posted by hincandenza at 02:45 PM on March 15
yerfatma: Harden's scoreline should go into the efficiency hall of fame.
Also... is it irrational of me that, despite not caring about the Knicks/Houston, or even being much of a basketball fan, that I really want Jeremy Lin to have a good, successful career in the NBA? Not spectacular, but just solid, reliable, and noteworthy... I really want to believe he's got the head on his shoulders to develop past his bad habits, to mature in the NBA, and be a decent point guard for a good long while.
posted by hincandenza at 02:05 AM on February 22
Unsurprisingly, XKCD has nailed the heart of the issue when it comes to steroids in professional sports.
posted by hincandenza at 05:43 PM on February 14
Jayzus... I mean along with the more basic track and field events, is there anything that is more authentically "Olympics" than wrestling? That's insane! And as etagloh points out, it's hardly like building a swimming arena solely for that class of sports- you can do wrestling in any event hall, just toss a few mats down on the floor. Maybe it's as described, that wrestling gets to re-apply for the sole open slot, and as such this is a guarantee the others won't get in- i.e., it's all a political gambit.
But I don't get what the limiting factor is; is there some law about how long the Olympics can run for? They have to drop sports to make room for others? It's not like the IOC has any respect for the cripplingly deep debt the host cities go into, that it cares about having them build yet another facility.
posted by hincandenza at 02:56 PM on February 12
Well, am I the only one who noticed that you can rearrange the letters in
TIMOTHY LEROY LINCECUM
ICY YELL, "CUT INTO HER MOM"
posted by hincandenza at 08:33 PM on February 08
posted by hincandenza at 11:01 PM on February 04
The Constanza goes to the incandescent hincandenza, whose 6 points were the lowest of any player who entered at least four rounds.
posted by hincandenza at 04:38 PM on February 04
It's not a coincidence, but I also don't get the deer connection...
posted by hincandenza at 04:37 PM on February 04
1) I may nab the Costanza with a clean sweep of my picks this week.
2) I doomed the 49ers to not winning by picking them across the board this week.
TREMBLE BEFORE MY MIGHTY POWERS AND DESPAIR YE MORTALS!
posted by hincandenza at 09:02 PM on February 03
1. The winner of the Super Bowl: 49ers
2. The over or under on 47.5 total points Over
3. The quarterback who will pass for the most yards Kaepernick
4. The player who will run for the most yards: Kaepernick
5. The player who will catch the most yards: Crabtree
6. The player who will score the first touchdown: Crabtree
7. The player who will make the most tackles: Ray Lewis
8. A player who will make an interception or recover a fumble ("none" not allowed): Dashon Goldson
9. A player who will get a sack: Ray Lewis
10. The brand that will win the Super Bowl Ad Meter: Doritos
11: The Super Bowl's overnight rating (to one decimal place, for example 30.1, 35.2 or 39.0): 34.1
12: The total number of points scored in the game: 78
posted by hincandenza at 04:50 AM on February 03
Man, the twenty-teens have been a rough decade to be a Boston sports fan...
I know I'm getting zero sympathy from any of you...
posted by hincandenza at 04:38 PM on January 27
Mike Cameron was so embarrassed, he retired from baseball 3 weeks later!
posted by hincandenza at 04:32 PM on January 27
Yeah, I've always felt that move was in the spirit, if not the letter, of what a balk is defined as. After all, the below is one of the rules defining a balk, but previously the ftt,ttf move was considered an allowed exception. This change basically just enforces an existing balk rule more starkly:
throws from the mound to a base without stepping toward (gaining distance in the direction of) that base;
But then again, a part of me can side with the purists: as soon as the pitcher's foot is off the rubber, it's your responsibility as a runner to keep your guard up.
posted by hincandenza at 04:59 PM on January 26
rcade: The Super Bowl round of the pick 'em will have 10 categories and be posted Friday.
3. Peyton Manning
4. Adrian Peterson
5. Wes Welker, because it would be freakin' ironic for him to start catching the ball this week
posted by hincandenza at 04:46 PM on January 26
IT'S A JOKE, BECAUSE THEY ARE CAR RACERS, OR "RACISTS".
At least, I think that is the joke
posted by hincandenza at 06:05 PM on January 25
I believe WAR already does include a position adjustment already, as well as park adjustments and team scoring adjustments. This is incidentally one of the reasons I find WAR to be problematic- it seems to double-dip and overcompensate in an attempt to create an even playing field for comparisons, as Trout gets a bonus for being on a lower scoring team in a lower scoring stadium, so every offensive or defensive contribution is "worth more". Perhaps it is, but then WAR isn't quite measuring what people think it's measuring- and reminds me of how in the 80's they briefly tracked the [meaningless] stat "Game Winning Hits".
And I made the case a while back that Williams and Rodriguez had better age 20 seasons than Trout- although I can't find it now, because the comments history doesn't paginate and the Google(tm) fueled search isn't very helpful. Trout is phenomenal, no doubt, but I think WAR is misleading in this case in how phenomenal he is.
posted by hincandenza at 03:23 PM on January 25
Huh, didn't realize there was a previous case. Thanks!
Oh, and surely the vote he got in 2000 was one of those token "Here, we were friendly during your career, and while you'll never make it to the HoF without a ticket at least now you can say you weren't skunked."
posted by hincandenza at 01:40 PM on January 22
Just had a thought, I'm curious about this; anyone know the answer?
The MLB Hall of Fame has a rule that you aren't eligible until you've been out of the game for 5 years (I guess to make sure you have stopped playing), and then have 15 years of eligibility to make it in on a vote. However, if you don't get at least 5% of the vote on any year's ballot, you fall off the ballot permanently, and would have to be elected by the Veteran's committee no earlier than 20 years after his year of retirement.
Now, imagine this: 2-3 years go by, and the crazy sportswriters with their insanity run amok have left Clemens or Bonds off their ballots in protest, and one of those guys falls below 5%. That player is now no longer eligible... even if the sportswriters have a change of heart. But maybe he's patched things up with his old team/they're on friendly terms, so they sign a small league-minimum 30-day contract, he pulls a Satchel Paige and gets a few at-bats/innings in uniform, and then re-retires.
Did his HoF clock just reset? Will he be re-eligible in 5 years for a proper vote, or did that "permanently ineligible" except by the Veterans' Committee still stay in effect?
posted by hincandenza at 08:56 PM on January 21
Uh, gentlemen? I'm seeing a distinct lack of Sports in my Sportsfilter this morning. Just saying...
posted by hincandenza at 04:58 PM on January 21
This Pats game has gotten ugly. Hope I didn't jinx it with my late submission to the pick 'em! :(
posted by hincandenza at 08:52 PM on January 20
posted by hincandenza at 06:12 PM on January 20
See, now I feel like I deserve the point more for picking the 49ers when they were already down 17-0 after barely more than a quarter.... :)
posted by hincandenza at 05:47 PM on January 20
I'm sorry to say, I didn't realize he was still alive; he seems such a product of a bygone era. One of the very very very great ones, a man quietly a true inner-circle Hall of Famer.
posted by hincandenza at 04:01 PM on January 20
So, even though I asked about it last night, I didn't see this till now, and the first game is underway, a little into the second quarter.
That said, I'll pick around the ongoing game if that's okay with rcade- after all, I'm basically trying to qualify for the Costanza at this point! :)
1. N/A: This one won't count- so I'll pick the 49ers on principle. :)
2. New England
4. Stevan Ridley (NE)
5. Devin McCourty (NE)
6. New England
posted by hincandenza at 03:59 PM on January 20
Any chance we can we get the next round of the pick'em today?
posted by hincandenza at 06:48 PM on January 19
Y'know, just this past Tuesday I was talking about Armstrong at a bar with friends, and was vocally defending the doping- as you all know here, I'm totally okay with pros using PEDs, whether you agree with it or not, and don't distinguish between greenies and Tommy John Surgery and "The Clear": all are to me just ways in which science and biotechnology are making it possible for elite athletes to stay at their level for longer, with less injury and physical degradation. Besides, in particular with the TdF, as Debo270 basically asks/implies if they all were doping, then he still was the best anyway.
But the bit about the lawsuits and especially the attacking of that assistant:
Mr Bismarck: That aggression against people is what burns me on Lance. Never mind cheating, but the flat out destruction of anyone who might even attempt to pull back the curtain is something there aren't enough apologies for.
Fuck Lance Armstrong. Fuck him into a shameful grave.
posted by hincandenza at 06:26 PM on January 18
Well holden- I think the mistake is that Carroll shouldn't have called time at all, but if he did and the kick goes through it *is* more than just a freebie... as Etrigan said, anyone good enough to be at that level can adjust their kick 20 feet to the left, and not miss it twice.
Me, once the die was cast and there were 2 seconds left on the clock, I would have gone for the FG. Yes, you don't know your kicker- he was a replacement-, but Carroll played that game as if he had no kicker on the roster (as evidenced by the first half's goose egg on the scoreboard).
I still say a 65-yard attempt in a dome is a "safer" bet than a hail mary pass. First, unlike a hail mary where you're throwing into a sea of jerseys, it's very hard to stop the FG attempt itself. If anything, the opposing team is probably going to be soft on defense, because the last thing they want is to get a penalty and move you closer to the uprights for another attempt. Second, inside a dome especially it's pretty much just the kicker hauling out and putting his best kick on it. In 2012, kickers were 79% from 50 yards or more, so while 65 yards is not just another 15 yards... it's not so outside of the range of possibility when you have nothing to lose. NFL kickers- even replacements- can kick it that far, we just don't see that many attempts since it has to take place in a field position that is not desirable if you should miss.
But kickers are more accurate than ever, and I'd bet the hail mary play had a far lower percentage of success than the missed field goal.
posted by hincandenza at 03:23 AM on January 14
Ah, the old "Shoot the giant squid before he types the password" play! You just don't see that kind of call in the modern game... I guess that's what makes Manning one of the all-time greats.
posted by hincandenza at 08:26 PM on January 13
I can't believe Carroll called timeout on that FG. They had the game won, I don't think icing the kicker works when you give him the mulligan. That and the mismanaged 3rd/1 and 4th/1 without Lynch...they threw the game away.
Ah well... go Pats!
posted by hincandenza at 05:45 PM on January 13
I'd say that BOP's pick of Kaepernick was so "out there" he ought to get the point on principle alone. Like, you run the math on RBs for the rest of us, but BOP gets a point regardless.
posted by hincandenza at 05:41 PM on January 13
It's 117- you need to read the whole line, as that line lists both his kickoff return yards (60) and then his punt return yards (57) in a separate column, for a total of 117. The pick 'em did say both kick/punt return yards, so you should double check your math for last week.
posted by hincandenza at 05:47 PM on January 12
Just got in under the wire on this one!
posted by hincandenza at 03:31 PM on January 12
insomnyuk: Charles Barkley was on Inside the NBA last night talking about the possible relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.
He harshly criticized owners in all pro sports for holding cities hostage in their various bids to build new stadiums, getting the taxpayer to foot the bill, especially in these difficult economic times.
This is something I've never heard on ESPN, fwiw.
He harshly criticized owners in all pro sports for holding cities hostage in their various bids to build new stadiums, getting the taxpayer to foot the bill, especially in these difficult economic times.
This is something I've never heard on ESPN, fwiw.
posted by hincandenza at 07:25 PM on January 11
But... why? You've made this claim many times, but I've never understood what the difference is between HGH or the clear, and say coffee, or amphetamines, or even Tommy John surgery? And since MLB didn't ban these players (unlike Rose), why should we pretend that a decade on the field didn't even happen? You can "look forward" all you want, but that doesn't change the past, and the Hall of Fame is partly a museum of baseball's history.
Besides, in the case of drugs such as HGH and the clear, they weren't even illegal and/or banned by baseball at the time of their alleged use by some of these HoF caliber players. So what, exactly, are you looking forward from?
Forgetting even the compelling "greenies" argument that should pull people like Aaron, Mantle, and Mays out of the Hall among others... we know for an absolute, incontrovertible fact that there is a specific player that has already been voted into the Hall of Fame who:
posted by hincandenza at 07:09 PM on January 11
Did anyone point out Heyman's self-contradiction to him? That's just unbelievable b.s.
I think the BBWAA should not be involved with the voting of either the HoF or the regular season awards. It made sense when the writers were about the only ones who watched every game in the season (at least for their team) and would be as knowledgeable as anyone could be. But in this era of MLB.tv and sportscenter, the dedicated layperson has as good a grasp on the players as any writer, and in some cases far more. Despite my vocal issues with WAR, I still think the folks at fangraphs and the like are vastly more knowledgeable and attentive to the game than most any BBWAA member. The sabermetric community watches more games, analyzes more data, and compares players with far more level-headedness than just about anyone with a byline.
Granted, I'm aware that we can't very well replace who votes for the MVP since it's actually awarded by the BBWAA itself (it is not an MLB award), unless a new official MVP, Cy Young, etc award was instituted by MLB, and voted on by the players/coaches (and possibly with fan votes as well). However, MLB has no particular incentive to do this- and neither does the HoF, which could change this in a heartbeat but has no reason or motivation to do so.
I'm still a big fan of the Bill Simmons idea of a "Pyramid Hall of Fame". In such a structure, you are recognizing that the almosts can still have their place, on the lowest level, but the real voting is "how do we arrange the biggest stars?" I'd even argue that this pyramid should include every player ever, a true archive of the game... but the minor players get merely a small plaque listing their key accomplishments, almost like an oversized baseball card on the wall listing "Archibald 'Moonlight' Graham". The biggest luminaries have full blown busts or niches covering their careers, at the apex of the Pyramid where there's the least space and it's the most exclusive.
The biggest downside to a pyramid is growth (you can't really expand it vertically over time, like adding a simple wing), but you could make it horizontal, a triangle layout on the ground, where you snake through it like an Ikea, working your way back and forth through the triangle. The Ruths and Williams and those types would be at the very end, the "apex", while most players would be nearer to the base. And if every player who ever suited up got at least a small plaque, fans could show up to visit their team's best stars who weren't really "hall worthy" by our current metric. Seattle fans could show up to see the small plaque for Jay Buhner, or the medium-sized plaque for Edgar Martinez. And even with the vote yesterday, Bonds and Clemens would have a place in the Pyramid of Fame, because whatever the current fickle mood of the journalism hacks known as the BBWAA, those two played the game for years and were very much a part fo the history of baseball.
Like Simmons' idea, the players would be nicely sorted alphabetically or by year of retirement as you wind through the hallways, easy to find. In addition, we could group players by their vote totals- so the Aaron Seles would be sorted alphabetically in the first sections, but those getting 25% or 50% would be found in a block further in. Or maybe it's all just alphabetical for those who didn't merit 75%, but their vote total would impact the size of their plaque (a small, medium, large kind of thing).
And if you pass that magical 75% induction threshold, you get much more of a display than a small plaque... and if you are say in the 90%+ or 95%+ range on your votes, you get a full niche in the wall, with a bust and lovely photographs and jerseys etc, commemorating your life in baseball. This way, the voters aren't saying "He's worthy of the hall", they're saying "Here's how worthy we think he is- a solid star, but not one of the greatest lights ever".
And ideally, just leave the BBWAA out of it- but even if you don't, then the vote would be a one-time deal at the 5-year mark when players are eligible, so these "I don't vote on the first ballot" voters would have no excuse. You either vote or you don't, and every player gets into the "Hall"- you're just voting on where they would rank. The spiteful voters could at best relegate Bonds to "just a regular plaque", and then the Veteran's committee would exist to have the option to "reassess" a player's impact over time. The Veteran's committee could take a more measured approach where, removed from the media silliness, they'd actually be able to move a player down, or up when they acknowledge in 10 years that leaving a player like Bonds on a small plaque a few corridors down from Aaron Sele in the first section- when he holds or is close to most of the major offensive marks in the game's history- is pure insanity, and vote to promote him to a more inner sanctum location with a proper bust and display.
posted by hincandenza at 03:59 PM on January 10
A related article on yerfatma's link was this one, "Will Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens ever get into the Hall of Fame?" is a good read; its analysis that the most strident anti-PED crowd might be the younger voters, which means we can't even bank on the grumpy oldsters dying off and being replaced by less calcified people- the Veteran's committee might be the only hope for these two. I also find the comments particularly interesting, because writer Tom Verducci was quoted as saying he might consider Bagwell in the future, but not this year because he was basically too vocally "pro body building", and he finds it inconceivable he wasn't doping... with no real evidence to support that other than Bagwell hiring someone to help him train and his unwillingness to jump on the anti-PED bandwagon like a good little soldier.
Despicable. As far as I'm concerned, excluding Bonds and Clemens- as much as we may dislike them- nullifies the entire Hall of Fame as an institution.
The really, really baffling part to me is that even if you somehow ignore the all-time records and statistical accomplishments, you have this: Clemens won 7 Cy Young awards (and an MVP), while Bonds won 7 MVP awards. In both cases, those awards are voted on by the BBWAA... the same people responsible for the HoF ballots. How on earth do they reconcile giving the award out so many times- including 4 for Clemens and 3 for Bonds before 2001... and then deciding these people weren't in fact HoF worthy?
posted by hincandenza at 05:18 PM on January 09
That's interesting, but why do you imagine that Mike Piazza won't make it on the first ballot? Guys like Bagwell would get more than Biggio- I find it odd you have him as a top vote-getter, 5% shy of induction, but I can imagine that they might never quite make the cut. But Piazza? As probably the best hitting catcher of all time, seems like he'd be a shoo-in.
Clemens and Bonds should be first-ballot, 100%ers, but the cunts- pardon my language, but it's the truth- in the BBWAA will make some "principled" stand and avoid voting for them as they have Palmeiro and McGwire among other modern players. This, even though they are not just HoF caliber, or even remotely on the cusp, but that innermost sanctum of HoF; we're talking guys who obliterate records and their peers for years on end. You'd be hard pressed to make the case that Bonds and Clemens aren't on equal footing with guys like Ruth, Williams, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, etc. I get that the stink of PED has the see-you-next-Tuesdays on their high moral horses, but even if you stopped Bonds' career in 2000, or Clemens around the same time, you'd still have a sure-thing HoFer.
posted by hincandenza at 02:49 AM on January 09
Oh, well. Crap. Guess I need to be aces for the rest of the playoffs! :)
posted by hincandenza at 08:48 AM on January 07
So no Pick 'Em this year? Does someone want to start a belated contest?
posted by hincandenza at 09:46 PM on January 05
Who are you calling "magnificent"?!?
posted by hincandenza at 05:07 AM on December 26
...the temporary delay with the Mayan Apocalypse
The whores are dead you say? Had they screamed for escape from Maddux's tired slicing away? Serenely he hunts with an eviscerating knife.
I'm sorry, that's kinda of a stretch, but I didn't think the day or this thread would be complete without at least one reference to the longest-running incomprehensible inside joke of this site
posted by hincandenza at 12:00 AM on December 23
That gif is insane- it's the best demonstration of the late flutter on a knuckleball I've ever seen. I didn't think a knuckleball would do that at 85 m.p.h. or faster, even if not rotating.
If I recall correctly, the Bernoulli principle suggests that the same effect that makes a knuckleball knuckle at 60-75 m.p.h. will disappear at 80 m.p.h.- making it just a batting practice fastball if it doesn't dance- but appear again at about 115 m.p.h. and faster. Which means someday, we may see a pitcher who throws a pitch that dances like that- but at 115 m.ph.
posted by hincandenza at 07:54 PM on December 22
Temporary delay? Half use scene this sheep them eyeing hemp our hissing toady? Clear elite day one two fourth heave icicle lift.
posted by hincandenza at 07:48 PM on December 22
Temporary delay? Have you seen the shape the Mayan Empior is in today? Clearly they went over the physical cliff.
posted by hincandenza at 07:01 PM on December 22
Howard_T: In Anaheim? I always thought the Marine layers were the girls who worked the bars outside Camp Pendleton.
It is an interesting premise, and is the heart of Moneyball style thinking. The guys who are 22 are going to be vastly cheaper (we'll say at a salary of 1/A of the superstars) than the proven stars, and there's some decent chance (we'll call it a 1 in B chance) they have a 3-4+ WAR production year-over-year. In general, any player getting regular time in the majors at or before his 22nd year is fairly likely to have a high upside. Meanwhile, the 32/33 year olds who were churning out 7-8+ WAR years are almost a certainty to drop to 3-4 WAR very quickly- or worse.
If the pay rate multiple of A (i.e., superstar costs A times as much as 22-year-old) is greater than B, then the young player will "pay out" better than the superstars. For example, if the 22-year-old costs 1/20th of what you pay Hamilton and Pujols, while they are a 1/5 (20%) chance of equaling or exceeding the 3-4 WAR or better of the superstar over the next 5-10 years, then they're a great bet: they "pay out" at a 4x rate of your investment.
However, it's just not that simple, for several reasons:
posted by hincandenza at 12:20 AM on December 19
Incidentally I've mentioned WAR a lot in the above comments, even though I have plenty of reservations about it; for example, why is Ichiro listed as a net negative defender for several years now?
I know he's lost a step since his younger years, and it seems like the fire went out of him for those last few years in Seattle when they were playing for nothing... but I find it completely implausible to suppose that he went from the cavernous SafeCo, where he was still apparently 0.9 WAR defensively in 95 games, to the much smaller RF of Yankee Stadium and managed to be -1.1 WAR defensively in just over a third of a season. It's why I continue to have reservations about how accurate WAR is (not just how precise).
posted by hincandenza at 04:47 AM on December 13
I'd argue that Boston started imploding in 2011, but then got the worst possible manager to run the show for 2012 (and inexplicably ran Tito out of town) which only exacerbated their problems. Boston's best move of the last two seasons was the mega-deal with LAD that gave them huge flexibility to rebuild smart, like they originally did leading up to the 2003-2009 era. Sadly as a Sox fan, I don't see this off-season being very inspiring so far...
grum@work: the point I was making is that they can want to reduce payroll, but unlike other teams they can easily afford to float a little extra spending instead of making a Sophie's choice. Sure, having 1/3 of your payroll tied up in aging players is not good... but the payroll left over under that $189 soft cap is still enough to fund an entire roster in itself. They shouldn't overpay for an already established name, but they can afford to pick up a young stud on the rise at the right price without ever saying "Oh shoot, we're already full up, we can't afford to pick up the next Derek Jeter right now and know he's a cost-effective option for the next decade. I guess we'll just have to hope someone just like him is available in the off-season next year instead.".
As you point out, there's a ton of people in option years this year and the next, such as Jeter and Granderson, so a lot of payroll will free up quickly if they want it. And while guys like Arod/CC/Teixeira are around for a few more years, at least other than ARod (who was still good for a couple of WAR last year) they are putting up 3-4 WAR. Again, this is a case of "Paying too much for the net positive WAR" not "These players are a net negative", and I doubt those three average less than 6 WAR total over the remainder of their contracts. If you can average 2 WAR per roster spot, you are a 95-100 win team- which means you get a couple of 6's, a few 2's, 3's, and 4's, and then a slew of 0.5's and 1.0's.
I guess... are you saying the big question for them isn't so much the big long contracts, it's finding those next decade players to transition in? This is true- it's much hard to sign young talent as a free agent, because they won't be FA eligible until they've been around a while, and can command a high salary. Still, the Yankees are simply not going to give their fans 2-3 years of "rebuilding". They can afford to weather the pricy long-term contracts and patchwork in decidedly short-term contracts of known veterans (such as Youk and likely Ichiro) until their future 1.0+ WAR players and spattering of All-Stars come up through the farm system at each position.
I want them to fail of course, since I'm a Boston fan, but that kind of wealth gives you a lot of options; you can make a quiet mandate to stop pursuing the big money free agents, but still allow yourself the indulgence of a an expensive but safely short-term filler. I don't expect the Yankees to go anywhere in the AL East, and still be a 90+ win team or better every year.
posted by hincandenza at 04:35 AM on December 13
That... that... I mean, what the hell was that?! Just blow your whistle, and if he shoots it it won't matter because play will be dead.
These refs man; when they tear themselves away from their gambling addictions and fixing the games to actually try officiating, they just end up making a mockery of the sport.
posted by hincandenza at 03:53 AM on December 13
I think the Youk signing isn't a bad one for the Yankees, even though as a Sox fan it fills me with nausea- Youk is one of my favorite Sox players of the last couple of decades, and his unceremonious exit under the tortured reign of Bobby the Fifth seemed an awful way to end his career in Boston. Him going to the Yankees, though- what a kick in the teeth while watching Boston have a rebuilding year in 2013 (and possibly 2014).
But for the Yankees, it's a good move. He's a good free agent if ideally at a lower price, and they do need half a season of a quality third baseman: Youk is a great defender, and has a solid bat that may even spark up a bit over the small sample size of April-June. Shit, if A-Rod never rediscovers his talent, Youk might be a better choice at third both offensively and defensively, so he's a little bit of insurance in that regard for the next season.
The real advantage their money buys them is they can find overly expensive gap filler players while their farm system (eventually) churns up good young talent- and then they can keep that homegrown talent as long as they wish. I think Youk still has a few good years in him, although not at his peak production (obviously). The total production they'll get from Youk/A-Rod will not be worth the total salary... but it will be a net positive at third base by 3-4 WAR or more. Sprinkle enough 2, 3, and 4+ WAR players among your various positions, and you'll have a consistent 95+ win team. This is the same model the Red Sox use: GM for the regular season, and hope that consistent playoff spots yield occasional trophies.
What makes the Yankees different is that every other team- well, except apparently the Dodgers now as well- has to restrain their payroll, and balance the wins/runs created of a player against their salary. They need to careful pick who they sign, who they retain, who they pursue, so that they aren't overspending $/win anywhere they can help it. But for the Yankees, they aren't budgeting dollars- they're budgeting innings; they just need to make sure they're putting ~95 wins worth of talent on the field for the ~1,458 innings of the season, every single year. They can afford to overpay a guy by $5/year, but they can't afford to overplay a guy who is a net negative at his position/at the plate.
The only reason to penny pinch with their deep pockets is if you can swap an aging player for a younger one with the same production and thus a longer period of producing 'x' additional runs created/runs prevented over the course of the season. But the Yankees don't have a financial penalty to keep renting known commodity free agents for 1-2 years on the downward slope of a stellar career, then it will keep working out for them in terms of playoff success.
Really, the Yankees are waging an arms race against themselves. They can always afford to outbid the other teams, but by running this style of GM they aren't hurting themselves season by season, but in the long haul: the Yankees doing the rent-a-star model means they more than any other single team continue to exert upward pressure on salaries, which other teams then rise to, which makes the Yankees have to spend even more to continue their rent-a-star philosophy. The safety valve of their system is to periodically get lucky with the farm system, and get players on the cheap who produce several WAR each year for a small $ per win. Of course, they then never let go of those players, and have to keep escalating the payroll to the homegrown players as they age, since the fans won't ever let them cut the name brand players loose (and while I hated it, and hated Bobby the Fifth, letting Youkilis go is not a bad move for the Sox since he was going to get more expensive per win over time).
I guess what I'm saying is the Yankees can keep this model going apparently all but indefinitely, but it's a terribly inefficient way to run a business.
posted by hincandenza at 11:36 PM on December 12
Yeah, I don't think I'd like a rule that bases itself on intent or excessiveness; there's already the flagrant foul (I and II) for that. Nor do I like extra penalties for fouls off the ball- those can be as arbitrary and ticky-tack as those on the ball, and you already get the two shots when the other team is in the penalty no matter how they foul (outside of a flagrant). I personally love creative uses of the rulebook, so while not terrible "creative", if a simple clean foul is tactically a better move in some situations... what's the problem? That's part of the game.
I think Howard_T has the right idea: if you want to stop the hack-a-_____ game plan, get your player shooting 70% from the line or better. That makes the cost of fouling the player too high to make a common practice.
That said... let's take a quick look at the numbers.
1) Dwight Howard is a career .584 shooter from the line, and a career effective FG % .578 shooter from the field (although since he takes so few three point shots, it's basically the same as his FG%). Conclusion: when he takes a shot he averages 1.17 points per attempt, and when he shoots two free throws he averages 1.16. It's not quite that simple since fouling him on a shot he makes anyway just means he'll average another .58 points on those plays, but overall it's basically a wash either way, with the slightest of edges towards not fouling him.
2) Fouling him without the ball, however, seems initially less sensible. Even as a .584 shooter from the line, if he's converting 58% of his free throws, then he'll average a little bit more than the average points per possession than his team would otherwise. That said, the advantage is miniscule, since it'd be an advantage of a seventh of a point per possession in which you foul him without the ball while in the penalty. Over a large number of hack-a-Howards, you'd start giving up more points than you might have prevented, but it'd have to be 14+ per game to even equal one extra basket.
3) There are also more tangible benefits in terms of disrupting the Magic/Lakers offense, or specifically using a hack-a-Howard strategy late in the game to stop the clock/prevent 3-point plays. This has the effect of throttling the Magic/Lakers points-per-possession to a frustratingly predictable miss one, make one, which can be huge when you're ahead or behind by a small amount.
4) However... the last two years his FT% has been under .500, which throws those numbers above off. It now means that fouling him, even without the ball, means the Magic and now Lakers will actually consistently score less each possession than they would otherwise. Multiply by ~10 times a game, and that's a good 2-3 points they aren't scoring- plus the benefits of disrupting the flow of their offense as noted. In a close game, the ~3 points difference of the hack-a-Howard plan could even switch a loss into a win.
5) Now my favorite numbers to look at. Below is a year-by-year list of Dwight Howard, his free throw attempts per game and his shot attempts per game:
And yet, those numbers have held pretty steady, year over year (I didn't see at basketball-reference.com a list of personal fouls against per game). It's possible I'm missing something here, but if he's being fouled more now, or more without the ball, the numbers don't seem to support it. Either he's been Hack-a-Howarded since his sophomore season, or Stern is picking an odd time- Howard's ninth NBA season- to suddenly care about it.
posted by hincandenza at 09:23 PM on December 08
No kidding- so preventable. The NFL having two different players in the same week involved in the death of someone is really awful. I would hope they crack the whip in locker rooms around the league about curtailing the partying, and getting help when needed- whether it's having a designated driver, or 24/7 mental health professionals on call when they just need to talk. Although the culture of the league and these players is such that they might scoff at any help, for anything. Which would be a shame, because the NFL does strive to inculcate in the players a strong sense of helping out their community, but there also seems to be a shame about personally admitting you need help, or asking for assistance, or admitting weakness- physical or otherwise.
It's a damn shame.
posted by hincandenza at 08:25 PM on December 08
The "karmic justic" and "hoped for an injury" links are disgusting, especially the latter. Calling the Patriots unsportsmanlike for "running up the score"... make no sense to me, and never has. Maybe it's because I'm principally a baseball fan and no lead is truly safe, but this isn't Pee Wee league, this isn't even college sports; you're in the pros, there is no higher level, and you aren't owed respect or a less embarrassing score. There are various reasons a team may not ease up when they're winning- maybe it's a chance to try some new plays out, or maybe it teaches your team to go the full 60 without a break, or see how they perform when tired, so those situations don't bite you in the playoffs.
Of course, since Gronkowski was injured the Patriots have been fine- and I laugh at the "karmic justic" author watching his team get spanked by 30 points two days after he wrote that. And in the Dolphins game, I'm surprised the Patriots didn't laugh themselves hoarse when they kept running the same play and it kept working. At a certain point, you can't stop running it until they actually try to stop it and succeed.
posted by hincandenza at 08:14 PM on December 08
Rodriguez will now have surgery around Jan. 1, the delay caused by the fact he must undergo a strengthening program before he can have the operation.
As I've said before, regardless of his... weirdness as a person... I hate to see A-Rod fall apart like he has (and I don't think it's PED related, so I hope we can nip that in the bud), since he's ~3 decent seasons from breaking a whole bunch of absolutely amazing records. But it sure looks like his body is doing the same thing Griffey's did: hit a wall, crawl along a shadow of your former self, then retire a few years later than you probably should have.
posted by hincandenza at 05:03 PM on December 04
I was thinking about this thread earlier today, and I think the two 'camps', such as they are, are really divided over one [mis]conception, which is "Professional athletes are entertainers".
Part of this confusion might stem from not making a distinction that things we find entertaining must therefore define the participants as "entertainers". For example, when I read about the latest homophobic congressman or preacher who's outed on rentboy.com or in an airport bathroom stall, I am [i]highly[/i] entertained- but that doesn't somehow make these bigots "entertainers". Some people in the arts are dedicated to putting on a show, and in this regard are entertainers- but others, such as those populating the reality TV wasteland- are pursuing separate goals (fame, money, winning a competitive singing/dancing/cooking show for cash and opportunity, boredom, etc), but the televising of their behavior and lives is what is entertaining to us. But I wouldn't classify the Real Housewives of _____ or the high strung trailer park guests on a daytime talk show as "entertainers", though some of us find them entertaining.
Similarly, the competitive nature of the top tier of sports is very entertaining for many people to watch- the tension, the interpreted dramatic arcs of a game or season or a decade- but the athletes themselves are not "entertainers". They are [i]competitors[/i], and they are the best at what they do which is why they are employed- at great pay- and not you or I, because part of our entertainment from the competition is knowing that we can't just find some random person in the audience who would be better.
It's a subtle but important distinction between entertainment and entertainer, and there's something paternalistic and aristocratic in the notion that the athletes owe us their very bodies for 16/82/162 games out of the year, even pushing past exhaustion or injury, solely for our mere entertainment. Implicit is that they must do this because they are so well paid... although we never seem to be so harsh to the far wealthier owners. The players ought to have the freedom- along with the team- to look after their own health and overall success, as they aren't just gladiators we cheer on while they slaughter each other.
etalgoh: especially in the American context of league systems with drafts, revenue-sharing and wage caps to induce more "entertaining" competition.
posted by hincandenza at 08:41 PM on December 01
Which will have zero effect, since the Spurs are presumably (and that Abbott piece supports) very happy with their last decade of performance, results, player management, and the coaching of Popovich. Like they could give a crap about $250,000, even if it happened each time for the three or so games a year the Spurs do this. tron7 noted that Popovich's job is to try to win a championship, and certainly he's got credibility galore on his methods in the decade and a half he's been running that team. It makes sense too; the cumulative effects of recovering 99.5% each time you play is that you're at maybe 80% at the end of a long season- but if you get that extra day or two off when it counts, you can recharge almost fully.
So in the end, this is more useless sound and fury from Stern, basically an arbitrary tax on the Spurs, for no good reason.
posted by hincandenza at 08:23 PM on November 30
In football, this never happens short of injury (and even then...), because there are only 16 regular season games a year. In baseball however, this happens all the time- players sit out to rest, or even pitchers flying ahead early to the next city so they get a good night's sleep before their next start- to cope with the slog of a 162-game season. A player appearing in 160+ games is actually unusual; only 4 players in MLB last year appeared in 162 games, and only 14 in 160+.
Basketball is somewhere in the middle; they don't usually play 5+ days in a row, but each game is still far more physically challenging; there are half as many games as in MLB, but five times as many games as the NFL.
Me, I think the coach/team have the right to do whatever personnel moves they feel will make them successful for the season. I get that a nationally televised game ideally has the marquee stars... but Stern should not be meddling in day-to-day coaching, not to mention how ugly it would get if coaches were expected to manage not by their attempts to having a well-seeded playoff spot, but by the immediacy of TV ratings.
Plus, he's done this before, and it can be a smart move during the right part of a schedule, really: if he plays all his top stars they still probably win only 50% of the time against a team like the Heat, and having gone flat-out to try to win are then exhausted for the next couple of games. Alternately, he rests his older but still marquee players for a tough matchup, then has them fresh and energized against the next few opponents, who they promptly trounce at 80% effort. Winning a game against a top team, or when it's nationally televised, is still only worth one in the W column. As a coach/team, I'd rather go 5-1 than 4-2 or 3-3, and this kind of move might be the difference.
Really, that slimy corrupt toad Stern should butt out. If he's going to focus on sanctions for sportsmanship, he should be more concerned with those cases when, in the last month of a season, the cellar-dwelling teams start having some "questionable" losses in the race for a good draft pick. And while I hate to say it because they're my NBA team, I'm pretty sure the Celtics did this a few years ago when they were hoping to draft Kevin Durant with a top 2.
posted by hincandenza at 03:57 PM on November 30
That woot collection MrBismarck posted... holy crap, that's fantastic.
posted by hincandenza at 10:53 PM on November 28
Grum, that link isn't readily found on the front page- shouldn't it be?
posted by hincandenza at 06:46 PM on November 20
This makes me a little mad as it now (retroactively) implies that the Jays could have signed Barry Bonds when he was available after 2007. I always assumed it was because they (as a team) decided they didn't want the steroid stink on them, but this pretty much removes that from the equation.
posted by hincandenza at 12:46 AM on November 17
I'm pretty happy about this; it's a good story, he deserves it, and it's nice to see the tradition of the knuckleball is continuing with Wakefield leaving the sport (wish he'd gotten that 200th win, but oh well).
I think the soft spot a lot of us have for the knuckleball is that- in theory- it's something any of us could do. I mean, not many people even have the bones and ligaments to throw even 90mph without their elbow exploding into calcium shrapnel, and we flail helplessly at even 80mph batting cage pitches. But throwing 65-70mph? Shit, even some 40 something fan in the stands could theoretically discover one day he has a gift for throwing the knuckleball, and end up a major league player winning 20 games.
posted by hincandenza at 04:15 AM on November 16
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