Jun
25

Planning an ejection to fire up the team

By

In the sixth inning last night, Joe Girardi found himself arguing with the first base umpire over an obviously bad call. Brett Gardner, the Yanks’ first man to reach base, was called out on a pick-off attempt at first even though the replays showed him safe. Girardi went out there and argued until he could argue no more.

For the Yanks’ manager, though, it wasn’t your typical argument. He wasn’t fired up, Lou Piniella style, and he didn’t seem to say any of the magic four-letter words that lead to an ejection. Rather, as Tom Rock noted in the Newsday game recap, Girardi wanted to get thrown out. Writes Rock:

First base umpire Bill Welke appeared to ask Girardi if he wanted to be tossed after a long debate that apparently lacked any significant four-letter words. Girardi nodded and was given the hook he searched for. “Yeah, but no comment,” he said of his desire to leave, smiling…

“Maybe it helped a little,” Cervelli said of the ejection that – along with the hitting – seemed to fire up the whole team. It was the first run in 14 innings in Atlanta and by the time Rivera was at bat in the ninth there were plenty of smiles on the top step of the dugout.

Now, I’ve never been one to believe that an ejection can do much to fire up a team. After all, the players are going to go to the plate and attempt to get on base no matter what happens with the manager. It seems more like a convenient excuse for a better performance than it is a real reason for a victory.

Intrigued by the rhetoric though, Richard Iurilli, a RAB regular, ran the numbers. He looked at how the Yanks hit before Girardi was ejected and how they hit after in the four games from which Girardi has been tossed. The numbers please:

Date Opp. W/L Inning Before After
5/22/2008 BAL W 9th 7-31, 0-1 RISP 1-1, 1-1 RISP
7/6/2008 BOS W 6th 1-17, 0-0 RISP 8-18, 3-6 RISP
5/4/2009 BOS L 5th 3-17, 0-2 RISP 6-19, 0-5 RISP
6/24/2009 ATL W 6th 0-15, 0-0 RISP 10-20, 2-9 RISP
Totals   3-1   11-80 (.138), 0-3 RISP 25-58 (.431), 6-21 RISP

There you have it. Irrevocable proof that by getting ejected, Joe Girardi fires up the Yankees. They hit for higher average and with more patience and more power when Girardi finds himself taking an early shower. He should do it more often.

OK, OK. Maybe it’s not that simple. Clearly, these numbers focus on about 14 innings worth of baseball, and we can’t really derive anything from such a small sample. Plenty of other factors play into it as well. For the most part, I can’t really believe that an ejection would have any impact on the team’s hitting. This is one of the clear examples of a correlation that does not imply causation. And there you go.

Categories : Whimsy
  • Dela G

    i thought that ejection was perfect. Who cares if he wanted to get ejected or not, the players responded and gave joba the victory. I thought it was a money decision and managers asked to get thrown out much more often than you think.

  • jsbrendog

    what jumps out at me is look at the innings he gets tossed in.

    starting pitchers >>>>>> relief pitchers

    and all those ejections are later in the games exposing teams bullpens to the yanks lineup. again, not definite, but thats what i glean from those numbers

    • John

      interesting and good point

    • Simon B.

      Relief pitchers average almost half a run better in ERA.

      • jsbrendog

        thats because they pitch so many fewer innings and do not go through a lineup as many times and oh forget it. tjsc showed yesterday that weighted a relioever would have to have an era like under .75 to equal a starters era or something i forget

        • Chris

          But here we’re not comparing a season’s worth of performance. It’s just the starter for that day vs the reliever(s) for that day.

          What you’re talking about (I didn’t see TSJC post yesterday) is how much better a relief pitcher would need to pitch across an entire season to equal the value of a starter.

          The bottom line is that pitchers are better when they only go 1 inning, so relievers tend to have better numbers than starters.

          • jsbrendog

            no its about the weight of era’s overall which you are referencing. starters are better pitchers. bullpens are where failed starters go. most teams except for a couple, red sox come tomind, have bullpens they’d rather not have to pitch consistently because they are volatile.

            just because a reliever has a run or two lower era doesnt mean that they are less likely to give up runs. basically a reliever pitching 70 innings with an era of 1 would have an era of 3 in 210 innings (making this up)which means a reliever with the 1 era is just as likely to give up runs as a starter with a 3 era. so think about it, how many relievers have sub 3 eras? triple their innings and if they had that era as a starter theyd be in aaa or released

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              I don’t like ERA for relievers (and kinda dislike it for starters) because it’s just runs per inning scaled to nine innings. With starters going six, seven innings for the most part these days, maybe it’s time to start looking at pitching differently. That’s why I try to do in the game threads when I talk about the pitching match-up. It’s kind of my place to play with the evaluation of a pitcher.

              Anyway, ERA for a reliever doesn’t tell us how he does with inherited and bequeathed runners, which is a big part of relief pitching. It doesn’t tell us how he does when entering in the middle of an inning, how he does when it’s bases empty and none out. There’s so much more that goes into analyzing a relief pitcher, and ERA doesn’t begin to dig into it.

  • John

    Someone should run the numbers for EVERY Cox ejection

    • http://www.richardiurilli.com/ Richard Iurilli

      That would be awesome. Can Play Index do this? I manually added the numbers in each box score (Okay, okay, I used a calculator), so totaling the numbers for the Cox ejections would take an eternity.

    • Salty Buggah

      at first I thought it said “EVERY Cox erection”

      thank god I re-read it

  • http://www.richardiurilli.com/ Richard Iurilli

    My conclusion was exactly the same. While the numbers show a clear improvement after each ejection, it does seem to be a classic case of correlation not equaling causation. The sample sizes are both far too small to draw any conclusions, but it was fun to research.

    It would be interesting to do the same research with all major league managers over the course of a full season. Maybe this can be done with Baseball-Reference’s play index?

  • radnom

    This ‘proof’ clearly has a SSS issue, but why is it so ludicrous to believe that a manager’s ejection can affect play on the field?

    These are humans out there – not robots. There are many factors that affect what happens on the field, and one of them is a player’s mental state.

    Just ask the Colorado Rockies, who claim the firing of their manager caused them to re-evaluate their effort leading to much improved play. It isn’t like the new manager over there is managing that much better than the other guy did. The player’s attitudes are what changed.

    • JP

      Exactly. Something which on the surface seems illogical or implausible may be entirely logical when you peel away the onion.

      I can think of several explanations why a team’s performance might change after something dramatic like a managerial ejection.

      People are creatures of habit…you get into routines…you break the routine pretty severely when the manager is ejected. The dugout changes immediately. When you go up to bat, you know the manager isn’t sitting there staring at you.

      Arguments stir up people’s emotions and cause spikes of adrenaline.

      A big scene on the diamond might distract players away from whatever it was which was causing them to slump.

      All of these things might cause a negative change in performance, too.

      The axiom that correlation =/= causation does not mean the obverse is true, that correlation cannot reflect causation.

  • Salty Buggah

    I say Cervelli’s HR helped motivate us to break out

    http://tinyurl.com/mfgj2s

  • dan

    You guys and your stats kill me. Why try and quantify everything that happens in baseball? There’s far too many variables to justify anything more than one person’s opinion. Just watch the games. The only stat worth paying attention to is W’s and L’s.

    • radnom

      Wrong way to argue your point, and you are about to get demolished.

      Might I recommend something more like this next time?

      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-449609

      • MattG

        This is my theory:

        No controversy, player A steps to the plate, thinking about keeping his hands back, shoulder in, don’t lunge at the change, he got me out with a curve last time, where’d I leave my keys?, man the right fielder’s shallow, what did she mean by that?, and so forth.

        Controversy happens, player A thinks forgets all that and swings the bat.

        My theory only really applies to the next batter, though. All the rest might be like breaking the ice.

      • dan

        Demolished? It’s just an opinion I have. I just think that from time to time this place runs wild with a lot of silly stats that do little more than justify whatever opinion the one person offering them up has. It doesn’t make me come here less or respect the readers and writers who contribute here less. Just something I felt like sharing.

        But yeah, it’s kinda obvious that something like a manager getting tossed may inspire his players to play harder. But you can tilt the scenario and look at it from multitple viewpoints depending on whatever perspective you hold. The team could’ve just as easily continued looking for free passes and flailed miserably at off-speed stuff as they’ve grown accustomed to all week.

        It’s almost wrong to think of baseball as a team sport the way hockey or football is. Baseball is all about individual performance but performed under the guise of teamwork. Giradi did what he could as a manager. Cervelli got a hold of one and then, to a man — outside of Joba, the next 4 guys played their part in putting runs on the board and improving life (in my house at least) for the next 24 hours.

        Sorry if it came off harsh. I’m just not a numbers guy. The play on the field tells a much better story than the (sometimes contrived) numbers do.

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “The play on the field tells a much better story than the (sometimes contrived) numbers do.”

          The numbers are an objective way to help tell the story of what happens on the field.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            This.

          • dan

            the tried and true numbers, yeah. But any number that, for example, says that Johnny Damon is a good outfielder, or Posada does a good job behind the dish, or that A-Rod and Jeter are good tandum on the left side is a bad stat that only Podsada, Damon, A-Rod, and Jeter fans offer up to justify their place on the team. Again, just an example.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              And it is now impossible to have any debate with you. Just because you don’t believe and/or understand the stat doesn’t mean that it has no value.

              http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....-the-well/

              • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

                …did you just call me a pig? and wtf is a prole?

            • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              So… The only good stats are the ones that confirm that your own subjective observations are accurate?

              Whatever, this conversation has been had too many times and is, frankly, boring and simple. Stats allow us to learn more about the game and how it operates; they provide us with ways to objectively measure performance. Understanding that has nothing to do with your enjoyment of the game or how much fun it is to watch the game. But numbers, unfortunately for people who don’t like them, don’t lie, and that makes them the best way to evaluate performances that are measurable. I’m sorry, there are plenty of things we discuss here that are subjective and that people have fair disagreements about, but this isn’t one of those things.

              • Mike HC

                “numbers don’t lie” – - While they might now “lie” as a human would, they surely could be mis leading. Having blind faith in what the numbers tell you is just as ignorant as ignoring them.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Yes. Sample sizes, context, and a number of other elements must be considered.

                  But numbers DO NOT LIE. Ever. People may misinterpret them or present them in misleading ways, but numbers themselves are historical fact.

                  I have no intention of carrying on this “do numbers lie” conversation again. It’s a matter of semantics – some people like to take issue with the assertion that numbers don’t lie by saying that they can be misleading, but those people are mistaken. People can mislead, and people’s presentation/manipulation of numbers can mislead, but numbers cannot.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  It’s a matter of semantics – some people like to take issue with the assertion that numbers don’t lie by saying that they can be misleading, but those people are mistaken. People can mislead, and people’s presentation/manipulation of numbers can mislead, but numbers cannot.

                  That.

                • Mike HC

                  That is a joke to me. A number is only as good as the context it is used in. Numbers don’t exist in some vacuum where humans have no relation to them. These baseball numbers are created by humans, presented by humans, and used to evaluate a human activity. To try to take the human element out of these “numbers” is ridiculous. Humans invented the entire concept of numbers. If a human stats a fact or undisputable truth, but does so in a context where it would lead to a mis perception, then it is a lie. The statement taken on its own is not a lie, but in context, it is a lie. Everything has to be considered in context.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “The statement taken on its own is not a lie, but in context, it is a lie.”

                  That is the same thing as what I said above.

                  Here it is again:

                  “Yes. Sample sizes, context, and a number of other elements must be considered.
                  But numbers DO NOT LIE. Ever. People may misinterpret them or present them in misleading ways, but numbers themselves are historical fact.”

                  End of story.

            • JP

              I agree with you up to a point, Dan. The problem isn’t that stats don’t tell us the story. They do; but there are many caveats.

              1. As you say, importantly, numbers are misleading, and an inappropriate “sample” of statistics can misrepresent reality. An old wise man once said “A statisitician is a person who drowned crossing a river with an average depth of 2 feet.”

              2. Many people throw around numbers without any understanding that the numbers actually represent the reality that they claim to. A great example is UZR. I have no a priori objection to UZR, but I have asked, repeatedly, for someone to explain, in plain english, how UZR definitively proves true defensive ability. Nobody has tried to do this, since I’ve been here. So either nobody understands it, or they are willing to simply accept a complex number as a fact. Heck of alot easier to just spew out a number than to try to actually understand how to rate defense, I guess.

              3. Some things just can’t be quantified. They are as real and as factual and important, in many cases, as quantifiable things. When someone argues with stats, it isn’t necessarily wrong or illogical to counter-argue with non-quantitative things.

              But by the same token, you can’t simply discount a number simply because you don’t understand it or choose not to understand it. If you believe “tried and true” numbers like counting homeruns mean something, then you’ve got some ‘splainin to do if you want me to believe that a slightly more complex number (one that converts a player’s offensive contributions to “win shares” for example) doesn’t mean something.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                2. Many people throw around numbers without any understanding that the numbers actually represent the reality that they claim to. A great example is UZR. I have no a priori objection to UZR, but I have asked, repeatedly, for someone to explain, in plain english, how UZR definitively proves true defensive ability. Nobody has tried to do this, since I’ve been here. So either nobody understands it, or they are willing to simply accept a complex number as a fact. Heck of alot easier to just spew out a number than to try to actually understand how to rate defense, I guess.

                I’ve repeatedly given you my answer to that request of yours. I’m going to give it to you here again:

                http://www.google.com

                I’m not going to do your work for you. You want to challenge UZR’s veracity? You do it. You show us where it’s wrong, and we’ll listen to your challenges.

                • jsbrendog

                  yup. agreed. hey can someone tlel me what this means, or how to tell this or whos doing this?

                  no. google is there. for. a. reason.

                • JP

                  I don’t offer UZR as proof of anything, so why is it up to me to refute it? “UZR” is not a common english language word, it’s not something well known even among a typical baseball fan. I think if you are going to use something arcane like UZR to make a point, you should be prepared to defend why you think it’s valid.

                  I have researched it, and my conclusion is that I have a million questions as to its validity. And I stated this, in another thread, asking for comments, and there were none.

                  UZR purports to determine how many plays a fielder “should have” made, but there is no indication of how it does so. How does it account for the starting position of the fielder? Does it adjust for the velocity of the batted ball? Does it adjust for light conditions, soil conditions?

                  Where it’s wrong, is that it alleges it can validly determine how many plays a fielder should make. I say, there is no objective way to do that.

                  So what’s your response?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I don’t offer UZR as proof of anything, so why is it up to me to refute it?

                  Because you’re questioning it.

                  “UZR” is not a common english language word, it’s not something well known even among a typical baseball fan.

                  Which is why if you’re unfamiliar with it, you should research it. That’s what I did and how I familiarized myself with it. You should do the same.

                  I think if you are going to use something arcane like UZR to make a point, you should be prepared to defend why you think it’s valid.

                  No. Since the overwhelming majority of the board uses and understands UZR and you are one of the few that doesn’t, you should research it for yourself. And it’s not “arcane”. Secondary level wins is arcane. UZR is merely a refinement of zone ratings, which have been around for many years.

                  I have researched it, and my conclusion is that I have a million questions as to its validity. And I stated this, in another thread, asking for comments, and there were none.

                  Then email your comments to Mike, Ben, or Joe, and they’ll gladly give you a guest post where we can address your concerns. It’s easy, I’ve done it, numerous others have had guest posts. Give it a try.

                  UZR purports to determine how many plays a fielder “should have” made, but there is no indication of how it does so.

                  Actually, yeah, it does. In fact, I don’t know how you can understand UZR without knowing that it pretty directly indicates how it determines the number of plays a fielder should have made. I can’t see how a comment like that would be made by someone who actually researched UZR. Maybe you’re researching something else.

                  How does it account for the starting position of the fielder? Does it adjust for the velocity of the batted ball? Does it adjust for light conditions, soil conditions?

                  http://www.google.com

                  Where it’s wrong, is that it alleges it can validly determine how many plays a fielder should make. I say, there is no objective way to do that.

                  No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t say that at all. I’m not sure where the hell you’re getting that from. Be sure to include the detailed information that brought you to that conclusion in your forthcoming guest post.

                  So what’s your response?

                  http://www.google.com

                • jsbrendog

                  golf clap

                • JP

                  Gotta agree to disagree tsjc.

                  Sorry, but if a patient calls me up and asks me to explain what “mesothelioma” means in one of my reports, I don’t tell them to go to google.

                  UZR is arcane to everyone except maybe 5% of avid baseball fans. If you bring up the term to make a point, or refute someone else’s point, you should be able to reasonably explain yourself and the metric you are citing.

                  My objection to the stat would take pages of explanation; in short it is a very complex formula, with probably ten or more independent components, some of which are subjectively determined, and all subject to error and/or observation bias. The more elements in a formula, the greater the risk of cumulative error.

                  I liken the validity of UZR to the determination by an astronomer that two suns are exactly x.xxxxx light years apart. He may have some very fancy math backing him up, but given the inherent difficulty in measuring something like that, I’m not betting my 401k on it.

                  Many baseball metrics, even advanced ones like WOBA, win shares, etc., are readily understandable, and have a logical progression to their derivation that makes them believable. UZR is not such a metric. If it’s such a great metric, you should be able to describe why in a relatively succint manner.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                UZR explains how many runs above (or below) average a player is at getting to balls in his specified zone. Helpful?

                • JP

                  See above. It explains “how many runs above (or below) average a player is at getting to balls in his specified zone” by using unspecified and unverified judgements. How do you determine how many balls a player should get to? What are the criteria? I cannot conceive of how anyone can reliably determine, precisely, how many balls a player should be able to get to. Just out of reach? Was the player too slow (poor range), or was he positioned properly but the hitter hit to an atypical location? Are knowledgable baseball players – say, ex-infielders and outfielders who played at the pro level – watching every defensive play of every game and judging every play? Is it a statistical model based on scatterplots of batted balls and fielder positions? Etc….Does that make any sense?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  I can’t answer all of your questions, JP, but I can speak to the number of plays a player should make. I’m not sure how they do it for UZR, but for Dave Pinto’s PMR (probabilistic model of range), it’s measured based on how many plays the average player at that position made. It’s kind of like OPS+: taking the average and rating everyone accordingly. It does make assumptions, mainly that everyone will get roughly the same number of balls hit in their direction, therefore we can measure it based on how many plays they made.

                  There’s certainly room to argue with that, but it’s the best we’ve got to get a handle on defensive ability. Yes, there are other variables, as there are in every aspect of baseball. Sometimes a guy will hit it on the screws right at someone, and others he’ll get a base hit on a dinky bloop.

                  I hope I’m clear in this (been working on something else all day and my head’s in a jumble). It’s not perfect. Considering all the variables in baseball, no stat is. It’s the best we have to work with, considering the fallibility of human memory.

                • JP

                  Thanks, Joe.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            The numbers are an objective way to help tell the story of what happens on the field.

            With help being the operative word.

        • Mike HC

          Looking at the numbers only adds to the debate. Ignoring the numbers would be ignorant. Nothing takes away from actually watching and enjoying the games. Nothing takes away from coming up with your own theories and rationals for why things played out as they did. The numbers only add data to be taken into account. Look at the numbers to see if they support or contradict what was in your head. Some people would say that you should look at the numbers first, then draw conclusions. For baseball though, that is not that much fun. I come up with my own conclusions, and see what the numbers tell me after.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Exactly.

            Numbers are independent research. They help you confirm or deny the notions you come up with through your own anecdotal evidence gathering.

            There’s lots of things that we think are true that are actually false and vice versa. Numbers and stats help sort out the signal from the noise in our minds.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Posted on Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 3:30 pm in Whimsy.

      Lighten up!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Ben writes a post saying that even though there’s a statistical link between the ejection and the team’s performance, IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE IT’S JUST COINCIDENCE, and you complain about people using “stats” and “trying to quantify everything”.

      He’s not trying to quantify anything. He’s specifically doing the opposite, begging and pleading with people to NOT try and quantify anything at all from this. He’s actually instructing you to remember that there’s far to many variables and that you should just watch the games and not try to draw inferences from every tiny little thing.

      Thanks for missing the point.

      [facepalm]

      • JP

        I read Ben’s post differently. I read his post as posing the question of whether or not the correlation might mean something real. He ended with his opinion, but I thought he left the question open ended.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Oh, sure, he left it open ended, but it was clearly a post of: “Hey, this thing happened, here’s the historical record of how the team performs when this thing happened. It’s probably nothing, it might be something, but either way, don’t get your panties in a bunch about it. Discuss.”

          • Bob Stone

            EXACTLY!!!! Nothing more, nothing less.

      • dan

        My opinion is not limited to this post/article alone. I read Ben’s thoughts and agree with them for the most part. And I also think Ben’s a big boy who can fight his own battles. –though I’m not trying to battle anyone here — see, no caps lock.

        And people do use stats to try and quantify everything. Range factor? Wins over replacement player? C’mon some of this stuff is far too contrived to print — to me, if it’s not on the back of the baseball card it’s not a real stat.

        Perhaps this post wasn’t the best place to air my thoughts, fair enough and my bad but again it’s just an opinion. Asave your “facepalm” for someone else.

        • Bob Stone

          Dan, I am an old school fan as well (and just an old person – been following the Yankees for 54 years) but I find a lot of these newer statistics very interesting. They offer possible insights into WHY the play on the field is what it is. It’s at least as valuable as all of our subjective opinions. I welcome any tools that make the enjoyment of the game better and that increase the intelligence of baseball debates. I am suspicious, as you are, of many of these new stats (especially on the defensive side) but still welcome them as tools that can potentially improve our fan experience. Keep an open mind.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          And people do use stats to try and quantify everything. Range factor? Wins over replacement player? C’mon some of this stuff is far too contrived to print — to me, if it’s not on the back of the baseball card it’s not a real stat.

          Only in baseball is simple, outdated, primitive statistical research valued more than modern, more enlightened, more advanced statistical research. I’m sorry, the notion that the “stats” of yesteryear are better than the stats of today is a notion that nobody can take seriously. People aren’t getting dumber each generation, they’re getting smarter.

          Analytical abilities of the 2000s >>>>>>>>>>> analytical abilities of the 1950s

          • dan

            Some stats are interesting and do catch my eye. I’m not trying to poo poo progress. Baseball definitely could use some progress. My statements have been a tad dismissive and that’s not 100% fair. But like Mike HC said “Some people would say that you should look at the numbers first, then draw conclusions. For baseball though, that is not that much fun. I come up with my own conclusions, and see what the numbers tell me after.”

            It’s a very valid and true statement, but how much stuff happens between pitches. How do you judge a player’s range when they player is in a different position or leaning a certain way based on the next pitch a pitcher throws. Quantifying defensive ability is not new. They’ve been trying to do it for years and according to “Moneyball”, defense is overrated. That’s something I whole-heartedly disagree with as I believe the numbers you prevent are more important than the numbers you score.

            Sorry I feel like I’m writing some ridiculous diatribe — most of you might agree.

            • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “They’ve been trying to do it for years and according to “Moneyball”, defense is overrated.”

              I just wanted to note that I’m pretty sure that statement is inaccurate. Moneyball was about identifying market inefficiences so that a team with a limited payroll could compete. Any “on-field strategy”* discussed in the book is really about which type of players a team with a low-payroll can afford, and should go after. So if they said in the book “defense isn’t important” they meant that they didn’t want to pay for defense if they had to choose between a good defensive player and a guy with a high OBP, because the high OBP was more important to them and they couldn’t, in general, afford guys who provided both and the OBP provided more value for their buck than did the defense.

              *With the exception of discussions of things like why it usually doesn’t make sense to attempt a lot of steals or bunts, which was based on statistical analysis of the value those outcomes give their teams (and the relative negative value of the failure of those strategies). But this is different than saying “{defense isn’t important. Of course defense matters, it just wasn’t something they felt they could afford to target on the market.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                And in fact, the Moneyball revolution is about valuing whatever attributes are undervalued.

                So, after everyone started copying the A’s valuation of OBP and the price for high OBP guys went up, the A’s started pursuing good defensive players, because defense was the new highly-undervalued stat.

                Moneyball is all about getting good players on the cheap by exploiting player evaluation model inefficiencies. Whatever baseball teams want is costly. What baseball teams think is unimportant is rather cheap, so small-market teams can gain an edge by focusing on being better at player evaluation (read: advanced metrics) to find the talent in players that is generally underappreciated and thus, cheap.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  Moneyball was written by Billy Beane and is about how computers are better at evaluating baseball players than human beings.

                  Sincerely,
                  Joe Morgan

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Heh.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  No need to patronize, tommie. I know what “heh” means.

                  A for effort, C for execution.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  No, that’s “Meh”.

                  “Heh” is kinda my version of LOL. I don’t write LOL because things don’t generally make me laugh out loud, since I’m such a cold, dispassionate bastard wedded to heartless, soulless rationalism and all.

                  Oh, and I’m not a 14 year old girl. That’s the other reason I don’t say LOL.

                • JP

                  Computers evaluate baseball players better than computers evaluate human beings? I would agree with that.

                  /eats shoots and leaves

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  You’ll rue the day you grammar checked me, JP.

                • JP

                  Only in baseball is simple, outdated, primitive statistical research valued more than modern, more enlightened, more advanced statistical research. I’m sorry, the notion that the “stats” of yesteryear are better than the stats of today is a notion that nobody can take seriously. People aren’t getting dumber each generation, they’re getting smarter.

                  Agree. Kum-ba-ya.

                  But let’s have a few definitions: a statistic is a number, derived from other numbers, used to describe events in a system.

                  Before any statistic, no matter how complicated, no matter how fervently its inventor feels about, can be accepted, it needs a gold standard, a validity test. Validity: truth…in the stats world, the degree to which a statistic truthfully represents that which it purports to represent.

                  Batting average: simple stat, highly representative of a player’s ability to reach base on batted balls. Pretty in-valid measure of total offensive value.

                  We know this, because, starting with the Jamesian pythagorean equation, wins are directly proportional to runs scored / runs allowed. Runs scored can be predicted by x, y, and z, and so on.

                  It is much easier to establish the validity of offensive statistics than defensive ones.

                • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

                  …wtf does an evergreen have to do with grammar? or did you mean gravy? or UZR?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
      • dan

        Having fun with computers are we?

        I hold a different opinion and I’m missing the point? No, maybe I’m just sharing my own opinion. Get off Ben’s nuts and share a thought of your own next time.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          dan: Avoid the personal attacks please. You’ve made your point without resorting to them. Don’t start now.

          • dan

            Fair enough. And I apologize. I will say this though, I will defend myself if I feel that I need to. Homeboy’s initial caps lock fuelled post got under my skin. I’ve said my peace. I’ll move on.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              In the interest of humble peacemaking, I’ll apologize to you too, dan. Perhaps I shouldn’t have written that half-sentence in caps lock.

              My bad, sorry for the harshness of my reply.

              • dan

                No need to apologize. I lost my temper first. That means I lose.

                Go yanks! (Awkward high-five)

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Heh.

                  Lemme go break out the Kumbaya link again… hold on, it was just here a second ago…

          • JP

            Just for the record, as someone who has been accused of being condescending and arrogant, I think posting a link to a diagram illustrating “missing the point” is condescending and arrogant. TSJC, you have supreme intellect, tact, and sense of humor, and I love reading your comments, which are a great contribution to this blog. You made your point once, reposting that just looks like a personal attack.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    First base umpire Bill Welke appeared to ask Girardi if he wanted to be tossed after a long debate that apparently lacked any significant four-letter words. Girardi nodded and was given the hook he searched for. “Yeah, but no comment,” he said of his desire to leave, smiling…

    The first thing I thought of:

    Diddly poo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    • JP

      So it was the baseball equivalent of getting yourself texted out of a meeting? The way they were playing, I can imagine maybe he wanted a night off…

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        It was kind of funny watching the thing. You could clearly see Girardi wanted to get tossed, but he wouldn’t actually get nasty enough to actually get tossed. I kept waiting for him to throw his hat or kick some dirt or flip out, Pinella style.

        Nothing.

  • MattG

    I can’t understand how an umpire could’ve made a call that bad. There are dozens of pick-off plays every game, and they are always very close. That was a routine play for an umpire. How could you blow that one? It’s analogous with dropping a pop-up to second base…

    And I still don’t understand why a right-handed first baseman doesn’t straddle the bag to take the throw. That’d cut down on leads for sure.

    • TheLastClown

      It also cuts down his range to his right.

      • MattG

        Not buying that.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “And I still don’t understand why a right-handed first baseman doesn’t straddle the bag to take the throw.”

      Because he’d be putting his knees and ankles in serious danger of being demolished and there would be an increased probability of the throw hitting the sliding baserunner before reaching the first baseman.

      • MattG

        Not buying that either. That’s how you take a throw at every other base, including second base on steals.

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I may have overstated the safety issue a bit, but it’s not exactly the same as how fielders receive throws at other bases.

  • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Just want to note, for the sake of posterity, that Ben just dropped the hammer.

    • jsbrendog

      dela g?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        No. It was Axl again. He’s gone from a one-week temporary ban to a permanent one by spamming our email addresses and attempted to post as other people all without contacting us despite my posts requesting he do just that to clear this all up. It’s quite a lesson in how to annoy the three of us.

        • jsbrendog

          haha no more axl? meh.

          i assumed dela g cause of the convo of them andyou asking if theyre not wearing pants. but twas axl in disguise! the nerve

          • UWS

            I thought Ben’s pantsless comment was a bit out of character. I should’ve known.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’m beginning to really seriously think he needs to seek out a good therapist. Axl has some interesting personality characteristics, to put it lightly.

          I hope he can manage to calm himself back down enough to earn the right to comment here again.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Who on here was Axl’s friend that was lobbying for him to get reinstated?

            Whomever it was: take your friend to counseling. Seriously, no snarkiness or oneupsmanship or anything. Axl should have a conversation with a professional.

            • radnom

              What did they just IP ban him?

              He will be back, of this I am sure.

            • Bill R

              That would be me. He’s really a normal guy, no idea why he went off the deep end.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                That’s the thing. He started out so normal. Then he just got this totally irrational persecution complex and megalomania. He seems like a nice guy, he just let his antagonism consume him.

                I wish him the best.

                • JP

                  You guys have no conception of how brutal you can be. An alternate reality exists in this place, and the regulars are immune to it.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Yeah, but when people start acting like assholes, they lose any mercy from us. Axl went over the deep end first, and hence, we lost all patience for his antics.

                  But for the record, ALL of the people here who have gotten banned, from Axl to DBHOF to Robert Goulet to countless others have gotten banned not for being annoying jerks but for being racist/homophobic jerks. If he could have been annoying while refraining from sexual orientation slurs, he’s still be here.

                • jsbrendog

                  and we have nothing to do with banning ppl. just cause ppl here dont like someone doesnt mean the ra guys ban him. all bans are deserved on their own iondependent of anything we say/think/do/feel

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  DBHOF was not banned.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  My bad, sorry for that historical inaccuracy.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Just goes to show how anecdotal evidence can be flawed. I lumped DBHOF in there because my memory told me he got banned once.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  So would you say that, before being corrected, you saw it with your own eyes?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Yes.

                  If there was a site that retained all the list of banned people, I could have easily looked it up to see if I was right or mistaken.

                  We need a “BannedGraphs”.

            • Salty Buggah

              I don’t remember much but was it something like Bill R?

              (Bill, if that’s not you, I sincerely apologize)

              • Bill R

                no it was

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Wow… He really went off the deep end, huh. I should have saved this video for him instead of Bo. I was actually wondering where Axl went.

        • Bill R

          jeez, if i still lived near him Ben I’d slap him for being an idiot, unfortunately i live 3600 miles away!

        • Mike HC

          I’m sure he has other computers or internet access where he can still make comments. I highly doubt we have seen the end of Axl or any of his other names.

        • Yankee1010

          Really? No more Axl? It’s like Christmas in June.

      • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        No, someone using the name “Benjamin Kabak” who asked Dela G if he is wearing pants.

        • jsbrendog

          ooooooooo ii get it now. i thought it was ben making some joke i didnt get. i get it. i did find it weird that his name wasnt blue meaning it wasnt link to RAB…mystery solved.

          thank god for the mystery machine and the gang! go scoob!

        • Bob

          where can i find this convo? Or was the comment deleted??

          • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            (deleted)

      • Dela G

        HAHAHA i read that and i was like WTF?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          You naughty minx.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Ugh.

      Just want to note, for the sake of posterity, that Ben just dropped the hammer.

      • jsbrendog

        they fixed it for you lol

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Magic.

  • Manimal

    MaY-B Th3Y r Ju$T B3tT3r W!Th0uT G!raRdi!111!!!!!1!

    • jsbrendog

      ietc although it couldve used a pena for manager allusion

    • MattG

      awesome! well done.

    • radnom

      MANIMAL

  • Peter Lacock

    Few things are decided on a piece of paper. Maybe if you’re an accountant or lawyer but there are suttle things that are important that can’t be quantified. There has never been a great leader that didn’t know how to push people’s buttons. I think they’ve been depressed since going to Boston. Welke’s call and Girardi’s actions fired tham up. In my experience you can’t be loose if you aren’t fired up. That’s when instinct and physical skill takes over. It’s why root root root for the home team helps and booing ARod (or any Yankee) screws with their mind helps the opponent. I don’t understand why people don’t get this. The only explanation I can come up with is they haven’t performed in front of a crowd.

    • Mike HC

      But if you perform in front of a crowd every day for the past decade or so, it will lose some of its luster. It will become routine for them. The reaction that you have in front of a crowd will be far different than what a major league athlete will feel. It is not like the Yankees would have never hit again unless Girardi got thrown out. It was really just a matter of time.

      I don’t completely disagree with you though. I think that leadership is important, and Girardi made a good move by getting thrown out. It told the team that these games matter and sometimes you have to play with a sense of urgency. Although it is one of 162, sometimes you have to be reminded that every game and every play counts.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Girardi getting himself tossed probably helped. I’m sure it helped some of them, with 25 guys on the team, some of them probably changed their emotional mindstate following the ejection.

      We just can’t go too far and say that his ejection was THE reason that they started hitting well. Like dan said, too many variables. If getting tossed was truly a direct correlation with a team hitting better, managers would be getting tossed on a weekly basis.

      It was a no-lose situation. If he gets tossed and we start performing better, great. If he gets tossed and we keep sucking, meh, no harm no foul. It’s worth the gamble, but it’s not the end-all, be-all.

      (JP complaining about me being too rational in 3… 2… 1… )

      • random


        If getting tossed was truly a direct correlation with a team hitting better, managers would be getting tossed on a weekly basis.

        Ah, but the whole idea of it having any effect is based on the fact that it is a rare event.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          True.

          We forget the numerous times that managers get ejected and nothing happens, though. The manager flips out and the team continues to not hit.

          • Mike HC

            Or, how about all the times the team is struggling and then breaks out of it with a couple of monster innings “in spite of” Girardi not getting tossed. Did the Yanks break out of those slumps due to Girardi’s calm and the fact that, as Teix has said, you can never tell if the team is doing well, or sucking based on Girardi’s face.

            Which one is it. The team hits better when Girardi fires em up and gets tossed, or, the team hits better when Girardi is calm and shows no panic.

            • Peter Lacock

              Everything can’t be quantified like so many try to do. This isn’t fantasy baseball it’s real. These are people just like anyone else that perform better or worse depending on a lot of things. Chemistry is dismissed or an attempt is made to make it into an equation. It can’t be done but it is a requirement for success nonetheless.

              • Mike HC

                There is no equation for team chemistry. I agree with that. There is a question though of whether good team chemistry is necessary to win though. Some teams have thrived off dysfunction as the Reggie Jackson Yankee years can attest to.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                You’re right, not everything can be quantified.

                The things that can’t be quantified, like chemistry, thus should not be dismissed, but they similarly shouldn’t be magnified. Because since they can’t be quantified, there’s no real way to know just how much they mattered.

                Meaning Girardi’s ejection could have meant a ton.

                Or it could have meant bupkus.

                Are you okay with that? Because you can’t really use the idea that not everything can be quantified to argue that the unquantifiable has a LARGE impact. Only that it has “an” impact.

  • Mike HC

    I think it is part coincidence, part good timing, and part firing up the team. Rarely do things happen for only one reason. There are always a bunch of different factors.

    It is coincidence because these guys are trying to get a hit everytime at bat. They are going against some of the best pitchers in the world and if they are not focused, they would never get a hit. Manager or no manager, they are trying their hardest.

    It is part good timing because Girardi has always been tossed when the team has been hitting far below their averages. It is like Girardi is buying low, knowing the team is underperforming and betting on the fact that odds are they will start hitting to their average.

    It is also part firing the team up because as JP said above, changing the normal order of things can re focus the team. These guys play baseball almost everyday and it becomes routine. They can not be playing with a sense of urgency every single game. When the manager gets tossed, it adds a sense of urgency to the team. You want to back up the manager and not make him look like a fool.

    • Salty Buggah

      Perfect

  • MattG

    Want to do something poorly? Think about how little success you are having while doing it.

    Want to do something well? Concentrate on it while doing it, avoid distractions.

    Want to do something athletic well? Think about something else, and let instincts take over.

    Last spring, I was pitching to my seven year old in my backyard, with tennis balls lest he break a window. He was doing something to annoy me, I can’t remember what, and I plunked him. It was actually an accident, but he thought it was on purpose, and I let him go on thinking that. He was VERY mad. Next pitch, he crushes it, over the house, over everything. Its still the best swing he’s ever had.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      nice job Roger Clemens.

      what’d mom say?

  • Jim

    Is this an example of his great managing? Billy martin he is not

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I have no idea what this means.

  • Pingback: Mets outdual Cards, NBA Draft tonight « Backpage NY

  • troy

    Maybe he should take tonight’s game off???? Kind of kidding but what happens if it worked?

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      You’re missing the point. If you believe the ejection helped the Yanks win last night you don’t believe that because they were better off without Girardi in the dugout (but, let’s be serious here, still running the team from the clubhouse in all likelihood) but because the ejection somehow “fired up” the team and broke the monotony and negativity they were mired in. It’s the ejection that matters, not the absence.

      • troy

        No that was my point. Maybe it’s the “absence” that did it. I know, silly, but heh, I’m in a playful mood after a win

  • SoCalYankeeFan

    The only thing the stats show is that the Yankees are better hitters without Girardi managing. He’s tighter than a tick and makes all around him tight!

    Time for a change…Tony Pena for manage! Make baseball fun again!

    SoCalYankeeFan 8)

    • jsbrendog

      oaktag.

      • Bob

        what the hell does that mean?

      • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

        Yes!! I did it right! I typed mine before I saw yours and was going to ask if this would be an appropriate time to use it and…behold. The student becomes the master lol.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          jsb = Obiwan
          Link = Vader

          • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

            Lol.

    • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

      oaktag.

      • Mike HC

        I think people should start “oaktagging” people who just throw out the word “oaktag.”

        SoCal would rather have a looser, more fun manager. It is his opinion. Dismissing it with “oaktag” is annoying.

        • jsbrendog

          true ture

          i rescind oaktaggin.

          he did give his opinion and a reaso why i just didnt comprehend.

          de-oaktag.

        • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

          I am fairly confident that the comment was made tongue in cheek (or at least I hope) and my use of the ‘oaktag’ was in pure fun.

          Obviously we are all welcome to have any opinion we wish, whether it is Joba in the 8th only, DFA Swisher, start Cervelli 5 times a week, whatever…and as welcome as that opinion is, any comment that doesn’t personally attack should be welcome as well.

          My ‘oaktag’ stands. :)

    • Mike HC

      Then people will say the team is too loose and distracted. That they need a task master to keep these multi million dollar players focused, etc … That is how it always works. Teams switch off from a “player friendly” manager, to a task master. Sometimes, most of the time, it is the players.

  • Bob

    any chance we could get like a nba draft thread going here, cause i’m just dying to talk about it. I realize that this comment will most likely be deleted, but worth a try..

  • Jeremy

    When paying millions of dollars to a manager, the team has to hope that he has the greatest positive effect on his players when he DOESN’T get ejected.

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  • Henry

    Girardi is a clown.

  • Dela G

    probably a bit of both

    Did you see how tony pena was yelling at a-rod, making him get pumped and ready to hit that clutch hit?

    That team looked hungry and suddenly remembered how to git the ball into the gap again

    it was a thing of beauty

  • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Lol. But you’re about to get the ban-hammer, congrats.

  • Salty Buggah

    uh-oh Ben

  • Bob

    huh?

  • UWS

    Off-topic comments are a big no no.