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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jeff Bagwell: single season OPS+

From baseball-reference.com ad hoc query:

- 1903 to 2011
- played 75% of games at 1B
- OPS+ >=150
- qualified for league batting title
- sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

Bagwell has the third highest but it is in 1994 when he played only 110 games.

191 seasons made the list.

Bagwell has seasons ranked: 3, 35, 67, 97, 121, 172.

Willie McCovey, who is just behind Bagwell in career OPS+, also has six: 5 (his MVP season in which he played 149 games with 623 PA), 28, 50, 92, 119, 175.  And they called him Stretch, I guess because of his defense.

Eleven first basemen with at least five seasons and career OPS+:
Lou Gehrig 12    178
Jimmie Foxx 9    163
Johnny Mize 9    158
Albert Pujols 7    169
Hank Greenberg 6    158
Willie McCovey 6    147
Mark McGwire 6    162
Jeff Bagwell 6    149
Eddie Murray 5    129
Fred McGriff 5    134
George Sisler 5    124

Bagwell comes out very high, behind the big boys, but solidly among Hall of Famers.  And Bagwell stole more bases (202) than any of these first basemen except Sisler (375).

Too bad he played in Houston and did not hit well in the MLB playoffs and had his best season in strike shortened 1994.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jeff Bagwell among first basemen.

From baseball-reference.com ad hoc query:

Click that link to view a report generated by baseball-reference.com.  The criteria:

- seasons 1880 to 2012
- played 75% of games at 1B
- OPS+ at least 120
- at least 5000 plate appearances (PA)
- sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

45 players met the criteria, including the recently deceased Bill "Moose" Skowron.

Yesterday I was discussing with some friends Jeff Bagwell whom I never thought of as an all time great when he was playing.  When I look at Bagwell's numbers he does appear among the top first basemen, especially among National League (NL) first basemen.  Part of my attitude is that Bagwell hit so poorly in the playoffs.  He hit well in only 2 of 7 series, not counting two series  in which he had only 3 PA.  In his only WS Bagwell batted .125: one single in 8 at bats (AB).

Since I d not trust defensive numbers, especially for the ultimate offensive position, I used OPS+.  Bagwell is number 9 with 149, a shade above Willie McCovey (10) with whom we had compared Bagwell.

Someone had mentioned that we should not consider Johnny Mize, that Bagwell had twice as many PA, maybe 1.5 as many when challenged.

Mize 7,370
Bagwell 9,431

Mize is number 6.

The same guy did not like Roger Connor who is number 8 and had 8,847 PA.

If I drop those annoying Base on Balls (BB) and look at what they did in their AB, i.e., what was the slugging average (SLG)?

Bagwell remains number 9.  Mize remains number 6.  Oddly, McCovey drops to 14 in SLG.  Who thought McCovey picked up brownie points for BB?  Connor plummets to 27.  I did not expect that, especially considering that when Babe Ruth set the career record for home runs it was Connor's record that the Babe broke: 138.

Still, Bagwell does not have much black ink, leading his league.  Most of Bagwell's black ink came in the strike shortened 1994 season when he played only 110 games, 479 PA, 400 AB.  Bagwell led NL: Runs, RBI, SLG, OPS, OPS+, Total Bases (TB).  1994 was Bagwell's only MVP season.  Other NL black ink other than games played (1992, 1996, 1997, 1999):
1996 48 2B
1999 143 Runs, 149 BB
2000 152 Runs

Among the 45 first basemen with OPS+ at least 120 Bagwell was 8th in stolen bases (SB): 202.  Not 300 as some one had suggested.  Frank Chance stole 403.  The careers of the seven ahead of Bagwell in SB all ended before 1931.

Bottom line: the only NL first basemen ahead of Bagwell in OPS+:

2. Dan Brouther
3. Albert Pujols
6. MIze
8. Connor

Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Famer, I guess.  But I'm still not enthusiastic.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Willie Mays and NL CF WAR Fielding Runs 1951-1968

NL CF WAR (Wins Above Replacement) Fielding Runs 1951-1968

Willie Mays and Roy Campanella 1961
By New York World-Telegram and the Sun
via Wikimedia Commons
Click the link above to view a matrix with the leaders from baseball-reference.com based on 50% of games in  center field (CF) and qualified for BA title. Maybe I should have used more than 50% but I've already run the numbers year by year and don't want to do it again.  It produces some anomalies.

Three prior seasons:

In 1948:
Ashburn 4
Lockman 4
Jeffcoat 2

In 1949:
Snider 10
Thomson 8
Ashburn 6

In 1950:
Thomson 8
Ashburn 4
Pafko 4

In addition to 1948 when he was 21 Richie Ashburn of the 1950 NL pennant winning Phillies led NL CF in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957.  What happened in 1954?  Willie Mays got out of the U.S. Army and rejoined his New York Giants; Mays played 34 games in 1952 and none in 1953.

In 1953 Ashburn had 19 Fielding Runs above a replacement CF and 18 in 1954.  Mays had 21 in 1954.

In 1955 at age 28 second baseman Eddie Miksis played his only season in CF.  He led the NL with 12.  Mays was second with 7, then Ashburn and Snider 6.  Miksis played 75 games in CF (7 Fielding Runs), 42 RF (3 Fielding Runs), 18 3B (3 Fielding Runs).  His Range Factor (RF) per nine innings at 3B (4.18) was considerably higher than in CF (2.59) or RF (2.14).  The real question: why did Mays plummet from 21 to 7?

1956: Ashburn 16, Mays 13.

1957: Ashburn 20, Virdon 13, Ken Boyer 12, Mays 4.

In 1961 Hank Aaron is listed as the CF leader with 23 (Mays third with 14).  Aaron played 83 games in CF (9 Fielding Runs) and 78 in his normal right filed (RF) (15 Fielding Runs), plus 2 at 3B.  That's 163 in a 154 game season (NL went to 162 in 1962; AL in 1961).  So, there must be some overlap.  Aaron's play in RF elevated his overall numbers and he happened to barely qualify as a CF.  Mays had 14.

In 1963 the Phillies had two CF qualify: Don Demeter and Tony Gonzalez.

Mays continued to dominate CF through 1968 when he was 37 and tied for the NL lead at 2 with Felipe Alou.  Mays per year Fielding Runs (FR) and rank among NL CF:

year FR rank
1954 21 1
1955 7 2
1956 13 2
1957 4 4
1958 15 1
1959 4 2
1960 14 1
1961 14 3
1962 20 1
1963 12 2
1964 17 2
1965 15 2
1966 18 1
1967 2 3
1968 2 1

Notice the up down pattern 1954-1959 for Mays.  Why?

War On WAR.  by Kenneth Matinale

Then there’s Defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR).
I recently heard Brian Kenny on his MLB network Clubhouse Confidential TV program (apparently only an off season program) describe multiple defensive metrics that come to opposing conclusions about Yankee center fielder (CF) Curtis Granderson.
Here’s an historical puzzle for me – Willie Mays dWAR, Plate Appearances (PA) and home park:
1954 2.1 641 NY Polo Grounds
1955 0.7 670 NY Polo Grounds
1956 1.3 651 NY Polo Grounds
1957 0.6 669 NY Polo Grounds
1958 1.7 685 SF Seals Stadium
1959 0.4 649 SF Seals Stadium
During his physical prime the pattern for Mays is up, down, up, down, up, down.  Why?  PA suggest that he was not injured in these seasons.
Starting in 1960 Candlestick Park was Willie’s home park.
1960-1966 (age 35) dWAR for Willie Mays is between 1.3 (1963) and 2.0 (1962).
Did the fielding of Willie Mays improve with age?  How likely is that?  Stuff like this make me suspicious of fielding stats.
Here’s an interesting link:
Year-by-Year Top-Ten Leaders & Records for Defensive WAR
Request to baseball-reference.com: include the player’s position.
There’s a pretty cool matrix.  Number one in 2011: Yankee left fielder (LF) Brett Gardner (3.2), a CF playing out of position.  Compared to other LF Garner should look a lot better.  This introduces another bias: position.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I ask again: Is Jeter Juiced?

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 Is Jeter juiced?

June 26 Derek Jeter will be 38 years old.  His performance in 2011 and so far in 2012 is unprecedented for a shortstop in his late 30s since 1950.

Through 16 games in 2012 Jeter has 30 hits including five doubles and four home runs.  Thirteen RBI in those 16 games while batting leadoff.

Batting average .411
OBP .436
SLG .644
OPS 1.080

What the heck?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Designated Hitter: the actual rules


Any League may elect to use the Designated Hitter Rule.

(a) In the event of inter-league competition between clubs of Leagues using the Designated Hitter Rule and clubs of Leagues not using the Designated Hitter Rule, the rule will be used as follows:
    1. In World Series or exhibition games, the rule will be used or not used as is the practice of the home team.
    2. In All-Star games, the rule will only be used if both teams and both Leagues so agree.

The rest of 6.10 describes the rule during the game.  It occurs to me that in American Conference parks that the two managers could reach a gentleman's agreement not to use the DH in a particular game.  It's use is not mandatory.

If Yankee manage Joe Girardi decided not to use a DH in this afternoon's game at Fenway Park, that would be allowed.  Girardi, of course, would not do that unilaterally.  However, if Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine decided to do the same, then they could play the game with no DH.

I wonder if the reverse could work.  If two National Conference managers wanted to both use the DH, what would the umpires decide?  Since the so called National League did not "elect to use the Designated Hitter Rule" the umps would probably tell the managers that it was not allowed.  But if common sense prevailed and the interpretation was that the two conferences were part of one Major League, then it might work.

Hey, this beats whining about it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Start the count at 3-2. And limit the batter to three swings maximum.

THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008 Start at bats with the count 3-2

Another great idea from slow pitch softball.

MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010 3-2 count.

Start the count at 3-2. And limit the batter to three swings maximum.

MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010 Start the count at 3-2: a refinement.

I'll bet that 3-2 plate appearances are at least FIVE minutes long. That's nuts. The idea is to put the ball in play, not jerk around. Baseball is a game of batting, fielding and base running. Pitching dominated MLB is a perversion.

This morning on MLB network Sean Casey was running his mouth about some guy having a great plate appearance (PA) against the Mets because it went eleven pitches ... and the guy got a hit.  Naturally, when they showed the PA they ran it at warp speed, not real time with all the MLB jerking around between pitches.  Anyone know the actual time?

Eleven pitches is obscene.  I almost always favor the batter but in my start the count at 3-2 rule the batter has the responsibility to put the ball in play.  Three strikes and your out.  Catchy phrase, huh?

Most Boring Batters

Most Boring Batters

Click the link above to read my most recent article written exclusively at Call to the Pen, which has added me as a staff writer.  I will publish two articles a week there, probably on Wednesday and Saturday.  There will be links here to those articles.

I encourage you to regularly check Call to the Pen for  all its content.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jackie Robinson day: enough already!

Am I the only one completely turned off by what MLB has turned into an annual celebration of its own silliness?  Is MLB the only organization that insists on reminding everyone of a very bad policy that it had for many years but that it ended many years ago?

1954 by Bob Sandberg Look Magazine photographer
via Wikimedia Commons
Jack Roosevelt Robinson is properly recognized as an American pioneer and hero for becoming the first modern black person to play MLB and to have done so under difficult circumstances.  His personality and character contribute to his stature.  That first game was the Dodger season opener and was played in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY on Tuesday, April 15, 1947; attendance: 26,623, time of the game: 2:20.  Dodgers won 5-3.  Robinson was 0 for 3 and played first base.

If one objective of MLB is to educate people, including its own players, about the past it seems that there are significant failures.  During last night's ESPN game of the week Angel outfielder Torii Hunter was featured in a studio statement in which he said that if it were not for Jackie Robinson he, Hunter, would not be in MLB today.  Torii Hunter is 36 years old.  He's not a kid but a 16 year veteran.  Is his grasp of history so flimsy that he thinks that MLB could have remained racially segregated all these years?

Does Torii Hunter and do other MLB players know about Earl Lloyd:

Lloyd was one of three African-Americans to enter the NBA at the same time. It was only because of the order in which the teams' season openers fell that Lloyd was the first to actually play in a game in the NBA. The date was October 31, 1950, one day ahead of Cooper of the Boston Celtics and four days before Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton of the New York Knicks.

Do MLB players realize that President Harry Truman started the integration of the armed forces in 1947 and that it was completed under President Dwight Eisenhower?

Do they know about the two Supreme Court cases (1954-1955) Mrs. Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, KS that started the integration of public schools?

Do MLB players even know that Larry Doby became the second in MLB and the first black player in the American League on Saturday, July 5, 1947 in Comiskey Park Chicago; attendance: 14,655, time of game: 2:28?  That's less than three months after Robinson broke in.

The point is that somebody would have been the first somewhere between 1947 and 2012, probably much closer to 1947.

My recollection is that when this Jackie Robinson Day started in 2004 only a few players wore number 42, Robinson's number.  I'm pretty sure only a couple of years ago when other Yankees were wearing 42, Yankee captain Derek Jeter was wearing his usual number 2.  Yesterday I did see not any player on any team wearing a number other than 42.

Ironically, Torii Hunter got the number thing right in 2007:


"This is supposed to be an honor," Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter told USA Today, "and just a handful of guys wearing the number. Now you've got entire teams doing it. I think we're killing the meaning. It should be special wearing Jackie's number, not just because it looks cool."

Did it become mandatory or is there simply so much peer pressure and pressure to conform that the players just mindlessly go along?

Shouldn't Robinson Cano, who is named after Jackie, be allowed to wear his regular number: 24?

Yesterday afternoon while I was watching the Knicks lose to Miami at the Garden I also had the Red Sox game on my second TV.  They were interviewing Ralph Branca of all people and he was wearing a Red Sox uniform.  I thought: what the heck?  Branca had his best season in 1947 winning 21 and he is one of the few surviving teammates of Robinson from that first game.  He's also Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine's father-in-law.  Branca did a good interview and was not too sappy about Jackie.  He also maintained the dignity he has displayed all these years about throwing the pitch to Bobby Thomson, which Thomson hit in the bottom of the ninth to win the 1951 NL pennant.  Thomson to his continued discredit maintained to his dieing day that he could not recall if he knew what pitch was coming despite the fact that his Giants had been systematically "stealing" opposing team's signs for months.  Branca snorted at that.

Every MLB game had announcers, including former players, going on and on about Jackie Robinson beyond all proportion to the matter.  Yes, Jackie Robinson did something special but integration would have happened with or without Jackie Robinson.  The poor man could have been spared his personal grief and the rest of us can now be spared foolish over emphasis.

Chalk up another mess for MLB commissioner Bud Wonder Boy Selig.  Way to go Buddy boy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Protected and Moral: when do players cross the line?

The answer is probably what we'd expect: about the age of 13 when kids enter high school.  We want to protect younger kids and the types of suggestions I've made over the years make sense even for change resistant baseball minds.

That also applies to our sense of morality.  Acts of baseball vengeance and vigilantism, which many easily advocate as part of baseball protocol, are generally not taught to younger kids.  Why not?  If it's OK for a pitcher to drill an opposing batter for even an off field, off season statement as recently happened when Ubaldo Jimenez hit his former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki, why not teach that to kids?  But most of us do not.  When does such despicable cowardly behavior become not just accepted but often advocated?

Here are examples of some safety measures that would be dismissed for adults, especially MLB players, but might be acceptable for kids even though adults have not yet had the common sense to adopt them even to protect their own children, probably because of the fear of ridicule

SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2008 Everyone should wear catcher's gear.

... infielders, certainly the pitchers need this protection ... Yes, including the face mask. If they do not start wearing this gear, pitchers will need the screen that is used in front of the pitcher during batting practice.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009 Getting hit with the ball.

This morning on ESPN radio I actually hear Mike Greenberg say something semi-intelligent about the pitcher getting hit in the head: MAYBE the pitcher should wear a helmet. Wow! MAYBE! He even referred to kids pitching in youth leagues. It never occurred to him that players should wear catcher's gear, especially kids but this shows a smidgen of progress, which is very unusual for baseball management, fans and media.

I am ready to extend my punishment for hitting batters other than in the head. If a batter is hit flush below the head the pitcher is ejected and suspended.

First offense, one week.
Second offense, one month.
Third offense, three months.
Fourth offense, one calendar year.

See, that wasn't so difficult. Punishment is the key. Currently, the punishment 99% of the time is that the batter gets first base. Big deal.

Here is some of the traditional crap that I do not want to hear:
- it's part of the game
- pitchers need to pitch inside
- pitchers do not throw at the batter's head
- it's up to the batter to get out of the way.

What is this ancient Rome? Enough already. And, no, the balance will not tip to the batter, not until batting averages top .500.

SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2011 Eliminate the catcher, outlaw the collisions or properly equip the fielders.

Instead of trying to get kids to be like MLB players we need to treat MLB players with the same respect and care that we treat kids.  Protect them properly and demand moral conduct.  Do not accept behavior that we would be ashamed to teach them when they were kids.

Friday, April 13, 2012

MLB Depraved And Indifferent.

MLB Depraved And Indifferent.

Click the link above to read my most recent article written exclusively at Call to the Pen, which has added me as a staff writer.  I will publish two articles a week there, probably on Wednesday and Saturday.  There will be links here to those articles.

I encourage you to regularly check Call to the Pen for  all its content.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two fielding gloves/mitts at once.

As far as I know there's nothing in the rules that prohibit a fielder from wearing a glove/mitt on each hand.

There are obvious benefits, such as never having to backhand a ball.  Before you dismiss this with "how will the player" throw, calm down and think it through.  Baseball people are instinctively negative about any change, which is one reason baseball is stuck in the mud.

Watch how former MLB pitcher Jim Abbott, who had no right hand, switched the glove from his stump to his hand and off again to throw when he fielded a batted ball.  For two handed players it would be much easier.  Just drop the glove/mitt off your throwing hand when you know that you will need to.  Just drop it.  On the ground.  You can pick it up later.  Pretty simple, right?

So how come nobody thought of it before?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Biggest (bigger) Blown Save.

"Five Infielders: how often this millennium?"

That's the title of one of my posts yesterday.  I received a private message from a friend, which dealt, not with the main topic, but with a brief aside that contained this: "the most notorious blown save in baseball history: Rivera blowing both the save and game seven, 2001 WS."

He suggested Ralph Branca 1951.  (No time to explain in detail.  Maybe a future post on how neither Brooklyn Dodger fans nor the Dodger rivalry with the New York Giants were all that they were cracked up to be.)

I responded: "not even a post season game ... not even close".

However, upon reflection my choice of the word notorious was probably ill advised.  Biggest was what I was groping for.

There is a larger issue.  What is bigger and more important: blowing the regular season pennant, especially under the old do or die format with no tournament, or blowing game seven of the World Series (MLB finals now)?

In 1951 was a save awarded as we now know it and, if so, what was the definition?  Just curious.

There is also a difference in circumstance.  Branca entered with a two run lead, runners on second and third, one out, Bobby Thomson coming up (struggling rookie Willie Mays on deck).  Rivera had already pitched a scoreless eighth and had a 2-1 lead.  Part of what makes Branca's blown save look worse is that the Dodgers were up 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth and one run was already in when Branca made his ill fated entrance.

Bobby Thomson homered off Branca to win the pennant.  Click Thomson's name to see his home run log.   Thomson hit 32 homers in 1951, the final two off Branca two days apart (both in a best of three game play-in series) and another one month earlier.  August 8, 1951 Thomson had also homered off starter Don Newcombe who was being relieved and  Thomson hit two of his first three homers off the other Dodger starter warming up, Carl Erskine, who supposedly had just bounced a curve when Dodger manager Chuck Dressen asked the bullpen coach how Branca and Erskine looked.

Dressen certainly knew about that homer two days before.  What was he thinking?  Did he consider walking Thomson putting the winning run on base?  Thomson only needed a single to tie the game.

We could apply some linear weights thing to it but it's almost philosophical.  Of these two, which is the bigger blown save?  What do you think?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Five Infielders: how often this millennium?

In yesterday's first regular season Yankee game, on the third day of the first regular season games on this continent, manager Joe Girardi used five infielders in a vain attempt to prevent Tampa from scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Aside: Gee, I hate baseball when my team loses a game like that, the great Mariano Rivera retaining his ultimate cool but still blowing both the save and the game.  It reminded me of the most notorious blown save in baseball history: Rivera blowing both the save and game seven, 2001 WS.  Oh, the humanity!

I've mentioned the five infielders in at least two previous posts.

FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2011 2 outfielders, 5 infielders

The Yankees have just the right players to try 2 outfielders and 5 infielders when game conditions permit blah, blah, blah.

RF Swisher also plays first base.  LF Gardner is a natural CF.  Yanks could move left throwing Swisher to 1B, 1B Teixeira to 2B, spread Gardner and CF Granderson into the power alleys and move 2B Cano, who has a powerful arm, behind second base where he would make all plays at the bag.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2008 Defense as a Competetive Advantage.

My friend Eric Weiss has this suggestion: five infielders.  Not just as a rare late game gamble but as an alignment for a ground ball pitcher.  My implementaion would position the outfielder turned infielder behind second base.  That player would handle all plays at second, allowing the shortstop and second baseman to play further from the bag.

Ryan commented: Joe Maddon did the 5 infielder 2 outfielder shift vs the white so. In the 2008 alds

I think Terry Francona did it with Boston.  The point today is how many times has it occurred this millennium?

Baseball is so stuck in its ways.  Come on, come on!  Try something, anything!  Switch from zone to man-to-man.  Press.  Do something different before we all keel over from abject boredom.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mets can't even schedule themselves properly.

Amid the confusion that is the slow motion opening of the 2012 MLB regular season, the New York Mets mis-managed their schedule in their final two games.  OK, it may be more the fault of MLB and maybe Mets ownership was too distracted by their financial mess but the Mets broke camp in silly fashion.

Mets played Yanks Tuesday and Wednesday.  First in Port St. Lucy Ricardo, the Mets training base, then in Tampa, where the Yankees train.

The Mets are scheduled to open in New York today, Thursday.  The Yankees open in Tampa Friday.

Two problems:
1. Yanks had an off day, Mets did not
2. Yanks stay put, Mets traveled to New York.

Simply reversing the order of the games would have benefited the Mets and not harmed the Yankees.  The Mets could have avoided that extra road trip to Tampa and broken camp at home and headed to New York.  The Yanks had the luxury of the extra day to get back to Tampa and prepare to play the Rays for real Friday.

Or MLB could be less greedy and not squeeze every last dollar out of spring training by shamelessly mixing exhibition with regular season games beyond all reason.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Marlins: looking good but with randomness in center.

The Yankees just played two exhibition games in the new Miami
(formerly Florida) Marlins ballpark so I saw them on TV.  OK, I
watched parts of them.

I really like the new Marlins uniforms.  Elsewhere they might seem
garish but for Miami I think they will work very well.  There are
multiple color schemes of course and last night's version conjured an
image of a team from Cuba.  If that was an objective of the team
management, they have succeeded.

The ballpark is also striking, with a retractable roof and a very open
airy feel.  However, in addition to the usual non-uniform,
non-symmetrical playing area the Marlins plunked down a big oval
something in left center that creates an odd shaped corner, all the
better to provide random outcomes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Exhibition games: please make them stop!

I've already called for the end of exhibition games.  This season it seemed that MLB network was televising games all day long, every day.  That was charming at first, then boring, then irritating.  Now it's driving me nuts.  And that's with only occasionally watching as I channel surfed.

Making matters worse is the season starting later, even going against the Masters golf tournament.  Good luck, MLB, if Tiger Woods is in contention in the final round Sunday.  I miss the good old days when some games (not in Japan) were played in March.  It's not that expect the games to actually be interesting.  It's just that all these exhibition games are brutal.

Let's get started so that I can re-appreciate the NBA.