February 2009

Wanted: The best player in MLB history

To hold me over during the off season, I’ve been reading up on some baseball books, I purchased them long ago when I was living on student loans, and now am glad that I did, since I’m poor. One book that fell into my lap was all about… SABERMETRICS!! I kind of envisioned like… the guy from the Super Friends announcing that… ya know, with that voice… or like… Piiiiiiggggssss iiinnnnn ssssppppaaaaacccce only… ssssaaaabbbbbbbeeeeeeerrrrrrrmmmmmmmmeeeeeettttttttrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiicccccccccssssssss. Does any of that make sense? I guess maybe that’s kind of a long word to do that with, but ya know, I have… weird visions. I’ll give the book it’s props right now since I’ll be taking massive amounts of information from it.
Baseball between the numbers.jpg
The Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts. (2006). Batting Practice: Is Barry Bonds better than Babe Ruth? In Baseball between the numbers: Why everything you know about the game is wrong (pp.38-62) [Introduction]. Prospectus Entertainment Ventures.

Yes, that’s the book right there ———->
With Albert Pujols on the cover.

So with all the shenanigans floating around Barry Bonds in light of this… “new” information about steroid usage, it made me think back to this section about arguing who the best player in baseball is, Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds. In 2001, Barry Bonds turned 36 years old; before this, his numbers were fantastic, 494 homers, nine All Star game appearances, and three MVP awards. The man was a machine. However, with his age increasing, his stats were destined to decrease. However, as we all know, this was not the case. In the next four years, Bonds would take MVP, win two batting crowns, and a home-run title. Not only that, but he went on to break the records for homers, OBP, SLG, and BB in a single season.

By taking a look at some raw stats, we can see that Ruth clearly comes out on top. 

                                  HR      SB      BB       BA        OBP    SLG
Ruth                         2173    123    2062    0.342    0.474   0.690
Bonds through 05    2078    506    2311    0.300    0.442    0.611

However, without sabermetrics, it’s impossible to compare these two statistics because they’re from two completely different times. I mean, if it weren’t for Jackie Robinson, would we even be debating? Consider some of these facts from the book:

  • The average baseball player today is about an inch and a half taller than he was fifty years ago, a reflection of improved nutrition during childhood and adolescence.
  • In 1964, about 4% of major league at bats were made by players aged 35 or older. In 2004, about 14% of major league at-bats were made by players aged 35 or older. Baseball players are playing longer and remaining effective longer because of vast improvements in training methods.
  • In 2005, there were at least 22 pitchers on major league Opening Day rosters who had successfully undergone Tommy John surger, a procedure that was invented in 1974 (and only perfected much later). That represents about 6% of all active major league pitchers, including stars such as John Smolt and Eric Gagne. Thirty-five years ago, these pitchers’ careers would have been over…

Essentially, through some sabermetric processes, the experts have come up with some numbers that can be normalized for the time period. Don’t ask me how it works, because I would be the worst person at explaning it. Pretty much what it comes down to, is that if through some magic time machine, Babe Ruth was brought to 1984, his most important stats would look like this: BA: 0.309, OBP: 0.441, and SLG: 0.682. When compared to the league leaders of both the AL and NL, Ruth’s BA falls short of being in the top.

So, what’s the real reason I’m debating this? With the steroid saga hitting Bonds pretty hard, could we say for sure, with absolute certainty who the very best player in major league history is?

Let me put this side note in, I do think that there is no comparison when it comes to the great Bambino. I think that Babe Ruth is absolutely phenomenal, and what I like more is that he made it to the top on talent. I mean, even with sabermetrics, in all it’s glory, can we really make a true and educated decision on who the best of the best is?

Yes, Bonds put up impressive numbers, but in light of a secret recording with Greg Anderson, the evidence against Bonds seems to be even more overwhelming. Like in this video:


While it’s unclear about who Anderson is talking about, he was Bonds’ personal trainer, and on five occasions Bonds has tested positive for PEDs. I read on ESPN about a conversation recorded between Bonds’ longtime friend Steve Hoskins and Anderson. The conversation went something like this:

Anderson: No, what happens is, they put too much in one area,
and what it does, it’ll, it’llmn_anderson_001df.jpgactually ball up and puddle. And what
happens is, it actually will eat away and make an indentation. And it’s
a cyst. It makes a big [expletive] cyst. And you have to drain it. Oh
yeah, it’s gnarly … Hi Benito … oh it’s gnarly.
Hoskins: He said his [expletive] went … that’s why he has
to, he had to switch off of one cheek to the other. Is that why Barry’s
didn’t do it in one spot, and you didn’t just let him do it one time?
Anderson: Oh no. I never. I never just go there. I move it all over the place. 

I don’t know. While I have my own opinions, I’ll leave this one up to the professionals.

Lets talk Rockies. Garrett Atkins is avoiding arbitration meetings by settling for $7.05 million or something like that. While I’ll enjoy him for the season, we’ll see what happens at the end and if he can get a multi year deal with the Rockies. We may also be missing a young and valuable Jeff Francis. By February 19th, he’ll need to decide if he’ll go through surgery which would ultimately put him out for most of the 2009 season.

With the season coming up, it’s made me think about our starters and batting lineup. I’ve heard that Todd Helton’s making a very slow recovery from his surgery, which makes me hope that he’ll be prepared for our season. He said something like he’s not preparing for spring training, he’s preparing for the season. With the resigning of Garrett Atkins, I am wondering where Ian Stewart is going to go. Stewart was fantastic at third, and, in all honesty, probably made some plays that Atkins wouldn’t have been able to. Bringing Helton back also makes it difficult because assuming that he’ll be able to play means that the lineup completely changes, and with Helton being a clutch player (maybe not so much in his age), where do you put him? The clean up spot? Or has his age affected him too much to be there? And where are you going to put your other big sluggers: Brad Hawpe and Garrett Atkins? And could Chris Iannetta be used as a big slugger? Excluding Matt Holliday, he came in third for most home runs in the club. Guess I’ll have to wait for the season to start… but I have some serious baseball on the brain.
1. Photo courtesy: testbooksrus.com
2. Video courtesy: ESPN.com
3. Photo courtesy: SFgate.com 

Great Expectations

Yes, credit the title of my blog to the novel by Charles Dickens, and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with young Pip.

In light of Jeff writing about, how Allen so lovingly puts it, “feeling sorry for himself,” it got me thinking about an application toward my own life. No surprise there, I apply everything to myself, I’m a narcissist like that. Granted, I didn’t just get out of a relationship, which will probably have an affect on my perceptions, and I’m not as innovative either, but regardless, I started thinking about things this way: are my standards too high?

I haven’t been in a relationship for a while, I would like to think it’s mostly because I haven’t been interested in one. Besides my love of the Rockies, I’m pretty asexual. Didn’t ever think I’d say that in my blog. Anyway, my thoughts were this: have I not been in a relationship because I’m not interested in one or because I have criteria that is unfeasible? I would like to have a guy who has a good sense of humor, love of baseball, and can deal with my weird habits and quirks. As I thought more about this, I realized that it also applied to the world around me. I have high standards for my sports teams, my friends, and people I encounter on a daily basis.

On February 1st, I expected the Cardinals to pull off an amazing win. I expected them to endKurt Warner Larry Fitzgerald.jpg their 61, now 62, year losing streak. I expected Kurt Warner to have the game of his life. I expected Larry Fitzgerald to play better than he ever had before. Yes, I expected a lot from the Cardinals, and in the end, I got a loss; a 27-23 loss.

In 2007, I expected the Rockies to at least put up a fight. I expected that the World Series would last longer than October 24th to October 28th. In game 1, I expected the Rockies to not lose so shamefully 13-1. I expected Todd “my goatee is better than Youkilis” Helton to prove that his goatee was, in fact, better. I expect the Rockies to come back this season and to win a World Series, or at least make it to the post season. I expect Chris Iannetta to show what he can do behind the plate. I expect Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe to step up and make up for the loss of Mr. Matt “Everyday’s a holiday with you Matt Holliday” Holliday (yes, that is his nickname… by some stupid girls).

I expect my friends to understand my incompetence. Here’s a scenario, and I know my friends Woven_Silk_Tie.jpgread my blog, so they’ll probably laugh that I’m sharing this with the world. I had a job interview a few weeks ago, and I am fashion challenged. I am a jeans and a t-shirt kind of girl. I wear flip flops everyday (unless it’s snowing), I wear baseball caps, and I don’t ever wear make up. I needed some fashion advice from my friends. Maybe you all will laugh too, but for me, this was an honest, legitimate question. I sent a text message to my friend and asked, “is it too masculine to wear a tie to an interview?” Oh, little did I know what I was actually in for. This question was, by all means, entirely serious. Well, they got a kick out of that and it’s probably something that I’ll never live down… ever. “Lucky for me” my friends took me on a shopping trip… while I successfully bought clothes, my satisfaction with my purchases led to be unsuccessful. I expect my friends to acknowledge how fashionably imbecilic I am. I expect my friends to be thoughtful minded about other people around them. I expect my friends to not judge me based off the way I look that day. Am I starting to ask too much?

I expect the general public to quit being people and act like a person. Does that make sense? panic-button.jpgIn the movie Men in Black, Tommy Lee Jones said something to Will Smith along the lines of, “a person is smart, people are dumb.” In college, I had a strong faith, I had a strong relationship with god, that relationship no longer exists, however, many of those values stick with me throughout life. I expect people to love. Our world is entirely too hateful toward one another and our inability to find good qualities in one another will ultimately be our demise. I expect people to act responsibly. The other night I was driving home from the bar, it was about 2:15 in the morning and I was sitting at a red light in the center lane. There was a car to my left, and no one in i.jeep.grandcherokee.red.2005.04aug.jpgthe right lane. The light turns green and this red Jeep Cherokee comes out of no where and practically hits my car as the person attempts to get in my lane. The person, who I will now nickname Drunky McDrunk are swirving around in the lane and are clearly intoxicated, as their nickname suggests. In the right lane comes what I believe to be a savior, a van with the words “Sheriff” on it. Drunky is swirving around and almost hits Sheriff. “Thank you for getting Drunky McDrunk off the road,” I think. No, this was quite wrong. After Drunky almost hit Sheriff, Sheriff turned on his siren lights, Drunky got back into the center lane, Sheriff turned his siren lights off and continued on his way. How ridiculous is that? I’m not an expert, but Drunky is clearly… drunk, and Sheriff just goes about their way. I expected Drunky not to run in to me because 1. his car is red, mine is tan and 2. Drunky probably would have driven off because he was drunk leaving me with no one to exchange insurance information with and a big red mark on my tan car. I expected Sheriff to act and pull over Drunky. I expected Drunky to get a ticket for his disregard for other people’s safety.

Yes, I have great expectations for our world, but doesn’t everyone? I know that there are more things in life that I expect but haven’t mentioned, but I feel as though some of my requests aren’t completely ludicrous, are they? I mean, I feel like I’m not asking too much, not like this crazy, ridiculous person here. But maybe my expectations are too high, and they’re even things that I won’t be able to fulfill for others around me.

1. Photo courtesy: Getty Images
2. Photo courtesy: Germes Online
3. Photo courtesy: WordPress.com
4. Photo courtesy: nextcar.com.au


Superbowl Sunday come and gone

I’ve been pretty excited for Superbowl Sunday once I found out the Cardinals were getting in. I don’t claim to be a Cardinal fan, but I would have liked to see them win. The end of the first quarter left me with the Steelers up 3-0. It would be easy for the Cards to catch up, they were only a field goal behind; half time gave me a score of 17-7 and the third quarter didn’t get much better with the Steelers still leading 20-7. The thought that went through my mind was: Oh god… it’s the 2007 World Series all over again. The team that was really good was going to trounce the underdog. Although it wasn’t exactly a slaughter, I was still disappointed with the end result.

What was more disappointing was that there really weren’t very good commercials this year. Some of them were good, I liked the Sobe commercial:

posted by serisendal

I loved the dancing in that one, but my favorite one came from CareerBuilders.com:

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