August 31, 2012

Baseball's New Sabermetrics

Bill James revolutionized baseball statistics with Sabermetrics, creating innovative stats to gauge players' skills. Gone are the days when a hitter was judged by HR's and RBI's, or a pitcher's effectiveness was based on Win / Loss numbers.

Now a player is valued if he has an active twitter account or soon to expire bloated contract.

But seriously... I'm tolerant of OBP (On Base Percentage) and RISP (average with Runners In Scoring Position).

However, 'Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched' (WHIP) brings to mind a menacing Betty Page in a black bustier wielding a leather lash.

The 'Wins Above Replacement Player' stat (WAR) makes me think of Mujahideen in Afghanistan. That, or the 70's funk band jamming on party favorite 'Low Rider'.

I have devised some new statistical analysis of my own, such as BEFCS - Bagels Eaten From Clubhouse Spread.

Matt Stairs daily BEFCS is nine, and at 43 he is playing his 19th season! CC Sabathia's daily BEFCS is twelve, and he makes 23 million a year. Surprisingly, the equation is mo' bagels, mo' money.

There are two waspy players who look like they have never eaten a bagel in their life: Pat Burrell and Michael Young. Yet both have had fine careers. So go figure.

Also of interest is CTSPI - Chewing Tobacco Spits Per Inning. Matt Garza, the league's runaway leader in CTSPI, is a highly prized trade commodity. Manny Ramirez was a tobacco spitting machine, and put fear in every pitcher's heart. Face it, the higher the CTSPI, the better the player.

I'd be more prone to include a guy on my Fantasy Team who has an impressive track record with CGPAB - Cup Grabs Per At Bat. Cup grabbing is a sure sign of confidence. Just watch A-Rod. It's like he's rubbing Buddah for good luck.

How about GCTJC? (Giving Credit To Jesus Christ). Many of the league's standout players regularly give a shout out to the captain of salvation. Face it, The Messiah is right there with Mariano when it comes to miraculous saves.

Now stick with me. When you add a player's cup grabs to his Jesus shout outs (GCTJC + CGPAB) you get CGGCJC. Josh Hamilton, the god-fearing, crack smoking slugger leads the league hands down in this category.

Is this my CBPE? (Craziest Blog Post Ever)... Maybe. But I wouldn't be surprised if Scott Boras is hard at work assembling one of his famous notebooks with a whole chapter devoted to the value of a free agent who is a god-fearing, crack-smoking, cup-grabbing, bagel eater.

March 29, 2012

The Morongo Marlins play playoff poker.

This winter the Miami Marlins took a big gamble when they invested close to 200 million dollars collectively on free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.

I use the word gamble for a reason. Check out the logo of gambling casino Morongo Resort. Now take a closer look at the Miami Marlins' new logo. Too close for comfort.

Morongo and the Marlins utilize the same font, and both have an undulating flourish with three waves of color. Are the Marlins playing poker on the field AND at the tables?

Now compare the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California with the Marlins' new stadium. White surface, curved roof, rows of palm trees. Coincidence? I think not.

The casino and the team are one and the same. Say hello to the Morongo Marlins. If you cheat, suffer the consequences. Either the commissioner or the pit supervisor will play hardball with you.

Any day now the craps tables will be run by Oscar Gamble.

Marlins' brass are rolling the dice this year by breaking the bank with Jose Reyes. One cost-saving suggestion: re-purpose Reyes' recently cut dreadlocks! Morongo could promote poker games utilizing his hair as a tabletop surface instead of the traditional green felt.

This spring fans and the media have been feverishly debating whether or not the addition of the Marlins' free agents will ensure a playoff payoff.

I have some advice. Don't bet on it.

February 7, 2012

Moneyball - then and now.

Last night I was at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where Oakland GM Billy Beane took the stage with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill to discuss 'Moneyball'.

Billy Beane, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill. Photo: Pete Handelman
Based on the engrossing book by Michael Lewis, Moneyball is the term used to describe rigorous statistical analysis to find undervalued players. For several years, Oakland was able to field competitive, playoff-bound teams with a minimal budget.

But after the book was released, other teams, such as the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Padres began to use the same tactics, employing teams of statisticians to number crunch for cheap talent.

The last year Oakland was competitive was 2006. Teams got wise to Beane's approach, and no longer allowed themselves to be fleeced in trades.

It can be argued that the new Moneyball is youth, achieved by building a solid minor league system through scouting. Finding young, affordable players before they are eligible for max contracts is new trend.

Older players, who used to prolong their careers and pad their stats with steroids and PED's, can no longer do so under new testing rules. So, younger, athletic players are more trusted and desired.

Tampa Bay, with a collective team salary that averages around 40 million, best represents this tactic. For the last 4 years Tampa has matched up with the Yankees, whose collective team salary hovers around 180 million. Remarkably, the Rays have finished in first place in 2008 and 2010, and second place in 2009 and 2011.

The Rays farm system has rolled out a steady stream of incredible talent, while other teams take a risk on aging players from the free agent market.

The cost-conscious Minnesota Twins seemingly have a different approach - emphasizing hustle and clubhouse chemistry. Minnesota tends to hire dugout friendly players who run out every grounder and dive for every ball.

If a player lags, he sits, and the next all-effort guy gets his turn. They are like the Utah Jazz of baseball. No prima donnas allowed.

Billy Beane deserves credit for his success. But that success came long ago. It is time to heap some praise on Tampa, Texas, Cincinnati and Colorado for mining homegrown talent. Even the Yankees and Red Sox, with their big payroll, have done a stellar job developing young players.

Today, teams are singing a new tune when it comes to Moneyball: 'The Kids Are Alright'.

Billy Beane with Brad Pitt. Photo: Pete Handelman

November 26, 2011

Sad sacks and backpacks: Looking back at the 2011 NBA Lockout.

The lockout is over, and not a moment to soon. I don't know about you, but I was getting tired of watching a grim looking Derek Fisher flanked by adults wearing backpacks. Can someone explain this fashion trend to me? What's next, Lebron and Kobe touting lunch boxes? Dwight Howard in a Superman snuggie? Big Baby Davis in a diaper?

And take a look at Shannon Brown in shorts and a t-shirt. How was anyone supposed to take these guys seriously when they showed up to negotiations as if it was a pajama party? How about Baron Davis with the teal lumberjack flannel and beanie? Even veteran Paul Pierce is sporting a backpack. C'mon.

And what's inside these ubiquitous backpacks? A calculator and pencil to compensate for the bargaining ineptitude of NBA Union rep Billy Hunter? Perhaps some No-Doze, to prevent being lulled to sleep by the somber timber of commissioner David Stern's voice?

Take a look at Ray Allen. That's the way to dress, fellas. The NBA minimum salary for a ROOKIE is $473,604, and grows exponentially with experience. Please tell me these guys have a few hundred bucks in their piggy bank for a suit from Men's Warehouse.

And what about emaciated NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver? He looks like the love child of Woody Allen and John Waters. Someone feed that man a burger. He makes Madison Avenue models look chubby and chipper.

The aforementioned Commissioner Stern is wearing thin with me. He's done so much for the league, but lately comes across like a grumpy rabbi. Would it kill the man to crack a smile once in a blue moon? This is a lockout, not the Nuremberg Trials.

The NBA used to be fun. Players of yesteryear had upbeat names like World B. Free and Happy Hairston. Today we have scowling malcontents and players without a pulse like Carmelo Anthony. The league feels like high school detention.

I have a suggestion for the players and NBA reps. Don't Worry, Be Happy. That song was released in 1988, the year the Pistons faced off against the Lakers in the Finals. The stars of those teams were guards Isaiah Thomas and Magic Johnson. Say what you will about them, but no-one had a broader smile. Take note, Carmelo.

July 11, 2011

Rocky Loves Adrian

The pork pie hat. The one-handed push-ups. The raw egg smoothie.

When it comes to marble-mouthed entertainment, Rocky Balboa delivers the knockout punch.

It would stand to reason that Rocky, from the city of Brotherly Love, would be a Phillies fan.

But Rocky's endless love for Adrian means a switch in team loyalty.

Check out my newest video to find out the details.