Recent Comments by hincandenza

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

Patriots Run Over Colts

That was a bush league snap if there ever was one. Not sure what the punter was hoping to do; don't you fall on the ball, and give the defense at least a chance to hold them to a FG?

Oof, and then the Pats muffed what looked to be an easy INT by stepping on each other's toes. Not a great few minutes for New England.

posted by hincandenza at 09:29 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

I saw last week's game so I'm not banking on anything even with a healthy 21-7 lead... but I gotta figure Belichick won't let this team leave anything in the tank until the final play.

Also, three TDs for Blount with 10:00+ left in the first half? Hes gotta be at or nearing some kind of record.

posted by hincandenza at 09:07 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Ahem... I believe this calls for a w0o+!

posted by hincandenza at 08:30 PM on January 11

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

grum@work: I'm not sure if my 11 point spread gets me the extra point.
I don't think so; the difference was 8, and it's .30 each way rounded down- so 2.4 points, rounded down, is a range of 6-10 to get the extra point.

posted by hincandenza at 08:27 PM on January 11

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

rcade: I wonder if anyone will beat Grum's 7 from last week. Totes a-mah-zing.
I can't get the point on the fumble/int call (Sherman didn't pull it off this afternoon) but I already got 2 from just the first game, so 7 is very much in reach here for me.


In fact, looking over this Seahawks game was pretty lopsided in our picks; 20 of 21 people picked Seattle (except poor holden and of course, Hugh Janus), of which 12 had their spread in the 6-10 range.

posted by hincandenza at 07:54 PM on January 11

Seahawks Stymie Saints

I'm happy for it- I could have sworn Sherman got that 2nd quarter fumble, but other than that I had a good start to the weekend Pick 'Em with two points on the game, just covering the spread when I shifted my pick a little before the game due to the heavy rain.

posted by hincandenza at 07:51 PM on January 11

Seahawks Stymie Saints

Really hoping the Saints score here, it'll close the gap on the spread and get me another point in the Pick 'Em!

posted by hincandenza at 07:35 PM on January 11

Seahawks Stymie Saints

Wilson is really starting to heat up here... should have left my spread call in the pick 'em higher.

posted by hincandenza at 05:44 PM on January 11

Seahawks Stymie Saints

The spread can be partly explained because, but for that holding call on the Turbin run, they'd be up 20-0 in the 2nd.

posted by hincandenza at 05:32 PM on January 11

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

The rain has let up here, but I figure leaving seattle and new england each at 10 over is better than gambling on the blowout for both.

posted by hincandenza at 03:46 PM on January 11

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

It is pouring down in Seattle right now in absolute buckets- as hard as I've ever seen it rain in my life. Gonna revise my spread to Seattle by 10.

Gonna be an interesting game...

posted by hincandenza at 02:58 PM on January 11

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

I'm pretty sure Hugh Janus locked up the Costanza with those... unique predictions. :) I expect the Neutrinos to tear through any team they face this post-season.

1. Seahawks over Saints, 10 +2
2. Patriots over Colts, 10 +1
3. Panthers over 49ers, 7
4. Broncos over Chargers, 14 +1
5. Demaryius Thomas, recv YDs
6. Demaryius Thomas, recv TDs
7. Richard Sherman, int/fumble recovery

posted by hincandenza at 09:19 PM on January 10

49ers Edge Packers on Last-Second Field Goal

I can't recall the defender, but one of the GB defense had- and dropped- a gimme interception on that last SF drive at around the 4:30 mark. Poor bastard will be thinking of that play for months.

I got absolutely creamed on the Pick 'Em this week; chose my teams and spreads based on a simple formula of weighting the home team, as well as the team with the better point differential and record. Net result, 3 of 4 Away teams won this weekend... and the one home team that won did so through an improbable, historic comeback.

posted by hincandenza at 09:42 PM on January 05

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Wild-Card-a-Palooza Edition

Oh look, Jamaal Charles is knocked out of the game early with a concussion, and then the Colts stage one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history.

Guess I'll start clearing a space off on my mantel for the fabled Costanza...

posted by hincandenza at 08:44 PM on January 04

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Wild-Card-a-Palooza Edition

1. Chiefs over Colts, by 10
2. Saints over Eagles, by 10, +1
3. Bengals over Chargers, by 14
4. Packers over 49ers, by 10
5. Drew Brees Rivers, most TDs
6. Jamaal Charles, most rushing yards
7. Cameron Jordan, record a sack, +1

Thanks for doing this, rcade!

posted by hincandenza at 03:38 AM on January 04

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'd like to see a pick 'em for the playoffs this year, although I'm open to using some off-site solution if its easy (ie, I don't need to create an account). If someone steps us, please post about it on the main site, because I never check the locker room.

posted by hincandenza at 12:20 AM on January 03

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Thanks, Howard! Wishing the same right back to you.

posted by hincandenza at 10:14 PM on December 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

It's funny how unsurprising it is that even after all this time, and with all the tools to normalize comparisons across generations... whenever someone- like grum here- does those "best of all time" lists, the stats always come back to the same three names of Ruth, Williams, and Bonds. Although the name Trout could be pretty prevalent by the time he's done playing, seing how similar his age 20 and 21 seasons were to Williams (and if he hits .400 next year, I'll take back everything negative I ever said about Trout re: the mismeasure of WAR).

posted by hincandenza at 04:34 PM on December 19

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

In his defense, that was an epic booty on display.

posted by hincandenza at 10:01 PM on December 18

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The rule, which must still be defined and finalized prior to a vote, will also prohibit catchers from blocking the plate, similar to players making tags at a base.
This seems like a good idea, provided that clause does make it into the final rule- in fact, I'd argue that preventing catchers from blocking the plate is more important, as without that you can't really change the rule about collisions.

What's interesting to me is I'm not sure a rule change is even needed. Fielders on the bases can block the base after a fashion since they have "right of way" while making the play, and the base runners are allowed a certain amount of latitude to slide into them provided they are going for the base while doing so- in other words, if ball and runner arrive at the same time, the runner is allowed to slide into the bag even if the fielder is straddling it while receiving the throw.

If you look at rules 7.08 and 7.09, specially 7.08b, 7.09f, and 7.09j:


7.08b: Rule 7.08(b) Comment: A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not. If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire's judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional. If the umpire declares the hindrance intentional, the following penalty shall apply: With less than two out, the umpire shall declare both the runner and batter out. With two out, the umpire shall declare the batter out.

7.09f: If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes
with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious
intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner
out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner

7.09j: Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called. "Obstruction" by a fielder attempting to field a ball should be called only in very flagrant and violent cases because the rules give him the right of way, but of course such "right of way" is not a license to, for example, intentionally trip a runner even though fielding the ball. If the catcher is fielding the ball and the first baseman or pitcher obstructs a runner going to first base "obstruction" shall be called and the base runner awarded first base.

So what is the difference between the existing 1st/2nd/3rd base rules and a play at the plate? Well, the fielder can't simply squat in front of the base unless he is in the act of making a play, and so long as they aren't doing that and obstructing the runner, the runner is free to slide into them (as opposed to collide into them) and the umpire makes a discretion call whether either runner or fielder were making a legitimate attempt at the ball or base that happened to coincide with the opponent, or intentionally aiming for the base/fielder without regard to the play or a legitimate slide.

I didn't re-read the entire rules, but after a quick scan, I didn't actually find any exception in the rules allowing explicitly for the catcher to block the plate more so than any other fielder in the act of making a play and having "right of way". So is it simply the case that runners have historically "bowled over" the catcher and everyone including the umpires just accepted that- but it was never a legal move by the runner?

posted by hincandenza at 10:24 PM on December 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Short on details that I can find as to why he's retiring. His age and the surgery on that bone spur wouldn't necessarily derail his comeback. And he never *did* win that Championship...

That said, while some of the counting stats are a touch low, he's a sure thing HoFer in my book. Almost 100 more wins than losses, 2x Cy winner eith multiple top 5 finishes, two no-hitters in the same year, and widely regarded as the #1 ace in the entire league for several years.

posted by hincandenza at 11:56 AM on December 09

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Don't get me wrong, grum- I think ARod has been worth every penny over his career. That doesn't change the apparent fact that his contract inhibited the Rangers, as the Yankees and Dodgers are basically the only teams that can absorb oversized contracts. For a smaller market team like the M's, even if Cano produces reasonable value, it might still be too big/long a deal.

I have (as you've demonstrated with your very short list of 2Bs who put out 10 years worth of performance after age 30) far less faith that Cano is going to be worth all 10 years of his deal. The Ms would have been better suited to pursue Ellsbury and save 3 years and some $90M dollars. Theyd probably get the same WAR per year anyway.

posted by hincandenza at 02:47 PM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Wow. I know the M's needed bats (and... everything else for that matter), and i know the fanbase- including the diehards at USS Mariner- have given up on the team. But unless their anemic payroll is going to jump up to the next level so guys like Cano and Hernandez have something other than AAA scrubs around them... they may be feeling the weight of this contract for years to come.

Cano is good, but $24M/per seems steep at such a long contraxt. It feels like Texas and A-Rod all over again.

posted by hincandenza at 11:53 AM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

That link only underscores two things for me:

a) As much as he is unlikeable, ARod may have a point about the Yankees; they seem to be very determined and convinced that ARod is not playing next year, which calls into question the real reason for the suspension/length.

b) The Yankees have no realistic salary cap; with their deep pockets and the absurd YES income, they can and likely choose to spend much more than $185M, and won't constrain themselves if it's necessary to blow past that number.

posted by hincandenza at 08:08 PM on December 04

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

On the other hand... Ellsbury is a left-handed pull hitter; one of the knocks on him as a Sox player was a tendency to swing for the fences instead of happily ripping a single/double and using his speed the rest of the way.

At his best he's doing that, but with that frighteningly short right-field in Yankee Stadium? He'll either flail himself into mediocrity, or be a 40/40 player.

posted by hincandenza at 02:40 PM on December 04

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Yeah, exactly dfleming. From a WAR level, the deal isn't actually a bad one- because in a sense most players with average WAR over 2 are actually underpaid. But that's the big catch: these deals aren't signed to cover the WAR you'd ideally get, but as a balance between the team getting a discount on win costs and the player getting a longer, certain payout. Ellsbury is getting $150M and 7 years of playing time no matter what, while the Yankees are hoping he's getting at least 3-4 WAR a year average over the life of the contract. Hell, this last season he was playing apparently with some minor injuries and still put up a 5.8 WAR, which in today's dollars is a value anywhere from $29-41M/year.

If he stays healthy, that kind of production seems totally plausible... but that's a big, big "if" with his history. I think Ellsbury, when healthy, is absolutely a top-tier player, and Boston will miss his bat, speed, and defense quite a bit (thank god they won this season)... but unless that contract has a lot of clauses/insurance for missed time, there's not a small chance the Yankees will take a bath on this.

Me, I really wish the Sox would have kept him because he was a very solid homegrown player, and I fully expected he'd put another few 5+ WAR seasons out, but like beaverboard noted at that length and pay, I'd have been nervous about inking that deal. Then again, between 2012's massively effective firesale and the recent bridge deal with AJP, I figured they were specifically freeing up money for people like Ellsbury, so this comes as a surprise.

posted by hincandenza at 02:36 PM on December 04