May 24, 2013
Who is Shyster?
Or you can search by:
Most Recent Comments
Sam Zell’s Nightmare Continues (11)
William S. Stevens: 1948-2008 (22)
Teixeira’s Options (18)
Cole Hamels Meets Talk Radio (23)
Appropos of nothing (4)
Shyster's Daily Circuit
Joe Posnanski Blog
Cot's Baseball Contracts
It IS About the Money
Baseball Think Factory
MLB Trade Rumors
Way Back and Gone
Bats -- NYT Baseball Blog
The Biz of Baseball
The Daily Fungo
The Common Man
Jorge Says No!
Baseball Over Here
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Those of us who are both (a) familiar with the concept of Pythagorean record; and (b) kind of glib and lazy about our use of sabermetric terminology, have often, at least subconsciously, used it as a synonym for luck. But is it really? Sam Miller at the OC Register isn't so sure. A block quote doesn't do it justice, so please click through. Especially Angels' fans.
BTW: how cool is it that a mainstream paper devotes blogspace in which writers may feel free to expound statistically?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:04pm
I've taken many jabs at the WBC lately. Well, maybe not jabs, because I don't actually hate it or anything. But I certainly have made a point of saying how little I care about it. A reader asked me what gives in the comments to the People in My Neighborhood post this afternoon:
Craig, I know you’ve talked about this somewhat before, but please enlighten me as to just why you’re so vehemently unconcerned about the WBC. I mean, I’m not going to follow every pitch or buy myself a South Africa jersey, but more baseball is a good thing, right? The chance to see players from other countries (Japan and Cuba, especially) is pretty cool. When else will you get to see Yu Darvish pitch?
Fair question. The answer is that I don't have an acceptable answer. Or at least, I don't have a rational, evidence-based answer. Rather, my apathy towards the WBC is merely a function of many of my long-held prejudices and predispositions forming a perfect storm of “meh.”
For starters, for as much as I love, love, love baseball, I have long been incapable of caring about spring training games. The news from camp, yes, but actually sitting and watching a game is just nothing I have ever taken a shine to. Maybe that would be different if someone invited me out to Arizona or something, but that doesn't happen in my universe. I’ve thought hard about why I don't care for spring training games, and I've decided that it’s simply an internal calendar thing. April is when baseball starts in my mind, and there’s not a lot I can do about it. These last few years with March opening days have truly put that predisposition to the test, and I’m not ashamed to admit that even though the games counted, it didn’t really feel like baseball season before April rolled around.
So the timing of it all is one thing. Another thing is far more fogeyish on my part, and it's that the look, feel and sound of baseball games really matter to me. Baseball is comfort food for me, and for as embarrassing as it is to admit, I don’t take to it as well when I have to adjust to different uniforms, different levels and qualities of crowd noise, and all of that stuff. There are organized cheers in these things, and they jar me out of my baseball happy place for some reason. This is not insurmountable, obviously. The aesthetics of Major League Baseball are far different today than they were when I started watching in the 70s and 80s, and that hasn't prevented me from adjusting. It's just that, in connection with the previous item, it’s hard for me to want to adjust at this time of year for this type of ephemeral competition.
The final reason -- and this one I’m somewhat less ashamed of, though I’m not sure if I should be -- is that I find that pitting nation-state against nation-state in any competition is a passe exercise. I’m not in favor of one world government or anything, but I do have a mild Utopian streak in me, and I thus find the competition of countries to be a rather quaint and ultimately meaningless construct that I hope is one day supplanted by a little more oneness, ya know? Oh, I'll grant the World Cup and the modern Olympics their current constructs because nations were more important when they started and I’ll grant them their setup for the sake of history, but we really aren’t in that world anymore. Or at least we should strive not to be. All of us have more things in common with some people in other countries than we do with some people in our own. With specific reference to sports, we all know that no country has a monopoly on top talent. Why then pit countries against one another? What, exactly, does it prove? The height of internationalism, in my mind at least, is when people from all over the world play together rather than divide up into categories determined by accident of birth. For the time being, that means all of the best baseball players playing in the Major Leagues. Or all of the best soccer players playing in the EPL or in Germany or Italy or whatever league is supposed to the best. At some point—like, when we master teleportation — I'll want to see truly global leagues.
Take all of those things together, and I am simply left without an emotional toehold in the World Baseball Classic. The competition will be better in April, as will the aesthetics and the weather. Any young talent who reveals himself in the WBC will eventually find his way into the majors eventually, and I'll see him (and his WBC video) then. The stakes seem phony to me. The payoff -- real baseball -- relatively minor in light of the approaching season.
I don’t suppose any of those things gives me license not to care, but they are the reason I don’t. Feel free to tell me why I'm wrong in the comments below.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:10pm
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I never thought I'd be one of those people, but yesterday as I was driving home from work it occurred to me that I simply can't listen to any more bad financial news on the radio. It's just too much and it is starting to depress me greatly. So I clicked off NPR and listened to "Freebird." It was a good choice. As I was taking in that triple guitar attack, I wondered if that's how Nats fans feel about the sports broadcast . . .
Just to clarify, even in a good economy and with nothing but wonderful news in the world, "Freebird" is still the superior choice. Always.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:48am
You're not going to believe this, but:
A vote on a new ballpark for the Florida Marlins is being delayed again.
There are few decisions I've made in this life that weren't much better for having waited and thought about it a bit before jumping in. Good for Miami for taking its time.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:00am
From the Dept. of Things I Did Not Know, comes Jared Lansford, son of Carney, pitcher for the Athletics:
Jared Lansford is on the A's list to pitch today at Scottsdale against the Giants. The Giants' hitting coach is Carney Lansford, Jared's father. "I've been hearing about it the last couple of days," Jared Lansford said with a laugh just as a teammate began joshing him about how many hits the Giants might rack up.
Yeah, if they follow their hitting coach's advice they may very well rack up a few hits because he was a good one. By the same token, if Carney does any coaching of the Giants' third basemen, Jared could just tell his teammates to hit grounders to the left side, and everything would even out.
In other news, the fact that a player who was still active when I was in college has a kid old enough to be pitching for a Major League club makes me feel really, really old.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:45am
The WBC has begun, with Japan beating China 4-0 in the opener. For those of you who shut down the computer at 5 yesterday and didn't see my last post of the day, here are the reasons why this is about as expansive as I'm likely to get with respect to the World Baseball Classic this year.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:45am
At what point do editors start rejecting stories about Bernie Williams wanting to still play in the majors? I don't think the dream of finding the Northwest Passage died this hard.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:15am
A descriptive tour of New Shea (I, like you, partially own Citi, so if I want to abrogate their naming rights, I should feel free to do so):
For those fans who hated Shea Stadium, fear not: Citi Field is nothing like its predecessor, the last bits of which lie in ruins a few hundreds yards away. The Mets’ new park, which will open its doors for a Georgetown-St. John’s baseball game March 29, is far more intimate than Shea and corrects some of Shea’s worst faults . . .
No spitting on the visiting relievers?! Baked knishes?! Bring back old Shea!
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:45am
Friend of ShysterBall Pete Toms has an article up over at the Biz of Baseball about sports marketing in the wake of Depression v2.0. It's a comprehensive cataloging of thr furor over banks using TARP dollars -- or not using TARP dollars if you deny the fungibility of money -- for sports sponsorships. Read to the end, however, for the most interesting passage:
In the midst of this public and political turmoil, Nielsen Media Research has released some figures that show banking companies have decreased spending by 10 percent over the last year, but have increased the amount that they are spending on sports advertisement by 36 percent in 2008, showing that these businesses see sports as great return on investment.
Is it possible that, despite my dubiousness, banks and other advertisers have some good evidence that, rather than mere vanity projects, sports marketing provides a good return on investment? Is it possible that sports are less recession prone than other sectors? Is any of this going to convince a bank executive to buy the naming rights to ShysterBall for, say, $100K a year over the next 25 years?
So many questions . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:15pm
Royce the Hack -- ShysterBall's Foreign Correspondent from the Republic of Texas and daytime next-door neighbor of the Ballpark in Arlington -- has a dispatch to warm you up on this late winter's day:
The grounds crew next door is in its usual pre-opening day fever. There is an armada of those little John Deere mule trucks zooming around all day updating and replacing signs, dressing the edges of landscaping and replacing garbage cans that they put into storage five-odd months ago. Baseball is in the air, my friend. It's a great thing. They really do a nice job with the stadium - it is beautifully maintained and the city works hard to keep the surrounding area in step.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting warmer.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:50pm