Archive for August, 2013

NotGraphs Haiku: Yu Darvish and Trevor Plouffe


Trevor Plouffe hit a
double against Yu Darvish
in his next at-bat.

This has been another NotGraphs Haiku. I’ll stop soon. Maybe. Probably.

Thanks to @lonestarball for the GIF, and to Darvish for the ridiculous hook.

Lazy Weblog Post: Wladimir Balentien Homering in April

Shortly after finishing his (likely flawed) translation apropos Wladimir Balentien’s pursuit of Japan’s single-season home-run record, the present author pointed his internet browser to YouTube, intent on consuming footage of that same gigantic Dutchman hitting at least one of his 52 home runs this season.

With a view both to (a) giving the reader a head start in his/her own pursuit and also (b) producing content out of almost nothing at all, the author has embedded here above-average video of Balentin’s eighth home run this season, from back at the end of April.


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French Exercise: Balentien Trois Circuits du Record Japonais

Barring any inconsistencies among his travel documents — an entirely real contingency, that — the author is relocating for about a year to Paris beginning in the middle of September. In preparation for said move — and in a gesture of supreme self-interest — he has resolved to publish in this space a brief, almost daily French exercise concerning base-and-ball.

What follows is such an exercise — featuring, in this case, a passage from Montreal’s La Presse regarding former major-leaguer Wladimir Balentien’s pursuit of Japan’s single-season home-run record.

For each paragraph, the author has produced a (likely flawed) translation. At the bottom, there’s commentary regarding certain words or phrases of note (and which are marked by an asterisk) either because (a) those words and phrases are particularly difficult, but the author has grasped their meaning or (b) they are particularly difficult and the author has abandoned all attempts to make sense of them.

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Life Lessons With the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers, Part 2: Corey Hart

With one of my spawn poised to return to the daily care of the nanny state, by which I am referring his elementary school, on Tuesday next, I will have the opportunity to impart important lessons to him to keep him on the narrow, treacherous path to successfully complete the first grade, and thereby bring honor to his family by academically outstripping Dayn Perry, the chosen son of the South.

Among those lessons will be:

1)  Straighten up and fly right.

2) Zip up your fly, dammit.

3) Play to win.

4) Don’t judge a book by its cover. Also read the liner notes.

5) Take that finger from out thy nose.

6) Shower, or you’ll look and smell like a dirty Frenchman, like your Uncle Carson.

7) No backsassin’ yer teachers.

8) Pick a fight on the first day with the weakest boy you can find until the guards pull you off of him. You’ll be in solitary for a while, but when you get out, nobody will mess with you because they’ll think you’re a little bit crazy and capable of anything.

9) You should learn computers.

Finally, perhaps the most important lesson comes to he and I from Brewers first baseman and outfielder Corey Hart, who has been sadly sidelined by knee problems for the entire 2013 season:


 Be cool! Stay in school: Prepare yourself for every day by completing your homework and getting enough sleep.

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GIFs and a Tune: Playoff Races and Robin Thicke

With about a month left in the season, some things have already shaken out. The bad teams are bad, the good teams are good, Ron Gardenhire is still bloated. This we know. What we don’t know, fair reader, is exactly how the playoff race will shake out. These are the times when the men are separated from the boys. The winners from the posers. It’s closing time, and while you don’t have to go home, you can still stay here. That’s how the Internet works.

A page I’ve been visiting every morning for the past few days, and will most likely visit every morning until the season is over, is the MLB Postseason Probabilities page, where probabilities from Baseball Prospectus are presented in both a graphical and user-dynamic way. (Note to any FG employee that stumbles across this: I of course check the probabilities at the mother site as well.)

I was looking at the AL standings today, where nine teams are separated by as few as six games. The NL race has seven teams in contention for five spots. This should make for quite the ending to the summer. And what better way to end the summer than with the song of the summer? Presenting the AL and NL Postseason Probabilities set to the Robin Thicke (featuring T.I. and Pharrell)’s Blurred Lines.





Sadaharu Oh: Better at 55 Than You at 27

Here is a 55-year-old Sadaharu Oh hitting a ~370 ft. home run to right field during a retiree game at Koshien Stadium (thereabouts of 1995):

I once hit a ball about 320 ft. But that was in a video game. Apparently Oh’s final comment in the video is, “Baseball is good, isn’t it?”

You know what, Mr. Sadaharu? It is good. And so are you.

Quiz: Is This a Description of the 1993 Phillies Clubhouse?

Jackson Apparently
Pictured: multitudes within multitudes within still more multitudes.

The reader is invited to indulge of the following paragraphs, which await the reader not unlike a sexy Helvetica-shaped coed awaiting the reader.

Ever get nostalgic for 1970s youth hostel decor? Look no further — the trappings of table football, board games and musty old books have all been slavishly recreated here. One of the cheapest places in the city, it’s also a local canteen, complete with sticky table-tops and the tenacious smell of stale beer that bears witness to many a debauched evening. The décor is an incoherent mixture of second-hand furniture with some good pieces, and of bent wood hat stands with peeling wallpaper.

One perches uncomfortably on chairs or on a knackered old sofa, knocking back jugs of beer or rum mixers and mopping it all up with a cheap charcuterie board. During the day the place is tranquil… Always full in the evenings, it gets busiest when the gigs start, mostly with locals. A decidedly blue collar venue, but none the worse for that.

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Baseball Players from 1949 as Actual Stars

Ever find yourself in an antique store in Essex, MA wondering why everything is so expensive*, judging advertisements on old baseball literature, and waiting for your girlfriend to find a mermaid-themed birthday present? No? Isn’t that how everyone spends their Saturdays? Well poopsticks. At least I, a person who was in that situation, found a book: The Little Red Book of Baseball 1949. On the back was this ad, minus my finger shadow:


As I read the names (Ken Keltner, Al Dark, Bob Elliott, Del Ennis, Larry Doby, Vic Wertz, Gil Hodges, and Ray Boone) I wondered if these shmoes were indeed “STARS ON THE RISE” in 1949. This post is my investigation of that claim.
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The State of the NotAwards Races

Lucas Harrell

With a monthish left in the season, it’s about that time to start handicapping the awards races. Of course, they’ve got that taken care of over on FanGraphs. So we are left with the far more unique, challenging, and thankless task of handicapping the NotAwards races. Because when suckiness becomes outstanding — we firmly believe — it must be celebrated and rewarded.

Least Valuable Player (AL)

This is Maicer Izturis’ award to lose. Unfortunately, he’s gone and sprained his ankle and landed on the DL, so his prospects of detracting value from the Blue Jays for the rest of the season are in serious doubt. (Ryan Goins, his replacement for now, is hitting .455 since his call-up.) But Maicer is pacing the majors in negative WAR by a full half a win, which should prove to be a prohibitive lead. Few players provide crappy hitting (.236/.288/.310), crappy fielding (-16.5 UZR), and crappy baserunning (1 SB, 5 CS) in the same package, and Izturis’ versatility in sucking at three infield positions is second to none. All in all, his 2013 will go down as one of the most futile campaigns in recent memory. (And that Izturis is emblematic of a franchise having a mind-blowing disappointment of a year certainly won’t hurt him with the voters.) Still, Chicago teammates Paul Konerko and Jeff Keppinger deserve shoutouts here, as does erstwhile Royal Jeff Francoeur (for his epic half-season of turd-laying).

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The Booing and Cheering of Alex Rodriguez: A New York Times Comment Section Analysis


The New York Times has an article this week, titled, “Boo Rodriguez or Cheer Him? It’s Oh So Complicated.” The article is a fine read, but what I found surprisingly compelling were the comments at the bottom. Here are my favorite five, ranked. (I’m editing the comments for length.)

5. “I wonder why we go after PED users only, when there is a whole class of baseball cheaters who go unpunished, namely, pitchers who have bionic arms. A high percentage of pitchers make no attempt to hide that they have elective surgery to strengthen their pitching arms…. It’s called Tommy John surgery.”

4. “hey rod. if you are reading these comments, i really need a million dollars. or 1/2 or a 1/4 million. please get in touch. in exchange, i promise not to boo. ever. seriously.”

3. “A-Fraud shouldn’t be playing professional Baseball…. That said, Bankees fans only care about winning. Look at the rise and fall and rise of Jason Giambi. For that matter, look who’s pitching for them every fifth day, another self-admitted drug-cheat, Andy PEDitte.”

2. “A-Rod has no class. He is not the first cheater in baseball and won’t be the last. Probably not the worst either.
He is not the devil incarnate…. I’m sick of hearing about him. And also about Weiner the Wiener Waver.”

1. “And what about MLB’s major sponsor: Gatorade? They claim that just drinking their sugar-water enhances performance, and they use droves of pro-sports role models to peddle their crap in flashy advertisements.”