My latest post at Banished to the Pen highlights those teams that made the most radical changes in their base-stealing proclivities from one season to another.
The full post is available here.
My own Detroit Tigers series for the upcoming season– name to be revealed in due course, but let’s just say I wish Wallside Windows would sponsor it– will be underway at this site soon. In the meantime, I have collaborated with Mark Sands to produce an extensive preview of the 2015 Detroit Tigers for Banished to the Pen, which is available today.
The full post is available here.
One of the important background dimensions to comparative baseball statistics is known as “park adjustments,” a set of corrective factors applied to account for the physical differences (e.g., outfield wall depth) between each park. Among American sports today, only Major League Baseball and NASCAR (and golf, I suppose) permit such structural variation between the competitive arenas themselves.
Professional hockey used to be in that group too. More than merely adjusting, adding, and subtracting lines on the ice to affect the flow of play, as the NHL continues to do (cf. the NBA three-point line), the rinks themselves used to be different sizes. League rules mandate a uniform rink size, but so-called “small rinks” persisted in the NHL as late as the 1980s and 1990s in Boston, Chicago, and Buffalo.
While hockey does not face the structural differences present in baseball, there still is a need to apply rink-by-rink statistical adjustments. That’s because the compiling of basic hockey statistics (e.g., shots, hits, turnovers) requires statisticians to make judgment calls to a more significant degree than in a discrete-event sport like baseball.
By way of limited background, the NHL collects basic gameplay statistics through a computer system known as the Real Time Scoring System (RTSS). A benefit of RTSS is that it aggregates and organizes data for analysis by teams, players, and fans. A vulnerability of RTSS is the subjectivity alluded to above that comes when human scorers track a fluid, dynamic sport like hockey.
While others have noted certain biases among the RTSS scorers at different rinks, a paper by Michael Schuckers and Brian Macdonald published earlier this month analyzes those discrepancies across a spread of core statistics and proposes a “Rink Effects” model that aims to do for subjective rink-to-rink differences in hockey scoring what park adjustments do for structural differences between baseball parks. Continue reading
When the BCS died a year ago, I wrote an introduction to the College Football Playoff that, in essence, contended that we were going to miss the BCS:
With the College Football Playoff ©, we will have one thing we asked for and one thing we did not. A semifinal playoff round will precede, and determine the participants in, the national championship game. That is good, and it was a structural shortcoming of the BCS. For some reason, though, the College Football Playoff © scrapped the BCS’s rankings system in favor of a Byzantine (Soviet? Orwellian?) black box: the
Participating in the BCS is like paying your income taxes: there’s a lot of math and fine print involved, you probably can’t quite find all of the information you need to calculate the precisely correct result, and there’s that guy down the block who hollers that the thing’s unconstitutional, but you generally have a pretty good idea of your expected outcome.
On the other hand, the new playoff’s Selection Committee recalls the Supreme Court: members deliberate behind closed doors, apply any criteria of their choosing in reaching decisions, and announce those decisions under their own terms.
On Sunday, the Selection Committee spoke for the last time in its inaugural season to announce the four playoff participants: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. Two days later, everyone outside of Texas generally seems to agree that this is the right result.
The only reason the results were or remain controversial has to do with what the Selection Committee did prior to Sunday. Their flipping and flopping of TCU, with seemingly connected treatments of Baylor and Minnesota, was the genesis of the confusion, surprise, and, in Fort Worth and Waco, disappointment, that arrived with the final playoff announcement. On one hand, those confused, surprised, and disappointed feelings were unwarranted: the Committee reached the correct result. On the other hand, however, they were unnecessary and likely would not have arisen absent the lack of transparency that now characterizes the college football ranking process.
If the BCS could speak from the grave, what would it say about the CFP Selection Committee’s final result? The answer, Continue reading
While he and his bands– he was a member of both Small Faces and Faces, and he played in numerous other groups, such as the Rolling Stones and his own solo band– deserve their own posts, Ian McLagan is honored and remembered in this week’s Friday Jam space. McLagan, an English keyboard player from the Booker T. Jones school, died this week. Here he is, in a YouTube greatest hit, with Faces, which, in case you didn’t recognize them, also included Rod Stewart and Ron Wood up front:
While the idea of writing about the cartographic results of ESPN SportsNation polls long has percolated in my mind, it (obviously to you, erstwhile ALDLAND reader) never took off. In part I suspect this is because there’s little categorical variety in the types of conclusions we ordinarily draw from these maps, those being 1) the one state associated with the obvious minority view holds out, probably irrationally, against the weight of a nationwide majority and 2) shoot, there really aren’t too many people with internet connections in Mississippi are there? After a very short time, this would become boring to read and write.
We are living in the post-peak-SportsNation world, though, which means that, if this thing’s going to work at all, we’ve got to try it now, but with a slightly different angle of approach. Instead of focusing on the people who supported a poll choice, we’ll look at those states where the voters were not able to reach consensus.
For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of these voting maps, ESPN assigns colors to each of the poll options and presents each state as the color of the option most popular among that state’s voters. Where there is a tie between leading options, however, the state appears grey. These indecisive states are the focus here.
ESPN (I assume from the existence of this poll and Norm Macdonald’s late-night tweeting) has been televising the World Series of Poker this week, and SportsNation, in a totally happenstance, non-marketing-driven poll, casually asked, “How would you rate your poker game?” Here are the results:
While we could postulate that Louisianans spend too much time playing Three-card Monte and Arkansans are just people who picked up the rudiments of poker as a post-hoc character alibi while on the run from an out-of-state murder rap, but we don’t really know any of that for certain, and it’s more– though still, extremely mildly– entertaining to note that Nevada, home to the nation’s largest casinos, has no opinion on the matter.
UPDATE: A plurality of Nevada voters now say they do not play poker at all. Click the map above to see the very latest results.
The new “complete” set, in its semi-scholarly presentation, in no way robs this music of its power and peculiarity; it clarifies it, and puts it in a context that is simultaneously aesthetically and historically meaningful. The narrative of The Basement Tapes is easy and enjoyable to follow, but it has never before been so fully and conscientiously laid out. … Read More
(via Wondering Sound)
I still don’t like Halloween, but I still can’t let the day pass without sharing this jam, all the more salient in this space today as the holiday falls on a Friday. Enjoy this new (to me) version of Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s canonical feature, now with the new (to me, as of today) knowledge that Pickett’s band for the special occasion, the Crypt-Kickers, featured the great Leon Russell on the B side. Enjoy the A side now before heading out for an evening of tricks and/or treats, and say hello to Bobby, Leon, and Dick if you happen to spot them in the great crypt tonight:
Last week’s Sports Illustrated closed with a remembrance of Adam Dunn’s career that included the following information:
While hip-hop paeans name-checked Jeter, the only tune anyone ever composed about Dunn came from his Reds teammate, and part-time musician, Bronson Arroyo. The pitcher reworked a song to reflect his friend’s typical late September demeanor. Says Arroyo, “The lyrics were like, ‘I’m Adam Dunn, I’m so glad the season’s over, I just want to get home and be sipping on a beer by the pool and get away from this b.s.'”
Yeah, I don’t know either.