Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Theo Epstein threw a chair when the Red Sox didn't sign Contreras."

Theo Epstein did not throw a chair when Jose Contreras signed with the Yankees instead of the Red Sox. This is an urban legend, explained by SoSHer mt8thsw9th in this post from the SoSH thread that was started when the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Sinkerballers pitch better if they're tired."

Not according to longtime sinkerballer Derek Lowe, who was asked about this in this interview about pitching in 2004 ALCS Game 7 on two days rest.

Q: Did pitching on two days of rest help your sinker?

Lowe: I don’t believe in that. I would much rather pitch at full strength. You still need your legs under you, and you still need your arm in the right arm slot. If you get too tired, your ball doesn’t move anymore. I promise you. They should do that on the show Myth Busters, because it’s not true.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Liberal media bias

A conservative's insinuations of liberal media bias are very similar to a sports fan's insinuations that any official or national announcer is biased against the fan's team.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Brian Cashman says he's not interested in (player X)".

If Brian Cashman says he's not interested in a player, it means nothing.

In December 2008, John Henry announced that the Red Sox were dropping out from signing Mark "Barbaro" Teixeira because a team had outbid the Red Sox. Brian Cashman was asked about it and responded, "Not us". Shortly after, Teixeira signed with the Yankees.

On 1/13/11, six days after saying, "I will not lose our number one draft pick. I would have for Cliff Lee. I won't lose our number one draft pick for anyone else.", the Yankees signed type A free agent Rafael Soriano, costing the Yankees a #1 draft pick. Granted, in this case the Yankees signed the player against Cashman's wishes.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

''We don't throw at .260 hitters!''

It has often been said that after Bronson Arroyo hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch that resulted in the famous 7/24/04 Red Sox/Yankees brawl, Jason Varitek told A-Rod, "We don't throw at .260 hitters." According to Varitek, this is an urban legend.
One question remains, however: Did Varitek, as rumor has it, spit out a Bartlett's-style insult at Rodriguez? Did he say, ''We don't throw at .260 hitters''?

''That's ridiculous,'' said Varitek, sitting at his locker before a recent game. ''I'm not that smart to come up with such a clever line in the heat of battle. I knew Arroyo didn't hit him on purpose, and I just told him to get along to first base.''

Sunday, March 21, 2010

“Why should the rich pay a higher percentage of taxes?” or “We should have a flat tax.”

Note: If you weren’t linked specifically to this post and you don’t want to deal with V&N material (politics, for non-SoSHers who don't know what "V&N" is), by all means feel free to skip this post and check out the rest of the blog’s counterarguments.

I’m a fiscal liberal who feels the rich should pay a higher percentage in taxes than the poor or middle class.

When the country has a deficit, it’s not rocket science to figure out which income bracket has the most potential to pay to reduce the deficit. The more money that gets paid in taxes, the more money that can be paid against the deficit even though I’m well aware it’s not dollar for dollar. Whom better to get the money from than the people who have the most of it?

In a flat tax, the rich don’t pay the same percentage of taxes as the poor because of tax loopholes. To use an extreme example for the sake of supporting my point, a married childless couple making $1,000,000 a year combined is likely to have a lot more money invested in tax-deferred and/or municipal investments than a widowed parent of 4 making $19,000 a year.

Even if a rich married childless couple doesn't invest in tax-deferred and/or municipal investments, 20% of $1,000,000 a year means a lot less to that couple than the same 20% of $19,000 a year means to the widowed parent of 4. Even though the rich couple would pay a higher flat amount, after taxes are paid it’s a lot easier to live on $800,000 a year as a married childless couple than it is to live on $15,200 a year as a widowed parent of 4.

Most fiscal conservatives will say having the rich pay a higher percentage of taxes is punishing people for being rich. Besides what I’ve already said, my response is that although you can’t please everyone, in my opinion having the rich pay a higher percentage of taxes has the most positive effect on the most people overall.

For those who feel I’m not qualified to talk about this subject because I’m no expert in finance or economics, feel free to read this from Warren Buffett.

For those who are curious, although I’m living comfortably I don’t make 6 figures. I can honestly say that if I did make 6 figures I’d be willing to pay a higher percentage in taxes and vote in that manner, primarily because of the impact it could make towards worthy causes if the higher percentage was applied to everyone in my income bracket.

If you’re fiscally conservative, I don’t expect this post or Warren Buffett to change your mind. I’m simply explaining why I feel the way I do. The argument has been discussed to death in V&N, and I don’t feel it’s best to revisit it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"How did you first hear about SoSH?" or "Why did you choose the 'sfip' username?"

This entry isn't a counterargument like most of these entries, but it's a response to 2 questions I've frequently been asked.

I started chatting on the Boston Herald's Red Sox forum site late in the 2002 baseball season. I used to post there as "soxfaninphilly" since I figured the latter part of that would be unique on the site. The problem was that you had to type out your username every time you posted. Eventually I got lazy and typed the acronym "sfip" each time.

When I had the longer username, someone posted to me that he/she thought I posted on Sons of Sam Horn, which I hadn't heard of at the time. Looking back, I don't know if the person thought I was philly sox fan or if there was some other reason. Regardless, the Herald's Sox forum site went down in early 2003. I wanted to find another site where I could talk about the Red Sox with other Sox fans, especially since there weren't many Sox fans for me to talk to in the Philly area. Remembering that someone asked me if I post on Sons of Sam Horn, I checked out SoSH. When I decided to join and it was time to choose a username, I simply and lazily took my "sfip" username from the Herald site and stuck with it. Unfortunately I didn't know about philly sox fan at the time, which made it look like I copied my username from his.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"If the Sox think (newly acquired player) will be their savior, they're in big trouble!"

Just because the Sox acquired a new player doesn't mean they think that player alone is going to take them to the promised land. It means they think they'll be a better franchise for acquiring this player than they were without him.

Sometimes an acquisition is to build depth, like a utility player who doesn't hit well but plays many positions. Or like a pitcher who can give them competent (not necessarily outstanding) innings the rest of the team won't have to pitch (ex. Paul Byrd for starting pitching depth in '08 and '09. Both times there were SoSHers who posted something to the effect of the title of this blog entry, as if the Sox thought Byrd would be a top of the line starter). Or a player who can hit LHP in place of someone in the lineup who doesn't hit well vs. LHP.

Curt Leskanic wasn't acquired in '04 to be a savior, but he helped keep the Sox alive in '04 ALCS Game 4 when the rest of the bullpen was excessively used. Bobby Kielty wasn't acquired in '07 to be a savior, but he helped the Sox win the World Series clincher.

Sometimes an acquisition is for payroll flexibility, in dollars and/or years (ex. the Sox sign player A for 1 year/$4.5 million when better player B is 34 and would have cost 4 years/$45 million).

There are too many possible reasons to think of for one blog entry (ex. trade value, draft pick compensation, etc.), but the point is that it takes many transactions in general to build a team that has a chance to win a championship, not just one acquisition.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"What's the joke with Buck Showalter?"

This entry isn't a counterargument like most of these entries, but it's a response to a question I've been asked a handful of times.

After the Yankees won either Game 2 or 3 (I forget which) of the 2004 ALCS, SoSHer Buck Showalter posted on SoSH that he couldn't take the pain anymore and that he couldn't continue to root for the Red Sox. Mr. Weebles, showing a rare display of compassion, responded with a serious and supportive post telling Buck to hang in there and not give up.

To try to lighten up the situation, I posted, "Let him go, Weebs! Every time Buck Showalter leaves a team, the team ends up winning the World Series." For those who don't know, the real Buck Showalter left as manager of the Yankees in 1995 and as manager of the Diamondbacks in 2000. Both teams won the World Series the following year.

SoSHer Buck Showalter responded with a ROFL emoticon. This was his last post on SoSH until shortly after the Red Sox came all the way back and won the World Series that year.

I wish I could link to the aforementioned posts, but unfortunately the posts were deleted by the ezboard crash.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Starting pitcher's W-L record or winning percentage

It's virtually worthless to show how good or bad a starting pitcher* is by showing his W-L record or winning percentage. These statistics are too dependent on the rest of the team.

*Note: This is true for all pitchers as opposed to just starting pitchers, but most people seem to know not to use this for relievers. Also, most relievers don't accumulate enough wins or losses in a season for someone to want to use their W-L record.

A major factor in a starting pitcher's W-L record is how much run support he gets from his team. This is completely out of his control if he's not batting, and most pitchers don't hit well enough to be a major factor of run support even when they are batting.

Unless a starting pitcher pitches a lot of complete games, which is very rare in this day and age, the other reason a pitcher's W-L record is virtually worthless is his bullpen. Bullpens can blow a starter's leads and cost him wins. Or if a starting pitcher leaves with a lead after just 5-6 innings, bullpens have to do the work for at least 1/3 of the game to preserve a win.

I'll give you a couple of extreme examples. A starting pitcher could pitch a complete game and give up 1 run (even an unearned run), but lose 1-0. A starting pitcher could pitch a crappy outing, but a good bullpen and a lot of runs from his hitters can bail him out from a loss. He could even get a win in that situation if he pitches at least 5 innings.

You could also make an argument that a pitcher's defense behind him is another reason not to use W-L record. I wouldn't use that argument because defense also affects stats that are a lot more relevant for a starting pitcher like ERA, ERA+ or opponents' AVG and SLG.

As I have often said, I'm no sabermetrician. If you're looking for more advanced stats like VORP, I'm not your guy. However, this means any casual fan can understand the stats I use to show how good a starting pitcher is, like:

  • ERA
  • ERA+. If you're not familiar with ERA+, it's park-adjusted and it's rated the same way a person's IQ is. 100 is average, > 100 is above average and < 100 is below average.
  • Opponents' AVG/OBP/SLG
  • IP, H, BB, K

If you've seen this post before, you already know why I don't use ERA or ERA+ for middle relievers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Why is SoSH only showing 1 post of a thread and a list of posts below it?"

If SoSH is only showing the first post of a thread while the bottom says, "Posts in this topic" and shows a list of who has posted in the thread but isn't showing the material from those posts, do the following:

  1. Click on the "Options" dropdown, which is at the right side of the thread topic.
  2. Select "Switch to Standard".

Your SoSH should be fixed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

6-man rotation

The problems with using a 6-man rotation include:

  1. The best pitchers pitch fewer starts, in exchange for starts by a pitcher who isn't as good as the other pitchers in the rotation.
  2. A 6-man rotation knocks pitchers off their throwing routine/schedule. Off days could cause weeklong waits between starts, or even more days between starts for some pitchers to keep other pitchers on normal days rest.
  3. A 6-man rotation causes more wear and tear on the bullpen because there's one less reliever to pitch innings. This means that in addition to reducing starts from your best starter, you're forcing some of the worst pitchers on the team (the middle relievers) to pitch more innings. If instead you carry the same amount of relievers, a 6-man rotation causes less depth on the bench because of one less position player. Note: this issue of depth doesn't make as much of a difference during the regular season after September 1st when major-league rosters expand to 40.
  4. A 6-man rotation causes an artificial demand for a starter. Starting pitching is one of the toughest areas to acquire depth on your team. If a starter gets injured or if there's a doubleheader because of a rainout earlier in the season, you need more depth on the team to have a 7th man make a spot start to keep the others on schedule than to have a 6th man make a spot start in a 5-man rotation. If your counter to that is to go to a 5-man rotation when a starter of a 6-man rotation gets injured, you're causing another example of the first sentence of reason #2.
  5. Starting pitchers would likely be less willing to sign incentive-laden clauses if they know they're going to a team with a 6-man rotation because they would know it would be tougher to hit incentives such as innings pitched or games played. Signing players with incentive-laden clauses allows more payroll flexibility when players get hurt.
Even if you put one starter on a normal rotation and the others on an extra day of rest by using a hybrid rotation of 1234516234156231..., most of the reasons I have listed will still be factors.

Yes, I understand the potential benefits of an extra day of rest. Yes, I know Dice-K pitched on 6-man rotations in Japan. Most pitchers aren't used to a 6-man rotation. The cons still outweigh the pros.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Posting on SoSH about Shaughnessy's articles

There's no reason for Red Sox fans to take articles by Dan Shaughnessy, a.k.a. CHB, and post about them on SoSH. There's no reason to even read his articles. Too many Red Sox fans not only read his articles, but post about them on SoSH to complain about something he writes.

Here's a little secret if you're a Red Sox fan. Getting angry after reading his article is exactly what he wants. He's a heel writer whose job is to bait you, push your buttons, get under the skin of Red Sox fans, get people to talk about him and give his material publicity. He does this in different ways:
  • Makes intentionally unreasonable statements. Example: When Pedro was still with the Sox and wasn't getting a lot of run support and/or had his bullpen blow his leads, CHB once said, "You want to win a game for the Red Sox? Pitch a complete game shutout". If you don't know that CHB was well aware Pedro wasn't going to pitch a complete game shutout every time Pedro pitched, you simply took CHB's bait.
  • Writes something that could give the impression his article is going to do something harmful for the Red Sox. Example: When the Red Sox used him to bash Theo when it looked like Theo was going to leave the Red Sox in 2005. This intentionally pissed off many Sox fans into thinking the article would destroy any chances of Theo Epstein re-signing. It also kept CHB in good terms with the Red Sox ownership by playing bad cop for them. Just when you thought that last part was only Lucchino's job. [/insert your own emoticon]
You'll notice I'm giving old examples. This is because it's been a long time since I've read his articles. Reading his articles won't keep you any more informed than not reading them. "But the Globe puts his articles to the forefront", you might say. The Globe has plenty of other information about the Red Sox without CHB's articles. So does SoSH, rotoworld and other sports sites, whether or not you like the Herald. Usually a Globe article online shows CHB's name before you click on the link. Occasionally it doesn't. If you click on one of his links accidentally, you're much better off hitting the "<-" button on your browser than reading another word.

Let's say temptation gets the best of you and you continue to read his articles, even though every click on his articles is another hit for the site for which he could take credit. If you know he's baiting you and using any means to generate publicity, why would you talk on SoSH about his articles and give him more publicity? You're only doing him a favor.

Same thing if you write to him. The Globe wants people writing to CHB. Heck, CHB wants people writing to him. If it's angry, all the better for him. That's his job.

If you continue to read his articles because you don't believe me that it's better to ignore his articles, try for a week or two to review each CHB article when you're done reading it and conclude: 1) what you're better off knowing for reading that article and 2) what either pissed you off or what was intentionally written to piss you off in some way, shape or form. Chances are #2 will consistently outnumber #1.

I know writing this blog entry is ironically generating publicity for him. If giving him a little publicity this way costs him more publicity in the long run, I'd say it's well worth it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

"How do you pronounce 'SoSH'?"

The question of how to pronounce "SoSH" has been disputed on SoSH over the years possibly more than any other question, even more often than who would win a fight between a bear and a shark. Where better to answer the most disputed question in SoSH history than a reference site of counterarguments to arguments that have been posted numerous times on SoSH?

If you look at how words spelled similarly to "SoSH" are pronounced, the commonality is obvious.

  • bosh
  • gosh
  • josh, or Josh as a nickname for Joshua
  • kibosh
  • Macintosh/McIntosh
  • mosh
  • nosh
  • posh
  • sloshed
  • tosh
The main argument used by the misled who pronounce SoSH with a long o is that unlike the words I just posted, SoSH is an acronym like "OSHA". Anyone who uses this argument can take a look at these acronyms:

SOT
In production, a sound bite is known elsewhere as "SOT" -- which stands for "sound on tape" (no, nobody uses tape anymore) and pronounced as if it was a habitual drunk.
SOQ
SOQ (pronounced "sock"): Short for standard outcue, or the words a news reporter says at the end of a report
Apple SOS, which used a correct pronunciation to create a pun.
Apple SOS, or "Sophisticated Operating System", pronounced "Apple Sauce"
SoS
Scum Of Society
Short form, SoS, pronounced Sauce.
Here's something else to think about if you're still skeptical. What common interest brought people to Sons of Sam Horn in the first place? You don't pronounce the answer to that question, "The Red Soaks". That doesn't even work for people who use the acronym excuse.

SoX
Serenity of X (SoX - pronounced just like "socks")
In conclusion, the correct way to pronounce "SoSH" can be answered by using either or both of my two former avatars below.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"The Sox should bid on (player X) to raise the price for the Yankees to get him."

It's not best for the Red Sox to raise the price on a free agent whom the Yankees are going to get to make the Yankees pay a higher price for the player. Doing this would hurt the Red Sox because agents of future players will use these players as comps. For example, it's not a coincidence that the Yankees' first offer to Sabathia was a little higher than what Santana got with the Mets. We don't want that to happen with future players the Red Sox want when the Yankees are either out of the picture or not interested. The main, if not the only, example of when the Yankees are out of the picture for a potentially expensive free agent is when the Red Sox are going for one who plays a position the Yankees already have filled, like when the Red Sox signed J.D. Drew while the Yankees already had Cabrera and Damon for CF and Abreu for RF.

12/09 edit: When the Red Sox signed John Lackey during the 2009-10 offseason, his agent used A.J. Burnett's contract as a comp. Had the Red Sox driven up the price of Burnett during the 2008-09 offseason, it likely would have cost the Red Sox more to sign Lackey.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Al Gore said he invented the internet."

I still see my share of times, and not just in Views & News, when people post about the internet that Al Gore said he invented. If you see someone post this, or if you hear someone tell you this, you can refer that person to this from snopes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"The Red Sox should pursue (Scott Boras free agent) early!"

It is never best to pursue a Scott Boras free agent early. The earlier a team pursues a Boras free agent, the higher Boras' demands are. Boras will always start with a demand of ridiculously high money for ridiculously many years for one of his free agents. If you want the Sox to sign a Boras free agent, it's best for the Sox to wait for Boras to reduce his demands. Boras reduces his demands at a snail's pace, so this wait requires a lot of patience.

Another reason not to pursue a Boras free agent early is because of what happens if that early pursuit includes making an early offer. The earlier the Sox make an offer to a Boras free agent, the earlier Boras negotiates that offer with other teams to get higher offers from other teams.

I know these first two paragraphs might look like they contradict each other, but they don't. For example, suppose Boras demands 8 years for $25 million a year to sign his free agent who you feel is worth 5 years for $16 million a year. Now suppose the Sox pursue early and make an early offer because they want Boras to give in. Let's even say it's a generous offer of 6 years for $20 million a year. Now he can go to other teams and try to get teams to top it. If at least one team tops it and the Sox still want to sign the player, now the Sox have to beat that higher offer to do so. Then Boras can continue to work teams against each other to raise the price and/or years.

On the other hand, suppose the Sox wait for Boras to lower his demands for that player. Boras won't have as much* success working teams against each other because he'll have less and/or lower offers to work with. Eventually, and I can't emphasize enough that it requires a lot of patience, the Sox will be more likely to* be able to sign the player for less money and/or years than if they pursue him early.

*Please do not misinterpret these sentences as though the words in red aren't included. I'm not saying that waiting means the Sox will be able to sign a Boras free agent without drastically overpaying or that they'll sign him at all. I'm only saying that waiting improves their chances. Usually I don't get my hopes up about signing a Boras free agent at all because of 1) this and/or 2) whoever signs a Boras free agent will likely overpay in both money and years to do so, regardless of how that team approaches its efforts to sign him.

Before you decide the Sox should sign free agent X...

Before you decide that the Sox need to sign any free agent, one of the many issues you have to remember is the Yankees. If the Yankees have a need, an interest and a spot available for a free agent to get a lot of playing time, chances are that free agent won't be signing with the Red Sox. Steinbrenner simply will not let the Red Sox outbid the Yankees for a free agent both teams want.

"But what if the Sox offer $X million for him?", you might ask. The answer is that Steinbrenner will offer more. Whether it's a starting pitcher whom any team would want if money weren't an issue, or whether it's a position player of a position both the Yankees and Red Sox need to fill (examples: Damon for CF in the '05-'06 offseason, A-Rod for 3B in the '07-'08 offseason), the Red Sox won't offer more than the Yankees if the Yankees want that player.

Some potential examples for the 2008-9 offseason:
Sabathia
Teixeira (if you're under the impression that Lowell won't be healthy enough for the Sox in '09 and you want Youkilis to play 3B)

I'm not saying these 2 players will definitely be Yankees, as opposed to Vladimir Guerrero or Carlos Beltran when they signed longterm contracts with other teams. I'm saying they won't sign with the Red Sox if the Yankees want either or even both of these players. Steinbrenner has already made it clear that he's more willing to let a valuable free agent go to another team than he is for that free agent go to Boston.

"But the Sox outbid the Yankees for Dice-K", you might say. This isn't a valid argument because that was a secret bid. Unlike free agency, the Yankees didn't have the opportunity to be told, "The Red Sox bid $51,111,111.11. Will you bid more?".

If you don't believe this post, feel free to try to think of the last time a free agent who fit the criteria mentioned above signed with the Red Sox. At best you might be able to come up with one who re-signed with the Red Sox.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Why did you become a Red Sox fan?"

Most of these blog entries are intended for any SoSHer to use as a reference. This entry is an exception as I'm the only SoSHer who has a reason to link to it. This entry also isn't a counterargument like most of these entries, but it's a response to a frequently asked question. I get asked all the time why I became a Red Sox fan, especially whenever I reveal that I've never lived in New England. Of course this question comes up often during SoSH bashes.

I grew up in central NJ, halfway between NYC and Philly. I could get radio stations from both cities, and I could get TV stations from both cities without cable. As opposed to living in an area with 1 home team, I lived in an area with 3-4 home teams in every sport, so I pursued other avenues in choosing my teams. This wasn’t uncommon there, at least when I grew up there. The only team from around there that I became a fan of was the NY Islanders. The NJ Devils were the Colorado Rockies back when I picked the Islanders.

I hated the Yankees right away. I hated Steinbrenner. I hated Reggie Jackson. I felt that Reggie had an arrogant attitude of, "Yeah...we baaad...we baaad...", etc., and it turned me off. I felt the arrogance of Steinbrenner and others carried over to their fans.

My hatred of the Yankees led me towards the Red Sox in '77. I liked the players, the ballpark, the unis, the hatred of the Yankees, etc.. I stuck with the Red Sox ever since.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"How do I embed from youtube?"

I still see some posters say they don't know how embed from youtube into a SoSH post. Here's the easiest way (thanks to ieshan for the heads up in the Comments):
1) Get the youtube URL. For example, http://youtube.com/watch?v=UZVZTIRGNWI
2) Copy everything after "v=". In the above example, copy "UZVZTIRGNWI".
3) Paste what you had copied into your post in [youtube] tags. For the above example, post "[youtube]UZVZTIRGNWI[/youtube]".

Here's the next easiest way:
1) While you're posting in SoSH, below your text is a dropdown that says "Post Options". Change that dropdown from "HTML Off" to "HTML On - Auto Linebreak Mode".
2) Go to youtube. Highlight what it says under "Embed", which should be on the right side of the page.
3) Go to your post in SoSH. Paste what you had just copied into your post.

There are some scenarios where you won't be able to embed. Some youtube clips disallow embedding. Also, there are some sections from SoSH (i.e. game threads) that don't have the "Post Options" dropdown, but you can still use the URL method mentioned above to post in those sections.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Nystrom was offsides!"

Contrary to the majority of my posts here, the purpose of this post isn't because it's commonly brought up in SoSH, although it was brought up in P&G last week. For those unfamiliar with SoSH, it's a Red Sox forum site and P&G is a separate miscellaneous section of the site. The purpose of this post is for whenever I talk to Philadelphia Flyers fans who get mixed up about plays from Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals between the Flyers and Islanders.

As an Islanders fan who has lived in the Philly area since '92, plus a couple of years in college before then, I'd be quite rich if I had a dollar for every time a Flyers fan was mixed up and thought that Bobby Nystrom was offsides when he had scored the overtime goal that won the first Stanley Cup ever for the NY Islanders. The Islanders did score an offsides goal during that game, but it wasn't the OT goal. For those who don't believe me, you can take a look for yourself.



At 1:33-1:36 if you keep hitting the play/pause button, you'll see at 1:35 that Tonelli had the puck in the zone before Nystrom was in the zone.

Now look at this clip.



The offsides goal was late in the 1st period, 33 seconds into this clip. It gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Leon Stickle, the official who blew the call, will forever live in infamy among Flyers fans, whether or not they remember on which goal he made his blunder.

As much as Flyers fans might say the Flyers would have won this game had Stickle called the offsides, we'll never know. Nystrom was interviewed about the game on Classic Sports Network (now ESPN Classic). He said when the Isles had a 4-2 lead after the 2nd period, they were in the locker room congratulating themselves that they were about to win the Stanley Cup. I highly doubt they would have done that with only a 3-2 lead.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Command" vs. "Control"

It's extremely easy to confuse a pitcher's "command" and "control". Many people think they have the same meaning. They're similar, but there's a small difference. Unfortunately it's extremely difficult to determine the difference, even if you Google it, partly because many people have different interpretations of it.

The difference was explained in SoSH here, courtesy of SoSHer absintheofmalaise, and further discussed in the thread for a little bit.

For another explanation, I asked former SoSH mod mabrowndog for his thoughts on the difference. Here was his response, which he had garnered from chats with Cape League players and coaches:

Control deals specifically with the location of a pitch, and the pitcher's ability to put the ball where he wants; the degree to which he can nail the target shown by the catcher's mitt, and "hit his spots".

According to most, command deals not just with location but with other aspects of pitches -- their rotation, break, and velocity. Depending on who you talk to, command can also refer to a pitcher's confidence level in throwing his full arsenal of pitches; knowing that he can throw any of his pitches at the right time and that the ball will do exactly what he wants, and that each will feel just right coming out of his hand.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"What do you mean, 'we'? You're not on the team!"

People often seem to think it's witty to criticize a fan for referring to the fan's team as "we" or "us" because the fan isn't on the team. Using "we" or "us" to describe a fan's team is a commonly known figure of speech. Criticizing a fan for using "we" or "us" to describe his/her team is like criticizing someone for saying you drive him/her up the wall because it's gravitationally impossible.

It's not like the fan doesn't know he/she isn't on the team. However, sometimes part of being a fan is deciding what you think is best for a member of your team to do in certain scenarios. Whether a catcher who fields a bunt should go for the force at 2nd or take the easy out at 1st. Whether a manager should hit-and-run. Whether a 3rd base coach should wave in a runner. Whether a GM should trade players X & Y for player Z. Just because you may think about these decisions doesn't mean you actually think you're the guy who's in these scenarios for the Red Sox.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Middle reliever ERA

I highly recommend that people not post ERA (or ERA+ for that matter) to say how good/bad a middle reliever is. It can be very misleading because of inherited runners. If a middle reliever enters a game with men on base, the question of whether or not he prevents the baserunners from scoring doesn't affect his ERA. Also, if the middle reliever leaves a game with runners on base, his ERA is affected by how well the reliever after him pitches, which is out of the control of the middle reliever in question.

I'll give you a couple of points to keep in mind before I explain what I do to counter the issue of a middle reliever's ERA. 1) There's no consensus of what stats should be used for a middle reliever. Different stats have different strengths and weaknesses. 2) I'm no sabermetrician by any means. Fortunately that means the feedback I'll give will be easy to understand and easy to find for a player. I'll also mention stats that are recommended by URISoxFan, who knows way more about stats than I do. If you want to do your own sabermetric research, there are plenty of stats and explanations in the SoSH wiki's Statistical Reference Page.

The two sets of stats I use most often for a middle reliever are:
1) Opponents' AVG/OBP/SLG. Espn.com gives additional breakdowns for this stat like Vs. LHP, Vs. RHP, or by situation: what runners are on what bases and with how many outs. Keep in mind that the more you break these down, the greater the chance you're dealing with SSS (small sample size) because a middle reliever pitches in different situations only so many times per season. Unlike ERA, opponents' AVG/OBP/SLG isn't affected by how well the reliever after the reliever in question pitches.
2) IP, H, BB, K. A weakness is that it doesn't factor singles vs. extra base hits like opponents' SLG does. However, this set of stats gives more specific data than middle relievers' ERA, and it isn't affected by how well the reliever after the reliever in question pitches. It's also more specific than WHIP because it separates hits from walks.

URISoxFan gave me feedback of a middle reliever's stats that he recommends for people who want to use stats that are easy to find and easily understood. They are:
K/9
BB/9
HR/9
Innings/appearance (for usage)
K/BB (for command)

For the very few who might not know, "/9"="per 9 innings pitched".

FWIW, URISoxFan tends not to like using hitters' rates because of their dependence on defense/ballpark/quality of opponent. As I said, different stats have different strengths and weaknesses.

Correct spellings of the commonly misspelled

I'll add to this list if/when I think of more examples. These are correct spellings that are frequently misspelled in SoSH:

Buchholz
Belichick
Teixeira. "ei" twice, unless you're talking about Kanekoa Texeira, who went to the Yankees in the Nick Swisher trade.
Pettitte. "tt" twice.
Piniella. Yes, there's a 2nd "i".
Okajima
Amalie Benjamin
Varitek
Papelbon
Rickey Henderson
Kottaras
Jed Lowrie
Peyton Manning. There's a reason he spelled his first name out loud in the MasterCard commercial where he was getting an autograph from an employee in a supermarket.
Brett Favre
Jimy Williams
Yawkey
Jon Lester. "Jon" doesn't have an "h".
Jon Heyman. Ditto.
Jon Stewart. Ditto.
Mientkiewicz
Abreu. People often include a 2nd "a" in his last name.
Rachael Ray. People often exclude a 2nd "a" in her first name.
Jayson Stark
Barack Obama. People sometimes exclude the 2nd to last letter in the first name.
Michelle Obama. Ditto.
Hillary Clinton. "ll", unlike Hilary Duff or Hilary Swank
Scarlett Johansson
Warren Buffett. Two "t"'s.

Commonly misspelled SoSH usernames:
Cuzittt. One "z", three "t"'s.
Sille Skrub. He's not named after Ellis Burcs.
Wills Eeks. It's not "Willis".
Monbo Jumbo. It's not "Mombo". He's named after Bill Monbouquette.

Straw man argument

According to Myt1, the term "straw man argument" is used incorrectly 9 out of 10 times. You can be the judge of whether that's a straw man argument itself. Regardless, here is how it's described in wikipedia.

Rickey Henderson/John Olerud/batting helmet

Many baseball announcers continue to mention this one as though it's true. To give credit where it's due, I thought this was true until 2007 when I overheard URISoxFan mention that it's his favorite urban legend. This is explained here.

Another Rickey story. When he hooked up with the Seattle Mariners last year, Rickey is said to have approached John Olerud, who had once suffered a brain aneurysm, and asked about his unusual practice of wearing a batting helmet in the field. Henderson says, "I used to play with a dude in New York who did the same thing."

"That was me," said Olerud, who was Henderson's teammate with both the Mets and the Blue Jays. Good story. Widely reported. And completely untrue -- concocted by a visiting player who had run out of hot-foot victims.

Dan Duquette's "twilight" quote about Clemens

I'm not a fan of Dan Duquette. However, contrary to popular belief, he never said that he didn't re-sign Clemens because Clemens was in the twilight of his career. This urban legend was a classic case of the media taking a quote out of context. It's explained in the SoSH wiki.

The actual quote from Duquette, taken from a 12/14/96 Boston Herald article, was the following:
"The Red Sox and our fans were fortunate to see Roger Clemens play in his prime and we had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career..."
You'll notice this quote doesn't say anything about when the twilight of Clemens' career will be. It could be starting in the upcoming year, but it could instead be a lot later, or it could be anytime in between.

Often when a premier player leaves a team, the team insinuates to the public (whether true or untrue, but usually untrue) that they wanted the player to stay on the team until whenever the end of the player's career would be, but that things just didn't work out that way. This quote was an example of that scenario.

"Who cares how much the Red Sox sign him for?" or "It's not my money." or "They can afford it."

The reason to care how much the Red Sox sign a player for, or how much a player makes whom they could trade for, is because they have a budget. I'm not saying they're the Pirates or the Rays. It's a high budget, but it's limited. The question regarding whether the Red Sox can afford to sign a player is only legitimate if they can afford it within the budget they set for the team payroll. It's the ownership's team and they have a right to set the budget how they want. It's not like they don't set their budget high enough to be competitive.

If the Red Sox sign a player for more money and years than he's worth, that's money that could have gone to a more productive player, or in some cases plurally more productive players at other positions.

Acquiring a position player for too many years at too much money can also sometime later during the too-expensive player's contract prevent the Red Sox from acquiring a better player who plays that position. Chances are they're not going to pay the too-expensive player many millions of dollars to sit on the bench. Yes, it's possible they could trade the too-expensive player and eat some of the salary (ex. Edgar Renteria), but it's tough to get equal value in a trade when the other teams know the Red Sox are trying to get rid of a player because he isn't worth what the Red Sox are paying him. Also, as an example of what was said earlier in this post, that money they're eating in such a trade is money that could have gone towards more productive players if they hadn't originally acquired the too-expensive player.

"(Celebrity X) isn't hot? I'd like to see how good you look (or what hottie you're banging)!"

We've had many threads in P&G where people discuss how hot or not certain celebrities look. How good someone looks is subjective, but sometimes when a poster says a celebrity isn't hot, another poster who thinks that celebrity is hot will play the card of "I'd like to see how good you look!", or "I'd like to see how good your significant other looks!"

Playing this card is like saying, "You say Eric Gagné wasn't good when he was with the Red Sox? I'd like to see how you'd do out there!"* Celebrities have different standards. Just because a poster doesn't think a celebrity looks good doesn't mean the poster wouldn't bang the celebrity if both the poster and the celebrity were available and the celebrity wanted to bang the poster.

*I wish I could take credit for creating this counterargument, but I can't. I saw a SoSHer use this counterargument once in P&G using a different Red Sox player, but I don't remember which SoSHer originally said it. Otherwise I'd give that SoSHer the credit.

Note for V&N (added during the '08 election race): This also applies when someone compares how smart a poster is to a political candidate.