I just crunched some numbers and data about various things that exist, using a scientific process verified by several mathematicians at top universities, and I came up with some interesting results.
Here are the five most boring things in the world, in order:
5. Slowed-down time-lapse photography of a small puddle of room-temperature water evaporating. 4. Two people you have never met, wearing identical colorless shirts and pants, talking about the dreams they had last night. 3. Debating what "Valuable" means w/r/t "Most Valuable Player." 2. Lying in a sensory deprivation tank and staring straight ahead at a blank wall while you listen to white noise. 1. Ann Coulter
So right away, we're on risky ground with articles like this one from SI.com's Jon Heyman -- it's the third most boring thing in the world, according to science. And beyond that, it's borderline hysterical in its boring and righteous anger:
Once again, VORP has nothing to do with MVP
Zero. There's a number the stat people will understand.
That's the relationship between VORP, the stat that the stat people love, and MVP.
Well, that's just not true.
If you hate the stat, you hate the stat. I'm not sure why you should hate a stat that uses a relatively sophisticated model to calculate not just how good a guy's stats are, but also what position he plays, and essentially evaluates how hard he is to replace (the true measure of "value," to me...oh God...I'm the third-most boring guy in the world right now). But if you hate it, you hate it. Not much I can do but keep posting on this blog.
You cannot, however, say that there is "zero" relationship between VORP and MVP. Because even if you choose to ignore it, it exists. Last year ARod won the MVP, and was 1st in baseball in VORP. Rollins, kind of a crummy pick, was at least top-10 (9th, actually, in the NL, behind several other more deserving candidates). People were generally happy with the choice of Ryan Howard in 2006...and it just so happens that he was 2nd in the NL in VORP, right behind Pujols. Morneau was a terrible choice, much-reviled and controversial...and he was 13th in the AL. I don't really remember anyone complaining about Pujols or ARod in 2005...and they were 2-3 in VORP in all of baseball. Only DLee was above Pujols in the NL, and if he had won, nobody would've been angry.
Keep looking at the list. The MVPs of the league are generally very high VORPulators, year-to-year. So it makes some sense that in order to predict who will win, or who should win, we can look at VORP. Right?
Baseball Prospectus, as of a few days ago, had Alex Rodriguez leading the AL in VORP (which stands for (Value Over Replacement Player) the stat its enthusiasts think is the best stat in the world to determine player value, and also the best to help determine who's the Most Valuable Player.
Maybe not "the best," but, you know, pretty effing good, I think. Better than batting average.
But as you can see, while VORP may tell you something, it shouldn't determine who wins the MVP award. Beyond containing two of the letters in MVP, there appears to be almost no relationship whatsoever here.
I happened [sic] to love A-Rod. He's turned himself into a very good third baseman (he's probably the best defender on the Yankees), he's a three-time MVP (though I don't believe he deserved it the year his Rangers finished last), he's the best all-around player in the game and he's not among the prime list of reasons for the Yankees' demise this year (though, there are plenty of Yankees officials who'd have him on that list).
Yet, A-Rod shouldn't sniff the MVP award this year.
I'm with you on this, for the record. Like every other bored American who is bored at the yearly debate over what boring ways we should boringly parse the boring term "Valuable," when there is no 100% obvious winner, like Barry Bonds the year he steroided .370/.582/.799 with 46 contes for a team that made the playoffs, I take the famous approach espoused by Supreme Court Justice Stewart in reference to pornography, who said, "I can't define exactly what pornography is, but oh lordy, this FMF pictorial has me hard as a diamond." In other words, given a number of players with roughly equal stats, there is a kind of gut-level instinct one uses to cast the tie-breaking vote. That could be: did the guy's team make the playoffs, and was he an important part of the stretch run? Did the guy happen to have a lot of hits in crucial situations? Did other players on his team go down with injuries, making his production even more important to his team? And perhaps most importantly, is this guy a SS or CF or C or something, meaning that his production from that position is even more valuable, given the paucity of high-production players at that position?
(In other words, in addition to whatever kind of gut-checking you want to do, you can look at VORP and WPA and stuff like that.)
For the record, again, ARod's WPA is barely above 0 this year -- 0.28. Look at Mauer's. Or Pedroia's. Or a bunch of other people's. He is not the MVP this year.
If devotees of VORP (I'm already on their bad side after calling them VORPies last year) think their stat is key to determining the MVP, they should think again. It's worth a glance, at best.
It's worth a glance at least. It's a measure of how valuable a player is, compared to other people at his position. What is the downside of looking at it very seriously?
But VORP is supposed to be an all-encompassing stat,
No it's not. Doesn't account for defense, and doesn't account for "clutch" the way WPA does. No one is arguing it is all-encompassing. No one. What people do argue, occasionally, is that if a guy isn't even in the like top 10 for VORP or something, like Justin Morneau that year, maybe he shouldn't be the MVP.
and it led some numbers people to determine that Hanley Ramirez was a viable NL MVP candidate last year. And led many to say that David Wright was the NL MVP in a year in which Wright's Mets choked (Wright himself says no way was he MVP).
1. HRam was, indeed, a viable candidate.
2. What is Wright supposed to say? "I know my team choked harder than any team in the history of sports, but: Me for MVP!"
3. I don't understand why people debate about whether a guy's team has to make the playoffs to win the MVP, and some say "yes" and some say "no," but when a guy's team just barely misses the playoffs at the last possible second, meaning that they were in the race the whole year, and the guy in question hit .352/.432/.602 in September with 6 HR and 9 2B, it's like, "No fucking way that guy is teh MVP!!1!!!!!111!!!"
VORP, like other stats, doesn't come close to telling you everything. It doesn't take into account how a hitter hits in the clutch (oddly enough, some stat people think that's just luck, anyway),
See above. Then see WPA page. Then remember that no one in the world with a brain thinks that the MVP award should be blindly handed out to the guy with the best VORP.
As for "clutch" "just being luck," what we actually think is that it's very hard to be "clutch" year in and year out. (For example, ARod's WPA last year was 6.85. This year it's 0.28. Two excellent offensive years, two wildly different "clutch" results.)
or how many meaningful games he played in (at last count Grady Sizemore was high up on the VORP list, as well). VORP has some value. But like all other stats, it doesn't replace watching the games or following the season.
I have never watched a baseball game, so I can't speak to this. I'm not even sure what it is. What I can tell you is: watch live baseball all you want. I'll be in my grandmother's attic (following a legal dispute over squatter's rights with my mom w/r/t her basement), staring at my computer, looking at a little thing I like to call "data." That's all I care about. Data. Raw data. Baseball is good for one thing only: the production of data. That's what I believe. If I and my friends had it my way, the games wouldn't even be "played," but rather "simulated" by 1000 PCs, and the results would be downloaded directly into my brain through Optical Quanta Resonance (OQR), and instead of "discussing" the games the next day, my friends and I would just await the Retinal Scans and then text each other brief congratulations, depending on whose favorite "team" won, and then we would all go on with our lives, grateful that the annoyance of actual "baseball" had been removed from our lives, allowing us to spend more time writing code for our start-up social network site, which we are I think going to call "Together-ing!"
A-Rod may have the best VORP. But he shouldn't be on anyone's MVP ballot, much less at the top of the ballot.
Jason Bartlett was voted MVP of the Tampa Bay Rays by the Tampa Bay chapter of the BBWAA.
I know, I know, he's supposed to be a very good defender. But let me say some things about Jason Bartlett: He's missed like 30 games this year; he's hit three fewer home runs this year than Carlos Zambrano; he's 8th on his own team in VORP; and he plays on the same team as Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, and B.J. Upton.
I just want to announce here on this blog, that if any baseball analyst of any kind tells me that "you really have to watch Jason Bartlett play every day to understand how much he means to this team," and that same analyst is found drowned at the bottom of my hot tub the next morning, and I am found standing upon that corpse, in the hot tub, wearing my trunks and a hoodie and just relaxing and smoking a joint, and maybe ordering a pizza or something, and instructing the delivery guy to come in through the gate because I'm in the back standing on a body in my hot tub -- if all of that happens, I would really appreciate if someone could meet me outside, by my hot tub, and float me a few dollars for the pizza, because I will be in no mood to get off of that corpse, or get out of the hot tub for that matter, and plus I will probably have forgotten to bring some money out to the hot tub with me.
Ned Colletti Should Be Time Magazine's Person Of The Millennium
I know it's early, but I don't think it's too early to make that call. After all, the Dodgers have a winning percentage of .517. Think about it. 51.7% of the time, the boys in blue have vanquished their opponents and bathed in their blood. If you ask Bruce Jenkins, for this Colletti deserves nothing less than the Executive of the Year Award. If you ask me, we should stop kidding ourselves and just give Colletti the MVP, the Cy Young, the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and the Latin Grammy for Record of the Year.
General manager Ned Colletti, belittled all season for the signings of Jones, Pierre, Jason Schmidt, Rafael Furcal (who may yet return to play shortstop), Hideki [sic] Kuroda and Nomar Garciaparra, is now a candidate for Executive of the Year after picking up Ramirez, Casey Blake and Greg Maddux for a pittance.
1. Hiroki Kuroda is a pitcher for the Dodgers. Hideki Kuroda is the associate producer of Eko eko azaraku: B-page and Eko eko azaraku: R-page as well as the one of the directors of Inu no eiga (All About My Dog), the delightful 2005 comedy feature. (According to IMDb user chrischew2: "It loosely follows Kentaro Yamada (Shidou Nakamura), a timid media planner whose latest campaign for dog food is so stifling—not to mention utterly side-splitting—that it brings back memories of his childhood Shiba dog, Pochi. And weaved between this heart-warming tale are bursts of zaniness, from a spontaneous musical or a mockumetary to a dog's-eye-view of infatuation.")
Totally understand the mix-up, though. They get it a lot.
2. Here is a list of teams with winning percentages greater than that of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball organization:
Tampa Bay Rays Boston Red Sox Toronto Blue Jays New York Yankees Chicago White Sox Minnesota Twins Los Angeles Angels New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Chicago Cubs Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Yes, the Los Angeles Collettis are tied for the 14th-best record in baseball. The Florida Marlins also sit at 77-72, but keep in mind that Marlins GM Michael Hill had the luxury of a $22,650,000 payroll, whereas Ned had to make to with just $118,188,536. Juggling the egos of guys who make more than the entire Marlins pitching staff isn't easy!
The great thing about the Dodgers is that their biggest problem - the oppressive weight of clubhouse discord - seemed to disappear overnight.
In Bruce Jenkins' world, there exists one Universal Baseball Law:
The significance of the oppressive weight of clubhouse discord >> The significance of hitting
Jenkins' sentence is actually spot-on, if you'll allow me to adjust the wording slightly.
The great thing about the Dodgers is that their biggest problem - their complete inability to hit for power - seemed to disappear overnight when they got a guy who could hit for power.
There. It's the best sentence Jenkins and I have ever co-written!
Of course Colletti gambled on Manny -- you're getting fired if you do nothing, so you might as well pay the price in talent (no one the greater Los Angeles area seemed to place any value on the next six or whatever years of Andy LaRoche) to acquire a rent-a-player in a desperate Hail Mary attempt to save your job. And hey. Look. It worked. That was easy.
Jeff Kent, forever disapproving of the club's petulant youth, was lost to a knee injury (it has to be more than coincidental that the Dodgers won 10 of their first 11 games in his absence).
It has to be more than coincidence -- we thus have conclusive evidence that Jeff Kent was poisoning his teammates just like that mom in the Sixth Sense did to the little kid version of Mischa Barton.
Jeff Kent -- tragic sufferer of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Torre put financial issues aside, benched Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones, and stabilized the outfield - for now and years to come - with Ethier and Matt Kemp.
Somehow, the fact of the existence of Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones on the payroll and the fact that it required one hundred-some-odd games and the addition of a Hall of Fame outfielder to compel Torre to bench Messrs. Pierre and Jones are now points in Colletti's and Torre's favor? This is the equivalent of two gardeners driving to your house, digging a twenty-foot hole in your front yard with a backhoe, buying two bags of sand, pouring the bags into the hole, and then getting lavished with praise for the sand part of the whole operation.
Arizona's problem isn't so much the standings. That deficit could disappear in a week.
Well, actually, the standings are a huge problem for Arizona. They're 4.5 back with 14 to play. That's an enormous deficit. Of course it could "disappear in a week," but that's incredibly unlikely. BP has them at 2.05397% to win the division. That sounds like a problem to me.
It's the club's desultory reaction to a crisis. Virtually all of the fire and inspiration from last year's team - Eric Byrnes, Jose Valverde, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Quentin when healthy - has vanished.
You heard it here first: the reason Brandon Webb and Dan Haren pitched four shockingly, horrifyingly grotesque abominations of games against the Dodgers was the absence of Eric Byrnes and Eric Byrnes' Motivational Hair™.
Eric Byrnes' Motivational Hair™, winning division races since 2007.
In Ramirez's first 40 games, the Dodgers had a run differential of plus-22 and averaged 4.55 runs per game, as opposed to 4.43 through July 31....It's hard to talk about the MVP Award for Manny when the team that paid the Dodgers to take Ramirez is 27-13 without him through Sunday and have seen their runs per game increase from 4.94 at the time of the deal to 6.22 since.
When I tell you people that the reason we haven't posted more is because we haven't found that many good articles, I'm not kidding. We thank you for the links you send in, but more often than not they are little snippets instead of whole chunks of good ol' fashioned goofballness. We prefer the latter. However, in the spirit of...something...here's this weekend's Trite Snippet of Bonedumbiness:
Fox Saturday Blechball (that's the Mad Magazine parody of "baseball"). DBacks/Dodgers. Your announcers are Mark Grace and Josh Lewin. Your hitter is David Eckstein. Commence blechitude:
Lewin: David Eckstein jumps away from [an inside pitch]. He's been kind of a World Series Good Luck Charm himself. He's been there and made a difference with teams with red in their color scheme before, with the Angels and the Cardinals.
Grace: It's hard to win multiple rings, but Eckstein has done that.
All by himself, is the insinuation.
He's just a...he's a guy that just...everything he does just helps you win baseball games.
Except for hitting and fielding.
He's not flashy. Just a tough, scrappy out.
Lewin: A couple years ago, Sports Illustrated polled major leaguers, they asked, "Who gets the most out of the least?" And the runaway winner of that question -- 62% of the players -- said it's this guy, David Eckstein.
Grace: He just finds a way. He's smart. And you don't say that about too many ballplayers. [brief interlude, joking about how Mark Grace is a "genius."] But this is a smart ballplayer, he knows, he studies -- he knows his opponent. Great work ethic.
[wild pitch sends the runner to third with 2 down]
Lewin: We talked about Eckstein, who is listed as being 5'8".
Whoa whoa whoa whoa. It's my understanding that he is 5'7", 165. This I know to be true in the same way that I know the sun rises in the East. Now you're telling me that he's 5'8"??????
He cops to being 5'6".
[KT's brain melts]
And Mike Scoscia has said "5'3" of that is probably heart."
If this is true, it's a serious medical condition, and he should not be exerting himself.
The tone and content are so over-the-top fawning that I initially thought it was satirical. After all, Simers has been critical of the Dodgers' front office -- and in this same wry manner -- before. So, read and enjoy with this warning: the joke may be on you. Yes, you, not me. I am infallible. Plus, as is always our preference here at FJM, we like to take everything at face value, because then we have more ways to avoid working at our real jobs.
One way or the other, you have to love the headline:
It's a no-brainer, Dodgers' Ned Colletti is baseball's best general manager
No. No, he is not.
And furthermore, hypothetically serious-and-not-satirical L.A. Times: you think it's a "no-brainer?!" You not only think that Ned Coletti is baseball's best general manager, you think the fact that Ned Coletti is baseball's best manager is a no-fucking-brainer?!!?!?!?!?1/1/11/
(Man, I hope this isn't a parody. Because I am already borderline-hysterical, and we're only at the headline.)
I guess when you make a completely unsupportable, borderline-sociopathic claim, your only real move is to launch immediately into an over-the-top support of it. Like when you say that living relatively close to an uninhabited part of Russia not only means something, it makes you good at foreign policy. (One admires the chutzpah, even while one is offended at the notion that someone thought that would work.)
Who says the Dodgers' decision-maker is out of his league?
Me! Me! Over here! I do!
With the acquisitions of Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake, he's fooled the rest of the National League.
I'm going to go ahead and short-circuit this whole line of reasoning right off the top. These were both fine deadline-pick-ups. But the Red Sox were the very definition of desperate. Even when offering to pay the man's entire salary, there were only two teams interested in Manny -- L.A. and Florida, and Florida apparently wanted not the $7m left on his contract, but in fact $9m, the extra $2m ostensibly to sign the draft pick(s) they would get when they offered Manny arbitration at the end of the year, he declined, and they got the compensation pick. Demanding extra cash, on top of the 100% subsidy you are being offered to have one of the greatest RHH in a generation come play for you, seems like the MLB version of extortion to me.
Anyway, the point is, the Dodgers -- on July 31 at like 3:01 PM -- were the only game in town. Now, Coletti deserves credit for being that game, but it's not like he picked up some scrub from the scrap heap because he believed in him, and now that guy is awesome. He traded a few guys for Manny Ramirez. Who's leaving at the end of the year. And yes, it has certainly energized this city, but again...the team is under .500 since the trade.
As for Blake, when he was acquired he had an .830 OPS. He now has an .826 OPS. He had a .303 OBP in August. He's 35.
Sat down with Ned Colletti before Tuesday's Dodgers game to discuss the details of his acceptance speech once he's officially named Major League Baseball's executive of the year."Huh?" said Colletti,
The correct response.
and now you know why he needs a speech writer.
And better Assistant GMs.
It's over, of course, the Dodgers playing minor league outfits now, and a lock to win the division title on the strength of Colletti's wizardry-- Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
The Dodgers are 69-70. A game and a half back of Arizona. They are 15-16 since the trades. They recently lost like 8 in a row. And they're "a lock" to win the division? A fucking "lock?"
"Help me out here, Manny," Colletti shouted, while trying to divert attention from his genius.
Hang on. Is this a satire? I suddenly think this is a satire again. Hang on -- I have to go read it again to see if Simers is punking me.
I don't know. Too close to call. I'm going to keep on keepin' on, becuase I'm in too deep now.
"What do you need?" said Ramirez, later hitting his 10th homer as a Dodger.
"Don't you think Ned is baseball's executive of the year?" I asked.
"Yeah," Ramirez said, "for having me here for free."
Andruw Jones Juan Pierre Nomar Garciaparra Jason Schmidt Chan Ho Park
2 months of Manny Ramirez.
The team is under .500.
CAN'T REALLY call it the resurrection, because while he's good, he's not that good. But as GMs go, Colletti looked like a goner before Blake and Ramirez arrived.
"I didn't feel it," Colletti said, and as a general rule -- dead men don't feel anything.
The team has been almost exactly as mediocre since the trades. 15-16. 69-70.
Desperate times, desperate measures and Colletti improved the Dodgers without it costing the owner a penny. That makes him the best GM in baseball in the minds of most owners.
The Red Sox are currently starting home-grown players at first, second, third, and CF. Their best pitcher is home-grown, as is their closer who is top-3 in baseball. Their 6th inning guy is home-grown, their 7th-inning guy is home-grown, their spot-starter is home-grown. They've suffered significant injuries to Ortiz, Drew, Schilling, Lowell, and Beckett, and they're going to make the playoffs again, probably, for the fifth time in six years.
Theo Epstein < style="font-weight: bold;">"Do you think there are other teams out there saying, 'Ned's desperate, let's help Ned out?' " Colletti said, while proving the point, I guess, that he's just smarter than all the other GMs in somehow stealing Ramirez and Blake. No doubt, he fooled them all. Oldest trick in the book, too, luring your opponents to sleep, which explains why early on he signed Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre -- everyone figuring the Dodgers were finished with such a cast of misfits.
Okay, so this is obviously sarcastic. I honestly don't know what to think. Is he saying that Colletti is still a bonehead and that we should all remember how many bad choices he made, and that they shouldn't be whitewashed by the recent, more successful additions? Or is he saying that yes, the guy was a bonehead before, but now he is awesome and should be Executive of the Year, for realskies?
Then the Dodgers passed on David Eckstein, on the recommendation of scouts, Colletti said, even though the Dodgers needed a second baseman. Whatever it takes to make Arizona overconfident.
Again, he's being sarcastic, but I would argue that passing on Eckstein should automatically make someone Executive of the Year, just for having the guts to expose himself to what will surely be intense media hatred.
The Dodgers even allowed Arizona to claim him, another genius move by Colletti, the Diamondbacks probably thinking now they have added just the right missing piece to the puzzle. So how come they got drilled by St. Louis Tuesday night?
I'm so fucking confused.
Now he is saying that Colletti was smart to pass on Eckstein, because AZ...lost...with Eckstein...on Tuesday?
Maybe I'm just not that smart. But that's hard to believe, since I live fairly close to Stanford University, so I must be intelligent.
So many things go into the making of baseball's executive of the year, one day kids everywhere hoping to be just as cunning and famous as the Schmoozer, the former Cubs' PR guy who went on to become the great GM of the Dodgers.
"Stop the madness," Colletti said.
"It's over; Dodgers win the division," I said.
"We just lost eight straight," Colletti said.
WTF is going on? Colletti is the voice of reason? Or Simers is baiting him to his face? Or both?
And the Diamondbacks, who have 14 games remaining against challenging opponents to the Dodgers' six, completely fell for the feint. "Stop it," said Colletti, "it's not over."
Sincere again, somehow. This article is a sincerity Rorschach test.
Like an Academy Award nominee, I'm sure, he doesn't want to think about the baseball award until he actually hears his name called.
"I'm done winning awards," said Colletti, and you can just imagine how cluttered his office and home must be with all the awards won over the years.
The final blow to my sanity. This reads like a slam, but a quick glance assures us that Colletti has, indeed, won many awards.
I give up. I can't analyze baseball journalism anymore. I need to change careers. Oh -- I know: I live close to the Pacific Ocean, so that means I am a World Class marine biologist. I'll just focus on that, then.
It's T.J. Simers, he makes a living off of satirically making fun of people. His nickname for the McCourts are "The Parking Lot Attendant" and "The Screaming Meanie". The article was 100% making fun of Colletti to his face.
Big ups to Simers.
I think this is how I feel, too, now...though it's so weirdly presented.