hincandenza's profile

Name: Hal Incandenza
Gender: Manly-man
Member since: January 29, 2002
Last visit: December 21, 2014

hincandenza has posted 46 links and 1655 comments to SportsFilter and 4 links and 51 comments to the Locker Room.

Sports Bio

My name? Same reasoning as at my Metafilter page... from the book "Infinite Jest".

Grew up as a long time New Hampshire-ite, and thus a New England sports fan: die-hard passion about the Red Sox, enjoy the Celtics and Patriots, but honestly couldn't care less about the Bruins.

I still recall being 11 years old, leaping up and down in the living room with my dad standing up as the Red Sox were one strike away in 1986. I hollered for my mom to come in and witness history, and she called from the other room "Ah, they're just going to blow it." Mere moments later, Schiraldi's passed ball, etc. etc. Forget the Bambino- my mom is the reason the Sox lost that year.

Currently live in Seattle, big into the Mariners. I root for them as much as the Red Sox these days, and would love to see them win the championship. However: while last year, during that magical 116-win season I realized would have actually rooted for the M's over the Sox had they met in the ALCS (only because of the 116 wins, you understand, and because it didn't "feel" like the Sox year that year- fortunately the Sox imploded and that dilemma was avoided for a season), as a general rule I root for the Sox first and foremost. And since the Sox and M's both have exceptionally good chances to make the playoffs, I hope they don't go directly head to head because then I'd have to root against the M's.

This year, with the Sox playing historically well, I'm hoping they can finally make all us long-suffering Red Sox fans complete.

But my mom's right- they'll probably just blow it anyway.

Recent Links

Ichiro reaches 4,000 hit milestone between Japan (1,278) and MLB (2,722 and counting).: While his production is a shadow of those early Mariners years when he was a 200+ hit machine for more than a decade (just LOOK at that rookie spike of 242 hits, or the record-setting 262 hit season), the 39-year-old Yankee outfielder continues to produce at a decent if unremarkable level.

Questions arise over how long Ichiro will continue to suit up (he's signed with the Yankees through the 2014 season), but even at his reduced performance level, if he can stay an every day player into the 2015 season he'll almost surely eclipse the 3,000 hit mark in MLB.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 10:08 PM on August 22 - 17 comments

Comment Editing: Wow, I'm not really not cool with the comment editing- chide me if you must, but if you're going to rewrite comments (and without clear indication, to boot), this site just became a whole lot less friendly.

posted by hincandenza to editorial policy at 05:57 PM on September 05 - 33 comments

NFL Pick 'Em, SUPERBOWL and final results: The final standings are in after all four founds of the Sportsfilter 2010-2011 NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em... and we have a winner!

posted by hincandenza to fantasy at 02:33 PM on February 08 - 6 comments

NFL Pick 'em, SUPERBOWL Round: : It's finally here: the last Sportsfilter Pick 'Em of the 2010-2011 NFL Season. A veritable smorgasbord of picks are to be found inside!

posted by hincandenza to fantasy at 12:17 AM on February 03 - 16 comments

NFL Pick 'em and Confidence Pool, Conference Round RESULTS: Results are in for the NFL Pick 'em and Confidence pool after the Conference Round. A pair of exciting games today, and some interesting results in our two pools!

posted by hincandenza to fantasy at 10:01 PM on January 23 - 9 comments

Recent Comments

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle


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.


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