Saturday, March 31, 2012

The One That Got Away

Twenty years and one day ago, the Cubs released Jamie Moyer.
The Cubs and Jamie Moyer

Look at this madman's stats; they're longer than some Old Testament genealogies!

Year Age Tm Lg ERA IP ERA+ HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 Awards
1986 23 CHC NL 5.05 87.1 80 1.0 4.3 4.6
1987 24 CHC NL 5.10 201.0 83 1.3 4.3 6.6
1988 25 CHC NL 3.48 202.0 105 0.9 2.5 5.4
1989 26 TEX AL 4.86 76.0 82 1.2 3.9 5.2
1990 27 TEX AL 4.66 102.1 85 0.5 3.4 5.1
1991 28 STL NL 5.74 31.1 65 1.4 4.6 5.7
1993 30 BAL AL 3.43 152.0 130 0.7 2.3 5.3
1994 31 BAL AL 4.77 149.0 105 1.4 2.3 5.3
1995 32 BAL AL 5.21 115.2 92 1.4 2.3 5.1
1996 33 TOT AL 3.98 160.2 126 1.3 2.6 4.4
1997 34 SEA AL 3.86 188.2 116 1.0 2.1 5.4
1998 35 SEA AL 3.53 234.1 131 0.9 1.6 6.1
1999 36 SEA AL 3.87 228.0 130 0.9 1.9 5.4 CYA-6
2000 37 SEA AL 5.49 154.0 83 1.3 3.1 5.7
2001 38 SEA AL 3.43 209.2 122 1.0 1.9 5.1 CYA-4
2002 39 SEA AL 3.32 230.2 128 1.1 2.0 5.7
2003 40 SEA AL 3.27 215.0 132 0.8 2.8 5.4 AS,CYA-5
2004 41 SEA AL 5.21 202.0 87 2.0 2.8 5.6
2005 42 SEA AL 4.28 200.0 98 1.0 2.3 4.6
2006 43 TOT MLB 4.30 211.1 105 1.4 2.2 4.6
2007 44 PHI NL 5.01 199.1 91 1.4 3.0 6.0
2008 45 PHI NL 3.71 196.1 118 0.9 2.8 5.6
2009 46 PHI NL 4.94 162.0 85 1.5 2.4 5.2
2010 47 PHI NL 4.84 111.2 84 1.6 1.6 5.1
24 Yrs 4.24 4020.1 104 1.1 2.5 5.4
162 Game Avg. 4.24 208 104 1.1 2.5 5.4
ERA IP ERA+ HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 Awards
SEA (11 yrs) 3.97 2093.0 113 1.1 2.3 5.3
PHI (5 yrs) 4.55 720.2 96 1.3 2.5 5.5
CHC (3 yrs) 4.42 490.1 90 1.1 3.6 5.7
BAL (3 yrs) 4.41 416.2 108 1.1 2.3 5.2
TEX (2 yrs) 4.74 178.1 84 0.8 3.6 5.1
STL (1 yr) 5.74 31.1 65 1.4 4.6 5.7
BOS (1 yr) 4.50 90.0 113 1.4 2.7 5.0
AL (16 yrs) 4.10 2778.0 110 1.1 2.4 5.3
NL (9 yrs) 4.53 1242.1 93 1.2 3.0 5.6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/31/2012.

White Sox Sign Yet Another First Baseman

The White Sox have signed Conor Jackson to a minor league contract, reports Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). The SFX client was assigned to Triple-A.
Why are the White Sox stocking up on first basemen? Paul KonerkoAdam DunnDan Johnson, Conor Jackson. Okay, well maybe that's not too many, but that's certainly two first basemen for Triple-A, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Unless someone's getting cut.

White Sox Sign Conor Jackson: MLBTradeRumors.com.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Miss You, Wheaties

Wheaties has fallen on hard times. Yup, this is true. The cereal that I grew up with with Jordan on the cover, finds itself with only 0.5% of the market. This is not good. The Street reports:
In total, yearly Wheaties sales have brought in $38.7 million, down 18.6% versus a year ago. Total boxes sold are under 10 million, down 22.5%, meaning roughly 4,000 fewer orange boxes are being sold in the U.S. per day than were being sold just three years ago.
Wheaties has gotten itself into a [brand] identity crisis — where's Michael Jordan when you need him?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Montage Of Marquette Fever

Who wouldn't want to play for this guy?

He can dance:

Drain half court shots:

And speak from the heart (Postgame vs. Murray State):


We are Marquette!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Columbia Sportswear And Clever Marketing

On an unrelated note, I recently saw the Columbia Sportswear commercial with the Angry Cat. My first thought (aside from copyright infringement against our Pessimism Cat) was "Wow, that's clever."



Hat tip to you, Columbia Sportswear. You had me at "15 minute tongue bath."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ryan Braun, PEDs, And Secrets

There's a lot that we, the public and the fans, just do not know. The MLB has secrets, many of them are not terribly surprising (more humanizing than anything) and some are pretty shocking. It sounds like the Ryan Braun drug test issue may have some of the shocking kinds of secrets.

The New York Times had some juicy quotes from some of Braun's teammates:
Lucroy said there was more to the situation than Braun has said publicly, and his explanation to teammates, Lucroy said, has been convincing.

"I’m not going to get into the details, but if you knew what we knew, people would be like, ‘Wow,’ " Lucroy said, adding that he understood why Braun has elaborated only in private. "You’ve got to do that because it’s his prerogative. It’s up to him, it’s his choice. And honestly, if some of the things came out, it would be a lot more negative than positive. There are reasons."
In my recent trip to Phoenix with the FanGraphs writers, I had the distinction of overhearing some fascinating insider talk, and it really affirmed — more than anything — that baseball is a business like any other, and the people involved in it are exactly that, people. And people are sometimes despicable, sometimes terrifying, sometimes awesome, sometimes socially inept, and sometimes they are Dan Haren at the In-N-Out Burger, letting his little daughter put stickers on his face.

All this to say: I would not be surprised that if in 10 years time, the Ryan Braun history is written with a very different pen.

Hat tip to Rob Neyer on this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agency: Bears Acquire Brandon Marshall From Dolphins

The Chicago Bears sent the NFL world aflutter on Tuesday afternoon when they — without any preceding rumors or public sense of anticipation — traded for dynamic wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Quick history here: In 2006, the Denver Broncos draft QB Jay Cutler in the 1st round of the NFL draft (No. 11 overall) and then, some 100 picks later, select WR Brandon Marshall in the 4th round (119th overall).

After three tumultuous seasons in Denver, Cutler gets traded to the Bears, where then-GM Jerry Angelo says, essentially, "The quarterback makes the wide receiver. Look at Brandon Marshall &#151 he was nothing until Cutler made him something!"

Meanwhile, in 2009, a year after the Cutler trade, Brandon Marshall gets shipped off to the Miami Dolphins where he signs a contract extension. Deprived of his Pro-Bowl quarterback, Marshall's career gets ripped asunder in the unforgiving Miami heat... right?

Wrong. He goes on to post two more 1000-yard years, earning his third Pro Bowl appearance in 2011 &#151 a game in which he breaks the Pro Bowl record with 4 TDs and 176 yards.

Konerko Cocktail'd

Too funny:

Monday, March 12, 2012

10 Questions, 2 Teams

The Hardball Times are in the middle of their "Five Questions" series, and they start their dissection of the Chicago Cubs with a quick bonus question that kind of answers any remaining questions:
Pop quiz question: What can Cubs fans look for in 2012?

2013.
As always, their analysis is prescient and their prose is enjoyable. Read it if you have a moment.

For White Sox fans, the future is even more murky:
Are the White Sox rebuilding?

According to Kenny Williams, yes, they are. This offseason, he addressed the media and said that in his entire decade-plus long tenure as GM, he’s never used the R-word. Well, he’s using it now. They’re rebuilding.
But then...
Can the White Sox compete in 2012?

...

The Sox should be a bit worse [than last year], but not terribly worse. Sure, if Sale bombs and Dunn and Rios remain offensive black holes and Peavy is never healthy, the team is doomed, but the dark side scenario is no more likely [than] the sunny one.

Sitting from here, the White Sox look like a team that will win 75-80 games. They shouldn't be that much worse than last year, but they look a bit below 2011's disappointment.
Unfortunately for the White Sox, the addition of the second Wild Card is probably not going to help out too much. The strength in the AL East (Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox) and the AL West (Angels and Rangers) should pretty soundly absorb all the available Wild Cards, but the AL Central is still not a strong division, and a key injury or two can open a door for the Sox.

Oh well, it's still Spring Training and anything can happen from here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Derrick Rose, Clutchiness, And Big Macs

Clutchiness, which in NBA terms means "Player performance in the last 5 minutes of games when the score margin is within 5 points" can be the Narrative Ninja of the NBA; for some, the narrative can be good (See: Jordan, M) or bad (See: James, L). For Chicago's native son, Derrick Rose, his clutchiness -- at first look -- has been head scratching in 2012. Yes, his buzzer beater in Milwaukee was amaaaaazzzinnnnggg. But, in the clutch, he has seen a decline in his Effective Field Goal and True Shooting Percentage while having an increase in his usage:

2011

2012

2011

2012 (so far)

I do think that this abbreviated season -- where DRose has missed 10 games -- has affected his output in the clutch. Just last week (while I was thinking about writing this post) I took a look at his clutch numbers (via NBA Stats Cube):

(just last week)

Comparing with the 2012 image from above, we see an increase in his mid-range jumper (C) and restricted area (A). Is Rose moving back towards the mean? Possibly.

More importantly, who knew making free throws to win Big Macs was such a big deal?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Derrick Rose Wins It, I Miss It

I seriously cannot believe that this is all I got to see of Wednesday night's game:

Time on the clock: 0.0. Score: 106-104. Thug: Derrick Rose. Me: SMH.

I don't have cable, and my only regret about that decision (to be poor) concerns sports. MLB.tv has solved 90% of that problem — seeing as how baseball is my main sport — but because I'm in the Chicago area, even if I got NBA League Pass, I'd still be blacked out from all these games broadcast on CSN.

Seriously, networks. I'm happy to watch your commercials, but you refuse to supply them to me.

Television --> dying; so figure your stuff out now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cubs Win The World Series!

Well that's... That's just cruel...



Anybody else get goosebumps? Seriously, this will be us someday. Just give it at least ten more years.

I'm told The Show continues to be the best baseball video game by far — not, shall we note, the best baseball simulation game (which is an altogether FAR nerdier category). Unfortunately, The Show has been restricted to Playstation devices for some time, and I don't have the latest generation of that particular product.

Oh, and meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano went 3 for 3 today with two homers and a triple. Yeah, it's Spring Training and the Arizona air invites homers like some run-scoring lady of the night, but it sure would be great if he suddenly found some youth and whatnot.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ultimate Zone Rating For Basketball

Ohhh... I, for one, have been waiting for a thing like this for a long time:


Both the NBA and NFL need more of 3D modeling-type stuff before their advanced metrics can be truly predictive.

In baseball, the public availability of Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has completely re-done how we evaluate players. I imagine a similar tool for the other sports would have the same effect.

(H/t to Tom Tango.)