October 01, 2012

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 28 comments

So Fabrizio Miccoli did this yesterday.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:16 AM on October 01

RBNY vs Toronto FC (as seen from Section 101)

posted by goddam at 08:31 AM on October 01

Mr Bismarck: my favorite part is the "Miccoliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" from the announcer.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:00 AM on October 01

From the Associated Press after yesterday's 49'ers - Jets contest:

Ryan said Friday that the Jets would wait to put Revis on injured reserve until he has surgery in a few weeks, keeping him available in case New York goes to the Super Bowl.

posted by beaverboard at 11:05 AM on October 01

Ryan said Friday that the Jets would wait to put Revis on injured reserve until he has surgery in a few weeks, keeping him available in case New York goes to the Super Bowl.

Good for him. Based on the performance that was on the field yesterday, a crippled Revis would've been an improvement on Kyle Wilson. The guy seemed to run into a forcefield that didn't let him defend 20 years down field.

posted by dfleming at 11:17 AM on October 01

20 Years Down Field; what a great song that is.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:51 AM on October 01

That is one amazing chip shot! Europeans were really putting it in the hole yesterday, eh?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:58 AM on October 01

Tickets for tonight's Astros @ Cubs game are available for as low as $.09 on StubHub.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:02 PM on October 01

Good for him. Based on the performance that was on the field yesterday

Read a piece this weekend suggesting this was just another piece of "Rah Rah" Rex Ryan bravado: they're keeping him on the active roster for the Super Bowl. Which they're never going to make. And which is 4 months away while the recovery time from this injury is what, 8 months minimum? So rather than add a body to the 53 man roster, someone who might actually see the field, they're keeping it around like an homage to someone who died. I'm sure it will make Mark Sanchez a better QB.

posted by yerfatma at 12:22 PM on October 01

Regarding all the MVP talk, the creator of Baseball-Reference.com made a blog post:

How Many Baseball Writers Have Called or E-mailed to Talk to Me About What Goes Into WAR? Zero.

He calls out the baseball writers who berate a stat they don't understand, or even TRY to understand.

posted by grum@work at 01:18 PM on October 01

What? They haven't reached out to me either, I don't understand that article writer's point. B-R would be a good start, but it isn't necessarily the only place to get information: can he prove Madden et al haven't read their primer on WAR? Is the original creator of WAR even part of B-R?

I clicked through to the Madden article, and while he's a bit off (that whole weird bit about the "value" of Cabrera moving to third so they could sign Fielder? Whatevs...), he's not wholly wrong that WAR isn't even an agreed upon computation.

And you know, while not a WAR aficionado, I get the principles behind it: every action that you take adds or removes some fraction of runs, and runs are fractions of wins, and ultimately a hitter who makes fewer outs, adds more bases (via bat or steal), or creates outs on defense, can be plugged into a Pythagorean to estimate how many wins he is actually responsible for. But my problems with WAR include that it isn't a standard metric, that it is the kind of overly complex computation that you'd expect to see out of an economist, and that the weight of normalizing for parks, team, and position can unusually skew the value of a player.

We had this conversation at SpoFi a few days ago, and I invoked comparisons to A-Rod and Ted Williams in their age 20/rookie years, and the only excuse for why Trout's WAR is so much higher is basically normalization... which, yeah, but the other two had statistically better seasons.

Anyway, MVP is a subjective vote: writers who use rules like "I won't vote for a pitcher" shouldn't be voting, but it's kosher to say "Well, I'll reserve my vote for a team that makes the playoffs".

Actually- quick side question: do the writers vote on the post-season awards after game 162, or after all the WC playoffs have been held? Those games (and division deciding games if necessary) are in a limbo between regular season and post-season, so I'm not sure when the BBWAA ballots are actually cast.

posted by hincandenza at 01:45 PM on October 01

which, yeah, but the other two had statistically better seasons.

So everybody who hit .400 in the Nineteenth Century was the best ever?

posted by yerfatma at 02:03 PM on October 01

I'm sure that the line that set off Sean Forman off was this one:

According to one blogger last week, Trout's superior WAR demonstrates that "he has helped his team win roughly three to four more games than Cabrera has helped his." Don't ask how that conclusion is reached.

What Sean is saying is "You know what? How about you do ask how that conclusion is reached?"

Willful ignorance in an argument (or an article about a subject) is ridiculous.

posted by grum@work at 02:35 PM on October 01

That's true, that's a good point. And like I said, I think there's also some poor thinking in the linked articles so I don't want to be seen as defending them, but I guess I don't understand the line of "No one emailed me".

yerfatma: So everybody who hit .400 in the Nineteenth Century was the best ever?
No, for at least two reasons: one, the depth of talent was such that hitting .400 in 1890 is like hitting .400 in a beer-league softball game. Two, we can recognize that average is not a sufficient measure of skill, while still questioning whether WAR is truly accurate or as meaningful as its creators believe.

One good test of any stat is to see how it predicts as well as explains the actual outcome. A good test of WAR then is to sum the WAR of each player on a roster and see if that equates to the actual won/loss record;for example, B-R has the batting + pitching WAR as 40.1 for the Angels, which I think would equal a 90 win team (they're at 88). So it's basically- and for intrinsic reasons, since they turn runs into RS/RA- as accurate as the Pythagorean, which is usually close but can vary by a handful of wins or more.

However, that doesn't mean WAR is accurate- for example, if it had a bias that overemphasized some positions in favor of others, or certain types of contributions, then it would tend to overstate the WAR of certain players on a team while understating others, which would all come out in the wash in terms of its team won-loss accuracy.

I think WAR is a decent, but young, measurement; it isn't universally agreed upon, and while I was reading Bill James' baseball abstract back in the early to mid 90's so I'm not a complete stat neophyte, I still don't "buy" WAR as the next big thing- largely because I can't escape the sense that it over-normalizes for things like park effects, team runs, etc.

As an aside, one comparison method I'm surprised hasn't really been explored on is the idea of comparing players by actual plays. All of these stats we use, from basic to complex, try to take the mass of data and turn it into a straight up number... but why not simply line up two players' contributions over the season (at-bats ordered by situation, for example) and cancel out any matches. I guess, after a fashion, this is kind of what WAR does against a hypothetical replacement player. So for every double that Mike Trout hits with a man on 1st and 3rd, we find a double that Cabrera hit with men also on 1st and 3rd, and 'erase' both of those. Every put-out or assist, we do the same. For every ground out and pop-up, we do the same. For every stolen base- or caught stealing- the same, etc, etc. Eventually we'll have the list of non-matching events that is like a filtered "Here is the actual event-by-event difference between these two players".

Useful to normalize a player's value to a thumbnail stat? No, but potentially useful for doing a comparison of a handful of players in contention for an award like MVP.

posted by hincandenza at 04:17 PM on October 01

Watching PTI and Kornheiser mentions the Lions are 6-10 over the last 16 games. Wilbon's response is they're worse than that, loosing something like 10 out of the last 16 or so games. *facepalm*

posted by jmd82 at 06:25 PM on October 01


Your first mistake was watching PTI. Your second was actually paying attention...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:13 PM on October 01

heh. :)

Man, the Red Sox have shit the bed against the Yankees, 9-0 after 2, and Bobby Valentine sat two of the only regular major league players in his lineup. I'd suspect they were throwing the games as revenge against the Orioles last year, but they aren't even talented enough to have had a chance of winning anyway... looks like New York is going to win the AL East this year.

posted by hincandenza at 08:29 PM on October 01

E60 on Ben Petrick, update on an 8 year old SpoFi story..

posted by tommytrump at 09:07 PM on October 01

Your first mistake was watching PTI. Your second was actually paying attention...

I'm going to admit that I don't watch PTI, but I do listen to the (trimmed down) podcast version. It's a quick way for me to catch up on any stories I might have missed.

posted by grum@work at 10:33 PM on October 01

I got into watching PTI during the Referee Lockout, waiting for Wilbon to have a heart attack as he rants and raves about the GREED AND EGOTISM OF THE NFL OWNERS. HEAR ME RARW!! I AM WILBON!!!

posted by jmd82 at 10:56 PM on October 01

I run a day behind on the podcasts, so I'm looking forward to listening to them go crazy over the American collapse in the Ryder Cup, but the referee lockout provided many an entertaining moment of insane ranting.

posted by grum@work at 11:08 PM on October 01

Best to also run at least a day behind with any podcasts from Romo ranters.

posted by beaverboard at 12:07 AM on October 02

Oakland just won an exciting game, 4-3 in the top of the 9th, with Grant Balfour striking out the side to clinch a post-season berth for the A's.

I've been pretty vocal about hating the 2-WC format, but damned if the way this season is ending doesn't make for some exciting game watching.

posted by hincandenza at 01:16 AM on October 02

That Oakland game would be exciting regardless. The A's are one game back of the Rangers with two to play.

posted by rcade at 08:41 AM on October 02

Grant Balfour is a more amusing name for a pitcher than Homer Bailey.

posted by bender at 10:57 AM on October 02

Grant Balfour is a more amusing name for a pitcher than Homer Bailey.

Let's settle this once and for all.

MLB pitcher names, from worst to best:

Anthony Slama < Homer Bailey < Bruce Hitt < Bob Walk < Grant Balfour < Jake Striker < Josh Outman < George Winn < Bill Champion

posted by grum@work at 12:56 PM on October 02

I have fond memories of the Pirates' "Banquet Hall" pitching staff in the early 70's.

Featuring Moose, Veale, and Lamb.

posted by beaverboard at 03:18 PM on October 02

I think it speaks volumes about my brilliance that it hadn't occurred to me until right now why you referred to HOMER Bailey as the worst named pitcher to throw a no-hitter. Thank you for the flow chart, grum. Holy shit, am I clever.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:51 PM on October 02

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