FanDuel - WFBC

April 06, 2006

Is David Ortiz really Mr. Clutch?: Why doesn't Billy Beane's stuff work in the playoffs? Does baseball need a salary cap? All excerpts from Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game is Wrong.

posted by justgary to baseball at 02:12 AM - 61 comments

Trying to earn some referral dough?:)

posted by Drood at 02:38 AM on April 06

"Take those two years away, and his lifetime clutch rating is essentially zero. " What the writer fails to see, IMHO, is that Ortiz came through for all of "Red Sox's Nation" to help bring us the World Series (after such a long drought). What Ortiz did that season alone, to many Red Sox fans, makes him worthy of this consideration and so much more.... I wouldn't be surprised if the City of Boston built a statue of Ortiz - swinging for the fences - to be placed at the main entrance of Fenway - (much like M. Jordan's is in Chicago)

posted by zippinglou at 08:02 AM on April 06

can't wait to see him in pinstripes!

posted by scottyooooo at 09:04 AM on April 06

Ortiz has been visibly great in the clutch (although he's not even in the same stratosphere as Jordan as a player in their respective sports). Reading excerpts from books, like the one referenced above, you get the feeling that these writers and sabermetrics geeks have never watched a game. Look, I love numbers (being in CS/math), but your eyes don't deceive you - when the money's been on the line in the big spots in highly pressurized situations, Ortiz has come through as much as anyone in recent history. Reading these articles, they are clearly playing with the numbers too much - such as attempting to assign standard values to non standard situations. Little credence is given to the quality of the opponent (team and pitcher), the importance of the individual game, the time of year (early summer vs September/October), the divisional ramifications of the game, the emotional impact of the at-bat (don't tell me a single with a runner on 3rd against the yankees by Ortiz excites his teammates and fans as much as a homer in the same situation - and don't tell me it affects the yankees the same way). Point is, clutch is as much - or more - an intangible value than a measurable one.

posted by asica at 09:11 AM on April 06

can't wait to see him in pinstripes! posted by scottyooooo at 9:04 AM CST on April 6 Why? Is he going to prison? He's reportedly about to sign a contract extension with the Red Sox. Something in the 4/50m range as reported earlier this week by ESPN Desportes and picked up by several outlets.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:17 AM on April 06

but your eyes don't deceive you - when the money's been on the line in the big spots in highly pressurized situations, Ortiz has come through as much as anyone in recent history Right. Except the whole point is that one's eyes do deceive. People who are "clutch" one year aren't the next (just like how no market pro has ever beat the WSJ's monkey twice). There are reams of good stats to trounce the empirical evidence of the non-geek's eyes. Having said all that, Bill James said David Ortiz's 2004-2005 performances made him rethink his stance on clutch-ness enough he is going to reinvestigate.

posted by yerfatma at 10:05 AM on April 06

No matter how hard you try you can not just simply look at the numbers and assign a value to a player. Alex Rodriguez is the perfect example. Most Yankee fans would say he in not even the most valuable player on the team (that would be Rivera) yet he won the MVP. If you were talking about players you would want up with the game on the line Ortiz would be at the top of many lists, and Rodriguez would not make the top ten. To many people forget base ball is played on a the field where intangibles are a big part of the game. It reminds me of the strato-magic board game I played as a kid. Ken Phelps used to hit a homerun every game.

posted by TOASTY POSTY at 10:37 AM on April 06

If you were talking about players you would want up with the game on the line Ortiz would be at the top of many lists, and Rodriguez would not make the top ten. I disagree. Most might choose Ortiz over A-Rod, but A-Rod definitely makes the top ten. To many people forget base ball is played on a the field Nobody's forgetting that. But many people find that further investigating what happens on the field helps them understand it better and appreciate it more. Put another way: just because I'm interested in some non-traditional methods of measuring performance doesn't mean I've forgotten the joy of a big curveball that made me seek them out in the first place.

posted by rocketman at 10:49 AM on April 06

Well put Rocketman. It is just when I read things like the that David Ortiz who for the past few years has performed incredibly in the clutch is not Mr. Clutch or when Jeater who performance always rises to the occasion is just an above avarage short stop, I can't believe I am watching the same games as everyone else. Their are reasons why these players are considerd better then the numbers suggest. It is their performance on the field during the moments that count.

posted by TOASTY POSTY at 11:06 AM on April 06

asica: when the money's been on the line in the big spots in highly pressurized situations, Ortiz has come through as much as anyone in recent history Nobody's denied that (so far). From the book excerpt:

When we analyze play-by-play data, David Ortiz does rate as a clutch hitter overall, but most of the damage was limited to just two seasons, 2000 and 2005. Take those two years away, and his lifetime clutch rating is essentially zero. He didn't rate as a clutch hitter in 2004 -- at least not during the regular season -- or in 2002.
It would be pretty bold to claim that Ortiz has not made big hits in big situations. What the stats guys are saying is that it isn't an ability or a skill, because it doesn't persist. In the past he has made some big hits in important situations. He has also, for significant stretches of his career, failed to do so. There is no evidence to support the theory that he is better at clutch hitting than he is at hitting, period. Point is, clutch is as much - or more - an intangible value than a measurable one. Well, if it's really not measurable, then what's the point? It should show up somewhere, in some kind of measurable way, or it isn't worth anything. It's something like "team chemistry;" just a phrase that people trot out to support whichever argument they are trying to make. Now if you're saying that the stats guys just haven't figured out how to measure it yet, I could live with that. But if it's not measurable then it's just religion, and not worth talking about.

posted by Amateur at 11:10 AM on April 06

To many people forget base ball is played on a the field where intangibles are a big part of the game. Everything is tangible. Isolate the brainy chemicals responsible for discipline and ability to perform under stress. Throw in a heart rate monitor and you've got yourself a great little stats package to measure clutch performance. I'd actually love to see heart rate stats for batters with RISP and 2 outs. It is their performance on the field during the moments that count. ... which will be reflected in their numbers. Where does that correlation fail? On preview, what Amateur said.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:12 AM on April 06

read things like the that David Ortiz who for the past few years has performed incredibly in the clutch is not Mr. Clutch You're making the other side's point. David Ortiz has had a high batting average when we define a set of constraints we'll call "clutch hitting" and apply them to the period 2004-2005. Does that make him Mr. Clutch or is it simply a random deviation? As a Red Sox fan, I have my opinion, but as a economics student, I'm compelled to examine that opinion. David Ortiz will be "Mr. Clutch" for me when he's almost done with his career, hits like .220 with 18 home runs in a late year and still has better numbers "in the clutch". Htting well "in the clutch" when you're hitting well in general can just be noise (remember the pitcher is under similar pressure— maybe Ortiz has an innate ability to face pitchers who fold faster than Superman on laundry day). If he's hitting .220 over the course of 500 ABs and hitting .333 close and late, well hell, that's something. And if he retires and his late-and-close average is more than a deriviation or so above his overall average, that's something too. All else is noise. Some people have a mighty high opinion of their eyes. I love that we nerds get looked down upon for relying on years of statistical trends weighted for noise yet people who never played in The Show "know" by "seeing" 100 games a year on TV.

posted by yerfatma at 12:12 PM on April 06

For the history buffs I'd heartily recommend "The Numbers Game" by Alan Schwartz. He traces the history of stat nerds and how they have changed the way the game is played. This is not a "stat book," but a book for those interested in the personalities and stories that shaped baseball statistics. One of the studies mentioned is by Stephen Jay Gould (yes, that Gould) who "claimed that almost every one of the statistical records that baseball held dear...could be explained by randomness alone." There was only a single record that Gould and his partner found "too freakish to be explained away by chance." Want to guess which record?

posted by ?! at 12:50 PM on April 06

The 56-game hitting streak?

posted by Amateur at 12:54 PM on April 06

hitting in the clutch is kinda bs. it goes along with a confirmation bias in peoples' heads where a player comes through with a few consecutive clutch hits, then they're the greatest clutch player in the world. now, whenever he does succeed, it's because he's so great and whenever he doesn't it's like "oh well, he'll get it next time". really, it's just that ortiz is a great hitter and just gets a lot of hits. he most likely approaches every at-bat the same way, because that is what good hitters are trained to do. he's just had the right hits at the right times. it also helps that ortiz is a big name player to begin with. he gets lots of "mr. clutch" publicity and someone like marco scutaro, who has one something like seven games for the A's the past two years in the final at-bat, gets none. i also could garauntee you that because scutaro is not an everyday player, ortiz gets a lot more chances to succeed.

posted by SavyMcSaverson at 01:07 PM on April 06

There was only a single record that Gould and his partner found "too freakish to be explained away by chance." Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig "Iron Man" records?

posted by grum@work at 02:17 PM on April 06

There was only a single record that Gould and his partner found "too freakish to be explained away by chance." Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig "Iron Man" records? posted by grum@work at 2:17 PM CST on April 6 At first I thought 56 game hitting streak, but the Iron Man record could not be explained away by chance. Great guess, but when is "?!" going to give us the answer. I got to leave work soon...

posted by TOASTY POSTY at 03:22 PM on April 06

The "Iron Man" records can be explained away by chance. Every time they took a step on the field there was a chance that they could get hurt and miss the next game. One could argue that the Iron Man records were just as much luck as they were hard work, day in and day out.

posted by whymy at 04:33 PM on April 06

This guy claims to have proven that the "clutch hitter," truly does exist.

posted by tselson at 04:49 PM on April 06

Sorry...work took me away. Wow, four whole minutes. Amatuer is correct.

posted by ?! at 04:53 PM on April 06

There is no doubt that Ortiz is a guy you would want at the plate when the game is on the line, that being said...I would just drill him each plate appearance. That would put all this "clutch" stuff to rest. :)

posted by ayankeefan at 07:44 PM on April 06

Because being drilled was so well received by ARod...

posted by jerseygirl at 08:13 PM on April 06

I don't know if it counts as a "record" in Gould's terms, but Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters are also pretty freaky. Jimmy Rollins' consecutive hit streak was stopped today at 38.

posted by Amateur at 08:53 PM on April 06

I'm actually glad Rollin's streak ended. I personally think the streak should be within a season. I agree about VanderMeer. I just can't see someone ever doing back-to-back-to-back no hitters. Heh. Watch a rookie do it later this season.

posted by ?! at 11:38 PM on April 06

Weirdest fact about JVM's back-to-back no hitters: they were pitched in two different parks, but the mound was prepped by the same groundscrewman, who had accepted an offer of better pay and switched teams in mid-season.

posted by yerfatma at 06:39 AM on April 07

Vander Meer's second no-hitter was also MLB's second ever night game. The first no-hitter was at home at Crosley Field in Cincinnati and the second at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. I have never heard the grounds crew story before. Amazing he moved during those four days in mid-june.

posted by ?! at 09:53 AM on April 07

I'm actually glad Rollin's streak ended. I personally think the streak should be within a season. Orel Hershieser's consecutive scoreless inning streak actually crossed over two seasons. He ended one season with the record, and then gave up a run in the first inning of the first game of the next season.

posted by grum@work at 09:55 AM on April 07

I have never heard the grounds crew story before. One of those things you have to be watching ESPN Classic at 2pm on a Wednesday to find out.

posted by yerfatma at 01:18 PM on April 07

Reading these articles, they are clearly playing with the numbers too much - such as attempting to assign standard values to non standard situations. Agreed. Sabrmetricians and other baseball number crunchers, in my opinion, have a credibility issue because there are too many people who either: a) draw a conclusion, then devise a painfully flawed mathematical formula to support it, or b) devise a painfully flawed formula, then discourse on "proven" conclusions, moving forward under the premise that the numbers are irrefutable. In short, never turn your back on people who use statistics to back any argument. They cannot be trusted. Okay, that's strong. But keeping a guard up against "numbers abuse" is never a bad thing. There are reams of good stats to trounce the empirical evidence of the non-geek's eyes. So, yerfatma, what you are saying is that numbers are more reliable than observation, and you've got the numbers to prove it? That's kind of begging the question, isn't it? I disagree. Most might choose Ortiz over A-Rod, but A-Rod definitely makes the top ten. I challenge you to come up with an instance in which A-Rod came up with a big hit in a big game. Just one. In a situation of needing a clutch hit, I'm not sure A-Rod is in the top ten on his own team. To many people forget base ball is played on a the field where intangibles are a big part of the game. It reminds me of the strato-magic board game I played as a kid. Agreed. And the problem is that many stat-heads dislike the notion of "intangibles" so much that there has been a concerted effort among them to discredit the term completely with comments like " But if it's not measurable then it's just religion, and not worth talking about." Well, I for one believe in the church of baseball. I believe in the sweet spot, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, and I believe that the inability to translate a concept into a mathematical equation does not render it pointless or unworthy of discussion. Everything is tangible. There are just way too many scientists on this thread. This comment is silly. David Ortiz will be "Mr. Clutch" for me when he's almost done with his career Economist or not, if after 2004 you are not ready to anoint Ortiz as "Mr. Clutch," then you should have to turn in your Red Sox Nation membership card. Some people have a mighty high opinion of their eyes. I love that we nerds get looked down upon for relying on years of statistical trends weighted for noise yet people who never played in The Show "know" by "seeing" 100 games a year on TV. And some people have a mighty high opinion of their numbers. To say that you have to play in The Show to understand the nuances of baseball when you see it is akin to saying your opinion of art has no validity if you don't have something hanging in a museum, or that your opinion of a book is inferior if you haven't written one. Your argument is insulting.

posted by BullpenPro at 01:20 PM on April 10

what you are saying is that numbers are more reliable than observation, and you've got the numbers to prove it? That's kind of begging the question, isn't it? No, that's restating my argument, isn't it? You've already dismissed all baseball stat fans as people taking the Chemistry Homework Approach (look up the answer in the back of the book, figure out how to get there), so I guess I see where you're coming from, but the thing that stands out is the lack of any backing evidence in your post. The closest we get to a supporting citation is an unatrributed quoting of Bull Durham. And then: "There are just way too many scientists on this thread. This comment is silly." So now we're not even getting the reasoning behind the pronouncements, just the pronouncements. Why is it "silly" to suggest everything is measurable but not everything can yet be measured with the equipment available? if after 2004 you are not ready to anoint Ortiz as "Mr. Clutch," then you should have to turn in your Red Sox Nation membership card. I don't understand why I can parse your arguments and at least pretend to care about them but you walk right by mine. My entire point was that 1-2 years should not equal "clutch". Why should Ortiz be ahead of Yaz already? My problem with what I would call The Empiricist Camp (if I didn't think a certain percentage of said group would think I was calling them "homos") here is it seems like the refusal to allow anyone to define things as "clutch" or what-have-you is tied to the need to keep the term to one's self. If I never define Clutch for you, then I can always be right about what guy back in Aught Seven was Mr. Baseball and you can never be right. Whoopee! To say that you have to play in The Show to understand the nuances of baseball when you see it is akin to saying your opinion of art has no validity if you don't have something hanging in a museum, or that your opinion of a book is inferior if you haven't written one. Your argument is insulting. Again, parse. I never said that. I don't even recall thinking that. If nothing else, please believe me that you would notice if I was trying to be insulting. My argument is one for the validity of a baseball fandom that likes the statistical side of the sport, not an invalidation of any other approach. I played baseball up through high school. I watch it all the time. I have any number of opinions and superstitions based entirely upon what my eyes have "told" me. I'm just willing to be proven wrong. It is the Catholic School Boy in me that sees personal philosophies and religious beliefs writ in these oh-so-small arguments. It must be the Irish in me that sees hope and commonality in what always devolves into a bitter conflict. I'm struck by the idea that "Why is it 'silly' to suggest everything is measurable but not everything can yet be measured with the equipment available?" could just as easily be a question about Faith and seeing Design in what others hold as Mere Coincidence. So I see where it gets heated, but I can't get that excited. I dropped an unattributed Kevin Costner baseball movie quotation in there to even things out.

posted by yerfatma at 02:55 PM on April 10

While I have to admit that these type of stats have a place in any baseball discussion it is equally important to remember that the game is not played in a Petri-dish in unchanging conditions. Each at bat and every catch is not equal and I do not think there is a formula that takes that into account. When experts (and I am not claiming to be one) say that Ortiz is among the best clutch hitters of his generation or when they award Jeter a Gold Glove their opinions should carry as much weight as a statistical formula. Some people have a mighty high opinion of their eyes. I love that we nerds get looked down upon for relying on years of statistical trends weighted for noise yet people who never played in The Show "know" by "seeing" 100 games a year on TV. I also saw this comment before on this thread but can not find it now. I guess this means that Peter Gammons and other journalists (the same people who vote for the HOF) have no idea what they are talking about. Just my opinion but I tend to think that the former athletes tend to make the worse announcers and analysts. I would say that just because you played in the show does not mean you can make insightful comments about a sporting event.

posted by TOASTY POSTY at 03:53 PM on April 10

I challenge you to come up with an instance in which A-Rod came up with a big hit in a big game. Just one. In a situation of needing a clutch hit, I'm not sure A-Rod is in the top ten on his own team. Baseball Prospectus points out (in their comments about ARod in the 2006 book) that most of his home runs came when the team game was scoreless or when it was tied. However, they happened in the earlier innings and not the late innings. I don't have the play-by-play data to find the totals, but any home run that gives your team the lead has to be considered "clutch", regardless of which inning it occurs in. Getting the lead, even in the first 4 innings, is a big deal in baseball. However, no one tends to make as big a deal about a lead-making HR in the 3rd inning as they do about one in the 8th inning. If your team takes the lead as a result of your hit/HR, and ends up winning the game, it shouldn't matter which inning the hit/HR came in. For all the hubbub about Ortiz and his late inning heroics, the Red Sox only won 6 games last year when they were trailing after 7 innings. Side note: The problem I have with "intangibles" is that it's PURELY subjective. Before 2005, A.J. Pierzynski was considered "poison" in the clubhouse (hence being traded twice and having nasty things said about him after leaving those teams). However, since his 3rd team won the World Series, and he is now considered a "character". Some people have a mighty high opinion of their eyes. I love that we nerds get looked down upon for relying on years of statistical trends weighted for noise yet people who never played in The Show "know" by "seeing" 100 games a year on TV. I also saw this comment before on this thread but can not find it now. I guess this means that Peter Gammons and other journalists (the same people who vote for the HOF) have no idea what they are talking about. I think the point being made is that "stats guys" get derided for what they state because they are not "part of the game", but baseball writers get lauded for their comments even though most of them have the same (lack of) baseball background. It's a double standard.

posted by grum@work at 04:37 PM on April 10

I guess this means that Peter Gammons and other journalists (the same people who vote for the HOF) have no idea what they are talking about. That's exactly what I mean. Sort of: I read the combined output of about 4-5 sports pages a day (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Providence Journal, couple of Western Mass satellites and three NH papers) and there are probably less than 10 reporters whose opinions are interesting to me. I'll take the facts from most of them but skip their opinions.

posted by yerfatma at 05:03 PM on April 10

No, that's restating my argument, isn't it? I'm not sure I agree with that, but either way I should at least get partial credit for using begging the question "correctly" in a sentence. You've already dismissed all baseball stat fans as people taking the Chemistry Homework Approach (look up the answer in the back of the book, figure out how to get there)... No, I didn't. What I said was there are enough bad statisticians to force one to take a critical view of the perveyor's motives whenever stats are presented. I totally acknowledge that some stats are good, and some statisticians are responsible (some of them post on this very site). the thing that stands out is the lack of any backing evidence in your post Along with several others who have posted on this thread, I believe David Ortiz is sick in clutch situations. I also believe, from my observation, that Derek Jeter is also quite clutch, and also not the horrendous fielder that the new wave of statheads would like me believe. I have no "proof" to provide that isn't empirical, and you've already pointed out in a previous thread that my empirical evidence isn't worth any more than anybody else's, so there's nothing worthwhile to provide. Baseball Prospectus is telling me that "everything I know about baseball is wrong." I disagree. Why am I being held to a higher standard of proof than any of the others who post their opinions here? If you object, go ahead and mark it down among the number of unsubstantiated opinions on this site. So now we're not even getting the reasoning behind the pronouncements, just the pronouncements. "I believe that the inability to translate a concept into a mathematical equation does not render it pointless or unworthy of discussion." Costner didn't say that part. I did. I do not believe that baseball is just a bunch of theorems waiting for a proof. It's just my opinion, and you can disagree, but again I don't see why I have to prove that this is my opinion. I don't understand why I can parse your arguments and at least pretend to care about them but you walk right by mine. I thought my comment was more evidently tongue-in-cheek than it came across. You are certainly welcome to define "clutch" in any way you see fit. As for arguments, parsing, and caring, I've already pointed out in this post one instance where you didn't read what I wrote very carefully. If none of us cared about the arguments being presented, this whole thread would just be a typing exercise. If nothing else, please believe me that you would notice if I was trying to be insulting. I believe you. Just because you weren't trying to be insulting doesn't mean you didn't insult anybody. My argument is one for the validity of a baseball fandom that likes the statistical side of the sport, not an invalidation of any other approach. Forgive me, but when you say, "Some people have a mighty high opinion of their eyes," it sounds like a slight on the empirical approach. It is the Catholic School Boy in me that sees personal philosophies and religious beliefs writ in these oh-so-small arguments. It must be the Irish in me that sees hope and commonality in what always devolves into a bitter conflict. The "Church of Baseball" indeed was not made up just for the movie -- there is something to it. For my part, the conflict is not "bitter" but "passionate." Nobody likes to be fooled by what they see, nor do they like to be told that their perception is invalid. And I know that goes both ways. I started college as a math major because I was comforted by the concrete nature of numbers, but I eventually became an English major because I eventually felt constricted by that same nature. I don't want an actuary to tell me how many children I'm going to have or when I'm going to get into a car accident. And I don't want a mathematician to tell me how to perceive the game of baseball, or the world in general. Is that so bad? Baseball Prospectus points out (in their comments about ARod in the 2006 book) that most of his home runs came when the team game was scoreless or when it was tied. However, they happened in the earlier innings and not the late innings. Here's my point exactly. If all that was said was, "most of A-Rod's home runs came when the score was tied," it would be true but deceptive, since the score is tied in the first inning. The implication is that A-Rod comes through in the clutch, but "the clutch" is NOT the first inning, in my opinion. Some statisticians who are less thorough in their analysis than Grum make these types of claims. No, I don't have an example at hand, and you don't have to take my word for it. If your team takes the lead as a result of your hit/HR, and ends up winning the game, it shouldn't matter which inning the hit/HR came in. True. But this doesn't examine the countless times A-Rod comes up in a situation in late innings where his team is behind a run and desperately needs a hit. These scenarios provide an argument that the pitching staffs on A-Rod's teams do a pretty good job of preserving leads. Just to pull out one scenario, I'll bet A-Rod's average in the ninth inning, with his team down a run and with a runner in scoring position, is far, far lower than his .307 career average. Just a guess. The problem I have with "intangibles" is that it's PURELY subjective. And the problem I have is, so what? Why is subjectivity so bad? If there was no subjectivity, there would be no point to discussing sports, since the responses to any issue would be self-evident. I think the point being made is that "stats guys" get derided for what they state because they are not "part of the game", but baseball writers get lauded for their comments even though most of them have the same (lack of) baseball background. It's a double standard. Perhaps, but there's a reason for it. Reason: statisticians CAN make their observations using only the numbers without seeing a single game. Baseball writers could NOT make their observations without witnessing the events on the field. Stats guys need to display a higher degree of proof that they have seen a game and understand the way the game operates OUTSIDE a mathematical formula. And some do not display this kind of understanding, in my opinion.

posted by BullpenPro at 08:14 PM on April 10

Just to pull out one scenario, I'll bet A-Rod's average in the ninth inning, with his team down a run and with a runner in scoring position, is far, far lower than his .307 career average. Just a guess. According to the stats at espn.com, based on his 2003-2005 stats, you would probably be correct. They don't have that specific statistical breakdown, but using the "Close and Late" stat (which I believe means the score is within a run either way after the 7th inning) or the simple "Scoring Position" stat, they are both below his overall average in the same time period. For the sake of fairness, I checked Ortiz's stats in the same timeframe and categories and discovered that he hits BETTER than his overall average. I also believe, from my observation, that Derek Jeter is also quite clutch And finally, I checked in on Derek Jeter. He is WORSE in those two categories than his overall average over the past 3 seasons. Significantly worse than ARod in the "Close and Late" category.

posted by grum@work at 10:52 PM on April 10

For the sake of fairness, I checked Ortiz's stats in the same timeframe and categories and discovered that he hits BETTER than his overall average. I would say MUCH BETTER. And finally, I checked in on Derek Jeter. He is WORSE in those two categories than his overall average over the past 3 seasons. Significantly worse than ARod in the "Close and Late" category. Indeed. Much worse. A victory for the "stats over empirical view" argument. I am certain of this -- my sheer envy of Jeter blinds me to any failings he may have. Growing up, I wanted to be shortstop of the Yankees, captain the team and lead them to multiple championships. I live that dream vicariously through Jeter, who, in my mind, embodies everything good in the current game. You can certainly call me on it, but can you blame me for it?

posted by BullpenPro at 11:33 PM on April 10

You can certainly call me on it, but can you blame me for it? Yes. ;) Grum enjoys shattering dreams.

posted by justgary at 01:28 AM on April 11

The "Church of Baseball" indeed was not made up just for the movie -- there is something to it. I'm not taking a half day today because I want to watch people's batting averages change in real time.

posted by yerfatma at 05:40 AM on April 11

Grum enjoys shattering dreams. Being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Bills, you can understand why I'd want to share the "dream shattering" moments with everyone else. Misery loves company... You can certainly call me on it, but can you blame me for it? I won't blame you, as long as you won't blame me for worshiping Darryl Sittler in the same fashion. Someone at work once said that Sittler didn't deserve to be in the HOF, and I had a brief fantasy of taking an office chair and beating my co-worker with it. I'm not taking a half day today because I want to watch people's batting averages change in real time. I know I am not right in my head because all during April, whenever I see someone's batting average displayed on the screen, I immediately try to guess how many AB they've had and how many hits they've gotten. For example: after a week of play by a regular player, when I see a .250 AVG, I guesstimate that they've had 30 plate appearances, had a walk and a SF, and figure they have 7 hits.

posted by grum@work at 11:23 AM on April 11

I immediately try to guess how many AB they've had and how many hits they've gotten. But of course. Multiples of .143 = x/7, etc. The beauty of the early season is a guy hitting 2/8 is either great or awful after his next at bat.

posted by yerfatma at 11:45 AM on April 11

Darryl Sittler? Now, THERE'S a guy who sucked in the clutch. I'm kidding. I actually had to look up who Darryl Sittler was. I love hockey, but know virtually zero about its fine history. For example: after a week of play by a regular player, when I see a .250 AVG, I guesstimate that they've had 30 plate appearances, had a walk and a SF, and figure they have 7 hits. At the risk of severely damaging my anti-stathead reputation, I do exactly the same thing. At least now, when my girlfriend looks at me like I'm Rain Man, I can tell her I'm not the only one who does it... Lately, I've been trying to figure out -- without looking it up -- how Brian Giles can have a .500 OBP when he's 4 for 13 at the plate. Somehow, he must have a plate appearance that doesn't count as an AB, but does count against your OBP... right?

posted by BullpenPro at 11:56 AM on April 11

Nevermind. Got it. I didn't realize before that sacrifices count against OBP. Who knew?

posted by BullpenPro at 12:00 PM on April 11

I'm not taking a half day today because I want to watch people's batting averages change in real time. Check the times on yerfatma's subequent posts. I want to know if Fenway is a WiFI hotspot...

posted by BullpenPro at 12:42 PM on April 11

I didn't realize before that sacrifices count against OBP. Who knew? Not Tony LaRussa wjho once featured a lineup with a leadoff hitter whose OBP was lower than his BA. I want to say it was Craig Counsell, but that sounds wrong. Little white dude that LaRussa brought with him everywhere. Wish I was at Fenway. Fuck, no I don't: Beckett just walked in a run.

posted by yerfatma at 01:24 PM on April 11

Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, Bronson Arroyo IS Babe Ruth.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:06 PM on April 11

Yeah, statistical outlier or trend? Why didn't he do this in Interleague (did he do this in Interleague?)?

posted by yerfatma at 02:11 PM on April 11

Coming into this season, Arroyo was 4 for 55 with 2 doubles (both in 2000 with Pitt). He never had a hit in seven at bats for the Sox.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:37 PM on April 11

Coming into this season, Arroyo was 4 for 55 with 2 doubles (both in 2000 with Pitt). He never had a hit in seven at bats for the Sox. posted by BullpenPro at 2:37 PM CST on April 11 Well he sucks now. 2 career homeruns - both against the Cubs - both this season! Unbelievable. I am beginning to not like this guy.

posted by skydivemom at 03:05 PM on April 11

Bottom of the eighth, down a run, two outs, two on against Kansas City, Derek Jeter hit a three-run home run to put the Yankees up by two, 9-7. I can't believe I let you guys put a thought of doubt in my head. I blame myself, really. But shame on you. He gets double clutch points for coming through when my faith was so weak. I'm lighting a candle. 2 career homeruns - both against the Cubs I agree, sdm, his timing is horrible. Arroyo's tomfoolery notwithstanding, I like the Cubs' lineup this year a lot. If they can get some pitchers who don't break, they've got a chance to do some damage.

posted by BullpenPro at 03:19 PM on April 11

Derek Jeter hit a three-run home run to put the Yankees up by two, 9-7. Thought of your prior comment as soon as I saw the highlight. In other news, Wily Mo Pena subbed in for Trot Nixon, swung at every change-up he saw like he was auditioning for Major League IV and just midwifed a Frank Catalonotto fly ball over the right field wall.

posted by yerfatma at 03:43 PM on April 11

Bottom of the eighth, down a run, two outs, two on against Kansas City, Derek Jeter hit a three-run home run to put the Yankees up by two, 9-7. You'll remember this for the rest of the season, but you've probably already forgotten: - that he grounded out weekly in the 8th inning when the team was trailing by one run (April 8th) - that he flied out in the 8th inning when the game was tied (April 5th) - that he grounded out with a man on 2nd and the score tied in the top of the 9th (April 4th) Each of those games the Yankees lost. I've got no problem celebrating the "clutch" results, but it's not realistic to ignore the "failed" results either.

posted by grum@work at 10:49 PM on April 11

Not Tony LaRussa wjho once featured a lineup with a leadoff hitter whose OBP was lower than his BA. I want to say it was Craig Counsell, but that sounds wrong. Little white dude that LaRussa brought with him everywhere. I did a search of the Lahman database for anyone in the past 20 years that had a lower OBP than AVG. I could only find pitchers and some obscure cup-of-coffee type players. Mariano Duncan pulled off the feat during his half-season in Philadelphia in 1995. Other than that, I couldn't find anyone that maintained it for longer than 150 AB on one team in the past 30 years that wasn't a pitcher.

posted by grum@work at 11:17 PM on April 11

we don't all ignore Jeter's failures, grum. in fact they stand out even more because his clutchiness is so celebrated. it was especially noticeable last year when several times he had the chance to win or at least tie the game in the 9th, only the make the last out. if the above statement makes no sense please keep in mind that i got hit in the head today with a bernie williams BP home run. i'm still a little out of it probably due to the blood loss since i stayed to watch the game instead of getting stitches right away.

posted by goddam at 11:48 PM on April 11

I've got no problem celebrating the "clutch" results, but it's not realistic to ignore the "failed" results either. C'mon, Grum. I thought it was pretty evident that I was lampooning my own silly idolatry. I'm not forgetting any failures -- just grossly overreacting to one success, the timing of which was pretty uncanny vis a vis this thread. i got hit in the head today with a bernie williams BP home run Yikes. I hope you're okay there, goddam. Did you get stitches eventually? Did it catch you on the dead fly? Too bad it wasn't A-Rod. His homers are a lot softer.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:51 AM on April 12

I did a search of the Lahman database for anyone in the past 20 years that had a lower OBP than AVG. Not for the whole year. It was mid-season and the guy was a utility player, so he probably had 100 ABs or less. Tough to spend the whole season with an OBP under your BA unless someone really believes in the power of sacrifice. Besides Jesus.

posted by yerfatma at 06:15 AM on April 12

bullpen, i'm much better today, thanks. i got a couple stitches. it hit my hands first, then head, then tagged my aunt in the neck. somehow i don't think i'd want to get hit in the head with an a-rod homer either.

posted by goddam at 07:56 AM on April 12

Little white dude that LaRussa brought with him everywhere. Dummy Hoy is out. How about Mike Gallego? John Cangelosi? Wayne Tolleson? somehow i don't think i'd want to get hit in the head with an a-rod homer either. Just for the record, I'm rooting for ALL future homers to dodge your noggin. I'm glad you're feeling better today, and hope your aunt is as well. To further underscore the ridiculosity of my Jeter-zealotry, my girlfriend was reading this thread while I was watching the "Yankees Encore" replay of yesterday's game, and having seen enough turned to me and said, "Jeez, why don't you just lick him and claim him as your own." Sometimes I think I go a little overboard, but then I say to myself, "Overboard? It's Derek Freakin' Jeter!"

posted by BullpenPro at 11:08 AM on April 12

2 career homeruns - both against the Cubs - both this season! Not only that, but both against the same pitcher! i stayed to watch the game instead of getting stitches right away. Chicks who refuse medical attention until after the game = wicked hot! Editor's note: the term "chick" is used with all appropriate respect and reverence.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:01 PM on April 12

Everyone be careful because if you point out too many of Jeter's faults a blood vessel in bullpenpro's brain might burst or something. I've said it before but I'll say it again. Alex Rodriguez is a better shortstop than Derek Jeter

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:04 PM on April 12

Getting back on (read: near) topic, if the Yankees are in a tight spot in the ninth inning, I'd still rather see Jeter coming up than A-Rod.* *And that is with due regard for the numbers that have been presented, and an acknowledgment of all the valid arguments regarding Jeter's overratedness. Of course, I'd rather have Ortiz coming up for my team than either of them. This is not unlike the Red Sox teams of the mid-eighties - I don't think anyone argues that Roger Clemens wasn't a better pitcher than Bruce Hurst, but if I was a Red Sox fan looking at the history I'd a lot rather see Hurst penciled in as my starter in a playoff game. And to YYM: you have to stop with this heckling... I can't afford to keep throwing computers out my window.

posted by BullpenPro at 10:52 PM on April 12

Me, I have nothing to contribute, except that I'm disappointed that justgary used "stuff" instead of "shit" in "Billy Beane's s***". P***y.

posted by qbert72 at 11:06 PM on April 12

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