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Happy Thanksgiving! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 1

Gary Huckabay 

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05-29

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: In the Slot
by
Gary Huckabay

02-14

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The BP Wayback Machine: Beating Eric Gagne
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Gary Huckabay

01-31

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The BP Wayback Machine: Redecorating Your Glass House
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Gary Huckabay

06-09

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The BP Wayback Machine: Draft Pickin', Grinnin', and Tradin'
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Gary Huckabay

05-04

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6

The BP Wayback Machine: The GM Starter Pack
by
Gary Huckabay

02-03

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17

The BP Wayback Machine: Baseball's Y2K1 Bugs
by
Gary Huckabay

03-16

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23

6-4-3: Why Youve Paid It
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Gary Huckabay

03-04

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16

6-4-3: I Will Sell This House!
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Gary Huckabay

07-01

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6-4-3: Adventures in Consulting, Part Three
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Gary Huckabay

04-13

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6-4-3: Adventures in Consulting, Part Two
by
Gary Huckabay

03-14

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6-4-3: Adventures in Consulting
by
Gary Huckabay

12-17

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6-4-3: Value Over Jack Cust
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Gary Huckabay

11-21

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6-4-3: ESPN and MLB
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Gary Huckabay

10-05

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6-4-3: Weighin' in at 19 Stone, Part Two
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Gary Huckabay

09-25

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6-4-3: Weighin' in at 19 Stone, Part One of Two
by
Gary Huckabay

09-04

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Analyze This: For What You Are About to Receive
by
Gary Huckabay

03-05

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Hope and Faith: How the San Francisco Giants Can Win the World Series
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Gary Huckabay

02-11

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6-4-3: Farewell
by
Gary Huckabay

12-06

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6-4-3: Redecorating Your Glass House
by
Gary Huckabay

07-20

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Prospectus Today: A Night at the Park, 2004
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Joe Sheehan and Gary Huckabay

05-25

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6-4-3: Leaving the Shore
by
Gary Huckabay

03-29

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6-4-3: Hard to Dampen the Joy
by
Gary Huckabay

02-28

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6-4-3: Beating Eric Gagne
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Gary Huckabay

01-03

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6-4-3: Bad Habits Learned from Joe Sheehan
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Gary Huckabay

12-19

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6-4-3: Hart to Hart
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Gary Huckabay

11-07

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State of the Prospectus
by
Gary Huckabay

10-17

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6-4-3: Puddle of Conciousness, Redux
by
Gary Huckabay

10-08

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Playoff Prospectus: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
by
Gary Huckabay and Nate Silver

10-03

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6-4-3: Fluffy Goodness
by
Gary Huckabay

10-01

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Playoff Prospectus: Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics
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Gary Huckabay

09-26

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6-4-3: Take it to the Bridge
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Gary Huckabay

09-12

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6-4-3: Know Loss
by
Gary Huckabay

09-05

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6-4-3: Winter Reading List
by
Gary Huckabay

08-29

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6-4-3: All the Leaves in Need of Raking
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Gary Huckabay

08-08

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6-4-3: Back To Basics
by
Gary Huckabay

08-01

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6-4-3: Alex In Wonderland
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Gary Huckabay

07-25

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6-4-3: Next Anonymous Friday
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Gary Huckabay

07-11

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6-4-3: State of the Prospectus, July 2003
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Gary Huckabay

06-27

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6-4-3: Road Trippin'
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Gary Huckabay

06-23

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In Memoriam
by
Gary Huckabay

06-20

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6-4-3: Overhang
by
Gary Huckabay

06-13

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6-4-3: The Peter Principle
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Gary Huckabay

06-06

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6-4-3: Going Batty
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Gary Huckabay

05-23

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6-4-3: Looking for Advantages on the Ground
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Gary Huckabay and Nate Silver

05-16

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6-4-3: Always Hangin' 'Round
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Gary Huckabay

05-02

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6-4-3: The American Way
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Gary Huckabay

04-11

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6-4-3: Fun with Eddie Tufte
by
Gary Huckabay

03-28

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6-4-3: What Can You Spell With Four Ps?
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Gary Huckabay

03-19

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6-4-3: The Sin of the Politician
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Gary Huckabay

03-14

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6-4-3: Draft Pickin', Grinnin', and Tradin'
by
Gary Huckabay

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December 19, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Hart to Hart

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Gary Huckabay

In case you've been living under a rock, it's been a pretty interesting couple of weeks in the news. If you've been feverish, like most of the populace of California's scenic Contra Costa County, you may have observed that a bombastically hirsute Alex Rodriguez was liberated from a sort of cave/hutch just north of Tikrit and west of Odessa by a U.S. Army strike force, who then checked him for ticks, packaged him in a box, and shipped him to Worcester, where he was unpacked by Larry Lucchino and Gene Orza, then shipped back to Houston, Texas, where he was awarded a Hummer by noted conservative talk show host Michael Savage. The more coherent among you are aware that the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have been discussing a deal that is, at its center, Manny Ramirez for Alex Rodriguez. Since both players have very long, lucrative contracts, money has been a significant component of the deal. So let's dive in and take a look...

The more coherent among you are aware that the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have been discussing a deal that is, at its center, Manny Ramirez for Alex Rodriguez.

Read the full article...

November 7, 2003 12:00 am

State of the Prospectus

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Gary Huckabay

An update on BP happenings, including baseballprospectus.com's redesign, the latest on Baseball Prospectus 2004, and BP-related events.

Second, we'd like to announce that we have signed a multi-year agreement with Workman Publishing to produce the next editions of Baseball Prospectus. We'd like to thank everyone who worked with us at Brassey's Publishing over the past six editions of the book. We appreciate their efforts, and wish them well in the future. We are extremely excited about our new relationship with Workman; we had a number of very attractive offers available, but Workman's dedication to quality production made them the clear partner of choice for BP. Baseball Prospectus 2004 will be available for pre-order soon, and will be in bookstores nationwide, at a new, lower price of $17.95, by the middle of February.

Third, we are in the final stages of redesigning baseballprospectus.com. As we've added more and more content and features, the structure and design of the site has become overwhelmed, as so many of you have written in to tell us. We're grateful for the feedback, and we're working diligently to incorporate many of the suggestions you've made in your e-mails. We should have the new site deployed by the beginning of the year, and we welcome any input you have on changes you'd like to see. We want all parts of the site to be easily accessible, and for visitors to be able to explore everything, from chat transcripts to statistical reports, with a minimum of hassle and confusion.

Read the full article...

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October 17, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Puddle of Conciousness, Redux

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Gary Huckabay

Does it really get any better than this? I live the East Bay in the Northern California, about 20 miles from Oakland. It's not as if there's any love for the Red Sox or Yankees based on favors done for the A's over the last few years. Nonetheless, the renaissance has hit. People are dashing into stores, grabbing coronary artery-busting snacks, and rushing back into cars to get home to watch the game. As I was coming home from Roseville, I was stuck in traffic next to two cars driven by goateed young men, one with a Red Sox hat, one with a Yankee hat. Both shared my concern about the crowded nature of the throughway, and both shared their opinions rather vocally. How cool is it that 3,000 miles away from tonight's baseball epicenter, people are rushing home to sit in front of the TV? A lot of the people who cover baseball exclusively are concerned and/or bitter about baseball's loss of mindshare to lesser sports, like, well...all of them. The stages of college basketball, football, hockey, and even preseason basketball have expanded, often at the expense of attention on what could once be called "America's Pastime" without challenge. How bad has it gotten? It's gotten pretty bad. Two nights ago, KHTK 1140 in Sacramento--one of the premiere (and highest rated) sports radio stations in the country--ran an 88-72 preseason loss of the Sacramento Kings instead of Game Seven of the ALCS. In March, cactus and grapefruit league coverage has diminished, and far more attention nationwide is spent on tracking NCAA College Basketball brackets than rookies and veterans competing for jobs or getting in shape in places like Scottsdale and Vero Beach.

A lot of the people who cover baseball exclusively are concerned and/or bitter about baseball's loss of mindshare to lesser sports, like, well...all of them. The stages of college basketball, football, hockey, and even preseason basketball have expanded, often at the expense of attention on what could once be called "America's Pastime" without challenge. How bad has it gotten? It's gotten pretty bad. Last night, KHTK 1140 in Sacramento--one of the premiere (and highest rated) sports radio stations in the country--ran an 88-72 preseason loss of the Sacramento Kings instead of Game Seven of the ALCS. In March, cactus and grapefruit league coverage has diminished, and far more attention nationwide is spent on tracking NCAA College Basketball brackets than rookies and veterans competing for jobs or getting in shape in places like Scottsdale and Vero Beach.

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October 8, 2003 12:00 am

Playoff Prospectus: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

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Gary Huckabay and Nate Silver

The Yanks took far more balls per plate appearance than any other playoff team, but relatively few strikes. That's a sign of a mature, disciplined team. Taking bad pitches could be especially beneficial against the Red Sox: Boston's two best starters, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, are not known for their stamina, and the bullpen is in tatters between Byung-Hyun Kim's breakdown and their heavy use in the Oakland series. Knocking Pedro out an inning earlier because of higher pitch counts could well be a game-winning strategy. Despite their refined approach at the plate, the Yankees don't have a better offense than the Red Sox, who outscored them by nearly 100 runs during the regular season. The Sox remain the best offense in baseball, with a lineup that has absolutely no weaknesses in it. Both of these teams have the capability to knock a starter out early and put up crooked numbers in multiple innings. Even if you don't want to get into the numbers, think only about the two main criticisms of these offenses over the course of the year: Yankees: "Alfonso Soriano isn't suited to hit leadoff." Red Sox: "Walker, Ortiz, and Nixon can't hit lefties." Think about that. The problem for the Yankees is that the leadoff guy has too many extra-base hits, and too few walks. The Red Sox somehow have to work around the issue that their three worst hitters, who average about a .950 OPS against righties, don't hit lefties particularly well. Think the Tiger front office would like those problems?

Starting Lineups

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October 3, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Fluffy Goodness

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Gary Huckabay

"What are the best and worst things about the broadcasts so far?" - M.T. So far, it's been pretty grisly from a fan's perspective, I think. The 10 p.m. EDT start for the Hudson/Martinez matchup was unconscionable. Then, to add unbelievable insult to injury, ESPN adds David Justice to the broadcast booth in violation of the Geneva Convention. I know that everyone watching the game has probably done something during their lives that warrants strict and painful punishment, but inflicting Justice and his commentary on an unsuspecting public was beyond the pale. It's also possible, if the game was broadcast outside the U.S., that ESPN may have committed an act of war against a number of sovereign nations. But now that they've done that, they might as well finish us off with a healthy dose of Chris Berman and his old-10-years-ago nicknames. Should Justice return to the booth, I will personally make an appeal to Amnesty International to begin a letter-writing campaign. I'm pretty sure that if we work together, we can get Bono to make a mission of conscience to Bristol.

The postseason's about tactics rather than strategy, and most of it's pretty obvious, so hopefully you'll find something in here entertaining.

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Two of baseball's best front offices have once again done their jobs well, and Oakland and Boston will face off in the five-game ALDS. It's really a classic matchup, with a tremendously vicious offense against a team built primarily on pitching and defense. The thing that would surprise many in the mainstream media is that the team built on pitching and defense is wearing Green and Gold.

Lineups (AVG/OBP/SLG/EqA)

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September 26, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Take it to the Bridge

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Gary Huckabay

Hello Gary! In your chat session, you stated that you thought Keith Woolner's research into replacement level was the most important work in sabermetrics. Why is it so important? I think that your work on PAP is much more important. It can change the way teams handle their pitchers. The pitchers will be healthier, and the teams will be better because of it. Why is replacement level more important than that? --R. J., Baton Rouge, LA First off, let me clarify something. Pitcher Abuse Points was a system developed by Keith Woolner and Rany Jazayerli, not me. And if you review it, you'll find a curve fit that you'll be lucky to find again in your whole life. The answer's pretty straightforward: replacement level is essential to know because it's the only way you can accurately assess marginal value. Let's say you can sign Joe Slugger, who's likely to play a pretty good corner outfield spot and post .280/.360/.550 each year, for $6,000,000 annually. Is that a good deal? There is absolutely no way to tell unless you know what your options are--you need to know the marginal value of that player's production, and for that, you have to know what your replacement options are. Or, put another way, you have to know replacement level.

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September 12, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Know Loss

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Gary Huckabay

Last week, I laid out a reading list for new and potential GMs. This week, I want to draw attention to another excellent book, one with a slightly different viewpoint, but with a number of important and actionable concepts. Bear with me during this lengthy quote... "Micromanagement is risk free as long as you have the power to assign blame to the innocent. If your galactic incompetence ends up micromanaging a perfectly good project into swamp, blame the closest employee for not "speaking up" sooner." --Dogbert, nee Scott Adams, Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook Which, of course, brings me to Peter Ueberroth. It never fails to amaze me that people who demonstrate incompetence on a massive, majestic scale actually gain credibility, either within their own organization, or in an entirely new arena, where they're given approximately the same responsibilities which they bungled so horribly in the first place. In case you missed it, former Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who had positioned himself as a responsible, proven leader running a dignified campaign in the Hunter Thompson-inspired California Gubernatorial Race, dropped out of that race on Tuesday, leaving the field wide open for the remaining "candidates."

It never fails to amaze me that people who demonstrate incompetence on a massive, majestic scale actually gain credibility, either within their own organization, or in an entirely new arena, where they're given approximately the same responsibilities which they bungled so horribly in the first place. In case you missed it, former Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who had positioned himself as a responsible, proven leader running a dignified campaign in the Hunter Thompson-inspired California Gubernatorial Race, dropped out of that race on Tuesday, leaving the field wide open for the remaining "candidates."

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September 5, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Winter Reading List

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Gary Huckabay

One of the best things about being involved with BP is the people you meet. Since we started doing Pizza Feeds a couple of years back, I've been fortunate enough to meet several hundred people who trudge their way to a Feed, all of whom have an intense interest in baseball, and all of whom are very generous with their time and support. It's pretty common for people to hang out and talk after the main event's over. Sometimes, someone will have an in-depth topic they want a long answer on, or they want to talk about available positions with BP or in a front office, or they want to argue with me about Derek Jeter's defense. The most common question I get after the end of the feed is about books. Some recurring themes come up during the evening, and one of them is often: "What skills does a general manager really need?" The question that inevitably follows is: "What books do you think a GM should read when they first get the job?" It's a good question, so I thought I'd make some suggestions here. I'm going to stay away from baseball books, including our own, and focus instead on the first books anyone should they read if they're going to be serious about their business. Many of these books are applicable to a number of industries, but I believe they're particularly relevant to running a major league club. So, in no particular order:

The most common question I get after the end of the feed is about books. Some recurring themes come up during the evening, and one of them is often: "What skills does a general manager really need?" The question that inevitably follows is: "What books do you think a GM should read when they first get the job?" It's a good question, so I thought I'd make some suggestions here. I'm going to stay away from baseball books, including our own, and focus instead on the first books anyone should they read if they're going to be serious about their business. Many of these books are applicable to a number of industries, but I believe they're particularly relevant to running a major league club. So, in no particular order:

Read the full article...

I've had a number of discussions over the past week or so that center around QuesTec, and all the issues associated with the company--their financial viability, the role of their technology in the administration of games, the aesthete and on-field consequences of usage, etc. I wrote a piece about the problem of asking umpires to handle ball/strike calls two years ago, and my views haven't changed since then. Simply put, given the operational needs of the game on the field, (e.g., limitations on the options available for positioning of umpires), it's just not possible for home plate umpires to do an adequate job of determining whether a pitch is a ball or a strike. Whether in person, by e-mail, or on the phone, I've been listening to a number of arguments, recently, regarding QuesTec as part of a comprehensive system of umpire review. Eventually, most people come to agree that the job of accurately calling balls and strikes is simply too difficult for someone to do well. From there, however, nearly everyone who opposes QuesTec's use falls back on the "It's part of the human element of the game" argument. The thing is, if you take that argument and drill down, you end up with the following call to action: "Hey! Let's go out to the ballpark and watch umpires @#$% up calls!"

Today, you get an oversimplified, somewhat disrespectful rant. I'd like to apologize in advance, in a feeble attempt to buy more credibility for the angry words that follow. This is something like saying "With all due respect..." right before you say something disrespectful, in an attempt to head off charges that you're an insolent bastard. Words following a phrase such as that should always be heavily discounted, like you might do with Ted Danson at a policy debate or Steve Lyons covering a baseball game.

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August 8, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Back To Basics

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Gary Huckabay

We've collectively fallen prey to a common mistake. As we've been fortunate enough to reach a large number of new people, we've not done a particularly great job of talking about why we do what we do. Or, put another way, how come we don't like to talk about RBI when evaluating hitters? I forget about this because of the kind of cloistered atmosphere we tend to run in, but a lot of stuff that we take as stone cold gospel is completely foreign and brand new for the vast majority of baseball fans. So, as a service to the people who may be exploring serious baseball analysis for the first time, or who may be new to Baseball Prospectus, here's a brief rundown of some basics of performance assessment. It's spotty, but it's a start. For you longtime readers, please consider this a cheat sheet you can use when discussing baseball in bars, or with Bob Feller.

So, as a service to the people who may be exploring serious baseball analysis for the first time, or who may be new to Baseball Prospectus, here's a brief rundown of some basics of performance assessment. It's spotty, but it's a start. For you longtime readers, please consider this a cheat sheet you can use when discussing baseball in bars, or with Bob Feller.

Read the full article...

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August 1, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: Alex In Wonderland

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Gary Huckabay

Alex Rodriguez, who might as well have the number 252 tattooed on his face a la Mike Tyson, inspired a media circus this week by suggesting he would accept a trade if the Rangers believed it to be in the best interest of the franchise. This was immediately misinterpreted as a request to leave Arlington, and brought out the same yahoos who are going to follow Rodriguez around for the rest of his career, criticizing anything he does short of tossing 225 innings with a 3.10 ERA for the Rangers. But let's put aside for a second whether or not it makes sense for the Rangers to make a deal that moves Rodriguez. Let's similarly put aside any ridiculous, ill-informed tripe that suggests Rodriguez isn't a team guy, or that "winning obviously wasn't a priority" when he signed with Texas in 2001. Let's ignore that the Rangers have done an impressive job of blowing money down the toilet on a number of other players with a heck of a lot less return. And for this exercise, let's not even admit that the Rangers develop pitchers about as often as TV producers improve a show while it's "on hiatus."

But let's put aside for a second whether or not it makes sense for the Rangers to make a deal that moves Rodriguez. Let's similarly put aside any ridiculous, ill-informed tripe that suggests Rodriguez isn't a team guy, or that "winning obviously wasn't a priority" when he signed with Texas in 2001. Let's ignore that the Rangers have done an impressive job of blowing money down the toilet on a number of other players with a heck of a lot less return. And for this exercise, let's not even admit that the Rangers develop pitchers about as often as TV producers improve a show while it's "on hiatus."

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