Discussion in 'Sports and Fitness' started by Timby, Mar 29, 2018.
Player’s Weekend Will Be August 24-26
Only just getting the chance to read this article, but it's a great read. I especially like how Murphy praised Trea Turner for going above and beyond simply apologizing, but actually trying to make a difference in the community. Further, I'm glad Murphy highlighted the Roberto Osuna situation and how the Astros traded for him, despite their so-called zero-tolerance policy, especially since no one else seems to be talking about it.
ESPN site has an article about players who hate sabermetrics and saying it removes the human element from the game.
On one hand, yeah it kinda does, on the other hand, the human element is dumb. It's biased, emotional, driven by self confirming heuristics and the mathematical approach objectively leads to more wins.
It does tell a less exciting story. Nobody wants to see a baseball movie in with a well researched, mathematically sound decision to sub in the hero because he was 1.5% more likely to result in a hit against the given pitcher. Or an epic poem ending with "Mighty Casey, has regressed toward the mean. And was overvalued anyway due to his tendency to hit home runs because of his inability to draw walks and tendency to ground into double plays, he is really only worth about 8.5 win shares. A solid player, but by no means the superstar he's made out to be."
But as long as fans prefer teams to win and will spend more money when they do, there's not much going back.
Despite being horrible at math, I'm actually a paying member of SABR because I'm a statistics nerd, so I'm always fascinated by what new (sometimes good, sometimes embarrassingly awful--looking at you, UZR) statistics can be developed to analyze player performance, bearing in mind that they're largely descriptive, not predictive, especially when it comes to pitching (although some lunatics like Dave Cameron will work until their dying day to develop true predictive analytics for fielding, as that's the holy grail; outfielders already carry cheat sheets about per-batter positioning in their pockets).
Players bitch about it because, by and large, they're meatheads, whining about GMs and whatnot never having played the game, despite the majority of team GMs and presidents having playing experience at some level or another--see my earlier Werth example: Werth would have washed out of baseball without advanced analytics because traditional numbers made him look awful, but even the move to focusing on things like OPS and swing percentages led to him making more than a hundred and thirty million dollars over his career.
I don't know that I agree with the focus on the numbers kills the story, either. At the end of the day, it's still pitcher versus batter, team versus team, and people want to see their team win. Where it does hurt the game is when you have absolute knuckleheads like Tony La Russa running teams, changing pitchers every four pitches because of ~matchups~ or whatever horseshit, and shit starts getting overthought to the point of madness. I mean, personally, I find it amazing to watch a guy like Javy Baez destroy baseball this season, despite his complete allergy to walks and all of his peripheral sabermetrics being relatively in-line with his career averages, outside of swinging at pitches outside the zone at a rate higher than he has in his entire career, dating back all the way to the minors: How in the everloving fuck does that happen? To me, that's a story and I'm interested in people far smarter than I finding out the way to tell it.
To me, it leads to fun thought experiments. And if the focus on the numbers leads to the Cubs winning ( at the O's contending again anytime soon), I'll take it, even if it does occasionally lead to people like Jim DeShaies whining about analytics during garbage time on a broadcast.
I liked Werth a lot as a player, but he’s always struck me as being something of male bimbo, so I don’t know how much credibility his statements carry (if any). That he made his abovementioned statements in an interview with Howard Eskin, who once called him “a marginal Major League player,” makes the entire situation that much more amusing. It’s true that he’d have been out of baseball without the metrics you’re alluding to, as he was never more than the fourth- or fifth-most dangerous hitter in the Phillies lineup. Many of his RBI opportunities came because pitchers preferred to walk Rollins/Utley/Howard/Burrell and pitch to him. He had a larger role in Washington but wasn’t as consistent there as he had been in Philadelphia.
This is the stupidest thing in sports. The majority of places don't have these nickames and if they are called that in the clubhouse, away from the fans, who cares?
For example, Aaron Sanchez is "Sanchize." Since becoming a starter, the guy hasn't been able to stay off the DL. He has not shown he is anyone's franchise pitcher even with his upside. Or Marco Estrada is "Estratosphere." What in the actual fuck?
For a league that has some of the highest paid players in sports, you think they could find a less moronic way to raise money for their charities.
Oh, come on. It's a way for players to have fun for a few days, let them express themselves--particularly important in a sport that's so obsessed with its "unwritten rules" and thinks you should burn in hell for pimping a strikeout or dinger--and it's fun. Like, what the hell is wrong with Didi Gregorius wearing THE KNIGHT, Gary Sanchez KRAKEN (no, seriously, release the kraken), Shane Bieber wearing NOT JUSTIN, Rich Hill with D. MOUNTAIN, Ben Zobrist rocking ZORILLA, or my personal favorite, Joey Votto with IN FLANDERS FIELDS? (I also love Justin Hancock going with HERBIE.) Like, the only thing better would be Osuna going out there with the name "NO TOLERANCE" and wearing the number 0, just because I want to see him get booed off the field.
Yeah, some guys come up with stupid names; some guys are meatheads, sky blue, water wet. C'mon, it's fun, let the players show some personality. It's also a much better way to raise money for charity than wearing pink around Mother's Day to raise money for a scam organization like Komen. But, again, it's fun. Just let the lame-ass jersey names go. Like, Heyward's whole reputation with the Cubs is based around the clubhouse talk he gave during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, and he chose "J-HEY." Lame, sure. But that was a mother of a rain delay; "RAIN MAN" would be awesome. Tyler Chatwood chose "CHATTY," but if he had a sense of humor about himself, it would be like ... "BBBHBP" or something.
Lighten up, Francis.
Edit: Seriously, I might have to buy a D. MOUNTAIN shirsey.
King Felix has, in fact, been sent to the bullpen.
Kenley Jansen has been sent home to Los Angeles due to complications from an irregular heartbeat; he's expected to miss a month while receiving treatment. ESPN said he takes blood thinners for his condition, which is odd to me because usually for a heartbeat condition you'll get prescribed beta blockers or calcium channel blockers ... but as someone who's on Eliquis because of both AFib and a blood clotting disorder, that's some scary shit and I hope he's okay.
His first inning ERA this year was 8.61. I hope this helps him, but I don't think it's going to. He's only 32. It wasn't supposed to be like this.
I'm racking my brain trying to think of the last superstar pitcher who just fell off a fucking cliff like this. Lincecum? Halladay? I thought of Sabathia, too, though he's come back, but those seasons when his fastball was barely hitting 90 yet he was throwing like he still had 95 - 96 gas were ugly.
I suspect he has a small atrial septal defect. Patients with a history of arrhythmia who also have an ASD may be prescribed blood thinners to decrease the risk of stroke due to blood clots.
Weren't those other guys injured?
The Phillies have acquired Justin Bour, whom they envision filling a Matt Stairs-like role, from the Marlins.
Lincecum broke down because he had consistent weight issues (and some completely bizarre mechanics). Halladay just got old out of the blue. Sabathia did have knee issues (to which he responded by showing up to spring training at like 300 pounds one year).
In other news, the Giants are retiring Barry Bonds' number tomorrow.
Put this man in the Hall, you fucks.
Pete Rose first.
My God, those throwback Astros uniforms are glorious.
I can almost see JR Richard striking out some hapless batter right now...
Fuck Pete Rose, always and forever. There's a reason Rule 21 is literally the only rule that's posted in every single clubhouse. Betting on baseball is the single biggest danger to the sport's credibility and integrity and it absolutely cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.
And beyond that, he willingly accepted his own ban in exchange for John Dowd leaving out a finding of fact that Rose bet against the Reds in the Dowd Report (he had Rose dead to rights on that).
In short, fuck Pete Rose (whose achievements are all over Cooperstown, anyway, if you actually go to the Hall, it's not as though he's been scrubbed from history; he just doesn't have a creepy plaque).
Edit: I just did some data dredging because I was bored. Barry Bonds had more intentional walks in his entire career than the Tampa Bay Rays, as a team, have drawn in their twenty years of existence.
Right, which is my point. Fuck Barry Bonds, too.
Why? Because he was only the greatest player to ever hit a baseball, but kind of a surly dick?
Don't come at me with a BUT STEROIDS argument, when baseball has literally never been clean. Babe Ruth was a fat drunk hitting against farmboys throwing 70 miles an hour in a segregated league that had seven other teams. Baseball has a long, sordid history of first segregation and following that institutionalized racism, meaning a lot of the guys held up as legends were legitimately not playing against some of the best competition out there. Amphetamines--which have a genuine, proven, demonstrable effect upon things like reaction time, which is why so many players nowadays get their doctors to give them wink-wink nudge-nudge prescriptions for things like Adderall, allowing them to get "therapeutic use exemptions" from MLB--have been passed around like Skittles in clubhouses for decades. You had Scarface-level mountains of cocaine flying around in the '80s. In the '90s, we had what is now considered the "steroid era." And I guarantee you there's some lab in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or some other Godforsaken land that's already developed some new drug that will take WADA a decade to detect and that a quarter of MLB players are already on.
Beyond that, MLB literally did not had a comprehensive performance-enhancing drug policy until 2005, meaning that even if players were taking shit (and let's be honest, a lot of them were), it wasn't against the rules of baseball.
Beyond that, as players like Melky Cabrera and Neifi goddamn Perez (oh, Neifi, how I hate you) getting popped have proven, steroids do not magically make you a great hitter or cure you of sucking at baseball. (Although the Melky thing was hilarious because he paid a guy to make a website to make it look like he had bought his supplements from a legit pharmaceutical company, which will never fail to make me laugh.) Shooting horse hormones into your ass or whatever does not equal Magic Dinger Juice.
I mean, come on, Bonds was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded. That's a whole other plane of existence. Or, to put it another way: .362 / .609 / .812. That's a line that will never, ever, ever be repeated, not even by a generational demigod like Mike Trout.
With a case like Rose, though, the minute you allow betting on games and / or don't come down on it, you immediately tell your fans they have no reason to watch because the games are meaningless. "Oh, look, Joe Maddon had Tyler Chatwood throw 250 pitches last night ... guess he must have had money riding on how many walks a pitcher could issue in a single inning." (Okay, maybe that's a bad example because that's probably something Maddon would do after smoking a bunch of weed in his RV, but you get the idea.) Gambling in baseball absolutely cannot be tolerated.
If you are going to make an intellectually honest argument to exclude players like Barry Bonds--who, it should be noted, never pissed hot--from the Hall of Fame, then you must also support the recall of players like Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, all known and admitted users of amphetamines (edit: and, if memory serves, Mantle missed the end of the 1961 season because he got an injection of a weird-ass cocktail of amphetamines, steroids and animal fluids in his hip, resulting in a massive staph infection requiring surgery); shit, let's also go after Gaylord Perry, since he's in the Hall despite being a spitballer. George Brett, pine tar. I could go on and on and on, but the Hall is filled with people who did everything they could to try to get some sort of advantage. But if you're ignoring them and saying "fuck Bonds," you're either making a hypocritical argument or playing a pretty horrible game of No True Scotsman; "the good guys cheat like this, the bad guys cheat like this."
Edit: In non-Hall of Fame news, it is August 11, so almost two months left to go in the season, and the Orioles have officially, mathematically been eliminated from winning the AL East. Ouch.
Bonds was a 'roided out liar (yeah, a lot of guys gain 40 pounds of upper body strength in the late 30's).
Rose was a sniveling, greedy liar who would do anything for a buck.
Both were incredible baseball players. Two of the best ever.
One most likely took performance-enhancing substances, which were not against the rules of MLB until a little over a decade ago. (And I'll remind you again that Bonds never once failed a drug test despite MLB doing its damnedest to nail him; the only person Bud Selig hated more than Bonds--besides Don Fehr--was Alex Rodriguez.)
The other bet against his own team while managing them.
These are not sins of an equitable nature.
Separate names with a comma.