Archive for Shocking Numerology

New Stat: Clutch Snarl Index Ratio

Tom Powers writes an astute article about the Twins losing a lot of games over the past few years because they have too many players who are psychologically healthy. In his piece, “Twins need fewer smiles, more snarls,” he argues that the Twins have too many nice guys, and not enough angry jerks. A compelling argument, supported by an impressive pile of evidence as large as the world’s largest unicorn, but I think Powers misses one key insight:

It’s not that the Twins don’t have enough snarls, it’s that the snarls aren’t coming in clutch situations. They’re wasting their snarls on two-out, nobody-on situations, or late in the game when it’s already a blowout, or they’re spreading them out instead of stacking them for maximum effect. I know they say that there’s no such thing as a clutch snarler, but, having done at least as much research as Powers, I can stand behind three — no, four — airtight conclusions about the game of baseball and about snarling:

1. A lone snarl is as useless as a walk. You can’t win with one snarl at a time, just like baserunners don’t mean anything unless they arrived at first via a headfirst slide.

2. Your best snarler needs to bat 6th in the lineup. Whoever says lineup order doesn’t matter has his head buried in a pile of meticulously-analyzed records. Batting order counts, and snarls need to come 6th. That’s all there is to it.

3. If a lefty snarls, and then a righty snarls, the two snarls cancel each other out. That’s why you need to have all your snarls come from the same side.

4. If your Clutch Snarl Index Ratio falls below 64, you will not make the playoffs.

That’s right– taking every team in history and running them through my proprietary Clutch Snarl Index Ratio formula (which I cannot reveal due to my upcoming book, Clutch Snarl Index Ratio For Real Dummies, You Dummy), I’ve found that no team has ever reached the playoffs with a Clutch Snarl Index Ratio below 64. It was a shocking insight, especially since the Clutch Snarl Index Ratio operates on a scale that runs between 65 and 147.

Of course, so much more research must be done before I could even think about publishing an article about this in an actual newspaper. They have standards, y’know?


A Shocking and Disheartening Infographic

As feelings of mortality and transience plague the average NotGraphs reader’s psyche, allow me to provide the following examination on the dying flame that is baseball. When last we convened we examined some of baseball’s smaller deaths, like the loss of some of its dear follicles. Today we engage in the pre-post-mortem itself, and look at when major league baseball, in its current (and, for comedic purposes, unchangeable) state of being, expires.

The cause of death for baseball might surprise you: it is not steroids, or zombies, or steroid-ridden zombies. Instead, it’s a far more subtle disease, almost a tooth decay, wrought by our own vainglory that brings down the sport. The horrible, unspoken truth is this: someday, because of our love for pomp, circumstance, and the archaic need to identify players from 500 feet away using only opera glasses and programs, we will run out of numbers. Teams are retiring numbers constantly, as if one-to-two-digit numerals were some sort of renewable resource. In time, each team will run out, and without the necessary digits to compose a roster, will have to disband and forfeit immediately.

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FAME and the Hall of Fame

A few months ago, my colleague Joel and I introduced a new statistic called FAME (Fanfare and Acclaim Metric Extraordinaire) to measure not how good a player was, but how highly he was thought of during his playing days. In my first article, I compared the FAME results of great players to their WAR. The results: Yogi Berra was the most overrated player of the past eighty years, and Tony Phillips the most unsung. (After expanding my numbers for today’s article, Berra remains atop the leaderboard. Second place, amazingly, belongs to Manny Trillo.)

Today, my inquiries center on the upcoming 2013 Hall of Fame ballot. Having read the first seventeen pages of The Signal and the Noise, I believe I’m ready to turn my mental powers toward the art of prognostication. My goal: to try to predict the outcome for the first-year eligible hitter’s on this year’s ballot.

The natural first step would be to use each hitter’s WAR to estimate their chances at Cooeprstown. Remember that FAME only concerns itself with position players, because pitchers don’t get enough awards to quantify them properly, and thus will be omitted. Here’s a graph that correlates the percentage of every first-ballot hitter from 1993-2012 with their career WAR:

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Four Degrees of Miguel Batista = Miguel Batista

As I notice that 41-year-old Miguel Batista started the first game of yesterday’s Mets-Giants doubleheader…

Batista’s first game was as a member of the Pirates in 1992, where he pitched two innings (and gave up two runs). In the lineup against the Pirates that day, playing for the Phillies– although out of the game by the time Batista came in– was a 36-year-old Dale Murphy, on his way to a .161/.175/.274 season.

Murphy’s first game was in 1976, as a 20-year-old catcher (!), in the second game of a September 13th Braves doubleheader against the Dodgers. Making a pinch-hit appearance in the game for the Dodgers was a 38-year-old Manny Mota. He got a hit.

Mota’s first game was as a 24-year-old Giant in 1962, against the Dodgers. In the lineup with Mota was a 27-year-old Felipe Alou.

Alou managed Batista with the Expos from 1998-2000.

Also, Lincoln was shot by a man named Kennedy and Kennedy was shot by a man named Lincoln. Or something like that.


Shocking Numerology: Kemp and Oh

This is a map — a map not yet revealed to be shocking — of driving directions from Matt Kemp’s hometown of Midwest City, Oklahoma to Saduharu Oh’s hometown of Tokyo, Japan, U.S.A. Admire …

As you can see, this route has tolls, the bulk of them presumably on the Tom Wopat Pacific Ocean Tollway. As you can also see, it’s 8,732 miles from Kemp’s hometown to Oh’s hometown. And this is where things get … shocking.

What’s the significance of the number 8,732? Well, you say, 8,732 is the number of beautiful ladies in a town of 8,732 beautiful ladies. While that’s true, it’s also the number of Kemp’s career plate appearances coming into Sunday, April 15, 2012 added to his career at-bats coming into Sunday, April 15, 2012 added to his career total bases (again, coming into play on April 15, 2012) added to his plate appearances for 2007 added to his triples for 2008 added to Oh’s career home runs. Or should I say: !. (I’m pretty sure all of this is correct; I shall do things, but I shall not double-check this dumb shit.)

That map I said was not yet revealed to be shocking? It’s now shocking.

Shocked, are you? Shocked by the relevant numerology? Yes, you are so, and you are such.

As I survey the ratscape of my lousy life and work, I shall remember that the numbers have an unseen power over us. Specifically they have the unseen power to make the number of Matt Kemp’s career plate appearances coming into Sunday, April 15, 2012 added to his career at-bats coming into Sunday, April 15, 2012 added to his career total bases (again, coming into play on April 15, 2012) added to his plate appearances for 2007 added to his triples for 2008 added to Sadaharu Oh’s career home runs equal the number of miles, by car, from Midwest City, Oklahoma to Tokyo.

Now go and rage against the will to rage against the dying of the light.