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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dodgers Still "Very Concerned" Their Team Will Still Be Off The Air

It's hard to understand how anyone could be so thoroughly clueless that they thought this wouldn't be the outcome, but here we are in 2015, and the Dodgers still won't be on cable TV this year, report Bill Shaikin and Meg James.
"I'm very concerned," Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter said Thursday, at the conclusion of baseball's owners' meetings.
The Federal Communications Commission has until March 30 — six days before the Dodgers' season opener — to approve or reject a merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The FCC has delayed the proceedings twice and could do so again.
The other side of the table has some blunt words for the Dodgers' TV arm:
"Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers' front office owe fans the simple freedom to see Dodger games on TV without obligating every TV customer to bail out Time Warner for its reckless overspending," DirecTV said in a statement. Kasten declined to comment.
"Reckless overspending" is an understatement. We could be into 2016 before this goes away; the Dodgers have deep pockets. I still maintain a chain reaction bankruptcy is not impossible.

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Starting 2015 With A "New" Blog And Administrivia

My overall inattention to this space led me to forget a promise from 2009, when I told the proprietor of Dodger Therapy that I'd give them a sidebar link. (I was archiving my old mail from 2014 when I looked into prior years' archives and found an old exchange that I had forgotten.) Unlike a bunch of bloggers from the end of the McCourt era, they're still around and active as ever. Give 'em a try.

A lot of sidebar links have bit the dust over the last month, though I still have hope that Matt Welch's old Warblog will one day be resurrected; still, with each passing day, I concede the likelihood of that diminishes.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Treating Advanced Stats In Conventional Sportswriting: On Not Explaining Burritos

Craig Calcaterra, who is one of my favorite follows on Twitter, has a great piece up about how to deal with advanced metrics and concepts in conventional baseball writing. Noticing that Anthony French at the Detroit Free Press casually drops a line about José Iglesias benefiting from a higher-than-usual BABIP, Calcaterra observes that, in the 1960's and 70's, Taco Bell needed to explain what a burrito was, and yet:
Maybe there was a need for this in the late 60s and early 70s when burritos were still sort of exotic to a lot American fast food eaters, but they stopped doing that at some point. Why? Because Taco Bell realized that we can handle a burrito. Yes, we ate nothing but cheeseburgers for years and we probably still understand cheeseburgers better, but by some time in the 1970s we were totally are capable of processing what a burrito was as long as it was presented properly (i.e. fast, cheap and available at, like, midnight).
Mainstream baseball writing (i.e. newspaper baseball writing) still hasn’t figured that out for the most part. It probably was necessary in 2002 to explain advanced metrics, such as they were then, in greater detail. Batting average and RBI were our cheeseburgers, and we were being asked to process something new.  But we’ve been eating our SABRburritos for a good while now, so it’s not necessary for them to be over-explained to us. It’s actually sort of distracting and creates unnecessary controversy when they are. WAR debates and “geeks vs. jocks” cultural garbage. I’m rather tired of that. Aren’t you rather tired of that?
 It's a war that's all but won, save for holdouts like Murray Chass. That we're having this discussion is proof.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Transparency In The Hall: An Appreciation Of Repoz's Gizmo

It is probably not too strong to suggest that Darren Viola's Hall of Fame Ballot Collecting Gizmo — an annual event for a number of years now — has sparked a dialogue about transparency in BBWAA voting that is vastly overdue. That it must be crowdsourced is understandable (at least for a while), as is the humble and necessarily incomplete means by which it operates. I came across a piece today from one Steve Buckley in the Boston Herald which neatly encapsulated many of the problems I have with the process, while somehow managing never to mention the Gizmo (emboldening mine, as always):

Look, I get it: Nobody gets 100 percent of the votes. It’s supposed to have something to do with “tradition,” and something to do with the inconvenient truth that the original Hall of Fame class of 1936 — Ty Cobb! Honus Wagner! Babe Ruth! Christy Mathewson! Walter Johnson! — had no unanimous selections.

But it’s wrong, and it needs to stop. And so for housekeeping purposes, I’ll repeat what I wrote in December of 2012: “Fans should know our selections.” And I’ll also repeat what I wrote in January of 2008: “. . . this absolutely should not be limited to active members of the BBWAA. Retired writers should also be asked to name the names on their ballots.”


And if there’s a retired baseball writer out there whose best case for not voting for Martinez is: “I never saw him pitch,” then said baseball writer shouldn’t be voting. Fair, right?

There's a bunch more there, including why we need to shame the anti-steroids voters, and especially the "they all did it" tar-and-featherers. It's one reason why I'm especially pleased to see Buster Olney's surprisingly principled protest empty ballot, even if I think the act is misguided in some wise. There's just no excuse for keeping Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall, and something needs to be done about it, sooner rather than later. Thank you, Darren, for helping to get this out in the open.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Angels Deal Jepsen To The Rays

I know, I haven't said much about the many bigger deals — the Angels picking up Andrew Heaney from the Dodgers was likely more important to 2015 — but this one is such a puzzler that even I can't make heads or tails of it. The Angels traded Kevin Jepsen to the Rays for left-handed-hitting outfielder Matt Joyce. Joyce has typically manned the corners for the Rays, and has never surpassed 20 home runs, though he has some decent pop (.383 SLG in 2014, career .441). As expected, he hits righties well (career .261/.356/.463) but is largely powerless against lefties (.189/.258/.316). It seems likely he'll spell Josh Hamilton when he gets injured or is otherwise unable to play.

What's puzzling about this deal is why the Halos would do it when they possess both C.J. Cron and Cole Calhoun. Calhoun, especially, looks superficially like a younger version of Joyce, who still has three years of team control ahead of him and is putting up similar numbers. I expect this means Calhoun may be trade bait, or Cron will find himself optioned back to Salt Lake, whence he will return if Hamilton or Calhoun find themselves on the DL. Depth in the outfield is nice to have, but dropping pitching that has been a mainstay of the bullpen seems like a poor choice.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Blog

I have added a new blog for my political and dog ravings, boringly named Scareduck Blog. Miscellany that used to end up here will go there from now on. You might stop by and say hello.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Miscellany After The Most Exhausting Day In Recent Offseason Dodger History

If I don't see y'all until next year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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