Daily Box Score 7/20: Statistical Debris

Don't forget to post your own links in the comments section below.

I call it statigue: the reaction some fans have to statistical overload. Some people react to the multiplying array of baseball statistics by shutting them all out--the good and the bad both. That seems to be the problem facing Norman Chad, who refers to "statistical debris":

For years, ESPN has led the statistical avalanche. But it has plenty of company now. The Wall Street Journal covers the world of business and the world at large pretty adeptly; however, when it comes to the world of sports, the Journal has turned into USA Today, with bigger words. The Journal reduces all of sport to numbers, graphs and pie charts -- it's a statistical junkyard, with spare parts nobody needs.

He even bashes on K/BB and xFIP (at least I think he does).

Neal Huntington made unique contract extension offers to infielders Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson. Craig Calcaterra describes the offers, pulling no punches:

Sanchez was given an option by Neal Huntington that rewarded good consistent play, and he has delivered it. The new offer he was given, however, takes that away and stands to pay him far less than he can expect to get over the next two years regardless. Wilson is also being asked to drop his option and take a pay cut, all while being bad-mouthed by his boss. Neither of the offers ever stood a chance of being accepted and Huntington had to know it.

Gee, boss, where do I sign? Tango breaks it down a little bit further here. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds an interesting tidbit:

If Wilson and Sanchez remain and first baseman Adam LaRoche does not return next year, the middle infielders almost surely will be the team's highest-paid everyday players in 2010 by a wide margin. All the rest, except catcher Ryan Doumit at $3.55 million, will make at or close to the major league minimum $400,000 because of their experience levels.

Astonishing. If you're gonna control costs, you might as well go ahead and really do it.

Does baseball discriminate against women? Maybe I should rephrase that. Why does baseball discriminate against women? LA Times writer Kurt Streeter invited Jennifer Ring, a professor and baseball enthusiast who wrote Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don't Play Baseball, to a game at Dodger Stadium with him. She faced difficulties playing baseball, and so has her daughter:

She grew up in L.A., loving baseball but, like so many her age, never getting a chance to play anywhere but in pickup games. Her daughter, Lilly Jacobson, faced similar obstacles. A solid Little Leaguer in Reno, Lilly got short shrift when she tried to play in high school.

"People were saying, 'How come you are not preparing her to play softball, what in the heck is wrong with you?' "Ring recalled. "Look, all she wanted was to play baseball."

Yeah, jeez, they don't even let you lead off in softball.

Speaking of girls and baseball, metsgrrl offers up what is undoubtedly the most exhaustive stadium guide I have ever seen: The Metsgrrl.com Guide to Citi Field. She even includes the important stuff:

The out of town scoreboard is in left field. It is very difficult to read at night.

Pitch count and pitch speed are on the ribbon board, and on the large video board in right field.

Lineups are on the right field board 15 minutes before first pitch. They will disappear during the anthem and the various special presentations. It is a pet peeve that the lineups are not immediately and always visible once you walk in the ballpark. The Mets say that fans like the trivia and other presentations, we’re not sure why that can’t be confined to the main video board.

Trey Hillman has not done much to endear himself to Royals fans of late. Between injuries, bullpen usage and bizarre remarks from the front office, the fan-management relationship is a bit strained. Over at Royals Review, it seems that at least one fan has had enough:

This worldview, perhaps we shall call it a theosophical one, is not without its strengths. As noted above, it offers numerous intellectual and emotional comforts to its believers, including a deep connection to an imagined past, which for most men carries with it an association with the happy days of childhood and early manhood. Nevertheless, heresy and schism, continually lurk in this moral universe. A tragic flaw in the theosophical system, we might say, has been a combination of a basic rigidity or fundamentalism and an insidious trojan horse, both related to Closers.

The award for best use of the word "theosophical" in a rant against the save statistic goes to: (drumroll please) Will McDonald! Leave it to an English Lit grad student...

After the kerfuffle over the intentional walk in the All-Star Game, Seamheads did some digging. It turns out that there was an attempt to do away with the tactic all the way back in the 1920s. The results, however, were modest:

Before, when teams gave an intentional walk, the catchers would stand outside of the catcher’s box and give the pitcher a target way off the outside part of the plate. Now, catchers would have to remain in the catcher’s box when they stood up to issue a walk and could only move outside of it when the pitcher released the ball, much like what we see today. 

Finally, doubling to remember the career of Greg Maddux and to provide comic relief is The Dugout. You'll forgive me as a I quote at length:

SuttonDeath: Greg, what is it like to be so much smarter than everyone around you?

maddux.xmission.com: you want to know what it's like?

maddux.xmission.com: when you see a moth flying around in your house, and you know you could kill it

maddux.xmission.com: but then you wonder whether this moth will eat your food and chew through your clothes, and you know he won't

maddux.xmission.com: so you sit and stare at him as he rests on the wall. you know you're better than him, smarter than him, but you wonder whether it's your given right to squash him

maddux.xmission.com: you think about it, and then you decide it's just as well to let him ground out to shortstop

maddux.xmission.com: or maybe fly out to david justice. different method, same result.


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