Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Giants 2 Marlins 0

Double entry today. Check below for Twins-Yanks, and a brief description of what the hell I'm doing.

The Numbers:

OBP - FL .100, SF .273
SLG - FL .100, SF .148
OPS - FL .200, SF .421
BAP - FL .290, SF .593
BA - FL .100, SF .111
SecA - FL 0.00!, SF .296
BA+SecA - FL .100, SF .407

Not as close a game as the score suggests. Jason Schmidt was outstanding, as the Marlins got no walks and no extra-base hits.

Big Play Award - Miguel Cabrera throws away Edgardo Alfonzo's bunt to score the first run of the game.

Rising Star - Josh Beckett was terrific. He struck out five straight one point, and may have gotten out of the "Cabrera Inning" had the ball not been thrown away.

Learning on the Job - Aside from the error, Cabrera was 0-3 with a strikeout, and left a runner on third.

The Standings:

OBP 2-0
SLG 2-0
OPS 2-0
BAP 2-0
BA 2-0
SecA 2-0
BA+SecA 2-0

Dave's Email

Twins 3 Yankees 1

I decided the best way to attack this is a game at a time, but of course it's never that easy. I get about seven words in, and I get a call from this hotel in Maine offering me four roundtrip airline tickets to do an hour-and-a-half tour of their facility. I'm running right up on Braves-Cubs now, and my wife tells me that Los Lobos AND Ratdog are going to be on Austin City Limits. So hey man, I'm flying.

OBP - Min .351, NY .316
SLG - MIn .375, NY .314
OPS - Min .726, NY .630
BAP - Min .526, NY .421
BA +SecA - Min .516, NY .428

I was going to do Runs Created, but trying to solve that puzzle is like trying to wrestle an alligator in an elevator. All forms of measurement used got today's game right.

Big Play Award - With the score 1-0 Twins in the sixth, Torii Hunter triples home Matt LeCroy, then scores on an error by Alfonso Soriano.

Dumb Ass Award - In the same half inning, Corey Koskie doubles after Hunter's triple and LeCroy's single. With Mike Mussina on the ropes, Koskie gets thrown out trying to steal third.

Bum of the Day - Nick Johnson
Here's Nick's day:

- Flies out with one out in the first.
- Walks with two out and no one on in the third.
- Grounds out with Soriano on third and two outs in the fifth.
- Strikes out with runners on first and third and two out in the 7th.
- Grounds out with runners on first and third and two outs in the ninth.

Go Twins! The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

One game down, potentially 47 to go. I may have SF - Florida up tonight. We'll see.

Dave's Email

Monday, September 29, 2003

College Football Wrapup, and a BAP Comeback

Before I get into the football, I just want to remind people that I will have BAP scores (remember those?) for each and every MLB playoff game, now and forever, along with unique BAP analysis of every game. We may also produce scores for OBP, SLG, OPS, Batting Average + Secondary Average (one of my other favorite creations), and Runs Created. Time permitting, of course. Also, if you would like to see my post-season awards and World Series Predictions, check out Musings From RSN

This past weekend's college football games, to use a stock market phrase, resulted in a major correction to the over-inflated values of some surprise teams. Gone are Toledo and Oregon, two teams that upset Top Ten foes just last weekend. Also gone with the losses of these two teams is virtually any chance of a non-BCS team winning a share of Eisenberg's College Football (The ECF) championship. The Ducks's loss eliminates Utah's chance to take on a Top Ten opponent, and there doesn't appear that there are any more of these matchups - a non-BCS team vs. a Top Ten team - on the horizon.

Also this weekend, many teams on the ropes survived, as "Teams that have to be Perfect" went 13-6. These winners included pre-season favorites Texas, Wisconsin, and NC State.

So for all of the early season upsets, here is each conference, and the number of teams still alive in the ECF hunt:

Big Ten - 7
Big 12 - 6
CUSA - 6
Pac10 - 5
Big East - 5
SEC - 4
ACC - 4
MAC - 3
MWC - 3
WAC - 2
SunBelt - 0
Indys - 0

Not what you expected was it? The Big Ten has taken plenty of hits during their relatively weak non-conference schedule, but most of their teams are still alive. Ohio St, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Michigan St all won this weekend.

Here are the current ECF standings. There are 45 teams left in contention for the ECF Championship. Teams that have beaten a Top Ten team are in bold:

Teams eliminated from the ECF Championship yesterday:
ASU, Iowa St, Missouri, Mississippi, Oregon, Navy, S. Miss, South Carolina, SD St, Texas A&M, Toledo, UConn, Wake Forest

Teams With A Perfect Record (11):
Air Force, Arkansas, FSU, LSU, Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, TCU, Virginia Tech

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss (5):
Ohio St, N Illinois, Tennessee, USC, Washington State

Teams With One Acceptable Loss (12):
Boise St, BG, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Pitt, Oklahoma St, Oregon St, Rutgers, Stanford, Utah

Teams That Have To Remain Perfect The Rest Of The Way, either due to having an Unacceptable Loss Protected By The Three Weeks Rule, Or By Reaching Their Maximum Number Of Acceptable Losses (17):
Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, Washington, Clemson, Syracuse, Miami OH, USF, Wisconsin, Purdue, Mich St, NC St, Virginia, UNLV, Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati

Remember, tune in Friday (maybe Thursday) for this weekend's College Football Preview, and every day the rest of this week for BAP coverage of the MLB playoffs.

ECF Rules

Dave's Email

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The College Football Weekend Wrapup will appear late Monday night, eastern time. It could be earlier with a little luck.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

College Football Weekend Preview

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Lee Frost

"Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near.
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness' bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep..."
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Lee Frost

The MAC Conference has been lurking in the woods a while now, but after last weekend, it's safe to say that everyone in the House knows they are there. Hell, it's like the MAC threw a goddamn block party in their backyard, waking the resident's from their BCS dreams.

Yet as much as the MAC likes hanging in those lovely dark and deep woods, they too have miles to go before they sleep. Each of their teams that are still in contention for Eisenberg's College Football title (Northern Illinois, Miami-OH, and Panther-killer Toledo) have yet another game against an opponent from a BCS conference. All will not be lost if the MAC comes up empty this time - they've proven their point - but some serious mileage can be tacked on to their collective journey with a clean sweep this weekend.

There's lots of other things going on as well, even though everyone else writing about college football will tell you that it is a quiet weekend. There are no battles between Top Ten teams, and no classic rivalries. But it's a very important slate of games tonight through Saturday if you follow the ECF Race. With only 58 teams still in contention for the ECF Championship, we still have eight playoff games, and seven games between teams that are still Championship-eligible. So we're bound to see a winnowing of teams, even if all of the major players stay intact.

All of the rankings are from College Football News. These are this weekend's Playoff Games:

# 23 South Carolina at # 9 Tennessee - The Vols are 16-point favorites. Covering will be hard after the big win in the Swamp, but Tennessee has to win this game.

# 30 Pittsburgh at # 21 Texas A &M - The Panthers are 1-point favorites on the road. Just what has this Pitt team proven exactly? Dennis Franchione gets his first significant win.

# 24 Wake Forest at # 35 Virginia - The Cavaliers are a 6-point favorite.

# 71 Iowa St at # 22 N. Illinois - The Huskies are 6.5-point favorites. Can the MAC keep it up? Huskies in OT.

# 76 UConn at # 4 Va Tech - Say goodbye to these Huskies. VT are 21-point favorites, and will show no mercy here.

# 42 ASU at #44 Oregon St - The Beavers are minus 6.

# 39 Texas Tech at # 72 Mississippi - Ole Miss is minus 3.

# 106 Navy at #93 Rutgers - My favorite. The Midshipmen are favored by 1. One of these two is going to be alive in October.

Here are all the games between teams that are both still in the ECF Championship hunt:

# 17 Nebraska at # 62 S. Miss. - Cornhuskers by 10.5. When was the last time Nebraska started 3-0 and was ranked this low? Any good will that Frank Solich has built up this year will be quickly erased with a loss here.

# 31 Wash St at # 10 Oregon - The Ducks are favored by 4. If Oregon wins here and Utah wins at CSU, it sets up a chance for the Utes against a Top Ten team at home, a Toledo-like situation.

# 45 Stanford at # 38 Washington - More Huskies! These are favored by 12.5. Can you believe that this only Stanford's third game? And they have next week off, too. I like Washington to smoke'em.

# 29 Toledo at # 74 Syracuse - Orangemen by 3.5. Go Rockets!

# 52 Cincinnati at # 28 Miami,OH - Redhawks by 7. The MAC has miles to go before it sleeps.

# 19 Missouri at # 59 Kansas - Tigers by 10. Who would have thought that Kansas would be alive after KSU?

# 14 Iowa at # 56 Michigan St - Hawkeyes by 7. Is Iowa any good? We'll know soon. After this one they have Michigan at home and then go to Columbus.

And there's still more games where ECF teams are in for tough battles:

# 16 Minnesota at # 69 Penn St - The Gophers are two-point favorites on the road.

# 63 Utah at # 51 CSU - The Utes are 6.5-point underdogs, but need a win here to be alive for a shot at #10 Oregon the following weekend.

# 7 Arkansas at # 26 Alabama - The Razorbacks are favored by one. We'll learn a lot about them in this one.

Tune in Monday (taking the holiday off) for the Weekend Wrapup.

Dave's Email

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Jab and Move

Todd Walker hit a three-run homer in the ninth to tie the game last night, clearly in response to the tongue-lashing he took here, at Eisenberg Sports. Todd is now batting .357 for the month of September, with a .433 OBP and .536 SLG. In order to keep Todd on his current hot streak, I feel almost compelled to say something derogatory about his mother. But I'll refrain, and just say "Way to go, Todd"! Hopefully that doesn't jinx him.

And while I'm at it, way to go Maurice! Maurice Clarett has decided to sue the NFL, on the grounds that it is illegal to make him wait three years to enter the NFL draft. But what he really should have sued for was to get the whole draft thrown out. How would you like it if you finished college in Georgia, and then were told you had to work in Seattle, or you can't work in the industry? It's always amazing to me that a basically capitalist citizenry can allow Pro Football to be so socialist.

Speaking of capitalists and socialists, the President right now is 5-8 to repeat his election victory, with the entire Democratic field coming in at 7-5. But guess who made this statement yesterday about Bush's request for 87 billion:

"I don't like that amount of money, and I don't like the reconstruction money."

Ted Kennedy? Howard Dean?

No. It was Trent Lott, the Republican Senator from Mississippi. When your approval ratings can drop to the point where high-profile members of your own party feel comfortable openly criticizing your proposals, you've got election problems. W. should be no better than even money today.

The College Football Weekend Preview is coming, probably late tomorrow.

Dave's Email

Monday, September 22, 2003

As Promised, Todd Walker

If you're a Red Sox fan, most of your anger, say 70%, is currently directed to the bullpen. The rotation is always cause for some concern once you get past Pedro (who should be winning the Cy Young Award every year. The award is supposed to go the the best pitcher. He's the best pitcher.), and maybe takes another 20%. There's always Grady. He's good for 5%. And then there's that last 5% of rage where we all go in our own separate directions. For me, that last 5% is spent on Todd Walker.

If Todd Walker had a nickname from Chris Berman, it would be Todd "plays second base like he's leaning on a" Walker. In the 30 years I've watched the Red Sox trot out mediocre second basemen, I've never seen anyone who plays the position the way I imagine Homer Simpson would, standing like a drunken statue, blinking blankly as grounders bounce on by. In a day and age when On Base Percentage rules, I can't understand playing a man who's glove is consistently giving the other team extra baserunners, especially when the Sox score a zillion runs anyway.

At least, this is the way it seems to me. The question is, can it be proven? Are defensive stats worth a damn? Would they prove that Todd Walker is a horrible defender? And if they don't, is it a problem with the stats, or one of those tricks that our eyes play on us?

I'm not a big believer in fielding percentages, so I started off with range factors, which are putouts and assists times 9 divided by the number of innings. Here's the bottom five qualifed second basemen in the AL. I only chose AL second basemen because my opinion of Walker is largely formed by watching him in comparison to other AL secondbasemen.

Alfonso Soriano 4.79
Todd Walker 4.76
Marlon Anderson 4.58
Bret Boone 4.58
Luis Rivas 4.29

That's not horrible for Walker, except that errors aren't included in this stat at all. Bret Boone has made only 5 errors at second all season, one-third of Walker's total of 15. Surely that has to count for something.

So I thought I'd find the bottom 5 second basemen for Range Factor minus Error Factor, where Error Factor means the number of errors times 9 per inning. But you know what? The rate of errors per inning is so low for all players that it doesn't change the group much, only moving Boone past Anderson.

I looked at zone ratings for players, and the bottom three, from best to worst, are Soriano, Walker, and Rivas. I decided to finally check fielding percentages, and the bottom four, best to worst, are Rivas, Walker, Soriano, and Anderson.

Alright, Walker's one of the worst second basemen defensively in the AL, but not historically awful. And fielding certainly isn't everything. Walker's bat counts for something. But Soriano is clearly the best hitter of the "Bad Defenders", and Anderson is having a season not far from Walker's offensively, with much more speed. Also, remember that this is the Red Sox. Wouldn't the Sox have been much better off this year with Brandon Phillips, who has been terrible offensively but is a great second baseman? Did the Sox really need Walker's bat that bad?

The only second baseman that would clearly be worse for the Sox than Todd Walker is Luis Rivas, who gets routinely trashed at Aaron's site (over on the right). But that doesn't make me feel any better.

I have nightmares of Todd Walker recreating the role of Bill Buckner. I hope I'm wrong.

Dave's Email

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Rocket Man

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
-Elton John

This is what I said about the Pittsburgh - Toledo game on Tuesday:

"#13 Pitt at # 69 Toledo - Nobody, NOBODY looks at this as anything more than a game Pitt has to be careful with, but Pitt is ranked in the Top 10 in one of the two BCS polls, making this a Golden opportunity for the Rockets. Only 10.5-point favorites, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Panthers fall."

And now the Rockets have done it. The star of the game was Bruce Gradkowski. The sophomore from Pittsburgh,who was not recruited by the Panthers, threw for 461 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, this being a team game, Gradowski's big day doesn't happen without the help of everyone. All of the Rockets are heroes today.

The ESPN College Game Day crew was raving about the MAC late last night, and how could they not? On top of Toledo's win, Northern Illinois went into Bama and beat them, and Marshall did the same thing to # 6 KSU. Miami of Ohio went into Colorado and crushed CSU, and Bowling Green stayed within a touchdown of National Champion Ohio State.

But it is only Toledo's win that makes them a contender for Eisenberg's College Football (ECF) Championship. The Rockets have made it past the toughest of all rules for small college teams, Rule #7:

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.

Now the Rockets have broken through to the other side. Having knocked off a Top Ten team in what will undoubtedly be their only opportunity to do so, all they need to do is keep winning to gain a share of the ECF Championship. Actually, because they're in a conference with a championship game, they can actually suffer another Acceptable Loss and win the ECF by winning their conference championship game as well as their bowl game.

So how hard will it be? Here's the Rocket's schedule the rest of the way:

at Syracuse
Eastern Michigan
Central Michigan
at Ball St.
Northern Illinois
Western Michigan
at Bowling Green
Conference Championship Game?
Bowl Game?

This schedule doesn't look as simple as it did on Friday, does it? Let's say Toledo loses a close one to Syracuse. That would still leave a home game with Northern Illinois, a road match with Bowling Green, and the two big games at the end, if they get there. And here's one additional problem for Toledo: while they are potentially allowed two Acceptable Losses (as is anyone who wins a conference championship game), if they beat Syracuse but lose to either Northern Illinois or Bowling Green, they might not even get into their conference championship game. That would bring them back to only 1.5 allowable Acceptable Losses, and eliminate them.

But hey, good luck to the Rockets, and congratulations to the MAC! You've already made this a special year.

Here are the current ECF standings. There are 58 teams left in contention for the ECF Championship. Teams that have beaten a Top Ten team are in bold:

Teams eliminated from the ECF Championship yesterday: Alabama, Ark St, BC, BYU, C. Mich, Colorado, CSU, Florida, KSU, Kent St, Hawaii, La Tech, UCF, UCLA, Temple (Temple was actually eliminated the week before, but I missed them)

Teams With A Perfect Record (16):
Air Force, Arkansas, FSU, Iowa, LSU, Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Virginia Tech

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss (5):
Cincinnati, Missouri, Ohio St, N Illinois, Washington State

Teams With One Acceptable Loss (15):
Boise St, BG, Georgia, Michigan, MIssissippi, Navy, Nevada, Pitt, Oklahoma St, Oregon St, Rutgers, SD St, Texas A&M, Toledo, Utah

Teams That Have To Remain Perfect The Rest Of The Way, either due to having an Unacceptable Loss Protected By The Three Weeks Rule, Or By Reaching Their Maximum Number Of Acceptable Losses (22):
Ariz St, Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa St, Kansas, Washington, Clemson, Syracuse, UConn, S. Miss, Miami OH, USF, Wisconsin, Purdue, Mich St, NC St, Virginia, Wake Forest, UNLV, South Carolina, Houston, Memphis

ECF Rules

Dave's Email

Friday, September 19, 2003

Michigan - Oregon

So I'm stuck in the Virtual Waiting Room for Red Sox playoff tickets. It updates every 30 seconds, which means I'm stupid enough to try to write this in 20-second installments.

If you came looking for this weekend's College Football Preview, just go back a few days. I wrote it on Tuesday because I just couldn't keep it in any longer. In the meantime, my friend Ray (Ray Murphy, author of Empire and Victory) sent me this breakdown of the Michigan-Oregon game. Ray is a hardcore Blue fan stuck on the West Coast, so he knows both teams well. He's allowed me to reprint the email here, which is cool, because it provides the kind of game analysis that I am incapable of.

Here's Ray.

I watched the Quack blow out Zona on the road Sat nite. They still play a 4-3 D with the linebackers very deep. This allows them to stifle running teams, as they did Colorado in
the bowl game two years ago: the down 4 keep the O-lineman off the backers, who shoot gaps and make the tackles. Colorado, with their one-back sets, never
got their great tailbacks going. Michigan played a fullback almost every play against ND, which will help against the Ducks, but to really expose the weakness of that deep-LB alignment, you have to be able to run the FB and take the
four yards, and Michigan never does. The FB Dudley had nary a carry. Be very interesting to see if Lloyd adjusts that this week. The Quack will be ready for Perry, so early on, it's going to be up to Navarre to complete some passes
down the field and not get baited into throwing into the flat, late, and getting picked off for 6 the other other way.

Michigan's D, meanwhile, was nearly perfect against the run v. ND. The Ducks have some JC backs who are pretty strong, but I can't believe they'll challenge UM between the tackles unless it's on a draw. The Quacks threw their usual array of sideways passes v. Zona. Sammy Parker is so small and
elusive, and will be the fastest player on the field -- he's the guy Michigan's secondary will zoom in on. Also, both Duck QB's have a knack for throwing to the TE. And Oregon will run at least three trick plays, reverses, reverse-passes, fake
punt or FG. They will succeed if the Wolverine D gets impatient with the lateral passing game, chasing Parker around, and doesn't stay at home.

If Michigan plays anything like they did last week they'll blow them out. But... that's a huge if. This is their first game on the road and their record on the west coast early in the year is almost as bad as their Rose Bowl record in the seventies.

Georgia -- LSU will be wild. And I too like the Gators. Tennessee after opening strong has gone back in the can.

Buy Ray Murphy's books at AK Press

Remember to go back to Tuesday for this weekend's Preview, and tune in Sunday for the Wrapup. As for you baseball fans, I hope to have an entry Monday titled "How Bad Todd Walker Sucks".

Dave's Email

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Ask Vegas

You look at all of the teams still in contention in baseball, and trying to figure out who is going to be in the World Series seems ridiculous. Yet that is exactly what oddsmakers have to do all of the time, and they stay in business, so let's see what they think. Here are the ten potential World Series matchups given the best chance of happening. I'm putting them in reverse order to build a little false suspense, and I'm also guessing what the mainstream storyline will be, and what it should be.

10. Houston vs the Yankees 18-1
Mainstream Story: Clemens finishes his career with an epic battle in Texas.
Real Story: Astros have a big bullpen advantage.

8 tie. Cubs vs. New York 15-1
Mainstream Story: Hapless big market club vs. the legendary big market club.
Real Story: Cubs have advantage in starting pitching.

8 tie. Atlanta vs. Minnesota 15-1
Mainstream Story: Replay of the 1991 World Series.
Real Story: Two teams in similar sized markets, one who has used it as a foundation to build a powerhouse, the other has attempted to bleed their town dry.

7. San Francisco vs. Minnesota 13-1
Mainstream Story: A great opportunity for Barry.
Real Story: A great opportunity for Barry.

6. Atlanta vs. Boston 10-1
Mainstream Story: Some team with Boston roots will win.
Real Story: The two highest scoring teams in baseball.

5. San Francisco vs. Boston 9-1
Mainstream Story: Bonds who's never won vs. the Sox who never win.
Real Story: This is really Mainstream Story II, but it's too cool to pass up: replay of the 1912 World Series.

4. Atlanta vs. Oakland 8-1
Mainstream Story: The Braves semi-Dynasty vs. Billyball
Real Story: Two great franchises with shitty fans.

2 tie. San Francisco vs. Oakland 6-1
Mainstream Story: Earthquake II.
Real Story: This is tougher than I thought. Bonds vs. Billyball?

2 tie. Atlanta vs. New York 6-1
Mainstream Story: You need to be rich to win.
Real Story: Ugh! The one series that no one wants to see.

And the big winner is (I was surprised) . . .

1. San Francisco vs. the Yankees 4-1
Mainstream Story: Bonds in the Big Apple
Real Story: Go Barry!

The odds will change dramatically once the playoff teams are set. Whoever

Damnit! Todd Walker just made his 17th error of the season! That bastard should never be let on a field except to run around the bases.

Whoever becomes the NL wildcard team will certainly creep into there somewhere.

Had a great idea today: If the baseball series are set early enough, I'm going to put together BAP previews of them. I'm thinking Sox-A's is pretty safe, provided that Walker has some kind of accident. And while I'm at it, Millar returned to the Sox lineup today after being out with food posioning. Has there ever been a team that lost four players in a pennant race to SICKNESS? Millar joins Pedro, Manny, and Nomar in the Doctor's Note Club.

Going to flick the channels between the Sox and Va Tech - Texas A&M.

Dave's Email

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Baseball Problems

I've figured it out. Work has been hard and all, but I haven't been writing much about baseball lately when I have written, and I wasn't quite sure why until tonight. I'm too busy being a fan! How can I spend my time doing statistical analysis when it's just so much damn fun watching the games? I mean, I ain't getting paid a nickel for this, and what I really want to be doing is screaming at Grady Little on my TV for starting Andy Abad at first base and batting Adrian Brown leadoff.

The Sox are down 5-0 now, so I feel it's ok to check in. But there's still Philly-Florida going on in a great game, and Twins - White Sox. I can't wait to do BAP scores for the playoffs, but this just isn't the time.

And hey, the Democrats got a General! It will be fun to watch candidates on both sides fall over themselves trying to attack him without offending anyone.

One more announcement: From now on, I believe I will be reporting on every major fight. My wife saw the ramifications of this right away - it means we have to pay 50 bucks a shot on pay-per-view - but that's a small price to pay to please my small army of supporters.

Dave's Email

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A Big MAC and Golden Arches

Man, are we set up for a great weekend of college football! There are matchups of undefeated teams, major opportunities for small conference teams, and our first game for many that is not covered by the Three Weeks rule. But it's not Rule # 3 that rules this week, but Rule # 7, the Top Ten Rule. Here it is:

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.

Rule # 7 is the killer of all small conference teams. As great as any of them get to be, they almost never get an opportunity against a serious power if they've built any kind of reputation for themselves. Last year's victim was TCU, who ran the table after suffering an opening OT loss on the road. TCU might have pulled off the upset if they just had a chance, but it wasn't to be.

Saturday though, the eyes of the BCS-Excluded will light with anticipation of the kill. Both Bowling Green and Toledo get to play Top Ten teams, with the Rockets getting Pitt at home, and the Falcons getting an Ohio State team teetering on the edge of defeat. If either team - which both still qualify for the ECF Championship - wins this game and goes undefeated the rest of the way, who can honestly offer any evidence that they couldn't win a tournament? No one who understands honesty, or evidence.

So this is it. The MAC's chance to step up and create a great national debate: If they beat Ohio State in Columbus, go undefeated, and win the best game bowl they are allowed to go to, how can we not call them a National Champion? They'll be Champions here, at Eisenberg Sports.

All rankings below come from College Football News. Let''s get to it!

Games between the Undefeated:

# 22 Texas A&M at # 7 Virginia Tech - VT is a 14.5-point favorite. Moving on without Slocum, this is the Aggies's chance to make a statement. On the flip side, if VT covers that spread they'll be in danger of suffering an Unacceptable Loss. I like The Aggies to keep it close. And oh, check out "Texas A&M and Baseball, in no Particular Order" over on the right. It's a great site, and the writer Ryan just got engaged, so wish him luck.

#5 Georgia at # 9 LSU - LSU is a 1.5-point favorite. I like the Tigers in this one - Georgia never seems to deliver when they need to - but this is a very dangerous game for LSU. Their fourth game of the year, if they lose at home they are eliminated from the ECF (Eisenberg's College Football)Championship.

#2 Michigan at # 32 Oregon - Michigan is an 8-point favorite on the road. Oregon, at 3-0, is in the same boat as LSU - beat a bigtime team at home or they're done. Not that it matters, but I once saw the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan in this building. I think the Ducks will cover, and maybe win it.

# 19 Bowling Green at # 6 Ohio State - The Buckeyes are 14.5-point favorites, but if there was ever a wounded animal, it's this team. As of right now, Krenzel is questionable, and Bowling Green will be ready to tear his face off if he does play. Let Eisenberg Sports call it first: Falcons win outright.

#28 Arizona St at # 20 Iowa - The Hawkeyes avoided the mistake of last season, and after crushing Iowa St, are poised to make a run. ASU will not be the team to take them off course. I like Iowa to win, but I don't know about those points.

Other huge games:

#3 Miami at # 24 BC - The Canes are 12.5-point favorites in the first big matchup between the New ACC and the Jilted. Canes to win and not cover, BC eliminated.

# 12 Tennessee at # 14 Florida - My Gators have found their first star running back since Fred Taylor. The Vols were also the victims in Ron Zook's first big win last year. Zook has the Gators on the right track, but he needs another big win soon. He gets it here, as Florida covers the 3-point spread.

#13 Pitt at # 69 Toledo - Nobody, NOBODY looks at this as anything more than a game Pitt has to be careful with, but Pitt is ranked in the Top 10 in one of the two BCS polls, making this a Golden opportunity for the Rockets. Only 10.5-point favorites, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Panthers fall.

And we haven't even done the Playoff games yet! Here they are:

# 31 Colorado at # 11 FSU - There's no line yet on this one, but it's very interesting to see this kind of rare matchup with such high stakes this early in the year. I like FSU.

#74 UCF at #75 Syracuse - Future Big East rivals? The Orangemen cover the four points.

# 73 Miami-OH at # 33 Colorado St - Growing respect for the MAC, CSU is only favored by 6 at home.

Can't wait, can't wait. Baseball comes back tomorrow.

Eisenberg's College Football Championship Rules

Dave's Email

Texas A&M and Baseball in No Particular Order

Sunday, September 14, 2003

College Football Weekend Wrapup

Last night I was at an Aerosmith concert. I had incredible seats. The stage was grittier and smaller than usual. The band roared out on stage and kicked into Mama Kin. At the chorus for the second verse, some country star who's name I couldn't quite remember came out out of the crowd with a headset on, ripped off his sweatshirt, and joined Steven Tyler for the chorus. It was wild.

Then I rolled over, and knocked a glass of water off of my nightstand. 2:30 in the morning, and I'm soaking up puddles from my wood floors, instead of taking in the last great Aerosmith concert. Man, if it wasn't for that glass, I might have seen the whole damned thing.

But hey, I did get to see a great day of college football. Notre Dame was eliminated from the Eisenberg College Football (ECF) Championship, and that's always a good thing. But there were many others sent home, too, and a few other surprises.

This is probably the time when I should go over the overtime rules. You can find all of the rules below or at the right.

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.

Rule #3 was a big player yesterday. First of all, NC State survives. They have now accumulated 1.5 Acceptable Losses, and have to be perfect the rest of the season, but they're alive. Ohio State now has a Half-Acceptable Loss, which doesn't hurt them much, but we'll see how it goes. Notre Dame was eliminated not just by the Unacceptable Loss to Michigan, but also by their earlier OT win at home against Washington State. On a smaller note, there was a playoff game yesterday between Duke and Rice. Because the home team - Duke - won in OT, both teams accumulated a Half-Acceptable Loss, and were eliminated.

Five MAC teams were knocked out yesterday, and three Big Ten teams. There are now four Big Ten teams eliminated, and three others who have suffered an Unacceptable Loss, including Wisconsin, killing my 75-1 Sugar Bowl wager. Michigan though, wow. I would say they are right there with USC as teams that I think have the best chance of being ECF eligible going into their bowl game. And Texas? The Unacceptable Loss is protected by the "3 Weeks" Rule, but now they have to be perfect the rest of the way, an almost impossible task in the Big 12.

Anyway, I'm so excited about next week's games that I'm not waiting for Friday to do it. Look for the big Weekend Preview either Monday or Tuesday night. There are HUGE games, and some very important ECF games that will not be hyped by the press.

Teams Eliminated From The ECF Championship Yesterday(25): Notre Dame, Arizona, Kentucky, Miss St, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Northwestern, Penn St, West Virginia, Ga Tech, Duke, Rice, SMU, Army, Fresno St, Wyoming, UAB, NM, NM St, Marshall, E Mich, W Mich, Ohio, Ball St, N Texas

Teams Eliminated From The ECF Championship Race Prior To Yesterday (19):
Auburn, San Jose St, Indiana, Maryland, UNC, California, East Carolina, Tulane, Akron, Mid Tenn St, Baylor, La-Monroe, Idaho, Troy St, UTEP, Tulsa, Utah St, La-Lafayette, Buffalo

Teams Protected By The Three Weeks Rule That Have Suffered An Unacceptable Loss (28):
Texas, Colorado, Iowa St, Kansas, Washington, CSU, Clemson, Syracuse, BC, UConn, S. Miss, Miami OH, USF, La Tech, C Mich, Wisconsin, Purdue, Mich St, Virginia, Wake Forest, UNLV, Kent St, Alabama, South Carolina, BYU, Houston, Memphis, Hawaii

Teams with 1.5 Acceptable Losses (1):
NC State

Teams With One Acceptable Loss (14):
Oklahoma St, Toledo, Temple, Arkansas St, SD St, Mississippi, Rutgers, UCF, UCLA, Navy, Florida, Oregon St, Utah, Nevada,

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss (3):
N Illinois, Washington State, Ohio State

Teams With A Perfect Record Who Haven't Beaten A Top 10 Team (26):
Air Force, ASU, Boise St, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, FSU, Georgia, Iowa, KSU, LSU, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pitt, Stanford, Texas A&M, TCU, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, Virginia Tech

Teams With A Perfect Record That Has Beaten A Top Ten Team (2):

Arkansas, USC

I believe that adds up to 118. If you see which team I have in there twice, let me know.

Eisenberg's College Football Championship Rules

Dave's Email

Friday, September 12, 2003

College Football Weekend Preview

Finally! The weekend again!

At this time of year in college football, the ECF championship can get pretty confusing. There's so many teams still in the race, it's hard to figure out all of the implications of every game. The following games are some of the biggest this weekend (All rankings come from College Football News, link at the right):

#25 NC State at #6 Ohio State - The Wolfpack 9.5-point underdogs, have to go into Columbus and beat one of last year's ECF Champions, or be eliminated.

#23 Iowa at # 67 Iowa State - Iowa is a 4-point favorite on the road in the big revenge match. Iowa State killed any chance Iowa had in the BCS last year, although the Hawkeyes were alive in the ECF until being trounced by USC.

#16 Notre Dame at #5 Michigan - Michigan is a 10-point favorite. Lucky for them that this only their third game of the year. A loss at home would still be protected by the "3 Weeks" rule. Notre Dame already has a Half-Acceptable Loss, so a Michigan blowout, however unlikely, would end the Drunken Leprechaun's season.

#51 Penn State at #30 Nebraska - Penn State (not PSU - that's Portland State) is on the ropes. A loss and they are out.

#31 Purdue at # 19 Wake Forest - The Boilermakers, a 1-point underdog, are eliminated with a loss.

#21 Arkansas at #2 Texas - An old rivalry. The Longhorns are 13-point favorites.

And say goodbye to . . .

#41 Fresno St, at #3 Oklahoma - The Bulldogs, a 28.5-point underdog, have to win on the road.

Here are this weekend's Playoff Games:

At #17 Alabama -13.5 #54 Kentucky

#47 BYU -2.5 at #60 New Mexico
All of New Mexico riveted to their TVs today for this playoff game and the next.

At #42 Oregon St -21 #97 New Mexico St
Both state universities in playoff games.

#71 Miami-OH -3 at #72 Northwestern
A MAC team favored on the road against a Big Ten team.

At #87 Wyoming -4 #81 Kansas

At #75 Duke -11 Rice
Two of your better southern universities. Academically.

There are now only 98 teams left in the ECF competition. Here are the standings, as of Friday Night:

Teams That Are Eliminated From The ECF Championship Race:
Auburn, San Jose St, Indiana, Maryland, UNC, California, East Carolina, Tulane, Akron, Mid Tenn St, Baylor, La-Monroe, Idaho, Troy St, UTEP, Tulsa, Utah St, La-Lafayette, Buffalo

Teams Protected By The Three Weeks Rule That Have Suffered An Unacceptable Loss:
Washington, CSU, Clemson, BC, Fresno St, S. Miss, Illinois, W Virginia, Miss St, Miami OH, Duke, N Texas, USF, La Tech, Vanderbilt, Rice, Kansas, SMU, C Mich, UAB, Penn St, Purdue, Virginia, Army, Northwestern, Ohio, Ball State, Wyoming, UNLV, Kent St, Alabama, BYU, Houston, E. Michigan, Kentucky, NM St, Arizona

Teams With One Acceptable Loss:
Oklahoma St, Ga Tech, Toledo, Temple, W Michigan, Arkansas St, NC St, SD St, Mississippi, Rutgers, UCLA, Marshall, New Mexico, Navy, Florida, Oregon St, Utah, Nevada

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss:
N Illinois, Washington State, Notre Dame

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:


Tune in Sunday for the Weekend Wrapup.

Eisenberg's College Football Championship Rules

Dave's Email

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I'm A Loser Baby

Got a lucky break today. Mudville Magazine had a contest where you had to tell what you would do if you were Commissioner of Baseball, in 500 words or less. I lost, so I can reprint my story here, today. Enjoy.

So I'm walking along the beach, enjoying a boringly wonderful summer's day, when amidst the sand and the rocks I find a cloudy, ancient bottle. I pop the top open, and out comes a beautiful Genie.

"Thank you for freeing me," she says, " I will grant you three wishes."

"Really? I want to be Commissioner of Baseball."


"And not one of those Vincent guys. I want to be one with clout, like Landis."


"And I want to own a team, too."

She pauses and looks at me.

"Isn't that a conflict of interest?" she says.

"No. It's ok. All of the Commissioners do it. We just have to put everything in a relatives' name."

"Alright. Done."

I jump in the air and yell as my Genie walks away. It is only as my feet hit the sand that I realize I've made a terrible mistake.

"Wait! I was wrong! I want to be Ben Affleck! Go to games with J-LO!

" It's too late," she called back.


I drop to my knees, pound my fist in the sand, and scream to the Heavens, "Damn you! Damn you all to Hell!

The first thing we'll do is make it clear that baseball will be played for Baseball's sake, and no one else's. All advertising that is not related to baseball in some way will be eliminated from every major league ballpark, program, yearbook, and broadcast.

Next, we take care of our fans. All concessions will be set at reasonable restaurant prices. All tickets will be sold for one price with no seat assignment. Seating will be determined by computer lottery as you enter the ballpark. Diamond Girls - an adaptation of boxing's Ring Girls - will announce the beginning of each new inning by carrying a giant placard with the inning number down each baseline. Fans will get to sing the Anthem, throw out the first pitch, be first and third base coaches, and attend mound conferences.

Then there's the players. Every player on every level gets exactly what everyone else in America gets - the right to choose where to work, and the right to shop his services to anyone with no strings attached. There will be no salary cap, and no player can be traded without his permission. You sign a contract to play for a team, they sign a contract to employ you.

Baseball fans in every town, regardless of level of play, deserve a chance to see a pennant race. Therefore, all farm system affiliates will become independent, and all baseball teams will move to a soccer-like ladder system, in which the best teams in any league will move up, and the worst teams will drop down. So, taken to its extreme, an eccentric billionaire owner of a magazine in Mudville could build a 5,000 seat ballpark in his backyard, start signing up Major League players, and one day find the Yankees coming to town for the World Series.

Imagine that.

I really thought the Planet of the Apes reference would bring home the Gold, but it was not to be. If you want to see the winners, go to Mudville Magazine

Dave's Email

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Pure Chaos

Meetings upon Meetings. Plotting a Union overthrow. Working and babysitting. Real-life has attacked my little bloggin world.

These are the things I can promise. I will have BAP scores for every single baseball playoff game, from now until the end of time. I will also continue to write about college football every Friday through Sunday. After that, who knows? Time is the enemy. Maybe there will be plenty of entries, but shorter ones. I do know that Wednesday and Thursday look bleak this week. I have the the kid Thursday night, and I have to buy another suit for the high holidays sometime soon, probably tomorrow.

The Bruce In Fenway concert for me was somewhat disappointing. Oh, Bruce sounded great and all, but Fenway sucked. We were inside the park for forty minutes before we could see the field, and we never did make it to our seats. All of the beer lines were long, and it was $6.50 a cup. The E Street Band were just little dots on stage, and the large video screens showed the concert in almost a TV mode, with lots of quick cuts, and no shots from far enough back to see the whole band at once. Also, Bruce fans are just about the biggest group of dorks you'll ever see at a concert, a bunch of middle-management types who didn't get out while they were young, still thinking that they were Born to Run. And it's not Bruce's fault. He bashed Dick Cheney, and plugged Al Franken's book, to polite applause. Bruce did play Because the Night and Dirty Water, two pleasant surprises, but not a lot of the older stuff, and the whole show had more of a grown-up pop kind of feel, rather than a rock concert. I'm sure the hard-core Bruce fans loved it, but it wasn't for me.

BAP scores from Tim at Musings From RSN

Sox win the first two, and drop the third.

Game 1
BOS 0.667 0.422 0.450
NYY 0.417 0.250 0.294

Game 2
BOS 0.762 0.349 0.579
NYY 0.294 0.265 0.172

Game 3
BOS 0.444 0.222 0.257
NYY 0.484 0.258 0.357

The Red Sox are now 2-5 to win the wildcard, too low for me to invest. The Wisconsin Badgers, who I got at 75-1, are now down to 40-1. I am offering my services to the Bush Administration right now. Give me 50 billion dollars, and I'll turn it into 87 by the end of October.

Dave's Email

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Little Ten

I had prepared to talk about the quick demise of Auburn and Maryland, two highly ranked pre-season teams that are now eliminated from ECF competition, or the great game played by Florida, who took a very young team into Miami and damn near pulled off a major upset, banging up Gator Traitor Brock Berlin in the process. But how can I resist a chance to go after the Big Ten? Here are the losses for the Big Ten yesterday:

Penn State loses at home to BC 27-14
Purdue loses at home to Bowling Green 27-26
Northwestern loses at home to Air Force 22-21
Indiana, who had already got smoked by UConn, gets clobbered at Washington 38-13

That's four Unacceptable Losses in one weekend. Illinois has already lost, too. Big Ten fans like to argue that they avoid difficult non-conference road games because of the top-to-bottom strength of their conference, but where is that exactly? And while Eisenberg Sports doesn't rank teams, it's difficult not to notice the less than stellar performances of Ohio State (a 3 point win at home over San Jose St), Michigan State (giving up 28 to Rutgers), and Wisconsin (giving up 31 to Akron). Someone in this conference has a great chance of dominating again, just like Ohio State and Iowa did last year, and with no conference championship game, walking right into the Sugar Bowl.

There are now only 98 teams left in the ECF competition. Here are the standings, as of Sunday morning:

Teams That Are Eliminated From The ECF Championship Race:
Auburn, San Jose St, Indiana, Maryland, UNC, California, East Carolina, Tulane, Akron, Mid Tenn St, Baylor, La-Monroe, Idaho, Troy St, UTEP, Tulsa, Utah St, La-Lafayette, Buffalo

Teams Protected By The Three Weeks Rule That Have Suffered An Unacceptable Loss:
Washington, CSU, Clemson, BC, Fresno St, S. Miss, Illinois, W Virginia, Miss St, Miami OH, Duke, N Texas, USF, La Tech, Vanderbilt, Rice, Kansas, SMU, C Mich, UAB, Penn St, Purdue, Virginia, Army, Northwestern, Ohio, Ball State, Wyoming, UNLV, Kent St, Alabama, BYU, Houston, E. Michigan

Teams With One Acceptable Loss:
Oklahoma St, Ga Tech, Toledo, Temple, W Michigan, Arkansas St, NC St, SD St, Mississippi, Rutgers, UCLA, Marshall, New Mexico, Navy, Florida, Oregon St, Utah

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss:
N Illinois, Washington State, Notre Dame

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:


This last grouping is only important if you get screwed out of a major bowl. Every year there is some team that has a terrific season but doesn't get matched up with a Top Ten team in the bowls, so for these teams beating someone in the Top Ten during the season is crucial.

Look for next weekend's College Football Preview Friday night.

Dave's Email

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Not Slacking

Blogger went down last night, and took my whole College Football Weekend Preview with it. It's just come back now, and it's too late to do the whole thing over. Games are ending, and I'm leaving for Springsteen at Fenway in a couple of hours. But the least I can do is give you today's Playoff Games. That's right, College Football Playoff Games. The loser is completely and totally eliminated from the ECF Championship Race!

Baylor at North Texas
Louisiana Tech at Louisiana-Lafayette
West Virginia at East Carolina
Colorado State at California
Auburn at Georgia Tech!

Tune in tomorrow for a complete and thorough review of today's action. If you're into the Boss, check out my entry on June 24th.

Dave's Email

Thursday, September 04, 2003


My wife starts an evening job today, so I've got the kid, and there's just no way I can do a decent entry. Come back tomorrow night, Friday, late eastern time, and I'll have a big College Football Weekend Preview.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Does OBP=Runs? A New Formula

That's the big question of the day, or at least my day. I'll skip the review, but if you haven't been here all week and you have no idea what I'm talking about it, read the week's earlier entries. As for you regulars, I changed things up a bit.

This time, I decided to work with similar-styled players, but similar in the most basic ways. Today I'm looking at only National League players who had 30 or more homers. All that these guys have in common is power, and that they are in the middle of team's lineups. Here they are listed by OBP, Runs, and percentage of teams's runs scored:

Barry Bonds - .524, 93, .152
Albert Pujols - .436, 117, .159
Gary Sheffield - .428, 113, .145
Jim Edmonds - .395, 79, .107
Jim Thome - .389, 87, .133
Jeff Bagwell - .379, 94, .140
Javy Lopez - .379, 73, .094
Sammy Sosa - .376, 78, .132
Richie Sexson - .373, 79, .129
Mike Lowell - .351, 75, .118
Preston Wilson - .346, 84, .116
Andruw Jones - .338, 90, .115

Well, there's some correlation here. Most of the lower scores are in the bottom half. But how can Bonds be 88 points more than Pujols in OBP but trail in Run Percentage? And Bagwell and Lopez have the exact same OBP but different run percentages. If you've been paying attention, you know why: There is a great difference in number of plate appearances.

So, here's the newest formula from Eisenberg Sports. There will be a test at the end of the season (Sorry. Fell into teacher mode):

Run Percentage (RP) = Player's Runs / Team's Runs x 1000 / Player At Bats

I had to multiply by a 1000 because it was the only way my calculator could do it, and it makes it look more like a number that baseball fans could be comfortable with. Here's the list again, with just OBP and RP:

Bonds - .524, .336
Pujols - .436, .288
Sheffield - .428, .256
Edmonds - .395, .227
Thome - .389, .226
Bagwell - .379, .241
Lopez - .379, .227
Sosa - .376, .274
Sexson - .373, .207
Lowell - .351, .217
Wilson - .346, .201
Jones - .338, .206

Much better. The bottom four RP numbers go to the bottom four OBP players. The top two are the same, Bonds has the giant lead to correspond with his lead in OBP, and the middle is very similar. Bagwell does a little bit better than it seems that he should, which I find very interesting because whenever I've seen him play I've always thought (but couldn't prove) that he was a superior base runner. But the big question here is Sammy Sosa. Sammy just blows away everyone, and it's hard to see why. His other numbers don't stand out in this group of players at all. There's nothing unusual about his circumstances. If you knock ten runs off of Sammy's total, it brings his RP down to .239, at the high end of the range of players around him. Is that possible? Sammy's baserunning has contributed to TEN more runs?!

It doesn't seem possible. But there does seem to be a correlation between OBP and RP, and there's no other explanation that I can think of. Can you?

Tomorrow, there will be the same group of players and Slugging. Friday will be OPS, andwe'll be able to see if SLG again beats OBP. Saturday and Sunday is football.

Let me know what you think.

Dave's Email


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Lock and Load

This will be a lot like my "Jab and Move" colums, except that I'm not feeling anywhere near that level of passive. Went back to work today after a six-month leave, and now I will be tested. So you think you're a writer, man? Well, let's see how you do now.

Want a good reason to quit gambling? Last night's TCU - Tulane game would give anyone the perfect excuse. I went to bed with TCU - a five and a half point favorite - ahead 31-7 in the fourth quarter. So what happened? TCU won, but barely, 38 - 35. Tulane scored a couple of times, returned an interception for a touchdown, and scored again with 24 seconds left to play. I'm glad I didn't stay up for it, because I would have put my foot through the f***** TV screen. But if that's not enough to scare you, go over to Aaron's Baseball Blog, and you'll see that he picks a bunch of baseball games everyday. Betting with a hundred dollar base for every play, Aaron is up $2,840 for the year. You know he's not betting. Anyone with real money going and that kind of track record would have upped his bet amounts by now, or would have become too conservative with his picks. But it's still damn impressive, and maybe worth investing in, if you're into that kind of agony. Aaron's site is Aaron's Baseball Blog

Jerry Remy has become something of a Baseball God in Boston, and it's starting to piss me off. The guy is a damn good color man, always insightful and informative, but people are starting to treat him like he's Bruce Springsteen. Actually, right now he's bigger than the Boss. I know this because every time I tell someone I have "Bruce in Fenway" tickets for Saturday, they say "OH! Are you going to Jerry's Party?", like they know the man, and when I tell them I'm not, they're disappointed. I swear, they're are more people in Boston excited about Jerry's pre-concert lobster-and-steak bash on top of the Wall than the concert itself. Also, it seems to me that Remy can not go a game now without promoting his own website. The man is truly out of control, and needs a scandal in the worst way.

I'm noticing a certain surliness coming through under this new post-work writing schedule. I assume it is a temporary thing.

I caught a glimpse of President Bush talking to Union workers in an Ohio Rain yesterday, kicking off our next Presidential Campaign. I love elections, and I guess anyone who reads this site can see why. There are predictions, analysis, changes in momentum, tradition, heavy stakes, a crazy system, money - it's just like college football. Don't worry. I have no intention of boring everyone to death with my political philosophies - although I've got a great system (Ever see the movie "My Blue Heaven"? Rick Moranis' wife leaves him for a ballplayer, with her main excuse being "He's got a system for EVERYTHING.") for fixing Congress - I'm just going to watch the race. Who's winning and who's losing, how the electoral college seems to be going. Kind of like looking at team schedules. Don't Worry II: It won't happen often, and if it sucks I'll pull it.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to find more time to explore that OBP/SLG argument I've been obsessed with lately.
Dave's Email

Monday, September 01, 2003


Welcome back, Baseball Crowd. Or should you be welcoming me back?

Here is a brief review of my experiences with On-Base Percentage (OBP):
- Read Baseball Prospectus for a couple of years.
- Read Moneyball.
- Built my very successful fantasy baseball team around OBP.
- Invented BAP.
- Compared BAP to OBP and SLG in game analysis, only to find out that OBP lagged behind.
- Compared BAP to OPS in game analysis, only to find that OBP was dragging down the OPS scores.
- Compared the run and rbi totals of Richie Sexson to Bobby Abreu, and came to the conclusion that SLG may also be a better barometer of run production than OBP.

Which brings me to this weekend. Got some emails defending Abreu, with folks throwing out alternative reasons why Sexson may have had more runs and rbi than him, and no emails considering my theory either conclusive or a revelation, which I've greedily come to expect since that truly weird BAP experience. I realized I had more work to do.

So this is what I did: First, I tried to find players that were more comparable than Sexson and Abreu. I decided to take players with the exact same OPS scores, and a similar number of at bats. I found five such pairings in the National League.

Then I decided to compare each pair of players' runs, RBIs, percentage of team runs, percentage of team RBIs, and those two percentages added together. All of these stats are obviously related. The general baseball public loves runs and RBIs. Statheads generally hate both stats, because they are largely a function of the team that a player has around them. The problem with this though, is that anyone who's ever watched a baseball game knows that in the course of a game, the most important acts are the runs that are scoring, and the plays that are causing, or preventing, a run from scoring.

Run and RBI totals will always be depressed for a player on a low scoring team. However, looking at a player's percentages of his team's runs and RBI totals will always be depressed for a player on a high scoring team. Because many people on his team are producing runs, the player on the high scoring team can never gain the kind of percentage that a player can on a low scoring team. When virtually no one is producing at a high level, it's easy to be a big part of a team's run and RBI percentage.

Taken separately - Run and RBI totals, and the percentages of team totals - none of the stats mean much. But taken together, they show a lot. If one player has more runs and RBIs than another player, AND a higher percentage of his own team's runs and RBIs than the other player, it's pretty safe to say that player A is doing his job better than player B.

So with my five pairs of players with the exact same OPS and comparable plate appearance numbers, I went into this thinking that if OBP and SLG were equal, then run scores would go to the players with an OBP advantage, RBI scores would go to the Sluggers, and the two percentages added together would be split.

A few definitions before we start. PA is plate appearances, R % is percentage of team' runs total, RBI % is percentage of team's RBI total, and R+RBI % is the R % + RBI%.

And away we go!

Chipper Jones vs. Preston Wilson - OPS .898
PA - CJ 548, PW 573
OBP - CJ .394, PW .348
SLG - CJ .504, PW .649

Runs - CJ 85, PW 84
R % - CJ .109, PW .116
RBI - CJ 90, PW 126
RBI % - CJ .120, PW .182
R-RBI% - CJ .229, PW .298

The man with the higher OBP (Jones) has 25 fewer plate appearances, and has scored one more run. The man with the higher SLG (Wilson) has scored a higher percentage of his team's runs, has more RBIs, a higher RBI %, and a higher R+RBI %. Advantage - Slugging.

Mark Loretta vs. Moises Alou - OPS .823
PA - ML 540, MA 535
OBP - ML .381, MA .354
SLG - ML .442, MA .469

Runs - ML 63, MA 67
R % - ML .112, MA .114
RBI - ML 62, MA 79
RBI % - ML .116, MA .141
R+RBI % - ML .228, MA .255

The man with the higher OBP(Loretta) has five more plate appearances. The man with the higher SLG (Alou) leads in every other category. Advantage - SLG.

Wes Helms vs. Mark Grudzielanek - OPS .765
PA - WH 425, MG 430
OBP - WH .319, MG .361
SLG - WH .446, MG .404

Runs - WH 46, MG 61
R % - WH .076, MG .104
RBI - WH 58, MG 22
RBI % - WH .099, MG .039
R+RBI % - WH .175 , MG .143

The man with the higher OBP (Grudzielanek) has five more plate appearances, and has the higher run total and higher R %. The man with the higher SLG (Helms) has more RBI, the higher RBI %, and the higher R+RBI %. Advantage - SLG.

Juan Encarnacion vs. Sean Casey - OPS .749
PA - JE 545, SC 543
OBP - JE .312, SC .347
SLG - JE .438, SC .402

Runs - JE 66, SC 62
R % - JE .105, SC .104
RBI - JE 83, SC 67
RBI % - JE .139, SC .117
R+RBI % - JE .244, SC .221

The man with the higher OBP (Casey) has two fewer plate appearances. The man with the higher SLG (Encarnacion) leads in all other categories. Advantage - SLG.

Mark Kotsay vs. Roger Cedeno - OPS .715
PA - MK 446, RC 418
OBP - MK .342, RC .327
SLG - MK .373, RC .388

Runs - MK 53, RC 55
R % - MK .094, RC .097
RBI - MK 31, RC 33
RBI % - MK .058, RC .061
R+RBI % - MK .152 , RC .158

The man with the higher OBP has 28 more plate appearances. The man with a higher SLG (Cedeno) leads in all other categories. Advantage - SLG.

For the entire set of five pairings, the OBP group has only 11 more plate appearances. They lead runs twice, and R % once. The SLG group leads runs three times, R % four times, RBI five times, RBI % five times, and R+RBI % five times. The pairings of players include players of all different skills, all different skill levels, and all different team levels.

I have trouble believing it, but I can only draw one conclusion: Taken along with the head-to-head game analysis results, and contrary to what everyone believes today, these numbers seem to prove that SLG could be more important than OBP.

What do you think?
Dave's Email