Mostly the NHL is pretty terrible, but sometimes it’s fantastic for a few minutes.
Modern capitalism is re-segregating baseball.
Moving the A’s to San Jose would symbolize the way baseball is moving away from black Americans as a whole. Every year, baseball makes a fuss over “the percentage,” that is, the percentage of African Americans who are playing the game, which has been in decline for two decades, even as the game gets more racially diverse by pulling in more players from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. MLB has made efforts to reverse the decline — like the Breakthrough Series to showcase young African American talent to scouts — with some success. But baseball’s problem may be larger than any one program
A short and sad (but happy) feature on Doc Gooden (who was amazing) and his parents.
“Hey, Dwight,” Johnson called out.
“How do you grip your fastball?” “I grip it cross-seams when I want to put a little giddy-up on it,” Gooden said. “I grip it with the seams when I want a little lateral movement.” It was unusual for a teenager to know those things, but Johnson knew that Gooden had received a first-rate baseball education from his father.
Baseball has a pitcher-injury epidemic.
Of those disabled players, 69% are pitchers. Collette reports that 68% of the $415,422,175 are comprised by pitchers. One club’s information is that in 2013, 31-to-33% of all the dollars spent on pitchers went to pitchers who were disabled.
If MMA doesn’t change, someone is going to die. (Spoiler: people have already died.)
Mixed martial arts has a problem, a fundamental defect for which doctors and referees, coaches and corners, promoters and announcers, and journalists and bloggers and fans are all responsible. It needs to change. Fighting is inherently dangerous. We’re obligated to mitigate that danger as much as possible. We’re doing a piss poor job.
Old school baseball announcers defend old school baseball announcing.
What the analytics people fail to realize is that we’re talking about human beings. That stuff can’t measure someone’s passion, toughness or feel for the game. It doesn’t recognize that, as a pitcher, you might come out with only two of your pitches working. That the wind’s blowing out, the sun field is in right, this umpire’s got a huge strike zone. I can see where WAR would be relevant in an arbitration case. But in a ballgame it’s B.S., and you can tell when a guy’s force-feeding a bunch of totally inane facts. He’s studied ‘em, he’s got ‘em all laid out in front of him, and by God, he’s gonna use ‘em.
Which isn’t to say slapping WAR numbers all over the TV is a good idea, but reading this you get the sense most of these guys don’t even understand advanced metrics.
For (the real) opening day: the best of Munenori Kawasaki (who is tragically starting the season in AAA, but will hopefully get the call-up once Jose Reyes’ legs explode or Ryan Goins goes 0-for-April).
FiveThirtyEight argues that baseball managers are almost entirely mediocre.
Yet sabermetrics tells us that most dugout decisions barely have any effect on the outcome of the game. Furthermore, if we look at effects on player performance, it’s evident that hardly any manager can distinguish himself from his counterparts. Based on my analysis, 95 percent of all managers are worth somewhere between -2 and +2 wins per 162 games. Last year alone, 21 batters and seven pitchers were worth more to their teams than nearly every manager of the last 112 years.
It’s a hard notion to get behind, and the case isn’t successfully made here at all. The problem starts when the writer conflates replacement players with average players and goes downhill from there. (Also, Ron Washington vs. Joe Maddon hardly feels like a four game swing, though they may be the five percent, I suppose.)
So far, FiveThirtyEight has been mostly disappointing, no?
UPDATE: I totally misread a paragraph in there, and he doesn’t equate replacement with average. My bad. Still not convinced, but at least I’m not questioning the credibility of the writer anymore.
There is a renewed push to limit the amount of weight fighters can cut leading up to a fight, because things are getting kind of crazy.
Fighters’ own perceptions of how light they can be and still be healthy enough to compete might not correlate with medical science. And those wild weight swings and sauna sessions are symptoms of an unhealthy culture. Just because you’re physically able to draw out dozens of pounds of fluid and regain them with syringes and banana bags doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, and just because other guys call you a pussy for passing out with two pounds to go doesn’t mean you should listen.
I love Miguel Cabrera. He has been the cornerstone of my fantasy baseball team for years. I have an MLB.tv alert tell me every time he comes up to bat. He is, simply, an amazing hitter to watch. And now he’s signed forever for all the money, and it’s a terrible, terrible contract for the Detroit Tigers.
Basic age-based regressions and $ per WAR calculations don’t really apply to Hall of Famers and generational talents. The age curves don’t fit and don’t apply to the players at the extreme ends of the spectrum.
Except that they totally, totally do.
UPDATE: Rookie’s collection of reactions.
The story of the Cleveland Indians name is long, controversial and complicated. And mostly racist.
Here you can see pretty clearly why the Indians were named. One: A year earlier, the Boston Braves had a miraculous season — coming from last place on July 4 to win the pennant — and so Native American names were in. Two: It was a glorious opportunity for HI-larious Native American jokes and race-specific cliches and insults that fit well in headlines.
Former referee Paul Stewart thinks James Neal represents everything that’s wrong with the NHL. He’s probably also a bad person.
I have seen enough of Neal’s play over the years with the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh to know that he is a very gifted offensive player with size, skill and an explosive shot. At age 26, he’s already been a 40-goal scorer in the NHL and he’ll probably do it a few more times in years to come if he stays healthy.
I have also seen enough of his play to know something else: James Neal is not my type of hockey player. He has been involved in multiple incidents, showing reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players. Furthermore, he’s a player who has acquired the reputation for being a diver.
The law of diminishing returns, which I learned in my college days at the University of Pennsylvania, comes into this. For all of Neal’s talent, he is at risk of starting to cost his team more than he gives. Which each new incident, he becomes more and more of a distraction to his own team.
Who is the best fictional quarterback of all time?
I went ahead and watched this clip, and why can’t we just give Matt Saracen a hug? All of us. Just at once. It would be the best thing for everyone involved.
George Stroumboulopoulos and the new Hockey Night in Canada.
Stroumboulopoulos made a heartfelt claim to be able to perform the role of both journalist and fan in his new job. He also appeared to justify this belief on the parallel stance that, since reporting on sports is most certainly not like reporting on something important like Syria, “the division is different between a journalist and a sports journalist.”
Before the 2013 season, we would have expected there to be a 50 percent chance that Hanley Ramirez’s wOBA would be above .346. If you’d asked us what the odds were that Ramirez’s wOBA would reach or beat .444, we would have said practically zero — 0.1 percent, to be exact.
The fact that Ramirez’s wOBA was .444 was an outcome in the 99.9th percentile of his preseason wOBA distribution.