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.

Main / Archives / Merch / Glossary / Goodbye

Wednesday, February 13, 2008



Possibly pseudonymed reader Cletus points us to this slightly old, but still tasty nugget from Tom Singer over at

DP combos thriving throughout MLB
Chemistry up the middle becoming a trend with contenders

Baseball's ever-isolating spotlight is one of the game's charming appeals. When the ball is pitched or when it is struck -- it's all on you, regardless of which glove you're wearing at the time, batting or fielding. So, on a ball field, every man is an island. Except those two in the middle, whose teamwork is crucial as two pistons of the same engine, the most critical links in a strong chain.

I have a 2002 Honda Civic. Good car, good mileage. Cleans up nice. Problem is, there's something wonky going on in the engine. Gets really noisy in the higher gears.

I brought it into a mechanic, and he explained my problem in a surprisingly long-winded fashion (it seems so obvious in hindsight!):

"You got a couple pistons in here...they don't like each other. You know -- chemistry issues. This one piston [pointing to a piston], he doesn't like this other guy over here [pointing to another piston]. One of them has been in the car for quite some time. The other is, you might say, a 'rookie.' New piston. Also -- and you may find this hard to believe, but I'm a mechanic, so trust me on this one -- they are from different religious backgrounds and like to play different kinds of piston music in the piston clubhouse. So I don't think that's helping neither...So, like I said, it's a chemistry thing. Teamwork problem. It has nothing to do with the fact that this one piston is very rusty and has the piston-equivalent of a weak and inaccurate arm, and I am 99.9% sure that your problem also has nothing to do with the fact that this other piston has trouble getting the pistonball out of his pistonglove quickly. I won't deny that those are vital components of turning a PDP, but in my expert opinion, this is clearly a teamwork / chemistry thing. Okay, so, anyway, just let me know when I can stop talking. I feel like at this point everyone should understand that (a) using inanimate engine-parts in a baseball chemistry metaphor is a bad choice by the author and (b) it's quite possible that the degree to which a DP combination excels at turning the DP depends more on their individual abilities than anything related to 'timing' or 'teamwork' or what have you. That will be 300 million dollars."

Holding onto these positions is as difficult as holding your ground in the storm of a take-out slide. Second and short are among the first positions targeted by teams seeking to reach the next level.

You heard it here first, baseball fans. If your team is trying to improve, there's a good chance that they'll go after a 2B and an SS. Well -- not quite. Those will be among the first positions they'll go after. Those two. Will be among the first. (Out of nine.)

Singer then goes on to point out which teams have the longest-running DP tandems (Phils, Yanks), and which teams may in the future (Mariners). I have no idea how this bolsters his argument. I'm actually not sure what his argument is, but, whatever.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire's choice at second -- Brendan Harris (acquired from the Rays as part of the Delmon Young package), Nick Punto or Alexi Casilla -- will be influenced by how new shortstop Adam Everett relates to them.

"A lot of it is going to be about compatibility," Gardenhire said. "We're going to have to wait and see how it all plays out with those guys together."

Seems like sound reasoning, right? Forget how they handle the bat, or how good their defense is on the 97% of plays that don't result in double plays. (Please someone e-mail me to correct me on that number. I'm estimating.)

No. The most critical criteria on determining the starting 2B for the Minnesota Twins is, apparently: How does Adam Everett relate? Does Evy wanna hang? Can you drink brews with AE?? Or, slightly more fairly: How quickly will Adam Everett develop a nebulous unspoken understanding of where you're going to be on the diamond under different baseball circumstances?

It's a long way from Spring Training to developing the sixth sense displayed by keystone soul brothers.

Note that the length of this way is mostly dependent on the fact that humans are incapable of developing a sixth sense.

As the Phillies' Utley says of his vibes with Rollins, "We definitely feed off each other. It's a lot easier playing second with Jimmy over there. I always know where he's going to be."

Forgive Chase. You see, while playing college ball at UCLA, Utley's DP partner was 2B Jack Santora, who was prone to positioning himself under a desk in the press box while the other team was batting. Chase never knew where he was going to be because he simply couldn't see him.

No question, had Baryshnikov picked up baseball, he doubtlessly would have played either short or second. The positions aren't played as much as they are performed, acts of athletic choreography best seen and appreciated through an action-freezing camera lens.

I agree with you on that point, Tom Singer. One can not even question that, if Mikhail Barykhnikov had played baseball, he would have played either short or second. Doubtless. As you said. In the same sentence where you said "no question."

Come on spring training. We need you. Only a few days left until we hear that beautiful, booming voice over the stadium PA: "Now batting...number 13...performing second base...Asdrubal Cabrera."

Labels: , ,

posted by dak  # 4:32 PM
Reader Slade:

It should be noted that the most famous DP combo of all-time, Tinker to Evers to Chance, hated each other's guts during their playing days, with the feud not ending until the late 1930s.
And reader Joe, who I will call BioJoe, has some notes about the human body.

As a bored student with time to check these things out I thought I'd point out that humans are more than capable of developing a sixth sense contrary to your last blog. Senses are measure by us having a free standing sense organ to associated with it. Most of us have at least 9 but possibly up to 21 depending on who you ask and how you define a sense. The nine are: touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, thermoception (sense of heat), nociception (pain), equilibrioception (balance), and proprioception (movement). The possible extra senses to make 21 mostly require sub division of these 9.
And Kevin has data closest to what I was looking for, though I'm not really sure what the sample is (surely there were more than 399 DP's in all of baseball last year?):


TPA: 18861

DP: 399

2.12% of all plays.


Russell on DP%:

Of all plate appearances in 2007, 2.5% of them ended in a double play. Your guess of 97% was only half a percentage point off.

Of those double plays, btw, only a little more than half (51.6%) went either 463 or 643.

So, in reality, you're talking 1 play in about 80.

Someone wanna rebut the guy who said we have 21 senses? 'Cause that still seems wrong to me.
Aaron C. makes an interesting point:

I think something is missing in the analysis you and commenters give. Namely when talking about the effectiveness of DP combinations, you have to include more than just the 399 or whatever that were successful, but also think about the times that could have worked if only the 2B and SS loved each other more. When the 2Bman's heart really isn't in it, the runner can beat the throw to first. Or if the SS just has a terrible, terrible arm, a play that would be successful by, say, the Marlins, would fail by, say, the Yankees.

A guy who has almost the exact same name as a former Heisman trophy winner (you know who you are) writes:

I decided to double check Joe’s work. His percentage is close, but his number is off. There were 3983 GDPs in 2007. I came up with a 2.131% rate for GDP compared to plate appearances.

He attached a spreadsheet that seemed to prove his case.
Reader Keith also attached a spreadsheet, and took a different -- and now that I think about it, probably more accurate -- angle on the situation:

In the 2007 regular season, MLB second basemen had 19,591 total chances and 2,765 double plays, which means 14.11% of 2B chances involved a double play. For shortstops: 22,108 TC, 3,223 DP, 14.48%.
Patrick, please sort this mess out:

BioJoe merely subdivides the traditional five sense to get nine. Thermoception and nocicemption are sub-divisions of the sense of touch. If they were truly independent senses, the loss of the sense of touch would not result in a corresponding loss of ability to sense heat in pain. Similarly, equilibrioception synthesizes hearing, sight, and touch to percieve balance. Proprioception would be a component of sight, since it would be impossible to percieve the movement of objects one cannot see.
Post a Comment

<< Home


04.05   05.05   06.05   07.05   08.05   09.05   10.05   11.05   12.05   01.06   02.06   03.06   04.06   05.06   06.06   07.06   08.06   09.06   10.06   11.06   12.06   01.07   02.07   03.07   04.07   05.07   06.07   07.07   08.07   09.07   10.07   11.07   12.07   01.08   02.08   03.08   04.08   05.08   06.08   07.08   08.08   09.08   10.08   11.08  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?