It is better to be lucky than good. Things become much trickier when luck is scarce and faith wavers. Take the Indians--they have a savvy GM and perennial promise, but at what point is it time to say that it isn't working? Jay at Let's Go Tribe thinks Indians fans may be reaching their breaking point:
So if you're looking to wrap it all up in one big theory, here it is: The Indians are smart, serious and well-intentioned. But when they make their decisions, they put a lot of emphasis on a bunch of things that, in the grand scheme of things, really do not help a baseball team win ballgames. [...] The Indians seem to know an awful lot about those subjects and almost nothing about putting together a non-horrible bullpen.
That, and maybe their scouting sucks.
Sure, blame the scouts. Color me starry-eyed, but I still believe what kind Uncle DePodesta told me a while back:
Like a casino, it appears as though baseball is all about outcomes, but just think about all of the processes that are in play during the course of just one game or even just one at-bat.
Watch for falling axes.
So Harold Reynolds walks into a statistics convention--oh, you've heard that one before? Here's one you may not have heard. After all the hubbub over Harold Reynolds' difficult-to-parse foray into statistical analysis (heck, Sky even got involved), it is a pleasant surprise when someone finds something fresh to say. At Cybermetrics blog, Cy Morong points out that high OBP is actually more valuable to a lower scoring team than a higher scoring team. He also parries the suggestion that situational hitting can artificially inflate OPS, because in fact OPS correlates well with leverage-weighted statistics. Want more evidence OPS is a flawed stat? How about non-ordinality?
Whether it's that he took the time to include a Schaefer sign in left field, that he actually played out 9 innings of Wu-Tang vs. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (everybody knows the winner is just going to get crushed by Earth, Wind and Fire, right?), or because he's actually British by birth and loves baseball anyway, you have to love Flip Flop Fly Ball. Be sure to check out the assembly of the '86 Mets and a letter from the bird (yes, that one) to Randy Johnson. For more information, check out the interview River Ave. Blues did with the author.
With MLBAM's bold forays into streaming video, many fans couldn't be happier. But many others have noticed the somewhat draconian approach the BAM has taken toward blackouts. MLB.tv is near unusable on Sunday afternoons thanks to FOX's national blackout, and there is even a 90-minute waiting period between the end of a game and the option to view the archived video. Or at least, there was. Perhaps not any more, according a report at It Is About The Money, Stupid. Out of market games will be available in the archives immediately following the game's conclusion. Making the package more enticing, set-top box service Boxee has announced a partnership with MLB.tv to bring streaming games directly to your TV.
On the mobile video front, MLBAM has rolled out streaming video of two games per day on the iPhone. It seems they might be susceptible to customer pressure, so maybe it would be possible to get all the games. Of course, even on the iPhone, MLB still checks for blackout restrictions. No doubt AT&T is already worried about the bandwidth headaches of streaming 2400+ games per year. Can we get home and away feeds, please?
Did you ever wonder who the perfectly replacement-level player is? Dave Cameron nominates Luis Ayala, citing his near-perfect three year WARs of 0.0, 0.0, 0.1. One of the Last Expos, Ayala was once part of an effective Nationals bullpen (I know, hard to believe such a thing ever existed). What about the perfectly average player? Driveline Mechanics crunched the numbers and came up with a list, topped by Paul Konerko. Nominate your own perfectly replacement-level and perfectly average players in the comments.