Author Archive

Daily Notes, Including the Most Boring GIF of All Time

Table of Contents

Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. The Standings, and How Teams Stand According to Them
2. The Corey Kluber Society, Its Current Status
3. How 1987 Baseball Card Values Compared to Actual Player Value
4.Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
5. Today’s Complete Schedule

The Standings, and How Teams Stand According to Them

There are a dozenish contests remaining in the regular season, and fourteen teams with legitimate playoff aspirations, several of them owing to the Texas Rangers. According to FanGraphs’ very own playoff odds, the NL Wild Card is and has been resolved, and the Rays, Indians and Rangers are the leading contenders to have their playoff hopes determined by a single game.

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Daily Notes, Containing Numbers About Bunting

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. The Season So Far in Bunting
2. A Philosophical Query: Matt Harvey Versus Diminishing Returns
3. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
4. Today’s Complete Schedule, Including an Unseemly Copout

The Season So Far in Bunting
People are still bunting! Let’s talk about it a little.

Managers Still Don’t Understand Leverage
Here is a graph displaying all sacrifice bunts in 2012, based on the inning they take place:

Shamefaced edit: Mitch correctly points out a flaw in my methodology, which includes National League pitchers in my data. Given the numbers I used, I have no easy way to remove them, so instead I’ve included here, via hypertextual link, the innings in which AL sacrifice bunts were made.

And Yet People Still Care About Lineup Construction
Here is a graph displaying the WPA of sacrifice bunts by each team in 2012 (click to enlarge):

Worst Sacrifice Bunt of the Year So Far: Alcides Escobar, 6/17/12. Game tied 2-2, top of the 11th, runners on first and third. Escobar bunts hard to first, and Franceour is nailed at home. The Royals go on to win anyway, 5-3, but the bunt is worth -0.23 WPA.

Best Sacrifice Bunt of the Year So Far: Erick Aybar, 5/25/12. Down 4-3 against closer Brandon League in the bottom of the 9th with runners on first and second and no outs, Aybar lays down a sacrifice, with League promptly throws into the seats. Everyone gets two bases and the Angels go on to win 6-4. The bunt, error and all, nets 0.39 WPA.

Sacrifice Bunting Is Not Good For The Economy or Baseball
Total WPA of all 1,435 sacrifice bunts laid down thus far in 2012: -11.1.

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Daily Notes, Featuring a Discussion of Happiness

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. A Brief Discussion Of Happiness
2. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

A Brief Discussion of Happiness
Given that we find ourselves in the tranquil moments between Dan Straily’s fine debut yesterday and Matt Harvey’s future deeds, this is an excellent moment to pause and reflect on our appreciation of the game of baseball. If one is available, I suggest grabbing a croissant or Danish as you begin to contemplate today’s arsenal of baseball activities.

To that end, and with the welfare of our thoughtful and intrepid readership in mind, I’ll paraphrase a few thoughts by Bertrand Russell, as compiled in his 1930 book “The Conquest of Happiness”. Although Russell himself did not follow the game, he supported it in a philosophical sense, including it in the “impersonal interests” which, by distracting us from the crucial and stressful elements of work, marriage and parenthood, provide an invaluable source of happiness. He relates the following mysterious anecdote:

Or consider again the passionate joy of the baseball fan: he turns to his newspaper with avidity, and the radio affords him the keenest thrills. I remember meeting for the first time one of the leading literary men of America, a man whom I had supposed from his books to be filled with melancholy. But it so happened that at that moment the most crucial baseball results were coming through on the radio; he forgot me, literature, and all the other sorrows of our sublunary life, and yelled with joy as his favourites achieved victory. Ever since this incident I have been able to read his books without feeling depressed by the misfortunes of his characters.

The identity of this fan is lost to history, though the names of Eliot (a miserable Red Sox fan) and Hemingway (a content Yankees fan) have been suggested.

More than escape, however, Russell prizes baseball (in theory) for its ability to create “a friendly interest in persons and things.” Specifically, baseball creates a bond of fellowship that connects us to the fan and faceless internet commenter beside us. It allows us to exist alongside others, to feel a sense of community, while maintaining our own individuality.

In summary, the purpose of this unsolicited commentary is to suggest that despite the fact that no GIF file may be created from today’s events, and that for the most part the contending teams are all facing lesser opponents that they are expected to defeat, we can still derive some happiness from today’s games, meaningless as they may appear. Please go and do so.

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