Tuesday, April 12, 2005

First!

I don't intend to be using this blog that much...only when I have something pressing that I want to write about probably. No Gleeman-length or frequency here. Just occasional thoughts on sabermetrics and baseball in general.

The silly name comes from a silly song. I am horrible at creating names, so I usually like to base them off of walks, my favorite baseball event. I'm a TTO kind of guy. I love walks personally, which is a poor position for a sabermetrician to have--walks are worth what they are worth, not anymore because I personally like them. To many people it seems as if sabermetricians are obsessed with walks(particularly before sabermetric knowledge had spread to the extent it has now). This is not really true--it's just that back in the day, nobody other than sabermetricians gave a fig about walks. But me, I like em. So they led to a silly name.

I post at the FanHome Sabermetric Board as "USPatriot" and have my own sabermetric site. That site is reserved for general discussion of sabermetric principles and methods, and not for my ruminations on sabermetrics(well, the "Baselines" article is I guess) or my random thoughts on the passing baseball scene. So now you have this blog.

As for baseball on the field, I am from Ohio and am primarily an Indians fan, although I pull for the Reds as well. But in the Cleveland area, the Indians are what's on TV. Plus the Reds are in the Neanderthal League. No, that's not really a factor. I also like the Yankees. Why? Because George Steinbrenner is a benefactor of a certain college that is near and dear to my heart. Deal with it.

Now that all the junk you don't care about is out of the way, I'll give some random baseball thoughts:
1) Baseball Tonight sucks. OK, this is hardly a unique opinion, but can they possibly find two worse "analysts" then John Kruk and Harold Reynolds? I get excited when Tim Kurjikan shows up for goodness sakes. It's almost enough to make you be thankful that you don't have cable at home during the summer.
2) Steriods. Who cares?
3) The Washington Nationals. Yes, the people of Montreal got screwed, and yes, it's a horrible nickname, but I can't help but like them. I want one of those blue road caps. Can someone explain why their home opener is not on ESPN?
4) Scoresheets. This should be a longer entry, maybe I'll get around to it, but I can't pay attention to baseball without scoring it. Tonight I'm trying out my new system of tracking whether strikes are of the called, swinging, or foul variety tonight on the Reds/Cardinals game. On my site, I also have a scoring page with links to other sites on scorkeeping, or you can download the scoresheet I use. I learned how to score for my dad's softball team when I was ten, before I became a sabermetric junkie. This in hindsight is very fortunate, because I became a sabermetric junkie at age 11 and with a young, impressionable mind, probably would have picked up the Craig Wright/Project Scoresheet method endorsed by Bill James rather then the traditional 9x9 grid. Yes, it's true that you never use 81 squares, but I've found that by designing my own sheet that cuts out the stat columns(I mean, seriously, scoring is one thing, making AB-H-R-RBI lines for all 9 batters is another. That's what Yahoo! is for) and other junk, I have plenty of room to make the notations I want in the box. Plus the Project Scoresheet method makes it harder to differentiate between innings, and while you don't have to go back and write in previous boxes like in traditional systems, you don't know which runner is which without going back and looking. I'd rather see all of the action involving Milton Bradley in Milton Bradley's scorebox.

And those hideous diamonds. Not in PS, of course. But the diamond is horrible. I just use the corners of the boxes. The diamond just gets in the way. But it is fun to color in.
5) There was a Washington Post article today entitled "Intuition, Not Numbers, Guides Nats' Robinson" by Mike Wise. It contains a fallacy that I also remember seeing in the SI baseball preview that focused on sabermetrics, whatever year that was. The fallacy is that batter v. pitcher matchup stats are something embraced by sabermetricians. This is just absurd. Sabermetricians understand that the sample size usually associated with these figures is too small to draw any conclusions from them. They do give you more information, and if you weight them and regress them based on expectations, they can probably provide you with some extra information. But I don't know any self-respecting sabermetrician who cares if Shawn Green is 1-11 against Kyle Farnsworth.

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