Kris Liakos: January 2010 Archives

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It's been a good week for me as a Gator Hater. Tebow is laying eggs at the Senior Bowl, doling out excuses and getting ready to ruin everyone's Super Bowl by pontificating about abortion. Pretty soon he's gonna bug the rest of America as much as he bugs me!

And as if all that wasn't grating enough, graduating senior WR Riley Cooper, a former Texas Rangers draft pick, was just asked why he chose football over baseball. Below is the entirety of his dickish answer.

"I'm totally football. Was supposed to show up for my physical with the Rangers on Jan 17 and collect half my signing bonus. I told them that I appreciated the opportunity, but I'm going to do football. That's what my mentality is. The kind of person I am. I'm a football player."

"I met with my family at the end of the football season. We thought about what's best for me. With the type of makeup I've got, I think I'm a football player. I don't like failure, and if you fail seven times out of 10 in baseball you're going to be in the Hall of Fame. That's not my style."

Football is what his mentality is? That's not even English, Keith. Without debating the semantics of this backwoods yokel thinking that a .300 average will get you into the Hall of Fame, let's just agree with him. Not in his moronic disregard of the relative meaning of the word failure, but in his assertion that he's not a baseball player. A mind this dull was made for repeated bashings and probable conucssions. Not like it's going to make him any dumber. Also, dude should probably start playing basketball because I once read on a poster that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take so he's totally failing in that.

Thanks for your nuanced opinion on sports, Riley. Can't wait to hear what you think about reproductive rights.

The 2010 Walkoff Walk Field Trip: PNC Heist, Pittsburgh PA

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Hey kids, think warm. Only a couple weeks until Spring Training means only a couple months until the premiere party in all of baby costumed baseball blogging. Last year's Heist in Philly was such a success we decided to keep it in the great Keystone State and to yet another park named after a bank. For years I've heard great things about the Pirates' home park and I figure if I'm ever going to see it, I better have better reasons than just going to see that team.

Also, I wanted to go to Toronto but assumed a good portion of our readership isn't allowed to leave the country.

The final piece of the party puzzle is picking a date. Like last year there a few good options and we're interested in your feedback. Either email us or just drop a comment on which of the weekend dates you'd be most likely to attend. They're all Saturday night games:

  • July 3 vs. Philadelphia: Fourth of July fireworks at the game. Roy Halladay. A three-day holiday weekend sweetens the pot.

  • August 7 vs. Colorado: Um... Todd Helton? He's consistent. Come on, like any of you actually remember the game last year anyway. Oh, it ended on a walkoff? How come no one tried to resuscitate me?

  • August 21 vs. NYM: We could make fun of the Mets IN PERSON.

Drop us a line. Let us know. See you soon.

Joe Carter And Wally Joyner On The Family Feud - 1990

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Today's Classic TV Friday brings the deceased Ray Coombs back into your life as the host of Family Feud. It's from a week of episodes called "Natural Enemies" which pitted baseball players against umpires (YouTube user HYHYBT has it all here.) and as you can see the players made it to the final round on this day.

Join us as Joe Carter and his fresh railroad track haircut just dominate this thing. Wally Joyner barely has to do any work by the time he gets to the stage. Per usual, Rick Sutcliffe stands around looking dumb. It's a treasure trove. But my favorite part is undoubtedly when black Joe Carter answers the question "Name something a police officer is famous for" with "Arresting people" and snow white Wally Joyner says "Saving lives." Some things never change!

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Word came down this week that MLB will be putting it's foot down when it comes to teams, specifically the Marlins, not spending their income from revenue sharing by forcing the Florida team to agree to spending ANY money earned through the system on player acquisition and development. It's a rare and welcome instance of the league confronting one of their most coddled crook owners, and as the Times article points out, an even rarer bit of proaction to avoid a labor grievance and lawsuit.

This problem has been endemic in the lower quarter of MLB payrolls since the current sharing system was instituted in 2002, as evidenced by the fact that the names on the bottom of that list rarely change. People have accused the Royals of hoarding like a fat cat lady and I've given the business to the Rays and former owner Vince Naimoli. Just the aesthetics of spending less than (or just about equal) to what you receive from other teams are bad. I've read arguments this week that say the Marlins have been "competitve" so let them stay the way they are and just cut their revenue sharing check. And this misses the point entirely.

Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins begged a new stadium out of the people fo South Florida and they owe it to the ones that are fans to put an entertaining team that can attract big name players and retain some of great young talent that they've had over the years. And one that can win a pennant instead of just finish over .500. That takes money. Reciting front office platitudes like "going out and winning ballgames," and "putting the best team on the field" which, like every other team in professtional sports, the Marlins do, is a joke when it is plainly obvious that the goal is simply to make a profit and hover around the 80 win mark.

I lived in South Florida for 3 baseball seasons and attended more Marlins games than I can count. Their admittedly small fanbase is filled with good baseball people and I always enjoyed watching games with them. But find it impossible to fathom how they can root for a team run by such an obvious shyster. Good for baseball for turning the screws on him. If anyone uses the term "free market" in the comments of this post I will come to your house and smash your computer.

Pete Rose Likes His Kool-Aid Cold And His Kids Hot - 1986

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Classic TV Friday is a Walkoff Walk institution and Pete Rose commercials always deliver. Today's clip is either a commercial for Kool-Aid, a commercial for drugs or a commentary on humanity's disregard for the planet that supports us.

Let's try and follow the action here. A group of what the jingle refers to as "hot kids" are playing baseball in a post-apocalyptic desert where the rules of gravity have been suspended and there is an on site rock band. Enter Kool-Aid Man, on a powdered beverage jag hauling ass down the road before exploding into a Reds game that is taking place in Thunderdome before a studio audience. He snags Pete's drive to center and then Pete ventures out into nuclear winter to meet some hot kids.

Oh, yeah.

Taking the UZR Out Of Uzer Error

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On Monday I tossed off a quick link to a column by Smilin' Geoff Baker in the Seattle Times. I used it to make reference to the fact that Jason Bay's defensive skills may have been denigrated to the point where he's actually underrated in LF. Or at least not bad enough to the point where it had a major effect on his free agent value this offseason.

The column made a larger point of trying to dissect the usefulness of UZR (quick explanation here for those of you that just come here for my Bat Attack Roundups) in light of its often dramatic year-to-year swings for a player. It's a discussion I've had with Rob on occasion. Baker used Adam LaRoche as an example, I brought it up a couple weeks ago after a perusing of Jacoby Ellsbury's numbers. As Baker notes, even though park factor is accounted for in UZR it's hardly the most foolproof part of the metric. But, the more sound explanation for players having varied year to year numbers (especially when playing for the same team) is simply sample size.

With a typical outfielder getting at least twice as many plate appearances as he does defensive chances, when reading advanced stats we've all learned to trust a single season's offensive numbers to paint an accurate portrait of a player, but to factor 3 years of defensive numbers. It makes sense, but it doesn't solve the perception problem of simply looking at a guy's UZR numbers and trying to figure what kind of fielder he is right now. Common sense tells you that you can't simply average the numbers since each year will have a different number of defensive chances, and while the reality of a player that has posted a -14.2, +10, -6.9, +12.1 is that he's got average range and average arm, it doesn't look that way on the page.

So to solve the perception problem and stop dummies like me from misunderstanding/misinterpreting the meaning of UZR, I have a humble proposal. Do away with the year-to-year UZR rating of a player, and replace it with a single career number. Beginning in a player's second year the problem of small sample size will start to dissipate and on a single look you'll be able to make a quick judgement on just how much, or how little, he's able to do in the field. To account for diminishing skills with age or trouble playing in a new park, each player's career UZR can have a little up or down arrow like the Beckett Price Guides of old representing whether his number has gone up or down in his last 400 defensive chances.

I spent time last night investigating the calculation of UZR but since the last math class I took was something called "Math For Liberal Arts II" I didn't understand most of the mechanics. But I do understand the time and effort Mitchel Lichtman put into creating and revising the stat to factor in as much relevant information as possible about dudes goin' nuts in your outfield/infield. Like donning a mint condition vintage Garfield shirt on an important date, my suggestion is mostly an aesthetic one. But one that I think has some merit.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, give us a break you probably had a slow day back at work too. Here's stuff we missed over the break.

  • HOW will FoWoW Jason Bay fare as a New York Metropolitan? Just fine. Though he better hope the casual Mets fan stops caring about RBI a little bit. If last year's OBP numbers are similar this season, he won't have as many chances to knock in guys in the New York lineup. Doomsday predictions about his OF defense are probably inflated and he's an affable enough a guy to make nice with the New York media. All that being said, leaving a hitters park like Fenway and ditching any future switch to DH was a silly move on his part and he should have stayed.

  • IS Mark DeRosa going to be the only bat the Giants add this winter? He's famously versatile and was a supposed target for the Yankees as well, but this move isn't making anyone fear that Giants lineup too much more than before.

  • WITH Matt Holliday pretty much assuredly staying in St. Louis, is the bidding for unknown Cuban entity Arolidis Chapman the most interesting Hot Stove story left? Thank goodness pitchers and catchers report next month.

We'll REALLY be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. See you then, freaks.

(Circle Jerks photo stolen from the indefatigable If Charlie Parker Were A Gunslinger...)