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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Super Saturday...

After LeBron James and his people suggested the reaction to his Miami move was rooted in racism, you had to figure it was only a matter of time before Charles Barkley weighed in.  And weigh in he did, swinging some heavy lumber: "The only criticism I've heard about LeBron and it was my biggest criticism, that decision thing was just stupid. It was stupid.  The second thing when they all came out there dancing around on stage, that was silly. That's the only thing I've heard LeBron get criticized about. That has nothing to do with race. It's like watching a movie, just when you think it couldn't get any stupider, it gets more stupid."  Barkley also took his own network - TNT - to task for "unprecedented ass kissing" in their coverage of the Heat.

Another busy day of soccer action in all the major leagues across Europe. If you're looking to catch some games on this side of the pond, your best bet is to check this awesome site.

If you're looking to get down a World Series futures wager, consider this: the Philadelphia Phillies will have 17 of 19 starts made by the hot trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.  Click on the Pinnacle link above to get down.

The Stanley Cup rings that the Chicago Black Hawks will be rocking might be the most awesome I've ever seen.  A mere 8 carats over 404 diamonds.

Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan might have the best game for meeting ladies I've ever seen.  Lewan had a mustache tattooed onto his finger that he holds up when meeting ladies.  Awesome.

With regard to Felix Hernandez Cy Young candidacy: no pitcher has won the award while winning fewer than 60% of his decisions.  That year, it was Gaylord Perry who went 24-16.  Jayson Stark at ESPN told The Michael Kay Show yesterday that when you ask pitchers about the award, they - to a man - laugh out loud that people are considering anything other than wins to be most important.

Maybe the Texas Rangers will be able to compete in signing their pending free agent Cliff Lee after all, now that they've signed a massive local television deal that will see them bring in $75-80 million a year over the next 20 years.  Maybe they'll be able to throw enough at Lee to make him forget his worst stats in his career come in Arlington, home of the Rangers, and that not only are the New York Yankees interested, but that he's good friends with CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, and that the Yankees are interested.  On second thought, it changes nothing.

The final road trip of any baseball season is the time when most teams run their fairly tame rookie initiations.  This year, the Florida Marlins is noteworthy, especially the Baywatch outfit of Logan Morrison. 

Since joining the San Francisco Giants in May as a rookie, only four National League players beat Buster Posey in batting average and slugging: Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Matt Holliday.  That is a star in the making.

Anna Kournikova will be joining "The Biggest Loser" - a weight loss show - to give tennis lessons to those looking to lose weight.  That ought to be motivating, a rake of a girl who pretty much has made a career on good looks.

Manchester City's wild spending last year left the team a mere $191 million (USD) in the red last year. Guess that's bound to happen when you spend $475 million on players and still don't qualify for the Champions League after a fifth place finish.  City says they'll scale back spending.  Ya think?

Pick-up line: ask a girl if she has a boyfriend.  If she replies yes, ask her if she would now like a man-friend.  The author?  Ben Roethlesberger.  Oh, and the Steelers like to smoke weed.

Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder says he'd only play for Manchester United if he were to leave Inter.  See you in January, Wesley.

A great short film on the inner workings of Toronto FC management and MLSE, by extension. Incredible.


MTS said...

Baseball players aren't exactly known for being that smart though. Look if Felix loses a game 2-1 and CC wins a game 4-3, Felix pitched better. Is he supposed to hit a HR for his own cause. You gotta remember the Mariners are a HISTORICALLY bad offense.

TB said...

Yeah, I'm sure Felix doesn't benefit at all from pitching pressure free in one of the best pitcher's parks in the game too, and having 3 of the 4 parks in his division among the best pitchers parks too. Strictly coincidence. CC or Price will win it, the difference likely being which team wins the East.

MTS said...

The truth about King Felix

People have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of a guy with 13 wins winning the Cy Young Award. I understand. Wins do have value -- not as much as most people believe, but neither are they "meaningless" as fringe thinkers might try to tell you.

But wins shouldn't decide who wins the Cy Young Award, an award that goes to the "most outstanding pitcher." And too many people are inventing myths about Felix Hernandez because they can't get past his low win total. This exercise probably won't change anybody's mind, but I've heard so many myths about Hernandez that I had to respond with some truths:

Myth: He is a sabermetric creation, a candidacy based on esoteric stats.

Truth: How's this for bubble-gum card mainstream: he leads the league in ERA, innings and strikeouts. Since they started handed out the Cy in 1956, there have been only 10 times when a pitcher led in all three categories. In every case the guy won the Cy.

(Uh-oh. Jered Weaver of the Angels could pass him for the strikeout title with four Ks tonight in Texas. Sadly, the Mariners are not letting Hernandez make his scheduled start Sunday.)

Myth: The AL West is a joke. Imagine if he had to pitch in the AL East.

Truth: He is 5-1 with a 0.63 ERA in seven starts against the AL East. Imagine that.

Myth: He doesn't have enough wins.

Truth: He has more wins and a better ERA against teams .500 or better (10-7, 2.21) than 21-game winner CC Sabathia (7-3, 3.74).

Myth: He doesn't "know how to win games."

Truth: Do you know how freakishly rare it is to post an ERA under 2.30 over at least 34 starts and have just 13 wins to show for it? It has happened only once in baseball history: Walter Johnson went 13-25 for the last-place Washington Senators in 1909, smack in the deadball era. (Go ahead: try to tell me the Greatest Pitcher Ever didn't know how to win games.) So you're looking at once-a-century kind of buzzard's luck, not some lack of skill about "knowing how to win."

Myth: He pitched with no pressure.

Truth: With that offense, Hernandez pretty much knew this every time he took the ball: you give up a third run, you lose. The Mariners scored two runs or less in 15 of his starts. (They went 3-12 in those games). The Yankees scored two runs or less in seven of Sabathia's starts (1-6) and the Rays scored two or less in nine of David Price's starts (2-7).

Myth: His innings were meaningless.

Truth: What's more important to a manager running a game than a pitcher who gets his team off the field without a run scoring as many times as possible? Hernandez has done that more times than any pitcher in more than a decade. Hernandez has thrown 209 scoreless innings -- the most since Randy Johnson (252) in 1999.

Myth: He would have won more games if he pitched better.

Truth: Hernandez became only the seventh pitcher in the past quarter century to post 30 quality starts. All of the previous six won the Cy Young Award.

This essentially explains why Felix is the number 1 choice in words far better than my own. Its by Tom Verducci over at

TB said...

Nice that you didn't even acknowledge the part about park factors.

He pitched on a team that was going nowhere three or four weeks into the season in the worst division in the AL. If that isn't "no pressure", I don't know what is.

Verducci makes some good points, to be fair, but Felix WILL NOT win. There is a huge bias - right or wrong - towards wins, and that isn't about to change.

Of course Felix pitched against more .500+ teams. CC and Price couldn't pitch against their own teams. There are only six teams above .500 in the entire AL, after all.

The way the notion of pitching to the scoreboard is ignored because it makes Felix look better is pretty comical too. What were CC or Price to do in the games their teams were comfortably ahead in and giving them run support in? Continue to nibble? No, they go at guys and if that means exchanging a run to get an extra out, you do it.

MTS said...

ERA + adjusts for park factors, era and all that fun stuff:

Price:145 (Very Good)
Felix:174 (REALLY GOOD)
CC: 136 (Very good)
Roy Halladay: 166 (just included him for fun)
Not convinced?

Lets look at fielding independent pitching (FIP)which runs on the same scale as ERA
Price: 3.44

As far as pitching under pressure, I'll concede that CC and price had more pressure on them than Felix. But isn't the Cy Young supposed to the most outstanding pitcher. Not the most outstanding pitcher on a good team. Not the most outstanding pitcher with a lot of wins.

TB said...

Yeah, like Verducci said...nothing to do with Sabermetrics. :)

MTS said...

Well Felix also leads the league in WHIP (which is about as basic a stat as anything) and his K/BB is also higher than CC's. Besides wins (which is a TEAM statistic; Cy Young is INDIVIDUAL award), what argument is there for CC.

TB said...

Already said the other arguments: he (and Price) did it in pressure situations that had value to their teams performance. Felix had no heat whatsoever on a shit team that was done on May 1st and had no expectations or impact on the standings anywhere. CC also took the ball in his final start while Felix tried to protect a mere 13-12 record.

TB said...

...also, love that you used an article saying Felix candidacy wasn't about Sabermetrics and then proceed to cite almost nothing but. That's good stuff.