Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Park Factor: max, min, StDev per year per league graphs.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Park Factor: how reliable?


Thursday, January 24, 2013
Two teams, one park, different park factors.

So how come the park factor is different for one team almost every season?  Because baseball is played in non-uniform playing areas a park factor is needed to try to equate stats...

In St. Louis when the teams had the same BPF three consecutive years it was different each year: 106, 107, 104.  Same thing in Philadelphia for two consecutive years: 97, 98...

Park factor is used to compute OPS+ and ERA+, two bedrocks of current conventional wisdom.  I realize that parks change from one season to the next, even the configuration of the same park changes, and that there are different parks in the two leagues but this indicates how little we know about this important stat ...
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Click link to view data and interactive graphs.

AL:
BPF max: 2011 Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 117
BPF min: 1964 Dodger Stadium (Angels) 90
StDev max: 2011 6.97
StDev min: 1913 2.295

NL:
BPF max: 1995 Coors Field (Rockies) 129
BPF min: 2008 Petco Park (Padres) 88
StDev max: 1995 8.95
StDev min: 1952 1.7










Those humongous TV deals: is that money guaranteed or what?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Collapse is coming.

I don't care how many decades these (TV) deals seem to entail, if the ratings plummet, which I think they will, the advertising money will dry up and the inevitable downward spiral will blow down the house of cards...

Even a Super League of eight to ten teams may not survive this madness.  Who the heck cares that much about baseball any more?  I love baseball but not this slow, boring mess that the Major Baseball League (MBL) has devolved into.  Here is the future in less than a decade:

1. Americans are not playing baseball.
2. Americans are not attending baseball games.
3. Americans are not watching baseball.
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TV SPORTS
Sweet TV Deal Will Taste Bitter to Fans
By RICHARD SANDOMIR

Time Warner Cable announced what has been expected for a while, saying that in a deal worth up to $8 billion over 25 years, it will carry Dodgers games on the newfangled SportsNet LA starting in 2014 ...

While all this money being exchanged might be great for the teams, it’s lousy for the fans. With one team, SportsNet LA alone could add up to $5 a month to the costs of cable, satellite and telephone companies. They in turn pass much of those costs onto subscribers...  Time Warner (will be) ... extracting steep subscriber fees from AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Charter, DirecTV and Dish Network.

But only a portion of that staggering sum, about $84 million a year, which will rise at 4 percent annually, is designated as the team’s market-value rights fee and taxable at a 34 percent rate for Major League Baseball’s revenue-sharing pool...

Once they get a hold of the contract, baseball officials will see if what is slated to be untaxed should really be taxed and available to share. If the money is guaranteed, and not at risk, it should be taxed.
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"If the money is guaranteed"?  Say what?  IF?  And this is just a legal if, not an economic if, as in the types of default in recent years in industries such as finance, auto, real estate.  What, sports, and the Major Baseball League (MBL) specifically, are immune?  If people stop watching twenty minutes of entertainment stretched out to four boring hours, how long do you think it will take the sponsors to realize that TV rating have decreased and that triggers:
1. reduction in the money paid for ads according to contract
2. renegotiation
3. default.

Then what?  MBL teams cannot possibly pay those absurd amounts committed and "guaranteed" to individual players.  Many fans will welcome this as they do not like seeing other workers being paid so much more than they.

Americans will simply but steadily drift away from baseball, which will fade into history.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pitchers and catchers report in a month: say it ain't so.

Maybe if they just don't show we can play without them.  Tee ball sounds good.  That gets the game back to basics: hitting, fielding, base running.  Not jerking around while 90 percent of what passes for action is two guys playing catch.  There were more strike outs per nine innings in 2012 than ever.  And plenty of walks.  And all the slow down rituals by batters and pitchers that SUCK the life out of a once great game.

Who wants strike outs and walks?  Who?  Put the ball in play!  Just eliminate the pitchers as we know them and the catchers completely.  Big improvement.  You know the expression: Joe Blow is a thrower, not a pitcher?  We need throwers, players who can simply put the ball in the strike zone without all the Bugs Bunny pitchers.  Just throw strikes!

Saturday, February 20, 2010
Pitchers and Catchers: Humbug!

Am I the only one who is sick of hearing the lame phrase "pitchers and catchers" thrown around this time of year as some sort of identifier: hey, we know baseball? We, the morons who haven't had an original thought in decades.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011
Eliminate the catcher, outlaw the collisions or properly equip the fielders.

Baseball catcher is easily the stupidest position among the three American team sports. Only football center comes close. Catcher could be eliminated if MLB had any imagination...  

Place something behind the plate that would be a target for the pitcher ...  The metaphor for a catcher is backstop. A backstop is a wall. Who wants to play wall? It's easily the most ridiculous position in team sports. Most baseball players want no part of catching. Put that player in fair territory where he can do some good. How about next to the pitcher where he could field balls hit up the middle and still be close enough to cover home plate? I have already advocated that base runners may not take a lead until the ball is hit...  And put a damn screen in front of the pitcher before one gets killed with those blasts up the middle.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Radical Baseball basics

1. start count at 3-2; batter gets max three swings to put ball in play then is out.

2. runners may not take lead

3. replace catcher with a round physical target 20 inches in diameter, like a bull's eye; if ball hits target it's a strike; batter may adjust height between knees and shoulder; catcher may play anywhere in fair territory; plate ump moves behind pitcher ...

7. eliminate mound; pitcher must release ball no closer than rubber

8. extend foul territory 45 feet from home plate into what is now fair territory

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two teams, one park, different park factors.

From 1903 through 1975 two teams (one AL, one NL) have shared the same ball park in a season 65 times.  None since then.  Only the two seasons (1974-1975) the Yankees and Mets shared Shea Stadium did the AL team use the designated hitter (DH).

In New York the Yankees and Giants shared the Polo Grounds 1913-1922.

In St. Louis Cardinals and Browns shared Sportsman's Park 1921-1953.  Then the Browns morphed into beautiful birds, the Baltimore Orioles.

In Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies (Blue Jays some seasons) shared Shibe Park 1939-1954.  In 1955 the Athletics moved to Kansas City.  Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium 1953-1976 after the Athletics owner.

In Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels shared Dodger Stadium 1962-1965.

So how come the park factor is different for one team almost every season?  Because baseball is played in non-uniform playing areas a park factor is needed to try to equate stats.  There are actually two park factors, one for batters (BPF), one for pitchers (PPF).

BBF is equal in only 11 of the 65 shared seasons:



yearID park TeamAL TeamNL BPFal
1921 Polo Grounds IV New York Yankees New York Giants 102
1922 Polo Grounds IV New York Yankees New York Giants 102
1928 Sportsman's Park IV St. Louis Browns St. Louis Cardinals 103
1933 Sportsman's Park IV St. Louis Browns St. Louis Cardinals 106
1934 Sportsman's Park IV St. Louis Browns St. Louis Cardinals 107
1935 Sportsman's Park IV St. Louis Browns St. Louis Cardinals 104
1949 Shibe Park Philadelphia Athletics Philadelphia Phillies 97
1950 Shibe Park Philadelphia Athletics Philadelphia Phillies 98
1950 Sportsman's Park IV St. Louis Browns St. Louis Cardinals 104
1954 Connie Mack Stadium Philadelphia Athletics Philadelphia Phillies 100
1974 Shea Stadium New York Yankees New York Mets 99


In St. Louis when the teams had the same BPF three consecutive years it was different each year: 106, 107, 104.  Same thing in Philadelphia for two consecutive years: 97, 98.  Oddly the Yanks with the DH and Mets are one of the 11 seasons when the teams had the same BPF.

PPF same:


yearIDparkTeamALTeamNLPPFnl
1921Polo Grounds IVNew York YankeesNew York Giants98
1922Polo Grounds IVNew York YankeesNew York Giants98
1938Sportsman's Park IVSt. Louis BrownsSt. Louis Cardinals104
1939Sportsman's Park IVSt. Louis BrownsSt. Louis Cardinals105
1940Shibe ParkPhiladelphia AthleticsPhiladelphia Phillies101
1941Shibe ParkPhiladelphia AthleticsPhiladelphia Phillies101
1941Sportsman's Park IVSt. Louis BrownsSt. Louis Cardinals104
1946Shibe ParkPhiladelphia AthleticsPhiladelphia Phillies100

Two instances when both BPF and PPF were the same:



yearID park TeamAL TeamNL BPFal PPFnl
1921 Polo Grounds IV New York Yankees New York Giants 102 98
1922 Polo Grounds IV New York Yankees New York Giants 102 98


Park factor is used to compute OPS+ and ERA+, two bedrocks of current conventional wisdom.  I realize that parks change from one season to the next, even the configuration of the same park changes, and that there are different parks in the two leagues but this indicates how little we know about this important stat other than the vague notion that it somehow mysteriously takes the different and non-uniform playing areas into account in order to enable us to compare Albert Pujols and Lou Gehrig.

We really should have a much better understanding of park factor.  Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  All that stuff.

What if Bonds only lifted weights?

My understanding is that adding muscle mass helps a batter hit the ball further and increase his chances of hitting home runs (HR).

The basic exercise to accomplish this is weight lifting.  Brian Downing did this starting around 1979 and it helped him add muscle mass and increase his HR hitting, although he set no records even though he looked different.  No one got mad him.

Barry Bonds wanted to add muscle mass.  Apparently he both lifted weights and took steroids.  He looked a lot different and set HR records.  Everybody outside San Francisco got mad at him.

Bonds could have added muscle mass the old fashion way as Brian Downing had done.  Bonds chose to do it the new way as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had done.  They made themselves look very different and they set HR records.  Most people liked what they were doing at first then got mad at them later.

How much of a difference do the steroids make, especially for a player as great as Bonds already was?  Could Bonds have set HR records without the steroids, maybe even without the weight lifting alone?

There must be a practical limit for muscle mass on a human frame.  I'm guessing that Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, players like that could not bulk up and hit the ball much further than they already did.  I'm guessing that they did not need to lift weights much less take steroids.  If you can already hit the ball 480-500 feet, you're already at a practical limit for how far a ball can be hit.  But I'm just guessing.

This is not a moral judgement, just a baseball one.  Ruth, Foxx and Mantle all abused their bodies with alcohol, which should have decreased their effectiveness over time.  Bonds at least abused his body to increase his effectiveness.

So what if Bonds had bulked up simply by lifting weights?  Would we be mad at him?

Most Home Runs 1971-1973 and 1966-1973.

Hank Aaron aged well.

Rk Player HR ▾ From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Willie Stargell 125 1971 1973 31-33 427 1784 1528 285 452 97 5 356 228 57 412 12 0 16 21 1 1 .296 .388 .611 .999 *73 PIT
2 Hank Aaron 121 1971 1973 37-39 388 1583 1336 254 399 44 4 291 231 49 164 4 0 11 33 6 2 .299 .401 .609 1.010 3/97 ATL
3 Bobby Bonds 98 1971 1973 25-27 468 2126 1888 359 522 95 13 278 209 19 422 14 1 14 31 113 31 .276 .351 .496 .847 *9/8 SFG
4 Lee May 96 1971 1973 28-30 443 1839 1690 237 469 72 8 301 128 24 402 8 0 13 39 7 2 .278 .329 .500 .829 *3 CIN-HOU
5 Johnny Bench 92 1971 1973 23-25 448 1917 1657 250 420 58 7 290 232 44 250 2 1 24 60 12 8 .253 .342 .463 .805 *2/9375 CIN
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/23/2013.

Aaron has by far the fewest at bats (AB) but the second most home runs (HR) 1971-1973.  All five batters are in the National League (NL) so to compare you can just get a ratio between AB and HR.  Aaron should lead.

Notice the ages.  Aaron is older by six to 14 years.

The Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966 where Aaron played in a home park more conducive to HR hitting than his previous park.  Here are the top HR hitters 1966-1973.

Rk Player HR From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Hank Aaron 315 1966 1973 32-39 1158 4853 4208 771 1243 193 16 828 595 140 529 10 0 39 106 90 26 .295 .381 .573 .954 *93/784 ATL
2 Willie Stargell 262 1966 1973 26-33 1110 4488 3906 639 1118 209 21 775 495 134 968 38 8 41 76 10 5 .286 .369 .552 .920 *73/9 PIT
3 Harmon Killebrew 249 1966 1973 30-37 1099 4557 3674 579 952 139 11 741 826 113 693 16 0 41 132 12 10 .259 .394 .506 .900 *35/7D MIN
4 Willie McCovey 248 1966 1973 28-35 1050 4197 3442 565 976 159 21 724 684 183 602 31 2 38 65 10 8 .284 .403 .558 .961 *3 SFG
5 Dick Allen 238 1966 1973 24-31 1030 4329 3710 666 1096 185 46 711 577 104 966 10 5 27 89 85 36 .295 .389 .563 .952 357/468D PHI-STL-LAD-CHW
6 Frank Howard 238 1966 1973 29-36 1122 4456 3864 518 1058 143 15 653 548 105 833 22 0 23 150 5 5 .274 .365 .503 .869 *73/D9 WSA-TOT-DET
7 Billy Williams 235 1966 1973 28-35 1274 5546 4946 776 1469 224 52 798 531 110 491 24 2 43 110 40 19 .297 .365 .506 .871 *79/3 CHC
8 Frank Robinson 228 1966 1973 30-37 1077 4527 3817 681 1110 178 19 701 597 72 621 70 2 41 118 38 18 .291 .393 .527 .919 *97D/3 BAL-LAD-CAL
9 Carl Yastrzemski 209 1966 1973 26-33 1226 5236 4384 731 1265 223 18 721 801 83 538 14 2 34 106 91 61 .289 .397 .491 .888 *73/58 BOS
10 Lee May 204 1966 1973 23-30 1052 4302 3974 546 1094 204 17 652 264 51 863 32 3 29 101 21 23 .275 .323 .489 .813 *3/79 CIN-HOU
11 Ron Santo 200 1966 1973 26-33 1228 5186 4409 676 1238 185 31 766 686 57 759 23 7 61 149 17 23 .281 .376 .473 .849 *5/674 CHC
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/23/2013.

Aaron has by far the most HR but the fourth most AB, exceeded by the two Cubs and one Red Sox.  Reggie Jackson had 189 HR and Willie Mays 155 during those seasons.  Aaron is at least two years older than any of the ten other batters with at least 200 HR 1966-1973.