-1
    Philadelphia 8-1
    Chicago 8-1
    Los Angeles 12-1
    Florida 25-1
    Colorado 65-1

    If you want a longshot, there is none better than Colorado. 65-1 within earshot of the wildcard, and some good young starters aboard.

    Here is where we have to start separating them out. For now, we have to assume that the rosters stay the same. There are four things I like to look at when trying to figure out who will win the playoffs - Bullpens, Top Three Starters, Offense, and Defense. Here's how I think the bullpens rate, based on Ajusted Runs Prevented, as reported by
  • Baseball Prospectus
  • :

    Incredible - LA, Houston
    Very, Very Good - Arizona and Philly
    Not Bad - Chicago, Atlanta, and Colorado
    Average - San Francisco
    Pretty Damn Awful - Montreal, St. Louis, and Florida

    If it's my money, I want a team with a great bullpen. So even though Atlanta and San Francisco
    are the two teams most likely to make the playoffs, and their bullpens aren't terrible, I'm not going with either one of them. I only get to pick one team, a bullpen is what I want, and I'm thinking I can find a team that has this and enough balance in other areas to win.

    This leaves me with four teams - LA, Houston, Arizona, and Philly. The run by the Diamondbacks has been truly remarkable. Last month I handicapped the races and didn't even look at them. Here's a look at their offenses:

    LA - OBP .302, SLG .355
    Houston - OBP .337, SLG .430
    Arizona - OBP .335, SLG .436
    Philly - OBP .339, SLG .406

    Houston and Arizona rank fourth and fifth in the league in runs scored. Philadelphia is 8th. LA is dead last. That's too big of a weakness for the Dodgers to overcome. I'm eliminating them.

    Defensively, Philly has the second fewest errors in the league. Houston is tied for fourth. Arizona is ok at eighth.

    Finally,let's do the top three starters. The numbers in the parenthesis are Support Neutral Wins over a .425 pitcher. A definition of that can be found in the same place where all of the stats are, at Baseball Prospectus. If you don't want to bother with all of that, it's enough to know that the higher the number is, the better.

    Houston - Oswalt (2.0), Miller (1.2), Redding (1.0)
    Philly - Millwood (2.3), Wolf (1.7), Myers (1.5)
    Arizona - Webb (3.8), Batista (2.6), Schilling (2.2)

    This is where the big difference comes in. Brandon Webb ranks number 1 of all National League Starters right now, Miguel Batista 8th, and Curt Schilling 13th. Kevin Millwood is the only Phillies pitcher that can fit in that group, and Houston doesn't have anyone at all. Now it's certainly possible that either Webb or Batista could falter, but Schilling is just getting back on the field, and there's still the shadow of the Big Unit hanging over everything.

    Last month I had the Astros, but this month I'm switching to the Diamondbacks. With an excellent bullpen, the chance for a dominating rotation, an above average offense and a reasonable defense, they are going to be very difficult to beat from here on in. At 9-2, the opportunity to score on them with big odds has passed, but it's better to cash a ticket at low odds than to not cash one at all.

    After five innings (90 games is 5/9 of the schedule), I like Arizona vs. Seattle in the World Series.

    Comments? Counseling?

    Friday, July 11, 2003

    Jason Kidd Re-Signs with Nets

    And kills any hope for an interesting NBA season. It appears as though only a Kobe Bryant jail term could stop the Lakers.

    On top of that, they've signed Alonzo Mourning, too, screwing my Celtics. Here's the early prediction: Lakers over Nets in four. The NBA -it's's mediocre.

    After 5, The Score Is . . .

    Baseball has a sort of ying-yang, Balance thing going for it. So many of the little pieces just seem to fall into place. Like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, it's amazing how much of it they got right on the first draft. Even now, whenever the powers- that-be try to improve the game, they more often than not make a mess of it. The Designated Hitter, perfectly shaped parks with fake grass, putting an owner in as Comissioner, all of these just upset the Balance, and damaged the game.

    I've never seen this mentioned anywhere, but you can look at a 162-game baseball season as a nine-inning game. You can divide 162 by 9 evenly, so that 18 games constitutes the same portion of a season that one inning makes of a game. Every team is currently at or approaching their 90th game, so looking at the season right now should give you about the same feeling you get after five innings - There's lots of time left, but we need to get moving.

    I want to look at the American League today, and I'll do the National League tomorrow. I know I said I was going to do weekend previews today, but I decided that without the Contest that I was doing earlier, the information is too repetitive of what you can find on major sites.

    Always like to find out what the oddsmakers think. Here are the odds for all contenders to win the American League:

    New York 2-1
    Boston 18-5
    Seattle 7-2
    Oakland 4-1
    KC 9-1
    Chicago 10-1
    Minnesota 12-1
    Anaheim 20-1
    Toronto 30-1

    You can have all of the Baseball Prospectus people to run your major league franchise, and I'll take the oddsmakers. You throw the odds out in front of non-gamblers, and the first thing they like to do is rip it to shreds:"Boston as the second highest favorite?! They're crazy!" But the oddsmakers have been at this forever, and will continue to be. They understand the Balance.

    Playoff Baseball can be broken down to these components - offense, top 3 starting pitchers, bullpen, and defense. For me, the only thing you can not live without is a bullpen. I'll go into the playoffs with a great offensive team, no starters, and a bullpen, or with a team that has overall pitching strength, but don't put me in a situation where I'm up 5-3 in the seventh and I'm counting on Brandon Lyon to protect my lead.

    So let's look at the bullpens. I'm breaking them down into categories based on Adjusted Runs Prevented, as found on Baseball Prospectus. And oh, I wasn't trying to insult them earlier. They're fantastic.

    Incredible - Anaheim
    Very Good - Seattle, Oakland, Minnesota
    Average - Chicago, New York
    Horrifying - KC, Toronto, Boston

    A ray of hope for Twins fans! The three best offenses in the league don't have strong bullpens. The current philosophy of rich teams right now just astounds me. They want a hundred million dollar lineup, and a Salvation Army bullpen. Doesn't work for me. I'm knocking them all out.

    That leaves us with Anaheim, Seattle, Oakland, and Minnesota. Let's take a deeper look at them. Here are each team's top three starters, listed along with Support Neutral Wins, again found at Baseball Prospectus.

    Anaheim - Washburn (6.8), Lackey (5.6), and Appier (5.0)
    Seattle - Moyer (8.0), Pineiro (7.6), Meche (5.0)
    Oakland - Hudson (9.7), Mulder (9.7), Zito (8.7)
    Minnesota - Lohse (6.9), Rogers (5.9), and Radke (5.3)

    The A's have the three best pitchers out of all four teams, a huge advantage for them. Now the offenses:

    Anaheim OBP .332 SLG .431
    Seattle OBP .347 SLG .424
    Oakland OBP - .328 SLG .414
    Minnesota OBP - .335 SLG .436

    None of these offensive numbers are weighted for ballparks. Seattle's big lead in on-base percentage sticks out here, but everything else is reasonably close. There are no great offenses in this group. All of thes teams rank between 7th and 10th in runs scored.

    Just taking a quick look at fielding stats, because we have less of an understandng about them, the Mariners and Twins lead the league in fewest errors and fielding percentage. The A's and Angels are middle of the pack.

    Now the problem with all of this is we're analyzing team's playoff chances before we know who the playoff teams are. Getting there is still a major issue for everyone except maybe the Mariners, and the Twins have been downright horrible. Also, while I don't think Boston or New York can win it, they might very well both make the playoffs.

    Oakland is two games out of the wildcard right now, and five back in the division. Anaheim is 6.5 games out of the wildcard. The Twins are 4.5 out of the division, but have a losing record. The Mariners are five ahead of Oakland, and still have the best record in the American League.

    So who would I bet to win it? Right now, I'll stick with Seattle, the same team I chose last month, at 7-2 rather than taking Oakland at the slightly better 4-1 odds, mainly because Seattle is a safer bet just to get into the playoffs, and I like their balance. But I'll tell you, I love the Angels at 20-1. They are still well within reach of the playoffs, playing over .500 ball, and the bullpen, their key component, is humming and rolling.

    We'll do this again after the sixth inning.

    Thursday, July 10, 2003


    The number of times Nomar works the count full? Far too high. The number of times the Lakers are referred to as "a circus" by Gary Payton next year? Way low. Hee Seop Choi's walk total against only 156 at bats? Exactly right, but not what I'm thinking of.

    It's the total number of hits this site has received today. Not bad for six weeks. Buy yourself a drink everybody, and feel good about yourselves. That's what I'm doing.

    See you tomorrow.

    Jab and Move

    Have a few things that I want to hit quickly today, hence the title.

    Got an email yesterday from Osirus Jackson, the grandson of Bingo DeMoss, generally considered the best Negro League second baseman for the first quarter century of the 1900s. Bingo is still not in the Hall of Fame, despite his grandson's best efforts. He has received an endorsement from SABR, has spoken to every member of the Veteran's Committee, even had Ted Williams hand-deliver a recommendation to the Committee, but to no avail. Terrible. Osirus asked me if I had any ideas, and I'm passing it on to all of you. I'll talk more about Bingo at a later date, maybe this weekend.

    Read a story about Bret Boone on Baseball Primer this morning. Everyone knows that Bret's career has taken a great turn for the better in the last few years, but I didn't realize how much until I checked his record. Brett had an OBP of .275 when he was 27, and .298 when he was 28. Those are the kind of numbers that eventually get you drummed out of the majors, but now Boone is a perennial all-star, with an OBP nearly a hundred points higher and a lot more power. Interestingly, for two years when he was younger, the most comparable player to him (according to was Jeff Kent, another secondbaseman who developed tremendously. Fourth most comparable hitter to Jeff Kent now? Larry Doby.

    UMass is looking to update to Division 1A football. They would fit in perfectly in the Big East. I put this on a message board this morning, and accidentally said ACC. The site doesn't allow you to retract posts, so all I could do was put in a correction. Talk about a blunder!

    Unless the Spurs get Jason Kidd AND Jermaine O'Neal, Gary Payton ought to seal the deal for the Lakers. But Karl Malone? The Lakers just dropped a title because they became bored with winning. Bringing in the Mailman is overload, and could backfire.

    Tomorrow I'll have previews of this weekend's top series, unless Dusty Baker speaks again.