Friday, January 27, 2006

The Best College QB You've Never Heard Of

I'm hip to this jive, but I can't imagine the general public is ready for this.

However, this I'm pretty sure about: Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt is the best quarterback available for the NFL draft come April.

I am not alone. A bunch of NFL scouts are whispering the same thing during Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Ala. Some of those even will put out some "negatives" on Cutler deliberately in hopes that he'll drop a little in the draft. It's not going to work.

-Chris Mortensen (ESPN Insiders only)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Big Hurt - Almost an Athletic - MLB - Sources: Athletics, Thomas close to agreement on deal

"The Oakland Athletics and longtime Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas are on the verge of agreeing to a deal"

Thanks to Stad for the link. He and I are both very excited for the 2006 A's. With better luck on the health front this year, they are playoff bound. Bring on Spring Training!

Reach an Actual Person

IVR Cheat Sheet(tm) by Paul English

Sports Illustrated
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Pure genius. Thanks to Kottke for the link.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Horrible NFL Officiating Continues

As has been well-documented elsewhere (here, for one), the officiating in this year's NFL playoffs has been pretty poor. I'm watching the Steelers-Broncos game right now, and the Steelers just had a Jerome Bettis touchdown called back on an illegal formation penalty. The official said that Hines Ward lined up on the line of scrimmage outside the tight end, so the formation was illegal. That's just a bad call.

Here's what the NFL rulebook has to say: "Offensive team must have at least seven players on line." AT LEAST seven players. There's nothing barring them from having eight players on the line of scrimmage, as the Steelers did on the Bettis touchdown.

The only problem with "covering" the tight end is that the TE is no longer an eilgible receiver on that play. (Rulebook again: "Eligible receivers on the offensive team are players on either end of line (other than center, guard, or tackle) or players at least one yard behind the line at the snap.") But the touchdown came on a running play - whether you're an eligible receiver is irrelevant.

That is a horrible call. Fortunately, the Steelers scored another touchdown immediately thereafter, so the refs are off the hook. I'm curious to see if we can get a Joey Porter quote out of this...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Release Point Consistency From

I found Jeff Sullivan’s post yesterday on Baseball Analysts quite interesting: A Quantitative Approach to Studying Release Point Consistency

We know an awful lot about pitchers. We know how hard they throw, how many batters they strike out, what kinds of pitches they have, and whether their deliveries are fluid and easy or violent and rough. This is all objective and indisputable information that has a lot of value when it comes to projecting a pitcher's future health and success.

One thing we don't know much about, though, is the consistency of a pitcher's release point. The fact that we don't have a good way of measuring what's arguably the most important part of being a good pitcher is one of the more ironic twists of modern analysis. Sure, you can look at a bad curveball and say "he let go too early" or "he held on too long," but that's just one of a few thousand pitches that the guy's going to throw all year, so it doesn't tell you very much. What we need is a way to quantify the extent to which release points varies over a larger period of time for different pitchers.

I took a couple courses on digital signal processing in college. We worked mostly with audio, which only has one dimension, but many of the same techniques would likely work with two-dimensional images.

With the right person doing the programming, you could analyze each photo, normalize for zoom and pinpoint the location of the ball automatically. Not sure how you would normalize for differing CF camera angles from game to game, but it could probably be done.

Separately, I wonder how the study might be affected by the pitcher’s positioning on the rubber? Jeff, if you read this, did you notice whether the pitchers tended to start from the same spot on the mound over the course of a game?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Baseball Decision Maker

I'm not sure this tool makes any intuitive sense, and there's no way Grady Little would use this... But it looks kinda interesting:

The tough part is that you can never go back and compare what the results would have been if you had made a different decision. So you'll never be able to test whether the Manager's gut feeling or the tool's suggestion is a better choice, will you?

(Thanks to marc for the link. And now marc, I'm getting to work.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another Timesink

jay is games: Cubefield

"simple but highly addictive"

Absolutely. My high score after a few minutes is 217,005. Scanning through the comments on jayisgames, I'm merely a novice.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

That's It?

Study: 7 Percent of Workers Drink on Job - Yahoo! News

"Just over 7 percent of American workers drink during the workday — mostly at lunch — and even more, 9 percent, have nursed a hangover in the workplace, according to a study."

Only nine percent of American workers have nursed a hangover in the workplace? That sounds preposterously low. I suppose I don't know that many people, but damn near 100% of them have gone to work with a hangover. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this study is just plain wrong.