Archive for September, 2009

The Active Hitting Leader Quiz

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Today we look at the career leaders among active players to see who holds the lead for various hitting categories. There are links to the leaders to each question. Make a guess and then take a look at the link to see if you’re right. Be honest, and share your score in the comment section.

1. Hit Leaders – (Answer)

2 Run Scored Leaders – (Answer)

3. RBI Leaders – (Answer)

4. Base on Balls Leaders – (Answer)

5. Strikeout Leaders – (Answer)

6.Stolen Base Leaders – (Answer)

7. Batting Average Leaders – (Answer)

8. On Base % Leaders – (Answer)

9. Grounded Into DP Leaders – (Answer)

10. Homerun Leaders – (Answer)

How did you do? Be honest!!!

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Milkit Badly — the final chapter. Hopefully.

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

I hate to gloat and say that I told you so, but feel free to go back to my original post on this site — and then come back. It’s okay. I’ll wait. It’s titled “Milkit Badly” and you’ll find it in the archives. Dated February 7, 2009. Go on.


{{{tapping feet}}}

Oh, good. You’re back. Can I get some of you Milton apologists to admit that this guy was a bad signing? That he had an absolutely crappy year? That, regardless of sample size, BABIP, Nationalized Health Care, or OBP — he didn’t get it done.

For the record, Mark DeRosa has 72 rbi’s — anyone else remember when I asked who would end up the year with more, DeRosa or Milky? I do. I took DeRosa. It’s unlikely that Milkit will catch him now…since HE’S DONE. He did get to forty, however. 40.

He’s an ingrate and a malcontent — and just like certain stats can predict baseball productivity; personality and character also have long term patterns…and this clubhouse cancer is a problem that needs to go. And now we hear from the teammates, too, that they are tired of the guy’s act.

Don’t go away mad, Milton. Just go away.

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I liked the way Hendry handled things

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

As Lizzy has previously reported Milton Bradley has been suspended for the rest of the 2009 season. This move was entirely justified as the player’s comments regarding the Cubs organization, clubhouse and fans became entirely too much to put up with. In my opinion the Cubs’ management showed patience and good judgement in how they handled this matter. Said GM Jim Hendry: “There have been a lot of issues that we’ve lived with during the year, but the last few days became too much for me to tolerate, to be honest with you. I’m not going to let our great fans become an excuse, I’m not going to tolerate not answering questions from the media respectfully. Whether you feel like talking or not, it’s part of our jobs. I’m not going to allow disrespect to other people in that locker room and uniformed personnel.

The only real negativity here is his own production.”

I don’t think there’s too much more to add to that; I don’t mean for this post to be about Milton Bradley’s misbehavior; probably 95% of Cubs nation realizes that this is a very immature individual that has very little control over his emotions and his utterances. In Chicago he’s poison, there’s nothing he can do to dig his way out of the hole he’s dug. The big question is how do you get rid of this guy, will any other team take him? The Cubs should eat salary just to get him out of the clubhouse but will there be any takers? Somehow the Dodgers miscalculated and took Todd Hundley in exchange for Karros and Grudzielanek, but who in today’s world would take Bradley?

Perhaps the best thing to do would be what LA did with Andruw Jones this year. If Bradley is faced with 1-2 years of being shrouded on the Cubs bench as a non-player perhaps he could be convinced to cooperate. Sometimes people make the messes they end up in, I know I’ve done it a few times in my life. All people can change, at least I think they can. Well, perhaps not all.

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MB Suspended

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Y’all may already know this, but apparently Milton Bradley has been suspended for the rest of the year for comments made to the media. Twittered from the Chicago Sun Times about 20 mins ago.

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A Statistical Analysis

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

My general attitude towards statistics is summarized in the saying: “The figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure.” Nevertheless, the name of Bill James as author grabbed my attention and I decided to dive into what I knew would be a statistical roller coaster ride.

The book in question is titled “Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? – Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory” (Previously published as “The Politics of Glory”). It’s not a new book, with a copyright of 1994,1995 (by Bill James).

Prior to reading this book, I never gave much thought to the Hall of Fame (HOF). I just assumed it was an arm of Major League Baseball (ie. “…without the express written consent of Major League Baseball”). And I didn’t pay much attention to who got in and who didn’t, or how and why. So this book was an eye opener for me.

Author Bill James addresses the political dimension of the HOF thusly:
– “In political discussions, I am absolutely dead center. It is my observation, in listening to political partisans, that there is some truth in what everybody says, but that they will almost all distort the truth to defend their position. In my judgment, everyone on the political landscape, from David Duke and Rush Limbaugh to Howard Metzenbaum and Louis Farrakhan, is right about some things; I will listen to any of them and think that there is some truth in what he or she is saying. But at the same time, they all bullshit. They all wear blinders. They all say things that they know or should know are not true, but which they feel they must say to defend the extreme positions they have taken. This paralyzes the process. If Alan Simpson would just admit that Barbara Boxer is right about 30 percent of the issues, and he has just been bullshitting to avoid acknowledging this, and vice versa, we could reach a consensus on the remaining issues.
The Hall of Fame discussion is like that: There is some truth in what almost everybody says, but almost everybody will distort the record to advance their own candidate.”

– “In the politics of baseball, the numbers advocates represent the right wing, the Republican side of the discussion. The “throw away the numbers” crowd represent the liberal, or Democratic, position. As I see it, there is some truth in what everybody is saying, and there’s a lot of bullshit on both sides.”

On the subject of statisticians:
– “You know the old saying about a statistician…if you have one foot in a block of ice and the other in a fire, a statistician will tell you that on average you’re comfortable.”

One observation which strikes close to home:
– “As I’m sure you know, a .500 team winning and losing games at random for a year won’t often go 81-81, nor even necessarily stay close to 81-81; they will routinely win anywhere from 71 to 91 games, and occasionally will win (or lose) as many as a hundred or even more, just by luck.”

Ron Santo’s name is mentioned a number of times in this book, and his non-selection (to date) to the HOF is analyzed in detail.

Here’s a Bill James observation about statistics:
– “We use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamppost – for support, not illumination.”

There is a chapter titled “Arguments”, in which the false arguments attending the HOF discussion are divided into eight essential fallacies, which are then subsequently countered with eight solid approaches. The important thing to realize, for me, is that these statistical fallacies and corrections apply to free agent signings, player trades, and for making out the everyday lineup, as well as to HOF selections. One of those eight critical corrections is: ”We are looking for the best candidate, not merely a qualified candidate.”

Here’s a thought to consider: “The fundamental problem is that we can’t measure everything in statistics, and for that reason statistical comparisons will only be accurate sometimes.”

In a discussion about Jerry Priddy and Phil Rizzuto, the concept of a player having a “salutary” (ie, beneficial) effect on the teams for which he played is introduced. I can only surmise that a player might possibly have the opposite effect on a team as well.

Here’s something to consider: “the average player isn’t going to hit at age 37 the way he does at 27”.

Here’s something else to consider: The Hall of Fame has exactly the same attitude toward the public as any other business: “What we really want is your business, not your advice”.

Mr. James retells the classic conversation between a growing company and their new accountant:
“What was our profit last year?”
“What did you want it to be?”

– “What is the Hall of Fame? It’s a museum run by an accountant.”

– “If I were in control of the Hall of Fame’s selections, the first player I would choose would be Ron Santo.”

– A multipage analysis of Dick Allen’s HOF status ends with the following observation: “He did more to keep his teams from winning than anybody else who ever played major league baseball. And if that’s a Hall of Famer, I’m a lug nut.”

There is a chapter devoted entirely to Don Drysdale, in which the author argues very effectively for both points of view (he should be in the HOF, he should NOT be in the HOF) using statistics very effectively. By the end of the chapter I was totally convinced to support both points of view. And that gets confusing.

By the way, did you know that in his lifetime Don Drysdale lost four out of five starts against Ernie Broglio?

“Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?” is a very well written book. Bill James is an intelligent, very organized, very coherent, very persuasive author. By the end of the book my head was spinning.

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