Sunday, March 29, 2009

What A Dumb Idea

Want to forecast the upcoming MLB season? The hell with those new-age stats, let's use fantasy baseball player rankings!

The results here are pretty predictable: the Reds, who play lousy defense but will get lots of steals from Willy Taveras, are now picked to finish second in their division; the Tigers, with a slow baserunning corps but very good defense, are mired in last place.

Other notable outliers: the Twins apparently won't be affected at all by regression to the mean in 2009, and the Brewers somehow finish behind the Astros (this one has me stumped).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Financial Hindsight

I've seen a lot of this type of post lately on the Freakonomics blog, among other places: people who "predicted" the current economic situation.

I hope the readers of R-D know this is BS. People make guesses all the time. Sometimes they're right, and point to their correct assessment; but often they are dead wrong, and it gets swept under the rug. This is no different from a sports betting tout service, where they pick approximately 50 percent winners but make it look like much more through creative advertising.

Just in the first two predictions I made here, you can find one that says I'm Nostradamus and another that makes me look like Thomas Malthus. If you wanted to, you could write a blog post calling me either an idiot or a genius, with solid evidence to back it up.

The economy is in its current situation for a lot of reasons, the foremost being that risk is so misunderstood by so many people. That doesn't mean anyone foresaw this exact scenario seven years ago. Stop pretending that they could have.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Love Steve Phillips

Apparently, Jorge Cantu was getting a little peripatetic during tonight's Mexico/Cuba game. Steve Phillips decided to draw the conclusion that Cantu was tipping Jorge Campillo's pitches--from third base!--and was called out on it by his booth-mates, who challenged Phillips to call the pitches based on Cantu's movement.

ESPN sets up the camera so you can see the entire infield.

Campillo stretches. He throws.

Gun reads: 90 MPH.

Phillips: "Fastball"

Laughter ensues. The other announcers inform Phillips that this is not how their game is played. The camera remains in place, and we see Cantu shift as Campillo delivers the next pitch.

Phillips: "Fastball"

The ball slides out of the zone for ball four. Gun reads: 79 MPH. More laughter ensues. Phillips now defends himself as he was "only wrong once."

(Incidentally, it's too bad Michel Enriquez is not as stupid as Steve Phillips, since I bet on Mexico tonight.)

Steve Phillips is relegated to a baseball tournament that no one wants to watch, while Dane Cook continues to make major motion pictures. Why, America? Why?

Postscript: As I was writing this, Mario Valenzuela just looked at strike three right down the middle, then took a Henry Rowengartner-esque swing two seconds after the ball was in the mitt. You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Memo To ESPN

The Nippon Ham Fighters are not so named because they are Japanese and engage in skirmishes with ham. They are sponsored by a food processing company. That is all.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More WBC Rants

- The announcers wasted no time bringing up Jimmy Rollins's ninth-inning defense from yesterday. No reason yet to think that they're complete blithering idiots. Then they asked whether Derek Jeter would have made the play on that same ground ball; still no signs of recent severe brain damage. They concluded that on this issue, there's no question. Three for three! Only then do they level you with "you just KNOW he would have found some way to make that play." So close...

I do half-agree with them, in that I KNOW Jeter would have found some way to allow that ball to roll into left field.

- Also amusing: apparently Jeter is upset that he's opening tonight's game on the bench. Didn't they announce a week ago that he and Rollins would alternate games? Maybe Jeter assumed this was a joke, since he's the captain of everything?

- The fantasy tidbits on the bottomline are just amazingly useless. You say Andruw Jones is on your list of fantasy fallers? Golly, my 1999 fantasy mag calls him a "rising star"! Thanks, ESPN!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

WBC Game 1 Rants

- How can ESPN fail to correctly identify the biggest city in China? I would think the whole point of these factoids about far-away countries is to provide some cultural awareness to USA viewers, but apparently accuracy is not an issue. Perhaps the researcher they assigned to this story looked up "China" on Wikipedia, failed to find the answer in the article, and just went with the only Chinese city he'd heard of, where that pothead won all those medals last year.

- How many times do you think any Japanese person has ever referred to Kyuji Fujikawa as "the Brad Lidge of Japan"? I'm going to go with a big fat zero; however, I did find it amusing that this metaphor, which could have caused an international incident at this time last year, is instead now meant as a compliment.

- That line aside, the gaijin commentators--as always--compared the Japanese players they don't know to other Japanese players they do know. This is nothing new, but I suppose it's one of the least harmful forms of racism out there, so it's hard to get too worked up about it.

- Japan, despite dominating the game, failed to cover the spread by a full 7.5 runs. I guess that's one thing China can be proud of.