Friday, January 30, 2004

Iowa Electronic Markets

I'm not big on politics, but the Iowa Electronic Markets are pretty interesting.
These markets are small-scale, real-money futures markets where contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections.
The 2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION MARKET in particular has been interesting to follow over the last couple of weeks.
This is a Winner-Takes-All market. The contract that denotes the actual outcome of the 2004 Democratic Convention will have a liquidation value of $1.00, all others will have values of $0.00..
With that in mind, take a look at the Daily Prices Graph. You can see Dean as the clear favorite until the Iowa Caucus. Since then, he's been in a free fall, while Kerry's becoming a runaway favorite. There's a slight hesitation in the market right before the NH primary, and then Kerry's upward surge continues. That probably isn't anything you didn't already know, but it's fascinating to watch the chart change each day.

You might also want to check out the 2004 US PRESIDENTIAL VOTE SHARE MARKET.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Bizarro A's

This past Sunday, Athletics Nation brought up the idea of the Twilight Zone A's, with all the position players the A's lost over the last two-plus years.
"Here, things have changed and the Athletics are suddenly a team that has retained past players and discarded the known current quantities." (Salaries ignored)
He goes on to compare the "Bizarro" A's lineup to the current A's lineup. His argument is that there isn't that big of a difference. In terms of career OBP (.343/.344) and OPS (.787/.730), the two lineups look remarkably similar.

I took a look at these same lineups from a (quick and dirty) Established Win Shares Level perspective. My method only looks at the last two years instead of the last three, simply because that's the only data I had readily at hand.

Bizarro A's:
Johnny Damon - 19.5 Win Shares
Ray Durham - 18
Jason Giambi - 31
Miguel Tejada - 28.5
Eric Hinske - 17
Jose Guillen - 11
Terrence Long - 11.5
Ramon Hernandez - 15.5
Angel Berroa - 16
Total - 292.5 (Translates to 56 Wins)

Actual A's:
Mark Kotsay - 18 Win Shares
Mark Ellis - 16
Eric Chavez - 25
Jermaine Dye - 7.5
Erubiel Durazo - 13.5
Bobby Kielty - 13.5
Scott Hatteberg - 15
Damian Miller - 10
Bobby Crosby - 8 (This one's a rough guess)
Total - 253 (Translates to 43 Wins)

That's a difference of 13 wins, which could potentially be the difference between 97 wins and 84 (assuming the pitching staffs are equal). Thirteen wins could be the difference between being in the hunt for the best record in baseball and missing the wildcard by 7 games. All other things being equal, I'd take the Bizarro A's.

Now that I feel bad about bashing AthleticsNation, let me point you towards his latest, Foulke You, You Foulking Foulke. I totally agree with him here that signing Zito, Mulder, Hudson and Chavez is infinitely more important than getting stuck with a reliever on the decline.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Think you've got some? Test yourself...

UPDATE: My best is 21.5 seconds

What I'm Working On

I'm currently working on two things:

(1) 2003 Minor League Runs Created for the A's
See similar analysis on No Pepper, the raindrops, and RedsFaithful's Baseball Blog.

(2) 2004 MLB Predictions based on 2003 Win Shares and player movement.
Check out the beginning of a similar analysis on BaseballCrank.

Now, I just need to get it done. If only this whole "job" thing didn't require so much time....

Senator Tom Brady

Smoking Gun has a great piece about Tom Brady's political history. Despite being invited to the State of the Union, he's never voted.

And I'm sure he's not alone in that regard among NFL players.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Tremendous Problems

I've been having massive problems with this website. I'm only able to access the site about 5% of the time. If you have any suggestions on what might be causing this, email me at

Many thanks.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Very Cool

Check out this post from Will Carroll about the Met's new "Stathead," Ben Baumer. Be sure to scroll down through the comments and notice that Ben himself actually got involved.

I think it's great that this type of exchange is happening at all. I certainly can't imagine Dan Marino reading and responding to a post about his hiring in Miami.

And good luck to Ben! Check out the message from him on his site. I can't say I'm with him on the whole "put the Mets back on top" sentiment, but you've gotta love another team seeing the light. Let's see if they listen to him...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

East Coast Agony

Great post over on East Coast Agony, mostly ripping on John "Charcoal" Burkett:
[T]he only thing that makes me more excited than the prospect of the Sox all getting a few turns at Burkett is the thought of all the Sox getting a few turns at Burkett while I get a lap dance.
Making fun of Burkett is all well and good until I remember that we couldn't quite get enough off of him on October 5th. If only Grady had left him in a little longer, I would have left Fenway as one happy camper. That would have been quite nice.

Instead, I was by far the most miserable Fenway ticketholder of the day. Bad times.

Comparing Pitching Staffs

On, Jason Moyer has a nice comparison of the top pitching staffs using Win Shares.

In one of Jayson Stark's recent articles, he discusses the same subject. While entertaining and well written, Stark's methodology leaves a little to be desired.
In order to help you argue it next time you're hanging around some tavern with about 11 hours to kill, we surveyed a bunch of general managers, executives and scouts this week.
And the results...
"No one (else) has four starters who can be classified as No. 1 or No. 2's." ... "Added a veteran leader (Clemens) and haven't had a left-hander (Pettitte) of that quality since Hampton." ... "Might have as strong No. 5 depth pool as any team in your survey." ... "Age and health of Clemens and Pettite are the only concerns here. Pettitte's elbow scares me."
Sounds good, but where's the beef? I prefer the less-hype, more-facts approach of Moyer.


Say it ain't so.

Another No Limit rapper is headed to the slammer. As I pointed out a while back, No Limit has hit hard times, and this is more of the same. Mystikal has been sentenced to 6 years in jail for sexual assault on his hairstylist. (If you don't mind a boatload of profanity, read the lyrics to Shake Ya Ass. If I was the prosecuting attorney, this would have been Exhibit 2, right after the video of the crime.)

The highlight of this otherwise disturbing fiasco:
"Mystikal mystified my client, and today he was mystified by the court system." - Harry Ezim Jr, attorney for the victim, trying to make a name for himself with a not-so entertaining rhyme.

Monday, January 19, 2004

How To Sing the Blues

Full list courtesy of VitaminQ. My favorite lines are:
  • "Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die."
  • "You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot and sit by the dumpster."

  • Thanks for the Kudos

    Thanks to Will Carroll for his kind words about my Roger Clemens post. Wish him luck on the release of his upcoming book, Saving The Pitcher.

    Six Degrees...

    David Pinto's latest BaseballMusings post about Insurance, points us to Rob Neyer's article, "Pudge, Maddux Not Exactly Bargains," which points us to Bill Madden's article "Get Off Mets' Back."

    Pinto sums it up as follows:
    So it may not be smarter GM's or owners or collusion that's causing the soft free-agent market. It may just be that insurers are unwilling to take on the risk. Who would have thought it?

    Thursday, January 15, 2004

    Koufax and Drama

    Absolutely great post on Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT about Sandy Koufax' performance in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series with a (mostly) play-by-play account of the game.

    I'm afraid to admit that I got the chills just reading the blow-by-blow recap of a game that took place 38+ years ago. And no, my chills have nothing to do with the weather outside, which is currently quoted on as (-17) degrees in NYC (with the wind chill).

    Daubach Backlash

    Todd is none too happy with my take on the Daubach signing:

    I completely disagree with your Daubach comments. A few years back, when the Sox were mathematically out of the race on the last day of the season, Jimy Williams asked the starters if they wanted to sit out a game of the double header. Most of them volunteered, much to the chagrin of the two guys who refused to sit. One of them was Trot Nixon, the undisputed leader of that team, and the other was his good friend Brian Daubach. He's the guy that's always standing and yelling at the top of the dugout steps in a close game, whether he is playing or not. Sure, the impact that his kind of energy and passion has on a team is hard to support with empirical evidence, but there is a reason why the terms chemistry and leadership are talked about so much in sports. Championship teams usually have them. And on a team with guys like Pedro, Manny, and Nomar, superstars that don't really shoulder the leadership burden, a guy like Daubach is invaluable. What do they lose in signing him to a minor league deal?

    And the fans love him. He is the passionate, team oriented role player, in a city that truly appreciates those kinds of guys. You see him out at the bars in Boston, usually talking to one of the youngest and hottest ladies in the place, and you just have to smile. He's not great looking, not tremendously athletic, and nobody's sure why that passion doesn't translate into a rigorous off-the-field regimen, but the fans love him anyway. When most of the people at Fenway look out on the field and think of the player they once were (or even speak of it quite loudly), they may want to think of Manny or Nomar, of monsterous home runs or five tool talent. But in their hearts most of them know that they were probably more like Brian Daubach. And that's a good thing.

    Bambino's Curse is another Red Sox fan that's high on this chemistry idea - and high on Daubach. He says it well here:

    While there is no statistical veracity to it, I think a metric for "good karma" can hold its own next to "win shares." And Brian Daubach's good karma number is very high. (emphasis added)

    I'm surprised that the enlightened Bill James-powered Red Sox front office would buy into this, but as Todd points out, it wasn't too expensive.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2004

    FDR v. The Gipper

    Should the Gipper replace FDR on the dime? USA Today respondents reply with a resounding "No."

    Tuesday, January 13, 2004

    Yankees, Clemens, Draft Picks

    "Unfortunately... I think things are going to get tougher"
    -Brian Cashman in October, courtesy of The Olympian.

    "We don't care about draft picks"
    -Anonymous Yankee official in Bob Klapisch's latest article.

    Hmmm. I think Quote #2 goes a long way towards explaining Quote #1. They really should care about draft picks (they can afford them!), and they should have offered arbitration to Clemens. Is there any downside to offering arbitration in this situation? Any at all?

    Update: Billy, a Yankees fan, points out that if the Yankees offered arbitration and Clemens declined, the Yankees wouldn't have been able to re-sign him for a year. I guess the Yankees wanted to bring Roger back mid-season when Kevin Brown's arm fell off.

    Update #2 Looks like Billy was incorrect. Eugene Freedman, on Baseball Primer, offers a great explanation of the rules.

    "If the player does not accept arbitration the team may not negotiate with or sign the player from January 8 through May 1."

    Which brings me back to my original question, why not offer arbitration?

    We're #1

    Search on Google for "drunken buffoon", and I'm the first result. Woo hoo! Thank you, Joe Namath.

    I'd like a Chicken Whopper

    ...but hold the Disodium Guanylate & Disodium Inosinate. Here are the ingredients of Burger King's Chicken Whopper:

    Boneless Chicken Breast Filets with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Maltodextrin, Salt, Flavors†, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Modified Corn Starch, Spices, Chicken Fat, Chicken Powder, Chicken Broth, Disodium Guanylate & Disodium Inosinate, Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dehydrated Garlic, and Artificial Flavors), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Modified Food Starch, Soy Protein Concentrate, Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Monosodium Glutamate. †Natural flavors from animal and plant sources Glazed with: Water, Seasoning (Maltodextrin, Salt, Methyl Cellulose, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Modified Potato Starch, Flavors†, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum, Modified Corn Starch, Spices, Dehydrated Garlic, Chicken Powder, Chicken Fat, Garlic Powder, Disodium Guanylate & Disodium Inosinate, Caramel Color, Sucrose, Grill Flavor (from Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and Cottonseed Oil), Chicken Broth, Citric Acid, Turmeric, Annatto Extract, Smoke Flavor, Soy Lecithin, and Artificial Flavors), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil & Cottonseed Oil. †Natural flavors from animal and plant sources. Contains Soy and Wheat.

    Stone gives Burger King kudos for their "interesting, easy, and fantstic" Nutritional Fact Site, but I think maybe they're being a little too honest. Do you really want to see all 40 ingredients in your chicken breast? Wouldn't you just be better off thinking that there's one ingredient: chicken?

    And if they list "garlic powder" and "onion powder," why do they also say that they've included "spices." What spices? Why list some but not others? Very odd.

    Regardless, the next time you're fixin' to "Have it Your Way," you might want to reconsider.

    (I'm sure "Whopper" and "Have it your way" are trademarked, don't sue me.)

    Roger the "Dodger"

    John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle points out that, "Mike Piazza certainly took note of Clemens' unretirement..."

    Not just Piazza, but everyone in New York is probably looking forward to Clemens getting beaned as he bats in the National League. Mets fans hate him for hitting Piazza and the Yankees fans hate him for being a "traitor."

    A popular question is, "I wonder if Clemens will change his style now that he has to pick up a bat?" But does he really live up to his reputation of hitting more batters than the average pitcher? And is stepping into the batter's box really a deterrent for NL pitchers? Are they less likely to hit batters than AL pitchers? Are National League "head-hunters" more likely to get hit by pitches themselves?

    (I'm sure this has been addressed elsewhere, but I'd rather do the thinking than just point you somewhere else on this one.)

    Does Roger Clemens hit more batters than the average pitcher?
    Nope. In 2003, the average AL pitcher hit 10 batters per 1,000 batters faced (BFP), while Clemens hit only 5.7 per 1,000 BFP. Maybe Clemens has mellowed in his old age -- he must have hit more batters earlier in his career, right? Right, but not that many more. Over his career, Clemens has hit about 8 batters per 1,000 BFP. He's really not that reckless.

    Do NL pitchers hit fewer batters than their AL counterparts?
    Eh... sorta. National League pitchers hit 9.6 batters per 1,000 BFP, slightly less than the AL's 10. That works out to about .72 HBP per AL game and .68 HBP per NL game, a marginal difference.

    Do NL "head-hunters" get hit by a lot of pitches themselves?
    Yes. Eighty-two National League pitchers made at least 10 starts in 2003, and they averaged about 9 HBP/1,000 BFP. The pitchers who hit more batters than expected ("Headhunters") were hit by pitches themselves once every 224 plate appearances, while the "more gentle" pitchers were only hit half as often (once every 487 PA).

    The lesson learned: If you hit too many batters in the NL, expect to get thrown at yourself. Unless you're from Texas...

    Kerry Wood hit an historic 21 batters this past year, the highest since Tom Murphy in 1969 (and no pitcher has hit more than 21 batters since 1921!). Meanwhile, opposing pitchers retaliated on Wood exactly zero times. He didn't get hit by a pitch in any of his 70 plate appearances.

    Another hard-throwin' Texan, Nolan Ryan also managed to avoid the beanball -- but for his whole career. He didn't get hit by even one pitch in nearly 1,000 career plate appearances.

    Since Clemens doesn't hit too many batters, I don't expect him to get thrown at all that often. And even if he did hit a lot of batters, I think his opposing pitchers would be unlikely to throw at him -- something about large Texans bringing the heat must frighten off the rest of the league. Well, that and the Robin Ventura incident.

    Fun with Translations

    Elephants in Oakland has a great little piece about Eric Byrnes' adventures in the Dominican(?) league in both Spanish and English. The first translation is great - "a quadrangular one by the left garden" is apparently Google for "big fly to left." Good times.

    Sunday, January 11, 2004

    Vlad the Impaler

    Well, ESPN is reporting that the Angels signed Vlad Guerrero for 5 years, $70M. That smells like trouble for the AL West. The Angels' have added Kelvim Escobar, Bartolo Colon, Jose Guillen and now Vladimir. Meanwhile, they lost Brad Fullmer, Scott Spezio, Shawn Wooten and Benji Gil.

    The Angels won 77 games last year, which translates to 231 Win Shares. The departing players are taking 24 Win Shares (from 2003) with them, but the incoming players are bringing 67. That's a net gain of 43 Win Shares, or 14 Wins. Assuming everyone on the Angels plays the same in 2004 (a very risky assumption), the Angels should win about 91 games, which does not bode well for the rest of the AL West.

    Friday, January 9, 2004

    Out with Grunge Rock

    In with Aluminum-Foiling. Those Pacific Nortwesterners sure are a whacky bunch.

    I'm With the Sports Guy on This One

    Sports Guy hit this nail on the head:

    Guy In Danger of Being Overexposed: Ray Lewis
    All right, let's tone it down just a little next season - maybe by four miked games, 10 halftime features, eight opening promos, six pregame dances and 160 incredulous announcer chuckles. Let's scale this baby back. Who's with me?

    Update on Yesterday's AP Sports Gaffe

    Poynter Online's Jim Romenesko has an item about the list of sports-celeb phone numbers that was distributed yesterday.

    "It was something that went out that wasn't intended to go out." -Jack Stokes, AP spokesman.

    Oh really? You didn't mean to publish that list? Shocking!

    Thursday, January 8, 2004

    Yikes, Indeed

    My sister says her 12-year-old students know all about sex bracelets.

    Yellow: hugging
    Purple: kissing
    Red: lap dance
    Blue: oral sex
    Black: the full monty

    I, for one, have no idea what's going on here. If you wear a black bracelet, does that mean you're having sex? Or does it mean that you're willing to have sex? Or as the article suggests, "if a boy breaks a jelly bracelet off a girls wrist, he basically gets a sexual coupon for that act." Does that mean a girl with an armful of bracelets is a slut? I just don't get it. Email me to explain it.

    Someone's Getting Fired at AP Sports

    I just got an email forward saying, "The AP Sports desk accidentally emailed out there [sic] sports rolodex today to other newsies."

    The email then contains a list of over 700 phone numbers for sports figures, including athletes like Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Yogi Berra and Roger Clemens. The list also has phone numbers for Commissioners Gary Bettman, Paul Tagliabue and Bud Selig. That's just the beginning. There are over 700 phone numbers.

    From what I can tell, these numbers are legit, and the AP is going to have to fire someone. Too bad, Butch. Too bad.

    Update: Here's a "sanitized" version of the list:
    > Aaron Hank 404-xxx-1348; 404-xxx-7550 (h)
    > ABC Radio 456-5185
    > Abdul-Jabbar Kareem 213-xxx-1806
    > Abraham Seth 212-xxx-1648; 212-xxx-8620 (h)
    > AC Nielsen 708-6949; 708-7548
    > Adams Alan 416-xxx-1019 (h)
    > Adcock Joe 318-xxx-4887
    > Albert Marv 212-xxx-6330
    > Alderson Sandy 510-xxx-4900; 510-xxx-1828; 415-xxx-6345 (h)
    > Alfano, Pete (ATP) 904-xxx-8000
    > Allen Doug (NFLPA) 202-xxx-2215; 703-xxx-1528 (h)
    > Allen Mel 203-xxx-4440 (h)
    > Alliss Peter 011-xxx-2873-5669
    > Anderson Dick 305-xxx-0440; 305-xxx-0400 (h)
    > Anderson Ottis 305-xxx-2524
    > Anderson Sparky 805-xxx-2060 (h)
    > Andretti Mario 215-xxx-5118
    > Andros Dee 503-xxx-2370; 503-xxx-5886 (h)
    > Angelos Peter 410-xxx-6210; 410-xxx-0100; 410-xxx-4429 (h)
    > Antonucci John 303-xxx-0200; 216-xxx-2660 h-8 p.m.
    > AP Broadcast 800-368-5915; 800-424-8804
    > AP Radio 800-368-5915
    > Arbitron 212-887-1318
    > Archibald Tiny 212-xxx-6662 (h)
    > Argovitz Jerry 713-xxx-5771
    > Argyros George 714-xxx-4900
    > Armato Leonard (agent for Shaq, atty for Kareem) 213-xxx-6666
    > Arnold Jennifer ‹ 212-xxx-7202; xxx-0444 (h)
    > Arum Bob 702-xxx-3232; 702-xxx-9323 (h)
    > Atlanta Organizing Committee (Bob Brennan) 404-224-1996
    > Auerbach Red 202-xxx-4722; 202-xxx-8312 (h)
    > Autry Gene 213-xxx-5672 or 5676; 818-xxx-9208 (h); 619-xxx-2155 Palm
    > Springs
    > Baer Larry 415-xxx-2505; 415-xxx-4102 (h)
    > Bailey Wilford 205-xxx-9723 (h); 205-xxx-2278
    > Baker Buddy 704-xxx-2763.
    > Baker Buck ‹ 704-xxx-9206.
    > Baker Dusty 415-xxx-9531 (h)
    > Baker Terry 503-xxx-1440
    > Bando Sal 414-xxx-3353; 602-xxx-3370 (h)
    > Banks Ernie 818-xxx-2827; 818-xxx-4388; 310-xxx-7268
    > Barger Carl 412-xxx-8807 (h)
    > Barnett Dick xxx-5311
    > Barrow Joe Louis Jr 303-xxx-9592
    > Bartholomay Bill 312-xxx-0759; 312-xxx-5634 (h)
    > Bavasi Bill 714-xxx-7261; 714-xxx-0259 (h); 714-xxx-0452 (h)
    > Bavasi Peter 201-xxx-2697
    > Baylor Don 619-xxx-1925
    > Beathard, Bobby 619-xxx-9314
    > Beban Gary 213-xxx-3531
    > Beeston Paul 416-xxx-1220; 416-xxx-1472 (h)

    Josh Beckett as a Wee Lad

    Aaron's Baseball Blog posted a great little article from Ryan Levy about watching/playing against Josh Beckett in high school. Good times. "How I Remember Josh Beckett"

    "Greatest Commercial Ever"

    1984, written by Steve Hayden, is widely considered the Best Commercial Ever.

    (thanks to GMSV for the link)

    Another Closer for the A's

    ESPN's Rumormill is reporting that the A's might still be pursuing Ugueth Urbina to fill out their bullpen. Given Rhodes' track record as a closer (he has none), this could be great. I'd rather have Rhodes setting up Ugie than have Rhodes closing games.

    Wednesday, January 7, 2004

    3 Up, 3 Down

    This post on Fun with Win Shares pointed me towards a Twins' website. In their post Some Sobering Numbers, Three Up Three Down looked at the Twins offseason moves from a Win Shares perspective. Their conclusion: Twins are in trouble.

    Well, what about the A's?

    The A's won 96 games in 2003, so that means there are 288 Win Shares to distribute. Billy Beane lost/traded players who contributed 105 Win Shares (86 of those WS were Tejada, Foulke, Ramon Hernandez, TLong and Ted Lilly).

    That's a lot to replace, but we did get Kotsay, Kielty, Redman, Miller, Hammond and Rhodes. Last year, those six combined for just about 60 Win Shares. So, you might say that we've netted a loss of 45 win shares, and we're headed for an 80-win season. That relatively dire prediction, however, would ignore the potential contributions of our younger players like Rich Harden, Bobby Crosby and Justin Duchscherer. (Clearly the youngsters have limited track records, so projecting out to a full season is terribly risky. But bear with me, I'm being optimistic.)

    Here's what I envision for the 2004 A's pitching staff, assuming everyone performs at pretty much the same level. I've highlighted the instances where a pitcher will have to throw more innings. In those cases, I've simply adjusted their win shares accordingly.

    Name2003 Win Shares2003 IP2004 IP (Est.)2004 Win Shares (Est.)
    Total  1419113

    Considering the 2003 A's pitching staff threw 1440 innings, I feel pretty comfortable about my projections, inning-wise. On to the offense (PA=Plate Appearances, estimated as At Bats + Walks), where I again highlighted differences in playing time.

    Name2003 Win Shares2003 PA2004 PA (Est.)2004 Win Shares (Est.)
    Total  5910152

    In 2003, the A's had 6,050 plate appearances, so my projection of 5,900 isn't too bad. I should point out, however, that I didn't pay too much attention to getting the right numbr of PA's by position. I'm happy enough that it worked out as it did.

    (A couple notes about the playing time adjustments... Kotsay and Kielty, if healthy and given a starting spot all year, should reach 600 PA. Jermaine Dye and Eric Byrnes will end up splitting the remaining OF at-bats. Dye will probably play better than he did in 2003, and Byrnes might play worse. On balanace, their changes will probably cancel each other out in terms of the win shares, so I'm not too concerned about that. --- The one issue of concern is Bobby Crosby. Projecting a full season from only 13 at-bats is ludicrous. But here's why I did it... It works out to only 8 win shares, which would put Crosby as the 15th best shortstop in the AL in 2003. With only fourteen teams in the AL, that would make Crsoby one of the worst every day shortstops in the league. Either he's going to be that good or we'll have to replace him with someone who is, right away.)

    So, that's 113 Win Shares for the pitchers, 152 for the offense and a total of 265 Win Shares. After dividing by three, that's 88 wins, but a mere 88 wins isn't going to put anyone into the playoffs. Looking at the last four years, it looks like 91 wins will give you a chance at making the playoffs, and you need 95+ to really feel comfortable about your odds.

    I'll leave the remaining 3-10 wins (9-30 Win Shares) in the hands of Billy Beane, and I won't lose any sleep. The A's will be in the playoff hunt all year - well, at least until they clinch a spot...

    Red Sox Aren't So Smart After All

    The Red Sox re-acquired Brian Daubach today. Without looking at the numbers, let me just say that Brian Daubach stinks! This move (along with the signing of Pokey Reese) probably undoes all of the good work Theo Epstein has done in getting Schilling and Foulke.

    Well... maybe not. But the only categories "Dauber" is likely to contribute in are "Ugly Strike-outs" and "Ugly Faces."

    Tuesday, January 6, 2004

    Win Shares and a Terrible Trade

    Before I get into the mis-management of the Phillies in the early- to mid-eighties, let me point you towards's explanation of Bill James' Win Shares. In short, a team's winning percentage is tied to the number of runs scored and runs allowed. And from there, it's only a "short" leap to tie individual performance to wins. Each hit or (hit prevented) is like a fraction of a run, which is a fraction of a win... Anyway, three win shares is equivalent to one win.

    Onto the trade...

    Between the 1981 and 1982 seasons the Phillies traded Ryne Sandberg (a prospect at the time) and an over the hill Larry Bowa to the Cubs for for Ivan DeJesus, and it was an unadulterated failure from the Phillies perspective.

    After 1982, Ryno went on to put up 346 career Win Shares (according to Bill James) for the Cubbies, while Larry Bowa contributed 28. On the Phillies side, Ivan DeJesus was worth only 34 win shares to the Phillies before being traded again.

    This time, the Phillies gave up DeJesus and Bill Campbell for the Cardinals' Dave Rucker. DeJesus and Campbell combined for 5 Win Shares for the Cardinals before being released, while Rucker gave the Phillies only 3.

    So, the Phillies gave up 379 Win Shares and got only 37 in exchange. That's bad business.

    More Curling

    From the Canadian Rules of Curling:

    Curlers' Code of Ethics
    I will play the game with a spirit of good sportsmanship.
    I will conduct myself in an honourable manner both on and off the ice.
    I will never knowingly break a rule, but if I do, I will divulge the breach.
    I will take no action that could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate or demean my opponents, teammates or officials.
    I will interpret the rules in an impartial manner, always keeping in mind that the purpose of the rules is to ensure that the game is played in an orderly and fair manner.
    I will humbly accept any penalty that the governing body at any level of curling deems appropriate, if I am found in violation of the Code of Ethics or rules of the game.


    Fair Play
    Fair Play begins with the strict observance of the written rule; however, in most cases, Fair Play involves something more than even unfailing observance of the written rule.
    The observance of the spirit of the rules, whether written or unwritten, is important.
    Fair Play results from measuring up to one's own moral standards while engaged in competition.
    Fair Play is consistent demonstration of respect for teammates and opponents, whether they are winning or losing.
    Fair Play is consistent demonstration of respect for officials, an acceptance of their decisions and a steadfast spirit of collaboration with them.
    Sportsmanlike behaviour should be demonstrated both on and off the ice. This includes modesty in victory and composure in defeat.

    It's too bad American sports don't have anything like this. I'd love to see Terrell Owens or Joe Horn show modesty in victory and composure in defeat. Fresh Angles had a good little article a while back about the Era of the Ego in the NFL.

    Monday, January 5, 2004


    Watched curling yesterday during the tail end of the Colts' victory over the hapless Broncos. I'm afraid to admit that it was damn entertaining. The riveting action on Fox Sports World kept my roommate around for the highlights of the World Dart Championship, which were also entertaining.

    Great Website

    Best website I've seen all year. (thanks to Yahoo! Picks)

    Friday, January 2, 2004


    Two winners in the latest Powerball drawing will each get lump sums of $60M. Imagine spending $10M right away and investing the remaining $50M in tax-free bonds that pay 3% a year (just to make up a number). That's an income of $1.5M a year.

    It's amazing that anyone can go broke after winning the lottery, but people do.