A fan of the Yankees, Red Sox, and large sample sizes.
THIS BLOG HAS MOVED
Finally. SkyKing162 v 2.0 is not only sexier, it's got more power.
Change your bookmark (haha, good one) and head on over to read about the switch.
NOTES AND QUOTES
My to do list (not in any particular order):
- Write a couple kickass articles for the new site
- Launch new site
- Find a place to live
- Start school year
- Finish dump trades in two fantasy leagues
- Make lesson plans for upcoming school year
Quote of the summer (by Zach, a high school junior):
"Rooting for both the Yankees and Red Sox is like being good at both math and English."
KRUK'S THE MAN
Ok, maybe that's a little extreme.
But he did just say, on Baseball Tonight, that pitchers should pitch to Bonds more and intentionally walk him less. "He can't hit a homerun every time." If we translate that statement from Krukese into English, it's a pretty intelligent observation. The times that Bonds doesn't get on base more than makes up for the hits and homers.
Look for a complete re-working of this blog in the next few weeks. It's almost ready now (WC3 Validated, XML feeds, cool flaming baseball logo, useable comments and archives, and more reliable host), but since I'll be travelling a lot and I want to kick things off with a high posting rate, don't expect things too soon.
In the mean time, if anyone that reads this is both a Yankees and Red Sox fan, or used to be one, but is now the other, or knows of someone who fits either qualification, email me at skyking162 at gmail.com.
Also, anyone else noticed that Joe Morgan wrote the book Baseball for Dummies.
IGNORANCE IS THE KISS OF DEATH
I absolutely hate feeling frustrated. And one of the easiest ways to become frustrated is to read about, experience, or interact in any way with ignorance.
One of the best feelings in the world is to defeat ignorance. When you spend two years being infuriated by Joe Morgan "gotta-have-heart and bunting skills to win" chats, it's bliss to finally hear him say something about how getting on base is important. With all the discussion, data, and writings out there, it's infuriating that a lot of people don't take the time to understand what sabrmetrics is trying to accomplish. You don't have to agree with each conclusion, but don't bash it until you understand it. There's always a better way to do things. I can't stand people who just settle for the same old way, just because.
Speaking of ignorance, why are we fighting the Civil Rights battle in the US for the third time? Women are people, too? Wow, let's treat them like equals. Blacks are people, too? Wow, let's treat them like equals. But those gay people, they're different. They're going to contaminate us "normal" people by getting married.
How can the President and a majority of the people in America support the idea of actively taking away rights of some of its people? And why aren't there more people completely outraged at the idea?
I'm obviously missing something in the anti-gay-marriage argument. At least I hope I am. Because if the whole "we must protect the sanctity of marriage" thing is just PC-speak for "we don't like homosexuality", I quit. So, what am I missing?
Frustrated? You bet I am.
EL DUQUE TO START IN PLACE OF MUSSINA
Our local paper mentioned a report by yankees.com that Orlando Hernandez will start today in place of Mike Mussina. With all the "problems" Yankee starters have had this year, it's great to know that there are quality replacements. Frankly, you've got to love the potential upside of the Yankee rotation. Mussina, Brown, Vazquez, Contreras, Lieber, and El Duque. That's six quality arms. Who can be counted on to post a sub-4.00 ERA with 100 IP the rest of the way? Nobody. Who could do it? Any of them. It'll be fun to see how it all works out. And no matter what, the offense will help the Yanks win a few games.
Not a lot of posting lately. I took another trip (this time to visit ballparks in PIT, CIN, and CLE - I'll write about it eventually), and I've got another one coming up. Even if I'm not writing, I'm still playing around on my computer, and have a switch from Blogger to Grey Matter on my own server coming up. You're excited, I know.
Under/over on Bonds' HRs in the HR Derby: 15. And I'll take the over.
To all my friends who think I'm hopelessly obsessed with baseball: you're right.
But at least I'm not obsessed with Klingon.
Oh, and while I'm linking to weird stuff, check out this dude's attempt to get a Gmail account. Oh, and this one, too.
As a big Strat-o-Matic baseball guy, I constantly pay attention to hitter and pitcher platoon splits. For hitters, I like to see a big difference between how they hit lefties and righties (preferably favoring righties). For pitchers, the more consistent, the better. The reason? You can pick specific hitters to take advantage of opposing pitcher handedness, but when you pick your pitcher, you can't decide which of your opponent's hitters will be in the lineup. Why play a pitcher who gives up an extra .200 points of OPS against lefties, if you can help it? That's just asking your opponent to plop 7 or 8 lefties in to the lineup, even if some are merely mediocre.
Anyways, I only bring this up because I was checking out Nick Johnson's page over at ESPN.com. As a Yankees fan, I enjoyed watching Johnson get on base for the past two years, and was disappointed to see him go to the Expos. After losing almost two months to injuries this year, what do his splits look like? (OBP SLG OPS)
vs. L .486 .360 .846
vs. R .346 .500 .846
Hmm, consistent, yet... not. Nick's got an OPS of .846 against both righties and lefties, but he's doing it in drastically different ways. Patience against lefties, but no power to speak of (.280 AVG .080 ISO) with all his power (3 HRs, 7 2Bs in 72 ABs) against righties. As OBP is more important than SLG, he's actually been more productive against lefties so far.
YET ANOTHER PRODUTIVE OUTS ARTICLE
In case there was any doubt that Productive Outs and PO Percentage are a waste of digital storage space, as well as a waste of our time, Larry Mahnken sticks another (his sixth?) fork in POP.
HAPPY BELATED FATHER'S DAY
My obsession with baseball started with my dad's obsession with baseball. Our relationship is pretty much the epitome of the male bonding cliche.
Dad was my Little League baseball coach - check. Dad took me and my friends to a minor league game for my 8th birthday - check. Dad and I stayed up way past my bedtime watching the Yankees win the World Series - check. Dad organized the world's coolest neighborhood trip to a weekend of baseball up in Toronto - check.
Our Little League baseball team was a dynasty. In the International League, we finished first or second every year. Those were the glory days - sponsored by School Pictures, my short, skinny, non-imposing friends and I destroyed other teams with our coordination and competence. I threw the slowest pitch of anybody in the league, but since I could throw strikes and half the other kids couldn't hit, I didn't give up too many runs. We pulled the hidden ball trick at least once per game, and I even picked a kid off of second base from centerfield one time.
As most relationships go, there came a point when I realized my dad actually wasn't the second-coming of Babe Ruth (although he did beat out Dale Berra for the second base job as a sophomore in high school). It's a rather fuzzy point, though. It may have been a couple years after he proclaimed, "Bernie Williams in centerfield? That guy will never amount to anything." Or it might have been during my college days when I came home to hear him saying stupid things at the TV, like "ugh, we need more veteran leadership."
But it doesn't matter. The most important part of any parent-child relationship is that the child learns from the parent and takes things a step further. Hell, that's the most important part of any relationship.
Thanks for the baseball education, dad.
DEBAUCHERY, AND LOWE THROWS A GEM
I'm back from driving around the northeast, getting to hang out with some friends that I spend way too little time with. The coolest part was that we didn't just rehash old college stories, but came up with new material.
As a Red Sox fan, their recent descent in the standings has been disheartening. The pitching, a strength for the first two months, has suddenly looked shaky. Thankfully, the offense should get even better, due to Nomar and Trot returning, and the apparent choice to keep Bellhorn as the primary 2B. I was really scared, however, to see that Derek Lowe was starting in Coors this afternoon. He's had a rocky season, with more walks than usual, a slightly lower K rate, and a lower GB/FB ratio. The .300 BAA and 5.83 ERA are quite scary, although I'd hate to see what the ERA would look like if he hadn't been so stingy at giving up HRs.
So how'd he do? He still walked more than he struck out (4/3). But fortunately, Lowe only gave up 4 hits and no HRs in 7 shutout innings. Kinda lucky if you ask me. It's also a testament to the pathetic abilities of the Rockies offense. Going forward, I don't see Lowe bringing that ERA below 5.00.
Lastly, thanks to studes of Hardball Times fame who gave me a nice compliment over at his place.
I just finished my first year of teaching high school math, and I'm headed on a nice vacation. This blog won't get updated for about a week, but hey, you're all used to that anyways.
Roger Clemens is pitching in Safeco field today agains the putrid Mariners' offense. My prediction? 8 IP, 7 singles, 2 walks, 1 run, and a win for the ex-Yankee/Red Sock.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
Often times, people talk a whole lot of smack, and then don't follow it up with praise when things actually turn out alright. It's the opposite of the presidential promise phenomenon (talk like you're aiming for heaven, and follow it up with crap). Two of these cases concerning internet baseball came to mind to me today.
First, MLB.com has become a pretty darn good website. As recently as last summer, it was pretty pathetic - horrible presentation, awful organization, and a complete lack of information. Now, however, the front page has a cutting edge rotating top story thing going, the stats are complete, the fantasy baseball options are prerty varied and interesting (if you're into that type of thing), and MLB.tv/MLB Radio are perhaps #1 on my list of reasons why the internet is a life requirement.
Second, Baseball Prospectus used to get ragged on for giving a cold shoulder to fantasy fans. They didn't write any fantasy baseball articles, didn't provide fantasy baseball rankings, and generally seemed to be sabrmetric snobs. If that was ever true, it's certainly not now. The front of BP 2004 has a line catering to fantasy fans. The website now has a cheaper, more limited fantasy subscription option. And the site now includes a number of fantasy features: the dynamic player value spreadsheet, team tracker, and depth charts.
Anyways, hats off to two baseball sites that listened to their critics and have made themselves better (a hard feat in BP's case).
ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR
I don't usually write about myself, but if I can help anyone feel better about things that went wrong this weekend, then I'm glad to help out.
On Friday, I managed to lose my wallet in the two mile drive between the bank and my house. Really. The bank didn't find it, and I didn't have it when I got out of my car 5 minutes later. I cancelled the credit cards, and have to go pay for a new license tomorrow.
Then, this morning, I went into school early to finish writing my exams. Worked for about thirty minutes, then went out to my car to grab some more stuff. I brought out the wrong set of keys, locking myself out of the building, and everything important in the building. I had to walk a block to a pay phone and wake up my principal to let me back in.
Other than that, it was a pretty good weekend. My cell phone even still works after I did my best to destroy it with water and sand at the beach. I rule.
PROUD TO BE A RED SOX FAN
Johnny Damon's out of the lineup today, and rather than put his replacement (Gabe Kapler) in the leadoff spot, Terry Francona used his head and reshuffled the lineup. The 1-2 punch today is Mark Bellhorn and Kevin Youkilis.
Most people would cringe at Bellhorn as a leadoff hitter - you know, no speed. But his .390 OBP is higher than any other current leadoff hitter. And putting a rookie in the number two hole is a MLB feau paux - but with a career minor league OBP of three billion, that move seems pretty smart to me.
Nice move, boys.