12:53 pm July 20, 2009, by Carroll Rogers
July 20th, 20093:11 pm
I am really excited about tonight’s games. Gosh I hope the Braves don’t let me down by laying an egg.
July 20th, 20093:12 pm
The only lefty/righty splits I can find for Hewyard are just for his time in AA — where he’s had a GRAND total of 11 at-bats against leftys.
In those at bats, he’s 2 for 11 with a double, triple and four walks.
Nova Scotia Steve
I wonder if these Braves realize how their margin of error these days is slim to none.
Philly is hot man…everyone knows it…we lose a couple games in the standings we’re out of it…we can’t go 8 or 9 GB or we’re done.
The wild card is a different ball game…We need a series win here against the Giants…and man oh man its gunna be tough…Giants are good dude…maybe they’ll leave their bats back in SF again!
Kawakami has allowed 3 runs or less in something like 12 of his last 13 starts. It was NOT a mistake signing him. Not in the least bit.
HuffBraves: “no glaring weakness”????? How about no power and no speed???
The Love Child of Dale Murphy and Johnny Cash
July 20th, 20093:13 pm
Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg is the noise I make when I throw up from drinking too much.
July 20th, 20093:14 pm
Slugger - theweeklyscene.com
July 20th, 20093:15 pm
Nicely done @ 2:22.
July 20th, 20093:16 pm
Daslied: Yeah Kawakami has been somewhat reliable lately, but that $24million they are paying him would sure look alot better spent on a good power-hitter…Bobby Abreu anyone?
Who nominates the player of the week candidates? Anyone know? I like that Loaf was also in the mix.
I say trade Lowe and Kotch to an AL team and get a bopper at 1B. You cant’t trade Kawakami, he makes too much money I would think.
they will decide on his option once they see how he pitches, but it will have to be awfully good to do so, $12 million is a lot.
IMO- If Escobar is getting paid decent money..why not take the time to learn English? Seems like all the other “Caribbean” athletes know some basic stuff..what makes Cuba so different?
McLouth/Church- really starting to frustrate me with their lack of hitting. Someone may have to correct my stats..but McLouth doesn’t have a hit since returning from the All Star Break?
Tim Lincecum (sp?)- Tell me he doesn’t look like Mitch from Dazed and Confused!!
Wayne in Utah
July 20th, 20093:18 pm
You mean “Turbo-Loaf”, don’t ya?
When Omar Infante returns and gets his feet wet again I think Bobby should put him back in the leadoff spot and playing second.
It’s going to take a little more than getting his feet wet. Dude had all sorts of problems hitting for two months after he came back from the injury last year. Some here think he’s going to come off the DL and rake, and that is pretty optimistic.
There is no scenario in which moving players around like Strat-O-Matic makes the offense appreciably better from a personnel standpoint. And calls for the likes of Brooks Conrad, Matt Young, and Barbaro Canizares to get playing time…Holy Cornelia.
I watched the 1998 Yankees. These Braves are not the 1998 Yankees. That Yankee team scored 965 frigging runs. This team will barely score 700 runs.
Roy Hobbs -
Bad post when you started talking about “two of the worst trades in MLB history.”
They weren’t that bad, most of those guys didn’t have a position on the MLB roster (except Wainwright).
Get over it, and quit being so dramatic.
July 20th, 20093:19 pm
Thought that was “Barfenburg”. My bad.
Heath Gosh I hope the Braves don’t let me down by laying an egg.
Me, too. That would be disgusting…
Not only was it not a mistake. I’d say the Braves are getting more than their money’s worth. As a number 4/5 pitcher, he is putting up good numbers, which are getting better and better as time goes by.
July 20th, 20093:20 pm
Lincecum does look like Mitch.
Hopefully the Braves treat him like O’Banion —- wait for him right outside the outfield fence, get him in the parking lot and then knock the tar out of him with their wooden paddles. Metaphorically speaking of course.
just checked with someone that actually watched the Peachtree game from last friday night on Dish Network. Diamond Jim, looks as if you are correct on this one. Should be channel 459 for all those interested. Ill tune in
MiltonDawg……….what makes Cuba so different? Really? It could be the fact that the US has upheld an embargo against them since before Yunel Escobar was born? All travel by Americans to Cuba has been against the law since before he was born………..Seriously
July 20th, 20093:21 pm
that’s right chilidog- with no more mr.nice guy playing in the background. helluva a pitcher though–oddly enough Mitch was a pitcher for his team in the movie
Nice job, Carroll – I agree that what the Braves did was good and hopefully it went a long way in shoring up relations between the fans and the front office (they took a hit this winter).
July 20th, 20093:22 pm
Don’t care much for Escobar’s hot-dog attitude. Never have. Don’t care for the attitude or the hairdo.
BUT, he is a big talent and right now one of shining stars on this team. Leave the man alone and the media and fans give him some love. He’s done a lot more lately to earn it than most Braves players have. I’m even starting to like Garrett Anderson.
Chipper is getting on my nerves. He seems to just be mailing it in these days. Maybe he and his man-buddy Adam LaRoche should just take the rest of the season off and go deer hunting now.
Russell, Abreu has 7 homers this year – not exactly a power-hitter. And he has a .970 fielding percentage. I’ll keep Kawakami.
Roy- politics aside- how long has he been in the country and learn some decent amount of english? we don’t need him to recite the magna carta to us, but c’mon..simple baseball talk
July 20th, 20093:23 pm
Back to Cuba. I used the DVR to record a film on OvationTV of Dizzy Gillespie in Havana in the 70s. Not only do you hear they rhythms of Dizzy and of Cuba and how they work together, but he also talks about the language and dialects. Anyway, as it relates to Yunel, he has that Cuban swagger. Watch how he takes an extra step before throwing, just because he has such power in his arm and he wants to be accurate. Watch him hit. Compare to other Cubans. The Baby Bull Orlando Cepeda, Jose Canseco, Livan Hernandez and El Duque. Dizzy’s jazz and Cuban music. Yunel and baseball.
unbelievable – my Guide says channel 449. Does not say whether it will be in HD or not. Will post tomorrow night after the game starts as to whether it’s HD or SD.
Media please leave Escobar alone. The is getting on base and driving in runs, that are really in short supply in this line up. Since you recognize there is a language barrier, good game or bad game, just do not bother the guy. Basically, he damned if does or does not talk to you guys. Things will remain smooth in Braves professional dressing room and you want waste your precious deadline time to do your job. It’s his choice to learn to speak English, just as it was your choice not to learn to speak Spanish. Bring your own interpeter or let it be!!
July 20th, 20093:24 pm
You’re right. There’s nothing different in Cuba than the rest of the Latin American countries.
Nothing different about Cuba at all.
I mean, since they were allowed to talk to the press and everything at the WBC… and that whole communist-regime-trade-embargo-preventing-USA- socialization-via-various-types-of-media
That had nothing to do with it either.
Also, the fact that you literally have to ‘defect’ from Cuba, that has nothing to do with it.
Yeah, I just can’t figure out why Yunel Escobar can’t speak as much English as other Latin American players.
civilized white trash- Heyward has only 11 AB’s against lefties. While batting .182 against them is not ideal…. it’s only 11 AB’s. Not enough to say “terrible”.
July 20th, 20093:25 pm
Red Sox release or DFA Smoltz and back to Atlanta as a reliever maybe???
Then trade Gonzalez for a BAT
July 20th, 20093:26 pm
Do you think Escobar sits around wondering why ethnocentric fans call the way he was raised to play the game ‘hot-dogging’ and not ‘artistic’?
July 20th, 20093:27 pm
That was me who commented last night from Not A Stalker. Sorry I didn’t post under my usual moniker but I didn’t feel like I am on here enough to pay you a compliment and it not sound creepy. I guess the reverse was true and it looked creepy anyway. Sorry again, and just so you know, I am not a 60 year old weirdo. I am much closer to her age. Hope you guys had fun at the game.
July 20th, 20093:28 pm
Atticus- Can’t trade Lowe for a few reasons. One, the Braves over paid to get him. That contract is not very tradable. Second, if the braves ever want to sign a player again they shouldn’t trade him. Nothing tells the next wave of free agents to sign witht the Braves as much as “Sign with us but you better do well and not have a rough stretch. If you do you’re out the door”.
civilized white trash
my bad i didnt take the time to check the number of ABs i agree not enough to form an opinion but still maybe something to keep and eye on maybe this dude does have a weakness after all.
July 20th, 20093:29 pm
If lack of speed could knock a player out of the majors, Bruce Benedict would have never graced a diamond.
July 20th, 20093:30 pm
Sorry again, and just so you know, I am not a 60 year old weirdo.
Casting aspersions on nolie will not be tolerated.
Slugger, sorry, you are correct. There would be no place on the Braves roster for Jason Marquis and his 12 wins, or for Adam Wainwright. Its always better to spend money on free agents than grow the guys at home….
Slugger, sorry, you are correct. There would be no place in the Braves farm system for Neftali Feliz. The number one prospect in the Rangers org and number 10 in all of Baseball. Certainly no room for him. Elvis Andrus would also be a horrible fit in the Braves org. No room for an up and coming shortstop. Its not like the Braves could trade Escobar or move him to 3B at some point.
Keep on drinking the kool aid.
Robert (Chipper Is The Best)
July 20th, 20093:31 pm
The offense as it stands is good enough to get into the playoffs because of the pitching but I guarantee that if the Braves did get into the playoffs they would likely see an early exit as with almost every other year and for the same reason…lack of real offense.
Rob from SC
July 20th, 20093:32 pm
Heyward might only be 2-11 against LH’s, but those two hits were a double and a triple. he has 4 walks and 1 strikeout and a mid 400 obp.
I feel like you just made a backhanded jab at nolie yourself. That will not be tolerated. haha
Tom Lasorda said Benedict ran like a pregnant woman in heels.
July 20th, 20093:34 pm
Slugger, forget my previous response to you. In regards to your responses on Escobar, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head and while I disagree on the Braves trade history, I will defer to your wisdom.
1. Carroll, I’m certainly aware of the differences between AAA stats and ML stats. And I recognize that Norton’s ML stats are pathetic. Yes he was a great PH a few years ago. Before that, Hank Aaron was a great power hitter, but I don’t think we want to bat him third tonight. Norton’s expiration date was 2008, and no one told Bobby.
2. Kotchman is a one-tool player. Does his defense make up for the runs he doesn’t drive in, with his endless grounders to second? Some of you make it sound like he’s valuable only because our other infielders can’t make a decent throw to first. When other good corner infielders around the league have 60-70 RBI at the mid-point of the season, I really have to question whether Kotchman’s magical mitt has saved 40 runs this year at 1B.
UNCBrave, the Red Sox aren’t going to release Smoltz. If anything they would put him in the bullpen. And, quite frankly, I don’t think Smoltz (if DFA’d) would come back to Atlanta right now. I don’t think he cares for Wren that much. Or at all!
July 20th, 20093:35 pm
What Lasorda actually said was, “If Bruce Benedict was racing a pregnant woman, he would come in 3rd.” Add Kotchman to the mix, and Benedict is still 3rd.
I’d rather have the money we have and our rotation than Jason Marquis and his inability to listen to any coaches ever, period.
You don’t know that Perez won’t be the exact same as Acosta, either.
I didn’t say they were great trades, but you’re a moron for saying they’re two of the worst in MLB history.
You should change your handle from Roy Hobbs to Roy (from the TV show ‘Wings’).
Nice try, though.
July 20th, 20093:37 pm
Agreed. For this team KK > Abreu.
fmrly Roy from ‘Wings’ now Roy Hobbs again -
I agree and defer to your wisdom that agrees with my wisdom.
Unless you’re sarcastic and actually don’t like Escobar, but I don’t think that’s the case.
Curtis – yes and no, er maybe
He may not have saved xx runs but on many of his plays he may have saved us runs/runners that would have cost us those 1 run games… I think we are actually over 500 this year in 1 run games whereas we know how poorly they have turned out the last 3 seasons where we are way under 500 in 1 run efforts.
CK is and never will be a power bat but he is not as bad as your 1 tool belief implies either
That was kind of cold on 60 year old men.
July 20th, 20093:38 pm
There would be no place on the Braves roster for Jason Marquis and his 12 wins
Well, the Braves didn’t have to put up with those years when he was a 4.5+ disaster, so, yeah, there might be a place for him…now, LOL. Unfortunately, the choking dog that lives within him might show up to bark, right after you landed him.
lasorda said benedict would finish 3rd if he raced a pregnant woemn
The Bird and Indian
UNCBrave: Come on now. Get real.
July 20th, 20093:39 pm
Heyward had a .375/.455/.454 line in 64 AB against LHP in Myrtle Beach
Those who would minimize the impact that Kotchman’s glove has on runs allowed, don’t watch/listen to many games, or they have selective hearing.
Heyward is a super talent, his plate discipline and patience are amazing only 2 strikeouts in 45 Ab’s. I see him coming up batting in the 2 or 6 spot and when Chipper retires he will take over the 3rd spot. Heyward will be a 290.-305. hitter 25-35 homer 100rbi 20 sb type of player could even be better. Another note wouldnt it be nice to have Chipper as our hitting coach and Greg Maddux as the pitching coach in the future!
I’m assuming that was a joke.
Want to split the cost of the Rosetta Stone software to learn Spanish? I’ve been wanting to try it for a while, and sounds like you have a need for it yourself.
July 20th, 20093:40 pm
Daslied: Ok, so Abreu’s HR total might not be that high, but he is hitting .306 with 60 RBI and 19 SB at the price of $5 million/year. Those numbers would help the Braves a lot better than Kawakami’s 5-7 record and $8.3 million salary!
millwood trade was caused by maddux accepting arbitration instead of going free agent
July 20th, 20093:41 pm
Robert (Chipper Is The Best)- I think if the Braves can get in they will do some real damage with that rotation. I would rather have great pitching. It just seems pitching takes a team further than offense in the playoffs. Now getting to the playoffs…. that’s a different story.
Braves 2015 Coaching Staff:
Manager: Ned Yost
Hitting Coach:Chipper Jones
Pitching Coach:Greg Maddux
1st Base Coach:Hubbard
3rd Base Coach:Eddie Perez
July 20th, 20093:42 pm
What for me is puzzling about Kotchman, is that sometimes he crushes the ball, but not often enough.
But yet, if our offense were playing all season as they have been playing lately, he would have quite a few more RBI’s at this point.
He is a legit 290/12/75 guy in the right lineup.
July 20th, 20093:43 pm
MiltonDawg, 3:22 pm … “we don’t need him to recite the magna carta to us, but c’mon..simple baseball talk”
I thought that one was in Latin.
July 20th, 20093:44 pm
Ned Yost is a Bobby Cox clone. What about giving Eddie Perez a shot? And I am OK with Snitker at third.
Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)
Wouldn’t it be fun if the Phils decided to stand pat and not get Halladay … and then they collapsed in the final two months of the season?
First, however, the Braves have to remain in second place, but not too close to first.
July 20th, 20093:45 pm
seriously? who would waste time predicting the coach/managers in 2015?…
Geez some of the stuff you see on here…what a waste of time…
if it wasn’t for the great info provided by DOB & CR one could not bear some of the stuff written on here
So escobar didnt swing, so what? the pitch was way inside he wouldnt have been able to do anything with it anyway. hit and run shmit and shrun.
I wasnt assuming he would come right back and rake. I should have said if and when he gets hot like he was when he got hurt. That could be the best ball hes played in his career, so maybe with that confidence it wont take as long to bounce back this time.
Unless there is something there that is not obvious, I haven’t seen the value of Pendleton as our hitting coach.
July 20th, 20093:46 pm
Wayne – I have always and will always defend Casey Kassum on his glove alone and I was always of the belief that the rbi is a reflction of those around you and the type of situations one finds themself in etc etc… we had awesome teams in the 1990s with hitters far worse than CK
it’s easy to go back and criticize trades, but overall JS/FW have abused their trade partners since JS took over….the hudson deal , got renteria for marte and then spun renteria for JJJ….hard to find fault with them for getting rid of marquis, wainwright, schmidt, et al in an attempt to keep the pennant winning streak alive
Wouldn’t the blog be fun if the Braves fell apart?
July 20th, 20093:47 pm
None of the starting pitcher’s records should be used in an arguement for or against any of the Braves pitchers this season. Prior to the last 18 games, the Braves pitchers as a whole have received little to no run support. Similarly, RBI is not an apples-to-apples comparison between teams. Abreu has had a different amount of chances than any member of the Braves. As an example, the Braves RBI leader is Escobar, who has less RBI than Abreu. Who would you rather have batting with runners in scoring position? (Rhetorical question.)
Wayne in Utah- “Team Moral” Maybe? That’s all I got about the usefulness of TP
July 20th, 20093:48 pm
Bill Naharodny as Bullpen catcher????????
July 20th, 20093:49 pm
I do like Escobar, a great deal. I am annoyed when people assume someone from Cuba should speak English. I do agree that he should be learning it, and would guess that he probably is.
As to Marquis, it just seems like a recurring theme is developing. Coaches in Atlanta cant get through to someone so we need to get rid of him. That and everyone seems to think the Braves get the best of every trade they make.
The fact that Management did not figure out how to fix the outfield in the offseason is not a reason to panic now and trade the future for a run at a first round exit from the playoffs.
Sorry, perhaps they were not among the worst in MLB History, but they were very bad. One last supporting point. Separate trades, but Perez, Andrus, and Gorkys are ALL higher ranked prospects than Freddie Freeman. Yes, they may not pan out, but alot of people on here are calling Freeman our savior at 1B. It might be nice to have three more top 50 prospects in the system as well, the future would be much brighter.
MiltonDawg – “McLouth/Church- really starting to frustrate me with their lack of hitting. Someone may have to correct my stats..but McLouth doesn’t have a hit since returning from the All Star Break?”
What’s been so frustrating about McLouth/Church of late? Was it the 6 walks they drew last night?? You must be TP using a pseudonym; mad that these guys are working the count rather than hacking at the first pitch they see. Where is Frenchy to teach these guys how to hit “Old-School”?
Last year, the Phillies peaked at the perfect time. Let’s hope this year, they hit their stride a bit early.
Steve from OH
You’re sick, Chop Chop. Masochist.
July 20th, 20093:52 pm
Geez, just think where we would be if Bobby and Leo could’ve gotten along with Tim Spooneybarger.
It just seems pitching takes a team further than offense in the playoffs.
Yeah, but, it’s the teams with balance that dance with the prom queen. The Braves’ chances in playoff series would devolve to the same problems that may prevent them from getting there: no offensive depth and good-but-not-dominant pitching. A playoff run would require all their hitters to hit well (nobody could have a bad series), and all their pitchers to have no bad outings. That combination of circumstances would be fortuitous beyond all imagining.
Not that it hasn’t happened before; it’s just hard to think quite that rosily.
July 20th, 20093:53 pm
It might be nice to have three more top 50 prospects in the system as well, the future would be much brighter
Your system is gonna look a bit weak after you graduate Hanson, Schafer and Medlen from it, three legit top-100 guys.
“And I am OK with Snitker at third.”
Snitker could be the worst third base coach Ive ever seen. Hell our players are now running through stop signs. Snitker tried holding Prado up the other day, then Prado ran though the stop sign and scored without a play at the plate. Ive seen more people get thrown out at home and more guys just quit looking at him than anyone ever before. Dude’s clueless over there
July 20th, 20093:54 pm
In fairness to Pendleton, this offense was great until this year. Let’s keep in mind the previous three seasons the Braves had one of the best offenses in the NL. The reason they couldn’t win is because of their atrocious pitching.
July 20th, 20093:55 pm
Wayne in Utah – Those who would minimize the impact that Kotchman’s glove has on runs allowed, don’t watch/listen to many games, or they have selective hearing.
They are too busy bi-polar blogging to actually watch the game.
WTH are you talking about? Haven’t seen anything saying the Sox were gonna release Smoltz, nor has his performance warranted it.
That was totally the case in ‘06.
July 20th, 20093:56 pm
MiltonDawg – “politics aside- how long has he been in the country and learn some decent amount of english?”
You’ve most likely been here a lot longer than he has and your English sucks! This may be the worst defense of an argument I’ve ever read.
Rodney Derrick…The Baby Bull Orlando Cepeda is Puerto Rican not Cuban.
DOB/Carroll…Yesterday i ask a question regarding the Braves Spanish Annuancer…Manzano & Palacios…Did they interview player after the Games?…
July 20th, 20093:57 pm
Well, if I only derived my entertainment from watching the games, I don’t think I’d blog here. I was a Braves fan for twenty years before I first commented here in 2005. The reasons I come back are:
1) I get bored easily.
2) The blog is funny.
3) I’ve learned a couple of things.
4) DOB has expanded my musical catalog.
5) I get to make smartass comments.
6) I get to make smartass comments.
My fan experience with the Braves would be healthier if I didn’t blog here, but health sucks.
July 20th, 20093:58 pm
Steve- I’m not a believer in Shafer being inside the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Outside of 2007 he’s been pedestrian.
Kudos to Carol for this blog. Very smart, insightful stuff. Probably my favorite work by her.
July 20th, 20093:59 pm
DWW, gotcha, re Infante.
Roy Hobbs…………..I disagree with your assessment in your 2:37pm posting where you say that the Teixeria trade was one of the worst in MLB history. I think that it remains to be seen whether this trade turns out to be anything other than a “wash”.
It wasnt like the Braves didnt get “any” value from the trade. Teixeria gave us a VERY GOOD year (last half of 2007, first half of 2008). Plus the Braves got 1/2 a season of Ron Mahay (who pitched pretty good as a left handed specialist out of the bullpen). Also, we ended up trading Teixera for Casey Kotchman (who is being somewhat productive for us).
Let’s take a CLOSER look at who we gave up in that trade and their abilities:
1. Matt Harrison: From what I’ve seen of this guy, he is basically the white “Horatio Ramirez”, a left hander with promise who cant stay healthy. Let’s look at his stats: In 11 starts this year, he has pitched 63 1/3 innings, given up 81 hits, 43 earned runs, 23 walks, 34 strikeouts, with an ERA of 6.11. For his career, in 26 starts he has pitched 147 innings, given up 181 hits, 94 earned runs, 54 walks, 76 strikeouts, with an ERA of 5.76.
Uh………why in the world would you guys be “losing sleep” over losing this guy? He wouldnt even be starting for us, lol.
2. Jared Saltalamacchia: This guy will bounce between catching and playing first base (neither of which he is particularly good at playing). Let’s look at his stats this year: batting .241 in 241 at-bats, 11 doubles, 6 homers, 29 RBIs, 17 walk, 88 strikeouts and .653 OPS. For his career, he is batting .254 in 747 at-bats, 37 doubles, 20 homers, 88 RBIs, 67 walks, 237 strikeouts, and .703 OPS.
Again, very UNIMPRESSIVE. I see no reason to lose any sleep over trading him. He’s a journeyman at best.
3. Elvis Andrus: While he is young and can field his position pretty good, he has a very weak bat right now. There is no guarantee that he will “fill out” and become a pretty good hitter. This year, he is batting .254 in 246 at-bats with 4 doubles, 5 triples, 3 homers, 16 RBIs, 20 walks, 40 strikeouts, and .659 OPS.
Again, not very impressive. I know that this is his first season, so I recognize that he has “potential”. However, it remains to be seen whether he will be anything more than a light hitting, slick fielding short stop. He could “fill out” and be a Yunel Escobar type hitter. However, that is a BIG if.
4. Neftali Feliz………..sure, dude is a flame thrower who has shown promise in the Minors. However, many a flame thrower has “flamed out” once they get to the Majors. He has the potential to be a closer in the Majors. However, its “potential”, far from a sure thing. As much as the Rangers need pitching, why hasnt he been called up?
From what I have seen of this trade, I see no reason to get upset about the trade. None of these guys that we traded have shown me that they are a “sure thing” for making the Braves regret trading them. Many of you guys follow what the national media said about the Braves giving up the farm in this trade. As far as I’m concerned, the Braves got FAR MORE PRODUCTION from Mark Teixeria in the one year that he played for us (plus we’ve had Kotchman for about a year now)………then the Rangers have gotten from the guys that they got from us so far.
In a few years, if those guys that we gave up are able to become All-Stars and really productive Major League players………..then I’ll come back and admit that I was wrong. However, I just dont see that happened. Nothing I’ve see has shown me that that will happen.
July 20th, 20094:00 pm
How would you guys like it if I managed the Braves next year? Of course Coxy is senile, crazy, and he’ll retire after they fail to make the playoffs for the 4th consecutive year. I gotta beat out Ned Yost and Terry P.
Stats Debris, Norm Chad, S.I.com
I was watching a regular-season baseball game on TV the other night — granted, it was a stupid thing to do and I’m already paying the price — when the following piece of data streamed across my screen:
“Todd Helton is only the seventh player in MLB history to possess a .325 career batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage.”
You could’ve knocked my socks off with that one, except I was already barefoot and drinking PBR out of a can.
The Helton factoid is what I would call statistical debris.
In the old days, a garbage truck would come by twice a week to haul that stuff away, but nowadays this sporting trash is piled up so high so often, it’s too costly to dispose of on a regular basis. And so it is heaped into our living rooms and we must learn to live with it, like an evil mother-in-law who’s moved in indefinitely.
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.
The Journal even offers daily predictions. For instance, “Los Angeles Lakers 103.2, Houston Rockets 90.9″ or “Philadelphia Phillies 5.2, New York Mets 4.8.” “Scores are based on the average of 10,000 game simulations,” we are told, “and rounded to 1 decimal point.” I am somewhat thankful, for both my own emotional well-being as well as the emotional well-being of my unborn children, that the scores are not rounded to the hundredths or thousandths.
(I have another problem with the Wall Street Journal. Recently, it started a Monday feature in which someone watches TV all weekend; it’s called “The Couch.” Really? The Couch? Last I checked, I am The Couch Slouch. Have been for quite a while. Is there not some intellectual infringement here — well, assuming there was any intellect attached to becoming The Couch Slouch? Couldn’t they’ve been a bit subtler about stealing my shtick — maybe call the column “The Sofa” or “The Ottoman”? Why doesn’t the guy just sit in my lap, eat my Fritos and take my third wife? Please!)
The Journal ran a story earlier this year detailing how a couple of University of Pennsylvania professors studied 6,500 NCAA basketball games from 2005 to 2008 and concluded that teams have a 51.3 percent chance of winning when they are behind by a single point at halftime. In other words, when you’re ahead, chances are you will lose; apparently, you are more motivated when you are behind.
Geez, using that theory, the Washington Nationals should be undefeated, no?
Baseball remains the biggest sports-by-numbers perpetrator. ESPN litters the baseball screen with updated, situational numbers on every pitch — with a magnifying glass, you can figure out how a hitter does better when the count is 2-0 rather than 0-2. Speaking of which, I read the other day that the Dodgers have increased their “pitches per plate appearance” from 3.63 in 2007 to 3.81 in 2008 to 3.96 in 2009, which puts them second in the majors.
Here’s an actual sentence from a recent USA Today story: “Earned runs are constructed from a confluence of events.” Frankly, I thought I had stumbled onto a crime story and was about to digest a police toxicology report. But it was an article on ERA and what affects it. It included the following words on Atlanta Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens:
“…a low 5.2 strikeout rate and 1.6 K/BB ratio are worrisome. His .260 BA-BIP and 84 percent strand rate are both primed for regression. Jurrjens’ 5.03 xERA is nearly three runs higher than his actual ERA, an ominous indicator.”
Heck, I’m scared.
Okay, folks, here’s a stat for you:
Nobody gets out alive. Nobody. So enjoy it while you can, and I’ll see ya 6.0 feet under.
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