Thursday, October 30, 2014

Would Alex Gordon Have Scored?

I think the truth of the matter is that the Royals were defeated by incorrect expectations on this play.  Gordon hit the ball hoping it would be a single but fearing that it might get caught.  He was running 3/4 speed to first.  Buster Posey was strolling out to the mound to congratulate Bumgarner.  Bumgarner certainly was not backing up second or third.  So, obviously, when the ball was hit, the view at home plate as it seemed to everyone in that area was that the ball was the final out.  Gordon was one of those folks.

The centerfielder, however, was playing too deep.  He couldn't reach the ball, and he was frozen into neither diving for the ball nor just letting it fall for a single.  Gordon could scarcely have believed that the ball would be so horribly misplayed.

Now, the ball WAS, in fact, horribly misplayed and Gordon takes off for second and probably third.  If he understands or believes that the outfielder will fail to cleanly pick up the ball, he will have his head down and be looking to score.  As you can see from the shot of the 3rd base coach holding him up, Gordon is already slowing up and looking over his shoulder.  He didn't anticipate yet another misplay.

I was a baseball outfielder in high school, but most of my experience with the difference between triples and inside the park home runs comes from playing shortstop in softball 1990-2006.  As the runner, I was involved in that play probably 20 times, and, as the shortstop, probably 100 times. 

--If a guy jogs out of the box and then is surprised by the bad play - it is likely a double.  He isn't going to turn it on and reach third unless someone falls down.
-- If the guy goes 3/4 out of the box and sees such a misplay, he is going to 3rd, and if we get a clean pick up and a clean relay we may have him at 3rd.
-- If the guy goes hard out of the box, or is super fast, or really thinks our team is sucky at fielding, he puts his head down about 2/3 of the way to third and he is going to try to score.

As the shortstop, you keep looking over your shoulder to see where the runner is and how he is running.  The key is, is his head looking into the outfield or is his head down and trying for that last base?  There are VERY few guys who are so fast that they can look out into the outfield and not slow down.

Then the sole remaining issue as a shortstop is the relay throw from the outfielder.  Ideally you want that up by your left ear (every shortstop is a right handed thrower), thrown very hard, so that you are going to be able to catch and turn and throw all at once.  Like an outfielder on a sac fly, you do NOT want to be stationary when you are catching the ball.

If you break down the pictures from the link, you can see that Gordon was obviously not running real hard out of the box, he was looking into the outfield going to third, and, by his own admission, is not very fast.  As he approaches third, the coach already is asking him to stop (which is what Gordon wants to do anyway).  The only way that Gordon scores is if his third base coach is wildly waving him in and Gordon has to put his head down and give it his best.  So, we will never know - once the stop sign went up, Gordon was never going to try to score.

But, assuming that he would have been asked to score,  WOULD ALEX GORDON HAVE SCORED?  I say 60% yes.  The outfielder's throw to the shortstop is very low, and it would not have permitted the shortstop to gain any momentum to throw the ball home.  Gordon would have been about 80 feet away from home if he was being waved, since he would be running full out.  That shortstop throw from the mid-outfield bending down and facing the wrong way is nearly impossible.  When you gather and later turn, your throw will be about 85-90% of maximum velocity, and the throw is almost certain to tail off line one way or the other.  There is no worse feeling than letting that ball go and seeing that it has nothing on it and the guy will score standing up. 

The pictures show that there is a second (actually third) relay lined up about 80 feet from home plate.  So, if the throw is obviously off line, and Gordon is chugging, there is a chance that guy cuts it off and still gets him at home.  But that is an even more problematic play for the defense.  If the throw is so obviously off line, then the cutoff man need to run to chase it 5-10 feet, then somehow turn and make an accurate throw for the tag play at home.   It is a 15% play.  Why do we honor Jeter's relay flip against Oakland?  Cuz it was so nearly impossible to do.  But if Giambi makes a good slide, he is safe anyway. 

In my opinion, if Gordon sees the 3rd base coach waving him, the shortstop has a 25% chance of throwing Gordon out, and the last relay guy has a 15% chance of cutting the throw and relaying it for the out.

60% chance that Gordon scores.

Chance that a good Royals hitter gets a hit off Bumgarner?  Based upon experience in 3 games? Maybe 15%?  Sending Gordon was a better play by a factor of 4.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bristol Palin Recalls the Drunken Palin Family Brawl

She only punched the guy once. 

Violence against women is a terrible thing, she notes, especially after they get out of a limo to come into your party and physically confront you and punch you in the face.  But it is OK, she is a conservative (maybe not in all ways, but politically).

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Brutal, Brutal Beat Down of Kobe

and how everyone hates him.

There is an old quote that I cannot seem to find, but the gist is, "It is easy for a dog to bark at a dead lion."  In other words - you may not be much yourself, but you all of a sudden have a lot to say about someone who was once great and who has fallen upon hard times.

But since it is Kobe, let me pile on......

No one has ever really doubted that Kobe was a terrible guy.  I mean, he maybe raped a hotel employee, and he defended his actions by saying that he came in her face and then told her to get the hell out, "It is my thing".  That, he fears, may have offended her.  When questioned by the cops he went out of his way to say that Shaq does similar things all of the time.  OK - so if adversity reveals character, you know what Kobe's character is.

From a basketball on-court standpoint,
Kobe is a 36 year old shooting guard, who really never has been a winner without Phil Jackson.  I mean, let's be blunt.   He won 3 titles as Shaq's Scottie Pippen (Shaq was Finals MVP all 3 years).  Congrats.  Then he went into a complete funk when Phil left and didn't reach the second round of the playoffs for four years. Then Phil came back and they had Pau Gasol who was either first or second team all-NBA.  Then Phil left, and Kobe's teams can do nothing again.

He is a one-time MVP.....same as Derrick Rose, same as KG, same as Dirk, same as Barkley.  He is not Kareem, or Wilt, or Russell, or Jordan or LeBron.  He has never been recognized as the consistently best player in the NBA over a lengthy period of time.

Pull up a list of the best of the best:  Kobe's career .182 Win Shares Per 48 is an excellent mark.  But it only ranks him 24th out of 32 guys who have had over 100 WS and a WS/48 of over .150. 

Kobe is 9th on the Minutes Played list, but 16th on the Win Shares list.  There is a chance that Kobe will end up with the 4th most minutes of anyone to play the game.  That would take 3 seasons at 2,000 minutes a season.  He has logged a lot of minutes, he is gonna put up some raw numbers. 

There are 17 guys with at least 20 Playoff Win Shares and a playoff-only WS/48 of at least ,150.  Of those 17 guys, Kobe ranks 3rd in minutes played, 8th in total WS, and 17th (DEAD LAST) in WS/48.

Kobe's fans (and there are many) say he is the greatest Laker of all-time.  This is an awful statement to make.  Kobe, even on a playoff performance basis, is no better than the 6th best Laker of all-time (Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Magic, West all better).  And what about Mikan and Baylor?

Perhaps the love of Kobe is driven by the irrational need of people 30 and younger to have their own Michael Jordan.  I mean, you always hear, "Kobe is the next Jordan."  "Kobe may be better than Jordan."  These are just the ramblings of people who know little about the history of basketball and who do not have access to a computer.  There is simply no comparison between the two men statistically  And then evaluate their "MVP Award Shares" -- Jordan has over 8, Kobe just over 4.  So Jordan has nearly DOUBLE Kobe's output.  And Jordan basically disqualified himself for 2 years during the prime of his career.

Kobe's career tracks very closely to that of John Stockton.  Great players.  (In fact, if you take Kobe's 18 best seasons and put them up against Stockton's 18 best, Stockton wins 17-1 - he has more Win Shares in 17 of the 18 comparable seasons, ranked best to worse).

So this is not to say that Kobe is not a top 20 player of all-time.  He is.  But he is not any of the guys at the top of the list (Jordan, Kareem, Wilt, LeBron) or those with a similar claim to greatness (Duncan, Magic, Mikan, Karl Malone).  He is fighting it out with the David Robinsons and Hakeems and Stocktons and Moses Malones and Larry Birds and Durants and KGs in the argument to be toward the top of the 10-17 range.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Amanda Bynes' Twitter Feed

As someone whose younger brother is also mentally ill, this makes me sad.  There appears to be little or no support system for Amanda, even though she occasionally claims otherwise.  She badly needs to be on medication and have people caring for her.  It appears that she, instead, is not properly medicated and cannot even maintain consistent thought patterns throughout even a few days. 

Truly sad, someone please help the young woman:       

Thursday, October 09, 2014

NBA Per Diem -- $106 Per Day

So let's assume that the team is on the road for 41 games a year and that the average is 1.5 days per game.  So you are talking 62 days worth of per diem -- $6,572.  I really doubt the report that Kyle Korver lived off his per diem.  Even assuming that it comes as completely tax free, you are looking at roughly living off $10,000 worth of gross income ($5/hour). 

The better tactic would seem to be the one employed by Antonio Davis -- use the money for tips to show support staff what a great guy you are (it costs you NOTHING out of your salary, and you look really magnanimous).

I am astounded that there is no mention in the story about strippers.  $106 on a 7 game road swing over 10 days is $1,060.  Probably no reason to wonder why guys are go tired on that last road tilt.

Time is a Bitch -- Example: Nicole Eggert

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Stephen Collins -- Good Lord, Come On.

One of the most disgusting set of circumstances you will ever read.  You are a big star, can get a lot of women, have a wife.  You molest young girls.  Then you tell your wife that you have molested young girls, "On both coasts."

The wife is certainly no saint either.  She does not report her hubby, then, presumably when they are headed for a divorce, she gets told by her lawyer to tape their therapy session.  When he mentions that he forced an 11 year old to touch his penis, the wife inquires, "Were you aroused?"

Jesus.  Remarkably awful.  Really makes you lose your faith in humanity.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Ric Flair Tributes

I recall watching Flair exchange chops with Greg Valentine in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling circa 1980 (my brother and I used to watch the UHF channel on a 12 inch black and white).  It is amazing that Flair's influence is still seen on guys who probably were born in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

But it is awesome.  Stylin' and profilin'.

Supreme Court to Circuits -- Go Ahead and Gay It Up.

The result is that as of today gay marriage is legal in 30 states, with possibly more to come once the 6th Circuit and the 9th Circuit decide pending cases.

If the USSCt is planning to eventually rule that banning gay marriage is legal, then what they have done today is particularly cruel.  It will be 2-4 years before a case ever gets to the USSCt where the court has ruled in favor of banning gay marriage.  During that time frame, thousands of gay couples will marry.  Will the court then say 5-4, "Hey, I know we let all of you get married, but we now think that was really wrong.  Sorry.  No longer married"?

As I said a long time ago, the decision on gay marriage's legality was a necessary conclusion of the 7-2 decision many years ago that states could not arrest gay people for having sex.  Once the court determined that the thing that the most people find the most offensive (the actual act of two guys doing each other up the butt) was not offensive enough to justify state regulation, then things that are far less offensive to most people (being married, adopting kids, getting health insurance benefits) were also not going to be denied.

And the most ironic thing?  The opinion cited by most pro-gay marriage courts is the dissenting opinion of Antonin Scalia, where he goes on and on about, "Well, if we cannot ban THIS then we certainly cannot ban anything gay marriage...."  Don't worry Antonin - the country is safe, since you made it possible for guys to carry semi-automatic weapons into Chipotle's nationwide.

Katy Perry Celebrates Win Over Evil Alabama Regime