Archive for Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank

Synonyms for Average

Your spectrum of adequacy, from regrettable to decent. Baseball writers, enjoy:

Regrettable
Who?
Participatory
Just a guy
Tolerable
Unobjectionable
Adequate
Passable
Sufficient
Mediocre
Ordinary
Average
Meh
Fine
Scratch
Okay
Good enough
Respectable
Nice (little)
Nifty (little)
Dandy (little)
Decent


Joe West Tosses 2011

NotGraphs’ Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank has personally informed me know that as 2011 ends, so too does our first full calendar year on the immaculate Internet. We had fun this year. We hope you did, too.

Thanks for reading NotGraphs in 2011, and I wish you and yours a most prosperous new year. Here’s to 2012. As Roy Halladay once oh-so-eloquently put it: “It’s only gonna get funner.

Oh yeah: 2011, you’re gone!

On Friday March 4, 2011, shortly after 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, reader Matt. D. sent us a whited-out picture of Joe West, along with the words, “if you have some time, have some fun!” We had time. We definitely had fun. Today, Joe West is at home in the NotGraphs logo. Personally, I like to think that Joe West — and Dick Allen — own honorary NotGraphs degrees. (Even though we don’t award honorary degrees. That’s how exclusive they are.) Anyway, thank you, Matt. May your light shine brightest in 2012. And, on a somewhat related note, the original 2011 image up there comes to you via PSD Graphics and Development Horizons. Both of them. A real team effort. Thank you, too.


Injury Designations of Baseball Past

It’s well known — both to our readers and the IRS — that the majority of this site’s fluid assets are directed towards the funding of our Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank, a collection of our era’s most capable scholars, intellectuals, and amateur pornographers.

While neither prolific nor sober — and while typically found attempting to play Hide the Salam with the innkeeper’s daughter — the Tank does occasionally produce something of note.

In this case, that something is what follows — namely, a list of actual injury designations from baseball’s past. Absent from the game’s earliest injury reports are any attempts at true anatomical precision. One finds no reference either to ACLs or rotator cuffs, but instead a more colorful, if way less helpful, medical lexicon.

A. Swamp Knee
B. Sticky Cleat
C. Mexican Hangover
D. Jagged Britches
E. Palsied Bat
F. Accidental Polygamy
G. Questionable Paternity
H. Emergency Divorce
I. Sprained Liver
J. Wrenched Liver
K. Entirely Ruined Liver
L. Spotted Dick
M. Whiskey Butt
N. Manifest Destiny
O. Secular Imagination
P. Black Face
Q. Death Breath
R. Dungaree Fever
S. Mal du Suisse
T. Mal du Spavinaw, Oklahoma


The Real Closer of the Future

John Autin over at High Heat Stats Blog pointed out that the length of the average save is dwindling. Watch it disappear:

Read the rest of this entry »


Massaged Data; Shelved Studies


There’s power in your pine tar.

The newest bombshell in social science is actually the oldest story in any book: dude made up his results. It turns out we don’t know any more about the relationship of power to infidelity, or the link between chaos and prejudice, than we did last year. It turns out that Diederik Stapel made up all his results.

A more serious corollary to the baseball world might take note from the social scientists on the matter — we might start talking about the danger of massaging data in general. We could talk about the pressure to find salacious results, and how that changes the way we look at our numbers. We could talk about all the biases that get ignored, and so on.

But that’s no fun.

Let’s instead open up that drawer in my desk where I hastily stuffed all my research as soon as this scandal broke. As you can see, Mr. Stapel has scared me straight.

More Pine Tar Means More Power: A study of the relationship of pine tar levels on batting helmets to isolated slugging percentage.

Green Means Go: Do team colors impact team statistics?

Strippers For Losers: A look at the impact of the availability of professional women of the night on the local team’s winning percentage.

High Socks Rock: Do sock heights alter four-component speed scores?

Mustaches a Must-Have for Closers: A correlation between facial hair and saves totals in major league baseball.

Ritalin or Greenies: A subjective study of baseball uppers new and old and their effect on hand-eye coordination.


Luck, Shmuck: Baseball’s Luckiest Cities


A very lucky person’s backyard.

Men’s Health magazine went and ranked the luckiest cities in America earlier this month. Spoiler Alert — San Diego won, joining Baltimore as the only two cities in America with A+ luck. They defined luck as:

the most winners of Powerball, Mega Millions, and Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes; most hole-in-ones (PGA); fewest lightning strikes (including the fatal kind) and deaths from falling objects (Vaisala Inc., National Climatic Data Center, CDC); and least money lost on lottery tickets and race betting (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Really, now we know that people in San Diego are rich enough to ignore lotteries, play a lot of golf, and stay indoors during the rare thurnderstorm. Is it really luck if San Diego is where people go after they win lottery?

Read the rest of this entry »


Pole-n-Kuntz’s 2011 All Porn-Name Team

Dick Pole and Rusty Kuntz just came out with their position by position rankings of players with the best porn names from the 2011 season. The competition was especially tough in the outfield and among pitchers.

C: Dusty Brown
1B: Justin Smoak
2B: Nick Punto
SS: J.J. Hardy
3B: Justin Turner
LF: Lance Berkman
CF: Drew Stubbs
RF: Willie Harris

Starting Pitchers:
Phil Hughes
Doug Fister
R.A. Dickey
Josh Johnson
Chien-Ming Wang

Relief Pitchers:
Nathan Adcock
Charlie Furbush
John Danks
Kameron Loe
The Wood Brothers Triple Teamers (Kerry, Travis and Blake)


What’s In Your Team’s Wallet?

Transaction: Approved. And, for the record, I hope Ol’ Jim Jam mashes taters forever.

But on to more pressing matters, with the help of NotGraphs’ Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank.

If the Cleveland Indians are using Mastercard …

– The New York Yankees are rolling with an American Express Centurion Card.

– The Los Angeles Dodgers no longer have their credit cards. They were taken away, and cut into pieces, as the Dodgers watched. It was awful.

– The Boston Red Sox are all about the Visa Black.

– The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are using a whole whack of Amex Corporate and Platinum cards, mostly to pay for Vernon Wells’ salary.

– The Florida Marlins have decided of their free will to not use credit cards. Cash only, yo.

– The New York Mets and Chicago Cubs are using their own team-inspired Bank of America Mastercards. They really wanted the free duffel bag and blanket that came with signing up.

What’s in your team’s wallet?


Next: A FanGraphs Television Advertisement

New sports and culture site Grantland has a commercial on ESPN. A television commercial for a web site full of advanced analytics, popular culture criticism, and Bill Simmons screeds. This has to be some sort of milestone. Either it’s a high-water mark, that moment when the dorks of the web got so close to the mainstream that they appeared, for sixty seconds at a time, on a major cable sports network — or it’s the beginning of new possibilities for cross-platform advertising.

Either way, as the supreme navel gazers that we are here at FanGraphs, it’s time to turn inward. It’s time to storyboard the FanGraphs commercial.

Read the rest of this entry »


On Synergy in Baseball

From the inimitable Royals Review comes this transcript, a quote from Dayton Moore at a blogger get-together Wednesday night in Kansas City.

We’re never gonna out-talent anybody here. I understand it goes with the territory, but there was a lot of criticism deflected about why we would sign a guy like Jeff Francoeur. But the truth of the matter is we’re not going to out-talent anybody here in Kansas City. It’s impossible to do.

We’ve got one of the smallest markets in all of sports, period. Our owner is a terrific owner, but he’s not going to go out and spend a $100 million payroll and a $100 million payroll when we can only sustain a $55 million or $60 million payroll in this market.

So we’ve gotta, our team has to be better than anybody else. We have to have synergy. We have to have togetherness, very similar to what the Colorado Rockies had three years ago. They had some young, talented players. But they played together, they loved each other, their families got along, and they went out and played hard every single night.

Of course, this quote describes a fault line between sabermetrically-inclined and old school baseball analysts. But let us pretend for a while that we all agree that synergy is very important to baseball success. Since Mr. Moore has suggested that the Rockies had this essence three years ago but don’t any longer, it is something that a very similar group of players can have and lose. So, it follows that synergy is something that is almost independent of the players themselves. And, therefore, it can be manipulated.

So! A list of activities for your synergy-less team that needs to find togetherness! All to completed with family in tow, of course.

1) Viagra Ice Cream Socials
2) Red Rover
3) Simulated Broom Hockey
4) “Never Have I Ever”
5) Extreme Egg Toss
6) Sack Race
7) Three-Legged Relay Race
8) Reggae Hum That Tune
9) Human Taco
10) Surprise Trust Falls