Applied use of FIP, QERA, and more on the subject of pitcher rate stats.
Imagine if the entire baseball blogosphere started using the original Runs Created formula-the one Bill James developed circa Off The Wall-as our primary way of valuing a player's offensive contribution. Forget run environments, linear weights, league adjustments, and all of the other things we've learned over the past thirty years; instead, for the sake of efficiency, we went back to (H + BB) * (TB) / (PA). Maybe it's not perfect, but hell, it's easy, and it's not like Willie Bloomquist is going to come out better than Adam Dunn.
Sounds ridiculous, right? But that's more or less what's happening right now with defense independent pitching stats. Quick, who's been better this year (numbers as of Tuesday afternoon):
Two leagues, and two massively different approaches to streaming.
In a lot of ways, MLB Advanced Media really gets it. Their marketing strategy needs a major overhaul-they're trying to be a portal in a post-portal world, and it's grossly limiting their earning potential-but their technology is best-in-breed, and they really seem to understand that sports games will eventually be broadcast and distributed by the leagues themselves, not third-party networks. And why not? Once internet-enabled televisions and super-high-speed broadband become commonplace, cable networks will start being phased out, and MLB Extra Innings will become unnecessary. MLB can just cut out the middle man and make MLB.tv its primary method of distributing baseball games-on your television, computer, or mobile phone.
Baseball isn't immune from the economic downturn, but has the damage been as bad as expected?
The year 2009 has been a ridiculously tough one for business, unless you happen to be a bankruptcy lawyer or maybe a psychic (supposedly they do very well when people are getting laid off). For its part, MLB has done its best to manage expectations, projecting huge declines in attendance, and beating the owners over the head with a don't-spend-too-much-on-payroll message during the offseason. If it all seemed like overkill, you can forgive Bud Selig and company for being cautious; according to some, baseball almost spent its way into contraction during the last recession, one that was far more mild than what we've been going through over the past year. So, with the first half officially in the books, how well have they actually executed?
I'll give Sam Zell of the Tribune Company this: the Cubs are just one of his many problems, and of all the mistakes he and the company have made, this repeatedly botched sale is actually one of the tamest. After all, compared to making a gigantic bet on the already-suffocating dead tree industry, losing a couple of hundred million dollars on a billion-dollar asset sale doesn't seem so bad.
A closer look at the performance and the possibilities of the upgraded MLB At Bat baseball app.
For sports business and tech nerds, last Wednesday seemed like our equivalent of a man walking on the moon. MLB Advanced Media launched live-game streaming on its MLB At Bat iPhone application, following Apple's long-awaited iPhone 3.0 software update. For the first time, we're now able to watch live baseball on our mobile phones, without any complicated workarounds or external devices. Yes, we are officially in the future.
There may be overlooked opportunities for profit in tweeting on Twitter and befriending on Facebook.
Social media is still a tiny business for sports teams and leagues-not to mention for the blogs and social networks themselves. That's partly because the audiences just aren't there yet; the Cleveland Cavaliers are generally praised for their social media strategy, but their official Twitter account only has around 10,000 followers. The team's Facebook page has over 100,000 fans, but even that is still a small fraction of what they could reach through a local TV ad campaign.
Who's at the helm may determine if the first deal to drop will begin a steady flow or just a very slow drip.
After years of negotiations and infighting, local MLB games are finally coming to a PC near you. That is, as long as you live in New York, subscribe to Cablevision, and root for the Yankees. The team, via the YES Network, signed a deal with Cablevision earlier this spring to stream games online within the team's local broadcast area at some point this year, a first for any major American sports team. There will presumably be a subscription fee, and the games will likely be shown on yankees.com, yesnetwork.com, and cablevision.com.
With Sonia Sotomayor headed for the highest bench, the specter of past labor wars inspires a review of the fights to come.
Did Sonia Sotomayor save baseball? Not exactly, but she did make a lot of people happy by effectively ending the strike of 1994-95. This past week, with Sotomayor being nominated to the Supreme Court, we've been able to relive that spring, and it's been a pretty good reminder of how far baseball has come. The last two CBAs have been signed without a work stoppage, and the current one was finished before the old one had even expired.
For decades, the NFL has been considered the model pro sports league, thanks to a system that promotes fiscal parity and, as a result, strong competitive balance between small- and large-market teams. The league has consistently won enormous national media contracts, which have allowed all 32 teams to be profitable, almost regardless of how many tickets or sponsorships they sell. Add in some local revenue sharing and a narrow payroll cap/floor system, and the result is a socialistic system that has kept everyone happy, at least on the surface.
A new way for Major League Baseball to sell lots of tickets, and lots of other stuff for that matter.
Being a blogger is an interesting existence. You can spend hours each week on something that isn't your job, and brings no financial return. Trying to make any money off of Google ads is like trying to make lemonade out of tomatoes-after a year and a half and almost 300 posts on Squawking Baseball, I'm just now reaching the coveted $100 level, at which point Google will actually be willing to send me a check.