Archive for Big Idea

Daniel Murphy, Paternity Leave, Boomer Esiason’s Lobotomy, and the White House

Mets second baseman and sports’-only-parental-role-model Daniel Murphy was in the news in April when he missed the first two games of the season to be with his wife for the birth of their son (who was unfortunately born a Mets fan, a condition that will make it difficult for him to function normally).

This week, Murphy was a guest at the White House for a discussion about working dads.

Readers might recall that, at the time Murphy took his leave, Boomer Esiason suggested Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section before the season. Interestingly enough, Esiason scheduled his own lobotomy to occur right before he made that remark.

I have one and only one problem with baseball players taking paternity leave to be there for the births of their children:

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Wronging a Right: Or, How to Play the Game Incorrectly


It is on rare and happy occasions, perhaps akin to a white buffalo riding Halley’s Comet into a quiet Christopher Russo, or a loud Christopher Russo accepting his fate as the victim of the same cometary bovine, that that we hear analysts speak of players who “do things the right way.” This way of doing things correctly, or at least not incorrectly, is an achievement so exceptional, so absolutely white-buffalo-riding-Halley’s-Comet-into-a-blissful-dream uncommon, that fans might go years or even decades without hearing an expert place it squarely atop the scale of things as they have now been done. Yes? But have you ever stopped to consider – I mean really stopped, like at a crosswalk – how things are best done the wrong way?

Right way: Pitcher pitches ball, follows through, assumes defensive position.

Wrong way: Pitcher pitches ball, follows through, stimulates parieto-occipital junction to achieve lucid dreaming, in which state he becomes – and is aware that he becomes – a rabid hyena in the wilds of the Serengeti, whereupon he eats the shortstop before snarling at a group of hungry umps whose runt he quickly devours.

Right way: Batter hits ball, drops bat, runs toward first base.
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Position Changes: Or, Renaming 1 Through 9 (Plus Bonus DH!)


As a loyal reader of NotGraphs – and by the way, thank you for that; turns out, the answer to the question as to how many boats a man can ski behind is six! – you might’ve noticed a peculiar penchant among NotGraphs writers, at least when we aren’t slaloming behind our sextet of Super Air Nautiques.

Namely, we like to name things.

We have named stadiums, teams, even men.

We have matched nicknames to players, and players to nicknames.

Now it’s time to name, or rename, the game’s most basic component: positions.

Traditional name: catcher
Duty: catching.
Other duties: squatting; wearing cup; checking cup; rechecking cup; re-rechecking cup; being interchangeable; “calling a good game;” blocking balls in dirt; being a “field general;” sweating; hitting .226; throwing out “would-be base stealers;” getting designated for assignment; “getting called up;” not blocking plate; acting solicitous toward umpire, i.e., complimenting him on his strike zone and his mouthwash; placing mask under armpit after victory and walking toward center field while saying things to pitcher that television viewers attempt to lip-read
New name: Squatmaster, Lord of the Groin
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Mets Trying To Raise Revenue Wherever They Can

I just got this e-mail from the Mets about upcoming promotions. (Yes, I’m on the mailing list.)

I understand that it’s hard to increase ticket prices when your team is not so good, and that there are a lot of empty seats at the stadium, and no one wants to eat the food anymore now that Ryne Sandberg’s intestines exploded from a Shake Shack burger…

But to charge for a post-game concert???

Yes, I know it’s just half a dollar, but it’s the principle of it.

At least the shirts on Friday are free.

But what’s next?

A dollar to watch the manager when the Orioles are in town?

Do UCLs Go to Heaven?


“All tucked in sport? Did you brush your teeth? Good. OK, good night. See you in the morning.”

“Daddy, wait.”

“What is it?”

“I’m scared.”

“Scared of what?”

“I’m scared … I’m scared about my UCL.”  Read the rest of this entry »


An anagram of NotGraphs is GraphSnot.

According to this helpful chart, based on the color of the FanGraphs background, we need to seek emergency medical attention immediately.


Of course, based on the color specifically of the NotGraphs section, our problem is likely even more serious than that.


I just spent ten minutes attempting to put snot on a graph, but my photoshopping skills are poor, and I could not come up with anything even closed to post-able.

And the standard for post-able-ness is clearly low, since this is a post.

So if someone can put snot on a graph for me, you win the NotGraphs supporting player of the week award.

Other anagrams of NotGraphs include:

Harp Tongs
Rap Thongs
Spa Throng

and the terribly graphic

Shat Prong


So this post could have been a whole lot worse.

(If you google “rap thongs,” you get these. Safe for work. Flip-flops, not underwear.)

(If you google “harp tongs,” you get actual pictures of metal tongs, because that appears to actually be something real.)

Whoever said you can’t waste time on the Internet was wrong.

Worth Their Weight in Gold (WTWIG)

david ortiz gold necklace

Matt Santaspirt writes with a brand new statistic that we all need to jump on, right away:

I have created the advanced player evaluation stat to end all advanced player evaluation stats. I present to you, Worth Their Weight in Gold (WTWIG). Gold is hot right now. And what better way to evaluate baseball players than to put them on the Gold Standard. WAR, homeruns, wRC+? All they do is measure how well a guy played. WTWIG measures how much a guy weighs and then converts that into the value of gold.

His full post is here at Mattyball, where he figures out which players came closest to being worth their exact weight in gold in 2013, with value measured by WAR and by salary. By WAR, the closest was Victor Martinez. By salary, the closest was Denard Span.

(By actual gold, I think it’s David Ortiz. See the picture at the top.)

So I think we’ve got a new stat to track here at NotGraphs. I would put my money on Adam Dunn for 2014, except his infinite weight means he is worth infinity in gold, and that’s a lot of home runs he’s going to have to hit.

[Incidentally, if we measure who is worth their weight in silver ($19/ounce as opposed to $1,294/ounce for gold), the answer is the rest of us, who do not play baseball.]

Season’s Greetings! Opening Day as National Holiday

So, it appears that various humans of the seamhead breed are spearheading a decidedly ’Murcan crusade: namely, to secure Opening Day as a national holiday, thus positioning the day of the inaugural overpriced hot dog alongside such perennial classics as Thanksgiving, Easter and Shark Week.

Frankly, this seems an effort worth fighting for, and fighting hard, perhaps with bleeder nunchucks and mind-control tactics not unlike those on The Manchurian Candidate. Why? It’s not just because we’ll all get a day off from the steel mill. It’s also because we’ll get a really big parade! And parades are what we Americans do. Mostly for the exercise, because of all the sitting.

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Name That Name! A Trilogy (Mercifully) Concluded

It is a basic property of mathematics, as first described by the three-year-old son of Aristaeus the Elder, Aristaeus the Third*, that a trilogy must contain a third (i.e., 3rd, a.k.a. IIIerd) part lest it be a duology, which is a very rare word that nobody wants to use because it is so easily confused with Diwaligy, which, as you know from watching Season 3 (i.e., Three, a.k.a. Robert Griffin) of The Office, is the study of the Hindu Festival of Lights, signifying the victory of light over darkness, hope over despair and the number 3 over the number 2 in a battle of which is more.

*Only later did Aristaeus the Elder, a.k.a. “Pops,” realize that his son should’ve been named Aristaeus the Younger, or “Corky.”

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Paying for

The problem with being underemployed isn’t that I have to borrow money to pay rent, or buy store-brand Cheerios (Tasteeos! Heyo!), or the shame of seeing your peers thrive in their lucrative jobs with cars that don’t make loud popping sounds and roommates that bring their children to term. It’s that I can’t afford


Raising $129.99 (because only Premium can be streamed on my roommate’s HDTV (through my roommate’s Roku)) can’t be that hard. As I sit on my roommate’s sectional using my girlfriend’s laptop, here are some ideas for how I can raise enough money to pay the bills get These ideas, unlike everything else around me, are my own. For shame:

Sell My Body
Not for sex! Jeez! I’m not a manwhore. I’m not a sex-person. I’m not a coital-event-horizon. And I love my kidneys. They’re mine! NO TOUCHY! (Emperor’s New Groove reference!) But here’s what I will sell: my feces. That’s right! My precious, pungent stool is a prime specimen for transplantation into someone else’s butt to heal their GI woes. Fecal transplants are real. And my prospective recipient/baseball-enabler wouldn’t even need to bother about it being “safe” or “sterile” (it’s poop), they can just come on over and we’ll do it in my kitchen. 

Yard Work (W)
I’m a scientist, barely, and I know what work is: W=Fd. I’ll be generating tons of Newton-meters, or joules, in someone’s yard by moving things around. See that rake? I’ll put it over there, by the fern. Boom: joules. I’ll kick a rock until it rolls over. Boom: joules. I’ll move a barcalounger to a sunny spot on the front porch. Boom: joules. I’ll pick up a copy of Cosmo. Boom: joules. I’ll learn a sex tip. Boom: joules.

Make a Kickstarter with Tiered Donation Rewards as Follows:
$1: I send you a GIF of me blowing you a kiss.
$5: I send you a picture of me holding your name on a sign while being chased by an angry Albert Belle.
$25: You can come over and I’ll make you tacos and perform an uncomfortably intimate foot-washing ritual. While you eat tacos.
$50: I send you a pair of PINK-style sweatpants, except they’re blue and orange and say “I’m with Colon” on the butt with an arrow pointing downwards. They only make sense when you’re riding Bartolo Colon like a mechanical bull. Otherwise they’re kinda embarrassing.
$129.99: You get to watch Albert Belle ride Cistulli like a mechanical bull. While I make you tacos.