FIRE JOE MORGAN: Give Me a "G!" Give Me an "A!" Et Cetera!


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Give Me a "G!" Give Me an "A!" Et Cetera!

Folks, let me tell you something about the insurance business. It's crazy. Incredibly unpredictable. Exhausting. Every day when you wake up, you don't know whether you'll be filling out a Wyoming Investigator's Traffic Accident Report, Code Sheet PR-802-A:

or reading that out of freaking nowhere, and The Council on Ethical Billing are forming a strategic alliance! Man. Insurance creates strange bedfellows, am I right?

Anyway, what this insanity means, is that I don't get to spend as much time blogging as I would like. Fortunately, we have very dedicated readers, who send us links, quips, and comments. And from time to time, we cite them here, in a little segment we like to call: Gallimaufry Time!

The HR Derby led to some real gems. From btroup1:

Berman, Morgan, and Baker at the same table? Are you okay? Do I need to call a doctor?

Dusty: "My son wanted to go out there [to shag balls] but I told him he was too young." Where can I find a JT Snow .gif?

Here you go, buddy. I guess he wasn't too young then.

Daniel chimes in with a keen observation:

Is it me or does EVERYONE remind Joe Morgan of Ken Griffey Jr.? Rios, Holliday, the man selling hot dogs, everyone.

I, too, have noticed this phenomenon. "He reminds me of Ken Griffey, Jr." is to the JM arsenal what the Sherman Tank was to the Allies. It is rivaled only by "Willie Mays was the best player I ever saw" for sheer frequency of repetition.

David gets credit for citing my favorite moment:

Berman: Does it help [Holliday] that he plays three series here a year?

Joe: No, I don't think so. This is a home-run-hitting contest, not a...

[long pause] where you get accustomed to the view, and so forth.


Many people have sent us the link to a brilliant FoxSports blog entry by Ed Hardiman, entitled: "Slobbermetrics, How [sic] Bill James and Math Nearly Destroyed Baseball." I began a lengthy post on this Pulitzer- and Mark Twain Prize-Winning article, and then decided it simply wasn't worth it. I will link it, in case you have not seen it and wish to waste two minutes of your life. For a fun home game, count how many commas are used inappropriately. And how many absolutely fucking terrible jokes he includes. This is the humor equivalent of anaesthesia-less knee surgery.

I sometimes feel bad for John Kruk. He is obviously uncomfortable on BBTN, and the producers make him argue things in which he does not believe. Tex5011 has no such sympathy:

The question was, "Who is the toughest out in the AL All-Star lineup?" Now, remember that this lineup features A-Rod, Jeter, and Ortiz. But Kruk's answer was Placido Polanco. There's a reason Polanco's batting eighth. Kruk, you are an idiot.

A quick glance at OBP lists will actually tell you who is the toughest out (Magglio-Ortiz-Vladdy-ARod, in that order). But Placido is only 6 OBP points behind Kenny Lofton.

Drew points us to a potential new target:
John Kincade, on his Sunday morning ESPN show, said:

"We don't need obscure, newfangled stats like OPS and WHIP to tell us
who the best players are. We watch the games, we know who the best players are."
You make your list, I will make mine. Then we will have our teams play each other one million times. Mine will win.

I got a lot of feedback on the last Bruce Jenkins attack, mostly in re: the pitch count section. Some interesting points. Brett sez:
In a complementary sense, nobody can tally the list of "normal" young pitchers who lost effectiveness because of injuries (diagnosed or not) caused by managers ignorantly disregarding pitch counts. Because they became mediocre or worse and disappeared from the game. It's the classic statistical problem of survivorship bias. (People think the average hedge fund returns are X%, because they start today and work backwards and miss the funds that blew out a few years ago).

For every 1968 Bob Gibson you show me who pitched the beginning, middle and end of every triple header, I wish I could show you the legions of 60's pitchers who would have pitched longer and more effectively if they had been taken care of, but I can't because they're almost impossible to identify.
Well played, sir. Also well-played by Eric:
[Gibson] was indeed a once-in-a-generation freak. But by my reckoning, Bob Gibson
was kinda sorta finished at age 36. His age 37-39 seasons were quite ordinary.

Catfish Hunter is another oft-cited example [of innings-eating monsters]. He was done
at 30.

So it would seem that the non-freak pitchers, i.e., the "majority of pitchers" would be
cooked far earlier than 36. Now, I find nothing wrong with--altho I don't agree--the
argument that its management's prerogative to choose to win a World Series or two
with a couple of pitchers throwing 325 innings, shortening their careers in the process.
But Jenkins doesn't make that argument.
I would say that Gibby's 37 year-old season was still pretty damn good. But he was no Clemens, or RJ, at 38-39-40... He wasn't even Curt Schilling at 39. Now, obviously he threw many more innings at crazy ERA+ before that age. But as for whether it's a good idea? As Brett says above, you can't look at the most successful example in history -- the extremest outlier -- in order to get a good look at the results of an experiment. This is equal to the burn-out child's claim that good grades do not matter, because "Einstein dropped out of school in like eighth grade!"

The most in-depth comments came from Richard, who challenged the claim that pitcher abuse can be measured most by the number of pitches over 100 in an individual outing. I based this link-less statement on a Baseball Prospectus article in "Baseball Between the Numbers." Richard got all up in it -- in a way I truly admired and respected, BTW -- and after much research sent me this link to an excellent article at The Hardball Times. Essentially, it the scientific evidence for the BP PAP (Pitcher Abuse Point) data, which can be found here.

Now, I am just a mild-mannered insurance claims adjuster. I am not a scientist. The BP evidence looks compelling to me, but I trust THT and BP equally, and the two of them disagreeing (even if it was several years ago) makes me feel like mommy and daddy are fighting, and I don't like it. As soon as I take care of this Wyoming traffic accident claim, I am going to poke around some more and see what the real deal is. Fascinating stuff.

Enough math. Back to dumb. Ben writes in with this gem:
In introducing the Braves' starting lineup for tonights game, Jon Miller dubbed Willie Harris "The Pride of Cairo, Georgia."
Also hailing from Cairo: this dude.

Jason chips in, with a report on the hands-down best announcing duo in professional sports:
Listening to Hawk Harrelson and Darin Jackson is always a chore.

It was even more so, when, during yesterday’s Twins games, they repeatedly referred to the Twins’ old middle-infield combo of Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman as “tough outs.”

Luis Rivas career OBP: .307
Cristian Guzman career OBP: .302 (which includes his season+ in Washington)

So maybe they always had good games against the White Sox and the announcers are just remembering that? I’d buy that.

Luis Rivas career OBP vs. CHW: .300
Cristian Guzman career OBP vs. CHW: .287.
It's always nice when the announcers label players as the exact opposite of what they really are. It's the Platonic ideal of "wrong."

Finally, many of you linked Peter Gammons's InSider blog entry about players with "energy." It's iffy, but it's not outrageous. He is just saying that certain guys have a lot of energy...I don't know. Call me a hypocrite, but I just cannot bring myself to lay into Gammo. Lifetime pass.

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