Just a couple of links to kill the time before Pettitte takes the mound.
Over the course of this past off-season, two blogs became daily reads for me: Beyond the Box Score and FanGraphs. The writers at both sites do a good job of cultivating discussion about the game. Those not statistically inclined might not like it as much, but even then it’s not all about the numbers. It’s about trying to gain a deeper understanding of how the game works. And along with that will come many bad ideas. The best of us have them.
I’d like to plug one column in particular, and that’s Tommy Bennett’s Daily Box Score. Every day he curates a number of links which probe deeper into the game. Not only are the links always good — and not always with a statistical bend — but Tommy does a great job of weaving them together. Plus, he’s a friend of RAB, so make sure to check it out.
Remember that bit on bunting Ben wrote this morning? It eventually made its way to BBTF, and by those means made it to The Book Blog (linked in the headline). Tom Tango points out what he thinks are two false statements, and then plugs his book, specifically the 50-page chapter on bunting. My bookmark has been at that point since the beginning of the season. I feel kinda stupid now that I haven’t read it. It’s only been freaking five months.
So it looks like we won’t be seeing the remaining 100 names from the 2003 performance-enhancing drugs list any time soon. In a 9-2 decision the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the government was wrong in their seizure of the list. “This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data as to which it lacked probable cause,” wrote Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.
“The risk to the players associated with disclosure, and with that the ability of the Players Association to obtain voluntary compliance with drug testing from its members in the future, is very high,” the judge wrote. “Indeed, some players appear to have already suffered this very harm as a result of the government’s seizure.”
So while names might still leak out — presumably there are still sources who have this information — they might not be as forthcoming. MLBPA lawyer Elliot Peters thinks that the leakers “should be investigated and punished.” It’s tough to argue against that. Even so, it’s a shame that A-Rod, Ortiz, Sosa, and Manny will take the fall for this, while 100 more players will remain anonymous.
Tom Tango makes his second appearance in this post because of his ambitious project: community scouting reports. The idea is to break down defense into a number of categories and have people who have seen the players fill in their ratings. Tango makes a number of points in the introduction, including what I consider the most important: if you’re not sure, skip it. It’s tough to see how Melky Cabrera takes his first step on a fly ball if you’re only watching on TV. This is meant to provide an accurate assessment, not prove how smart you are.
You can check out the Yankees report here. They have more entries than any other team — surprise, surprise. Everything looks pretty good, though I think Jeter’s footwork is a bit better than 0.1 (on a five-point scale) better than A-Rod, and I wouldn’t say his footwork is any worse than Cano’s. In any case, I’ve got some idea for ratings in my head, but I’m going to pay a bit more attention over the last month and make sure I hit a few games with these observations in mind.