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Sunday, June 20, 2004

#81 

Well, the entire time Gagne was in he got ungodly friendly calls. That was pretty amazing the calls he got. Though, he's got lethal stuff.

Gagne 

You know, Gagne coming into the game in LA is pretty cool, and the most amazing part is that he gets people to stay at the game. Imagine that, people in LA actually stay past the 6th inning.

The Brewers won 10 in a row last year. 

The Devil Rays 11 game winning streak is nice for the fans of the Devil Rays (Do they exist?) but stuff like this happens once a year and invariably leads to everyone saying they turned the corner and are ready to take on the Yankees (Not really, but you get the point). A little help from the Scheduling Gods and the Baseball Gods can lead to streaks like this. The Brewers last year won 10 straight off of Philladelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati and managed to finish the year 68-94. the Devil Rays beat the Giants twice (once Bondsless), Padres 3 times, and DBacks, and Rockies 3 times each. Padres are in a freefall without Klesko, and the Rockies and Dbacks are brutal. So with a bit of luck, and a bit of help from the Schedule, you can see any team in baseball reeling off a 10+ game winning streak...well...not the Mariners.

Continue...? 

You 2, should we continue to publish stuff on this thing?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Dear Larry 

The following article is a post in reaction to the comment by "Larry" in response to the article by Professor Bobbington titled "Is it because Barry Bonds is not your best friend?":
Dear Larry,

I am more than a little confused by what you meant when you said, in your comment made on the 25th of february in the year 2004 at exactly 2:25:04, "nevermind a white guy I've given a pass to." Could you please explain what you meant by this.
Were you trying to say that had Barry Bonds been born white, he would not act so selfishly to his teammates because white people don't act like this? I really hope not. I myself am white yet I take great offense to your utter stupidty if this is what you were implying. Were you trying to say that you had once tried to "make a pass" at Alex Rodriguez, the player Bonds was being compared to in the good Professor's article? I am not homophobic, but please, if this was the case, we do not care about your sexual relationships with ball players and i am sorry that Alex Rodriguez in all his wisdom denied you access to his anal opening or vice versa, depening on how you like it.
I don't think you quite got the point of the good professor's argument, which was afterall, that Barry Bonds is one of the best baseball players of all time and at this moment, he is better than Alex Rodriguez. I don't think you can truthfully argue he isn't a great player when your only thread of evidence is that he "hides" information from teammates or is selfish. Afterall, you claim you can't believe anyone else ever acting so horribly who played at the "superstar" level of Bonds. Well, we can start with Joe Jackson, who bet on the 1919 world series, though his exact role in the gambling will always be debated. Nevertheless, like Bonds, he will always be considered "selfish" because of how the media likes to imply things before than can ever be proven fact. How about Pete Rose, considered the greatest pure hitter of all time by many, (though certainly not by me. ted williams, another great who was considered an ass by many gets my vote).
Well? How does this fit into your arguement? If it was the racist argument, these other guys are white, no? Do you think Bonds's desire to keep his info quiet is really what is keeping his teammates from all hitting the way he does? Could he not actually have a point that if his info does give him a certain advantage over certain pitchers, then if a teammate is traded they could let all those pitchers on their new team know the truth. i mean, had he told Jeff Kent some great secret against Roy Oswalt (not very likely he'd do that for kent) well then the next time the astros and giants meet, bonds's great skill would be hurt by this transaction of knowledge. On a side note, teams have scouts and scouts are supposed to find the pitchers's weaknesses, so if the other players aren't getting any info otherwise, well, then the giants aren't doing a good job in the first place and it isn't bonds's fault they don't win the world series. I am just confused by your desire to claim Bonds is bad because of his character. Yes, maybe he isn't a David Eckstein and maybe he won't take one in the head for the team or dive and land on his neck to make an out, but if you were his coach, would you really want your best player, let alone statistically one of the best players of all, time going down with an injury for one lousy play? Furthermore, Bonds isn't that bad of an outfielder and if you want to talk about laziness you should be starting with Manny Ramirez who is the real epitomy of a lazy superstar who only really cares about the stats he puts up with his bat. So larry, please, let us know what you meant. Are you still bitter from ARod's rejection and just wanted a good argument, or do you truley think that Bonds is bad because of a media hyped up fact that he isn't the greatest teammate ever to dawn a uniform? Please, use your head and forget what you hear about the children Bonds keeps deboned in his cellar. If you want to go that route, we can talk about Albert Belle. If not, accept that Bonds is a great ball player and leave it at that.

-Love waldo.
Officially Sir Lawrence Waldofo S. Bingham Ferdydurke III of Lancaster England and Oxford University's Group for the Exceptionally Sound, formerly Dr. Larry W.S.B. Ferdydurke III of Princeton University's Society for the Mentally Unstable, expatriate and the patented inventor of the British vernacular term "blue-assed fly."

Monday, February 23, 2004

Is it because Barry Bonds is not your best friend? 

Seriously, it's quite sad. Lost in all the hoopla of A-Rod, Yankees, Soriano, financial flexibility, Tom Hicks being a greedy money-grubbing piece of shit, is that people are forgetting about the greatest player in this generation, the CURRENT best player, and one of the greatest of all time.

I've heard way too much shit recently that Alex Rodriguez is the best player in baseball. This is, quite frankly, one of the dumbest notions I have EVER heard. It is about as perposterous as Ralph Nader declaring he's going to run to "help get George W. Bush out of office" - he may be running for 3rd party rights and as a libertarian I support that, but he ain't running to help get Bush out of office.

A-Rod is an amazing ball player. He may retire as one of the greatest of all time. In 3 years, when Bonds is retired, or just not nearly as good, he'll the best, well Pujols will be up there but chances are A-Rod will the best. But right now, he's just not.

We'll start with simple stats, before getting into the complex ones that some people may not recongize.. We'll just look at this year, even though Bonds's case is helped by 3 year data because he had TWO OF THE GREATEST SEASONS OF ALL TIME .

2003 Bonds: .349 Batting Average, .529 On-Base, .749 Slugging.
2003 Rodriguez: .298 Batting Average, .396 On-Base, .600 Slugging.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB BA OBP SLG OPS
2003 Bonds: 390 111 133 22 1 45 90 7 0 148 .341 .529 .749 1.278
2003 A-Rod: 607 124 181 30 6 47 118 17 3 87 .298 .396 .600 .995
2003 Pujols: 591 137 212 51 1 43 124 5 1 79 .359 .439 .667 1.106

Okay, so the only argument in favor of A-Rod from the offensive stats is that A-Rod is more durable. Fine, if you want to argue that, if you believe playing time is so much more important than offensive dominance, fine. But then, Pujols is number 1. But quite frankly, no amount of playing time is enough to compensate for almost 300 points of OPS!!

Look, I'll get to defense later, because yes, A-Rod plays a better position and plays it better too. But if you wanna throw out "Home Run Titles" and "More RBIs", I'd like to refer you to the BB category. Pitchers are scared shitless of Bonds. Shitless. They have no heart, and who blames them, when Bonds destroys everything. Pitchers have about as much courage facing Barry Bonds as the majority of Democrats in Congress have when standing up to George W. Bush. Bonds can not, in any way shape or form, be held responsible for the fact that pitchers just don't face him. Look at his rate stats. He has an over 500 On-Base percentage. Why is that important? Well, I won't get you into the details because I'm trying, albeit miserably, to keep this short. But, On-Base is basically opposite of Getting Out Percentage (you get on base, you did not make an out). So basically, the higher you OBP, the lower your Getting Out Percentage. Bonds did not make out over half the time. In baseball, outs are precious. There are only 27 of them per game for each team, and only 3 per inning. They are critical to save. Bonds does not make an out over half the time, allowing for bigger rallies, more runs, etc. There's a reason why so much of run scoring can be attributed to OBP. Look it up. And if you want to get a little bit advanced, A VERY HIGH PERCENTAGE OF RUN SCORING CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO ON-BASE AND SLUGGING PERCENTAGE . The correlation between OBP and run scoring is ridiculous. Another simple intuition: IF YOU DO NOT GET ON BASE YOU CAN NOT SCORE . God people, learn this, this is baseball 101.

Speaking of which, head over to www.baseballprospectus.com, they are having Baseball Propsectus Basics. It's an easy way to learn advanced baseball knowledge, it's like Sabermetrics 101. Anyway, back to the point at hand. Bonds v. A-Rod. So now that simple stats show that Bonds is better than A-Rod offensively, let's have some fun and do advanced stats:

EQA EQR RAR RAP RARP

Bonds: 0.420 146.7 114.1 91.9 106.5
A-Rod: 0.326 130.5 76.1 60.4 79.1

Okay. EQA is equivalent average, it's a very nice, but intensive and through stat that looks at a player's overall offensive contributions (that includes base-stealing and sacrifice bunts), and then uses some mathematical techniques, adjusting for park effects, to turn it into a era-relative stat. A league average player is a .260, so anything above that is great. A .400 EQA is almost unheard of. Bonds had it. EQR is equivalent runs, it's EQA applied to your season (based on how many plate appearances you had) RAR is runs above replacement, it means the number of runs you gave your team as opposed to a league replacement player, as in someone who you'd get from Double AA for no money. RAP is runs above position, it's the number of runs you "earned" over an average player for your position, and RARP is runs above positional replacement, it's the runs you "earned" over a replacement player of YOUR position. (You can find a LF in Double A who's passable, but almost all SS's there stink, that's the theory at least).

Notice the gap closing between Bonds and A-Rod once position comes into play. And it's true. Bonds does play a much easier position. A-Rod deserves credit for that, and in this nice stat, he gets it. The difference between the two is about 27 runs when compared to their replacement level @ that position. That's a pretty hefty number of runs.

Now, everyone turns to defense. Ah yes, defense. Now, traditional defensive stats suck. Errors are a horrible way to judge defense. Why? Well, as I like to call it, the Royce Clayton v. Jose Valentin debate. In 2001, Royce Clayton was chosen to play SS for the White Sox and Jose Valentin would be moved to 3B. Why? Because of Valetin's ungodly 36 errors. Clayton made 16 the year before (both played a full season). Valentin, however, was a MUCH better defender. Why? He made more PLAYS. He made more OUTS. He had MORE RANGE . What's the point of great hands IF YOU CAN NOT GET TO THE BALL. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF DEFENSE IS GETTING TO THE BALL . And for those who say I don't watch enough baseball, I have watched plenty to know WHY John Valentin makes more outs. Some of it is because he has better range, but most of it is because there may not be a single player better at turning the double play, it's ridiculous how fast he is.

The best way to judge defense is outs made. Of course, adjustments must be made, because range factor and other such defensive stats falter because there is too much dependence on the pitching staff you have, on their tendencies, on the park you play in, on a lot of other things. But fundamentally, if you can find a way to isolate all other factors, you should look at WHO MADE THE MOST OUTS. That includes your hands, after all, if you make 5000 errors, then you won't make any outs. But fundamentally, if you have 2 players who play for equal pitching staffs, and one got to 1000 balls, made 970 outs a season and 30 errors, and the other got to 800, makes 790 outs and 10 errors, who is better? The 1000 guy. By FAR. He made 180 more plays than the other guy because of superior range. That’s the key to defense, making plays. Errors are a part of that. If hands were the ONLY thing that mattered, John Olerud would be an amazing Shortstop.

Now, even advanced defensive statistics have their limitations, even the best ones at prospectus aren’t great. But it’s the best we’ve got and they still do illustrate the point:

Barry Bonds: 18 RAR
Alex Rodriguez: 34 RAR

That means that Barry Bonds was 18 runs better than a replacement, A-Rod, 34. So yes, A-Rod is worth more than Barry Bonds is defensively.

Add them together, we get

Barry Bonds, offense + defense: 124.5 RARP
A-Rod, offense + defense: 107.1 RARP.

All right, I’ll be honest. The gap is not as wide as I originally thought. It’s closer than that, at least for baseballprospectus.com stats, to the point where the overall difference is about 17 runs, which is significant but not THAT much. But it’s still clear that Barry Bonds is a better player. Let’s look at another stat, courtesy of Bill James, who is not affiliated with the folks at prospectus. His stat is called Win Shares, and a Win Shares is 1/3 of a win. If you “earned” 3 Win Shares, you were responsible for 1 win during the baseball season.

Win Shares:
Hit Field Pitch Sum WS
A Rodriguez 26.08 6.43 0.00 32.51 32
B Bonds 36.06 3.15 0.00 39.21 39

Win Shares tells the same story that prospectus did. Barry Bonds is SO superior with the bat that no amount of defense that compensate. Other good metrics of player value say the same thing. Now, if you don’t know how Win Shares is calculated or don’t even know what the heck it is, look up Bill James’s work, specifically his book Win Shares. If you don’t want to shell out the money, fine, there is work on the Internet.

Also, I know people don’t want to blindly follow one man. I gave you a group of men’s opinions (baseballprospectus.com) and Bill James’ win shares. There are others. Read ANYONE who OBJECTIVELY, again, the word, OBJECTIVELY values baseball statistics, and then comes to a conclusion. They all say the same thing, which, if you look at the statistics, and compare offense and defense together, and look at the whole package, Barry Bonds is better. Objectivity is key. It's why people who say that statheads don't watch enough baseball are clueless shitheads. When you watch a game, first, your eyes often betray you, second, subjectivity will rule the day. How come it seems that at least 10 fielders at each position are rated "the best at their position". How come John Olerud, JT Snow, Doug Mientkiewicz and David Segui are ALL considered, by scouting reports, and by those who "watch baseball", to the best defenders? Because of subjectivity. I see John Olerud make a great play, you see JT Snow do the same, and we both think that they are the best. That's why we have statistics, to be OBJECTIVE. OBJECTIVE . It's why statistical analysis exists, it's why we do experiments, so we can, hopefully see the unbiased truth.

Yes, not everything can be determined with baseball statistics. But, with the right ones, not batting average, not pitcher's win/loss record, but with the right baseball statistics, we can get pretty damn close.

One thing stats have proven is that hitting is MUCH more important than fieldling. Look, defense is important. As important as offense. Why? Well, baseball is a zero-sum game, the offense faces the defense. But, the PITCHER is part of defense, much more so, than say, base running is part of offense (in relation to fielding being a part of defense versus hitting is to offense). Hitting is by far and away the most critical part of offense, fielding is a secondary part of defense. That's the difference. Fielding just is, quite simply, not NEARLY as important. Virtually no amount of defense can overcome horrible offense. Rey Ordonez is NOT valuable as long as he bats .260 with no walks or power. Good hitters should ALWAYS be given a spot in the lineup. Defense does matter, no one doubts that. It's just not even close in terms of relative importance, and if you can't see that, well, there's no hope for you. None. Go field a team of Brad Ausmus, JT Snow, Pokey Reese, Rey Ordonez, Robin Ventura, Darren Erstad, Torii Hunter and Jose Cruz Jr - you're offense will stink. Hunter's good offensively, and Cruz isn't bad, and Erstad had ONE good year offensively, but, simply put, that offense stinks. It's horrible. Defense is just not THAT important. Get a clue.

We may be fascinated with the 5-tool player. Vladimir Guerrero, Alex Rodrigez, Carlos Beltran. And they deserve credit. But the simple reality is that you win a game by outscoring the other guy, whether that is by a score of 10-9 or 1-0, and it doesn’t matter how it gets done. Barry Bonds is SIMPLY PUT, better than A-Rod, because of his INCREDIBLE offensive value. You can be an amazing defender, but no amount of defense, unless you’re talking Mike Cameron versus Ben Grieve, can overcome that. Barry Bonds may be 2-dimensional (hitting and power), fine, he may be lacking in speed in this part of his career, and in fielding, and in an arm, but he does those 2 “tools” SO MUCH BETTER than anyone else, even Albert Pujols, that he is the best player in baseball. Not the best ALL AROUND player, not the most fun to watch, BUT:

Barry Bonds contributes more to a team’s ability to win than any other player currently in baseball.

End of discussion on who is better, A-Rod or Bonds. If you still think A-Rod is more valuable than Barry Bonds, then quite simply, you are a fool. You are an uninformed and ignorant fan of baseball who can not accept certain truths. Now, a better question, why do people not like Barry Bonds? Seriously. Why are people so blindly against Barry Bonds? Is it because he is a stubborn man who doesn’t acquiesce to the media? Is it because he can be a jerk? Is it because of his kick ass leather recliner in his corner locker? Is it because he isn’t a “team leader, chemistry builder”? I’d like to know. My theory is that the American public does not like stubborn black men. It may not be correct, but just listen. Stubborn black men get portrayed as evil, as aloof, and as assholes. Pete Rose, who bet on baseball, beat his wife, was a horrible father, cheated on his income taxes, associated with gamblers and drug-dealers, is believed (though not proven) to have been involved in a drug trafficking ring. I believe him when he says he didn’t do the cocaine or sell it. I just think he provided his office, space, and financial backings to the ring, but that’s hearsay. He did all of these. He’s still loved. Bonds has done NOTHING (except possibly do steroids, but again, hearsay), except refuse some media interviews and have a kickass recliner in his locker. But because Pete Rose sprints to 1st base on a walk, he’s revered? Terrell Owens is by all accounts FIRECELY competitive, yet because he whines occasionally, and yields a sharpie, he’s a no good piece of shit? Why? He hasn’t done ANYTHING off the field. Ray Lewis lied under oath about his friend’s murder. Rae Carruth tried to kill his baby’s mama and his baby. You’ve got guys left and right being arrested for drunk driving, heck Steve McNair, everyone’s idol for his amazing play while injured, got arrested for DUI. Yet TO is HATED. He did NOTHING off the field. He loves the media and gives interviews, yet because he's somewhat stubborn, people seem to think he's the devil.

Is that why Barry Bonds is not respected? He’s one of the best players of all time and we are currently witnessing true stardom, at a level we may not see for a long time. Grow up people, see the light and start realizing how amazing he is.

Barry Bonds is the best player in baseball.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Friday, February 13, 2004

Think For Yourselves 

I got this today.
Politics, it's supposed to be about records. You want the truth? Look at the records.

We have a problem here in America. We are not using our privilege that empowers us, the right to vote. When used, it is not done responsibly. If we voted properly, we would do so by using our hearts, conscience and conviction of what we believe in. Instead, we vote based upon what the media tells us to do or how we think others will vote. The media essentially tells us which Democrat or Republican to vote for, but they do so without giving us any substantial reasons to.

In an age of so called "experts," we allow ourselves to be lazy. We do not care to take the time to research the issues and determine what is fact and what is a spin job. Simply, we allow these media "experts" to tell us what to think and how to vote. This is a dangerous way to live and to allow democracy to flourish. What ordinary citizens do not realize is that the media has its own interests which are different from theirs. Big corporations own the media, they control the news, and by listening to the media, we let them control our minds.

While watching the news the other day, the "experts" told me that if I want a Democrat to beat Bush that John Kerry is the most "electable." Why not Howard Dean?

Let me highlight some major differences and then ask, why does the media tell you that John Kerry is the "electable."

As Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean M.D. took a deficit and turned it into a surplus, balanced 11 consecutive budgets, cut taxes twice, provided healthcare for everyone under the age of 18 and prescription drug benefits for a third of the senior citizens, increased jobs by 20%, and drastically cut down child abuse. These are only a few of Dean's accomplishments as Governor of Vermont. In addition, he has displayed Presidential judgment many times. He supported the first Iraq war in Kuwait, which was a UN sanctioned war. He was against the most recent Iraq war because he knew that Iraq neither had WMD nor were they connected to Al-Qaeda. Dean also stood up against the Bush tax cuts, no child left behind, the patriot act, and the bogus medicare bill for drug companies. He has a record based on results and not hot air. Most importantly, his only special interest is the common person who support his campaign with small donations.

On the other hand, the media is telling us that John Kerry is the most "electable." Here's some information that you will eventually know about Kerry: He has missed 64% of his Senate votes. He missed 36-38 votes on the Medicare Bill. He voted against the first Iraq war in Kuwait and for this Iraq war. He voted for the rich tax cuts, no child left behind, and the Patriot Act, but now opposes all the things he voted for. In addition, he talks about being the people's champion against special interests but he has accepted the most special interest money in Congress over the last 15 years. Media corporations also heavily fund him! You might say, what about his Vietnam experience? But Kerry is on record as saying, on Feb. 27, 1992, that Vietnam should not be used in a campaign for political office.

So, why is John Kerry the most "electable?" He is just a man with his finger in the wind. Maybe he makes the media corporations feel comfortable.

The media continues to control our democracy, and the pundits decide what is "newsworthy." Apparently, Bush's record is not newsworthy.

Bush's tenure in Texas was less than impressive. He inherited a surplus and turned it into a deficit. He ruined a good educational system and stole land when he was a part owner of the Texas Rangers. Bush also failed to file properly with the SEC in some shady business dealings and had other mysterious ventures with Harken energy. Bush, the "uniter," said to South Carolinians that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child in order to win the primary. Turns out that McCain, the decent man he is, actually adopted the child. Bush does not unite, he divides.

I ask the readers to decide for themselves. The media and news corporations have their own agenda, and sometimes they are not concerned about our best interests. So, as Dean would say, "how 'bout a little foresight and how about standing up for what you think is right and not worrying about what the focus groups and the polls say?"
-avr

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

“Imagine There’s No Countries:” The Negative Side of Patriotism. 

When John Lennon wrote those words some twenty-five odd years ago, it was taken as just part of the idealistic vision of the world that he incorporated into his solo masterpiece “Imagine.” Unfortunately, it was also a line that seemed to die with him just off of Central Park West in the coldest of months in 1980. It was a vision of the 60s and the Regan Years of the 80s were roaring in for the worst of hostile takeover. There was a wakeup call: life is about getting rich, not dreams, stupid.
But stop. For just one little moment, stop. Stop waiving your flags, stop singing your anthems, and take your hand off your goddamn bleeding little heart. What if there was something to those words Lennon made famous, albeit an afterthought, in this new world?
My reasoning starts, not with the state of the nation (that would afterall be paradoxical to my argument), but with the state of the world. And what says, as Americans, we should only be worried about those who were born on the same portion of the same continent? What says we should even be worried about another American the idibidiest amount more, especially if we lived in, say, Texas (God forbid) and we were much closer and thus affected much more affected by those who lived in Mexico than in Maine? Is there really any difference between us and, oh I don’t know, a North Korean? Well, at least biologically speaking, scientists are saying more and more that there are not even any differences between different races of humans let alone humans of different geographies.
So what is it that makes the idea of a country so close to our species and why many who are reading this article might get defensive towards my unpatriotic sacrilege? Well for one, humans have always formed into groups. We are social animals and we find differences between US and THEM anywhere we can. Before there was the categorization of things there was the categorization of men and these different categories fought each other endlessly until we are where we are now. Isn’t that all history is? But times, they are a changing. (Please, try and ignore the random quotation of pop lyrics).
Unlike any other time in our history, man is capable of communication and lightning quick travel to anywhere in the world. What had seemed like such a vast amount of living space and area for exploration just decades ago has turned rather quickly into a very small global village. Globalization creates in the collective conscious the realization of a variety of differences all existing simultaneously in a space that seems to be diminishing every day in total area. Due to this concurrent accessibility of these conflicting ideas, instead of remaining different they become synonymous, an idea related closely to globalization as well as one of the major effects of globalization, post modernity.
We have come to a point in history where the word Postmodern has been thrown around quite a bit. Post Modernity is everything that comes after the assurance of modernity or after modernity has been put into the collective conscious. Post Modernity means that the “before” and “after” no longer make sense. Neither for that matter does old or new, primitive or modern, the real and artificial, or any sort of hierarchy. In short, all ceases to make sense. Instead, one lives in a world of such great ability, both technologically and in terms of understanding, that opposites which seemed to be completely separate before, can now be simulated together in real time. At this point, neither is really an opposite of the other, old cannot be different from new if both can be created in the same space and at the same moment. Thus, differences in cultural ideals are meaning less and less; we are all becoming a unified mass of the same global idea.
Whether or not this is a positive fate is purely subjective and is not the item of this article. I am concerned only with the fact that this sameness is the inevitable result of our own human curiosity and as such must be embraced not feared. Nation-States, once great definers of ones culture and ideas, are becoming little more than simplistic forms of excessive categorization. The idea of patriotism is little more than a ploy, used mainly by governments, to rally citizens and troops alike for a goal which might not necessarily be to everyone involved’s benefit. Was the attack on the World Trade Center in New York a travesty for people in Kentucky? Surely, there were people grieving who had never been to New York or didn’t know anyone who had died on that day but felt compelled to do so none the less. And not for the loss of human life, but for the loss of American lives, and it is that that I think that is wrong. What is this bond we feel with our countrymen? Why in the aftermath of that attack did Fox News run a poll in which 58% of the people they interviewed said that if the situation arose, they would give their lives to save George W. Bush’s? It sure does seem silly now, no? Do we really need this sort of blind faith in such a powerful abstraction that does nothing but hinder the freedom it sets out to “protect” while claiming to be doing it for the greater good of America and Americans? The truth is we are not free in this country the way we would like to think we are. And while I am not complaining about that, I do think we should at least acknowledge that fact and stop hiding behind symbols. While pride should exist amongst groups of people, that pride should result from a similarity in close geographical location, such as coming from a same city or province, or even as often occurs, in a type of occupation or trade. But to have faith in a nation that stretches beyond the limits of what makes a group of people similar, we are past this point in history. While apologizing for sounding idealistic if not preachy, we should love each other all as human beings and protection should be granted not by armies of different allegiances regulated by geographical boundaries but by a global force ruled by a global contingency of delegates. While this article can be written off as just a pipe dream for the present, the idea behind this pipe dream is much more easily attained than it seems though I do believe the current U.N. is not the answer to the issue. What I leave for discussion is a simple question or a cluster of related questions, issues that should be asked much more frequently than they are. If we are so close to obtaining real freedom, if we as man understand how close to that reality we actually are, then why do we disallow ourselves that right through nothing more than meaningless tradition? Why are we so self-destructive in this way? Is the same post-modernism that should be propelling us forward keeping us back? What the hell is wrong with this world and if we are supposedly the most free of the bunch and (excuse me) the most virtuous, then why don’t we want to share any of this power? I guess that’s it. Thank you, now you can resume your flag waving.

Sir Lawrence Waldofo S. Bingham Ferdydurke III of Lancaster England and Oxford University's Group for the Exceptionally Sound, formerly Dr. Larry W.S.B. Ferdydurke III of Princeton University's Society for the Mentally Unstable, expatriate and the patented inventor of the British vernacular term "blue-assed fly."

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Curt Flood did nothing significant. 

With all this saga over Maurice Clarett, everyone's been comparing him to Curt Flood. This is such a ridiculously dumb statement on so many levels.

But the biggest, and by far and away the most important, and the only one I'll talk about here, is the fact that Curt Flood did NOTHING. He LOST his case. He did not "pave the way for free agency", his action was not the "cataylst that led to the abolishment of the reserve clause". He LOST his case. Had he won his case, and the reserve clause been declared invalid then, we should remember him.

But he lost. And it amazes me, in a country where we recongize only the winners, not those who fought gallantly and lost, we don't do the same for Curt Flood. Does anyone remember that the Kings outplayed the Lakers in 2002, but the refs gave the series to the Lakers? No. We remember the Lakers won. How many people truly remember that Tom Osborne had the guts to go for 2 to have a true national champion, but got stopped? No one, because he lost.

You want people to remember for why free agency exists now? Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith filed a grievance in 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled in their favor, and thus effectively eliminating the reserve clause and creating free agency (note: it did not make everyone a free agent immediately, but I won't get into the details. The point is, they won the case and free agency effectively came out because of this).

Would these two have done their case without Curt Flood, people ask. People think that had it not been for Curt Flood, Marvin Miller and company would have never stood up to the "powers that be", but that's horseshit. Miller had the guts and the balls to see what would happen, and he, and the two players, won. Curt Flood meant nothing in Miller's decision. Curt Flood is merely a footnote. He tried gallantly to fight the system but lost.

Now I'm not going to say whether Flood SHOULD have won, whether the McNally/Messersmith case was a good thing for sports, or whether this new ruling on Maurice Clarett is a good thing. I'll save that for later. The only thing I right now care about is all the idiots out there who think that Curt Flood was the man most responsible for free agency and it was HIS case, HIS actions, that paved the way. BULLSHIT. Curt Flood meant nothing. He stood up and lost. Had the McNally/Messersmith case never have gone to arbitration, who knows, but I do know one thing, that was the case that changed everything.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Let's Get Rid Of The DH! Or Not! 

Would the NFL restrict two-point attempts to the AFC only, or the NBA make three-point arcs exclusive to the West? Never. Yet the DH likely will never disappear from baseball even if the position is never adopted in the NL, Sean McAdam writes.


This is on the ESPN MLB front page. This is a ridiculous statement to make. Would the NFL restrict two-point attempts to the AFC only?!?! Come on, would the NFL let the Giants have a 117 yard field, and the Colts a 76 Yard Field, with the Colts field on a downward slant to the south?!?! Baseball is a completely different animal, you cannot compare it to other sports. Each team makes up its own dimensions of the field of play. What other sports let you do that? Imagine if the Avs decided to make their ice rink 20 feet bigger on each side so that their super skilled players can take advantage of it. Imagine if the Spurs decided to cut their court size by 20 feet? The field of play is for the most part not regulated. What other sport can play in different parks every series, where they affect the game so much? Going from Kaufman Stadium (Park Factor of 130 in 02-03) to Comerica Park (88 in 02-03) is a huge difference and tests the team in different and entertaining ways.

I am for the DH, I do not like watching pitchers hit, or attempt to hit. Watching pitchers hit is one of the more painful things to watch in baseball. Most of them are just risking injury, and the strategy added is basically just how to match up around an automatic out. I find it more entertaining to watch matchups against guys like Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and the good hitters that people pay to watch.

However, I am for keeping it status quo, and leaving the DH in the AL only. It makes the World Series more interesting, as well as giving people more ways of watching baseball that are so dear to the fans. We love watching baseball being played in different circumstances so much that there isn't a standard. Playing fields that have idiosynchracies and cozy nooks and cranies are lauded, while the cookie cutter parks are bashed as being too businesslike and stoic.

Let's try not to complain about the DH if you don't like it, but let's try to look at the positives of both having a DH league, and a non DH league.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Response to comment 

The question posed was whether there was any good from the war in Iraq:

Well I do believe a lot of good happened from the War in Iraq. There is not a single person who believes Sadaam was a good influence on the people of Iraq - he gassed the Kurds, actively persecuted one of the Muslim faiths (I don't know which one off-hand), and was an ruthless dictator who lived in luxury while many others suffered. And, one can argue, and quite successfully, that a more Pro-American Iraqi government, combined with a more stable Iraqi economy, will result in better trade between the countries (aka lower oil and gas prices). Further, Iraqi's free-market economy is propspering relative to what it had before. And yes, one could argue that countries like Syria and North Korea are more likely to listen to us now.

Good did come out of the war. But does that justify the spending? Does that justify what was essentially a pre-emptive war (the only argument was that Iraq had WMD and therefore was a threat, and we haven't found the WMD yet. Even if we do, do we know they were planning to use them on us)? Unless you want to try to prove that even without WMD, Sadaam was a direct threat to us, then there was no true justification for war.

The time for military intevention is if a country poses a direct threat (and I stress direct, aka we have info that they were going to attack us), or if they did in fact attack us (I agree with going after Osama and his terrorist branch, note that Sadaam had NO link to 9/11 or Osama, Sadaam actually does not like Osama due to the religious fundamentalism that Osama preaches).

And the poster noted that chances are, even the most impressive military force will not get fundamentalist Islaamic terrorists to "change their ways", a statement I agree with totally.

As for the democrats side, I would go with Kerry of those three, but mostly due to the fact that with a currently neo-republican (aka Bush-style spendings and policies) controlled House and Senate, the more liberal the president, the more conflict. The more conflict, the less likely either parties dumb policies get passed. When Clinton was feuding with the Republicans, was that not one of the few times we actually had a balanced budget? Seriously, Dean actually strikes me as who I would want the most (besides Sharpton, which would be for pure comical relief), not becuase of his policies, but because I really don't see either him or the republican-controlled congress or senate getting anything done. I see bitter feuds and bitter battles reminscent of Newt v. Clinton, and frankly, the more feuding, the less ridiculous wasteful spending we did.

In a vacuum, however, ignoring the "I want the most feuding between the president and the Congress", I think I would go to Kerry. But truthfully, it is a lesser of all evils and either way, I would "lose".

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Colorado Using Sex Parties As Recruiting Tool? 

ESPN is reporting that Colorado Is Being Accused Of Using Sex Parties To Recruit
If this is true, Colorado should be put on severe sanctions. This is ridiculous.
Maybe Lionel Hutz should represent them.

I Am A Liberal and Damn Proud Of It 

First of all, it's mind bogglingly stupid to say that government programs are just robbing people of money. They provide the jobs that keep the economy going, without government programs many people don't have jobs. One of the main points of FDR's New Deal was to provide jobs to Americans who were fired from their jobs because of a ridiculous trickle down theory that failed miserably. Just completely getting rid of many of these programs will create unemployment, which will sink the economy into an even deeper recession. Some of these programs that are claimed to tell people how to spend their money is a flat out joke. Social Security doesn't tell you how to spend your money, it just is a savings account so you have money when you retire. Granted there are problems, but nothing a little ingenuity can't fix (which i'm told is an American strongsuit). The EPA is a program that needs to be in place otherwise the environment goes to hell, which is i'm sure where some people would like it to go. Without the EPA or environmental controls, businesses will run roughshot through the environment with no costs to themselves, with all the costs placed on the consumer. This, as anyone who has taken a college economics class can tell you, will lead to overproduction (this is bad). How can a person say that someone should die because they don't have enough money to pay for a surgery? How can you say that a person should not be able to take medicine because they cannot afford it? There is no valid argument against that. None. To top it off, it's actually cheaper for the government to provide health care for all Americans. Even Ford's CEO has all but said we need single payer health care, as they pay an astounding $1,200 on health care for every vehicle they build (I thought i read somewhere that he did say we need single payer health care, but alas, I can't find it anywhere).

Taxes go to government programs, but these programs include the military, the police force, the fire department, public transportation, public schools, and universities. Taxes go to build a solid infrastructure of America. An infrastrucutre that most people rely on yet don't think they do. They are not robbing hardworking Americans, but rather rewarding hardworking Americans, as most of the country is hardworking. That's all I got for now as i'm tired, more at some point later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The right move is not always the right result. 

What always gets me is people's inability to seperate the right move with the right result. Some managers can make all the right moves and still lose, and some managers can make all the wrong moves and still win. Usually, the wrong move gets the wrong result, such as Grady Little leaving in Pedro Martinez too long, and the right move get the right result, such as virtually any time Joe Torre calls on Mariano Rivera to close out a game.

But other times, it's not so clear. Here are a list of examples where the right move produced the wrong result, but people actually criticize the move made, even though it was the right move. This isn't nearly as big of a deal because in most instances, the manager is not blamed, but rather the player is "blamed" (or someone else is credited). Game 7 of the 2001 World Series is the best example. Joe Torre called on Mariano Rivera to close out the door and he blew the save. I don't think there's a single person in the entire world who would argue that Joe Torre made the wrong move.

But there are other quality examples, and in some of these examples, the person responsible for the move was only criticized after the fact, which is wrong. You have to be willing to criticize the move BEFORE the result (first-guess). 2nd guessers are assholes; have the balls to be a first guesser. The Rockets not trading Ralph Samson for Micheal Jordan was the right move - Samson at the time was going to be a damn good basketball player and Jordan wasn't supposed to become anything close to what he did become. The TrailBlazers drafting Sam Bowie can be questioned, the Rockets declining the offer of Jordan for Samson can not. People have actually had the audacity to question the Reds wisdom in trading for Ken Griffey Jr. One can question being so stubborn to trade Pokey Reese but being happy to part with Mike Cameron, but you can't question the move in any way shape or form. Any person, paticularly a Reds fan, who actually has the audacity to do so better remember how happy he was when the Reds GOT Griffey - and if you can honestly say you predicted his complete collapse, well, can you please start working for me as a wall street analyst? For those football fans, remember the move Jim Mora made in the 2001 playoffs (of the 2000 season)? He elected to let Mike Vanderjagt attempt a 49 yard field goal in overtime, declining a off sides penalty that would have given the Colts a 3rd and 7 with a chance to get a 1st down - he elected to take the result of the play (4th and 2), and let Vanderjagt win it. The announcer at the time: "Jim Mora just showed more faith in his kicker than I have ever seen any coach do" - and he should have, because Vanderjagt was amazing that year and that game. He missed. But the people who criticized the decision afterwards have no spine or brain. It was the right move. They lost the game, but you can't blame that move.

However, the more important concept is if a person makes the wrong move, and gets the right result, because often times he is hailed as a hero even though he is merely lucky.

Jack McKeon made a host of great moves during the playoffs, but his decision to bring in Josh Beckett on 3 days rest was totally dumb. It worked, because Beckett's a damn good pitcher and I think Beckett was going to win no matter what, but let's review. By starting Beckett on 3 days rest, had Beckett lost, he would have turned to Carl Pavano on 3 days rest most likely. Now you've got two guys going on 3 days rest. He could have also started any of the other options in game 6, such as Mark Redman (and had Pavano ready in the bullpen), and saved Josh Beckett for game 7, in which he would have had a full 4 days rest. Now, even though there is enough evidence to argue that a pitcher on 3 days rest is not nearly as effective, some people don't think the difference is that big for a "quality" pitcher like Josh Beckett. However, no one can ever argue that a pitcher is BETTER on 3 days rest. So the debate hinges on Carl Pavano on 3 days rest versus Mark Redman on 4 days rest on full rest, and that is of course if you don't think Beckett is worse on 3 day rest (I do). Even without the Beckett difference, Mark Redman on full rest or Carl Pavano on 3 days rest? And if someone says, well he could have started Mark Redman in game 7 if he wanted to, then why not flip-flop Redman and Beckett - why force a guy to go on 3 days rest to give Mark Redman a 6th day of rest? (He's not 2001 David Cone)

The argument presented by the 3-day-rest side then turns to aura and mystique. Apparently, Game 6 at Yankee Stadium is not a very high pressure situation, but Game 7 is. Apparently, if a guy can pitch Game 7 in Wrigley Field, out of the bullpen, and if a guy can pitch Game 6 on 3 days rest, that doesn't neccessarily mean he has the "guts" to pitch Game 7 in Yankee Stadium. HORSESHIT. Let me tell you about aura and mystique and pressure - they are a crapload of shit. Just like post-season experience - let's see, '96 Yankees beat the "experienced" '97 Yankees, and the '02 Angels and '03 Marlins sure had a LOAD of post-season experience there. And back to aura and mystique, paticularly when it involves. It seems when the Yankees win, it's due to mystique and aura. How come mystique and aura are not mentioned when they lose? Where was lady aura last year when the Angels singled and doubled the Yankees into submission? Where was the sultry mystique when the Yankees came back in the top of the 9th to tie Game 4 of the World Series - aren't those games where aura and mystique guide the Yankees to victory? Why didn't either of those two forces knock down the home run that won the game> Mystique and Aura were where I know they always are - dancing at the strip club with Ice, Cherry and Kandy.

And as for "pressure" pitchers, though I personally believe that the notion is shit, there are many people who believe some pitchers, like Kenny Rogers, can not pitch in the clutch. Fine. But in this case, it doesn't apply. How can you say you don't know if Josh Beckett can handle the pressure of pitching in Game 7 of the World Series but trust him to pitch Game 6 on 3 days rest? He already proved his "clutchness" when he pitched out of the bullpen in Game 7 @ Wrigley. Can you honestly tell me the difference between Game 6 and Game 7 is that much? No.

There are plenty of other examples of the wrong move yielding the right result and the right move yielding the wrong result. It's a concept that people most understand. Jack McKeon made a host of great moves and deserves to be noted for that. But Josh Beckett on 3 days rest was not one of them. It's up there with other great examples of wrong move, right result. How about when the Cubs signed Sammy Sosa to a ridiculously expensive (at the time) long term deal after the 1996 season when he hit 40 home runs. I believe the deal was for 5 years 50 million, if someone has the exact data you can correct me. But he then preceeded to have a fairly predictable 1997. The Cubs knew they made a mistake. They then got EXTREMELY lucky in that Sammy Sosa proceeded to then have what APPEARED TO BE AT THE TIME one of the biggest one year flukes in history, only to follow it up with 3 more amazing seasons. One year flukes are possible, but a 4 year run is clearly an established skill level.

Sammy Sosa's improvement ranks as one of the biggest jumps in performance of all time. It was unprecented for a man to jump from one level of skill to a much higher level, and stay, at his age of 28. 24, maybe, but for an established major league with 7+ Major League years behind him, it's unheard of. There was NO way it was predictable, and if anyone wants to argue that the Cubs predicted it and knew it was coming, then well, you're just plain fucked up. It was completely unpredictable and the Cubs lucked out - the ridiculously over-priced great player became the somewhat underpaid superstar.

Don't give the Cubs credit, consider them lucky.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

I am a REAL republican. 

Okay. I am a REAL republican. What does that mean? That means exactly what the republican party was meant to stand for, small government. (It also means I'm not a racist biggot, but that's for another day). I want the government to stay the fuck out of my life, pardon my french. Now, why do I have to state that I am a REAL republican? Because, quite frankly, the current Republican stance on issues is so far removed from what they claim to be it is sad.

That's not to say I like liberals. I hate liberals. I don't see how a person can trust the government to solve their problems, when any time the government steps in to solve problems, all you get is inefficency, resentment, and more problems. The government is rarely the answer. Though only the most hardcore libertarian believes that there should be no taxes, taxes should be kept as low as possible at all times, because taxes are robbery. There is no reason why one man's taxes need to go to an over-expanding federal government that tries to solve way too many problems and ends up just fucking everything up. Welfare, Social Security, Medicaid, EPA, Drug Enforcement Agency are just a few examples of stupid government programs that rob hard working american men and women of the fruits of their labor and tell them how to spend their MONEY. Private organizations can accomplish the same things as "social aid" programs like Welfare, with more efficiency and on top of that, it's not a forced payment!

The government is not the answer. Raising taxes and then spending them on government programs is not the answer. But, at least, liberals have a consistent theory. They want to raise taxes and raise spending. It makes sense if only that you're spending money you HAVE. That's where republicans confuse the heck out of me. Look, Bush ran under the platform of his tax cut. I supported it. I think it should go farther. But that's about where my support of Bush ends.

First, let's get to the biggest and most blatant abuse of government ever, the Patriot Act, signed by the man who is anything but a republican, John Ashcroft. The Patriot Act is perhaps the single most ridiculous expansion of a police state and so horribly atrocious that it makes me wonder if Ashcroft would have supported McCarthyism. If I continued on this topic, I would write for another 35 pages.

Second, the War in Iraq. Let me again, state the core of republicanism: SMALL GOVERNMENT. A small government does not go into a country that does not pose a direct threat. I stress the words "direct threat". Since there have been no WMDs found and no proof of a looming threat, how can Bush claim victory is this regard? How can he say that the War was justified? One other answer given by conservatives is that removing Sadaam from power was good because we removed an evil dictator and liberated the Iraqi people, and that now there is a free and (somewhat) prospering Iraqi economy. Why was that worth $87 billion or whatever the (growing) tab is at? How is that fiscal responsibility and small government? Republicans?!?!?!?!? You are supposed to be the party of small government, not let's waste money because I want to finish what my daddy couldn't!

I'm not going to even touch corporate bailouts or the Hailburton scandal. If you haven't figured out where I stand on that issue, then you just weren't reading the past 3 paragraphs.

Issue 3 that offends me: Moral Highground. It is NOT the responsbility of the government to tell consenting adults what they can and can not do with their lives. Further, it is not the government's responsbility to figure out who can marry and who can not. Leave that to churches. Certain churches will not recongize gay couples, others will. Gay couples who want to marry can find institutions that will marry them, and people who have a religious problem with homosexuals will frequent insitutions that do not codone the activity. You can expand that to other areas. Prayers in school. Ideally, schools would be completely private. Since that's not a pratical possibility for a LONG time, parents should be able to choose different schools and not be forced to a certain school. Schools can then choose - certain schools will require prayers, others will ban such activities. I can continue, but for brevity I will stop. You get the idea.

But finally, perhaps almost as puzzling (though not as expensive as the War or truly horrendous as the Patriot act), is the "compassionate conservatism", or let's spend like liberals (even though we lower taxes like true Republicans should), but on conservative causes. A healthy marraige act? Government money to religious charities? What the hell is going on here? Somebody? How is this fiscal responsbility? How is this the government staying out of your lives?

AND WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM, WE JUST LOWERED TAXES!!!!!! Lower taxes (no, supply side economics does not work. You lower taxes given the current tax rates, you get less revenue into the government, supply side economics is for when the tax rate is like 99%, not what it is at now), but RAISE SPENDING? On the military and religion? What?????

I just don't get it. Liberals at least have a consistent theory - we are going to attempt to solve all of societies inequalities by taxing the more fortunate and helping the less fortunate. Yes, it is forced redistribution, but at least we have the money to spend from raising taxes. Conservatives make no sense. Lower taxes, but still spend like Ted Kennedy at a bar, but just on different causes?

I am a real republican. I am a libertarian. Yes, there exists the Libertarian Party. It's making progress, but let's be honest, it's not exactly booming right now. Plus the idea of no child labor laws and voluntary jury duty scare me (voluntary jury duty will mean old retired people and unemployed crack heads serving jury duty...yes, that is a jury by your peers). So hopefully enough real republicans will stand up and we can take this country back.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Monday, January 26, 2004

Peter Forsberg 

How good is Peter Forsberg right now? Whenever the man plays (not very much this year) he's scoring points like it's going out of fashion. the 1.696 points per game he's doing, if over a 82 game season would be 139 points, which hasn't been seen since 1995-96 (Super Mario scored 161 points, and Forsberg himself had a not too shabby 118 points). Here are the points per game leaders this year (minimum 20 games):



Nice group there, and Forsberg totally blows them all away. In fact, Forsberg would have 34 points more over an 82 game schedule than Marc Savard. Last year's Forsberg that won the Hart (MVP) and Art Ross (Scoring Title) tropheys scored 1.41 points per game, beating out Mario who had 1.35. Forsberg career wise compares favorably to an ex-linemate of Mario's who's bloated contract makes people ignore the fact that he's scoring at a point per game pace, which in this NHL is a good thing. Career wise through last night's game


If Forsberg decides to continue playing in the NHL, which at this point no one knows, he's a sure fire HoFer, and probably an inner circle HoFer along the lines of Marcel Dionne who's 1.31 PPG is similar. Of course thats a huge statement to make about someone who would need to play a bunch more full season's, which he hasn't been able to do lately.

Just for shits and giggles...


Mario's 9 points in 10 games this year has dropped him below The Great One and into 2nd place by a hair.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Astros Best Rotation?!?! 

What is going on here people? How does anyone think that the Astros have the best rotation in the majors? Clemens and Pettitte added to Miller and Oswalt makes it a good rotation, but in the class of Mussina, Brown, Vazquez, Contreras, or Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield. No chance. Even the Cubs and A's are right there with the Yankees and Red Sox.
For simplicity I'll use ERA+, and the top 4 pitchers because, we're still not sure who is going to be the #5 for most of these rotations. ERA+ 3 is the ERA+ for the 3 past years, and ERA+ 1 is the ERA+ for last year. On to the Rotations.
The Astros top 4 pitchers



Now, Groiny is a true ace, he pitches and dominates. The other three are nice pitchers, who all have some health questions.

Compare those four with the Red Sox top 4.



Pedro, Schill, and solid pitchers in Lowe, and Wakefield. The big 2 are very very very good, and the 3 and 4 of Lowe and Wakefield are better then the 3 and 4 of the Astros. Lowe, and Wakefield in the past 3 years have been better than EVERY SINGLE PITCHER ON THE ASTROS EXCEPT OSWALT. How can anyone think the Astros starters are better then the Red Sox? In fact, I don't know if any starters are better than these 4. Let's move on to the Yankees top 4.



The Yankee rotation matches up well with the Red Sox. The Yankees front 2 aren't as good as the Red Sox, but the back 2 are probably better than the Red Sox. Pedro is what differentiates these 2 rotations, with him doing his best Dutch Leonard impression. In a weird statistical oddity, the Brown, Vazquez, and Mussina all had terrible years (for them) in 2002. Brown dropped from 152 to 79. Vazquez went from 135 to 106, and Mussina dropped from 142 to 108. All of these guys can expect to be in their 2001, and 2003 ranges. Next, on to the 2 "Best Young Rotations©"



The big 3 are probably slightly overrated, but still very good nonetheless. This rotation doesn't deserve to be mentioned with the Yankees or Red Sox unless The other young guy, Rich Harden Blossoms immediately, ala Zito in his first year.



Cubs clearly do not belong in this conversation, unless they sign Maddux, and Prior blossoms even more and becomes Pedroesque.

All of these rotations have health questions, none as much as the Astros, none. Oswalt has no groin, Pettitte's elbow is always scary, name any part of Clemens legs and they are probably an injury risk. Miller as far as I can tell (which isn't very far) doesn't have many injury problems.

I'd probably rank these rotations as Yankees/Red Sox tie, then A's, Cubs, and finally Astros. Cubs before Astros basically because Prior is sooo good. But that's why we play the games.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Why is it so impressive that a man sprints to first base on a walk? 

I understand hustling to get from 1st to 3rd on a hard-hit single to center, and that deserves credit. Some players do that and deserve praise, others do not and should be reprimanded. But sprinting to 1st base on a walk is nothing more than hotdogging it - it's hustle that in no way helps the team win - false hustle. I'd rather have a guy save his energy for the time he needs it then wasting it trying to impress some idiot writer in the box who thinks sprinting to 1st on a walk is worthy of an entire column and thinks that a man who does so has outstanding moral character.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Do people not realize that Barry Bonds is the best player in a LONG, LONG time? 

Barry Bonds just posted one of the greatest seasons of all time. Sadly, it was an off-year for him.

After two previous years of 1.379 and 1.381 OPS (for those who are not very smart, OPS is a pretty quick short hand way to measure overall value at the plate. It's pretty damn effective), which are the highest and 3rd highest (Ruth had a 1.379 that is slightly better when you go to another decimal point, but other stats prove why Bonds had the two greatest single seasons ever by a hitter), he posted a "measley" 1.278, good for 1st in his league by 170 points or so. Yet sadly, he wasn't the unaminous MVP, just like he wasn't the unamious MVP the year he broke the HOME RUN RECORD. He lost 3 first place votes to Albert Pujols and 1 to Gary Sheffield - what the hell were these coke-head writers snorting and can I please have some?

Look, there are only two possible explinations for why a man breaks the HR and OPS record and loses 2 first place votes to a DAMN GOOD PLAYER WHO IS JUST NOT AS GOOD AS BARRY BONDS, or a man puts up an OPS 170 points higher than someone else and the other guy gets 3 first place votes. First is some deep seeded hatred (paging Rick Reilly) to a man who is aloof, and selfish, no doubt, no question. Is he a jerk to the media? Sometimes. WHO CARES? THE MAN IS THE GREATEST PLAYER CURRENT PLAYING BASEBALL. Rick Reilly, and PLENTY of others, misquoted the man in an article post 2002 world series to make him look nasty, evil and dangerous - so clearly, some people just have vendetta's. Sad that these people call themselves writers. The other reasons, such as playing for a winning team and "leading your team to the playoffs", apply to Bonds. So it's really only one of those two possibilites.

Others look at the one stat the Bonds does not do well in, RBIs, and somehow make a crackhead case that without RBIs, you can't be valuable. Well, true, a great player drives in runs, but first, it's dependent on the team..........but, yes, Bonds played on good teams these last 3 years.....so that excuse doesn't work.

BUT, let's look at WHY Bonds does not drive in runners. Is it because he's not clutch? (No, I think that was answered in the 2002 playoffs), or is it because, simply, no one will pitch to him? The answer is the latter:

2001:
Bonds (with RISP): 89 At-Bats, a .389 average, a .650 on-base and a .944 slugging - 944! , a 1.594 OPS! The man is insane. So why no RBIs? Because with the 89 at-bats came 71, 71 WALKS!!!!

Sosa, on the other hand (with RISP): 139 At-Bats, a .324 average, .512 OBP, and .691 Slugging. GREAT numbers, but not Bonds-like. And oh yah, only 63 walks.

It wasn't the clutch-ness, it was the fact that pitchers REFUSED TO FACE BARRY BONDS.

2003, same story:

Bonds (with RISP): 77 at-bats, .338 average, .654 on-base, .558 slugging, and 73 walks. That means he got walked as often as he got to hit with runners on base! How can he get RBIs that way!!!

Pujols (with RISP) 131 at-bats, .374 average, .476 on-base, .756 slugging, and 29 walks.

I admit Pujols has a better slugging average than Bonds with RISP. In fact, a case could be made Pujols did better. But, I think one must look at the walks again. Pitchers were not AFRAID OF PUJOLS with runners on base. Pitchers were so afraid of Bonds, so sickened by the thought of Bonds launching a homer with runners on base, they just didn't PITCH TO HIM (hence the MUCH higher OBP)

Now I know people argue that with men on base you gotta expand your strike zone and get the ball in play, but you do think for one second that this applies to Barry Bonds? Come on. This man knows exactly which pitches he can hit and which he can not, and I guarantee you that the pitches he was not swinging at were sliders so far in the dirt and off the plate Bonds could go up there without a bat and STILL draw walks.

The man was held reponsible for being SO DAMN GOOD that pitchers turned into the French when they saw him. Either that, or some writers just won't let grudges go and for that, they should be banned from ever voting on the MVP.

Sammy Sosa and Albert Pujols were damn great players who had great years when a god was having a god like year. That's nothing to be ashamed of.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Monday, January 05, 2004

Why even the AP should have voted for LSU. 

I'm going to ignore the BCS. That's for another day. I believe there needs to be a playoff, but if you don't have a playoff, the current BCS is a VERY good system. I say eliminate "number of losses" from the formula and it's a great one. But that's for another day. Ignoring the BCS, still, LSU is the national champion. There is no argument for USC.

LSU played a tougher schedule, and beat better opponents. First, they are in a tougher conference. If you can't see that, then you're probably as smart as Scott Layden. LSU beat 4 ranked opponents, USC beat 2 (that includes bowls). The SEC LSU's loss came to a ranked team, USC's loss did not. Yes, USC beat Michigan more convincingly than LSU beat Oklahoma, but Oklahoma is better than Michigan. The computers are right. Why are the humans wrong, "The computers don't calculate when you lose a game. Humans calculate when you lose a game."

Exactly. The polls think that losing a game later in the year is worse than early in the year. A loss is a loss. USC and LSU each lost once, and LSU had a better overall year. Let's explain why the polls are stupid (Note, the polls provide one good thing, they're good for figuring out which teams are great, good, and not so good. It provides a nice off-hand. Though they may get the details, such as 1 and 2, or 4 and 7, they don't put a team that is 7th best at 25, or the 24th best at 8. So the polls do a good job for things like "You were 3-0 versus Top 25 teams"). The polls are stupid because they put too much weight on the most recent game. As Joe Sheehan (from baseballprospectus.com) so nicely points out, the polls are an initial guess that get remodified each week. If you rank the teams based on # of losses, and adjust a small bit for big coference/small conference, odds are high that the later losses are ranked lower in the polls and the early losses higher. Bullshit. A loss is a loss. Here are some fun stupidity within the rankings. Ohio State is Number 4, Michigan, number 6. Just what, two games ago, Michigan humilated Ohio State? Now, the next game, the bowl game, because Ohio State beat a lower ranked Kansas State, and Michigan lost to the same team the AP POLL THINKS IS THE BEST IN THE LAND! Wait. Ohio Sate beats up a good team, Michigan loses to the apparent best team, and Ohio State is better? Why? JUST ONE GAME AGO MICHIGAN HUMILATED OHIO STATE. Now, one can make an argument for Ohio State, and it rests on the number of losses (2 to Michigan's 3). It's a fine counter. But I know for a fact, and everyone here knows it, that's not why the AP put them there. The AP put Ohio State above Michigan because Ohio State won their bowl game and Michigan did not. You want another example? The week before the bowls, Georiga, fresh off their loss to (at the time, and still, number 2 ranked LSU), had dropped to 11. K-State, fresh off their trashing of Oklahoma, had climbed to 8. You really want to tell me Georiga is worse than K-State? Come on now, let's be serious.

You can go throughout history. When teams have same number of losses, the tiebreaker most often used is not strength of schedule, or quality of wins, but who lost later. Such a dumb system. There is not a single good argument one could make for USC other than they lost later in the year. And if that's your only point, you've lost the debate.

There are a couple of reasonable points to make in USC's defense. Their loss DID come in 3OT and they (I believe) had a wider margin of victory. Okay. Still doesn't make up for the strength of schedule, but still, reasonable arguments. But, do any of these AP writers present this? No. They talk about how good USC looked, how they "seem" better, "look" better, "feel" better, that the USC team on the field has more talent. This subjective shit is why we have computers. Subjective views are not dependable. One man can see USC's team and see why they are so good, another can see LSU. Both media members may have seen one team more often and therefore, will vote for them. I mean, if I saw LSU a lot, I'd think they're unstoppable. If I saw USC a lot, I'd think the same. Subjective is a horrible way to judge something, paticularly media members who probably didn't see enough of BOTH teams to make a rational judgement. Further, just because USC has more talent on the field doesn't mean they had the better year. The national championship goes to the team who had the best year.

Arguments for LSU: Tougher schedule, more quality wins, loss came to a ranked team.
Arguments for USC: Better margin of victory, loss came in 3OT.

If you think USC's margin of victory puts them ahead of LSU, then you better think Miami of Ohio should be in the Top 5. One loss, high margin of victory...

Look, LSU played a tougher schedule and came out with the same record. They are better. The computers, 6 of the 7, ranked LSU higher because they were better (rankings pre-bowl for the computers). The other one is the Times, which puts a LOT of weight on the more recent games, so we know why USC is higher.

LSU is the national champion. If you think USC is better because they "seemed" better, or because "you feel that they can't be beaten", or because "the AP writers said so", you're an idiot. End of story. The statistics don't lie, the records speak for themselves, LSU is better.


Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Yankees Have A Left Handed Pitching Problem? 

"They need a left-handed starter," one major league advance scout said. "At Yankee Stadium, teams are just going to stack their lineups with left-handed hitters. I don't know who it would be, but you have to have a left-hander there."

The Yankees do not have to have a left handed pitcher in their rotation at all. People like to think that you need a lefty so that you give teams different looks to throw them off balance. The truth of the matter is, you need guys who can get hitters out regardless of what arm they throw with. Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras, and Jon Lieber can get guys out, and they can get lefties out. None of those guys have a severe split against lefties, like Jeff Weaver had. Let's see what the splits look like against lefties for the past 3 years.

Name Avg OBP SLG
Pettitte .284 .317 .389
Clemens .224 .300 .347
Wells .236 .283 .390
Brown .255 .321 .339
Vazquez .246 .298 .422
Contreras .203 .299 .294

Granted, there are some sample size problems with Contreras, and Brown pitched in Chavez Ravine, but it looks like Brown, Vazquez, Contreras gain some OPB, and lose some Slugging. Overall, it should be about a wash. But if teams just load up on lefties, it will give Torre a late inning advantage over the opposition where they can just let a lefty like Gabe White, or Felix Heredia go through the opposition fairly easily. This is the philosophy used against Randy Johnson, which I don't understand. I'd rather have a better lefty hitter in against him, then a really crappy righty and if i'm facing the Yankees rotation, i'll put my best 9 guys against them. Of course splits do make a difference, i.e. Eric Karros won't be playing against any righties if I had a choice, but the better righty on righty is a better matchup then a crap lefty on righty.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Terrell Owens Is A Nice Guy 

I keep on hearing complaints about how Terrell Owens is a cancer, Terrell Owens is bad for the team. These people are wrong. Owens is an incredible talent who works insanely hard and wants the ball because he is the best player on the team and can help the team win. He openly complains to coordinators when he doesn't get the ball, not because he's selfish as some people have you believe, but rather because he knows when he gets the ball he will gain yards and help the team, and that's the truth. Would you rather have the ball in Tai Streets hands, or would you give the ball to Terrell Owens and let him run all over the other team? People want you to believe he's a cancer, but there are few others who want to win more than Owens. He simply does not complain when they win, he takes more satisfaction in winning than anything else. He gets labeled as a cancer when truly he is just insanely competitive. The cancer label is in fact mostly a joke, most players turn into a cancer when their team is losing. Mo Vaughn was signed by the Anaheim Angels as their 1B for his production and veteran leadership, when his production fell and the team started losing, he became a cancer. Why? Because the media wanted him to be a cancer. The media decides who is a cancer and who isn't. The teammates might not like a guy, but it really does not concern them all that much because it is their job, and most people don't love everyone they work with. I.e. It's reported that David Wells did not have many friends on the Yankees other than David Cone, but no one really cared. Wells did his thing, everyone else did their own. Everyone was content. Why is it that Gary Sheffield was a cancer on the Marlins, and Dodgers but when he went to the Braves he was the veteran leader of the team? How did this happen? How did Latrell Sprewell go from cancer in the Golden State Warriors, to leader on the Knicks, back to cancer again? Sprewell consistently showed up late to practice. When the Knicks were winning no one cared, but when the Knicks started losing they constently were on his case. Sprewell, to his credit, saw right through the hypocracy and is probably one of the reasons he is on the TWolves right now. Allen Iverson held a press conference telling people he never went to practice! PRACTICE!! We're talking about PRACTICE Yet the media never called him a cancer when the 76ers were in the finals, and still don't, as long as they are winning. That is the key to not being called a cancer, winning and be quotable, as Brett Hull and Charles Barkley figured out.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Alex Rodriguez Is Underpaid. 

When you are consistely posting near 1.000 OPS FROM THE SHORTSTOP POSITION, have had 8 straight years of good numbers with only one year of any real injury, always at the top of the leaderboard in every category, play great defense, again, from the SS position, are good-looking and marketable, and good with the media to boot, heck when you will be remembered as one of the top 10 baseball players of all time, and are currently the 2nd best player in baseball only because the best player in baseball is a freak god who is one of the top 3 of all time and on Human Growth Hormone, you are worth every damn penny of 25 million dollars. The Texas Rangers are ridiculously stupid. Not for paying A-Rod 25 million, that's good business. He's worth it. You ask Billy Beane what he would do with A-Rod, and he would take him. Do you know how easy it is to build a winner with A-Rod at SS? Heck, with A-Rod at SS, and Hank Blalock, Mark Teixiera and Micheal Young, each who make the minimum, as your infield, at 26 million dollars? The Montreal Expos were tabbed in at 51 million dollars, according to USA Today, for Total Payroll. We'll use them, because that's MLB's pet team, so they CAN NOT lose money. 51 million dollars. 26 on the infield That leaves, let's say 25 million dollars for the rest of the team? You are telling me that anyone with half a brain can't do that? A half-decent farm system providing the bullpen and outfield, and one or two quality pitchers, that's all you need, with that infield. For christ's sake, it's completely ridiculous that anyone would blame Alex Rodriguez for why the Rangers are losing. Further, let's say you're in a somewhat big market, like say, the Cubs, with an 80 million dollar payroll (USA TODAY). 80-26 = 54. 54 million dollars for pitching and an outfield? Plus, a half-decent farm system takes care of the bullpen, so 50 million for starters and an outfield?

Come on. Texas is not losing because of A-Rod. In fact, A-Rod is the most valuable player in the AL. Valuable does not mean you have to be on a team that makes the playoff. Further, valuable does NOT mean that just because you got traded to a team and they started winning, that you are the MVP. Shannon Stewart is NOT an MVP, or anywhere close. Yes, he was good. Yes, the Twins started winning because of him. Look at the numbers though. THEY PITCHED BETTER. Did Shannon Stewart somehow cause the Twins to start pitching better? Seriously, if he did, I want him on my team RIGHT NOW, because if Shannon Stewart has the amazing ability to make the Twins pitchers better, I'd love to know what he could do for any team. And why weren't the Blue Jays pitchers all doing well because of Stewart? And why didn't they do worse once he left? Where were his magical powers....I digress. That will be next time. A-Rod was the MVP because he, as the rules of the MVP state that the MVP is the man who contributed the most to his team in offense and defense, not anything else. You can twist the MVP to fit your own pre-determined agenda, but a true rules follower reads "contributed most to his team in offense and defense" - and A-Rod did that.

Further, Texas did not lose because of A-Rod. Texas lost because of this:

Salaries

Alex Rodriguez $ 22,000,000
Juan Gonzalez $ 13,000,000
Chan Ho Park $ 13,000,000
Carl Everett $ 9,150,000
Rafael Palmeiro $ 9,000,000
Ugueth Urbina $ 4,500,000
Jay Powell $ 3,250,000
Ismael Valdes $ 2,500,000
Todd Van Poppel $ 2,500,000
Einar Diaz $ 1,837,500
Esteban Yan $ 1,500,000
Herb Perry $ 1,300,000
John Thomson $ 1,300,000
Doug Glanville $ 1,000,000
Francisco Cordero $ 900,000
Todd Greene $ 750,000
Chad Kreuter $ 750,000
Mark Teixeira $ 750,000
Aaron Fultz $ 600,000
Ruben Sierra $ 600,000
Shane Spencer $ 600,000
C.J. Nitkowski $ 550,000
Mike Lamb $ 440,000
Mike Young $ 415,000
Kevin Mench $ 327,500
Hank Blalock $ 302,500
Mickey Callaway $ 302,500
Colby Lewis $ 302,500
Jermaine Clark $ 300,000
Reynaldo Garcia $ 300,000

13 million for Juan Gonzalez. 13 for Chan Ho Park. Look down the roster. All kinds of dumbness. 2.5 million for Todd Van Poppel.

The fact that they have Shane Spencer and Ruben Sierra FURTHER shows how sorry they are, because that's a fine RF and LF right there for 1.2 million dollars! Heck, Mike Lamb could DH, now you've got an infield, an LF, and RF and a DH for 27.5 million dollars, all you need is a CF, a C, and decent pitching!

For christ's sake, the Rangers problem was not A-Rod, the Rangers problem is EVERYTHING ELSE.

And no, A-Rod is not overpaid. In fact, if I was some other team during the bidding war for A-Rod, I would have offered him 30 million. He's worth it. Not just on the field, the man can market himself, he's media-savy (spelling?), he's smart, good-looking, I mean, he's everything you want. Sadly, the Rangers and MLB would rather focus on his 25 million dollar salary that actually, god forbid, market him. The NFL is willing to market a man who lied about his friend committing murder, and the NBA is willing to market drug-dealers, but MLB won't market people, and would rather actively SLAM, players who make money that the OWNERS offered them. Larry Luchino and Tom Hicks would rather slam A-Rod and make him look bad, Bud Selig would do the same, than market him and make the money you CAN off of him. He's worth $25 million just for his on the field activity. He's worth EVEN MORE because he can be marketed. You think Derek Jeter is marketable? A-Rod's just as attractive, media-savvy, everything Jeter is, and yet, people love Jeter and slam A-Rod. Sad, truly sad, because A-Rod is truly one of the greatest players around, and underpaid at $25 million dollars.


Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

First Post 

This is going to be our place to use our mouths, err, fingers to just talk about whatever is on our minds at the time. It could be about anything really, anything at all.

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