Fire Jim Tracy

Friday, January 28, 2005

Fun With Plaschke

I don't expect perfection. Or Plaschke to write in more than one-sentence paragraphs. And all I really care about Chuck Tiffany is whether he can pitch; I'd much rather see a comprehensive piece on the Dodger farm system than all this nonsense about L.A. home-grown whatever (I'm sorry Doctor. Were you born here? Then, please, find someone else to perform my heart surgery tomorrow.) I'm sure its recycled from when he was writing about Strawberry anyway.

But I'm reading to myself, because I know there's going to be something there. A man cannot resist his inborn urges. And there it was...

"They [the Dodgers] have been linked to questionable ownership, linked to young management, linked to weird statistics."

Weird Statistics?

WEIRD STATISTICS?

Some people might believe that calling Alex Cora the longest-tenured Dodger, even though Darren Dreifort was still on the team, a weird statistic. Some might think that making a huge deal about the city a player is from is a weird statistic. But I digress.

Here's the problem, Bill. Let's take one of your own bizarre obsessions. I don't know...how about Jeff Kent's defense as compared with Alex Cora's.

Now, I'm going to post two lines of information. None of them are "weird statistics." Most of them were invented several decades ago in an effort to measure defensive ability.

Year G INN PO TC A E DP Pct%
P1 2004 138 1091 261 611 342 8 91 .987
P2 2004 139 1189 276 657 374 7 74 .989

Let's go one further and make sure to take into account the inning differential

A/INN PO/INN TC/INN

P1 .313 .239 .552
P2 .314 .232 .546

Which one is which? Does it matter? (For what it's worth, using non-"weird" statistics, it appears that Jeff Kent would have to play 180 innings, or the equivalent of 20 games, to miss one chance that Cora would have gotten. Yes, I know that is simplistic and wrong. That's the point.) To the extent that anyone can believe that Alex Cora's defense is better than Jeff Kent's, they would either have to rely on (1) their own lying eyes or (2) "weird" statistics. This is before you even get to the question of how important defense is as a whole, or how big the difference might possibly be between Kent and Cora, all of which, when properly analyzed, require "weird statistics." The only difference is in the number of double plays, but to understand how much of that is the result of Kent or Cora's play, and how much of that was due to the play of their infield mates at SS and 3B requires, that's right, "weird" statistics.

I suppose that one could argue that Plaschke does what he does, which is write what used to be Section E stories about kitties and puppies, but then I have to read through some nonsense like three weeks ago, where a key point of his offseason analysis was that both Hee Seop Choi and Milton Bradley were replacing Shawn Green.

"Weird" statistics are not going away. They are a key part of the story going forward. Smart sportswriters, of which there are not too many, are already aware of Moneyball and Billy Beane's conclusions, but that's not the end of the story. The market for .OBP is going to overcorrect (if it hasn't already). Stolen bases are bearish now, but there's a price at which they'll be bargain sales again. These "markets" are fluid and information, supply, and demand change them. I don't have to be a math major (and trust me, I have no idea how anybody is coming up with any of it -- I'm an "executive summary" kind of guy) to understand these phenomena. But it's happening, and we have our idiot columnist ignoring the whole thing.

P.S.

"Goose bumps and Dodgers. We haven't seen that in a while. Or maybe we just stopped looking."

WHAT! THIS IS THE GUY WHO WROTE JUST THREE WEEKS AGO, "It was back, and maybe it was a bit lucky, maybe it wouldn't last, but, it was back."

Bill, is it back? Or is it not back? Or did we stop looking? Or did you stop looking? Or did you stop caring?

P.P.S.

"The recent hiring of Steve Lyons by the Dodgers as a part-time television commentator has been criticized by some. One point is that he never played for the Dodgers. But then neither did Ross Porter. Or Vin Scully, for that matter. A more valid point is that last season he was suspended for a game by the Fox network because of a joke that was offensive to some. Of Shawn Green's taking a day off for Yom Kippur last season, Lyons, working on a Fox network telecast, said, "He's not a practicing Jew. He didn't marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, so he didn't get the money."

Or there's that point that he's an idiot, though I understand that at the Times they have a hard time recognizing those.

P.P.P.S. Who says the paper is only filled with bad news? To wit:

T.J. Simers has the day off.

3 Comments:

  • Blasting the LAT's twin pair of doofus' is FUN! And it's easy to do!

    But off topic: I participated in Frank McCourt's teleconference call this morning. The guy is good on the phone. Most of the questions were about Beltre signing with the Mariners. McCourt said the Dodgers made an initial offer of 6yr/60mil. According to McCourt they were *not* given the opportunity to make a BAFO, much less a counter offer. They found out through Boras he had signed with the M's. McCourt strongly implied that Boras had Beltre sign with the M's because the M's were not going to offer that kind of money to anyone but Beltre AND Beltre signing with the M's drove up Drew's price.

    Also, Depodesta's plan all along was to sign Beltre AND Drew. That would've been interesting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/28/2005 12:35:00 PM  

  • Now I'm intrigued. I wonder if any of the bloggers got to sit in on any of these conference calls? I'd love to hear more about what was said.

    By Blogger Jerry Fors, at 1/28/2005 01:18:00 PM  

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