The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

A few quick ones from Gordon

He babbles for a while about some metric from, of which I am not a member, and therefore cannot access. I’m still willing to bet he’s taking it way out of context, though, since I really doubt Bill James is making too much of a fuss over how many RBIs people have against pitchers with ERAs better than 3.50. But then that boring stuff is over, and we get something to make fun of proper! Go, man, go:

A-Rod still will be under pressure to improve on his abysmal postseason history, while Ortiz has been a 21st-century Mr. October for the Red Sox.

Alex Rodriguez, career postseason: .279 / .361 / .483 / .844, 15.56 CARP (Chokes Above Replacement Player)
David Ortiz, career postseason: .293 / .401 / .543 / .944, .843 October Hero Rating

And, just for fun:
Mr. October, career postseason: .278 / .358 / .527 / .885, AAAA+++ would trade with again

We’ll have to see whether regular-season form holds in October.

Chokex Chokedriguechoke, career regular-season: .305 / .390 / .575 / .965
David Octobertiz, career regular-season: .282 / .377 / .545 / .923
Reginald Martinez Jackson October, esq., career regular-season: .262 / .356 / .490 / .846 and the all-time record for strikeouts so please shut the fuck up about how Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard suck because they strike out too much.

Comedy addendum:

Here is a list of all major-league third basemen with a better OPS in 2009 than A-rod’s career postseason average:

Pablo Sandoval
Alex Rodriguez
Mark Reynolds
Michael Young
Evan Longoria
Ryan Zimmerman

That is all. No David Wright. No Chipper Jones. And, since half of A-rod’s postseason appearances were at his natural position (SS), here’s a list of all major league shortstops with a better 2009 OPS than A-rod’s career postseason average:

Hanley Raimrez
Troy Tulowitzki
Jason Bartlett (WTF?)
Derek Jeter

Hanley is the only player on either list beating A-rod’s .844 mark by a hundred points or more.

Bonus content: Atlanta Braves pitcher watch!

"When I saw him throwing 96 in Australia before he signed, I knew he had a chance to be good in the big leagues," said Jon Deeble, the coach of the Australian national team who made a run at Moylan in his role as Pacific Rim scout for the Red Sox.

Really, this is fine. I just wanted to make fun of this guy because his name is Jon Deeble. He should open a scouting agency with Rob Dibble.

September 30th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | 9 comments

Fire the Braves

A few Braves players had some words of wisdom to share with us after stomping on the musty old corpse of the Washington Nationals:

"It’s got to the point now where we’ve got so much faith in the team that no one wants to be that last out, or no one wants to be the guy that is responsible for the loss," said reliever Peter Moylan.

So I’m to take it that, for the first part of the season, everybody on the Braves was competing to be the last out? You were having some sort of high-powered struggle to make as many outs as possible in as short a period of time? You should have traded for this guy and this guy — they make a ton of outs.

"You’re just riding that wave of momentum we created for ourselves over the two weeks," said Chipper Jones, who had two infield hits and scored after both of them. "It’s big to be at home. We feel good about our chances. The Marlins coming in a little down, obviously, and the Nationals are not playing their best baseball, so it’s right in front of us."

Is Chipper the most diplomatic man in baseball or what? You see how he’s trying to let the Nats off the hook there? Actually, Chipper, this pretty much is the Nats’ best baseball. Because they’re bad.

Oh, also, Chipper? Watch your subject mismatch up there in the first sentence. Yow.

"We know that our margin of error is very small and if we lose a game or two, we’re more than likely done, but right now it seems like we do whatever we have to on a daily basis to get a win."

What the Braves need to do on a daily basis to get a win is: play against the worst team in baseball. Fortunately for them, fully half of their remaining games fulfill this requirement.

"Winning is all about confidence, I don’t care what people say," said starter Derek Lowe, who allowed three runs in six innings.

Well, I’m sorry to hear you don’t care what I say, Derek. That hurts. Will you still call? Even though I’m about to point out that winning has a whole shitload less to do with "confidence" than with "scoring runs" and "not letting the other team score runs?" Aww, thanks, Derek! I knew you would.

"What you don’t want to have happen is: 'Now we’re getting closer, let’s try to play differently,'" Lowe said.

I… agree. Do many teams do this? "Fuck, we’re winning — change the plan!"

Bonus content: Fire Jim Riggleman!

"It was a 3-2 ballgame almost the whole game," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "I’m not stupid; you can play a lot of close games and be a bad ballclub. But the difference between us and the other clubs is not that wide a gap. … We just made some mistakes."

The difference between you and the other clubs is a pretty damn wide gap, James: to wit, the 857 runs you have allowed is 302 runs more than the league-leading Dodgers, 157 runs more than the league average, and — and you know I wouldn’t lie to you, James — 77 runs more than the next-worst total in the league (Milwaukee, 775). That’s a big difference. Your pitching is awful, horrible, minor-league crap. Your top five starters have a combined VORP of 17.1, Jim. That’s horrible. You could replace your entire rotation with minor-league callups and lose about a game and a half in the standings. If the Dodgers did the same thing, they’d lose fifteen more games. That is a big difference, Jim.

September 28th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Manager of the Year update!

"I kept playing him through times when there were some offensive shortcomings," Tracy said. "I will never ever give up on Clint Barmes."

Clint Barmes has a career line of .259 / .299 (!) / .417. He has a career FRAR at second base of 45. He has a career WARP1 of 7.8. He’s a nice dude, and he made a great catch last night, but come on, Jim Tracy. Clint Barmes is one of the most replaceable players of all time. He’s been with the team for seven years, and if the Rockies had played a totally average AAA callup at second that entire time they’d have one less win per year to show for it. He’s also thirty years old, and isn’t going to get any better.

Also, this was one of Barmes’ best offensive years of all time. If you thought he had some shortcomings this year, you should have been around for 2006 when he went .220 / .264 / .335 in 535 PA. Mendoza’d that shit up.

New Manager of the Year criterion: Be unable to tell young players who need improvement apart from bad players.

September 28th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Collision detection

I’ve been writing some simple games lately, since I’m completely terrible at programming and I’m going to need to get better if I’m ever going to make anything good. Today’s project so far has left me with a bounded single-screen game with a player character who can move in eight directions and attack with a sword in four, a bunch of mobs that spawn on one edge of the screen and move toward the other edge, the ability to attack the mobs and kill them and get points for it, and proper layering of various textures.

Currently, though, the collision detection is pretty thoroughly half-baked. Turns out that collision detection on transformed sprites is kind of a bear. I spent a few hours working on it, reading tutorials, and looking at examples, but eventually my eyes started to rot out of my head and I just had to set it aside for a while. I’m pretty bad at programming.

The bright side is that once the collision detection is working, I’ll have something pretty solid (unless you count the art assets, which are currently a weird bunch of really shitty hackjobs I did myself and some stuff I pulled off the internet) to build on.

September 26th, 2009 Posted by | Games | one comment

New heights of weirdness

Gordon’s latest ellipsis-delimited random notes blob concludes with the following:

"Doug Melvin of the Brewers will make history of sorts this Sunday in Milwaukee, when he becomes the first GM to have his own bobblehead day. That’s according to bobblehead expert David Hallstrom, who tracks such things."

The following things are bizarre about this situation:

1) The Brewers are giving out bobbleheads of their general manager, a person few Brewers fans will be acquainted with and fewer still would recognise or care about.
2) The Brewers will be the first team to give out GM bobbleheads, ahead of teams like the Athletics, Red Sox, and Mets, who have much better-known and more-cared-about general managers.
3) As a general manager, Doug Melvin hasn’t exactly done a very good job. The Brewers have made the playoffs exactly once on his tenure, and he mortgaged a large amount of their future to do it.
4) The Brewers have many more colourful options to produce bobbleheads of, such as their players or any of the running sausages in the sausage race.
5) There is such a thing as a "bobblehead expert."

September 26th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

When is a slump not a slump?

Answer: when people are just making shit up.

Alex Remington over at Big League Stew has a new Slumpbot .200 up. Most of what he says is fine (though I question whether or not David Wright is actually the Mets’ biggest star, but that’s sort of a meaningless term anyhow). I take issue with his comments about Kosuke Fukudome, though:

"You can write a script for a Fukudome season — a torrid April, followed by slump after slump. In September, he has gone 15-for-81, good for a .185 average and .574 OPS. He also hasn’t homered in more than a month. All told, he’s hit modestly better this year than last year, upping his OBP by 16 points and his slugging by 32, but few North Siders would argue he’s earned the $11.5 million his contract paid this year, or have much faith that he’ll be worth the $26.5 he’s still owed through 2011. All in all, his offensive profile hasn’t much changed from 2008: he has a very good walk rate but below-average home run power, and good range for right field but not great in center. Those walks and his gap power make him useful, but he isn’t a star and shouldn’t be getting paid like one."

Hoo boy. Where to start with this one.

"You can write a script for a Fukudome season — a torrid April, followed by slump after slump."

You could write that script, but it would be bad and stupid and wrong. Check this out:

Kosuke Fukudome, May: 82 PA, 18 H, 1 HR, 15 BB, .277 / .415 / .415 / .830
Kosuke Fukudome, July: 103 PA, 27 H, 2 HR, 13 BB, .307 / .392 / .534 / .926
Kosuke Fukudome, August: 103 PA, 25 H, 4 HR, 16 BB, .287 / .398 / .506 / .904

Slump after slump after slump, hey? Fukudome’s been lousy in September and was terrible in June. The rest of the year… well, that all looks pretty damn good, doesn’t it? Oh, and his BABIP in June and September plunged, which indicates some rotten luck more than it does anything else. See how easy this is when you actually look stuff up instead of just assuming you already know?

"In September, he has gone 15-for-81, good for a .185 average and .574 OPS. He also hasn’t homered in more than a month."

Yes, he has been lousy this month. Though, as I mentioned, his BABIP is way down. His walks, however, are not down, which is a good sign; he hasn’t lost his patience or command of the strike zone.

"All told, he’s hit modestly better this year than last year, upping his OBP by 16 points and his slugging by 32, but few North Siders would argue he’s earned the $11.5 million his contract paid this year, or have much faith that he’ll be worth the $26.5 he’s still owed through 2011."

I would argue that. You know why? Go here and sort that list by OBP. Any particular trend jump out at you? That’s right: Kosuke Fukudome is one of exactly four Cubs batters who’s gotten on base for a good goddamn this season. Consider that one of those other batters only did it for half the year due to injuries and one of the others has just gotten himself thrown off the team, and what do you have left? Kosuke and Derrek Lee. I mean, Tyler Colvin seems like a nice guy, and I respect the work he’s done in the field so far, but over the incredible sample size of 16 PA (I know, but it’s his whole career to date. What do you want me to do?) he’s posted a line of .154 / .250 / .154 / .404. His OPS+? 7. Better than Alex Rios, but not exactly a wonder. You’d rather have that out in CF than a dude who at least gets on base at a pretty good clip?

"All in all, his offensive profile hasn’t much changed from 2008: he has a very good walk rate but below-average home run power, and good range for right field but not great in center."

I dunno. I think he’s shown some decent improvement this year. His numbers in all categories are up (except for SB — 6 SB and 10 CS? Yow, Kosuke! Cut that shit out!), and, unlike 2008, he didn’t just decline all year long. He was pretty damn good most of the year with two really awful months, both of which were accompanied by a really low BABIP. In 2008, he did in fact go on one extended slump where his BABIP stayed up. I guess maybe we just don’t agree about what his "offensive profile" actually consists of.

And he’s better in right than in center? I dunno. He hasn’t played much right this year, since the Cubs had a different underperforming star player out in right for most of the year, but last year’s BP numbers have him at -10 FRAA and a whopping 1 FRAR in right. Using his CF numbers for this year (due to very small amount of time in center last year), we see him at -11 FRAA and 5 FRAR. That’s kind of a wash, I’d say. Not really great either way.

"Those walks and his gap power make him useful, but he isn’t a star and shouldn’t be getting paid like one."

You do realise he makes a lot less money than this dude, who stank up creation all season long and then got hurt? And about the same amount of money as this dude, who also had pretty much nothing but a good walk rate going for him this year and then mouthed his way off the team? Hell, Aramis Ramirez makes about 40% more money than Kosuke and only played half the season. Carlos Zambrano makes 50% more money and only played two thirds of the season.

The Cubs have a lot of money, Alex. A shitload. They’re in a position where they can take a chance on $10M/year and see if it pays off. That’s what they did with Kosuke and Bradley. And Kosuke has shown good improvement this year, and will probably continue to improve next year, as I expect those low-BABIP-fueled down months will probably not reoccur.

Besides, if you’re going to jump on a team for overpaying for a Japanese star who hasn’t lived up to the hype, where’s the love for Daisuke and his 6.80 ERA, 69 ERA+, and 1.986 WHIP over 46.1 IP? Yikes.

Oh, and as for whether or not Kosuke Foukudome’s a "star" or deserves to be paid like one, well, let’s try a little experiment.

Kosuke Fukudome, 2009: .259 / .375 / .421 / .796
Mystery Player, career: .317 / .387 / .458 / .846

Mystery Player has been better, but not a whole lot better, yeah? His BA is higher, but his walk rate’s a lot lower (15.33% for 2009 Kosuke, only 9% for Mystery Player), which is why their OBPs are so similar. Is Mystery Player a star? I dunno, you tell me. If he is and Kosuke isn’t, I’d like to know what the cutoff is for determining that. Do you need an OPS of .800 and Kosuke misses by four points? Because that’s kind of harsh.

Oh, incidentally: Mystery Player makes more money than Kosuke, and is pretty much equally good in the field.

September 25th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

More like White SUCKS

I am very original and that joke has never occurred before.

So White Sox GM Kenny Williams is ranting and raving lately about how the team has "underachieved" this season, and how disappointed he is, and on and on. But have they? Have the White Sox underachieved? Well, if you look at their pythagorean, yes they have: by one whole win. They should be 74-78 instead of 73-79. Still in third place, though.

What else could Kenny Williams be talking about? I mean, I’m not stupid; I don’t think Williams has ever heard of pythagorean records or run differentials. I don’t really think that’s what he meant. Did he mean his pitchers weren’t as good as usual? I dunno; they’re in a three-way tie for league best ERA+, they’re fourth in WHIP (and the top four all differ by thousandths of a point), third in K/BB. That’s pretty good. What else is there?

Oh. Right. Hitting. That thing the White Sox have been trying to purge themselves of since 2005. The White Sox are second-to-last in the league in OPS+, and third-to-last in runs scored. So you could say they’re underachieving there, yeah? Honestly, I don’t think they are. Much like J.J. Hardy, they’re not underachieving: they’re just bad. Konerko and Dye are declining, and Dye’s had some tough luck this year. They traded Jim Thome. Do you see the rest of the clowns they’re filling their lineup with? For fuck’s sake, it’s getting to the point where Scott Podsednik almost is the best hitter on the team. Now that Thome’s gone, the ghost of Paul Konerko and British soccer sensation Gordon Beckham are the only regular players to post an OPS+ over 100. That’s bad.

The best part is how Williams "doesn’t regret" picking up Alex Rios. What’s wrong with you? I mean, yeah, this Brian N. Anderson dude you had in CF was no great shakes, even if he does sound like he’s playing under an assumed name. Is he a fugitive? Perhaps! But Rios has been worse. In 118 PA with the White Sox, Rios has posted an OPS+ of… 6. Six. 6ix. His VORP — which, if I never mentioned this, totally rhymes with DORP — is -14.1. His WARP1 is -1.3, meaning his very presence on the team has cost the White Sox a win and a third in the standings as compared to a AAA callup (1.2 wins worse than Brian N. Anderson, who was so busy searching for the one-armed man that he forgot to be worth anything to his team). You sure you don’t regret this move, Kenny?

No, I lied. The best part is how he still stands behind Ozzie Nutbar. Get this:

"You give 100 percent effort to close this season with dignity and the best fashion you can and so far we haven’t done that."

Yeah, Kenny. You sure haven’t.

September 23rd, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Me and Yogi

If I ever have the chance to interview Yogi Berra, I’ll ask him about the AL playoffs, since (obviously) he’s an ex-Yankee. But it’ll all be part of a sinister plan. When he starts talking about the Red Sox as the AL Wild Card, I’ll ask him "but Yogi, what about the Rangers?"

The reason for this, of course, is because I wish to have my ass kicked by an 84-year-old man.

September 23rd, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Edgardo Alfonzo did his job

Back in 1999.

So I’m reading this article about the fabled Mets "Grand Slam single," and I get this excellent passage:

"The bottom of the 15th started off with an outstanding at-bat by Shawon Dunston, who, after fouling off pitch after pitch, lined a single to center. Next, McGlinchy walked pinch-hitter Matt Franco. The faithful Shea fans came back to life, as there were runners on first and second with no one out. Edgardo Alfonzo, who many argue was the best hitter on the 1999 ball club, put the team first and laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt. Next, John Olerud was intentionally walked to load the bases for Todd Pratt, who had replaced an injured Mike Piazza. Pratt was walked on 5 pitches, tying the game up at three even."

Edgardo Alfonzo sacrificed runners over. He gave up a precious out — of which the Mets had exactly three remaining until they would be eliminated from all baseball activities for the rest of the year, remember — to accomplish exactly dick all. The opposing pitcher had no control. The batter before Alfonzo walked, and the two batters after Alfonzo walked. The intentional walk to John Olerud, in fact, rendered moot Alfonzo’s bunt; as long as Alfonzo does anything other than GIDP, those runners advance.

He really put the team first, there, by ignoring his .385 OBP and his .502 SLG and actively attempting to trade an out for the smallest possible amount of benefit.

September 23rd, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Remember when Shaq made a rap album?

See also: Barry Zito’s sleazy lounge music.

Well, some football dude just cut a fresh new rap single. Am I using the lingo right, here? It’s fresh and dope. It’s freshydope. Doperfly. It’s the dopest. Check it out. Can you handle the fat beats?

September 22nd, 2009 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments