« It's Poetry Month! | Main | Can Affirmative Action Hurt Its Intended Recipients? »

April 04, 2005

Comments

Gotta say, I liked that face a lot better four years ago.

Personally, I'm rooting for a Cubs-Red Sox world series, even if I am a New Yorker now. Partly because I lived in Chicago when I first noticed the existence of pro-baseball. Partly because I like to see traditional losers win. Partly just because no one thinks it's possible and I find it amusing when the "impossible" happens.

I think it's a little early for the team that pulled biggest post-season choke in professional sports history to call the reigning World Champs "chumps"

I'm just sayin'.

I've adored the Big Unit since he was here in Seattle. I was delighted - laughing, cheering, crying delighted -when he won the World Series.

It upset me that he went to the Yankees, but I guess being the Primo Star and Giant Slayer for two underdog teams was enough: he wants to end his career playing for a legendary team, for oodles of money, and who can blame him?

Not me. Randy deserves nothing but the best.

(Doesn't mean I'll root for the Yanks, tho :)

I think it's a little early for the team that pulled biggest post-season choke in professional sports history to call the reigning World Champs "chumps"

I dunno-o-o-o...

Even the Boston Globe said they don't look like "champs"...and if you ain't a champ but you're acting like you are....

The Sox were still clinging to 2004 during pregame preparation. There was new carpet in the visitor's clubhouse at Yankee Stadium and the self-named "idiots" were taking some credit for the re-decoration. Boston ballplayers drenched the rug in champagne after they last played here on Oct. 20, 2004.

"It still smells like champagne in here to me," said Sox first baseman Kevin Millar as he pawed the new blue carpet.

Boston owner Tom Werner, standing in the corridor outside the clubhouse with his date, NBC's Katie Couric, smiled and bragged about the Sox' role in the renovations, then said, "Somehow the ghosts have all evaporated here. It's like night and day. This is the place where we could never get past, but the memories of Game 7 will never be forgotten."

...that makes you a "chump" where I come from...

On the most-hyped Opening Night in baseball history, the New York Yankees spanked the Boston Red Sox, 9-2,

just sayin'

PS...I really don't care that much about this, so take all the above with a big ol' grain of salt. It's just fun to be arrogant in NYC again... ;-p


I have to agree, one loss is hardly "payback" for the biggest choke in playoff history, but I really don't get someone who roots for the Yankees as a second team. As Rob Corddry said in a WaPo interview recently--

"Are Yankees fans bad people?

They're bad people, yeah, I'll definitely go on the record saying they're just bad people. I think they're uncreative, unimaginative bad guys. They're the bad guys, they're the ones that wear black hats. If I was born in New York, I think I'd still root for the Red Sox, that's just the way I'm built. But if there were no Red Sox, I'd just be a Mets fan. What's fun about rooting for the Yankees? They're just unlovable. I really think Yankees fans are uncreative and normally -- normally -- stupid. Mostly stupid.


Of course I'm not going to defend the literal truth of every word (particularly as it applies to you Edward), but since you practically invited a flame, I couldn't resist posting it. Oh, and take it from someone who knows all about curses-- I don't see the Tribe winning it all until they get rid of Chief Wahoo.

I don't see the Tribe winning it all until they get rid of Chief Wahoo

Yeah, I'm so on the fence about that one. I understand the reason the mascot offends, but it truly does represent something good and pure to me (talk about inviting a flame war)...it's a pity contexts can't be relative in a good way. Eventually he'll have to go, I know. But my first thoughts when seeing him are all happy ones and I don't believe I transfer anything negative onto the Native Americans I meet because of it.

sigh...

Oh, and take it from someone who knows all about curses-- I don't see the Tribe winning it all until they get rid of Chief Wahoo.

You misspelled "Charlie Dolan." For all his rent-seeking ways, at least Dick Jacobs was actually interested in putting together winning teams.

Honestly, as a baseball fan for many, many years, the Red Sox and the Yankees both are just so far off my radar . . . AFAIC, they exist in an alternate universe in which they're the only two teams in the league, and everyone else can actually enjoy the game with both of them absent. And don't get me started on Yankee fans.

Edward, does it change things at all for you to know that George Steinbrenner contributed more than 10% of the cost of last fall's anti-Dean ads?

Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack.

     --Bill Simmons, ESPN

I don't take this stuff too seriously either, Edward. I'm not a Sox fan. I'm a Mets fan (God help me), so anything that causes the Yankees pain is A-OK in my book.

I am glad that the Sox won, though. I've more than my fill of the "Curse" nonsense. The BoSox are a big money, big market team. They're not "underdogs" by any stretch of imagination.

Hey, wait a minute! What do the posting rules say about bashing Yankee fans :-)

For those with short memories, it was not always this way. The Yankees went into a steep decline in the early Sixties and stayed down for most of the next 30 years. I grew up rooting for the Yanks during the era that featured such stars as Tom Tresh, Horace Clark, Joe Pepitone, Stan Bahnsen, Fritz Peterson, etc. When the Mets won in 1969, the Yankees finished 28.5 games behind the Orioles. And, after a brief stint at the top in the late '70s, they returned to the form that I knew so well for another dozen years or more. Some folks say that the 1990 team was the worst in Yankee history, though others can make an argument that the 1968 and 1969 teams were worse.

Uh... What???

Only in the Yankee universe does buying another former Yankee-slayer constitute "payback."

Edward, does it change things at all for you to know that George Steinbrenner contributed more than 10% of the cost of last fall's anti-Dean ads?

hmmmm...actually it does. Not that I was a big Dean fan (I was an Edwards fan), but ol' George oughta stay outta primary politics and stick to what he's good at: imperialism.

Another reason to hate the Yankees, and another ex-Mariner to help Steinbrenner buy a championship ring. I hope they choke once again.

Another reason to hate the Yankees, and another ex-Mariner to help Steinbrenner buy a championship ring. I hope they choke once again.

I'm not as big on the Yankees actually as I am on watching everyone hate them so vehemently. Pure entertainment.

Charles, I'm shocked. How suprisingly anti-capitalist of you.

Another reason to hate the Yankees, and another ex-Mariner to help Steinbrenner buy a championship ring. I hope they choke once again.

Gee, and I thought it was a fine example of the free market at work.

And what's all this silly bellyaching about who's on the roster? You go to battle with the team you have, not the team you want. Unless you're Steinbrenner, in which case you go to battle with the team you want...;-p

JerryN,

Weren't Bahnsen and Petersen the guys who literally swapped wives? I remember Tresh too. The next Mickey Mantle as I recall.

Wonder how Mantle would have done with steroids? Maybe 100 home runs a year?

"Gee, and I thought it was a fine example of the free market at work."

Common misconception. Even most hard core free marketers believe that the internal structure of an organization can be non-capitalistic. For example, you (generally) can't buy a managerial position in your company, even volunteer militaries are nothing like a free market, etc.

If Libertarians for Athletic Parity were an organization, I would join it.

Bernard - it was Peterson and Mike Kekich (and spouses) that were involved in that incident.

sidereal - that only makes sense if you consider Major League Baseball to be the relevant organization and not the individual teams.

Re Mantle, note that he didn't face pitchers who took...

My one regret about last night's game is that Tony Womack (on the team due to a statistical fluctuation last year) went 3-5 with a steal.

For example, you (generally) can't buy a managerial position in your company

Hmmmm...I never thought of the job market as something you'd actually bid on. If your example violates the precepts of capitalism, I'd suggest capitalism needs a bit more work in the definition. I wouldn't think that in strict capitalism one might be able to buy oneself out of a prison stretch for murder, for example.

Three Randy Johnsons could stand comfortably inside a lamppost - if that man ever took steroids I will eat my computer. Anyway, Yankees, shmankees, Johnson is just a joy to watch and the best pitcher of his generation. Watching him drag the Diamondbacks through the playoffs and the Series with their anemic-to-nonexistent run support was epic. I don't care where he's pitching, I'll root for him. He's as scary as Bob Gibson.

rilkefan,

Do steroids help pitchers much? I don't think today's fastballs are faster than those of Bob Feller, or Smokey Joe Wood for that matter.

Pitching seems to be more a matter of mechanics than pure strength, which is what turns a fly ball out into a home run.

For example, you (generally) can't buy a managerial position in your company,

There's an argument that you should be able to. To say that Jill will do better than Jack in a particular job is to say that it is worth a certain amount of money to the company to give her the job rather than him. But suppose he is willing to pay more than that difference to the company?

How is this different than hiring a weaker candidate but at a significantly lower salary?

Charles, I'm shocked. How suprisingly anti-capitalist of you.

Anti-capitalist? Not really. It depends on the perspective. Is the product The New York Yankees, or is it Major League Baseball? To me, the product being sold to the general public is Major League Baseball, an entity with 30 or so outlets, and which competes for the entertainment dollar with other non-MLB recreational activities. That's why I also support revenue sharing, because it's good for Baseball as a whole.

How is this different than hiring a weaker candidate but at a significantly lower salary?

Depends on who gets the money. But...what is meant by "buy[ing] a managerial position"? A position is not a thing. A position for some period of time may be regarded as something that one can value, but someone hell-bent on doing damage to a company can keep that intent secret and do much more damage to the company than the position cost him, even in a short period of time.

So I'm thinking that buying a job isn't quite as simple as it's being made out to be.

That's why I also support revenue sharing, because it's good for Baseball as a whole.

Only if you include a salary floor as part of revenue sharing. Otherwise you end up with the Expos of the past 10 years.

Personally, I'll be for revenue sharing when someone demonstrates that teams truly cannot compete without it. As it is, MLB has greater parity than any other major sport in North America.

Depends on who gets the money.

My assumption is that the money goes to the company.

A position for some period of time may be regarded as something that one can value, but someone hell-bent on doing damage to a company can keep that intent secret and do much more damage to the company than the position cost him, even in a short period of time.

Sure. I'm talking about someone who really wants the job, not a saboteur.

So I'm thinking that buying a job isn't quite as simple as it's being made out to be.

I don't think it's simple either. I really didn't intend my comment as a practical suggestion, just sort of random musing.

"Do steroids help pitchers much? I don't think today's fastballs are faster than those of Bob Feller, or Smokey Joe Wood for that matter."

I beg to differ. Today's pitchers are taller, stronger, better trained, and (I think) drawn from a wider gene pool and higher-statistic pool than those of past eras. And steroids are, if I understand correctly, more important for quick recovery than strength in this context. Ok, David Wells doesn't look like a pentathlete, but he does work out; and it's generally believed that having a muscled frame prevents injuries. And if you think that say Roger Clemens doesn't have enormously strong legs...

"Pitching seems to be more a matter of mechanics than pure strength, which is what turns a fly ball out into a home run."

Hitting is more a question of eye-hand coordination and timing than strength. More than one player has gotten strong but in the process lost technique.

In any case, I haven't seen any good data showing steroids helps performance per game played.

"Hmmmm...I never thought of the job market as something you'd actually bid on."

Toss that in the 'bad example' bucket. How about this: within a commercial organization it is routine to dedicate a specific suborganization to a particular task, and to dictatorially mandate that no other suborganization may perform that task, even if it would be competitive. The organization as a whole may suffer from this, but the intra-organization processes are not capitalistic.

"sidereal - that only makes sense if you consider Major League Baseball to be the relevant organization and not the individual teams."

Yes, I do. I want the Mariners to be competitive athletically (and it seems they are, at least for today). I want MLB to be competitive economically.

I beg to differ. Today's pitchers are taller, stronger, better trained, and (I think) drawn from a wider gene pool and higher-statistic pool than those of past eras.

No need to beg, rilkefan. Differing is allowed. No doubt pitchers are taller, stronger, and better trained than before. The gene pool is certainly bigger as well, but there's also more competition from other sports for the best athletes, so I don't know how that works out.

But is it so clear that all that translates into better pitching, or more accurately that it translates into as big an improvement in pitching as the improvements in hitting? Taller, stronger, better trained, applies to hitters too. So the issue is whether steroids do more for hitters than for pitchers. In terms of average maybe not, for the reasons you suggest. But in terms of power I think so.

Suppose we put Bonds and Giambi under truth serum and asked them. What do you think they would say?

sidereal,

What you say about corporations is right of course. Large corporations operate with a strong element of central planning. There's lots of head-scratching about why some things are done within the firm and others are not. Some of the answers have to do with transaction costs, pricing intermediate products, etc. I'm sure there are other ideas I'm overlooking as well.

This thread gives me a great opportunity to pose my moral dilemma to a wider audience. I've been living in NYC for five years. My family back home are all rabid Oakland A's fans, which I was also in my childhood before I wandered away to art and Europe. I've come back to the US and baseball, but I'm living in NYC.

Out of a sense of vestigal loyalty to my hometown team and out of a desire to avoid vicarious loathing from my family, I've tried to become a Mets fan, even though getting to Shea stadium takes about three times as long as it would to get to Yankee stadium, and even though the local TV only broadcasts Yankee games, making the Mets impossible to follow in any real way. And, of course, the Mets keep losing.

I'll want the A's to win forever, naturally, but at what point can I be morally justified in going to a Yankees game?

"I'll want the A's to win forever, naturally, but at what point can I be morally justified in going to a Yankees game?"

When the A's visit NY. And you have to wear green.

Bernard Yomtov:

I believe it was Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson who swapped wives.

Can't get away with anything around here.

Owch, sidereal, that's exactly the response I feared. And I'll have you know, it's not just green, it's green and yellow. Hard to were anywhere, but in NYC on gameday, it's fashion suicide.

So you think I should continue with my half-hearted Mets support? I have, indeed, been trying. The season looks more hopeful this year. Springing eternal, and all that.

Jackmormon: Never. The only morally legitimate way to watch major league baseball, in your situation, is to fly to Boston.

As it is, MLB has greater parity than any other major sport in North America

Nope. Over the last 10 years, there have been 14 different NFL teams in the Super Bowl. There have only been 11 different MLB teams in the World Series. The team to reach the Super Bowl most often during that period reached it 4 times. The Yankees have been in the World Series 6 times in those 10 years. Why? Money. It's boring.

Under the current MLB system, there will not ever be a World Series team from a "city" such as Green Bay, Wisconsin.

"Over the last 10 years, there have been 14 different NFL teams in the Super Bowl. There have only been 11 different MLB teams in the World Series. The team to reach the Super Bowl most often during that period reached it 4 times. The Yankees have been in the World Series 6 times in those 10 years."

These aren't "nope" numbers. These are, given the sample size, indistinguishable.

These are, given the sample size, indistinguishable.

In other words, they do not support the claim that, "As it is, MLB has greater parity than any other major sport in North America".

felix, true, but from the rest of your previous post I got the impression you were arguing for a boring, low-parity baseball.

felix, true, but from the rest of your previous post I got the impression you were arguing for a boring, low-parity baseball.

Well, for that we are not taking about "sample size", because we are not taking a sample, we are looking at historical facts. If you define parity based on the number of teams that reach the championship game(s), and if you see less parity as more boring, than the NFL has been less boring than MLB.

You could argue about whether this was due to chance or not, and you could argue what the odds are of this trend continuing, but you can't argue that given these definitions, the NFL has had higher parity and less boredom over the last decade as a matter of historical fact.

What the odds are that the Yankees would be in 6 or more World Series in a 10 year period given complete parity would make a pretty good combinatorics question...

I don't find the Yankees presence in the WS boring. If it's a new team every time, the championship is less worthwhile in some ways. That the Patriots have won 3 out of the last 4 Superbowls is perhaps boring. That Dallas has won five in my lifetime, and the 49s five, and the Steelers four, is perhaps boring.

Oh now we're getting into my home turf. . econometric analysis of sports results.

I am perpetually amused by the sort who insist that despite the absurd payroll imbalances in baseball, there is no significant competitive imbalance.

For this to be true, one of two consequences must be true:

Either a) Money has no effect on team quality, in which case George Steinbrenner is the biggest financial jackass on the planet and has been flushing hundreds of millions of dollars down the toilet for decades, in a vain attempt to gain an advantage that he cannot gain

Or b) money does have an effect on performance, but Steinbrenner's lapping of the field has merely resulted in parity. . . meaning that if he spent the median amount, then the Yankees would be a horrifically bad team, because they are cursed devils who must overspend to even reach parity, and the Brewers are a team of alien supermutants who can reach parity with scrubs every year.

Neither of these I find plausible. So ergo and all that.

Championships are a bad measure, because they depend on single game victories (including the previous rounds) which are very random. A better measure is season wins (which lead to playoff seedings, etc). For my own edification, I've scatterplotted salary vs wins for 2004, available here. The R-squared is 0.2686, which is to say about 27% of the variation in wins is accounted for by salary. Which is a little high for my tastes.

"I am perpetually amused by the sort who insist that despite the absurd payroll imbalances in baseball, there is no significant competitive imbalance.

For this to be true, one of two consequences must be true:"

No, this doesn't follow - you're begging the meaning of "significant". Of course the Yankees pay lots for quality and wins - but do the Mets pay lots to be mediocre? Were the recent A's teams boring because Oakland is poor?

And of course I think some dynastism is good for a sport.

Cool plot by the way, sidereal - it would be nice to see the last ten seasons. Note that today's (?) backloaded contracts might distort your analysis.

I don't find the Yankees presence in the WS boring

I would if I watched MLB any longer. I don't find the question, "Given that we have a much larger payroll budget than our opponents, how do we put together a good team?" to be an interesting question. I know the answer to that one. The question, "Given that we have about the same payroll budget as every other franchise, how do we put together a good team?" is much more interesting to me.

That the Patriots have won 3 out of the last 4 Superbowls is perhaps boring

Why? They didn't buy the championship, they were 24th out of 32 in payroll. How do you keep on winning while spending less than your opponents? Has an MLB franchise at the bottom quartile of payroll ever won 3 years out of 4? Bottom quartile of spending means something different in the NFL than in MLB. There is a difference between your opponent spending 50% more than you and your opponent spending 300% more than you...the salary cap again. To me, it makes things more interesting.

That Dallas has won five in my lifetime, and the 49s five, and the Steelers four, is perhaps boring.

12 of those 14 were pre-salary cap.

"They didn't buy the championship, they were 24th out of 32 in payroll."

I shouldn't argue about sports I know so little about - what's the variation? And how does this figure in with backloaded contracts?

"12 of those 14 were pre-salary cap."

Fair enough, esp. if the winning teams were big spenders.


In baseball, about which I know at least a little, the postseason is set up to give semi-random results, so to some extent it doesn't so much matter what the salaries are. Two teams from the poor divisions in the AL will compete in short series in the playoffs. Maybe Santana will outpitch the Unit twice this October, and ...

"Maybe Santana will outpitch the Unit twice this October, and ..."

You're putting a lot of stock in maybes. The argument isn't that it's mathematically impossible for the Indians to win the Series, it's that the Indians have to depend on miracles and a significant number of friendly bounces to do it, while the Red Sox do not. And yes that makes for drama and what not when it happens, but it's a) boring when it doesn't, and b) not so much about the quantity of excitement as it is about fairness and principle (at least for me).

"Of course the Yankees pay lots for quality and wins - but do the Mets pay lots to be mediocre? Were the recent A's teams boring because Oakland is poor?"

You do well to pick the most significant outliers, of course (and throw Minnesota and Arizona into the mix), but data isn't made from outliers. The recent A's teams were boring because walks are boring, but that's a different thread.

In fairness I should point out that the most popular sport in the world has almost no parity at all. It's simply accepted as the done thing that Man U and Arsenal will beat Crystal Palace and Portsmouth like rented mules every year, and Celtic and Rangers will perpetually play for the Scottish Premiership. So clearly parity is not essential for satisfying sporting. But I would argue that football is not so much a sport as a slightly sublimated sort of war, where parity is inappropriate.

I shouldn't argue about sports I know so little about - what's the variation?

Here's last year's payroll numbers for the NFL. 2004 MLB numbers here.

Thanks for the #s, felix - still think one needs to integrate over average-contract-length to get a clear picture.

My view of the cap is colored by my perception that it breaks teams up.

His face says it all? Let's not discount that his face tells us that he's not a very good looking guy.

I'd have to say that that's actually Johnson at his most photogenic.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad