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Has anyone asked about Renato Nunez yet? Last year's list states he wouldn't even come over the states for a while so I assume there isn't any new info on the guy. I'm surprised to not see him on the list at least given how much Kevin liked him last year.
Re: LaRussa lives where? TLR still lives in East Bay Cali somewhere around where I grew up in Concord CA I think. Pretty sure he owns an animal shelter in Concord. I ran into him once at the CompUSA in Concord in 1998 or 1999 during the offseason I think. He was much taller than I expected. Because of this, I didn't realize it was him until he was gone.
Hi Mike, great article. I have one suggestion.
What about splitting up the data into 5 zones instead of 4? Have one for the middle (to separate out the heart of the plate) and 4 L shapes for the corners. I imagine most hitters will be very good at hitting pitches in the heart of the plate so separating that information out from the corners might be useful.
I'm probably misremembering this but, I thought ground balls have a higher BABIP associated with them (disregard if not true). I don't know the magnitude of that effect and I doubt it explains all of his high BABIP. My impression of the Marlins infield defense is that it's not that good. If Nolasco is going to be a ground ball pitcher going foward, I think we can look forward to a higher BABIP in general from him with that defense. If he had maintained his strikeout rate that'd be one thing, but he didn't.
Lew Wolff isn't a great owner but he has shown at least some willingness to spend (for example, the 2007 payroll was 79 million). The A's tried very hard to sign Adrian Beltre last winter as well. Beltre took less money to play elsewhere as I recall. Free agent hitters don't want to come to Oakland because they will put up lesser numbers there, hurting the value of their next contract. There's a little bit of chicken and egg scenario going on there.
The A's have never drawn all that well.
In 1973, the 2nd year of their 3peat, they drew just over 1 million fans. AL average was 1.1 million. They have very rarely been over 200,000 fans above the AL average (88-92). They will at best draw about AL average now (e.g. 2001-2005) and only if they're good.
A more pressing concern for me is that when I was living on the peninsula, my cable TV package never had the channel the A's were on (CSCA I think?). I couldn't watch the team on cable and I couldn't watch them using MLB.TV because of blackout restrictions. I think they only get TV exposure in the east bay and it's really hard to grow your fan base in your own area if you aren't on TV where most of the people are living.
Can we get someone to record this and put it online somewhere? I really want to see the show but I don't live anywhere near Chicago. Improv, baseball, free beer, it's most of my favorite things rolled up into one glorious package.
What about all plays at the plate are force plays? Given the severe injuries to Buster Posey and Carlos Santana the last few years, it seems like something that should be discussed. It would be a bit more difficult to blow a call at the plate this way too. That said, I'm not wild about the idea.
I'm going to have to be pedantic here ....
"When those estimates reach a consensus, you can be more secure that you’re on the right track."
This isn't necessarily true. I ran into a situation recently where everyone agreed on the "correct" answer, but everyone was doing it wrong. Consensus can be dangerous if everyone misses the same fatal flaw. I'm not saying that's the case here, but rather the goal is to be right, not agree.
Thank you Kevin for having me on the podcast to help get the message out about the telescope. For those of you who are interested, there is a facebook page with quite a bit more information.
Comments about my surname are always amusing (and often repeated). However, I have never heard it described as a hipster band name before, very funny!
In 16 wild card seasons, 11 of the 32 wild card teams were the 4th best record. I'm counting 10 of 32 1st round matchups that feature the top record vs. the 3rd best record. ~30% is certainly a non-negligible chance for that to happen. The majority of 1st round matchups are seeded 1v4, 2v3, but almost once every 3-4 seasons per league is 1v3, 2v4 matchups. I personally find that to be too often.
I agree 100%. Making the 4th and 5th best records play a 1 or 3 game playoff is the only way to make this palatable for me. Unfortunately, they don't think having 82-85 win division winning teams in the playoffs is a problem. They think the traditionalism associated with winning your division is more important.
Because the wild card is often a strong team, they should also fix the seeding so that the top record always plays the 4th record (or winner of the 4/5 matchup). This should give the top record a stronger advantage in the 1st round and would hopefully increase their incentive to keep winning even if they have locked up their division early. It seems like the Division winner cannot play the wild card winner if they inhabit the same division rule was tailor made to ensure that the Yankees will never play the Red Sox until the ALCS.
I'm not convinced that any team needs to move right now. The A's and Rays do need new stadiums though. As mentioned in the article, those markets are plenty big enough for a team. I think every other team has a recently built, planned, or renovated stadium, so there are no other feasible options for moving teams into NY.
Instead of moving teams into NY, what about expanding by 2 teams? NY, Boston, and Philly all used to support one more team in their markets. We could put two new teams in two of Brooklyn, New Jersey, Philly and Boston. In the next 50 years, each probably needs a new team. Los Angeles could also support another team probably. 32 teams gives 16 to each league, which is more balanced.
If it were up to me I'd get rid of divisions altogether and only put the top team in each league in the world series. It often takes 162 games to decide who the best teams are anyway. This is a pipe dream, however, because there's so much more money to be had with expanding playoffs.
The current system marginalizes exciting September baseball so that it can save that drama for October and higher revenue. I'm not sure there's any system the powers that be could come up with that will return September baseball to its former glory so long as there are as many playoff entrants as there are. It will only ever mean a lot if, in your scenario, one of the Blue Jays or Orioles were left out entirely. The one game playoff proposal still gives the loser a roughly 50% chance of getting in to the show. While the players I'm sure would still leave it all on the field, they still get a second chance. It just can't compare to the pennant races of old.
Since we're stuck with the current system, I would rather try to minimize the damage and make it as hard as possible for the weakest teams from getting in whether they won their division or the wild card.
You're right of course. I merely meant that it is more likely in the old format to have compelling September baseball.
In the old one division per league format it was still possible for the best team to have a world series appearance locked up with a week to go as well. It all depends on the number and distribution of strong teams. However, while there are usually at least 2 strong teams in a league, there aren't always 3 or more.
I would argue that the wild card isn't even the true problem of the current system. Anyone want to guess how many wild card teams have finished below 88 wins (excluding strike shortened 1995)? None. There are 8 division winners with that distinction (again, wild card era only excluding 1995). If they add a 2nd wild card, I'd rather they have the 4th and 5th teams by record duking it out (the 4th team by record is historically the wild card team about 1/3 of the time) rather than arbitrarily forcing what can be the second best team who happens to share a division with a power house into a one game matchup. The best teams should make the playoffs period. This is because of the crap shoot nature of playoffs. I don't want to see an 83 win team winning the world series ever again (apologies to Cardinals fans).
Although I haven't run the numbers, I also suspect the team with the best record is more likely to be bounced in the first round because they have to play the wild card in the LDS. The wild card is very often a strong team. The current tournament but properly seeded would be a better improvement.
Any time you add playoff entrants to your end-season tournament, you remove the meaning of the late-season games for the best teams. It's unavoidable. Unless we go back to a two playoff team per league format, meaningless games between playoff competitors at the end of the season will still happen.
As a transplanted A's fan, I've been waiting for this issue to be resolved forever. The Coliseum is terrible.
I will note that I'm not sure how many fans the A's will lose if they move to San Jose. It's not like the A's will be moving cross country in that case. The local fans will still have access to the team. It would be much more difficult to start over in a new market. With the glacial pace, perhaps BART will be going to San Jose by the time everything gets taken care of.
Many A's fans I know just want the team to have more revenue so we can actually sign a free agent for once. I'm sick of having to sign the old, washed up, hurt guys on the cheap and hope they pan out a la Frank Thomas. Is anyone really excited for the Hideki Matsui signing? I would have much preferred Manny Ramirez.