A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.

Monday, February 12, 2007

From The Basement Feb 12 07

Just discovered last nite that Canuck catcher Maxime St. Pierre has left the Tigers organization after nine seasons. Maxime spent last season in the IL with Toledo. He is headed to Royals spring training as an NRI.

http://www.thehardballtimes.com/ Good article from February 12 by Sal Baxamusa who attended the recent MIT Sloan Sports Business Conference. The real baseball geeks are also big ( MIT big ) math geeks.

J.P. Ricciardi ( good New England boy ) was one of 2 keynote speakers. Mr. Baxamusa tells us that Mr. Ricciardi thinks that Moneyball "really opened up the industry to new ways of thinking." ( I think he is paraphrasing there ) I suspect Mr. Ricciardi is overstating the impact, perhaps because he is part of the book and got caught up in basking in the MIT limelight. There is a whole lot more to the introduction and increased influence of statistical analysis in
baseball than Moneyball. Read the book "The Numbers Game" by Alan Schwarz.

Mr. Baxamusa also reports that he was left with the impression by an insider that "only three or four teams in baseball are as rigorous with and as receptive to analytics as they ought to be." That surprises me, I was under the impression that practically all teams either employed in house stat analysis guys or worked with consultants. This same insider thinks that what we see publicly available on the stat geek websites is as sophisticated as anything the teams
are doing.

No surprise, Mr. Ricciardi says the Blue Jays have a big focus on OBP and OPS. Don't all teams at this point? I think we can all agree that OPS is the most important offensive stat. A stat that I recently ridiculed, VORP, was not only discussed but the INVENTOR Keith Woolner was in attendance. Mr. Ricciardi is evidently skeptical about the importance of VORP.

Ricciardi slagged the DirecTV deal "It's a bad deal." It doesn't effect Ricciardi's team, MLB EI will be available in Canada on the Blue Jays owner's cable company - Rogers. Also I don't know how qualified Mr. Ricciardi is to comment on this, he is primarily a talent evaluator not a businessman.

The other keynote speaker was Jamie McCourt - VP Dodgers. Mr. Baxamusa is skeptical, with good reason, about Ms. McCourt's claim that Corporate Sponsorships are important in keeping the price of tickets down for the average Joe. I have been making this claim for years, the price of tickets is determined by one factor only, supply and demand. There is a common misperception that the price of tickets is determined largely by player salaries, poppycock.

Both Ricciardi and McCourt think the PA needs to play a big role in addressing the steroids issue. I think the PA has bent over backward to accommodate Management on this issue. I predict that when Bonds retires the issue will fade into the background.

The big geekfest though was the panel discussion featuring Rob Neyer ( previously ridiculed in my anti VORP riff ) the most prominent geek in the mainstream media & the EMINENCE GRISE of the geekdom Mr. BILL JAMES. I have immense admiration and respect for Bill James, he is the seminal geek.

Mr. James discussed the tools he uses in his evaluations for the Red Sox, surprisingly it included old school scouting reports. They discussed the future of sabermetrics, seemingly confident
that they have "adequately addressed offense, pitching and defense." I disagree with the geeks on the value of stat analysis of defence, I don't think they are accurately measuring it. I question if defence can be measured by stat analysis, I stll think the eyes are best when evaluating defence. I said it before, I just don't see Jeter as a sub par defensive shortstop, the geeks have infinite data proving otherwise.

Anyway, I would loved to have been there, sounds like it was a lot of fun.

What is Buster Olney suggesting we read today?

A Newsday column by Ken Davidoff about Mr. Steinbrenner. Seems as if the decline in Mr.
Steinbrenner's health is quite serious. Mr. Davidoff tells us that Mr. Steinbrenner is no longer THE BOSS, he describes him now as the Yankees partriarch. I miss Mr. Steinbrenner. I think he bottomed out when he had Dave Winfield investigated by a PI, but for an extended period now he has been a class act. He made the Yankees into the YANKEES again.

A Philadelphia Inquirer column by Bob Ford about the hypocrisy of Bud Selig vis a vis Bonds. Mr. Ford, you are preaching to the choir.

That's it for Buster today, more stuff.

Says here that Andy Phillips breaks camp as the right handed part of they Yankees First Base platoon. His competitor Josh Phelps ( remember him Jays fans?) will head to Scranton.

The Ron Villone to the Jays rumors don't die.

No comments: