Sunday, August 31, 2003

Saturday Recap

Baseball Alert: Baseball Coverage will be back tomorrow, Monday, around 6:00 pm eastern.

Who needs Carson Palmer?

The USC Trojans crushed The Auburn Tigers yesterday 23-0, due largely to a defensive line that just blew up the Tiger offense. Auburn's much hyped backfield was held to 43 yards on 36 carries, and Tiger QB Jason Campbell ate Alabama Dirt all night. The Trojans, one of last year's three ECF Co-Champions, jumped out to an early lead in this year's race, as they are right now the only team in the country with a victory over a Top 10 team, and now have the toughest game on their schedule out of the way. Let Eisenberg Sports be the one to say it first: Pete Carroll is the most underrated coach in college football.

As for the rest of yesterday's results, there were lots and lots of blowouts. Without even a full slate of games, 32 teams, over a quarter of all teams in Division 1A, suffered Unacceptable Losses. Every single home underdog lost yesterday, an amazing stat. Also, some of the Good Ol'Boys had big days. Georgia, Florida State, and Florida all looked sharp yesterday.

Here are the standings, as of Sunday morning:

Teams Protected By The Three Weeks Rule That Have Suffered An Unacceptable Loss (There's lots of them already!):
Auburn, Washington, CSU, Clemson, BC, Fresno St, S. Miss, Illinois, W Virginia, Miss St, Miami OH, UNC, Duke, N Texas, USF, San Jose St, Indiana, La Tech, Akron, Vanderbilt, Rice, Kansas, Mid Tenn St, SMU, Baylor, C Mich, La Monroe, Idaho, Troy St, UTEP, Tulsa, Utah St

Keep in mind that Iowa was in this group last year, and ran the table all the way until their bowl game. So it's not impossible, but it also wasn't Iowa's opening game, and they had no conference championship game to play in.

Teams With One Acceptable Loss:
Oklahoma St, Ga Tech, Toledo, Temple, W Michigan, Arkansas St, La Lafayette, and Buffalo.

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss:
California, Maryland, N Illinois

Teams With A Perfect Record Who Haven't Beaten A Top 10 Team:
Everyone else except for...

The One Team With A Perfect Record That Has Beaten A Top Ten Team:


Six more games this afternoon and this evening. Check your local papers or College Football News (link on the right) for further details.

Dave's Email

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Saturday! Saturday!

Time for my alter ego! if you're a baseball fan only and you've stumbled here today, rest assured that I'll have plenty of baseball stuff come Monday. Today, my friends, it is all College Football, and the first real weekend of the Eisenberg College Football (ECF) Championship! If at this point you have no idea what I'm talking about click here: ECF Rules

One of the things about the ECF Rules that I love is that it takes many common notions and turns them on their head. Take today's biggest matchup, USC at Auburn. When you hear (or heard) the Gameday crew talk about Trojans-Tigers, the common theme will be what an absolutely ridiculous home opener this is for USC. Playing a top 10 team on the road to open! It could ruin their whole year! It's not fair! And you know what? They're right. It's not fair. Many, many schools will not play an out-of-conference road game with anywhere near this level of difficulty the entire season. Almost no one would be favored at Auburn. USC not winning at Auburn today, assuming a reasonably close game, does not prove anything about who the better team is over the long haul.

But with the ECF, all the pressure rests on Auburn, not USC. The ECF allows for losing one or two close games on the road, but lose a home game and you're done. Dead. Kaput. Well, there's the Three Weeks Rule that could save Auburn if they drop this one, but that means that they would have to play perfect the rest of the way, not a likely scenario for anyone, never mind an SEC team.

These are the home teams, like Auburn, that are favored by a touchdown or less:

Auburn over USC
Cal over S. Miss.
Colorado St over Colorado
Houston over Rice

And Nebraska is 7.5 over Oklahoma State. All of these teams have to be very careful.

Here are the teams that are underdogs at home. All of these teams are in big trouble:

Clemson against Georgia
West Virginia against Wisconsin
Illinois against Missouri
Vanderbilt against Mississippi
Kansas against Northwestern
Baylor against UAB
North Carolina against Florida State
Mississippi State against Oregon
Tulane against TCU

And in even bigger trouble, here are the teams that are underdogs by 17 or more on the road:

Temple at Penn State
C Mich at Michigan
Tulsa at Minnesota
Fresno State at Tennessee
San Jose St at Florida
SMU at Tezas Tech
UTEP at Arizona
UCF at Virginia Tech
Idaho at Washington State
LA-Lafayette at South Carolina
Arkansas State at Texas A&M
Troy State at Kansas State
UL-Monroe at LSU

So keep an eye on the scoreboard today. The ECF Race has begun!

Here are some short opinions of games I would consider investing in, if it were legal, or games that I have special interest in some other way:

At Alabama -15 South Florida
When I lived in Tampa, I had an apartment down the street from USF, and I know that in a parallel universe I have season tickets to see the Bulls. This game would be the biggest win in the school's history, and at 15 points it is not deemed impossible by the oddsmakers. Bama's off-season troubles are well-documented, and I'm sure their players are ready to hit, But do they know USF is a not a puff team, but a team on the rise? I doubt it. I'd pass on this one, but if I had to, I'd take USF.

At Florida -24 San Jose State
I'm a Gator fan - the team I rooted for in Tampa because the Bulls weren't playing football yet- and I'm bracing for a difficult year. I absolutely hate games for anyone where you haven't played yet, but your opponents have. Ron Zook has a lot to prove, but they need a little time to shake things out, so I can see SJ State giving them a game. I'd pass on this one too, but I'd probably take the points before I gave them.

At Cal -3.5 S Miss
Again, Cal has played, S Miss hasn't. I like Cal here to cover the short points at home.

At Baylor +8.5 UAB
Has there ever been a team that's had an off-season like Baylor? Beating any Big 12 team would be a coup for UAB, but they ain't THAT good, and they're walking into a hornet's nest. Those Baylor kids, under brand new head coach Guy Morriss, will play like their lives depended on it today. Take the points.

Washington +9 at Ohio State
The Buckeyes are the team to beat, and Ohio State doesn't run up scores. You know the Huskies have talking about this one all summer. Take the points.

At Mississippi State +4.5 Oregon
Why would the Ducks want to open in the SEC? Take the points.

Wisconsin -3 at West Virginia
In another fictional world, I've got 75-1 on Wisconsin winning the Sugar Bowl. Go Badgers!

Editor's Note: A lot more effort has been put into the ECF rules than the picks against the spread. The picks are for fun, not my Locks of The Week, or some other Scam name.

Tomorrow, I'll have an update on the standings, and previews of those games. Yeah, there's games tomorrow too!

Dave's Email

Friday, August 29, 2003

Jab and Move - A Series of Smaller Blows

Got a great email from Jeremy Heit yesterday about the Sexson-Abreu runs scored/rbi totals. He pointed out that the on base percentages for Milwaukee's top two hitters were slightly higher than for Philly's, possibly accounting for Abreu's lower RBI totals than Sexson's. But we also both noticed that his OPS in the third hole, for whatever reason, was 200 points lower than in the four spot, and was propped up by a lot of walks, which don't often knock in baserunners. You would think that hitting in front of Jim Thome would be the optimal position for any hitter, especially seeing that Thome has been blistering as a cleanup hitter, but that hasn't been the case. Here's the link for Jeremy's site:Jeremy Heit's Blog

Larry Bird's firing of Isaiah Thomas is the last great victory of those 1980s Celtics teams over a hated enemy, the Detroit Pistons. With Bird, Kevin McHale, and Danny Ainge in power positions, and with Isaiah unemployed, Bill Laimbeer coaching a girls team, and Dennis Rodman now just a dated joke, we've shown them who's boss. Yeah. Sadly, this what an old-time C's fan has been reduced to.

Earlier this summer, I was running an NBA Police Blotter, keeping on top of the legal difficulties of the world's best basketball players, but college basketball is starting to make the NBA look like Sesame Street. Yesterday, Patrick Feeney, a sophomore at the University of New Mexico, hung himself. UNM was also the original school of Patrick Dennehy, who was shot to death this summer. Feeney, 20 years old, was a transfer from Portland State University, my alma mater.

I haven't heard it phrased this way anywhere yet, which doesn't mean it hasn't been said, but this could be the greatest baseball season ever. EVER. There are currently five teams tied for the NL wild card spot, with three other teams no more than a game and a half back. With only a month left in the season, this is bound to be the craziest playoff race anyone has ever seen. There will be head-to-head matchups every single night until October involving any two of Montreal, Philly, Florida, St Louis, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Arizona - a baseball lover's dream. What a perfect season to have the Extra Innings Package. And this is just the National League! One question: Does anyone know the playoff tiebreaker if more than two teams are involved?

At first glance, Maryland's loss to Northern Illinois last night was a season killer. But NI is a little better than their public image, coming into that game as only an 8 point underdog. A loss in overtime on the road, under ECF Rules, is only a Half-Acceptable Loss. Other teams last night had much worse evenings. Louisiana Tech, Akron, and Middle Tennessee State all lost at home, and Utah State lost by 20 at arch-rival Utah. Protected by the Three Weeks Rule, all of these team must now have perfect seasons in order to qualify for the ECF Championship. In other ECF News, Georgia Tech suffered an Acceptable Loss, losing 24-13 at BYU.

Tune in tomorrow morning for An ECF preview of the day's college football action. I know GameDay is on, but hey, you can read Eisenberg Sports during commercials. For the ECF Rules, look for the link on the right.

Dave's Email

Thursday, August 28, 2003

OBP, Baby You Know Me

"We're going to put all our resources into offense, especially on-base percentage, and pitching." - JP Ricciardi in the amazing interview done by Batter's Box. Ricciardi Interview

Back when Moneyball came out, I jumped on the OBP bandwagon like everyone else. I started giving out the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor to any player who had success in every at bat and did not get thrown out on the bases over the course of an entire game. My fantasy baseball team, now 50-15, took on a decidedly OBP flavor, and I created All-Star teams based on (3 times OBP)+ SLG. I was all in.

Then I came up with the BAP thing (if you're new to this site, read the BAP For Beginners link on the right). It incorporates a large amount of OBP and SLG, and I figured the best way to measure the success of BAP was to compare it to those two very dependable statistics. I set it up that I would measure the BAP, OBP, and SLG scores for every close game, choosing close games because they would be the hardest for any statistic to accurately read. For this contest, close games were defined as any one-run games, and any games where the loser had as many or more hits than the winner.

BAP worked, which didn't surprised me. The shocking news was that OBP didn't. Here are the final results for that first contest:

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

I couldn't figure this out. OBP made so much sense. If you never made an out, you would go on scoring forever. I understood the argument that a SLG percentage of 1.000 for an inning could be a homer and three outs, producing only one run, but an OBP of 1.000 for an inning could be four walks, leaving you with one run, the bases loaded, and no outs.

Due to popular demand, I ran the test again using OPS. This time I covered random series, and these are the current standings:

BAP 39-6
OPS 36-8-1

I haven't kept the separate statistics for this, but I have seen SLG repeatedly bail out OBP in the analysis of one game.

To me, this is huge. If a stat can't be used reliably to measure the winner of a single game, how can it be used to predict pennant winners? After all, we don't play the season in an instant: it is a long, drawn out collection of games. Shouldn't a team be modeling itself after the statistic that gives it the best chance of winning individual games?

I thought about the 1.000 model for OPS and SLG again. That works for an inning, but what about a player? A player that goes 1 for 4 with a homer has an OBP of .250, a SLG of 1.000, has produced at least one run on his own, and may have driven home others. A player that goes 2 for 2 with two walks . . . who knows? Maybe the runner got stranded on third. Maybe he got wiped out on a doubleplay, or a fielder's choice. Maybe he singled, and a runner got thrown at home on the play. Maybe he got a single with two outs and no one on, and was left there.

There's the flaw. In close games, especially low scoring games, it's the stringing together of bases that often decides the winner. Sometimes, that's four hits in a row. But often, it's a team with only four hits for the game getting a walk and homer in the same inning, and winning 2-1 when their pitcher scatters ten hits. Scenarios like this come up over and over.

Here's another way to look at it. Let's take a look at two of my favorite fantasy players, Bobby Abreu and Richie Sexson:

OBP - Abreu .410, Sexson .369
SLG - Abreu .489, Sexson .515
OPS - Abreu .899, Sexson .884
BA + SecA (my newest stat) - Abreu .692, Sexson .679

Almost everyone would argue that Abreu is the more complete and preferable offensive player. But then there's this other part:

Team Runs - Phi 629, Mil 591
Runs Scored - Abreu 82, Sexson 78
Percentage of Team Run Total - Abreu .130, Sexson .132

Team RBI - Phi 599, Mil 569
RBI - Abreu 87, Sexson 96
Percentage of Team RBI Total - Abreu .145, Sexson .169

Runs Scored Percentage and RBI Percentage (with the percentage being a player's percentage of a team's totals) is not useful when one team has scored a lot more than the other, but in this case it's significant. Sexson has almost as many runs scored as Abreu and more RBI, on a team that is scoring less. Sexson has batted in only the three and four spots in the order this year, Abreu mostly the same. They have almost the same number of plate appearances.

So why is this happening? Statistical fluke? I hate that answer. Is Sexson a better baserunner? Hard to believe. Is Sexson hitting more in the clutch? Possibly. Or is OBP a little overrated? Have we swung too far the other way?

I don't have the answers to all of these, but I do like posing the questions. So here they are again, and I'd love to hear from all of you any theories you may have:

1. Why is OBP worse than SLG at predicting the winner of single games?

2. Shouldn't a team be building itself around a model that is the most reliable predictor of single games?

3. Why is Richie Sexson driving in and scoring more runs total than Bobby Abreu when Abreu has a better offensive team around him?

4. Why is Richie Sexson driving in and scoring a higher percentage of his team's runs than Bobby Abreu?

5. Could OBP now be underrated by the general populace, and overrated by statheads?

I'll have more BAP scores tomorrow, and lots of football stuff over the weekend. For all you newcomers, it's good to have you.

Dave's Email

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Better Things

Today is the third wedding anniversary for my wife and I, so I'm giving myself a day off. See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Brian Giles and the rest of the National League All-Stars

So the switch to late-afternoons pays immediate dividends. The Pittspurgh Pirates today traded Brian Giles to the San Diego Padres for Oliver Perez, Jason Bay, and a player to be named later. The Padres get one of the top hitters in all of baseball for one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in all of baseball. The Pirates save a ton of money and at least get pitching. This is one of those deals that everyone will hate for the Pirates right now, but the jury will stay out quite some time until we see what kind of career Perez has.

This spring in my fantasy league, I traded Perez and John Olerud for Richie Sexson. I wanted to get value for Olerud and solve my first base concerns before he got too old, and it looked like Perez was still not quite ready. Of course, Sexson is younger than Giles, and my team was a contender, making it easier to part with Perez. But how close are the Padres? They do have a lot of young pitchers so they can afford to part with one, but I'm not sure how many are lefties, and I won't believe that they are going to invest even more money in payroll until I see it. I have a feeling that this one will end up one-sided, but for whom, who knows? Ask me again in 2012.

As promised, here are the NL All-Stars rated by BA (Batting Average) plus SecA (Secondary Average), my no-name stat that I'm guessing might work better than OPS. For a short description of why I think this might work, see yesterday's entry:

1B Todd Helton
2B Marcus Giles
3B Scott Rolen
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Barry Bonds
CF Jim Edmonds
RF Gary Sheffield
C Ivan Rodriguez

The OPS team would have been exactly the same.

Here are the top eight in BA plus SecA:

1. Bonds 1.140
2. Helton .802
3. Edmonds .797
4. Sheffield .793
5. Albert Pujols.787
6. Jim Thome .750
7. Brian Giles .732
8. Rolen .724


First Player Taken in a Fantasy Draft for One Year - Barry Bonds.

Best Player on a Contender: Barry Bonds.

Most Valuable Player other than Bonds: Only one in the Top 8 is the best at a key defensive position. Jim Edmonds.

BAP Scores:

Sox- Mariners brought to you by Tim at Musings From RSN

8/24 Bos 6, Sea 1
Bos .676/.405/.485
Oak .378/.324/.250

8/23 Bos 7, Sea 6
Bos .941/.451/.595
Sea .564/.333/.395

8/22 Bos 6, Sea 4
Bos .683/.333/.500
Sea .432/.317/.432

Friday - Philadelphia 9 St Louis 4
BAP - Phi .810, Stl .513
OPS - Phi 1.028, Stl .692

Saturday - St Louis 5 Philadelphia 3
BAP - Stl .684, Phi .585
OPS - Stl .840, Phi .726

Sunday - St Louis 3 Philadelhpia O
BAP - Stl .757, Phi .316
OPS - Stl .700, Phi .518
In this game, St Lous had an amazing 13-0 EB advantage.

A perfect weekend for both BAP and OPS leaves us with these standings:

BAP 39-6
OPS 36-8-1 ( last time, I gave OPS credit for two extra wins by mistake)

I don't know, felt a little rushed, this afternoon business. A totally different groove. we'll see how it goes.

Dave's Email

Changes In the Schedule

With school starting next week, I'm moving my regular posting time to late afternoon, early evening. I'm on the other side of it of many bloggers, teacher instead of student, and there will soon be no opportunity to write anything of quality in the morning.

Ain't slowing down though, not if I don't have to. Come back around six tonight, and I'll have all sorts of stuff.

I love blogging.

Dave's Email

Monday, August 25, 2003

AL All-Stars and MVP, with a Twist

Went back to thinking about what runners do on bases after they've gotten hits, or if they haven't gotten hits, and came across this at ESPN:

"Secondary Average (A way to look at a player's extra bases gained, independent of Batting Average)
(TB - H + BB + SB - CS) / AB"

Now even though I have the BAP thing, I've been the first to admit that I'm no stats maven, just a stats fan. I've heard of secondary average, but never used it for anything. I know about Runs Created, but couldn't explain it to you. Anyway, I look at this number and think that it's an interesting way of looking at things, although I'm not sure why you don't divide by plate appearances. But what really catches my eye is the phrase "independent of batting average".

Talk about going the other way. Completely ignoring singles! I love it. My question is this: What would happen if we just added Batting Average to it? I know. It's sloppy. I've teed off against OPS for that very reason - there's no mathematical reason to add them. But OPS has the added problem of repeating skills between OBP and SLG. Adding SecA and BA together at least adds two pretty exclusive stats, so shouldn't this be better than OPS? Let's see and find out!

Here are the current AL All-Stars (NL tomorrow) for Seconday Average + Batting Average

1B Jason Giambi
2B Bret Boone
3B Bill Mueller
LF Manny
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Trot Nixon
C Jorge Posada

Did the OPS team, and the only differences are Delgado over Giambi, and Bradley over Beltran.

It's funny how once you get past the all-star game, everyone stops talking about all-star teams. But look how much this team is different than the one most people would have picked just a month ago, and it's not because SecA + BA doesn't work. Giambi is right there with Carlos Delgado. Beltran has caught Vernon Wells(not counting injuries). Mueller and Nixon are clearly having outstanding years, and not just great springs. Folks like Melvin Mora have fallen by the way side.

Here are the top 8 AL leaders in SecA +BA (I chose eight because I choose eight all-stars):

1. Giambi .808
2. Delgado .793
3. ARod .767
4. Manny .759
5. Frank Thomas .734
6. Carlos Beltran .729 and Trot Nixon .729
8. Jorge Posada .707

Edgar Martinez came close, at .702, as did Milton Bradley at .691.

Well, I've gone this far. How about some more awards?

First Non-Pitcher You Would Take in a Fantasy Draft (what statheads want the MVP to be) - ARod, easily.

Best Non-Pitcher on a Team in a Pennant Race (What the MVP actually is) - This one is tougher, and I actually like this award once you name it right. For me, it should be someone who is the all-star at their position, and one of the top players in the league, along with playing on a contender. This leaves us with Giambi, Mueller, Manny, Beltran, Nixon, and Posada. Mueller and Beltran haven't played the whole year. Nixon can't hit lefties. Out of the other three, only one plays a key defensive position.

I did this earlier in the year, with different numbers, and came out with the same thing, yet I never hear anyone else mention it. Jorge Posada for MVP!

I'll have BAP scores tomorrow. Promise.

Dave's Email

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Boynton Beach, Boynton Beach!

I don't know how I messed that up. I could understand it if I had only the Bradenton Beach story, and had never heard of Boynton Beach, but that's not the case. I've actually been to Boynton Beach several times, but somehow since the start of the Series every time I heard Boynton I thought Bradenton. My apologies to anyone in South Florida who was offended.

And I like Boynton Beach! In fact, my wife and I like it so much that two years ago we came fairly close to buying a house there, and even at the start of the game, I asked her if there was a better chance of us moving over a couple of towns to Saugus, or 1500 miles to Boynton Beach. Her answer was the same as mine - Boynton Beach.

Certainly, having them have as the US Champions of Little League doesn't dampen my view of them. That could be my kid someday! Anyway, congratulations to both teams for having such amazing seasons.

In ECF action, Kansas State beat Cal 42-28. Cal hangs in there enough to only suffer an Acceptable Loss. San Jose State also dispatched Grambling, 29-0.

BAP scores either later today, or tomorrow. It's early man!

Dave's Email

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Little Leaguers and College Kids

Years ago, in a different lifetime, I was living in Tampa, Florida. My parents decided to come down for the winter, and wound up renting a place in Long Boat Key. In order to visit my parents in the LBK (much too ritzy for anyone there to call it that), I had to drive through the tiniest of seaside communities, Bradenton Beach.

I have no idea just how big Bradenton Beach is, but I know that once you reach the coast it's only about two miles, maybe less, from end to the other, and it doesn't seem like it goes inland at all. I made the comment to my mother that I could be Mayor of Bradenton Beach just by hanging out in the bar a few hours and buying drinks. She thought that was a fantastic idea - the "me being Mayor" part, not the "hanging in the bar" part - and its been tucked in my mind ever since.

Bradenton Beach, Florida plays Saugus, Massachusetts in the US Final of the Little League World Series tonight. Even though I live very close to Saugus, and I guess I'd prefer them to win, I'll be very happy if the Bradenton Beach kids win, too. Here's hoping that all of the kids realize that this does not have to be the highlight of their life, that they're not going to the major leagues, and that they do their homework when they go back to school.

Key College Football Links:

Preview of the KSU-Cal game from CFN"

Preview of the San Jose St.- Grambling game at CFN

And the best of all:

I love college football and write about it. My friend Ray Murphy is a writer who loves college football. See his season preview at The Murphy Game

Dave's Email

Friday, August 22, 2003

It's All Part of My Rock'n Roll Fantasy

Now that I've scared all of the baseball people away with college football and social commentary, it's now time to attack my college football fans with a discussion of my fantasy baseball team. Maybe tomorrow I'll drive off my rock'n roll fans with an entry on the historical importance of the disco era.

I'm in this amazing league that doesn't want publicity because the owner wants to get it perfect before he publicizes it. I've told him that he's like the bride a week before the wedding, worrying about the most miniscule of details. Anyway,you make all of the in-game decisions, and it gives you a play-by-play of the game. It uses CURRENT stats, not last year's, so the season starts about a month after the real season. Players are rated on everything. It's a 24 team league with 35 man rosters. You get to protect 27 each year, and you can trade draft picks the year before. We play a 160 game season, so we'll be going until January. My team is 46-14, the best record of all, and plays it's home games in Fenway Park. Here's the lineup:

Catchers - Toby Hall, Chad Moeller, and Doug Mirabelli.
Moeller was my catcher for the first 40 games, but his offense has slumped, and his defensive ratings are low. Hall is the best defensively, but doesn't hit righties well. I'm actually starting Mirabelli vs. righties this week. He has a slugging percentage of over .500 vs. them.

First Base - Richie Sexson, Wil Cordero, and Tony Clark.
Cordero can also play left, but not well. He's also my most consistent pinch-hitter. Clark is always on the farm.

Second Base - Mark Ellis, Jeff Reboulet, and Tony Graffanino
This was supposed to be Ellis' job, but there's been almost no difference between him and Reboulet, who I picked up as a free agent. Graffanino starts vs. lefties.

Third Base - Scott Rolen
His defensive numbers have plummeted this season. I wonder if Cardinal fans have noticed a dropoff. I'm trying to deal for Lou Merloni as a backup.

Shortstop - Caesar Izturis and Ramon Vazquez
Vazquez was supposed to be the starter, but his defensive numbers are really low. Izturis does the hit and run well, and is the rock of infield defense.

Left Field - Cliff Floyd and Larry Bigbie
Just picked up Bigbie as a free agent. Floyd's injury would spell trouble if my record wasn't so good.

Centerfield - Milton Bradley and Marlon Byrd
I've actually been starting Byrd since his hitting has improved. Bradley's defensive numbers are low. I use him to spell Floyd against lefties.

Right Field - Bobby Abreu and Michael Restovich
Abreu is money. Stole Restovich in the 3rd round of the preseason rookie draft.

Starting Pitchers - Woody Williams, CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Jason Johnson, Sidney Ponson, Jarrod Washburn, Jeff Suppan, Dennis Tankersley.
Tons of depth, but no superstars in this group.

Relief Pitchers - Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, K-Rod, Jorge Julio, Billy Koch, JC Romero, Juan Rincon.
The strength of my team. We never lose a lead after six.

Go Saugus!

BAP Scores -

Boston 14 Oakland 5 from Tim at Musings From RSN

BOS 0.978 0.478 0.647
OAK 0.579 0.316 0.455

San Francisco 4 Atlanta 3
BAP - SF .500, BAP .457
OPS - SF .628, BAP .536
Barry Bonds, the greatest player of all-time, wins it with a walkoff homer.

The Standings:

BAP 33-6
OPS 32-8-1

Dave's Email

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Classic Matchups

After watching Kevin Millar battle in vain against Keith Foulke for 12 pitches to end last night's horrific Red Sox game, I started wondering how common that was. 12 pitches?! I checked the game logs of playoff contenders for others, but couldn't find any with more than ten pitches. Still, separated from the rest of the game, they take on almost a mythic, movie-like quality. So sit back in your seat, grab a box of popcorn, put some dramatic music on, and enjoy:

Carlos Beltran vs. Roger Clemens
Leading off the top of the 2nd, Beltran goes down two strikes but hangs in there. On the ninth pitch, he triples to deep left-center. Aside from the great battle, how many triples to left do you see?

Derek Jeter vs. Jimmy Gobble
Bottom of the same inning with the bases loaded. Jeter goes 0-2 as well before singling on the ninth pitch to give the Yankees the lead.

Casey Blake vs. Brad Radke
Leading off the 4th inning, Blake goes nine pitches before grounding out.

Brad Ausmus vs. Mark Prior
Leading off the 3rd, Ausmus walks on nine pitches.

Caesar Izturis vs. Livan Hernandez
Izturis starts off 0-2 but lasts nine pitches before grounding out.

Brian Schneider vs. Wilson Alvarez
Schneider goes ten pitches, and doesn't even get to a full count! He fouls off five in a row before fouling out.

Willy Mo Pena vs. Randy Johnson
My favorite. The Big Unit probably graduated high school the same year as me. That is the same year that Willy Mo was born. Here's the whole log, from ESPN:

Randy Johnson pitches to Wily Mo Pena
Pitch 1: strike 1 (looking)
Pitch 2: strike 2 (swinging)
Pitch 3: ball 1
Pitch 4: foul
Pitch 5: ball 2
Pitch 6: foul
Pitch 7: ball 3
Pitch 8: in play
W Pena grounded out to third.

Nice try, kid.

BAP Scores -

8/19 SF 5 Atlanta 4
BAP - SF .714, Atl .487
OPS - SF .837, Atl .637

8/20 SF 2 Atl 1
BAP - SF .313, Atl .525
OPS - SF .636, Atl .636

Two very different games. In the first game SF has a 4 EB advantage, but in the second Atlanta has a 6 EB advantage. Atlanta's score of only one run for a .525 BAP is very low. .500 is pretty much a guarantee of at least two.

8/19 Oakland 3 Boston 2 From tim at Musings from RSN

BOS 0.400 0.343 0.233
OAK 0.382 0.206 0.200

8/20 Oakland 8 Boston 6
Oak 8, Bos 6
Bos .761/.511/.526
Oak .850/.293/.474
This series is my BAP nightmare. Without having studied any team significantly. I get the impression that the Sox and A's are on opposite ends of the BAP world. Sure enough, it took only two games for BAP to get a game right that OPS got wrong, and OPS hasn't got either game right.

Today's results: BAP 2-2, OPS 1-2-1

The Standings:

BAP 33-6
OPS 30-8-1

Dave's Email

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


I was going to use the lyrics from the New York Dolls song, but they don't fit. So, we can open this up as some kind of "name the entry" contest. The theme is a complete disrespect for the rest of humanity. Songs are preferred.

When Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy wound up missing, no one had the right to expect a happy ending. And we didn't get one, as it turned out Dennehy was murdered by a former teammate. This seemed about as low as the story could go. But who knew what Dave Bliss was thinking?

Bliss, the Baylor basketball coach, became concerned that investigations would uncover payments he had made to players. Bliss's plan? Blame it all on Dennehy. He went to his players, and his assistant coach Abar Rouse, and tried to convince them that the best path was to accuse Dennehy of being a drug dealer, and giving some of the money to the others. The rationale for this was that Dennehy was unable to defend himself, wouldn't be harmed by the accusations, and would get Bliss off the hook.

Fortunately, Rouse taped these conversations, and turned them over to the press. Bliss is done, and the Baylor basketball problem has reached a new pinnacle of disarray. I'm not sure what will happen with Bliss, but all I keep thinking was that for Bliss to follow such a course of action, he had to be the most scared public figure since OJ took the Bronco ride. Just for paying players.

Here's hoping that the rest of the Baylor basketball program realizes that they hit an awful convergence of a terrible crisis combined with a spineless, uncaring leader at the helm, and that none of this is a reflection on them, or something they might see again in the future.
A CNN/SI Bliss Story

Ted Williams. Man, O'Man, where to begin? Days after Sports Illustrated prints a story from a disgruntled former employee of Alcor about the conditions of Ted's body at the Alcor plant, the same employee puts pictures of Ted's head on the internet. Of course, you got to pay to see them, and reports are coming out that the Williams Kids aren't paid up, and that Ted could be banished from the facility. Who knew that the Ted Williams record that might stand for all of time is "Most horrible stories associated with one person's remains"?

"I don't think he's forgotten his immigrant roots."

This is a quote from Abel Maldonado, cochair of the Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign for Governor, and I have lots of problems with it. First, there's the question of whether or not Arnold has the right to claim any connection to the immigrant experience. Pumping Iron came out when he was a young man, in 1976. Conan the Barbarian was released in 1982. Arnold became a citizen in 1983. I don't know what year Arnold first moved to America, but its safe to say that being a movie star when you become a citizen is not part of the normal immigrant experience.

Then, there's Arnold's positions in regards to major issues of concern for Hispanic voters in California. Arnold voted for Propostion 187, a 1994 proposal to cut off government benefits to illegal immigrants. You can make a good argument for that of course, but you wouldn't expect that argument from someone who remembers his "immigrant roots". There's also Arnold's 15-year association with US English Inc., which advocates making English the official language of the United States and opposes Bilingual Education. Again, they're both arguable points, bot not something that represents a traditional immigrant view.

Finally, there's the whole Nazi thing. While I am not comfortable with the fact that Arnold's Dad was a Nazi, that's not his fault, and I don't think that should be an issue in this campaign. But then there's his relationship with Kurt Waldheim, another Nazi. Schwarzenegger has always supported him in all of his political aspirations, never once mentioning the crimes Waldheim participated in. Is Arnold a Nazi? No, I would never say that. But carrying on a relationship with someone who took part in the worst treatment of a minority group in history is not something you do if you remember your "immigrant roots".

Trying to appeal to minority voters because you were born in another country, when much of what is in your past shows everything ranging from a complete disconnection with the immigrant experience to friends who were Nazis, is the worst kind of pandering. Worse really, than anything I can remember, and Arnold should be called on it.
Arnold and Kurt

Arnold, his Dad, and Kurt

Dave's Email

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Catching Up

Going to the Sox-A's game tonight, Lowe vs. Mulder, and I thought I'd get caught up on some BAP scores from the weekend. Eisenberg's College Football Rules now has a separate link over on the right, or you can just page down to see what I wrote yesterday. I wish I could just let the ECF linger at the top of the page for awhile for any newcomers, but that wouldn't be fair to my regulars, especially the hardcore baseball contingent.

8/15 Cleveland 1 Tampa Bay 0
BAP - Cle .382, TB .188
OPS - CLe .480, TB .350

8/16 Tampa Bay 5 Cleveland 3
BAP - TB .707, Cle .333
OPS - TB .778, Cle .712

8/15 Toronto 8 Oakland 5
BAP - Tor .781, Oak .611
OPS - Tor .988, Oak ..821

8/16 Oakland 6 Toronto 4
BAP - Oak .771, Tor .533
OPS - Oak .877, Tor .589
I can't document it, but I'd bet now that Oakland is the best BAP team in baseball, which I would have never guessed at the beginning. They seem to never make a mistake on the basepaths.

Boston-Seattle series from Tim at Musings From RSN

8/17 Sea 3, Bos 1
Bos .333/.182/.290
Sea .355/.226/.267

8/16 Bos 5, Sea 1
Bos .553/.316/.412
Sea .457/.278/.241

8/15 Sea 10, Bos 5
Bos .535/.364/.412
Sea .696/.458/.686

Both teams go 7-0. The Standings:

BAP 31-4
OPS 29-6

Dave's Email

Monday, August 18, 2003


Man, I'm psyched! When I started this blog, really the only reason was the ECF Championship. I spent all of last season emailing my friend Ray (author Ray Murphy) all of these rules, and we spent a good chunk of last year following them, and arguing about them, and watching college football in a different way.

It was so much fun that Ray suggested I start my own site, which I was already considering, and here I am. The goal was to get at least a few readers before the season began, and I'm constantly amazed at how many people seem to come here on a regular basis. I've met lots of cool people too, something I hadn't counted on.

So, life is good.

And now, without further delay, the Eisenberg College Football Rules Presentation!

Voting to decide the championship of any team sporting endeavor is a ridiculous idea. Yet those of us who are College Football fans have had to endure that very thing, having our Champions traditionally decided by two polls. One was a vote of the coaches, who knew everything about only three teams - the one they played this week, the one they play next week, and their own. The other is a vote of sportswriters, who know nothing about everything. Letting those two groups (or any group, really) choose who the Champion was, especially when bowl games did not even necessarily match the best teams, robbed College Football of what is basic to sports, a chance to settle things on the field of play.

The Bowl Championship Series was an incredibly feeble attempt to rectify the situation. Stirring together polls, computer models, and strength of schedule formulas into one giant vat of Predictor's Stew, all the BCS wanted to do was make sure that the perceived Top Two teams met in a Bowl game. While this seems like a simple enough goal, it dodges the obvious problem: It is just as hard to figure out who the top two teams are as it is to figure out who the top one team is, maybe even harder.

A tournament is needed. Every other level of every other team sport in America has some sort of playoff, and 1-A college football should be no different. Of course, there's a better chance of Rick Neuheisel coaching in a PAC-10 Championship game than there is of there being a 1-A tournament. So what to do in the meantime? Eisenberg Sports has come up with an answer.

The idea is to figure out all of the things we expect a Champion to do, and all of the things we expect them not to do, and then hold each team accountable. There are certain acts that all of us would probably agree on. Should a Champion go undefeated? Well, it would be nice, but the best team might have stumbled along the way. So are all losses acceptable? Of course not. Should a Champion win their Bowl game? Absolutely.

But then there are other things that are less clear. Is it fair or wise to declare only one Champion without a tournament? Should a bad loss at the beginning of the season count as much as one at the end? What kind of loss is acceptable, and what kind isn't?

What Eisenberg Sports has tried to do is set up a list of rules that teams need to follow in order to end up one of Eisenberg's College Football (ECF) Champions. Every single one of the 117 Division 1-A teams has a chance to be an ECF Champion. In general, we have leaned towards being more inclusive than exclusive, so that there can be little doubt that a non-ECF Champion is deserving. We do this because without a tournament, there really is no way of knowing for certain who the best team is.

Every week this football season, Eisenberg Sports will have updates about who is eliminated from ECF Championship contention, and who is still alive. We will have previews of key ECF matchups of the upcoming weekend, and forecasts as to team's chances of becoming an ECF Champion. The rest of this week, I will take time to respond to reader's emails. I'm sure people will want some aspects of the ECF Rules explained further.

Below are the ECF Championship Rules, and examples of how it worked last season.


1. The Three Weeks Rule - Eisenberg Sports recognizes that some excellent teams will trip up very early in the year. Any one loss of any kind in the first three weeks of the season will not be cause for elimination from ECF Championship contention provided that they are perfect - no losses, Acceptable or Unacceptable - the rest of the season.

2. Acceptable and Unacceptable Losses - This is a key component of the ECF Championship. Unlike the polls, not all losses are equal here. If you have a road game at Oklahoma and you lose, that doesn't mean that you aren't the best team in the country. EVERY team would be an underdog in Oklahoma, just like Oklahoma would be an underdog in a half-dozen other cities. That has to be accounted for in some way, and we try to do that here.

A. Definition of Unacceptable Losses - An Unacceptable Loss immediately eliminates you from ECF Championship contention. This is what constitutes an Unacceptable Loss:

- 1. Any loss on your home field, in regulation or in overtime.
- 2. Any loss in regulation on a neutral field.
- 3. Any loss by 17 or more points on the road.
- 4. Any loss to a non-Division 1A opponent.

These are things that should never happen to a team of Championship caliber.

B. Definition of the Acceptable Losses - Acceptable Losses do not automatically eliminate you from ECF Championship contention. These losses include:

- 1. Losses on the road by 16 or fewer points.
- 2. Overtime losses on a neutral field.

3. The Overtime Rule - Eisenberg Sports considers the current overtime rule of the NCAA to be ridiculous, but we'll use it. However, we'd like to tinker with it a little.

a. An OT win by the home team is considered a tie, half win - half Acceptable Loss, for both teams. If a home team can not prove they are the better team in regulation, than they aren't.

b. An OT win by the road team is considered to be a win for the road team, and an Unacceptable Loss for the home team.

c. An OT win on a neutral field will be a tie, half win - half-Acceptable Loss for the OT winner, and an Acceptable Loss for the loser.

4. Accumulation of Acceptable Losses - At some point, Acceptable Losses become unacceptable. Most teams are allowed to accumulate only 1.5 Acceptable Losses throughout the regular season. Because teams that have played in and won a conference championship game have in essence won a second Bowl Game, we allow them to accumulate 2.0 Acceptable Losses throughout the regular season. Any amount of Acceptable Losses beyond these numbers - 2.0 for conference champion winners, 1.5 for everyone else - will eliminate a team from contention in the ECF Championship.

5. Conference Championship Games - All teams that play in a conference championship game must win it, either in regulation or overtime.

6. Bowl Games - If two ECF-eligible teams are playing in the same bowl game, then the winner, either in regulation or in overtime, will be declared one of our ECF Champions. Any ECF-eligible team facing a non-ECF-eligible team in a bowl game must beat them in regulation time to be declared one of our ECF Champions. Failure to appear in a bowl game will be cause for elimination.

7. The Top Ten Rule - Teams must beat another team that is in the Top Ten in either Poll when they play, or in the Top Ten later in the season. This is an attempt by Eisenberg Sports to insure that strength of schedule is considered, and gives our poll-loving fans something to do.

8. The Everyone is Eliminated Rule - If by some chance, at any point in the season or after the bowl games, all 117 teams have been eliminated, there will still be at least one ECF Champion. The way the ECF Champion is chosen is by the following rules:

a. Only bowl game winners are considered.
b. The first game of every team is eliminated.
c. If any team or teams would now qualify for the Championship, they would be declared the ECF Champions.
d. If no team qualifies, then the second game of every team would be eliminated. If there is anyone would qualify, they would now be considered the Champions.
e. If no team qualifies, weeks from the beginning of the season will continue to be eliminated until we have a winner.

Examples of the Rules from 2002:

1. Iowa - Iowa lost at home to Iowa State, an Unacceptable Loss. However, because it was in only their third game of the season, it was protected by Rule 1, The Three Weeks Rule. If Iowa had been perfect the rest of the way, with no Acceptable or Unacceptable Losses, they could have still been an ECF Champion. They won from then on until they lost to USC in the Orange Bowl.

2. TCU - TCU lost their opening game at Cincinnati in overtime, a half-Acceptable Loss. They then won eight in a row before losing at East Carolina, 31-28, an Acceptable Loss. With only 1.5 Acceptable Losses, TCU would have been an ECF Champion after beating Colorado State in their bowl game. However, they violated Rule 7, having never beaten a Top Ten team the entire season, and were eliminated.

3. Georgia - Georgia was 8-0 going into its game with Florida, known as The World's Largest Cocktail Party. The Bulldogs had been routinely thrashed by Spurrier's Gators, and the entire state of Georgia was salivating over the chance to make amends against Ron Zook's less than stellar squad. It was not to be though, as Georgia fell to Florida once again, 20-13. This was an Unacceptable Loss, a violation of Rule 2A-2, which states that you can not lose games in regulation on a neutral field. The Florida game eliminated Georgia.

4. USC - USC lost at Kansas State 27-20, an Acceptable Loss, and then again two weeks later at Washington State 30-27 in overtime, a half-Acceptable Loss. With only 1.5 Acceptable Losses for the season, USC was alive for a share of the ECF Championship entering the Orange Bowl game with Iowa(Rule 4). They trounced Iowa 38-17 to become an ECF Champion.

5. Oklahoma - Oklahoma was 8-0 when they lost at Texas A&M 30-26, an Acceptable Loss, and they were 10-1 when they suffered another Acceptable Loss, 38-28 at Oklahoma State. Fortunately for Oklahoma, they still qualified for their conference championship game, because they would need that win to overcome the two Acceptable Losses(Rule 4). Oklahoma crushed Colorado 29-7, and then Washington State in the Rose Bowl 34-14, to become an ECF Champion.

6. Miami and Ohio State - Both teams went through the season perfectly, so what was known as their BCS Fiesta Bowl matchup was also a game for a share of the ECF Championship. Ohio State won 31-24 in overtime to become an ECF Champion.

Last year, the season finished with three ECF Champions. All three teams had incredible years, staying within the ECF Rules, and to try to choose who would win between them is folly. Those three teams are Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC.

This year's College Football season starts August 23. There will be two games, Kansas State vs. California, and San Jose State vs. Grambling. Eisenberg Sports would like to wish all 1-A universities good health and good luck in their quest for the ECF Championship.

Dave's Email

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Monday's The Day!

Tune in tomorrow for Eisenberg Sports' College Football Championship Rules Presentation!

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Only Two Days Left!

Eisenberg's College Football Championship Rules Presentation Coming Monday!

I'm taking the weekend to hammer out a final draft. I may post some BAP scores later today and tomorrow.

Go Saugus!

Dave's Email

Friday, August 15, 2003

Showdown - The Boston Red Sox vs. the Oakland A's

The Red Sox resurrected the hopes of a Red Sox Nation already prepared for yet another August collapse, coming back to take the final two games of the series vs. Oakland. Two weeks removed from the trading deadline, all American League fans are surprised that not much has changed:

The Yankees still have a small lead over the Sox.
The Mariners have maintained the distance between them and the A's.
It's still Royals, White Sox, Twins in the Central.
The Red Sox are still a game up on the A's in the wildcard.

Wasn't something supposed to happen? Weren't the A's, with the addition of Rich Harden to their rotation, supposed to blow past the Mariners and Sox with another twenty-game winning streak? Weren't the Sox and Yankees supposed to take off with their new-fangled bullpens? Weren't Gillick's non-trading Mariners supposed to fade? And the Royals STILL haven't collapsed?!

I'm only going to look at the wildcard race today. After playing to a four-game 14-14 tie, The A's and Red Sox sure look like they are going to battle to the end with this one. There's a quarter of the season left, and I thought I'd take a look at the schedules the rest of the way.

Here they are, head to head:

Boston at Seattle, Toronto at Oakland - Edge Oakland
Oakland at Boston - I've got a ticket for this one, baby. We'll call it even.

Seattle at Boston(going to this, too!), Oakland at Toronto - Edge Oakland. The Jays are done.
Toronto at Boston, Baltimore at Oakland - Toronto is better on the road than at home. Edge Oakland.


Yankees at Boston, Tampa Bay at Oakland - Edge Oakland, dammit.
Boston at Philly(1 game) and the White Sox (2 games), Oakland at Baltimore - sigh. Edge Oakland.
Boston at Baltimore, Anaheim at Oakland - Baltimore has a winning record at home. Edge Oakland.

Well, it gets better from here, at least.

Chicago at Boston, Oakland at Texas - even though Chicago is still in it they've been terrible on the road. We'll give this one to the Sox.

Tampa at Boston, Oakland at Anaheim - Edge Sox.
Boston at Cleveland, Seattle at Oakland - Edge Sox.

Baltimore at Boston, Texas at Oakland - We'll call it even.
Boston at Tampa, Seattle at Oakland - Edge Sox.

So, if I'm reading this right, what should happen is that sometime in the next month, the A's will take the benefit of an easier schedule and pass the Sox. But then in the last two weeks of the season, the Sox will put on a frenetic rally, and nip the A's at the wire.

Just like they always do.

BAP Scores -

Toronto 5 Seattle 2
BAP - Tor .639, Sea .447
OPS - tor .792, Sea .603

Boston 4 Oakland 2 from Tim at Musings from RSN

Bos .634/.268/.353
Oak .488/.279/.237
The Sox bullpen comes through!

The Standings:

BAP 24-4
OPS 22-6

Dave's Email

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Road to The Sugar Bowl, Part 2

Last weekend, TNT showed all five Rocky movies in a row. This normally wouldn't have meant much to me because I've seen all five, but when I sat down to catch a few minutes of the first one, my wife joined me. I figured that this was something to roll with, that if she wasn't going to pull us away from Rocky movies on a Saturday afternoon I certainly wasn't going to either. We watched the remainder of the first one, and all of the second one, before I cracked. Like Apollo Creed slumping against the ringpost as Rocky pulled himself to victory, I was out of gas, and as much as I enjoy Mr. T in his Clubber Lang role in Rocky 3, I threw in the towel. I don't think my wife was aware that there was any kind of competition going on, but I half-expected to hear her screaming "Adrienne! Adrienne!" in the middle of our living room.

Anyway, you might remember that Rocky 2 begins with the last few minutes of Rocky. In the spirit of those movies, I'm going to start today with the last couple of paragraphs from yesterday, when I mercifully allowed myself to split my entry in two. You might recall that I was trying to figure out who had the easiest role to the Sugar Bowl outside of their regular conference schedule. We'll pick up with 12 teams eliminated and 8 to go, after these commercials:

I don't why, when I type in "Sugar Bowl", it brings up a link to a search engine. How dare they infiltrate my blog entry! It pisses me off.

Only four more days until the Eisenberg College Football Championship Rules Presentation!

OK, here we go.

Now it starts to get a little easier.

Three teams have their toughest non-conference matchup as a team ranked between 15 and 20 at home. Ohio State hosts #16 NC State, and Michigan and Pitt both will play # 19 Notre Dame. Not easy games, but you ought to win it if you're a serious contender.

We're left with five teams. Here they are with their toughest non-conference matchup:

#6 Virginia Tech plays #27 Texas A&M at home.
#10 Maryland play at #51 Northern Illinois.
#13 Wisconsin visits # 58 West Virginia.
#17 Virginia goes to #41 South Carolina
#18 Oregon State goes to #42 Fresno State.

I bet only one or two of these teams loses this game. Any of the final eight teams - Ohio State, Michigan, Pitt, Va Tech, Maryland, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Oregon State - have very little turbulence in their schedules outside of conference play.

In head-to-head play, Maryland gets Virginia at home, but it's hard to see either of them maintaining the consistency to run the table. Same with Oregon State. Virginia Tech goes to Pitt, but both of them also have to host Miami. This brings us to the Big Ten.

Three of the eight contenders with the easiest non-conference path are all in the Big Ten - Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Everyone who cares knows that the Buckeyes go to Ann Arbor this year, but they also have to go to Wisconsin. Wisconsin and Michigan don't play at all. And this is where I go off on my Big Ten tirade.

The Big Ten is an excellent conference. The quality of the bottom half and middle make every game entertaining, and they get great crowds, and have all of that history. But outside of Ohio State, there's no top ten schools here, and none anywhere else on anyone's schedule. Here is the list of road games for the entire Big Ten this year, out of conference, with their CFN rank:

19 Notre Dame, 20 UCLA , 30 Nebraska, 33 Washington, 35 Oregon, 47 Iowa State, 53 Wake Forest, 58 West Virginia, 78 Duke, 84 UConn, 94 Kansas, 98 Ohio

There's no one ranked higher than Notre Dame, and the only one higher in home games is 15 NC St. So essentially you have a conference that, outside of Ohio State, no one is going to play anybody ranked in the top 10 in the country. With the only real competition being between themselves, and only one of the conference schools ranked higher than #13 Wisconsin, and no conference championship game, it is hard to measure just how good any Big Ten team is until bowl season. All of their records will be slightly inflated, as will their bowl rankings.

Not all of this their own fault. Notre Dame plays several of these teams, and they are capable of pulling a top 10 program together at any time. The fact that only Ohio State is top 10 dampens the conference somewhat, but they obviously don't choose that. They can't have a conference championship because they only have 11 teams, but of course I've never seen them protest that like the ACC is doing. And you could make the argument that the Big East and ACC are in the same boat, but neither conference has the reputation the Big Ten has. Also, there are three top 10 teams in the Big East, and Florida State, traditionally the best school in the ACC, plays Miami and Florida every year.

So, you want a long shot for the Sugar Bowl? How about Wisconsin? This is what College Football News says about them:

"Barry Alvarez has had some great teams in Madison winning three Rose Bowls over the years, but this could be his best team yet. He's never had a receiving corps like this one or a defensive front seven with as much talent as this team has. He also has a loaded backfield and a solid kicking game."

If they can beat Ohio State at home, the next highest ranked team they play is #23 Purdue, also at home. They have no conference championship game to worry about. A pretty easy path for someone coming from the Mighty Big Ten.

BAP Scores -

Boston 7 Oakland 3 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BOS 0.651 0.372 0.474
OAK 0.590 0.333 0.394
Both BAP and OPS win.

Tampa 6 Baltimore 5
BAP - TB .829, Bal .591
OPS - TB .920, Bal .807
Both win.

Seattle 13 Toronto 6
BAP - Tor .421, Sea .857
OPS - Tor .687, Sea 1.156
Had to create a new award for this one - The Nuke LaLoosh Award. I'm proud to present it to Toronto pitcher Tanyon Sturtze. Check out his performance in the fourth inning: He walks Bret Boone on five pitches, Edgar Martinez on four, then John Olerud on five. He throws another first pitch ball to Mike Cameron, then retires Cameron, Ben Davis, and Rey Sanchez on nine straight strikes.

The Standings:

BAP 22-4
OPS 20-6

Dave's Email>

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The Road to the Sugar Bowl

I thought I'd take another look at college football schedules, approaching it this time from a different angle. Every team knows from the outset that in order to get into the Sugar Bowl game, they're going to have to win their regular season conference championship, and probably need to go undefeated. In fact, most coaches realize that this is the make-or-break opportunity of their careers, do it and keep your job, or do it and move up. Everyone is under some level of suspicion until they've done it once, and sometimes afterwards.

So let's assume it happens for each of the top 20 teams, that they go undefeated in conference play. Who is best set up to run the table and get into the Sugar Bowl?

I'm using the rankings from College Football News (link over on the right), the best college football site out there, and then I'm going to look for each team's toughest game outside of their regular conference schedule. The top 20:

1. Ohio State
2. Miami
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. Auburn

6. Va Tech
7. USC
8. Pittsburgh
9. KSU
10. Maryland

11. Georgia
12. Tennessee
13. Wisconsin
14. LSU
15. NC State

16. Michigan
17. Virginia
18. Oregon State
19. Notre Dame
20. UCLA

It's safe to say that any team that has to win a conference championship game has a tougher job than teams who don't. It pretty much amounts to an extra bowl game. I'm tossing out all of these teams - Texas, Oklahoma, Auburn, Kansas State, Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU.

Three other teams have to travel to top 5 schools. NC State is going to Ohio State, UCLA plays at Oklahoma, and USC travels to Auburn. Out.

Notre Dame has to travel to #8 Pitt. Out.

Miami has to travel to #25 FSU, and play #21 at home against Florida. While both of those schools are expected to have off-years, I don't think anyone would want to have them both scheduled for non-conference games, especially given the nature of their rivalries. Miami out.

Now it starts to get a little easier.

Three teams have their toughest non-conference matchup as a team ranked between 15 and 20 at home. Ohio State hosts #16 NC State, and Michigan and Pitt both will play # 19 Notre Dame. Not easy games, but you ought to win it if you're a serious contender.

We're left with five teams. Here they are with their toughest non-conference matchup:

#6 Virginia Tech plays #27 Texas A&M at home.
#10 Maryland play at #51 Northern Illinois.
#13 Wisconsin visits # 58 West Virginia.
#17 Virginia goes to #41 South Carolina
#18 Oregon State goes to #42 Fresno State.

There's lots of ways you can interpret this, and I will. Tomorrow.

BAP Scores -

Oakland 5 Boston 3 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BOS 0.324 0.294 0.344
OAK 0.500 0.233 0.500
Both win, but OBP would have lost. The Sox seem to be the anit-BAP team.

KC 12 NYY 9 - 8/11
Another victory for BAP! The Yankees outhit the upstart Royals 15-14,
and had about the same OBP. They also outslugged them .842-.658,
despite 11 (yes, 11) Royal doubles, by hitting 8 of their own, in addition
to two homeruns. Overall, the Bombers won the OPS battle 1.281-1.100.
However, the Yankees made several outs on the bases, while the Royals
made none, which led to a Royal victory on the BAP scoreboard, .930 -.927.
- Jeremy at NYU

NYY 6 KC 0
Mussina tossed a gem while the Yankee bats stayed hot, so this one was
really no contest. The stats were:
NYY .979 .707
KC .497 .361
- Jeremy at NYU

Tampa Bay 4 Baltimore 2
BAP - TB .543, Bal .273
OPS - TB .718, Bal .419

Seattle 3 Toronto 1
BAP - Sea .433, Tor .378
OPS - Sea .517, Tor .647
It's amazing how two games with very similar scores can have such different statistical stories. OPS misses the Seattle game by a mile.

A big day for BAP, as they open a two game lead.

BAP 19-4
OPS 16-6

Dave's Email

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Road To Williamsport

Eisenberg's College Football Championship Rules Only 6 Days Away!

I live pretty close to Saugus, Massachusetts. If you were clicking through your favorite sports channels last night, you might have seen their little league all-star team playing on ESPN 2 against Augusta, Maine for a chance to go to the Little League World Series. Aside from settling in for a little local hysteria, I saw this as a great BAP opportunity. What are little league games known for? Errors! Miscues! Wld Pitches! A BAP lover's dream. So I figured hey, let's score this game.

But I got a lot more than that. Here's some of the interesting and fun stuff that came up during the course of the game:

The pitcher for Augusta was Mustafa Hassanzada, who was born in Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. from Pakistan only two years ago. He had never played baseball before arriving, but had played a lot of cricket. His favorite wrestler is Goldberg.

There was a player for Augusta who's favorite food was bacon.

Another player had the nickname Shoeless Joe. What'd the kid do, fix a game?

There's some kind of special pinch runner rule, that I think allows you to take the fat kid with the big bat off of the bases without removing him from the lineup.

Dumbest Media Comment: Seconds after announcing that Saugus was nine miles north of Boston, the color guy says "Talked to the players yesterday. Lots of Red Sox fans down there". Gee, ya think?

The players were asked who their favorite player was. The clear winner was Alex Rodriguez.

It was so nice to see that these kids were just not going to follow the rest of us into all of the garbage set up for them. The apparently Muslim kid can root for the Jewish wrestler. The Bacon-loving kid doesn't care that he's going to have a heart attack when he's fifty. Nobody cares that someone is nicknamed after a poor simpleton who was banned from the game. Nobody cares how much money ARod makes. Beautiful.

Saugus won, 4-0, but it was the BAP scores that were odd. I had Saugus at .917 and Augusta at .520. Both of those would be records for the majors, extremely high scores for 4 and 0 runs. I wish I had kept OPS totals. All of those EBs would have made it interesting.

I think there are more regional Finals on TV all weekend. If you get a chance, check them out. Tomorrow, I'll talk more about why I dissed the Big Ten yesterday.

BAP Scores (Major Leagues)

Tampa Bay 4 Baltimore 3
BAP - TB .632, Bal .405
OPS - TB .842, Bal .578
Both win.

Toronto 5 Seattle 3
BAP - Tor .564, Sea .615
OPS - Tor .585, Sea .725
Both lose. Seattle gets 4 EBs in the bottom of the ninth to blow it for BAP.

Oakland 2 Boston 0 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BAP - Bos .036, Oak .529
OPS - Bos .181, Oak .661
Tim Hudson sets a record for lowest opponent's BAP score.

Weekend Boston -Baltimore Series From Tim at Musings From RSN

8/10 Bal 5, Bos 3
Bos .564/.359/.471
Bal .514/.229/.455
BAP and OPS both lose.

8/9 Bos 6, Bal 4
Bos .667/.371/.548
Bal .541/.270/.471
Both win.

8/8 Bal 4, Bos 2
Bos .410/.359/.281
Bal .389/.216/.235
Both lose.

Fri 8/8 - NYY 9 SEA 7 From Jeremy at NYU
BAP - NY .750, Sea .610
OPS - NY .918, Sea .825
Both win.


BAP 14-4
OPS 14-4

Dave's Email"

Monday, August 11, 2003

College Football is Here!

Well, almost here, but hey, I've had it in the heading since day one, so you knew it was coming. The first games are now only 12 days away, and I'm pumped. Sure, I'm not in mid-season form, and I know a lot more about the Houston Astros bullpen right now than I do about the Kansas State backfield, but that's the way it should be. Summer fades into Fall.

Kansas State, by the way, is one of four participants of two early games this year. On August 23rd, Kansas State plays California in Kansas City, and Grambling plays at San Jose State. It was while looking over the Kansas State schedule that I found my first College Football story of the season, Bogus Scheduling.

Bogus Scheduling is a deliberate attempt to play absolutely meaningless and safe non-conference games in order to best boost a team's ranking, and chances for an undefeated season. It can actually work against you in the Eisenberg National Championship, or ENC (to be released Monday, August 18th), but in a pollster-driven world it can get you straight to the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl is the site of this year's game between the two top BCS teams (I refuse to call it a National Championship game),and with that in mind, let's take a look at some of the top teams to rig the event with Bogus Scheduling. I found three:

Kansas State - KSU starts with the neutral-field game in neighboring Kansas, then plays three straight home games against teams that aren't even Division 1A - Troy State, McNeese State, and UMass. Then, they play another home game against a team from a non-BCS conference, Marshall. They do not play a single road game that is part of their non-conference schedule.

Virgina Tech - VT opens the season with UCF, James Madison, Texas A &M, and UConn at home. They do not play a non-conference opponent on the road all year.

Ohio State - The Buckeyes open with five straight home games, Washington, San Diego State, North Carolina State, Bowling Green, and Northwestern. They play only four road games the entire year with the first one not being until October 11.

If there was a Cowardice Award for an entire conference, it would go to the Big Ten in a landslide. It must be in their by-laws to schedule no one who could possibly damage the conference's reputation, but I'll save that for another day. And the ENC might have to come up with some kind of rule for KSU's scheduling of so many non-1A games. If you don't want to play in 1A, why should you be eliglble for the 1A championship?

The ENC name is up in the air, too. I think I'm going to have change the blog heading on top to:

Eisenberg Sports - A Work in Progress.

BAP Scores -

Seattle 8 New York 6
BAP- Sea .681, NY .714
OPS - Sea .935, NY .843
BAP loses. This game has circumstances that comes up from time to time, where the BAP idea works, but the percentages don't. Seattle actually accumulated 32 bases to NY's 30. It's occurred to me that if we have one unit of measurement already built in (a single game), why do we need another (number of plate appearances)? Seeing the actual thing we're trying to figure out is who will win the game, does the number of plate appearances even matter, or should it just be who accumulates the most bases? Open for discussion.

Sat 8/9 - SEA 2 NYY 1
From Jeremy in NY
BAP - Sea .419, NY .172
OPS - Sea .494, NY .352

We're all tied up:

BAP 10-1
OPS 10-1

Dave's Email

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Saturday Update

That's a really bad title, seeing that I'm giving a couple of BAP scores for Thursday, and one for Friday. Most of the BAP Research Team has the good sense to be out of town this weekend, so we'll have a lot more scores on Monday. Maybe some tomorrow, too.

Went to that Sox game last night. Terrible. The Orioles don't have one everyday player who could start for the Red Sox, but their pitching has been underrated all year. And they don't have Grady.

From Last Night:

Texas 5 Toronto 3
BAP - Tex .579, Tor .514
OPS - Tex 1.013, Tor .641
Texas hit into five doubleplays, keeping it relatively close. But shouldn't it be close? Texas only won by two. From the OPS scores, you would think it was a blowout.

From Thursday:

Tampa Bay 3 Toronto 2
BAP - TB .444, Tor .432
OPS - TB .604, Tor .570
Very close game.

Baltimore 5 Minnesota 3
BAP - Bal .531, Min .528
OPS - Bal .700, Min .667
An even closer game. OBP actually gets this one wrong, but SLG bails it out for OPS.

The Standings in Contest II:

BAP 9-0
OPS 8-1

Dave's Email

Friday, August 08, 2003

A Lefthanded Pitching Prospect and a 14-year old Soccer Phenom.

Way back near the beginning of Eisenberg Sports(6/2/03), just before the baseball draft, I did a story on James Madison pitcher Kurt Isenberg. With left-handed college pitchers being such a desired item, especially by the Moneyball crowd, it figured that Isenberg would go high. Sure enough, he landed with Billy Beane disciple JP Ricciardi in Toronto in the second round. Some time has passed now, and I thought I would catch up on how young Kurt was doing.

Isenberg is currently pitching for the Auburn Doubledays in the New York - Penn League, and I'm pleased to report he is doing fine. Kurt is 4-2 with a 1.98 ERA, on a team that has a 3.42 ERA. He has pitched 41 innings and struck out 43, with only 11 walks. He has given up only 27 hits, and only one homerun.

Meanwhile, Isenberg's team isn't doing badly, either. Their record stands at 43-12. The Doubledays actually come close to me, visiting Lowell at the end of the month for a weekend series. Maybe I'll get lucky and find a ticket for Isenberg's game.

The Premier League opens next week, and there's a good chance that Manchester United's starting netminder will be Tim Howard. Howard joins Kasey Keller of Tottenham Hotspurs and Brad Friedel of Blackburn Rovers in the group of Awesome American Goalies Playing In England. But if you want to keep your eye on one American, watch out for Freddy Adu. He's 14 years old, originally from Ghana, and will lead the USA under-17 team in the World Championships in Finland beginning on August 13th. Meanwhile, the team is preparing for this tournament by playing several matches in England. In three contests, Adu has five goals, including a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Manchester United's under-17 team, and a hat trick against Blackburn's under-18s. In three wins, Freddy has 5 of the team's 7 goals.

With USA goalies always among the world's elite, and young forwards like Adu, Landon Donovan, and DeMarcus Beasley on the rise, we Americans are poised to do some serious damage in the 2010 World Cup.

BAP Scores:

Boston 9 Anaheim 3 from Tim at Musings From RSN

BAP - Bos .875, Ana .514
OPS - Bos 1.155, Ana .686
I'm not surprised that the Angels aren't going back to the playoffs, but I didn't think they would fall apart like this. They were over .500 and playing well going into the break, and i thought they'd make a little run.

New York 7 Texas 5 From Jeremy at NYU
BAP - NY .813, Tex .770
OPS - NY .813 Tex .657

From Wednesday
Texas 5 New York 4
BAP - Tex .868, NY .649
OPS - Tex .687, NY .779
A win for BAP.

Tomorrow and Sunday I'll get caught up on the some of the games missed over the last two days. In the meantime, these are the standings in Contest II:

BAP 6-0
OPS 5-1

Dave's Email

Thursday, August 07, 2003

We Are Family

Got my first piece of critical email yesterday, and even better than that, it's from my sister! Check this out:

Hi Dave -

OK - I know you are focusing on baseball and your stats - but how did you miss the opportunity to talk about the basketball owner who thinks that charges of sexual assault are good for the NBA? I have blocked out the guy's name at the moment. He couldn't pronounce "notoriety" either! Maybe his remarks lend credence to your earlier comments about all the NBA players being arrested - maybe they are all trying to sell more tickets to their games! Does the NBA now make as much sense as reality TV?

Just a thought -


I love the "your stats" part. Baseball and YOUR stats! Like I'm playing with matchbox cars on the floor. She has a point, though. This story does seem to be right up my alley, and I missed it due to BAP. Of course, the Kobe trial is going to be around us for a while, so I'm going to tackle it today. Below I break up all of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's statements, and see if there is any validity to any of them.

"From a business perspective, it's great for the NBA. It's reality television, people love train wreck television and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that's the reality today."

The second part is true. The first part is false. No one is going to become a legitimate basketball fan because of the Kobe trial, but many who are borderline will shy away from the league.

"From a business perspective, the UNFORTUNATE REALITY is that in this country notoriety sells. You only need to look at Mike Tyson as the No. 1 draw in boxing as proof," Cuban wrote. "I went back and tried to find examples in the entertainment business where it hurt. I couldn't."

The first sentence is true, no matter how Cuban pronounces "notoriety". The second one is suspect. The last casts doubts about Cuban's research skills.

It's easy to forget how great a fighter Tyson was when he was younger. Iron Mike would absolutely terrify opponents, and then make their worst fears come true, knocking them senseless in one or two rounds. Had Tyson not already built that reputation, none of his missteps (to put it kindly) would have mattered. It's certainly arguable that had Tyson taken care of himself, grown as a fighter, and had several more years of great fights instead of the sideshows he's been putting on, that he would have made even more money, not less. Of course, he still would have wound up declaring bankruptcy.

As for examples of where notoriety has failed, I can think of a few right away. In the NBA alone, how about the Portland Trailblazers? Half of their team has a criminal record, and I don't see them being a major draw. Tonya Harding. She should be doing commentary all over every skating event. Pete Rose. The all-time hit king can't get an endorsement deal. And how about Kobe? How much is this going to cost him in future endorsement deals? Non-sports? How about Robert Downey Jr.? Or Peewee Herman?

"It will draw viewers," Cuban wrote. "I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm not saying it's a positive reflection of who we are as a country. It's just reality. It sells papers, it increases TV ratings. The NBA will benefit from that."

"Take away the personal aspect and the reality is that there will be more people watching our game against the Lakers," Cuban told USA Today. "Who do you know won't watch the Lakers game with Kobe?"

Well, it sure sounds like he's saying its a good thing. And it does sell papers. But increase TV ratings? Maybe for the opener, and Court TV. But suddenly the NBA can't put Kobe in their promos anymore, and a lot of parents will be less enthusiastic to plunk their child down in front of a Laker game. In the long run, ratings will suffer, at least a little. Even if the ratings do go up for the opener, people who aren't basketball fans will remember why they're not basketball fans, and turn the game off. Watching Kobe run and jump will not be all that interesting to them.

"I don't want to compare Kobe with O.J. (Simpson) because Kobe's case hasn't been decided, but the reality is there is more interest in him (Kobe) now."

There is more interest in Kobe right now, but only as a celebrity, not as a basketball player. And don't compare him to OJ before or after the trial. As bad as the charges against him are, he's not accused of killing someone.

In the end Cuban made himself look like an ass. But having said that, in general I love the guy. Sports needs loudmouth owners who care about winning at all costs. They're more important than even the Kobe's of the world. He needs to restrict his statements to the basketball arena, but he shoudn't stop talking. I like the way David Stern always has to deal with this real-live person tainting his drive to attract ten-year olds.

BAP Scores -

Minnesota 7 Baltimore 3
BAP - Min .769, Bal .719
OPS - Min .486, Bal .463
I've seen this a surprising number of times. Minnesota wins with no walks.

Toronto 7 Tampa Bay 3
BAP - Tor .674, TB .333
OPS - Tor .886, TB .600
Take a look at this play(from ESPN):

-V Wells singled to center.
-C Delgado safe at second on error by second baseman M Anderson, V Wells scored.

What exactly did Marlon Anderson do that allowed Vernon Wells to advance three bases, eat the ball?

Boston 4 Anaheim 2 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BAP - Bos .650, Ana .513
OPS - Bos .915, Ana .686
How do you leave Pedro in for that many pitches in a 4-1 game? They had to warm Kim up anyway. The truth is, Grady's too scared of him to take him out. I'll be so glad when Theo brings his own manager in.

BAP and OPS start off Contest II 3-0.

If you liked Beth's letter, that's good, because she may be chipping in with some college hoops coverage come winter. I'm really going to need help once Labor Day rolls around, so if you have any inclination to participate at all feel free to contact me.

Dave's Email

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Dog Days of August

Day after day I'm more confused
But I look for the light through the pourin' rain
You know, that's a game, that I hate to loose
I'm feelin' the strain, ain't it a shame
Drift Away by Dobie Gray, or if you're a younger man, Uncle Kracker

Editor's Note: We at Eisenberg Sports would like to make it clear in advance that we are in no way implying that Voros McCracken either uses illegal substances, or advocates the use of them.

We are deep into the season now. There is only the rare day off. A manager has been fired. Pitching staffs are being stretched thin, and the humidity is driving everyone crazy, and I'm feeling the strain.

Here are the rules that I set for myself for covering games with BAP:

Cover all games for BAP and OPS that are:
1. One-run games.
2. Games where the loser had more hits than the winner.
3. Games where the loser had as many hits as the winner.

Guess how many of these games there were last night?

Ten. Games not covered by the BAP Research Team? Eight.

Well, I've already drifted away from the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, and I haven't been able to do another Idiot Wind (an entry I did last month where I went through all of the stupid plays in one day) even though I enjoyed that a lot. I had just started to track the Mariners individually, but I guess I can drop that. I came up with a whole different way of checking speed yesterday that I'm real excited about, but that can wait. And then there's the College Football season preview, which will absolutely change the way my readers follow the season . . .

Beginin' to think, that I'm wastin' time
And I don't understand the things I do
-Drift Away

Meanwhile, I'm ignoring the elephant in the room. BAP has become all-consuming, and there needs to be a change. Anyone who has tried to score a BAP game will tell you that doing 5 to 8 games everyday is an absolutely insane idea. I mean, Voros McCracken couldn't do it if he had a kilo of cocaine in his closet. So, here is the new plan:

BAP record-keeping will continue. Because there are volunteers for the Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles, my goal is to have every game for the rest of the year for the American League East only. A new contest with OPS will start with just these games. Percentages may not be printed for every game unless they are done by volunteers.

Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and DRIFT AWAY
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and DRIFT AWAY

I feel better. Freed from the shackles of pure research, Eisenberg Sports can get back to more of a free-form, laid-back kind of blog. YEAH!

BAP Scores:

Boston 10 Anaheim 9 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BAP- Bos .872, Ana .854
OPS - Bos .985, Ana .937

NY 6 Texas 2 From Jeremy at NYU
OPS - NY 1.000, Tex .651
BAP - NY .719, Tex .400

Comments or Questions For Dave

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Money Changes Everything

Money changes everything
Money, money changes everything
we think we know what we're doin'
that don't mean a thing
it's all in the past now
money changes everything
The Brains

So I'm feeling good about my Ichiro story, having wound up on another thread - I absolutely would have never thought that anyone would start a thread on a message board specifically about what I wrote, and now its happened three times - when I get an email from BAP Research Team member Richard of Richard Investigates. Richard Investigates has even loftier goals than mine: ask him a question on anything, ANYTHING, and he'll try to find the answer. The most recent entry on the site is in response to my own question: What would happen to us if the Moon exploded? Yes, I do think about things other than sacrifice flies. Long time readers of ES would know that, but if you came this week all you see is BAP this, BAP that.

Anyway, Richard's email says this:

From the diamond mind website, you may find interesting.
Measuring The Impact of Speed, By Tom Tippett, May 2002

As it turns out, Tom Tippett wrote about the very same thing I wrote about yesterday, with the central character being Ichiro, and for the same reasons. Of course the Diamond MInd people are a hell of a lot more organized and professional than Eisenberg Sports, and Tom goes into amazing detail about the very questions I'm asking. The only thing I disagree with is the sentiment in the conclusion. Here are two statements that I find conflicting:

"we can say
that Ichiro probably created 6-12 extra runs with his
speed in ways that are not already measured."

"All things considered, offensive metrics like Runs
Created probably do understate Ichiro's value by a few
runs. (OPS, on the other hand, doesn't include steals
at all, so it can understate the value of someone like
Ichiro by a larger amount.)
That's good to know, but there doesn't appear to be
any evidence to suggest that those measures are
dramatically understating Ichiro's value, or that of
any other speedster, as an offensive player."

I checked, and under Runs Created Ichiro was credited with creating 110 runs, so 6-12 runs is 5-10% of his total value. That strikes me as a significant amount, and they conclude that the difference with OPS is even larger. So what's that - 15 to 20%? I would say that is "dramatically understating Ichiro's value".

Do you know what bugs me about this? The information is out there. Diamond Mind has put its own team of crack researchers on it and come up with answers to the very questions many of us have been raising here, and they're not releasing the data. And they're not trying to incorporate them into a better statistic. They are using the information to create a better product, and that is all.

That sucks, but even worse than that, I'm not getting anything out of it. Ever since someone ran that damn "The Next Voros McCracken?" thread about me I've been thinking "Man, could I someday get a job out of this?" Not that I need a job, but I think the front office fantasy replaces the player fantasy for all of us once we drop out of Little League.

And hey, I think BAP still rocks on a team level. So much research is being done on individuals, and I think that's largely done because of things like fantasy leagues and Hall of Fame votes. Me, I'm driven more by evaluating teams. If Ichiro is losing 6-12 runs in evaluation on his own, what is the difference between a team of quality, aggressive baserunners and a more pedestrian team over the course of a season? 30-50 runs?

The main point of all BAP research has been this: There are bases being accumulated in a baseball game, and we can count them. BAP seems to be doing a fantastic job of evaluating game data. Let the contest continue. See you tomorrow.

Comments or Questions for Dave

Monday, August 04, 2003


Ichiro Suzuki. Quick, what do you think of?

Right Fielder
Seattle Mariners
Uses only his first name
Really Fast
Followed by the Japanese media
Hits for a high average
Great Arm
Doesn't walk
Doesn't hit for power

It's the last two that have become the focus of the Stat World since his arrival. Because he doesn't draw walks and hit for power, his OPS totals are nice, but nothing special. Ichiro is currently tied for 70th in the Majors in OPS with Angel Berroa, and is 13th among all rightfielders. While everyone would agree that Ichiro is better than the 70th best position player in the majors, and better than the 13th best rightfielder, no one is really sure how much better. Most of the statheads would have a hard time putting him in the top 20 overall, I think.

Of course, there is a very big reason for that. We don't have any statistic to measure exactly what Ichiro does. Well, that's not really correct. BAP can. Maybe the better way to phrase it is there is no stat being used to measure what Ichiro does. There is no answer to the big question, just how many Extra Bases is Ichiro worth in a year?

I'm using Ichiro because he was the person I thought of while looking for an extreme. I asked myself this: Who puts the ball in play, doesn't hit homeruns, strikeout or walk, and is really fast? Then I took the opposite extreme. Who hits homers, walks, and strikes out? I thought of Jim Thome. I was looking for the extremes because I just wanted to focus on one tiny area of Extra Bases - bases from errors.

Bases from errors?! Who cares? The batter and runners shouldn't get credit for that! Having errors occur while you're at bat is not a skill!

That's what you thought, right? Well, think about it. Thome isn't putting the ball in play a heck of a lot. With all of the homers, walks, and strikeouts, he's not giving the fielders a lot to do. Ichiro is the opposite. He always has the ball in play. How many more times than Thome? Guess.

Last year, it was 286 times. Really. Ichiro had 647 at bats, with 62 strikeouts and 10 homers. Thome had 480 at bats, with 139 strikeouts and 52 homers. So what happens during those 286 extra times the ball is in play?

Well, if you're an average ballplayer, it wouldn't seem like much. The fielding percentages in baseball hover around 98 %, so that would mean 5.72 more errors being committed. Now, one error does not mean one Extra Base. In fact, it can mean many Extra Bases if there are players already on base that are advancing because of the error. So let's say that for an average player putting the ball in play 286 more times means about 12 Extra Bases.

But this does not count the Ichiro factor. Just how much more pressure on the defense is there when Ichiro is at bat, or on the bases? How many more wild throws to first are there with Ichiro running down the line? We don't know the answer to this - yet. But I think it's safe to say that it would add another handful of errors, so let's call Ichiro's edge over Thome on bases off of errors at 25 bases.

That's 25 Extra Bases just on errors. We also know there was a 22 base difference in Stolen Bases. But how many more times does Ichiro go from first to third on a single, or score from first on a double? How many more times does Ichiro advance on an out?

Is it possible that when OPS compares Jim Thome to Ichiro, that it misses Ichiro's value by 100 bases a year?

Maybe some day soon we'll have an answer to questions like these.

BAP scores

Kansas City 2 Tampa Bay 0
BAP - KC .379, TB .418
OPS - KC .577, TB .462
Two homers for KC with (-1) EB do in BAP.

Cubs 2 Arizona 1
BAP - Chi .543, Ari .303
OPS - Chi .746, Ari .445
Both get it right.

Oakland 2 NY 1
BAP - Oak .323, NY .219
OPS - Oak .310, NY .419
"In a game that can only be explained by BAP, the Yankees outhit and outslugged the A's, but still managed to lose a heartbreaker in the 9th. Is it just me, or does it seem like the Yankees have lost more games when leading after 7 in the last month than they had in the previous 5 or 6 years combined?" - Jeremy from NYU.

Boston 7 Baltimore 5 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BAP - Bos .789, Bal .605

Both BAP and OPS go 2-1 for the day, as the battle gets tougher. Also, OPS got both the 2-1 Baltimore win and the 3-2 Oakland win Friday night, which have already been posted for BAP. So the current standings are:

BAP 51-8-1
OPS 47-13

Comments or Questions For Dave

Sunday, August 03, 2003

A Whole Mess of Scores

I lied. I said I was taking the whole rest of the day off but I didn't, and I knew I wasn't going to. Oh, I went for a walk by the ocean, had a couple beers in a neighborhood tavern, watched the Sox win back some of the money I dropped on them the night before, but the rest of the day was spent figuring out BAP and OPS. Ever seen the movie "Pie"? Not pie as in blueberry, or apple, or mincemeat, but the math symbol? I don't know how to spell it. Anyway, I'm getting a little like that, walking along all the shore, muttering to myself about fielder's choice plays. It's all pretty scary.

So here's a whole mess of scores from Saturday. There were an awful lot of close games, and some losses on both sides. If you don't know why I suddenly started doing OPS, read the entry from earlier today.

Pittsburgh 1 Colorado 0
BAP - Pit .387, Col .242
OPS - Pit .418, Col .436
Score a win for BAP.

Cincinnati 5 San Francisco 4
BAP - Cin .526, SF .541
OPS - CIn .712, SF .784
Both lose.

St. Louis 10 Mets 9
BAP - Stl .744, NY .854
OPS - Stl .940, NY .926
A win for OPS. BAP loses on an amazing 10 EB 9th inning by the Mets.

Arizona 4 Cubs 3
BAP - Ari .559, Chi .615
OPS - Ari .859, Chi .649
A win for OPS.

Detroit 9 Minnesota 2
BAP - Det .744, Min .585
OPS - Det .922, MIn .771
Both win.

Texas 9 Cleveland 7
BAP - Tex .923, Cle .805
OPS - Tex 1.071, Cle .921
Both win.

Montreal 7 Milwaukee 1
BAP - Mon .784, Mil .273
OPS - Mon .775, Mil .515
Both win.

San Diego 6 Philadelphia 4
BAP - SD .697, Phi .459
OPS - SD .666, Phi .547
Both win.

Baltimore 11 Boston 2
BAP - Bal .884, Bos .417

For the Day: OPS 6-2, BAP 5-3


BAP 49-7-1
OPS 43-12