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But that ignores the team context. The Red Sox are at the level of contending for a World Series, and a player of Crawford's value (even if he isn't as good as Werth) could be enough to put them over the top. In a division where two other teams are credible threats to win more than 90 games, every extra win is very valuable.
The Nats aren't likely to contend for at least a couple more years, and by the time they do, Werth will probably have declined a fair amount. Now, the Red Sox might have been better off spending their money on Werth than on Crawford, but any player like that will have more value for the Sox than the Nats.
I know this would take a lot more work, but is there enough information to do this study over a larger time span? I'm curious to know if this has always been true for free agent signings, if it's an anomaly, or if it's a recent trend.
I just wanted to follow up on Dr. Dave's comment about not including age in the analysis of free agents re-signing with their own team vs. signing with a new team. In a comment on one of your earlier articles, you said that you had looked at age and that didn't seem to be the cause. Can you go into a little more detail about that?It seems like including players whose deals were signed before they reached unrestricted free agency would naturally bias the data towards the players re-signing with their own teams. Those are players who were unable to sign with other teams and are, I think, younger than other free agents, so they're more likely to be in the "aging slowly" part of their careers.
Actually, cocaine use matters just as much as amphetamine use. Cocaine is a stimulant and is considered a performance-enhancing drug. It is on the WADA's prohibited list, in the "stimulants" section.
Then again, nobody seems to care about historical amphetamine use when looking at the effects of PEDs, so I guess we should ignore cocaine.
Joe's article touches on something that I've been thinking about for a while. I think that Selig's move to integrate the leagues was a huge mistake and will (in the fullness of time) be a serious problem for the game.
When the two leagues were really separate entities, league championships were very important. The World Series was still the ultimate goal, but there was some kind of fan satisfaction inherent in winning your league pennant. With the two leagues basically becoming two conferences, the playoffs are just a tournament with only one goal--winning the World Series. If the leagues aren't seen as two separate entities, the league pennant just doesn't matter that much, and the World Series is too large a factor in fan satisfaction.
Why will this ultimately hurt the game? Because of expansion. Just as the divisional split came about because expansion made the leagues too large to give all fans hope of seeing their team win a championship, combining the leagues has done the same thing. Even in a league with perfect competitive balance, each team would only win the World Series every 30 years. Since that's impossible, we're going to see a lot of championship droughts that last decades and longer.
Cities with long baseball histories seem to be able to sustain teams in those situations (e.g., the Red and White Sox until this decade and the Cubs), but how are people in Toronto going to feel in 2050 if their team still hasn't won (or even gotten to) a World Series since the early 1990s?
Separating the leagues again would help solve this possibly non-existent problem (as well as making the ASG more interesting). I don't have any kind of workable, practical solution in mind, but I'd hate to see fans in 10 or more cities give up on baseball because their team hasn't won a World Series in 75 years.
Sorry for writing so long on something that's only tangentially related to Joe's article. It's just something I've been thinking about and wondering how other people felt about it.
But he brings up a good point. TV ratings for baseball in general (and, actually, everything except the Super Bowl) are down from what they were in the 70's. Have the ratings for the All-Star Game declined more than the ratings for the World Series?
I think those are both good suggestions. Another guess would be that they want the players to trust them, so they make decisions the same way the players do.
Not to get overly social science-y, but the players' decision (conscious or not) to vote for the All-Star team based on the first half of the season makes perfect sense. If All-Star teams were made up of the best players (as defined by some combination of career and current value), the same players would make the All-Star teams over and over again. There would be some wild cards, but most of the changes would occur when a star either established himself or became unproductive.
As you rightly point out, voting based on one half season will get players into the game who don't "deserve" to be there. From the players' point of view, that's a good thing, because most players don't "deserve" to be there. For the vast majority of players, it is in their self-interest to vote based on short-term performance, because there is no other way that they themselves could ever hope to make the team. If I were an economist, I would say that the players have chosen a rational valuation system.
Any word on studies of this procedure's effectiveness? I'd worry about having a brand-new procedure done to me if there weren't any non-anecdotal (i.e., real) evidence that it works.