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Excellent article. When I was a boy I couldn't afford to go to a game even if it was only 50 cents. But they had a little league game where if you showed up with your team in uniform you could get a seat in the bleachers, or you could climb the light towers in the outfield with a board and sit on that and watch the game, or you could outrace the other kids in the parking lot and grab a ball hit over the roof and return it for entrance to the game, or you could wait until the sixth inning started and the ushers would let you into the bleachers.
There is no way I could love baseball more by making the game ten minutes shorter and add 15 minutes of commercials. It is perfect the way it is. When you walk into the stadium and see the diamond and the green grass of the outfield, you have left the real world and all of its problems Like church for the believers, you can forget everything negative for a short while. A place where the best team wins because they played better than the other team. A place with all the traditions are honored. A hot dog, a cold beer, a chance to catch a foul ball, possible autograph from one of the greats, the star spangled banner, take me out to the ball game, check out that blonde in the first row, all three batters whiffing on fast balls, give me time in the ball park. Make it affordable so that young kids and young families can afford to go and you will see a huge increase in fans of baseball.
This reminds me of how the lifers in the military used to call the citizens "Sillyvilians" because they weren't in thew military .
I usually forward"<a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/The_Quinton/">The Quinton</a>" to my son and nephew who are partners in our fantasy team, but they do not take advantage of it as much as I do. Being what I now consider a"young" age of 40, they stool rely only on the stat mags and self sounded experts for insights into the game of baseball. I have a file of your observations and pull them out spring training and re-read them. They make me a better draft manager and I enjoy being more in control during the draft. My team finishes higher every year because almost every draft pick performs better than his draft position. Thanks for your observations. John Fagot
You have helped me understand my process immensely. Keep it up.
Thx for the story. It is a lesson for everyone.
Explain how losing Kimbrel is a good thing for the Braves again?
How about 3-d printing me some new knees in vitro?
I wonder if this analysis would change if you only used playoff data. After closely watching Bobby Cox over 20 years or so, it became obvious that his handling of "his boys" was a factor in the braves' success. But in the playoffs Bobby would let one of his boys who was at a disadvantage with the pitcher bat late in the game when a pinch hitter was obviously needed. His dependency on the status quo was settling to players who were sure that they would be in the lineup every day as starters, and used the same way as pitchers, but in the playoffs you have to go with the best person for the situation regardless. Bobby didn't. He stuck with his guys and the Braves only won one world series after all those division championships. There were plenty of other factors also but I believe this was definitely one that hurt us several times.
Happens all the time in most entertainment businesses also.
Whenever you speak with someone who doesn't like or understand the appeal of baseball they always say that the game is too long and that a lot of the time nothing is happening. Of course they don't understand the game or they would not say "nothing is happening". How ever much effort and debate has gone into speeding up the game thankfully without having a serious effect on a game that is already fine. However not only does instant replay add to the length of the game and adds more time when nothing is happening on the field, it eliminates one of the most enjoyable parts of the game: the manager who loses his mind and goes absolutely nuts.Fans love it when they see the manager come charging out of the dugout, scream at the umpire from a distance of one millimeter, kick dirt on the umpire's shoes, throw rosin bag grenades from behind the mound etc... If it is the home team the fans cheer the manager standing up for his boys and applaud wildly when the manager gets booted. If it is the visiting manager then the boos cascade constantly during his tirade, and then turn to cheers when the umpire evicts the enemy. As it is now the manager takes as long as possible to walk out to the umpire and stalls until his dugout can notify him if the slow-mo shows the ump was wrong or right and whether he should challenge. Then we have to wait while the umpires confer, when the networks have already shown the result. Yes it is important that we get calls right, but it ain't any fun. The thing I liked most about Bobby Cox was watching to see if he would add to his record for ejections.
We should limit seriously the use of replay.
The number one reason that people do not like baseball is because it is "too slow" and "nothing happens". While I disagree with that and attribute it to the fact that these folks don't know the game, your study shows room for a tightening up on the players who do waste a lot of time. But given the complaint of slowness, why do we have a replay system that slows the game down even further. The time taken for the replay should include the time that the manager uses to walk out to the umpires and wait until his team gets a look at the replays in the dugout, not just the time after the manager uses his one decision to challenge. Also, the replay has eliminated what is one of the most enjoyable parts of the game i.e. the manager losing his f***ing mind and putting his face in the umpires face , screaming and hollering, throwing dirt on the umpire's shoes,throwing rosin bag grenades and just naturally raising hell. The home town fans love their manager "standing up" for their team, and cheer even more when the manager gets ejected. What a loss of fun and laughs.Dumb move.
I can see myself doing the exact same things at every draft I have ever participated in. I am taking my own three sentence adaptation of this article with me to my drafts.
As much as I respect Hank as a man filled with character, it is not a function of skin color. It is a function of first hand observation of Bonds and the unmistakable signs of PED use. Secondly, it is a function of how Aaron carried himself versus Bond's petulance. Not a function of skin color.
If you had ever worked for a major newspaper you would know how the baseball beat writer or the music editor was selected."You're young. You can go out at nights. Cover the baseball team or the concert scene". Knowledge of the sport or of music not required.
The Braves are still sore and bruised from the Uggla/Upton Heavyweight bouts. They seem to do better when they have a great homegrown bullpen that only requires their starters to get to the 7th allowing only 2-3 runs. The continuance of young pitchers to fill that pen is the key.
Damn good analysis and insight, especially for a 22 year old. Get some help from BP readers who would like to involve themselves in a league wide effort to gather and process data.
Major league capable athletes should be able to bunt the ball to the other side of the shift or "place" a ball to the opposite field with a poke.
I gotta have this book.
The concept of a "save" along with the requisite set-up man resulted in the best Braves pitcher standing in the bullpen while Carpenter faced the Puig/Uribe duo so that Kimbrel could face the 8th hitter, a pinch hitter and the leadoff hitter in the 9th. Shouldn't it have been the other way around?
No one voted for Freddie Freeman??
I want to have Marcell Ozuna go to The Big Texan in Amarillo and eat that 72 oz steak and give odds. Anyone that can eat 5 in and out burgers at one time can easily handle that steak.
Good article from a good person. The difference between Greenies and steroids is that steroids really enhanced performance while amphetamines did not.
Hank admitted to doing a Greenie one time and said he thought he was going to have a heart attack. Henry never hit 70 home runs, he never hit 50. When the league dropped the mound six inches he stayed in the 40's. Also Hank never ballooned out of his clothes the way Bonds did. If you ever saw Bonds in a suit while he was juicing, you knew immediately that something was wrong. A tiny head perched on this enormous body. Should Bonds be in the Hall of Fame? Yes. Do you have to use the argument that other HOF members like Hank used steroids in order to get him in?? Childish.
There were other factors also including the fact that the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants do not have the kind of fans nationwide that would follow and watch a series with say the Yankees and the Dodgers, and a lot of people who are totally involved in the Presidential election that are glued to Fox or MSNBC, and some major college football matchups that weekend. More competition is the problem not the announcers.
I understand why Joe Morgan questions sabermetrics. Just look at the BP analysis of players that don't fit into the algorithms, but still manage to have great careers. If you play the game, you see things that those who didn't play the game don't see. That is a fact.
Braves fan who will listen to any game that Vin announces. I love his asides.
Well written article, but with only one graph the BPer's might not care for it.
You looked and acted like you were really nervous so the Bonafacio statement can be attributed to that.
Yeah, but still...
This is one of the most important articles I have ever read in BP and I bet that it will also be one of the most overlooked. No stat should even be considered until the number of plate appearances is known.
Beane had the balls to do it, and did. It wasn't the kind of change that the movie portrayed and was usurped by every other team quickly, but at the time it was a major change in the way players were evaluated.Hollywood isn't interested in the truth, it is interested in what makes the story.
Does anyone else think that "sophomore slump" isn't what is wrong with Heyward?? Injuries?? He stands too far back at the plate, tries to pull everything, so pitchers just let him try to pull the outside pitch and he grounds out to second. Check the stats. The Braves should change his number to 4-3 because that's what shows up in the scorebook every time he plays.
As a Braves fan I am demolished, AS a baseball fan who gets grief from his family for the time spent watching baseball, it justified my devotion to the game. In LA many people claim that baseball is too slow and not interesting, not enough action. Insanity.
The actual game itself, and the knowledge to understand what is happening on the field are now secondary to "family fun at the new stadium".Many fans remind me of the people at the Lakers game that just want to be seen by the other entertainment industry types at the game, and show off their quality seats which they can afford but you can't. The ultimate enjoyment of a baseball game for these folks is the luxury box where they don't have to bother actually looking at the game live, just enjoy the eats and drinks, talking with the other fortunate ones, and looking at the replay on big screen after it has happened, never understanding why or what happened. Theme park with cute women throwing tee shirts to the crowd with the PA blaring out the decibels.
Chief Noc-A-Homa used to start the games by running on to the field with a spear (I want to say a "flaming" spear but that should be part of a Bill Veeck story) which he planted into the pitcher's mound and then ran out to left field where his teepee was located.
Who is Span? Is that Warren?
Sugar Bear Blanks with the Braves.
Good article. Thanks
What sabermetrics only guys forget is that ballplayers, especially pitchers are dependent on how their bodies are working that particular day.Just like all of us, some days they are sharper, more rested, or mentally aware than others. BP needs more articles like this without graphs.
There are two types of BP readers. One is a stathead that really loves the articles that have numerous statistical analyses and graphs, and the other wants to know exactly what those numbers mean when it comes to their team or their fantasy team. As a BP reader for more than a decade, the editors have gotten less informational and more stathead oriented. Baseball is supposed to be fun, but it appears that BP would rather reveal a new method of statistical analysis than to provide information that makes watching baseball fun.
Would MLB be interested in minor league stats?? It would be a nice addition and add to the overall package. I could do the Round Rock Express.
Go around the Braves lineup: Catcher Mc Cann, 1B La Roche, 2B Prado, SS Escobar, 3B Chipper, LF Anderson, CF Mc Louth, RF a mix of people. There are really only 3 spots that the Braves can realistically improve themselves at,given their money situation. 3B where Chipper has earned another year to show he hasn't completely lost the bat speed to get to the fastball, Left field where Anderson actually looked a lot better than anyone thought but still needs to go (possibly a platoon job with Diaz) and RF where Heyward will take residence for the next decade. Where do you pay for and play a big bopper with the possible exception of a trade with La Roche?
BP has too many stats and charts and not enough interesting articles about baseball. Statistical analysis isn't always interesting. Sykojohnny
Sorry I didn't make it. Thx for the opportunity. John Fagot