Debate, reality blog, Wooden

The Reality Blog: Numbers Don’t Lie


This is what an outlier looks like.

This is what an outlier looks like.

How the hell did Joe Girardi know Raul (insert curse word here) Ibanez was going to go all Kirk Gibson on us?

That’s the first thing I wanted to know. How does a manager decide to simply bench one of baseball’s greatest statistical stars of all time in favor of a dude who was only eight years younger than the manager himself whose career highlight was a single All-Star berth during the Yankee’s walk-off win (courtesy of Ibanez’ second home run of the night) in this past year’s Divisional matchup against the Orioles? Statistically speaking (disclaimer: I love statistics…I work with them for a living), it was a foolish decision, akin to Michael Jordan deciding he’d give hitting MLB fastballs a try or Grady Little sticking with Pedro Martinez when he was clearly done for the game.

Ever since Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s took statistical analysis to the moon and back and were made rock-stars along the way via Michael Lewis’ glorifying Moneyball, sabermetrics have announced that they are here to stay. New statistics with more acronyms than FDR’s New Deal programs have sprung up everywhere to determine everything from a player’s true run contributions to when a team should bunt and everything in between. Indeed, stats like UZR, OBP, BABIP, WAR, and VORP have been given greater importance among some than the traditional baseball stats we grew up memorizing on the backs of baseball cards, stats like ERA, BA, and RBI.

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Brian, Manifesto, podcast, Rotoballs, Updates

Manifesto ’13


“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.”

-Yogi Berra

The John Madden of baseball.

The John Madden of baseball.

In fantasy baseball, there’s only one place any of us wants to be: standing on the top of some virtual winners’ podium, arms reaching for the baby blue sky, cheering out to anyone and everyone, who, by the way, couldn’t care less about our magnificent triumph. We’re employed by teams that neither thank nor pay us. We’re the only ones who are fans of our successes. Fantasy baseball is like a photo; if you’re not in it, you lose interest.

Our goal “is to win the game”, regardless of who is backing us.

We want to win. But how do we do that?

The tragic (and comical) words of Mr. Berra are true: if you don’t know what you want, chances are you’ll get something you don’t want.

Fantasy baseball, even more so than fantasy football, is about preparation, reading information, being informed, making logical decisions. In football, even Kathy, the office secretary, who missed the draft (because “What’s a draft?”), won your league (because there’s no difference between skill and luck in a sport where there’s no consistency or order). While football subscribes to the chaos theory, baseball is methodical, statistical, and predictable (to an extent that it takes skill to find and comprehend trends). If football is characterized as the butterfly effect, then baseball is weather forecasting: if you know what you’re doing, you’re going to be right more times than you’re wrong.

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Awards, Debate, Feature, Hall of Fame, Questions, Rotoballs, Rumblings, Wooden

The Reality Blog: The Hall of Most Shame (Rose vs. ‘Roids)


We live in the age of instant quotes and misquotes thanks to social media sites. I came across this heavy hitter in a recent online rant against alleged PED-user Lance Armstrong:

"I never used steroids, but I have inspired thousands of Catholic priests."

“I never used steroids, but I have inspired thousands of Catholic priests.”

“I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.” – Sophocles

Cute, but I’ve got news for this good-intentioned quote fiend; Sophocles never lived in the era of the $100 million dollar contract. He also never lived in the era of the front page fandom that comes with hitting home runs that switch zip codes in air, collecting Cy Young awards like Adele collects Grammys, or winning games more consistently than Wilt Chamberlain won with the ladies (sorry Quentin Tarantino).

The Baseball Writers Association of America must be suckers for Sophocles’ work, as they famously took a hard stance a few weeks back when they voted nobody into the Hall of Fame for just the eighth time in the Hall’s history. It certainly wasn’t for lack of viable candidates that nobody was enshrined as this year’s ballot boasted MLB’s all-time home run king, and the man with more Cy Young awards than anyone else, among other notable players. No, the BBWAA pitched a shutout because they wanted to send a message to these players, most of whom had more than casual ties to PEDs- there’s no place for cheaters.

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Brian, Debate, Outfield, Player Profile, Projections, Questions

Jason Heyward: Better than Justin Upton?


This was just four years ago!

This was just four years ago!

If you visit Baseball-Reference.com, they have a section of their website dedicated to comparing a player’s stats with historically similar stats (whole career, current MLB years of service, and by ages). Jason Heyward is currently, at the age of 22, compared with Ruben Sierra, Andruw Jones, Jose Conseco, Juan Gonzalez, and Jack Clark. Not bad company.

Who is the only active player to make this comparison list? Justin Upton.

After the 2011 season, when Heyward struggled mightily (sophomore slump) and Upton had his best statistical season to date (fourth in NL MVP voting), if you had told me these two would be at or near the same level, this soon, I would’ve called you a crazy person and Gangnam styled off stage left. In ’11, Heyward had as much chance at being a top 50 fantasy player as Joe Paterno had at living to see his name removed from every nook and cranny of Penn State. It just wasn’t going to happen.

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Brian, First Base, keeper, Rumblings

Joey Votto: The Splintery Canadian


Votto squints into the future.

Votto squints into the future.

There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to buy a new car (well most of us; New Yorkers/San Franciscans excluded). We go around trying to find the best deal. We want the most reliable automobile.

You wouldn’t spend Bentley money for a Mercedes, would you? Then why would you spend Miguel Cabrera money for a Joey Votto? Buying a car is just like buying a baseball player: everyone wants to get their money’s worth.

Votto has remarkable credentials: a career .316 hitter, two seasons with 100+ RBI, and a career OPS of .968. Is anyone doubting his ability? No. Votto is as talented as they come. Nobody is saying Joey isn’t a good car player, but when a player hasn’t reached 500 AB in two out of the past four seasons, it’s worth looking under the hood.

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