Friday, November 28, 2008

Nostry, Bored With SoSG, Slums Over At ESPN Magazine

Look who popped up in the December 1 issue of ESPN the Magazine...none other than Nostradamus, frequent SoSG commenter.

Stuart Scott's column reads as follows:

CJ (Philly): Call me Nostradamus, Stu. I predict that of all of your TV appearances, the one you'll show your grandkids the most is of you playing hoops with Barack Obama.

CJ, does it realy take a Nostradamus to figure that out? That's like predicting that when people go back to look at the history of basketball they'll watch a reel of MJ highlights. Of course I'm going to show my grandkids that video. I've shown it to my kids 14 times already.

Nostry! Why are you slumming with anyone who hangs out with the cast of "She Spies"? I mean, I know it's boring around here at SoSG (probably even more so since you know what's going to happen), but come on, now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, SoSG-Maniacs

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Holiday approved Turkeys of the Year, I offer up a few poultry highlights. Some would argue this first selection. But for all us non-Braves fans, it's a pretty solid pick.

Apparently, MVP numbers does not provide immunity from the SI turkey carvers.

And in this day of giving, here's video of a high school pitcher and catcher purposely giving it right to an ump. IN HIS FACE!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Answer Or Two For Frank McCourt (At His Request)

There's really not much more to say about this than the great post that Jon had over at DT, coupled with what Rob wrote over at 6-4-2 (and in the course of his post, then referenced an equally great comment from DT--wow, I'm getting dizzy).

For those of you who didn't read the LA Times story today which set off this firestorm of criticism, let me give the context. The article's headline / tagline reads: "Frank and Jamie McCourt have a question for Dodgers fans / Would you rather have a top free agent or 50 youth fields in L.A., Frank and Jamie McCourt wonder."

I'm steaming mad by this point. But the article goes on to outline Frank and Jamie's absurd rhetorical question:

"If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?" Jamie McCourt asked in an interview at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. "That's what we're trying to figure out. We're really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We're really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?"

I'm going to address this inanity on multiple levels.

1. THE DIRECT ANSWER. Look, buddy, I'm not going to fall for your non-sequitur argument. I participated in Lincoln-Douglass debates in high school, so nice try. Your positioning of these options as mutually exclusive choices is ridiculous and illogical, because quite frankly, I as a Dodger fan should have rights to both. I want to enjoy watching Manny Ramirez on the field next year. And I also want to see the Dodgers give back to the community in ways far different from their begrudging compliance (and scrooge-like donations) with the Dodgers Trolley. And since you've jacked up my season ticket prices and parking prices by over 100% over the past three years, without a commensurate increase in payroll by the way, there's no way that I can't get both. And I deserve both. Don't blame your state of over-leveraged financial mismanagement on me, Frankie, and don't try to use needy children as a shield for why we have yet to sign a productive marquee free agent under your tenure.

I should get Manny. And I should get 50 fields. And, for asking such a stupid question, I should get to kick Frank McCourt in the nuts, too.

2. THE NEXT-LEVEL QUESTION. But let me take the leap and assume that you are financially bankrupt and morally adrift and lost at sea. You're reaching out to the fans, in a major metropolitan newspaper no less, to ask if we would support a charitable pursuit on the Dodgers behalf. Okay, I'll take the bait. Sure, I'd support charity before even Manny Ramirez. But if you're asking for my voice, then I should GET that voice also on exactly where we should spend that money--and it ain't toward 50 baseball fields, Frankie (nor is it toward bailing out the American automobile companies, either, but that's another post). Maybe it's shelter and basic needs for the people who lost homes and possessions in the recent Southern California fires? Or clothes for the kids so they don't have to play baseball on your fields naked? Or toys for tots this Christmas, the worst retail season in decades? If you're going to unilaterally shove it toward baseball fields, and take all the glory for it, then don't pretend it was a democratic process to begin with.

If you want to use the Dodger fans' money to support a worthy charitable cause, then hold an auction or a special event. Or even offer two prices of beer for those who want to donate the incremental revenue difference to the cause. But don't go taking the money I've given you for my tickets, and at the same time erode the quality of the asset that I've come to see perform. That money was supposed to be reinvested in the asset, remember?

3. THE MEDIA QUESTION. Dylan Hernandez is a pretty darn good Dodgers beat writer, but what the hell was he thinking with this post? This article made no sense, and is clearly a puff piece requested by McCourt to take the heat off of what promises to be an empty-handed free agent season. McCourt can't play with the big boys at the high-stakes table, so he tries to get the press to evoke sympathy with a non-sensical tradeoff. Hernandez must be duct-taped to a chair in some basement somewhere, because I can't think of a situation where he would write his article willingly. This is enough to get FJM out of retirement--and surprisingly, Plaschke's not even involved!

The McCourt's circuses (circi?) have gotten tiresome. They can't manage their money, they can't manage their assets, they can't manage the media. The only time they have come out smelling like roses is when their buffoonery has set the bar of expectations so low, that even a mediocre move constitutes a major achievement.

When we start holding Frank McCourt to the standards of a professional franchise owner, he looks like an idiot. Perhaps the charity can begin at home, Frank, with a couple of self-help books for Christmas? Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" comes to mind.

UPDATE 11/26 1.39p: The LAT article also has a sidebar that posts the binary decision (high-paid free agent a la Manny Ramirez, vs. 50 youth baseball fields) to a vote. With 2,178 responses, "high-paid free agent" has garnered almost 60% of the vote. Christmas spirit be damned, give us a quality team, Frank! (Better tell Neddie to call Boras back, after all.)

Valkyrie Movie Poster Triggers Pac-Man Fever Epidemic

I mean, seriously. When you looked at this poster design, you had to be thinking of power pellets too, right?

NBA Action is Faaantastic!

Lakers 120, Nets 93, Devin Harris 1

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dodgers Rank First On Forbes' "Most Vulnerable Ticket Prices" List

Frank McCourt, master of the ticket (and parking!) price increase: heed this warning! The Dodgers are the most vulnerable professional sports franchise, relative to its recent ticket price increases and the city's economic projections on unemployment and income levels:

It’s generally been true that sports’ biggest appeal is the escape it provides people from the real world, which many are willing to pay for. That’s made the industry better equipped than most to weather any downturn.

But there are limits. It’s clear that some pro teams are anticipating a tough year ahead, the solution for which may be cutting back ticket prices or losing sales. But some markets are in worse shape than others. Which teams around the country are most vulnerable to a fan base with income that isn’t keeping pace with the recent run-ups in ticket prices?

A look at the numbers would suggest that baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees and Mets are good candidates. So are the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

Why these teams? All are at or near the top of their respective leagues in ticket-price increases over the past three years. Combine that with each city’s 2009 economic prognosis for unemployment and income, and it’s tough to see current ticket prices being sustained much longer. The Dodgers, for example, have jacked up the average cost of a game 44 percent since 2005, to $229 for a family of four, according to Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index. Meanwhile, Moody’s Economy.com projects unemployment in the L.A. metro area will increase by two percentage points by the end of next year, to about 10 percent.

Make sure you go to the bottom and click on the link for the slideshow. Is that Dodger fan (with a handful of tickets in hand) smiling, or weeping?

Who Are You?

In a dual effort to optimize our content and give you something else to waste your (and our) time on, SoSG has hired a leading market research firm to collect reader demographic data through a series of polls. Here is the first one below.

Where do you live?
Southern California
West Coast (but not in SoCal)
East Coast of US
In the US, but on neither coast
Outside the US*
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com
*If you live outside the US, I'd like to hear where. Feel free to comment!

An Answer For The Killers

With this week's release of "Day & Age," SoSG thought it would provide the Killers with some assistance. As far as our research can tell, they are not mutually exclusive options.

Mystery Competition Revealed!

Well, you have each claimed to possess a high tolerance for ridiculousness. Time to put your money where your mouth is.

The Mystery Competition will pit the four teams against each other in a single-elimination tournament of SoSG Baseball. The rules are as follows:

  • Each game will consist of one inning.
  • As with regular baseball, the team at bat will have its members take turns at bat. Therefore, unlike regular baseball, the batting order is only four deep.
  • Unlike 'regular' baseball, the team in the field will also have its members take turns pitching. This is to give everybody approximately equal playing time.
  • The result of each at-bat (e.g., a hit or an out) is determined by competing in one of several simple yet inane online games.
  • In the morning (I reserve the right to skip some mornings without notice), I will announce the online game that will determine the outcome of the next at-bat. Whoever is scheduled to pitch or bat will have until midnight PT to take a screenshot of their high score in the indicated game and email it to us. Failure to mail in a score results in forfeiture of your at-bat.
  • Do not reveal to anyone except SoSG what score you attained. Please don't include it in any comments you post. Doing so will also result in forfeiture of your at-bat.
  • Therefore, for each at-bat, SoSG will receive a score from both the pitcher and the batter, and each will be unaware of what the other scored.
  • There are five possible outcomes of each at bat: a single, a double, a home run, an out, or a double play. Which outcome applies will be determined by two factors: 1) whose score is higher, and 2) by the last digit of the scores themselves.
  • If the batter's score is equal or greater than the pitcher's, then:
    • If the last digit of each score is equal, it is a home run
    • If the last digit of each score is within one of each other, it is a double
    • Otherwise, it is a single
  • If the pitcher's score is greater than the batter's, then:
    • If the last digit of each score is equal or within one of each other, it is a double play.
    • Otherwise, it is an out
  • Here are some examples:
    • Pitcher scores 55, batter scores 40 -> out
    • Pitcher scores 50, batter scores 131 -> double
    • Pitcher scores 50, batter scores 52 -> single
    • Pitcher scores 40, batter scores 50 -> home run
    • Pitcher scores 50, batter scores 50 -> home run
    • Pitcher scores 51, batter scores 50 -> double play
    • Pitcher scores 50, batter scores 51 -> double
    • Pitcher scores 65, batter scores 36 -> double play
  • Furthermore, the following baserunning rules will apply:
    • No runners advance in case of an out.
    • A double play will always erase batter and lead runner
    • A single advances a man from 1st to 2nd and scores a man from 2nd or 3rd.
    • A double scores a man from 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.
  • The result of each at bat will be announced a day or two afterwards, and the game status will be adjusted accordingly.

Other than the above, it's EXACTLY like real baseball. And yes, it probably is possible to cheat, either through doctoring your screenshot, rigging the games, or some other way. And we probably won't catch it. But if you're doing that, then come on, you're cheating at this? Really?

Anyhow, here are the team matchups (thanks to Orel for creating the logos):

(click image to enlarge)

So the semifinals have RISPy Business facing off against Sweeney Sour Pork, and Rancho Ardiendo taking on GSoSG (with RISPy Business and Rancho Ardiendo up to bat first). The winners of each showdown will then meet in the final. The teams' initial batting and pitching orders are as listed in the logos, though they will shift after the first run-through to avoid repeating matchups.

So get ready to rumble. Monday morning the competition will begin with the announcement of what online game the leadoff hitters (and pitchers) will compete in. Any questions please post here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

SoSG Introduces Another Time-Wasting Tool To Its Readers

Behold the power that is sporcle. And in fact, let's start out by quizzing you on the Dodgers' ten retired numbers.

You've got four minutes. Go! (I'll confess I got eight out of ten. How did you do?)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wishing a Speedy Recovery to Chadley

From Josh Rawitch:

Wanted to let everyone know that we've received word that Chad Billingsley, who makes his offseason home in Reading, PA, slipped and fell on ice down stairs outside his house and fractured the fibula in his left leg (lower part of the leg). He had surgery today to put a plate into the leg and will be in a cast for two weeks before beginning rehab. The good news, however, is that by all indications and without any setbacks, he should be ready to be throwing bullpens by the start of Spring Training, which is obviously when all the other pitchers are doing the same.

I'll keep you guys posted as I hear more news, but I guess if you're going to break your leg and you're a baseball player, November is the right time to do it.

Andre Ethier Is Everywhere

Handing out turkeys at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.


Hosting the inaugural* Under the Lights event with Russell Martin on Friday.


Volunteering at the Union Rescue Mission yesterday.


* The next Under the Lights event is scheduled for December 13, with Matt Kemp as host.

photos by Amber Matsumoto/Dodgers

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thank You, Bud, For That Crystal Clarity

According to an edict from the baseball deity known as Bud Selig, there are now three types of baseball games which will not be shortened by weather:

NEW YORK -- There has never been a rain-shortened game in the postseason, and now there never will be.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the sport will enact a rules change stating that postseason games cannot be shortened because of bad weather.

"All postseason games, All-Star games and that, will be full-length affairs, and the rule will be so written," Selig said Thursday following an owners' meeting.

Okay, so let's recap the types of games that would qualify under the Selig edict:
1. All postseason games.
2. All-Star games.
3. That.

What the hell is "that"? And what is up with "...and the rule will be so written"? Since when does Bud Selig think he's Moses, or possibly Thor?

Selig said the change also will apply to tiebreaker games that decide division titles and wild-card berths.

"Any game that has significance for the postseason," he said. "It will be very clear now. Everybody will know exactly."

Wait a minute, but doesn't every game have significance for the postseason? What if it's game 162 with playoff implications? Or game 161? Or game 40?

Yeah, it's really clear now, Bud. Thanks.

SoSG Mystery Competition: Can You Smell What The Blog Is Cooking?

Ok folks, here's the next tranche of information about the mystery competition. The draft has been completed, and the competition's four teams stand as follows below* (they were formed using a 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 methodology based on the sequence you commented in the previous post):

Team A: Ryan, John G, Eric Stephen, Pablo
Team B: Karina, QuadSevens, Cigarcow, Bryan
Team C: Loney Fan, Tony, Fanerman, Dusto Magnifico
Team D: Dr. Geek, Steve, Ryan McGowan, Arrogant Bastard

Take a good look at your teammates, Readers, because from today onward, the men and women you see at your side are the only friends you've got.

There will be another post next week, before the Thanksgiving holiday, that will finally reveal the details of the competition, and the competition itself kicks off the following Monday, Dec 1. Until then, each team has a homework assignment: to come up with a team name. Just post your suggestions for your team name here (nothing truly offensive, and please keep it under, say, 16 characters), and I'll use my power as commissioner to pick one suggestion for each team.

Otherwise, rest up your mind and body for the impending battle, and stay tuned!

*My apologies to Julie Hibbard, DanGarion, Matthew, Jackie, and Baseball Cynic who missed the cutoff. You will be given special consideration if the competition expands in the future.

Update: Also, please make sure you know how to capture a screenshot on your computer. This will be important

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Luckily, "Road Ranch" Was Already Taken

From dodgers.com, Dodgers give name to new spring site: Joint facility with White Sox will be called 'Camelback Ranch':

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and White Sox announced Thursday that their new joint venture Spring Training facility in Glendale, Ariz., will be called "Camelback Ranch."

"The name 'Camelback Ranch' inspires the pioneering spirit of the Dodgers' original move west in 1958 and with our relocation this spring to Arizona, that move is now complete," Dodgers chairman Frank McCourt said in a statement issued by the team. "We believe this facility will be the best in all of Major League Baseball and will provide our team with an unparalleled place to prepare year-round for championship-caliber baseball." [...]

The 141-acre site is located on Camelback Road just west of the Loop 101. The $80 million baseball facility includes more than 118,000 square feet of Major and Minor League clubhouse space, 13 full baseball fields and three half-fields. The site will feature walking trails, landscaped grounds and an orange grove. There will also be two ponds and a fully stocked lake between the Dodgers and White Sox facilities.

Wow, "Camelback Road" begets "Camelback Ranch." Ingenious.

Maybe Camel cigarettes can sponsor an ad on the centerfield fence? Or there can be "Hump Day" promotions? Or we can field a slow-moving team (let's start by re-signing James Baldwin and Jason Phillips?

The possibilities are endless.

Sign Up Here To Reap Your C-4 Reward!

So, dear Readers, your reward for a stunning victory in Connect Four is...meaningful off-season baseball! Yes, SoSG's next shamelessly contrived off-season competition will not only make you stop longing for April, but come next April, you may just start longing for the following November.

What is this upcoming mystery competition, you ask? Well, I'm not saying just yet. But one thing I will say is that unlike Connect Four, you have to sign up to participate. So if you want to participate, post a comment below stating so. We need a minimum number of participants to play, but at the same time space is limited, so spots will be given on a first-come first-serve basis.

Also, keep in mind that in posting your desire to participate, you are agreeing to the following statements:

  • I own (or have access to) a computer, an internet connection, and a high tolerance for ridiculousness.
  • Over the course of the competition (the next few weeks), I will be able to check SoSG reasonably often for further instructions and updates (maybe once or so per day), or risk letting down the team.
  • I understand the rules of baseball, but am willing to bend them.
  • I agree to participate in activities that require far less intelligence than Connect Four.
  • I understand that by participating, I might be publicly exposed as being highly skilled at said low-intelligence activities.
  • I understand this mystery competition is highly experimental, and thus may crash and burn upon execution.

So who's in? If so, post below, and stay tuned for more details!

Update: All initial spots have been filled. There may be opportunity down the road for further entrants, but let's first see how this initial run goes...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seattle Mariners Make Historic Hire

Congratulations to Don Wakamatsu, the new manager of the Seattle Mariners.

SEATTLE -- Don Wakamatsu became the first Asian-American manager in major league baseball history when he was hired Wednesday by the Seattle Mariners.

The 14th manager in Mariners history, Wakamatsu was bench coach for the Oakland Athletics last season. Before that he spent five years with the Texas Rangers.

The 45-year-old was among a field of seven candidates interviewed by Mariners general manager Jack Zdurencik. None of the seven had previous major league managerial experience.

Wakamatsu, a former catcher, spent almost his entire playing career in the minors, except for 18 games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991.

His final season in the minors was in 1996 as player-coach of the Mariners' Double-A Port City farm team.

I Know What I'm Getting EK for Christmas

Thanks (again!) to tireless SoSG reader Julie Hibbard for the heads up!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lesser-Known MLB Awards Sound Eerily Familiar

A cute little infographic went up last week over at The Onion, detailing "Lesser-Known Awards in Major League Baseball". As to be expected from The Onion, there were some great nuggets (John Kruk's award led the pack), but also this:

Player of the Inning Pen: Awarded every inning of each game to the player who best exemplifies that inning

Hmm. Sounds perilously similar to the "Rookie of the Minute" Award we mentioned back in June 2008, right? (Except for the fact that The Onion's was funny, and ours wasn't. Alas, we keep trying.)

MLB.com Selling Tiny People

(Click on picture for actual product.)


Earlier tiny person content at SoSG: Now You Can Be a Genderless, Ethnically Neutral, Four-Batting-Glove-Wearing Homunculus in a Poorly Photoshopped Dodger Victory Mélange

Congratulations Readers!

Congratulations Readers for overcoming the second-mover disadvantage, an unwieldy democratic process, and some desperate, last minute, and ethically questionable moves by the Writers to pull out the C4 victory. Well done!

Stay tuned for details on how this victory will impact your future...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Manny Ramirez Not Even As Valuable As Slightly Bug-Eyed Guy From Milwaukee

All this talk about how wonderful Manny Ramirez is, and then the 2008 NL MVP results are released and Ramirez' fourth-place finish isn't even strong enough to outvote beanstalk Ryan Braun:

NEW YORK (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols won his second NL MVP award, powering past Philadelphia star Ryan Howard by a comfortable margin Monday. [...]

Los Angeles outfielder Manny Ramirez and Milwaukee pitcher C.C. Sabathia also drew strong support after being traded by AL teams in July.

Pujols got 18 of the 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and had 369 points. The first baseman added to the MVP award he won in 2005. [...]

Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun was third with 139 points, with Ramirez fourth at 138. Houston's Lance Berkman was fifth and Sabathia sixth.

The article does go on to say that Manny pocketed an extra $75K for his fourth-place finish, while Braun pocketed $50K for a better finish in the votes.

Colletti Adopts "Ryan V" Handle for "Anonymous" Post

How else can one explain this sort of valentine written to Ken Gurnick's mailbag:

Manny this and Manny that. Let's be real. Manny Ramirez will never duplicate the numbers in a full season that he did in two months with the Dodgers. Nearly all players inflate their numbers in their free-agent year. National League pitchers and scouts will also find a way to pitch to him more effectively. I'd love to have him back, but the offer the Dodgers recently put out there was without question the smart thing to do. Spend all this money and who's gonna be pitching and fielding the ball? We have 13 other positions to fill. Pitching wins championships, not one superstar hitter. So kudos to general manager Ned Colletti restraining the offer to a two- or three-year contract. -- Ryan V., Fresno, Calif.

Yours is a minority view, but a segment of e-mailers share your concern about devoting so much payroll to Ramirez when there remains so many other positions to fill. However, on your suggestion that Ramirez's stats are inflated because of free agency, he signed a massive contract eight years ago and has continued to produce like a Hall of Famer. Many players seem to coast after cashing in, but not this one.

Yep, it's so syrupy sweet, even Gurnick has to counter the missive, lest it seem too obvious. Looks like Colletti is emboldened a bit since getting that tattoo...

Well, You're Never Going To Get The Cubs Now

ESPN.com: Feds accuse Mavs owner Cuban of insider trading

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators have charged billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with insider trading for allegedly using confidential information on a stock sale to avoid more than $750,000 in losses. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Cuban on Monday in federal court in Dallas. The agency said that in June 2004, Cuban was invited to get in on the coming stock offering by Mamma.com Inc. after he agreed to keep the information private.

The SEC says Cuban knew the shares would be sold below the current market price, and a few hours after receiving the information, told his broker to sell all shares in the search engine company.

"As we allege in the complaint, Mamma.com entrusted Mr. Cuban with nonpublic information after he promised to keep the information confidential. Less than four hours later, Mr. Cuban betrayed that trust by placing an order to sell all of his shares," Scott W. Friestad, deputy director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement. "It is fundamentally unfair for someone to use access to nonpublic information to improperly gain an edge on the market."

Connect 4 Round 13

Round 13: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Five Suggestions for the Dodgers' New Head of Security

Congratulations, Ray Maytorena—you've just been hired as the new VP of Security for the Dodgers. Undoubtedly you face a tall task in trying to make Dodger Stadium a safe but friendly environment. To assist you, SoSG recommends you focus your efforts on these groups of...undesirables:

1. Yahoos sitting behind home plate who wave to the camera while on their cell phone. "Hi honey! I just saw you two hours ago and I'm going to see you in another two hours, but I'm going to annoy millions of television viewers so I can say hi to you again! Game? What game?"

  • Recommendation: Exterminate with extreme prejudice, preferably in mid-wave to deter copycats.
  • Special exemption: Mary Hart.

2. Compulsive BlackBerry users. Welcome to Dodger Stadium. Note there is a game being played on the field in front of you. What's that, you can't look up because you have to return an e-mail from Bob in HR right now? Or the latest round of Bejeweled just can't wait? Then head back to the office, drone.

  • Recommendation: Confiscation of mobile device; said device will spend the rest of the game affixed to an industrial magnet.
  • Special exemption: Bloggers posting from the game. The public demands to know who won the hat shuffle, stat!

3. Beach ball boppers. "Here! Hit it heeerrrrre!" First of all, stop whining. Is that how you ask for everything? "Dinner! Give me dinnnnner!" Secondly, you like beach balls? Go to the beach. We have a few of those in L.A.


  • Recommendation: Activate a Dodger Stadium Beach Ball Squad, specially empowered to confiscate and violently deflate beach balls inches from the faces of the whiniest beach ball boppers. Arm squad members with Tasers to quell resultant attempts at booing.
  • Special exemption: Homemade inflatables that make a statement, like the blow-up pill bottle batted around the Left Field Pavilion when Barry Bonds was visiting Dodger Stadium.

4. Anyone starting or participating in The Wave. Nothing says we don't care like The Wave!

  • Recommendation: Outfit suspect Wave-starters with magnetic pants and sleeves; trip seat magnet to prevent fans from rising from their seats to perform The Wave. Trip armrest magnet to prevent token "butts-down, hands-up" participation.
  • Special exemption: When the Dodgers are winning by at least ten (10) runs, fans may celebrate with one (1) round of The Wave. Subsequent rounds will be quashed with aforementioned magnet technology.

5. Anyone starting or chanting "[insert object of ridicule] sucks!" Yo, why the hate? Just because the Dodgers rule doesn't mean everybody else sucks. Stay classy, L.A.

  • Recommendation: Deafening air horns sound upon start of chant; if chant persists, air horns increase in volume. (Players will not notice, as they will be outfitted with earplugs.) Air horns will play at eardrum-shattering levels, if necessary.
  • Special exemption: Manny Ramirez, if he doesn't re-sign with the Dodgers.

beach ball and Wave photos by Flickr user Malingering

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dodgers Release Arizona Spring Training Schedule

(Click on the calendar for more details.)

UPDATE:

Dodgers Raise Spring Ticket Prices By 450% (AP/CBS2)

Connect 4 Round 12

Round 12: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Thursday, November 13, 2008

R.I.P., FJM

Post #1377: The Relatively Short Goodbye (Fire Joe Morgan)

Well, it seemed inevitable: When you're busy making seven-figure deals with multimedia conglomerates, appearing with your baby son on your father-in-law's national talk show, and selling screenplays to and writing sitcoms for major studios, who has time to blog?

UPDATE:

A survivor eulogizes the blog passing of Fire Joe Morgan (Big League Stew)

L.A. Ink

Thanks to Heather for sending us this link to this picture:

What a great Photoshop, huh?


But wait! What about this picture:

Holy smokes, that's Ned "Sexylegs" Colletti getting a tattoo!


And here's another shot of Ned:


And isn't that Matt and Mama Kemp?


This looks like Matt's tattoo. Seems fitting:


So where is the coolest tattoo joint in town, the ink link of choice for both the Dodger front office and players, not to mention other celebrities?

It's True Blue Tattoo ("Home of the Artful Dodger"—nice!). You can check out their website for all things Dodger hardcore, their MySpace and their MySpace photos. Rock on!

More Dodger-core content at SoSG: For Those Who Love the Dodgers to Death, A Last-Minute Gift Idea for the Lady in Your Life

More Dodger tattoo content at SoSG: Russell Martin's Tattoo, Bill Plaschke Drools over Russell Martin's Bare Shoulder

For Those Who Love the Dodgers to Death

Thanks to eagle-eyed SoSG reader Julie Hibbard for these too-good-to-be-true finds:

Major League Baseball™ Line of Urns, Caskets and Medallion Headstone Markers

That's right: If you want your mortal remains to spend the rest of eternity entombed in Dodger Blue, or if you just want your funeral arrangements to line the pockets of Frank McCourt, Eternal Image has the products for you. (Star Trek fan? No worries!)


The Dodger Urn: When storing your ashes in a Yuban can isn't good enough.


The Dodger Casket: Warning track burial not included.


Note the Dodger Urn includes a holder for an autographed baseball. Whose signature would you want your remains to share their final resting place with?

Connect 4 Round 11

Round 11: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Does This New Uniform Make My Oriole Look Fat?

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Baltimore Orioles have changed the bird that adorns their caps. It's not a mind-blowing alteration. But it is a good barometer of how desperate the Orioles are to make the news at all.

In other Baltimore uniform news, the article also indicates that the Orioles' road uniforms will read "Baltimore" in script, reverting to a style last seen in 1972.

But surely, no change will attract as much attention -- and be met with as much applause -- as the addition of "Baltimore" to the team's road jerseys for the first time in 36 years.

"Anytime we have a situation where our fans are requesting something of the club, we, of course, listen and try to accommodate whenever possible," said Greg Bader, Orioles director of communications. "One of the things that we said is if and when we do engage in some sort of uniform change, it would not be strictly a reactionary move to do something that didn't help our brand and, in turn, help the organization and our fans in that regard."

The city's name hasn't been on the Orioles' road jerseys since 1972, when then-owner Jerold Hoffberger had it removed in favor of the team's nickname. The decision, made about a year after the Washington Senators moved to Texas and left the nation's capital without a professional baseball team, was widely viewed as an attempt to cast the Orioles as a more regional entity and attract the Senators' fan base.

However, few topics have drawn more ire from Orioles fans, who have cited the organization's failure to make the change as proof that the club had lost touch with its local fan base.

As 'Duk over at Big League Stew indicates, "That leaves only the Angels, Brewers, Cardinals, Phillies and Rays as the only teams too ashamed to advertise where they're from when they're on the road." Zing!

If There Was Ever A Time for Frank McCourt to Emulate The Red Sox, It's Now

Sports Illustrated reports that the Boston Red Sox will not raise ticket prices in 2009:

BOSTON (AP) -- For the first time in 14 years, the Boston Red Sox aren't increasing any ticket prices at Fenway Park for the 2009 season.

Prices range from $12 to $125 for tickets bought after Dec. 17. There is a discount for earlier purchases once tickets go on sale Dec. 13.

Red Sox President Larry Lucchino says the team knows that fans are facing challenging economic times and wanted to give them a break.

Fans with contracts for premium seats can keep their ticket prices the same if they agree to extend those contracts for one year.

The team plans to add about 350 seats at Fenway Park before next season.

Wow, and they're even giving early purchasers a discount! Sounds like a neat idea, doesn't it, Frank? Frank?

Pete Wentz Wins NL Cy Young

In an upset of shocking proportions, Fall Out Boy bassist and backup vocalist Pete Wentz was awarded the National League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, despite his never having thrown a pitch in the major leagues.

Wentz, a high school all-state soccer player, was nonetheless thrilled to receive baseball's highest pitching honor by taking 23 of 32 first-place votes. "I was definitely surprised. I thought it was going to be a lot closer," he said.

Wentz played briefly for the Dodgers, throwing one pre-game pitch for the organization in 2006.

Lincecum photo by Eric Risberg/AP
Wentz Dodgers photo by Jon SooHoo/WireImage

Things I Don't Understand: The Highlighter Person at Costco

Shopping at Costco is like competing in American Gladiators. First, you have to out-maneuver other SUVs for a spot in the always-crammed parking lot. Next, you have to navigate your shopping cart through aisles filled with a sea of flatbeds and curious shoppers hell-bent on tasting every free item to pop out of a toaster oven, irrespective of the nutritional content or number of processed foods involved. Getting produce means you have to brave the arctic cold of the refrigerated room. And throughout, one lifts 50 lb. plastic jars of mayonnaise and plastic-wrapped packs of 128 rolls of toilet paper into one's cart, usually without stretching beforehand or being equipped with a weight belt for support.

It's a grueling physical process that tests the muscles every step of the way. It's not a shopping experience for the timid or meek. It's the WWE of grocery shopping.

So why, pray tell, is there a person stationed at the exit gate, apparently tasked with auditing your receipt against the contents of your shopping basket? Every visit, said person lifts a fluorescent highlighter and marks one's receipt. But why? What good is gained here? Let's look at the logical inconsistencies embodied by this role:

  • 1. Consumers have already passed through checkstands and paid for their goods. There is virtually no way out of the building with a cart without passing through a checkstand properly, so it's not like the highlighter person prevents rampant theft of filled carts.
  • 2. There is no realistic way to audit the items of a full and oftentimes overflowing shopping cart against a list of ~50 items documented on a receipt. Children's socks, toothpaste, a bottle of wine? How is someone going to spot those items hiding behind a box of 224 diapers, or a pack of 24 Gatorade drinks, or a 42" Vizio flat screen television?
  • 3. Having this unnecessary ritual exist in the first place only serves to slow outbound traffic from Costco, which usually turns into a ten-minute death march just to leave the building. One can literally watch his or her milk spoil before his/her eyes, while waiting in line to exit.

So what exactly does Mr. and Mrs. Highlighter do for Costco? If they're not preventing shrinkage and theft, why bother with the unnecessary ritual of someone going through the motions? Wouldn't this person be better spent "greeting" customers (a la Wal-Mart), rather than impeding their prompt departure from the store?

Does the highlighted mark legitimize the receipt itself, anymore so than the "Costco" logo printed at the top? And if I didn't stop my cart to get the highlighted mark, would I be pecked to death by a barrage of highlighted pens?

I'm sure one of you out there has the answer, why is the highlighter person at Costco in the first place. Please, do tell.

Earlier: Things I Don't Understand: Tahiti Village

Connect Four Round 10

To be honest, it seemed to me that mcr had a pretty solid argument for going with Column E last round. And if not Column E, then at least Column D would have forced the Writers into a defense move, after which you could pick up on the Column E strategy anew. But the people have spoken, and Column F it is. Why Column F? I think I know - you all want to prolong the game because it's so much frickin' fun! So your wish has been granted, and on we go to the next round...

Round 10: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
  
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No, Really, Dodger Fans, We Are Serious About Pursuing Manny

New reports are leaking tonight that the mythical offer the Dodgers proposed to Manny Ramirez could include as many as three years, and as much as $60M:

The Dodgers' initial offer to the slugger contains a club option for a third year that would make the total deal match that figure, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing a source close to the negotiations, the newspaper reported that Ramirez would earn $15 million next season, $22.5 million in 2010 and the same in 2011 if the team exercised its option. The final year can be bought out for $7.5 million.

The offer stands until Thursday when the Dodgers lose exclusive rights to negotiate with the free agent.

A source told the Times, however, that talks could continue and that the Dodgers would consider guaranteeing the third year of the deal.

Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, has already said that the length of the deal is not acceptable, according to the newspaper.

I'm not trying to suggest that three years and $60M isn't a rich deal. That's indeed a whole lot of money. But the point of this remains that it is clearly fewer years and dollars than Manny and his agent Scott Boras expect. And it's not like they weren't clear about what terms they want ("Gas is up and so am I," quipped Ramirez). So to see this as anything but an obviously inadequate proposal is nuts.

The window of "exclusive negotiating" with Ramirez closes on Thursday the 13th. And if, pray tell, there should be another bottom-feeding team, desperate to sign anyone with a potent bat, who would swoop in and pick Manny up, then where do we turn next?

What's plan B, guys?

Guys?

The Problem With That Low-Ball Offer To Manny

We're not stupid.

We Dodger fans know exactly what is going on. Frank McCourt can't afford the price tag for Manny Ramirez, so instead of giving him the long-term deal that Manny and his nefarious agent Scott Boras want (and have made no bones about), McCourt and his henchman Ned Colletti go public with a short-term deal at an astronomical salary. And they tell every newspaper, so it gets publicized everywhere that the Dodgers have made an offer to Manny Ramirez.

True, it's an offer. But it also doesn't deliver upon the one thing that Manny Ramirez wants: a long-term deal. At root, the Dodgers' proposal is disingenuous and to think otherwise is absurd. This is basically set up to fail--it's clear that it will--and then McCourt can claim to the public that the Dodgers did everything it could. Which is not true, of course, because it didn't. But that's how the argument will go.

The few times that McCourt and Colletti have sacked up and spent a lot of money, they've pissed it away on injury-prone disasters (Jason Schmidt, $45M), weak-hitting slaphitters with no power (Juan Pierre, $45M), or both (Andruw Jones, $36M). That's a lot of money for assets which aren't contributing anything but depreciation on the bench. And here is a chance to spend something on what is undeniably a worthwhile asset, and we aren't even stepping up to the plate with a reasonable offer.

What's worse, I'm certain that, following a Ramirez snub, we will go out and spend that $45-55M on more second- and third-tier assets which will quickly become additional liabilities.

I know Colletti is dealing with the devil here, and I know negotations are difficult. I understand that a Ramirez signing has risk, particularly in the out years of the contract, but I also believe we have no other choice in order to give hope to the fans and have a potent team in 2009. If we're "over a barrel," it's unfortunate, but it's just as much due to the Ramirez/Boras show as it is to our willfully foolish spending since McCourt and Colletti started their term.

Three big deals, three busts. And now, one option right in front of us that's the closest thing to a lock than we have ever seen. And we're opting to put forth a pittance that will certainly be disregarded outright, and potentially even impede any further attempts at closing a deal in the first place.

And then, this story comes up, that Ramirez may be headed to the Giants.

Can the San Francisco Giants afford another multi-million dollar mistake provided by agent Scott Boras? Rumor has it the Giants have their eyes on Manny Ramirez and, if the price is right, he may be sporting the orange and black come next season. [...]

It’s no secret that the Giants need a clean-up hitter. Bengie Molina went yard 16 times in 2008. That is clearly unacceptable. Looking at that statistic makes one agree a move for Manny would be a good one. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the discrepancy between Ramirez’s 2008 performance with the Boston Red Sox and his performance with the Dodgers.

After Manny left Boston, many Red Sox fans watched him in Dodger blue with scorn in their eyes. The lackadaisical Manny turned into the big factor in L.A. There is no greater insult to fans and an organization. If Ramirez moseys up the coast to San Francisco, AT&T Park will endure a big change.

People will begin to fill the seats more regularly as they once did. Hope will creep into the park just as the fog and seagulls do at every game. The cheers will be louder than the longhaired bespectacled vendor selling peanuts and Dibs.

Sure, it's purely speculative. Probably, it's Boras-planted. Yes, it's odd that the peanut vendors at AT&T Park also sell Dibs (I don't much like ice-cold peanuts, or salty warm Dibs).

But if Ramirez ends up with the Giants, would any protestation that "we made Manny an offer" really hold any water at all? Or would we have to face the fact that, 17 times a season, we'll be painfully aware of what we passed on?

Thank You to Our Veterans

Almost every day my dog and I walk past the house of a veteran. How do I know? There's the United States Marine Corps flag he flies in addition to the American flag. And there's the THANK A VETERAN bumper sticker on his truck.

I've seen this former Marine outside his house a few times. He's older now, with a full head of white hair, but still stands tall, well over six feet. If he's intimidating now—and he is—I can only imagine what a badass he must have been in his prime.

I've always wanted to follow the directive on his bumper sticker and thank the man for his service, but have only mustered a tight-lipped smile or a nod and a mumbled "Sir" (how pandering of me!) the few times we've made eye contact.

But I can say it here! Thank you to our veterans. It hardly seems enough, but Veteran's Day at least gives us a place to start.

And one day I'll work up the nerve to say thank you to that Marine.

(Interested in donating to veterans' causes? Consider Fisher House -- Helping Military Families.)

Earlier: A Belated Look at True Veterans

UPDATE, JANUARY 30, 2009:

Finally did it! Saw him outside his house, steeled my nerves and said thank you. Of course, he was perfectly pleasant. Said, "That was 63 years ago!" Amazing.

photo from Cape & Islands Detachment 955 Marine Corps League

Connect 4 Round 9

Round 9: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
  
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Not a Great Day for the Rest of the NL West

D-Backs cut 31 employees from front office (Arizona Republic)

Rockies agree to send Holliday to A's (coloradorockies.com)

Contract impasse forces Hoffman out of San Diego (ESPN.com)

R.I.P., Preacher Roe

Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Preacher Roe celebrate in the clubhouse after beating the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1952 World Series.


Via Dodger Thoughts comes the news that former Dodger pitcher Preacher Roe has died. What do you need to know about Preacher Roe? From his website:

Branch Rickey took him into the Brooklyn Dodger family in 1948. There he became one of the greatest pitchers of the era. Losing the pennant in 1951 yet going on to make the "Pitcher of the Year" title by The Sporting News for his 22-3, National League record of .880. Pitching in 3 World Series (1949, 1952, 1953), Preacher stayed with the Dodger organization until 1954 when he bought a grocery store in West Plains, MO, and retired from baseball in a gentlemen's agreement with Brooklyn Dodger owner, Walter O'Malley.

Don't see many gentlemen's agreements these days.

AP photo

Connect Four Round 8

Round 8: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
  
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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Kuo Goes with the Swoosh

From Diamond:

Hong-Chih Kuo announced he would like to pitch for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic this spring. That is, if the Dodgers grant he and his troublesome elbow permission to do so. Meanwhile, it appears from the photo that he is now with Nike after being an adidas guy as of two springs ago.

Don't get cocky, Kuo. Just because you didn't blow out your arm this year doesn't mean you can start airing it out in the WBC. We'd prefer an off-season of rest for you.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dinesh & Rinku Can Bring the Heat

Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel and their friend Deepesh with Barry Bonds.


Will the Dodgers break another international barrier? From Diamond:

Dodgers look to India

The Dodgers had three scouts present yesterday in Tempe for a showcase of two intriguing pitching prospects from India. Yes, India, which has never produced a major leaguer and is cricket country.

Eight months after owner Frank McCourt told the Chinese people that he wanted to Dodgers to be the first team to go to India, the Dodgers were among the big league teams who took a good look at 19-year-olds Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh.

Their story is quite amazing, and it detailed on their awesome blog as the two former javelin throwers who had never seen a baseball before May could be on the verge of being signed to professional contracts.

Singh was the winner of the Indian reality television show "The Million Dollar Arm," which sought to uncover pitching talent in a nation with a population of more than one billion. Patel impressed enough to and was brought over to the U.S. be molded by USC pitching coach Tom House.

UPDATE:

India the next addition to scouting map? (MLB.com)

UPDATE:

Bucs sign pair of Indian hurlers (MLB.com)

Now This Is How You Unveil a New Uniform

Lastings Milledge and the "Nat Pack girls" model the Nationals' 2009 jerseys.


Nationals display new uniforms (Nationals.com)

Earlier: Diamondbacks Unveil New Uniforms, Reds Unveil New Uniforms, Looking Like a Vermilion Dollars

UPDATE:

Via Big League Stew, more pictures at Nats320.

The Mystery Outfielder is....Mandruw!

Ok, the Mystery Player thing was sort of a trick question. The intent was to unbaisedly gauge whether the disastrous-ness of Andruw Jones' contract outweighed the goodness of the Manny acquisition, both in terms of output and salary. I took the weighted average of Andruw's and Manny's 2008 stats, ratcheted it up to 530 at-bats to simulate a full season (my ballpark guess at how many AB/year they averaged over their careers), and then averaged the salary element of their contacts ($18 million/yr for Andruw, essentially $0 for Manny).

Anyhow I don't claim this reasoning is perfect (for one thing, the goodness of Manny's contract was in effect for only for 2.5 months, whereas the badness of Andruw's was for 2 years). But through the exercise I did learn one thing: Mandruw '08 looks a lot like Pat Burrell.

C4 R7: Half-way Home

C4R7 isn't a droid that ended up on the cutting room floor of the Star Wars editing room. It's the symbolic half-way point, by my fuzzy math, of the Readers vs Writers Connect Four Challenge. So make your choice wisely, then head to the locker room for halftime (i.e., the weekend) to regroup.

Round 7: What should be the Readers' next move?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
  
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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zach and Berko Make a Point-o

So...are you all ready for this?

Going back to my annoyed at simpletons post, commenters Zach Martin and Berkowit28 both questioned the fact that I explicitly deemed fielding prowess "negligible" in the analysis. Thanks to their comments, I thought it through a bit more, and have amended my earlier analysis.

But before I walk through the amendment, I need to clarify one thing: the original post did NOT deem fielding ability negligible to a team's welfare (although this post partially does); it deemed fielding ability negligible to determining the validity of the "everyday player for MVP" argument. This distinction may seem subtle, but it's critical, so I hope it's understood.

Anyhow, as I thought it through, I identified three issues. Two supported my contention that fielding ability is neglible, while one supported Zach & Berko's contention that is should be considered. Here are the issues:

Issue 1: Impact of Good vs Bad Fielding Itself

I believe a player's hitting (or pitching) abilities have far greater impact on his team's welfare than his fielding abilities. Stated another way, the difference in impact between the best fielder in baseball (at a given position) and the worst is dwarfed by the difference in impact between the best and worst hitter at those positions. I don't know much about sabermetrics, but I think I remember Moneyball making a similar point. Here's an attempt to measure the impact of excellent vs poor fielding at two selected positions (Shortstop and Left Field):

Shortstops

Player Fielding % Avg Chances for SS's Avg Errors/ Season Runs Costed/ Error Total Runs Costed/ Season
Rollins (best) 0.988 617 7.4 0.61 4.5
Ramirez (worst) 0.967 617 20.4 0.61 12.4
Difference 7.9 runs

Left Fielders

Player Fielding % Avg Chances for LF's Avg Errors/ Season Runs Costed/ Error Total Runs Costed/ Season
Braun (best) 1.000 244 0 0.61 0
Dunn (worst) 0.968 244 7.8 0.61 4.8
Difference 4.8 runs

As Zach stated, it's basically impossible to accurately quantify fielding ability. But since I know of no better metric, we're using fielding %. Since each position is unique in both average fielding % and # of chances, each position should be treated separately. Above I consider only SS and LF (feel free to do the other 7 positions on your own).

Let's look at shortstops first. Among them, Rollins had the best FLD% (0.988) and Hanley Ramirez the worst (0.967). Normalize that by shortstops' average of 617 chances per season to factor out differences in playing time, and you get 7.4 and 20.4 errors, respectively. Now the question is, how often does an error lead to a run? I have no idea. My best guesstimate is to take the MLB average of 99 errors per team and divide by the MLB average of 60 unearned runs allowed per team to arrive at about 0.61 runs per error. It would then follow that Ramirez would cost the Marlins 20.4 x 0.61 = 12.4 runs over the season by his fielding and Rollins 7.4 x 0.61 = 4.5 runs. So by this methodology, over the course of a season, the worst fielding shortstop would cost his team 8 runs more than the best fielding shortstop. Same methodology for LF, where the difference is about 5 runs.

Now let's look at hitting. This metric thankfully is done for us via Bill James' Runs Created statistic. The difference between the best-hitting SS (Hanley Ramirez, with 136 RC's) and the worst-hitting SS (Bobby Crosby, with 55 RC's) is 81 runs. At LF the difference is 51 runs (Manny's 145 RC's minus Fred Lewis' 94). Coincidentally, in both cases that's almost exactly 10x the impact of their fielding (no, I didn't backwards engineer this).

In summary, this asserts that hitting ability has about 10 times the impact as fielding ability (again, feel free to do a similar analysis for pitchers. I will choose to skip this and assume it's roughly equal to hitting). I thus feel that this Issue 1 supports my contention that fielding is negligible compared to hitting or pitching.

Issue 2: Relative Amount of Time in Field

This is the factor that I feel supports Zach & Berko's contention. Similar to how I gauged the % of a team's PA's that a player was directly involved in (i.e., either at bat or on the mound), I realize it's important to do the same thing for fielding. Here it is:

HI's1/ game (both teams) HI's/ game with player fielding % of HI's/ game with player fielding Games player plays in % of team's games player plays in % of team's HI's with player fielding
Hitter 18.5 8.5 45.9% 158.5 98% 45.0%
Pitcher 18.5 6.9 37.4% 33.8 21% 7.8%
1HI = half-inning

As we know, a pitcher fields only when he’s on the mound, so it follows that in the course of a season, he fields in the identical percentage of his team's plate appearances as he is on the mound for. This is confirmed above, as the 7.8% figure matches that of the previous post. A hitter, however, fields in a far greater % of his team’s PA’s - let’s say roughly 8.5 half-innings per game, or 46% of the PA’s in a given game. 46% x 98% = 45% of PA's of games in which his team plays. Compare this with the pitchers' 7.8%, and to me this says that over the course of a season, hitters are playing defense 5.7 times more often than pitchers. I feel this is a significant factor I failed to consider the first time around.

Issue 3: MVP criteria

I'm not gonna try to quantify this, but my belief is that when selecting an MVP (or Cy Young), hitting and/or pitching stats dominate the voters' criteria. Being a poor or great fielder can help solidify a decision, but I don't think it's ever the primary criteria. Thus, in the context of whether it's valid to assert that an everyday player deserves more MVP consideration than a starting pitcher, I feel like their respective fielding ability is at best secondary.

Conclusion

So what does this all mean? I'm starting to get a little dizzy myself, but here's my conclusion:

% of team's PA's directy involving player 1 Relative impact of fielding vs hitting Relative time in field, compared to pitchers Overall impact of fielding Overall potential impact of both fielding and hitting/ pitching
Hitters 5.3 10% 5.7x 3.0 8.3
Pitchers 7.8 10% 1.0x 0.8 8.6
1Directly involved = at bat or on mound; this figure taken from previous post

Looking at hitters first, we first take the 5.3% figure from the previous post (I discontinue using the percentage unit because after this calculation it will no longer apply). This represents the potential impact only due to the time the player is at bat. We multiply this by both the 10% (represents fielding is 10% as impactful as hitting, as per Issue 1 above) and the 5.7 factor (represents hitters are playing the field 5.7 times as often as pitchers, as per Issue 2), and arrive at an overall fielding factor of 3.0. Add the existing 5.3 from the previous post to this 3.0 fielding factor and get an overall impact factor of 8.3.

If you do the same exercise for pitchers, you get an overall impact factor of 8.6. When compared against the 8.3 factor for hitters, it looks like when considering both impact at the plate/mound and playing defense, hitters have raised their potential impact to just under that of pitchers, largely due to the fact they're on the field longer, but the "everyday player" MVP argument remains invalid (also keep in mind Issue 3 is not considered in these calculations, which should once again widen this gap between hitters and pitchers' impact).

So there you go. I know there are immeasurable deficiencies in how I've quantified these things (catch the irony there?), plus I had to crank this post out pretty quickly, so please check my math. I hope someone out there reads through and follows what I'm trying to say. I'd love to hear your critiques (but if you do, please include at least some specifics - that means you, Bobmac!), comments, or questions. And thanks Zach & Berko for making me dig a little deeper.