Recent Comments by hincandenza

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

wut?

Is that a typo, or is there some penalty-specific reason you could have a 160 yard drive?

posted by hincandenza at 06:33 PM on November 02

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

That should be a FPP (god knows we need more). I was kind of hypnotized by that.

posted by hincandenza at 04:08 AM on October 31

Giants Win World Series

Congrats to San Franciso, although I was rooting for underdog KC so we could get a champion who hasn't won recently. Besides, if people could root against a 19-0 Patriots season or any more success from the Sox simply out of spite/jealousy, I'm free to root against any other dynasties as well. :)

I still don't fully understand Bumgarner getting a 5-inning "save". If the initial starter is ineffective, doesn't the official scorer have discretion to choose any reliever he or she feels contributed most to the win, even if it was not the pitcher of record when the final lead was taken? I thought it was originally a win, they even mentioned it on air in like the 8th or 9th after Joe Buck mentioned the 5 inning save and corrected himself shortly after. So why did it turn it from a win to a save a while later?

Could use some Howard_T wisdom on this...

posted by hincandenza at 02:48 AM on October 30

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

rcade: Jarrod Dyson getting caught stealing last night raises a question: Can the player making a tag push the sliding runner off the bag? To me, it looks more like a push by Jonathan Schoop than an overslide by Dyson. I thought it was weird the TBS crew never even suggested that possibility.

I caught up with the recap on MLB Network, and they really dug into this one. From what I gathered, it is of course not a legal move on the part of the fielding player; somewhat similarly, there was a game-deciding big play during the ALCS last year I believe, where an innocent play at 3rd was ruled interference because the Red Sox 3rd baseman was very arguably "interfering" with the runner while going after the ball thrown from home.

What MLBN was saying last night is it is purely a judgment call, made at the discretion of the umpire. However, because the question is one of intent, it's apparently not something that can be called for in instant reply- meaning, Ned Yost couldn't contest the play and demand a replay, because the umpires would say "No, he's clearly off the bag at one point" and they wouldn't assess the "intent" portion as a replay matter.

For whatever it's worth, in my opinion even after multiple replays, I couldn't say with 100% certainty that it was a clear shove, as opposed to part of the sweep of the glove. It was clearly a tag with a lot more force behind it, which MLBN went on to report was an actual gameplan from Showalter to keep the Royals closer to the bag by tagging aggressively and holding the glove there, since the Royals tend to overslide the bag a lot.



grum@work: Very cool! I bet it will be in broadcasts real-time in the next few years. I do like that style, where you can get a clear sense of how close they're getting, when the throw is released, etc, all as one motion. They'll have to come up with a good way to cut to the camera focused on the tag smoothly, however.

posted by hincandenza at 12:08 AM on October 12

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Crazy day of sports yesterday!

We had two noteworthy college games that end in the final seconds- the ASU/UCLA game was mentioned in yesterday's huddle, but did anyone else catch the Cal/WSU game?

It was a real defensive showcase! WSU's QB Connor Halliday threw for a record 734 passing yards along with with 6TD/0INT (his 7th was called back as not a catch, and they ended up getting it as a running play instead) and it still wasn't enough as they took the 60-59 loss, after missing what should have been a gimme 19-yard FG with mere seconds remaining. Cal's own QB threw for 527 yards and 5TDs/0INT, so unsurprisingly this game set several college records. Not to mention the time in the third quarter when Cal's Treovr Davis ran back two consecutive punt returns for 100 and 98 yard TDs.

And then you have a couple of Divisional Series games to talk about... oy vey.

posted by hincandenza at 04:12 PM on October 05

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

My specific question about WAR and position with ARod and Jeter is, assuming they'd each play the other's position about equally well (or better/worse if you want to speculate), how much would their WAR change simply by putting SS or 3B by their names. The napkin math is they'd each go up/down 5 wins over the last decade, possibly more if they were each better suited to the other's position (i.e., that Jeter would play 3B better than ARod and vice versa).

My general double-counting issue with WAR is that it grants a blanket bonus for defensive position while also counting their actual defensive contribution- positive or negative. If Jeter for example were a below-replacement level shortstop (and your last post above suggests he was about break even compared to replacement level?), why should he get a positional bonus? I could put David Ortiz at shortstop, he'd play it really poorly and lose points for that, but apparently that would also swing his WAR from -15 runs to +7.5 simply by having him put on a glove. He'd still make some plays, it's not like he'd be a statue, but he'd miss a lot of plays in his zone, plays a AAA replacement SS would make and ultimately cost his team significant runs.

To my way of thinking, the positional bump comes from the number of plays over the number of chances. The goal is to get 27 outs and have more runs than the opposing team, and all outs are created equal. Of course, more plays are generally made involving a SS or CF than by a LF or 3B, which is the root of their greater value; you want your best defenders touching the ball the most, same as you want your best hitters getting the most at-bats.

A player who played poor shortstop would actually cost his team more runs than playing a replacement-level LF. Similarly, a great defender will make more outs- and thus save more runs, and thus have a greater defensive WAR- than the average, and in a position where they make a lot of plays that can be substantial! For example, in 1999 Andruw Jones lapped the league and had nearly 100 more putouts in CF than the next highest person (and the 10th highest all time), for a defensive WAR of 3.8. He was worth 3.8 more wins than a replacement player just with his glove!

Which is great, but he doesn't need a CF positional bonus: he already got it by having a chance at and making 492 putouts on balls hit in his general area. Again, if we could put David Ortiz (not to pick on the guy) in CF on that same team, he might be lucky to make 1/3 of the plays Jones did, and thus would be a huge negative in the field, and promptly put back at DH. But someone has to play each position, and in the case of ARod and Jeter, the wrong person was in each by manager's discretion.

Now, separately a GM would clearly want to know if they were hiring a SS or a 1B, because a SS with a +3 WAR glove is rarer than a generic hitter with a +3 WAR bat. But from the assessment of WAR as "wins above replacement" I think it should be more position neutral. If you play a position and have a net positive runs saved (or negative runs allowed) over replacement, that should alter your WAR.

Just my two cents...

posted by hincandenza at 04:24 PM on September 27

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'd be interested in your take on this, grum: one of my long-standing dislikes about WAR metrics is how much it seems to favor, or even double-count, positional adjustments. I.e., that a given offensive output is worth more or less based on the position you play (which I will still believe is a flawed analysis in WAR), on top of the defense elements of WAR.

My own misgivings aside, when A-Rod went to the Yankees any sabermetrician would tell you that A-Rod was the clear choice for SS... which of course isn't how the Yankees handled it.

So: how much would their WAR values change if they'd done the right thing from 2004 onward, with Jeter at 3B and A-Rod at SS?

The napkin guess is that the positional adjustment alone is +5 runs from 3B to SS, so half a win a year over 10 years = ~5 wins more for A-Rod and ~5 wins less. But that would be leaving aside the likely defensive adjustments; Jeter is often criticized for not being good moving far to his left ("pasta diving Jeter" being the joke in Red Sox Nation), which is somewhat less important at 3B.

Jeter cost the Yankees collectively quite a few wins with his horrible SS glovework, where A-Rod was still about replacement level or slightly better at 3B (and a win or two better than replacement at SS). Presumably, both players would have become better defenders by each switching to the other's positions.

In addition, Jeter might collectively have been worth more WAR since while he'd lose the positional adjustment bonus, he also might have been replacement level or so at 3B which would potentially bump his overall WAR well up. Similarly, A-Rod would benefit his WAR with that positional adjustment- because his offensive stats in his prime would be even more godlike at SS- and from what I can tell at he did leave a win or two on the table in the defensive falloff from SS to 3B.

It seems like the Yankees literally left several wins on the table each year by playing these guys at their wrong positions (and as a Sox fan- thanks, guys!). I'm curious if we could go back and guesstimate how each would play the other's positions, and what the raw runs/wins and positional adjustment would have played out.

posted by hincandenza at 12:20 AM on September 26

Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face with 88-Mph Pitch

Yeah, it'll be great if Stanton makes a full recovery, and him not apparently needing surgery and having no concussion is great news. It means he should physically be fine by next season, since at 5.5 back in the WC, there's no reason for him to rush back, and as Howard_T observes, hopefully he won't internalize this and never quite play as well.

I think Fiers is blameless, from my take on the Must C video. The pitch to Stanton looks to just tail away late, or Stanton wouldn't have been swinging at it. Same with Johnson; both were swinging into a pitch that had some nasty late break, but I don't think Fiers meant either to even be a brushback pitch at all (and as rcade put it, was visibly distraught). Plus, if a pitcher had that kind of late break and control to intentionally fool a batter so bad that they swing away while getting hit in the face, he'd be a perennial 30-game winner.

Still, just an ugly at-bat; beanballs, or the line drive back to the mound, are just gut-wrenching to watch; a stadium so quiet you can hear a pin drop, hoping that the guy is alright. That's gotta be a first, right? I'm sure we've had people strike out swinging on a pitch they got hit by before, but twice in the same at-bat, much less against the pinch-hitter?

posted by hincandenza at 05:39 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

That's just unbelievable. I think that's the argument, but I think it's the right call, although Howard T should chime in on this one. I believe if you swing and don't make contact- including if it hits you, whether on the body, hands, or even face- it's a swinging strike.

posted by hincandenza at 05:28 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

In his and the NFL's small defense, the karate kick did look like an accident when he failed to leap over a guy he thought was going to tackle his legs. Whereas at least the sloppy socks is a dress code violation that is preventable.

posted by hincandenza at 12:39 AM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah, his whole year has been bad; shades of Willie Mays playing past his prime.

And yet we know that won't happen- although not impossibly far back at 4.5 back on September 11, the Yankees chances were already minimal; ESPN had them at 1.8% to even get into the wildcard game. This season was basically meant as a lap around the league for Jeter, and they can't very well sit him since he might be the biggest reason for ticket sales in away cities.

Which I'm totally cool with, because with Boston also sucking hard this year it's nice to see some new teams in the hunt in the AL. I can take some small comfort that the local Mariners team still has a decent and totally unexpected shot to make the playoffs. It'd be a tough path, since Detroit and KC might be splitting the AL Central/one wild card spot, so unless Seattle can push past both of them and/or Oakland, there's no room.

Not that anyone in this town cares anyway, with the Seahawks back on the field and not missing a step from their title run just a few months ago. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:29 PM on September 11

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

No, I figured I'd get plenty of disagreement since there was uniformity about how awful Goodell handed this, and why Rice should go, etc... not things like Etrigan saying he'd add me to his killfille. I thought this was a place where, so long as we weren't personally attacking each other, civil discourse and disagreement was possible. "plonk" is so classically MeFi, and I'm sad to see it here.

And I wish you wouldn't put words in my mouth, grum; you're better than that. You even stated my key point yourself just above: "many, many years ago the NFL made a HUGE mistake by deciding to apply punishment for actions that occurred outside the game and had nothing to do with the NFL". That was at the heart of my post: it had been dealt with as a criminal matter, and the NFL shouldn't even have gotten involved in the first place, much less months later just because of one media outlet. grum, you even opined on how the NFL should have handled these issues from the very beginning with a hands-off approach, and there's no reason they can't start doing. We very much agree on that point: the NFL shouldn't be involved in this or other criminal/civil matters that are off the field.

Further, I'm really not a fan of this broader trend in recent years, this PR-driven idea that until the angry twittering hordes have been sated in their lust for vengeance and biblical retribution, you simply must keep punishing private individuals in some publicly visible way. I mean, the courts already investigated this and handed down a verdict and judgment, and the couple themselves seemed to have moved on. That we're even revisiting this publicly, or with the NFL, seems ridiculous to me. You all can say that's how it is, but I'm saying that's not how it should be.

Lastly, the point I was making that people seem most het up about is that domestic violence is not a one-sided affair, whatever the exact stats, and that no one should have to suffer from domestic abuse simply because of their size or gender. I'm not suggesting if someone attacks you that you get to go medieval on their ass way beyond the point of deflecting/stopping the attack, but throwing a punch when someone comes at you is almost instinctual, and provided that's all it is- one punch- it's justifiable even if there's a huge disparity in size. That's what I saw on this recent video; as she comes at him he jabs out, she goes down instantly, and he doesn't keep hitting her. I even stated that I was a little concerned that he seemed unpanicked at her being out cold, but not being privy to all the details wasn't going to project ideas into Ray Rice's head.

Shit happens when people start fighting, that's why people should avoid starting fights (whoever started this fight, we may never fully know). But people still cling to these gender roles and ideas about male strength and an almost Victorian-era believe in the fragility of women such that they believe a grown woman should be able to freak out an attack anyone, so long as they're larger- the person attacked simply has to take it. Hell, when women attack men, even violently, it's a friggin' punchline, like we saw with the Solange/Jay-Z situation.

There's a clear double standard at work when it comes to male and female violence that I call "incredibly sexist". For example, we have Hope Solo arrested for attacking her sister and underage nephew back in June, and she's still on the playing field, setting records, while she awaits a November trial. So why is that not more of an outrage? You have a 32-year-old finely conditioned physical athlete in peak condition getting drunk and beating up two civilians in a domestic abuse case, yet she's not even suspended while the trial looms. But Ray Rice is re-suspended indefinitely by the NFL, even after they already suspended him, and even after his legal issues were resolved in what I'd say is the only meaningful arena, the court system.

Why?

posted by hincandenza at 01:42 AM on September 11

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

Yeah, I always was hoping this place would eventually turn into the cesspit of groupspeak that Metafilter became. Lord knows, no one who replied seemed to do more than cherry speak key quotes and strawman the shit out of this.

Plonk, indeed.

posted by hincandenza at 05:06 PM on September 10

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

I guess I'm the lone wolf here, because I think that:

1. Domestic abuse isn't solely a male on female problem As much as archaic and sexist people like to pretend otherwise, the apparent truth is that domestic abuse is fairly gender neutral, with each gender having roughly equal splits as offenders. I've seen studies suggesting a 40/60 female/male split, as well as ones that suggest more severe physical violence actually skews towards female perpetrators (indeed, apparently lesbian couples have the highest incidence of domestic abuse). It's certainly not unheard of for a woman to physically attack her mate, or to initiate violence, and I for one think the "but a MAN doesn't EVER hit a WOMAN" moral is old-fashioned and incredibly sexist.

So barring more information, it's reasonable to ask if she did in fact start or escalate things; the extended video on TMZ starts with us seeing Ray Rice on his phone by a large pole. His fiance walks up, hits him in the face or chest without apparent provocation, then they head into the elevator, after which she apparently slaps at him again while they were standing by the buttons, he slaps her back, she then comes at him when he delivers the knockout blow. That, at east, is how I see it.

Now, that said, his reaction afterwards is... well I'll admit it's kind of weird because he doesn't look particular... upset? Which makes me wonder if they've been this volatile before, or if he thinks at first she's faking, or whatever. But then, that's me projecting my thoughts of how I'd react, so it's not very meaningful.

2. Don't hit people if you don't want to be hit I mention this as an addendum to the above, only because I think it's important- and perhaps you'll think me a caveman, but if I went up to an NFL player and took a swing, no one would feel bad if I got knocked out. So if you think it's bad when he defends himself from a woman who is slapping at him and coming at him because she's a woman... then you are being sexist.

3. Janay Rice is apparently on Ray Rice's side As much as we might hate to admit it, Janay Rice allegedly went on to say (as BornIcon noted in that deleted tweet) that she regrets the role she played in this whole event. I don't understand why, if that's true, the tweet should have been deleted, or is shameful, other than believing some RadFem nonsense about how all women are Victorian-era delicate flowers and all men- especially black men- are savage beasts of lust and rage.

I don't believe that, so I think it's hardly implausible she genuinely regrets the night. Maybe she does honestly feel she did things to provoke him until he finally slapped/hit back. Or maybe she just wants this to go away, since as he is now her husband she certainly doesn't want their household taking such a severe financial hit. And she didn't seem to hesitate to continue with the wedding, so this may have been a one-off event that hadn't happened before or since and thus she forgave him whatever sins she feels he committed- or she may feel she instigated things and now they've escalated beyond her control.

This doesn't excuse his actions- or hers- and obviously the state has a vested interest in pursuing domestic violence investigations despite the protestations of an alleged victim (because there could be additional force involved in making them ecant, or change their story, or want charges dropped). But to me, it suggests- along with the video- that Janay Rice thinks this was at worst an isolated incident, and one she may or may not have provoked in some fashion, and therefore the law felt that a first-time offense would be best addressed by mandating court-supervised counseling and dropping the charges.

In other words, if Ray and Janay and the police and the courts think this is a settled issue (unless it happens again), then why should the NFL be suspending Ray Rice additionally, months later, just because a sleazy online tabloid wants to milk it for a little more ad revenue?

4. The NFL is not a legal, investigative body The other "scandal" is that the NFL is to blame because they "only" talked to law enforcement and thus didn't get the more complete video... why, exactly, is that bad?!? Shouldn't law enforcement *be* the experts on conducting a thorough criminal investigation? I'd hope the police would talk to the casino and get all relevant media, such that the NFL then asking the police for video would reasonably be as broad a request as expected. So why the idea that the NFL fucked up or covered things up by not, I don't know, guessing that there was extra video and requesting it? They aren't an investigative body, that's what the police and courts are meant to address.

There are allegations that some in the NFL office did know about the extended video, but unless I missed some damning piece of evidence, we don't know for a fact that Goodell or others had seen the video at the time the 2-game suspension was handed down. Further, I still maintain that the video isn't as damning as you'd think; we see them have an altercation that- from the video- she started or participated in; Goodell may have seen it, and said "Well, she swung at him, this is messy, we'll give a token PR suspension but otherwise let the courts handle it". Which... I only disagree with from the perspective of handing out any suspension.

5. Terribly unpopular opinion: why should the NFL do anything? Here is, I guess, my really unpopular opinion: why, exactly, does the NFL have to do anything here? The law investigated, rendered a verdict, and the involved parties have moved on. So why does the NFL have to revisit the issue, or extend their sentence?

I am genuinely frightened by this trend of the last few years in our online/offline world mingling, and I don't think it's a good trend for us to be living our lives in a Tumblr-driven, "Social (In)Justice" world where your every action is echo-chambered and every company and individual you interact with is required to shame and shun you to the greatest degree if the Internet Hate Machine has decided you are the public enemy of the day. At its worst, it's 4chan et al harassing to a criminal degree people who are innocent of the alleged crimes; even at its best, while things like Steubenville or animal torturers are tracked down because of the I.H.M., it still bypasses due process and is grotesquely uncivilized.

The legal system and due process addressed this Ray Rice/Janay Rice incident to the apparent satisfaction of everyone directly involved. The argument to support an indefinite suspension is that the NFL should take action against Rice... because otherwise they'll take a PR hit from "some people"... who think they should take action against Rice... lest they get a PR hit. It's all a circle jerk of righteous intolerance and manufactured outrage, and it's made me so disgusted with the state of the world. We have become the practitioners of "two-minutes of hate" Orwell predicted, and we fucking like it that way.

If law enforcement's pursuit of the case is such that the person is unable to maintain their job, that's one thing; if Rice goes to jail then obviously he can't play, thus nullifying elements of his contract. This was the bullshit reason why Barry Bonds couldn't even get a league-minimum contract in the few years after his final game; that at some point he'd be arraigned, tried, convicted, and jailed and thus wasn't worth "the risk".

But why should Rice's current employer take a stance at all, or suspend him- when he hasn't been convicted in anything but the court of public opinion- a kangaroo court whose only evidence was a shorter, and now this longer, video? The legal system initially claimed the video supported that both people were engaged in violence, and then indicted Rice, then dropped the charges in lieu of court-ordered counseling. His fiance/now-wife has blasted the media's focus, has (allegedly) "apologized" for her part in the events, and they've gotten married and moved on.

I hope Rice and the NFL Player's Union tackle this, because I don't see where the NFL gets off handing out belated, follow-up, indefinite suspensions just to satisfy public opinion on some viral hate-mongering.

posted by hincandenza at 01:06 AM on September 10

Red Sox owner Tom Werner has become a dark horse candidate to be baseball's next commissioner

Yeah, I can appreciate your rant, but I think your fears are unfounded.

First, a poo-flinging monkey would be an improvement over Selig, so I don't think Werner would be that bad. Second, while Werner might have done some things as Sox owner you don't approve of- and if there's one thing sabermetrics should teach us, it's that results-based assessment is risky- he did bring not one, not two, but three World Series trophies to Boston in the span of 10 years, and kept that lovely little bandbox of a park full for hundreds of games in a row. Third, if he became commissioner, it's not like he'd have the authority, or desire, to remake every team in his own image.

The TV revenue thing is meaningful if he'd oppose that, since I do believe the ideal end state (or near end state) for leagues like MLB is to have parity revenue sharing and a more rotisserie like model, where players are paid for what they do out of a general league pool that is based on a percentage of total revenue (to some extent, I believe this is what the NBA does; every team has a salary cap based on something like 58% of total revenue, and there's revenue sharing to keep it fairly balanced). But I also think he'd be less likely to do things like call a "tie" in an All-Star game. So, you know, win some, lose some...

posted by hincandenza at 08:54 PM on August 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I hope them tweeting that picture is not what pushed him over the edge.

oh god, I'm so sorry

posted by hincandenza at 08:39 PM on August 11

Tony Stewart Kills Driver in Dirt-Track Race

And minutes later, I've found this (certainly more informed than I) breakdown on reddit of why this is almost certainly a complete accident.

Granted, they use the same video that had me and most of us here convinced it was at least partially intentional, but they do explain the "rev" sound as likely unrelated and the conditions such that even an honest swerve could result in this outcome if Stewart didn't see him until the last second. So I'm glad I did express reservations about my own thiughts, and why a thorough and impartial investigation with more evidence is necessary and may fully exonerate Stewart. Plus, culture of the sport to point at the car or no, Ward should not have been walking into oncoming traffic and bears at least some responsibility in his own death.

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/2d4rh9/tony_stewart_hits_sprint_car_driver_kevin_ward_jr/cjm3ntc

posted by hincandenza at 02:00 AM on August 11

Tony Stewart Kills Driver in Dirt-Track Race

Just an fyi, but the main link goes to a baseball game recap.

Watching this single video, while I'm not ready to convict in the court of a public opinion- much less a court of law- it looks to me like what happened was BoKnows B) conjecture: Stewart was pissed, and tried to show up the kid with a little rev and close shave... and miscalculated. It's unlikely to be a *complete* accident, since the other drivers were going slow and giving room what with the caution flag, and Stewart could easily, with his skills, given wide berth such that a collision was well-nigh impossible. Rather, this looks like if an Olympic-level sharpshooter decided to play William Tell with someone and oops, they just shot a person in the head. Or perhaps an apter comparison would be a pitcher throwing a brushback pitch at chin/head level, and that two inch difference from 60 feet away is the difference between "establishing the strike zone" and hospitalizing someone. Which is why headhunters get tossed pretty quickly if the ump thinks they were throwing the beanball on purpose. And why the original move- running him into the wall by squeezing him- seems a rough but fair approach, like a brushback pitch at the chest level... but not what happened next.

Being great at something doesn't mean you're infallible, so this looks like Stewart got cute in the heat of the moment- with fatal consequences. In that one second when he sees Ward approaching his car on what looks like the next lap, angrily pointing, I suspect Stewart (based on zero ironclad evidence whatsoever) thought to make the kid jump back and "know his place". And he was off... by just a few inches.

I hope plenty of other video surfaces so we can get other angles (or rather, that investigators can watch them since I certainly don't want or need to see more), but to my untrained eye it looks like he tried to scare him and with Ward in motion, the near-miss became a literally correct term.

Which lessens but doesn't not erase legal culpability; not murder, but some level of manslaughter.

It is entirely plausible that an exculpatory video emerges that shows us a clearer, unambiguous accident or even Ward walking *into* the straight line path of Stewart's car, while Stewart attempts to swerve away at the last second and thus, wholly accidentally, fishtails him. Barring that, I can't see how Stewart walks from this with no repercussions; at minimum I suspect a heavy civil suit will correct whatever the law fails to address.

posted by hincandenza at 01:46 AM on August 11

Holy Sidd Finch! Minnesota Twins Sign Unknown with 100-Mph Fastball

The Twins knew about Poulson from his recent season with Academy of Art University, where he had an 8.38 ERA for the San Francisco school. [...] Poulson went 0-0 with a high ERA in 14 appearances and 19 1-3 innings for Academy of Art this season. He struck out 24, walked 24 and opponents hit .189 against him.
He's 24, never been drafted, has as many walks as strikeouts with a sky-high ERA... for an art school. Either this guy is more Dalkowski than Finch, or they accidentally had the radar gun on kilometers again when they scouted him.

In all seriousness, I hope it works out for him; he sounds like a physical specimen, and if they teach him to increase his accuracy by taking a few mph off the ball, he could make it; and who wouldn't root for a story about a young guy from nowhere making it to the bigs?

posted by hincandenza at 05:51 PM on July 30

Pitcher Freaks Out Because of Bunt in 2-Run Game

Over the next couple of seasons? I... honestly don't know if there is or not. How... how did you know that?!?

Seriously, though, when someone says "unwritten rules", whatever follows is just hot air. And as noted by DrJohnEvans, a shift is a risk that assumes a hitter can't reliably put it in a different location than their trend data suggests- so if you're wrong, then they reach first. Plus, 5th inning of a 2-0 game? Shit, I think bunting in a no-hitter with two outs in the 9th of a 9-0 laugher is totally legit, much less the 5th inning of a 2-0 game!

But the real worry for Texas is that when people start resorting to rules lawyering, it means they've completely beaten themselves already. Which would probably play some part in explaining why Texas has the worst record in the league.

posted by hincandenza at 11:56 PM on July 20

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Hey, how about that Clayton Kershaw, eh?

posted by hincandenza at 07:45 PM on June 20

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Wow, that's pretty damned blatant. And the original tag, I see nothing wrong with it; he fell because he was off-balance and backpedaling (out of the baseline, no less), not because Donaldson gave him some extra-forceful, unwarranted tag. That looked like a good, clean, no doubt and get the out type tag.

That Machado would then apparently milk that anger for three games is... wow. Unsurprising that Showalter would have Donaldson thrown at, but that's one of those B.S. "unwritten rules" that the old fogies love to wax poetically about, I guess.

Is there video of his hitting the catcher out there? Seems like that would be reason to get tossed/suspended right there. I found only this one, which has only the second swing in replay. He was smirking, but the swing itself... I can't say from that one replay (other than making an assumption that if it happened two pitches in a row, it has to be on purpose) that it looked definitely intentional... at least not to my eyes.

I disagree with the announcers in that mlb.com video clip you posted grum; I don't think the pitcher was thrown for the pitch before, but because in Machado's slim defense, the pitch where he threw his bat was also being thrown way inside, which sure looks like Abad was trying to hit him twice. Still doesn't excuse the bat tossing at all, but does make it more clear why the umpires tossed Machado and Abad (the pitcher). It's pretty long-standing that if the ump sees you throw two fairly blatant attempts to hit a batter in a row, they'll likely toss you.

But yeah, the histrionics from Machado, the flung bat (which not only was a punk move... he was way off the freakin' mark, given that it appears to be intentional for the reasons grum mentioned- eye focus, late timing, etc- and yet he was staring down the pitcher, not Donaldson), these alone ought to get him a hefty suspension of ~5 games I'd hope.

posted by hincandenza at 10:08 PM on June 08

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

More Jon Bois' EA Sports "journalism" goodness (via Metafilter), on the impending death of basketball .

posted by hincandenza at 04:04 PM on June 03

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

This local man learned this one weird trick to stay young. Vampires hate him!

posted by hincandenza at 01:12 PM on May 09

Albert Pujols Hits 499th, 500th Homer

Well, yeah, but... Albert Pujols being a great hitter wasn't exactly a hotly debated topic on this site. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:28 AM on April 24

Brewers' Maldanado Knocks Cover Off the Ball

Heh, yeah it was a given that would come up. :)

posted by hincandenza at 06:49 PM on April 19

Chris Resop - The Most Interesting Reliever in the World.

There already is one. It's shaped like Chris Resop.

posted by hincandenza at 01:57 PM on April 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

ah, that's a really good point, deflated. I've long thought that analysis of pitch motion etc- even during warmups- would tell you when a pitcher is more likely to be lit up, and an adventurous team would a) do last minute rotation adjustments when their intel says a pitcher will suck, and b) start looking for patterns to correlate success and failure. Temperature? Diet? Humidity? Sleep cycles? Stress? Something leads a pitcher to be more or less effective night over night. It was more obvious for knucklers, when temperature differences or indoor/outdoor stadiums could reliably predict success, but it still applies for all other pitchers, who are not consciously aware why today their splitter is not dropping as much.

And as the article on the new system hints, we might be entering a golden age of defensive metrics, picking up things like average distance to a ball in play (the positioning instincts) along with speed, efficiency of motion, etc, all to lead to better defensive judgment than the "pasta diving Jeter" gut reactions of the past.

posted by hincandenza at 01:54 AM on March 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Right, although for all we know part of that $500,000 is the software/contract for expertise in running the system. A typical MLB team is going to have an IT department... but probably not one that has any real expertise in creating, configuring, and running distributed clusters on commodity hardware, or running ML algorithms.

I mean, I figure I could- after quite a few months- build just such a system, having at least some familiarity with Hadoop et al and some open source ML packages. But there'd be a ton of work to customize it to baseball and baseball stats, then test it with the data inputs (even if just cleaning and inputting several years of pitchFX data). I'd go slower working alone, and if I brought in a couple of dev friends to help out, that $500K goes quickly in terms of salary + hardware.

For a deep-pocketed team, getting something that's a turnkey solution for barely more than a single league-minimum salary is still a good deal, and in this case, as with business computing purchases, the CYA and outsourced expertise is worth the extra money spent, compared to hoping you can find someone to bring in-house to do the work for you.

Maybe they're paying for something turnkey enough that their existing IT staff can then just dump in new pitchFX data regularly, as well as learn how to construct certain types of queries that they can then extend to common analysis operations. On the hopefully rare occasions that things go completely cockeyed beyond the existing maintenance contract, you pay Cray a relative pittance for support.

All that aside, I think it's fantastic to see a team (I wouldn't be surprised if it's the Red Sox, as they've been in the statistical and technological forefront for a decade) go to this next level. Which means we'll see other teams get there soon enough, although MLB may still have some restrictions on technology allowed in the dugout. If this provides a huge advantage, we might instead see a rule passed by the owners disallowing real-time analysis and feedback directly to the players (via signals).

posted by hincandenza at 09:57 PM on March 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I'm kind of surprised the supercomputer-for-real-time-analysis thing hasn't occurred earlier; I've been pretty vocal around here (and elsewhere) in the past, wondering when a tech savvy team would basically start doing analysis in-game, even for things like detecting patterns in a pitcher/catcher batter that they could signal to their hitters for.

An aside: I'm not super familiar with all the conceits of ML, but in general it is the case that we behave much more predictably than we imagine. If I recall, the rochambeau simulator that was the MF post I linked in the last paragraph was frighteningly good: it's hard not to imagine that if fed a huge historical set of data- even the last few years- of pitchFX pitches and outcomes, it could find trends that could be hugely impactful. Especially as things go south; the pitcher would get frazzled and shake off the catcher, the catcher and pitcher would try to fool you- but in the process be even more predictable (like in RPS when you keep throwing out one option, because you'd never do paper 4 times in a row!).

You glance over, the manager gives you a set of signals that basically say "It's a 2-1 count, and there's an 82% chance the next pitch is a fastball lower in; sit dead red on that, and try to inside-out it the other way". Maybe it's a curve or slider this time, but over the course of a game/season each player could see meaningful- say even 3-5%- benefit in their batting average/OBP. Which... if a team BA goes up 30 points, they'd basically worst-to-first their entire offense.

posted by hincandenza at 02:33 PM on March 18

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

If they chose to bench him, I'm pretty sure there's mutual clauses et al that let a player become a free agent- I'd be shocked if neither the most recent bargaining agreement nor ARods contract gave him an out of some kind if the Yankees did that; I seem to recall hearing about a former All-Star player exercise that right when he was benched by his team (maybe Mo Vaughn?). At worst, I'd imagine the rules say he'd be free to find another team to play for where the Yankees would be on the hook for the difference in pay for the new team.

They did the same thing to Bonds: he offered to play at league minimum and then donate that salary to local charities, and STILL had zero calls (hence collusion being suspected). ARod has already shown a willingness to sue where Bonds didn't, and I'd think if no team picked up a player of hia caliber, he'd sue MLB in a heartbeat.

No matter what, the Yankees have to pay ARod $60M for those last two years, so why not play him if he's at least mediocre?

posted by hincandenza at 04:48 PM on February 28

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Actually, the Yankees almost certainly won't have the choice; most of these contracts- and the player's union, which would surely back even ARod on this- have clauses that would prevent a team from benching or sending him to AAA if he's healthy and producing at the plate (which for all the flack he gets, even in the current day he's a well above average player).

posted by hincandenza at 04:31 PM on February 28

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Yeah, exactly- the Yankees would love to dump him, but even they can't engineer another threadbare excuse to keep him off the roster. If he only has to sit one year, I think he's very capable- and very willing- to come back and play at least that one more season where he should easily rack up 61 hits, 31 RBI, and 7 HR in maybe half a season, even at his new plateau. Heck, with A-Rod and his age, who knows if taking a year off of rest and lighter maintenance exercise helps his body heal up more than it has been able to in two decades, he comes back feeling a few years' younger.

One nitpick: there are three guys with 2000+ RBI already, Cap Anson being the third place RBI guy at 2075, and Bonds just shy at 1,996 (and Gehrig at 1,992). That nearness to similar milestones is another reason the almost-surely-illegal collusion that led to the railroading of Bonds was such a loss for the game and its history. Le sigh...

posted by hincandenza at 01:51 PM on February 28

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

I'd probably have picked Kam Chancellor, honestly. He also had an interception, as well as stifling defense which was the story of the game.

posted by hincandenza at 12:12 AM on February 03

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Super Bowl-a-Geddon Edition

Dammit, looks like bender just edged me for the Costanza. I can't even throw the round correctly, how does that not make me the ultimate Costanza?!?

posted by hincandenza at 11:41 PM on February 02

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

Good lord, TD on the 2nd half kickoff?!? This is getting ugly. A good kind of ugly if you're from seattle...

posted by hincandenza at 08:33 PM on February 02

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

Jesus, no one was predicting a blowout; Denver make some huge adjustments at half time.

posted by hincandenza at 07:39 PM on February 02

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

Well, that's an auspicious beginning...

posted by hincandenza at 06:34 PM on February 02

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Super Bowl-a-Geddon Edition

grum: I know you are trying to lose, but the total points = 3 guess isn't so terrible if the wind/weather gets really freaky.

To definitely lose, you should have chosen 1 point.


I was technically trying to be legit by picking theoretically possible values (compared to the LSD-fueled picks of Hugh Janus a few weeks' ago ). 1 point isn't possible, where a 3-0 game has happened in NFL history... but is effectively impossible.

I mean, if it's a 3-0 game, I figure it'll be on a last-second 65-yard FG by surprise kicker John Youboty, named as Super Bowl MVP- in which case, I'm so winning this thing cuz ain't NONE of you picked that. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:30 PM on February 02

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Super Bowl-a-Geddon Edition

1. Winner of the game (and spread): Denver, by 100 points
2. Player with the most receiving yards: Peyton Manning, Denver
3. Player with the most rushing yards: Ryan Clady, Denver
4. First player to score a touchdown: Dan Koppen, Denver
5. Player chosen as the game's MVP: John Youboty, Denver
6. One defensive player who will get an interception: Hall Davis, Denver
7. One defensive player who will get a sack (or partial sack): John Boyett, Denver
8. The brand/company that will win the USA Today Ad-Meter: NAMBLA
9. For tiebreaker purposes, the total points scored in the game (if two entrants are still tied after this tiebreaker, the entry submitted earlier wins): 3 points

I kinda wish I could make more likely picks, but I kinda want to win the Costanza in a laugher at this point.

posted by hincandenza at 05:49 PM on February 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

That's great news... but Jesus, are those comments depressing.

posted by hincandenza at 11:59 AM on January 28

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Championship Games-a-Ganza Edition

I'm left with only one choice: go for the Costanza, 100%. I don't imagine I'll pick a single healthy, active roster player for the Super Bowl pick' em. :)

And how about dyams, whose pick consistency has not only netted him the lead, but makes him look like the downstairs neighbor of the Beast.

posted by hincandenza at 03:41 PM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

I agree, for example that fumble that wasn't at the 1 yard line for Seattle (which quickly proved irrelevent) being a prime example.

They should just institute booth-based instant replay, on ALL plays. A team up in a booth watches multiple feeds in real time, just like fans at home but with a better setup, and can hit a panic button at any time for "booth review", signalling a pause in play to potentially prevent another snap, and a formal review. They then review the feeds in slo-mo, and have the ability to oveeturn the call on the field.

People croak about this, imaging games taking 4+ hours... and all new replay rules are a big to-do in the off-season. But really, they'd likely only use it a few times a game, and it'd be happening at the same time as viewers at home were watching replays already at home, so it wouldn't really add much if any time at all.

I don't know why all the major sports have such a hard-on for traditionalism and this idea of the infallible ref. No human can be all places at all times, so use technology to insure the right call is made at all times, and it's absurd to me that even before the teams line up for the next step, Joe Six Pack at home already jnows the last call was BS.

posted by hincandenza at 12:16 AM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

Cue the Kanye memes: "Yo, Richard Sherman, I'm real happy for you, and imma let you finish, but Beyonce was the best corner of all time. Of all time!"

posted by hincandenza at 10:53 PM on January 19

Seahawks Edge Niners

That interception was infuckingcredible!!! In a house full of Seahawks fans here in Seattle, and it went nuts- as did most every home and sports bar in Seattle, I'm sure...

posted by hincandenza at 10:00 PM on January 19

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Championship Games-a-Ganza Edition

I do so hope Hugh Janus is able to get his picks in on time. While he's out of the running for the Pick 'em Trophy as well as the fabled Costanza, the last I checked he was at 90 degrees from reality and thus lapping the pack for the mythical "Leary Trophy".

posted by hincandenza at 01:08 PM on January 18

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Championship Games-a-Ganza Edition

Patriots by 10
Seahawks by 10 +1
Manning, passing yards +1
Edelman, receiving yards
Lynch, rushing yards
Sherman, int/fumble recovery

posted by hincandenza at 11:39 PM on January 17

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Well... actually, Gisele wears the pants in the family; she's made twice as much money as Brady has. So maybe his security detail is what happens when you marry one of the world's richest supermodels. :)

posted by hincandenza at 01:21 PM on January 17

Dodgers Drive Money Truck to Kershaw's House

But in MJ's defense, Kershaw is still only 25, already has 2 Cy Youngs, and no hint of off-field issues. While pitchers are risky, the big contracts are typically risky because of the timing: players don't usually get that big payday until they're cresting 30, which- like Cano, Pujols, and Hamilton- means they've already started their downward slope. For those guys, a 10 year deal where the back 4 are wasted money while the front 5/6 are a team discount, can hurt a team by them losing a top player who is effectively replaced a marginal copy of themselves while still costing top dollar. But a 7 year deal, with the last two as player options? Barring injury- and thats what insurance is for- Kershaw should still be worth it in the last couple of years. And if Kershaw is still good then, he'll hopefully recall how the Dodgers treated him and keep them as first choice on any new deals.

This is the kind of move the Angels should make with Trout: pay him now, sign him through his early 30s, and don't get stuck with fan pressure to overpay him when he's fading.

posted by hincandenza at 04:04 PM on January 16

Dodgers Drive Money Truck to Kershaw's House

Yeah, but Sandy Koufax was a confirmed steroid user, who was only able to play at a major league level because of his rampant PED use. He should have been blacklisted from the game, not allowed to pitch and eventually make it to the Hall of Fame. Keyshawn, as far as I know, is completely clean.

posted by hincandenza at 12:05 PM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I completely agree with phaedon; ARod is a choad and all, but justice is supposed to be blind. At least from what I've read, MLB acted in ways that a truly impartial arbiter would have pounced on, including not having Bud Selig testify as to why, exactly, ARod deserved an especially harsh sentence and not the smae 50 days as everyone else.

The truth is, we know why: so MLB could toss up ARod as a sacrificial lamb like they did with Bonds before, and so the Yankees would not have to pay his salary, thus freeing it up for other playees. Which is something an impartial arbiter would, again, pounce on.

And the dutiful lapdogs in the media will spin their propaganda, including telling us that ARod should just shut up and go away because it would be "better" for him/the league/the sport, with whatever hamfisted appeals to honor or unwritten code.

You can see this trend in every HoF ballot that listed no Bonds or Clemens. MLB is setting ARod up to be run out of the sport so they dont have to pay him, and will use his poor showing in the HoF voting as retroactive justification for his being run out of baseball.

posted by hincandenza at 07:06 PM on January 13

49ers Smother Panthers

Uh, look I know you're high off your 7 point dominance in week 2 of the pick 'em, but there are teams in Denver and New England who might dispute that claim.

posted by hincandenza at 11:39 PM on January 12

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Not to mention if the Seahawks and Patriots face off in the Superbowl, it's basically a Pete Carroll reunion party (given how loved he was back in his New England days...).

On the other hand, a Seahawks/Broncos match could- what with the legalization of recreational marijuana by the two states involved- lead to Super Bowl XLIX being unofficial dubbed the "Bud Bowl"... or maybe just the Smoka Bowl.

posted by hincandenza at 11:38 PM on January 12

Patriots Run Over Colts

Whoa. I have never seen a team punt from the 26 before; did they not do the FG just for some bullshit "don't run up the score" reason?

I wanna see another Blount TD, and tie/set records of 5 and 7 for the team. Especially because we'll have a weird stat of "The Patriots have never lost a playoff game where Tom Brady threw 0 touchdowns."

posted by hincandenza at 11:23 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Wish they'd given it to Blount to tie the record there, but the Pats are clearly looking to spread some love and carry over into next week. Maybe Blount will get one more later.

posted by hincandenza at 11:00 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

No, they're all salaried.

Edit: Jesus, have yourself a game Le Garrette Blount!!!

posted by hincandenza at 10:44 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Gostkowski is doing a pretty great job as the punter here.

posted by hincandenza at 10:36 PM on January 11

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Division Round-a-Go-Go Edition

Wait, it's gotta be based on the actual margin, not each persons pick, right? From your rules last week:

You get one point for picking the winner, one extra point for picking the spread within 30% of the spread (rounded down), and another extra point for picking the exact spread.
I mean, it's your pick 'em but I hope you'll reconsider, as it seems more fair to go by +/-30% of the winning margin, as it doesn't penalize people who pick low.

posted by hincandenza at 10:16 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Oh shit, Belichick has his hoodie off- shit's getting real!

NE looks awful so far in the third, but great work on holding them to a FG.

posted by hincandenza at 10:02 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Oh, sorry- to clarify, fall on the ball in the end zone, give them the two, then punt them to the 50/40 and give the defence the chance? What he was doing could easily have become a TD. Although I'm wondering if he was going for a lateral/incomplete "pass" so the ball would be turned over on downs at the 50 or so.

Still, I can be happy with 21-12, better than the alternative.

posted by hincandenza at 09:48 PM on January 11