For some reason this does not bother me

February 21, 2008
Has he gone Hollywood so quickly?
Does it bother you?

With the new Manger Joe at the helm I’m feeling pretty OK with this.  Probably just the fan in me, but this team needed a kick in the pants, as much as ubercompetitive guys might need one anyway.  Shaking up the status quo should be good for the Yanks, then again you could fill the Grand Canyon – and them some – with my incorrect predictions.  But this year is feeling like something we haven’t seen in Yankeedom in awhile:  Actually taking the regular season seriously instead of just trying to coast into the second season.

 Girardi does not strike me as the type who is gonna let the guys give up in the 5th inning and save his guys for tomorrow against the Royals in mid May: like Joe did many times during the last 3 seasons.  The Marlins didn’t quit down the stretch in ’06 contrary to popular belief, they just played above their heads for 80% of the season and then regressed to their normal levels come late Aug through Sept.  They stumbled along the way a bunch of times but Girardi had them so believing in his system that they would have run through a brick wall for him, which helped them to not give up when they were down early in games. 

I like how the pic shows vintage Joey T:  Not paying attention to whats going on in front of him.  How many times when the Yanks were spiraling out of control last year would the camera pan to Joe and he looks like someone needed to pull an afghan up to his neck, hand him is Bigelow Green Tea, and watch him dose off.  He was more than ready to stick to his script when down by 3+ runs in the 5th or later:

JT: “Ok boys, we gave it our best shot.  Lets pack it in for today and we’ll get’em tomorrow.”

Donnie Baseball: “Um, skip?  There are 4 innings left to play and we’re only down 3 runs.  We usually score runs in bunches when we get to the underbelly of the pitching staff.  Also, I have some stats here suggesting if we start to swing at the first pitch instead of you giving the take sign constantly on the first pitch we could improve….”

JT: “Don’t give me stats Donald.  Stats are nothing but squiggly lines on a piece of paper that some square kids made on those new fangled Commodore 64s.  I played in the 60’s dagnabit!  And if we were down by 3 runs we knew that the game was over and we had to save ourselves for our night jobs as security gaurds, roofers, gigolos, or whatever else to make ends meet.  These guys need to do the same.”

DB: “Yeah, you see the guy who comes in and sweeps up all the seeds and crushed Gatorade cups after the game?  Rocco is his name I think.  He makes $108k a year.  I don’t think these guys have to do anything after the game but get hit on by groupies and get ready to play tomorrow.”

JT: “Yeah well they should be working, those lazy Irishmen.  Makes the constitution strong.  Enlivens the gall blader.  All good things.”

DB:”Somebody wanna get this old coot some green tea, he’s officially lost it.”

 I welcome the change, good or bad. 


*Picture credentials: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/lee_jenkins/02/20/jenkins.torre/index.html via Stephen Dunn/Getty Images Sport


Can the season just start already

February 19, 2008

It has come to my attention that I’ve been tough on the Yanks since this whole experiment started.  I don’t do it to be the cynical fan who relishes the fact that his predictions / crazy rantings came true and his team should hire him ’cause obviously he’s a baseball genius.   I love this team and for six months [and luckily for the last 12 years seven months] I have very set routine:

Get up and go to work

While not doing work, skim the interweb searching for any bit of info about the next game

Walk from cube to cube dissecting what happened last night and how it will affect tonight

Leave work

Listen to sports radio on my obscenely long drive home and only pay attention when the they talk baseball

Fight the urge to run the douche bag with the Massachusetts plates off the road on the chance he roots against the Yanks.  Immediately cut him off he has any type of RedSox paraphenelia on his car.

Get home and turn on the batting practice show that serves absolutely no informational purpose at all and let the warm feeling of Yankeedom wash over me.  *Note – if its a Thurs or Fri game I need to stop and pick up fresh beers for the game, usually Heineken Lite [gotta keep that girlish figure]

Watch 3 hours of the best damn team there every will be.

………end daily rundown……… 

With the tease that is pichers and catchers there is way too much time for nit-picking, which is why I have skewed towards looking on the darker side of events as of late.  It leaves us with too much time to think about the horrible exit last year and the minimal moves that were made in the offseason.   If the Yanks ended the year on a more positive note I think I wouldn’t have spent the offseason seething about our aging big money guys who are way past productive, re: Giambi and Mosse, and the fact that there are 5 guys [Giambi again, Duncan, Betemit, Ensberg, Lane] competing for the 1B job and none of them are FIRSTBASEMEN.  Its still six weeks till the first game and maybe both of these problems can shake themselves out.  Giambi or Moose could come into camp in great shape and we all know what happens when guys are in their walk year so maybe these guys have something left to play for.  One of the other 4 guys for the 1B job could come into camp and slip right in. 

 There are 60+ players invited to camp, many of whom will be across the street with the career minor league guys before the middle of March, but if Rookie of the Year has taught us anything its that we may just have a Henry Rowangartner somewhere in our midst ready to deliver the high stinky Limburgher when we need it most.


“I didn’t know what it was.”

February 18, 2008

The title is not cited becuase this has become the anthem for most MLBers when caught in the HGH/PED spotlight.  Many bloggers, columnists, radio guys, skywriters, and cave painters have railed against the accused saying this is not possible; How could you take something that you didn’t know what it was?

 I think the answer is quite easy to ascertain.  Why would the trainer/dealer want to ruin his cash cow by injecting him/them with something that puts an end to the gravy train?  And obviously the guy who’s weekly paycheck is greater than the GDP of many 3rd world countries wants to keep that revenue stream coming in.  So the weird parasitic relationship between player/dealer only works if the drugs don’t kill the talent. 

Besides, when was the last time someone other than an opposing team’s drunk fan has done anything other than make life easier for professional athletes.  These guys have people to pick up their dry cleaning, get their cars serviced, fetch food, hide bodies, and whatever else they could possibly need done in a day.  It seems to me this is probably how the average convo would have gone:

Trainer: “Hey, (Name of PED user), last nights game was a doozy.  You really need to focus more out there.  Atleast, its not a contract year for you.”

PED User:”Um, actually this is my walk year.  I’m just so spent right now, but I need to get my energy up and really start producing.”

T:”Well Champ, I think I might have just what you are looking for.  Let’s try this stuff [opens case up similar to the one in Pulp Fiction with music and shining light].  I think it should do the trick.  Just remember who helped you when you needed it the most.”

PEDU:”Will it help me to pitch/field/hit/run better?”

T:”Would I hurt your career and by proxy my own livilhood?”

PEDU:”Right, right.  So what is it?”

T:”….”[quizical look]

PEDU:”Ha, gotcha!  Just stick it in and lets get to work.”

T:”Oh you sly devil.  You had me for a second.”

So class, as we see here, no one wanted to know exactly what it was and the supplier obviously is only trying to make more money through having their client perform better. 



Pushing Weight

February 17, 2008

Jeff Francoeur has added 17lbs of muscle in the offseason.   –  With all the drama going on in the MLB I hope its safe to say he did this on the up and up.  I’m always a little wary when people show up to camp noticeably bigger than last year.  They get pull happy thinking they can crush the ball in every AB which leads to declines in useless stats like OBP, BB, and hits and increases things like SO and losing.  Here’s his line from last year courtesy of BB Prospecuts:

 G      AB    H       2B  3B  HR    R  RBI  SO   BB    GDP   BA   OBA    SLG               
162   642  188  40   0  19   84  105 129   42    14  .293  .338  .444

EqA for 2007 Season: .268

 Now, lets look at his 2006 year stats:
G         AB     H     2B  3B HR R     RBI    SO     BB  GDP BA OBA SLG
 162   651  169  24   6  29   83  103   132   23   16  .260  .293  .449

EqA for 2006 Season: .245

*Statistical mean EqA is .260 – Arod’s 2007 EqA ? .339.  So, average MLBer .260; superhuman stud season .339

So, from ’06 to ’07 JF went from being a below avg offense player, to a very serviceable right fielder.  He had 19 more hits in 8 less ABs, his OBP went from a Bubba Crosbyesque sub .300 to a more respectable .338.  His slugging is almost identical, which is greatly influenced by HR.  Speaking of which, his HRs were lessened by 1/3.  But to JF this is unacceptable. 

Taking into account that JF is a talented and well tooled right fielder why would he feel the need to put on 17lbs of muscle?  Answer:  He wants to hit 30HRs.  Chicks dig the longball and JF digs chicks.  Atleast I think he does, but maybe he doesn’t.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.   What there is something wrong with is taking a step forward in helping to advance the one statistic that matters – WINS –  and taking two steps backwards by bulking up and trying to crush HRs.


[*edit – I didn’t realize till later that some people may not realize what EqA is.   Here is the definition from Baseball Prospectus since mine found above was lacking:

A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player’s defense.  ]


Disinformation the CIA would be proud of

February 15, 2008

In George King’s yankee blog I found a quote from Girardi regarding everyones favorite flamthrower:

“Joba is competing for a spot in the starting rotation right now,” Girardi said of the 22-year-old right-hander who dominated in 19 relief appearances last season, going 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA and fanning 34 in 24 innings. “We are preparing him as a starter. We will look at the pitching staff as a whole and decide what the best fit is. We will look at it at the end of March and see where we are.”

Is it just me or has this guys’ status changed as much as the federal deficit?  Set his role, let him prepare.  Game, set, match.  Earlier in the offseason I was leaning toward having him start.  But, now?  Give him the 7th and/or 8th, depending on back to back appearances, pitches thrown, and Jupiter in its third phase of the Lion – that last bit is the newest spin on the Joba Rules. 

And speaking of the rules, can we stop calling it this now?  This saying should have been put to bed once Torre declined the “insulting” offer from the Yankee brass after the ALDS.  Maybe its just my poor ass, but if you call $5m insulting, anyone within earshot who works a real job [ie, anything but sitting on a bench in a baseball uniform occasionally being roused from catnaps and shooting shitty Subway commercials] should be allowed to rabbit punch you in the back of the head.

But, in the hotel press conference in Westchester last October, Joe declined and was praised for his humility, while the front office was condemned for shunning an icon.  Joe walked out on $5M, put on his Monopoly Guy monocle and top hat , summoned his butler to pull up his solid gold rocket car and hit the dusty trail.  <<Just trying to say the Yankees paid this man a ton of money, no seriously I looked it up and his cummlative salary would have weighed over 2000lbs if it was in all in $20’s and loaded onto pallets.>> 

So we said goodbye to Old Joe who traveled across the country, and league, in his endeavor to prove it wasn’t all the players and the unlimited budget that brought success to the Yankees.  Oh, and I’m pretty sure the added knowledge of Scott Proctor’s soon to be torn labrum is just an added bonus as Joe attempts send this guy to the luny bin.  Seriously what does he have against this guy?  I wonder if Scottie Not-to-Hottie wakes up in cold sweats after having dreams of Torre walking slowly while still gaining on Scott, somewhat  like how Jason Vorhees never seemed to move more than 3mpg yet you could never lose him. 

 So, in summation:

George King writes a blog?!? 

Joba still has no predefined role.

Retire Joba rules.

Joe Torre big-heart.jpg‘s  Scott Proctor.



Messing with Sortable Stats

February 15, 2008

So I finally signed up for a Baseball Prospectus account and I’ve been throwing data ranges in and playing around with spreadsheets for the last couple of hours, yeah I know I’m a total nerd.  Here’s one I just was looking at:


Chien-Ming Wang 2007 199.3 2860 14.35 4.78 2.66 4.7
Mike Mussina 2007 152 2393 15.74 5.25 2.07 5.39
Ron Villone 2007 42.3 667 15.77 5.26 3.83 5.31
Andy Pettitte 2007 215.3 3395 15.77 5.26 2.88 5.89
Mariano Rivera 2007 71.3 1126 15.79 5.26 1.51 9.34
Roger Clemens 2007 99 1584 16 5.33 2.82 6.18
Philip Hughes 2007 72.7 1235 16.99 5.66 3.59 7.18
Luis Vizcaino 2007 75.3 1290 17.13 5.71 5.26 7.41
Kei Igawa 2007 67.7 1219 18.01 6 4.92 7.05
Brian Bruney 2007 50 918 18.36 6.12 6.48 7.02
Sean Henn 2007 36.7 741 20.19 6.73 6.63 6.87

A couple of things before I get to what I noticed, first of course this is just Yankee SP/RP.  Second, I cut out anyone who pitched less than 30 Innings as I wanted a larger sample than what that would provide. 

Now, look at the P/IP.  As I thought, Wang comes in with the lowest total; that heavy sinker mitigates long innings when you get the two for one DP.  Then the correaltion between P/IP and BB9 /  SO9 jumped out at me. 

There seems to be an inverse propotion of P/IP to BB9 /SO9.  Since it takes more pitches [minimum three] to record the K and even more when you give the free pass, I guess this holds out.  Let me know if you see flaws in the way I am using the numbers.  I’m new to the whole on demand stat reporting, and I’m positive this is extremely basic analysis and something you probably didn’t a spreadsheet for, but this is another reason I love baseball.  Have a theory that is commonly held?  Test it against the mountains of data that is recorded and stored for your use and prove it out.  

BTW, Mo looks even more badass just looking at this tiny fragment of data. 



New Yankee Stadium

February 14, 2008

Here is a link to Sweeni Murti’s WFAN Yankees’ Blog about the new Stadium, you may have heard about.


I’ve been looking for some good pics of the tour that was given to the local press of the ongoing construction of the new Stadium.  So far most of the shots are what you would expect from a giant project that is about 60% completed; lots of steel, heavy machinary, guys in funny yellow hats.  The first couple of shots are artist renderings of the completed project then it jumps into the construction shots. 

I’m digging the more wide open spaces.  No longer will my $8 warm flat beer be left behind on some poor schmo’s torn zubas as I snake my way through the masses.  If thats not progress, then my friends I ask you, what is?  The restaurant in center field and martini bar are definately there to cater to the corporate crowd.  As does the reduction in general seating to make room for more luxury boxes.  Tickets are already scarce for this year and I assume the first season will rival gas prices in value per dollar spent. 

What helps make a sporting event more enjoyable?  Ease of access.  Ask and yee shall receive from answers.com

The new station, which the MTA estimates will cost $45 million, will provide service to all three Metro North lines (Hudson, Harlem and New Haven) via existing track connections that are not normally used for revenue passenger services. Approximately ten trains before and after the games will serve the station and will allow riders to leave from and travel to stations on all three Metro North lines.[9] A shuttle train will also transport fans between the stadium and Grand Central Terminal, potentially helping to reduce traffic on the subway lines used to connect to New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains at Penn Station.

This, fellow Pinstripe fans, is a great thing.  I work in lower CT and live in Westchester.  To make it to a 7pm start, and leaving time for the necessary imbibing, if I’m driving in I need to leave work shortly after 4pm – if not before.  If its the normal slow going Yankee game, I’m not leaving the stadium till 10:15 and then I get to play the full size pinball game that is attempting to exit the parking lots and get onto the highway and back to Westchester.  Hopefully without my POS overheating while I hear some horrendous Reggetone being blasted out of a ’98 Civic with body rott, a glad bag for a rear window, and $3,000 rims.  If I’m lucky I’ll be in bed around midnight.  Thats more commuting time then actual sports watching at a 5:3 clip! 

 For the ’09 season, if I’m lucky enough to scalp…buy, I mean buy tickets… I’ll take the New Haven Line (which allows alcohol in bag form) to 125th then switch over to the new Stadium direct line.  Or course I’m still gonna leave work at 4pm, only now instead of getting there 10 min before first pitch I’ll be able to socialize with the unwashed masses at Stan’s by around 5:30, in my seat – ideally next to the dougout, realistically way in the nose bleeds with the true fans – sufficiently sauced by the 4th inning, and escorted out of the stadium by a strong armed dude in a yellow windbreaker before Joba comes in to lock it down in the 8th.