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How often are the BP Depth Charts updated? When is Man-Ram gonna be removed?
I was seeking further details on this comment in the opening paragraph:
"The common intuition that teams that play good defense tend to run the bases well to boot is corroborated by the data, which makes sense, given that speed plays an important role in both pursuits."
The only example offered was ten premiere players who were good in both areas. I think that this connection is very interesting and so I'd really like to know what studies (if any) the writer was referencing with that comment. So if anybody knows about the baserunning/defense skills correlation, please share it. (I've e-mailed BP about this but, as usual, no reply.)
I don't think that Jeter even did pretend to have been hit, but even if he did, it's totally irrelevant because he clearly wasn't hit.
So, you're concerned with a hitter who might have pulled an acting number to get a free base. I'm more concerned with MLB's rampant corrupt and incompetent umpiring.
For better or worse, it appears that many more fans and media commentators would share your concerns more than mine. MLB might very well be beta testing NBA-style game fixing, and they're no doubt gleeful to learn that the fans and the media don't give a damn that they do.
In addition to the statistical projections of Eric Young, though, there should also be some consideration given to scouts' analysis. And more important than that is the very real possibility that, because he was raised by a man who played pro ball, he has the temperament and experience to, at the very least, not be a total bust. Tony Gwynn Jr., for instance, might be only a replacement level player, but we can rest assured that he won't be a total flake or become listless and despondent when he slumps.
I don't know. Maybe I've just developed such an affinity for EY Sr.'s jocular warmth on 'Baseball Tonight' that I just can't help but be bias towards the spawn of his loins!
In the first inning, there was a HBP on Jeter when Lincecum threw inside. However, the ball clearly hit the knob of the bat (it was obvious from the sound, the replays, and the way the ball ricocheted).
According the rules, that should have been a foul ball, shouldn't it have? And if so....why did none of the announcers mention it, instead acting as though it were a dangerous HBP that plunked Jeter in the hand?
What is going on with MLB officiating?!?
I concede all of your points on Vince McMahon. He runs an entertainment company which has no (or almost no) pretentions of competitive legitimacy. To compare what could possibly be occurring in MLB (they might be testing the waters of NBA-style game fixing to see whether they're ever held to account and, if not, Selig and Co. could unleash full-scale fixing within a few years) to what the WWE does is a very incomplete analogy.
Still, I have a strong suspicion that the actions of MLB umpires are sufficiently corrupt to warrant the association. When you say "pro wrestling", everybody knows that you're discussing a farce (albeit an admitted one), and I want to be clear that we might be in the early throes of turning MLB into a similar farce (albeit a secretive one).
It's 4:30 EST on Saturday afternoon and I just saw another horrible call benefiting the home team. In a Yankees at Angels game in the 1st inning, Brett Gardner caught a fly-out in CF and then threw the ball to first base to nail a runner who was slow in getting back to the bag.
The runner was out by at least one foot.
The hosts made some timid references to the corrupt, incompetent umpire who wantonly violated MLB's rules by calling Jeter out last week, but no more.
This whole Umpiring Phenomenon - the bad calls, the suspect calls, the aggressive anti-player behavior, as well as the media's complicity via silence (they're still too hysterical that Ramirez took steroids to compensate for missing spring training) - is, in my opinion, the biggest scandal in baseball.
If these umpires continue to be allowed - or perhaps even encouraged - to make flagrantly horrible calls that totally undermine the legitimacy of the competition (or "integrity of the game" to use MLB's expression), if they continue to behave belligerently toward players, and if the media continues to look the other way and/or cover it up....MLB might as well have Vince McMahon as Selig's heir.
Umpires might have a hard job....but it's not nearly as hard as the players' job is, which is why the marketplace awards the players with much higher salaries and why we pay to watch them play, not the umps ump.
What we're seeing this season, based on my observations and in my opinion, is flagrant umpire bias and power-tripping. Whatever happened in the past is all but irrelevant.
After all, the White Sox threw the World Series in the past. Does that make throwing games acceptable? The whole "things in the past were even worse" is a red herring.
That never happened, you're just a wacko conspiracy theorist! How dare you challenge the courage and integrity of our brave men in blue?!?
I'm teasing. Imagine if you traveled, say, from Detroit to St. Louis to watch that game and the ump - not the players - determined the victor of that game because he didn't like the way that Joel Zumaya looked at him after a ball four.
Pete Rose is banned from baseball because he did something which might possibly lead to an affront to the integrity of the game. And yet every day we have umpires who are flagrantly, joyfully, spitting at the integrity of the game and they get lauded.
Some journalists need to investigate the MLB umps in '09, and somebody in MLB needs to put the umps in check (and try to find out if there's any in-house funny business at MLB Inc. regarding dictates to the umpires.)
I second your sentiments about Unfiltered. There are already more than enough "irreverent" sports blogs with topical humor and Tootsie Roll-sized thoughts involved. I'll always think of PECOTA first when I think of BP, but that's seconded by a site with thoughtful, honest analysis that's not dictated by the trendy cries of the sports media masses.
Questec and other accountability systems are fantastic, but they don't seem to be working. Similarly, MLB has rules against provoking or elevating arguments with players, and yet we increasingly find umpires grandstanding and trying to act like tough guys (i.e., yelling at players' backs as they walk to the dugout).
As I wrote in several prior posts, there is something fundamentally awry with MLB's umpiring this year. I have seen 5-times more egregious calls thus far in '09 than I ever saw in an entire season before this. And what's more, the media strangely ignores or even laughs about it. ("Gomez and Gardenhire might've thought he was safe, but the fans don't mind the call and the ump's opinion is the only one that counts, HA HA!")
There's been a creepy, destructive cultural shift in America in the past decade where authority figures are deified and anybody who dares point out evidence that they might be corrupt is called a "conspiracy theorist". It is this meme (to borrow your word) that is allowing some truly horrible officiating to plague baseball.
A line ump having a prejudice against Ramirez wouldn't be a "conspiracy", by definition. He'd be a bias, power-tripping umpire.
Prejudice wouldn't be proven with the odds one way or another. But the extreme improbability of two bad called third strikes on the very same hitter (who has a famously great eye for balls and strikes) raises questions which can be answered with other types of research.
Regardless of this particular issue, this year has seen the worst officiating imaginable. We've seen umps assault players (bumping into them), umps make horrible calls on balls and strikes (witness last Friday's Brewers at Cubs game), and umps claim that they can re-invent the rules of baseball by claiming that a tag need not be applied in a stolen base (witness Jeter's steadfast claim that the ump said the ball beat him).
I know that modern American's just love their authority figures, but I'm not going to lie for them. I'm not going to say that Zambrano bumped an ump when that's a lie. I'm not going to say that Derek Jeter concocted a tale about an ump for no reason.
Watch out. We could soon find ourselves in NBA territory where the league and the officials are determining winners, not the actual athletes.
Wait a sec....
If Hirschbeck calls strikes on 32/373 of those pitches, and he called it on Ramirez twice in the same game, then the odds of that happening naturally are (32/373)^2.
Something could very well be up.
On a larger issue, the 2009 season has featured, far and away, the worst umpiring I've ever seen (and I've followed baseball closely since 1998). It's beyond incompetent, it seems downright corrupt.
From umpires bumping players (and having MLB falsely claim that the players bumped the ump) to home-team players getting called "Safe" on force-outs where they were out by literally two feet to absurd - and selective - strike zones, this is an utter outrage.
What's equally disturbing is that the fourth estate (that's the nickname for the media, right?) seems to be complicit in the....suspicious umpiring. Rather than investigating it, they ignore it. Rather than asking why MLB lied and said that Carlos Zambrano bumped into an umpire when the umpire actually banged Zambrano, they lie along with them. Rather than firmly holding onto the paramount importance of honest, transparent umpiring, we have phonies like Cohen trying to drum up idiot populism by saying that MLB's rules should change to harm Ramirez and the Dodgers. (Notice how Cohen and everybody else in the media feigns hatred of "steroids" and yet they never seem upset by all the Viagra ads. Gee, I wonder why?)
I strongly urge BP - as a frequently tempered and logical voice in the baseball media (examples including the "steroids" hysteria and rising above the media's hatred of the MLBPA) to start cataloging, observing, and reporting umpiring. At best, it's incompetent. At worst, we could be looking at an NBA-type scandal (where games were being fixed from the top and from the bottom).
Only in modern-day America could somebody who did his job so well be mocked and reviled because the public wants to know more about the private pharmaceutical lives of a bunch of young men they'll never know.
"Billions of dollars in transactions interest you?"
"How about tense, months-long negotiations between billionaires who toy with young athletes' lives as a hobby?"
"Where's the remote?"
"Poor young man from third-world country takes drugs that the pharmaceutical industry already sells to rich Americans?"
"Lynch that man and let me see his teammates' pee!!!"
It's the most pathetically trivial issue - all the outrage is fake (if it weren't fans wouldn't have saved their hysteria for five years after ESPN had detailed reports about McGwire's usage). And it's giving them - and hack, effeminate writers like Olney - an excuse to pigeonhole a fascinating topic and Fehr's great career.
Fehr's tale has the ring of Robin Hood to it: he improved the lives and dignity of young workers, many of whom come from families and countries with no money at all. All it cost him was the slander of media hacks and the hatred of ignorant fans who have nothing better to do than ninny about what drugs ballplayers take. So, he came out with a win.
Man was it a relief to see that you guys are operating out of the Pacific Time Zone! I'd mistakenly thought that the 1,500 word limit was a minimum, so when I read here in the comments that it was actually a maximum (which is obvious, in retrospect), I went hacking paragraphs out of the bastard like Halladay taking down Twins.
The three-hour difference saved me from being a DNQ.
I agree with Raton. Information is little more than a soundbite, knowledge is conceptualizing the ramifications of the info and knowing how to turn it into a tool. (That's my thought, anyhow!)
The reason sabermetrics is so wonderful is because there is so much knowledge. I don't come to BP or Fangraphs for trade gossip and news hysterics (although, in truth....the sabermetrics community seems to be devolving into that quite a bit), I come here for disciplined though and analysis of the game of baseball.
ESPN is People Magazine for "men" (and this does NOT exclude Neyer in the least). True sabermetrics, on the other hand, is like a fun science class that you remember fondly for years.
The talking-head, soundbite mainstream media - 99.99% of which is actually nothing more than the cult or personality cloaked in the guise of news - is, in my opinion, a willfully destructive force to civilization. Not to get political, but the last eight years has been dominated by a political force who said, literally, "Reality is what we say it is", and they've been wildly abetted by the inane lust for "news" and "gossip".
Just focus on research and analysis, try to prove yourself wrong, and think creatively....and my $40 will have been well spent. I don't need stupid injury hype and lame trade gossip.
Okay, one final note for JayHawkBill:
You were dead wrong when you said that Baseball-Reference.com's similarity scores aren't based upon age. In point of fact, their similarity scores are actually taxonomied by age.
....And Curt Schilling comps with Kevin Brown for four different seasons. (Ages 37-40)
While it's kind of cute that you so love Schilling that you're arguing against the blatantly obvious - that his career arc was freakishly unusual - this is really getting boring.
The PECOTA comp was from the '07 (or possibly '06) BP annual. I'm not going to bother looking it up because this conversation doesn't deserve it. Clemens was the only active player, between the two books I'd glanced at, that compared to Schilling. All the rest were from prior eras. And, even though you disregard all facts that don't conform to your theory, I'll again state that Baseball-Reference.com comped him with yet another steroid user, Kevin Brown.
Also, you don't have to drop a name ("Clay Davenport's" or "Joe Sheehan") every time you're mentioning a stat.
Joe Sheehan started this by pointing out the obvious:
"I'm going to be indelicate here and point out that Schilling is a pitcher who struggled to stay healthy for much of his career, and had his greatest effectiveness and durability late in that career. Through his age-29 season, Schilling had thrown 988 1/3 innings, had two 200-inning seasons (and didn't lose one to either strike-shortened campaign), and never received a Cy Young vote. From the ages of 30-33, he threw 200 innings three times, made three All-Star teams, and got Cy votes in one season. From 34-37, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball."
If you're still interested in arguing that Schilling's career path was perfectly normal, please take it up with him. I'm bored of this idiocy.
The reason I first wrote about this is because Joe Sheehan mentioned it in the actual column:
"What I do know is that "an oddly late peak" has been used as evidence against many players...."
Like Sheehan, I was talking about the overall career, yet you seem curiously fixated one single season when he was 25. Now, what I COULD do is point out that there are dozens of metrics that are a lot better than WARP that indicate that his age-25 season was not only not his best, it wasn't even in the top-3!
But I won't. Your single season argument is a red herring and a waste of my time. Knock yourself out with finding fringe stats to celebrate that year in Philly, but I was talking about the collected arc of his career, not an outlier.
With that in mind, let's take a breather here and consider this fact: Schilling won 120 games more AFTER the age of 30 than he did before. You said that you don't like the age-30 cutoff point, "arbitrary" you said. Curiously, though, you didn't suggest a new cut-off point. How about age-28? The average elite MLB player's peak. Check THAT out.
Then, you also said that you don't like Baseball-Reference.com's similarity score (which I just threw in as a filler)? Cool. PECOTA had Schilling's largest contemporary similarity score as....Roger Clemens.
Near as I can tell, your total argument here is: "Schilling's career path was normal." I, like Joe Sheehan, disagree. I strongly disagree, and find his career path extremely ABnormal. If you think that having your best years - by far - in your mid- to late-30's is normal, then we're simply at an impasse and that's that.
The first question I'd have to ask when you're looking for PEDs is....what's a PED? My brother played college football and got tons of perfectly legal stuff from GNC that DRAMATICALLY altered his physical state. Players in the '50s had probably a tiny fraction of what we now have. HGH and amphetamines (like Ritalin) are being handed out by doctors as if they're cotton balls. Could we conceivably reach a point where the pharmicalogically-enhanced public is actually MORE athletic than the artificially-oppressed pro athletes?
You say that Schilling didn't use steroids because his best year was at age 25? Well, Roger Clemens had his best year at age 23. So are you saying Clemens didn't use?
And as long as we're cherry-picking....
But what about this:
-Young Schilling (<30) won 48 games.
-Old Schilling (>=30) won 168 games.
-Young Schilling had average OPS+ of 100.75.
-Old Schilling had average OPS+ of 132.14.
And the pitcher most statistically similar to Old Schilling according to Baseball-Reference.com? None other than known steroid user Kevin Brown.
So if you're looking for statistics to prove steroid use....you better be prepared to sweat some bullets when it comes time to cut-and-paste Schilling onto your spreadsheet.
Go to Google Images and type "Schilling Sock". You'll get pics of the sock from every angle, from every inning, close-ups, long-shots, etc.
How come there's not a SINGLE image of the supposed wound....anywhere? Wouldn't somebody in the post-game locker room just snapped a picture with a camera phone or something?
Not if they were all locked into a lie.
Noel Steere: You cite a wondrous turnaround for Schilling from Game 2 to Game 6 as proof of his heroism. Interestingly, the author of the new book on Roger Clemens repeatedly cites single-game turnarounds as proof of Clemens's steroid use. Could it be....?
Regardless, I think that your perspective on Game 6 is thoughtful and valid, and I definitely won't argue with Schilling's post-season success.
Sure he can. But why can't the Dixie Chicks make a joke without an army of phony tough guys then bulldozing their CDs while screaming "Shut up and sing!"
What about "Shut up and throw"?
Anyway, Schilling and his type won: they got years and years of war in tons of countries. Good for them. Now stop pretending that you're the victims.
Also....why am I the only one who noticed that the blood on the sock was, without question, dry? We've all had little cuts on white cloth, so we should all know that the pale, burgandy-colored blood means that the blood stain has long-since settled. Is there ANYBODY else out there who observed this but was too afraid to state the obvious?
Whatever. Schilling's a superman, God Bless America, Support the Troops, etc., etc., etc.
Just wanted to chime in on the notion of a late-career surge as evidence of steroid use:
I believe that the point here wasn't to demonstrate that Schilling used steroids (however they may be defined - Andro? Ephedra? HGH?....they change the definition by the week!), the point, I believe, was to illustrate the silliness of trying to find proof of PED use via stats. It's only fair that if the vast majority of the media is applying this to every other player, then they damn well ought to apply it to Schilling as well.
This isn't to say that Schilling used steroids, it's to say that the statistical method of proving use is demonstrably worthless. But that doesn't stop the media and the (Viagra-popping) fans from stumbling over each other in a rush to wag their finger at this guy or that guy because he had a good year at age 36. Bill James wrote a great article about how John Feinstein egregiously cherry-picked stats to make Clemens look like a user: http://www.billjamesonline.net/ArticleContent.aspx?AID=599&Code=James01090
If Feinstein can do that to Clemens (and many other media members can do it to Bonds, ARod, and most other non-white players), then it's only fair to apply it to Schilling. Again, the point isn't to prove PED use, the point is to dis-prove the validity of the method.
Also, I agree wholeheartedly that there IS indeed racism involved in this manic witch-hunt, at least insofar as the people I hear on sports radio go. Just from casual listening, I'd say that 90% of the guys that they look to harp on are Latin and/or black (McGwire and Clemens being the token whities). They don't care about Brian Roberts (they're to busy chanting "USA!" while he bats in the WBC) or the countless other white players who've been cited in the Mitchell Report, they just want to try and pretend that their crappy white player was actually better than Barry Bonds, were it not for that Victor Conte! (As if.)
(And if you guys want to REALLY be alarmed at a white player with suspicious ties to steroids, I suggest you read Mr. Calcaterra's article in the 2009 'Hardball Times' book.... But don't ever expect to hear loser, Viagra-popping fans to talk about it on sports talk radio. They're too busy talking about how ARod "Should never be allowed on a baseball field again 'cuz he disgraced the purity of the game!" Real quote there.)