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I saw very little baseball over the weekend, taking off early Friday with my wife to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Even though it was only a few days, I feel like I missed a lot. I guess that’s one of the great things about baseball: so much happens every single day.
As I explained last week, we asked the attendees at each Pizza Feed to predict the results of the divisional races this year, along with the World Series winner, major award winners, managerial firings, etc. This week, we’ll take a look at the American League divisional races.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a four-game wraparound series this weekend, ending with the traditional 11 a.m. start on Patriot’s Day. The teams are nominally the contenders in the American League East, but as Chris Kahrl put it a few weeks ago, the AL East is really the Yankees, and the two pairs behind them: the Sox and Blue Jays, and the the Orioles and Devil Rays.
There are a couple of stretches during the year when doing this column can be a bit difficult. One of them is right now. We’re about ten days into the season, which is too late to be making any predictions about how things are going to go–although I do wish Dave Pease hadn’t nixed my line about Eli Marrero’s shot to hit .400–and too early to draw conclusions about what we’ve seen so far. Oh, we can throw some numbers out, and I stand by what I said the other day about the strike zone, but for the most part, the first couple weeks of the season are about watching and waiting.
One of the points we’ve been pounding for years is the concept of sunk costs. In baseball, it refers to the amount of a guaranteed contract yet to be paid. The money is committed, and must be paid to a player regardless of whether he’s playing or not.
Transaction Analysis, March 31-April 3, 2002
This week, let’s take a look at the divisional races in the National League. For each division, the average rank of each team is listed, along with the standard deviation for each team, which is a measure of how much variability there was for each team. The lower the deviation, the more agreement there is about that team’s place in the standings.
A ludicrous slippery-slope response to baseball’s recent announcement that they will enforce rules limiting the wearing of protective “body armor” at the plate? Of course it is. No one wants to see batters lose their head protection, no matter how much they crowd the plate.
I don’t mean to defend the actions of certain fans, which went well past the rules of decorum, but the emotion displayed by those people struck me as a large one-finger salute to those who want to say that the Montreal Expos can be eliminated and no one will care. Many people will care; perhaps not enough to make this destroyed franchise viable again, but certainly enough to make the point that the Expos didn’t die: they were killed by an ownership group content to collect welfare rather than compete.