Thursday, June 21, 2007

Baseball Math

Taken over the course of a season, the math of the standings makes sense. Sometimes, when taken as a sample of part of the season, it can make none whatsoever. There are probably some Yankees fans waking up this morning, looking at the standings and wondering...

They're wondering how, less than a week ago the Yankees had clawed their way to 7.5 games behind the Red Sox, the closest they had been since the end of April, only to have fallen 10 games back again. They're wondering how their team could go 7-3 over that span, the Sox go 6-4, and somehow lose ground...honestly, it's why I have always hated that "last ten" column in the standings.

Sure, it can show you trends, but it doesn't really show you what's happening. Not in any meaningful manner.

Ultimately, you have to go back to the win-loss column to see what's happening. Right now, the Yanks are playing a hot Colorado club that recently beat up a bit on Boston and are coming back down off what appears to have been a temporary high caused by Clemens' return to the rotation.

They'll probably look hot again for a little while after this series by playing a very cold Giants team and a struggling Orioles club in back to back series before a somewhat tougher stretch to close out at the All-Star break against teams like the Athletics, Twins, and Angels.

And on another note...

It has been reported that Pacman Jones will face two felony counts of coercion in relation to the incident at a Las Vegas strip club during the NBA's All-Star weekend.

As I was unfamiliar with the charge, I looked it up. It typically caries a one to six year sentence, and while Nevada lawyers talking to the Tennessean, Nashville's daily newspaper, claim to have never seen anybody actually charged with this (typically, they said, this is a charge that people plead down to), I did a quick Google of the term "felony coercion sentence Nevada" and came up with this. Evidently, people do get charged with this, it just doesn't happen that often.

Somehow I don't think this is just going to go away.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The NFL offseason - putting the FUN back in dysFUNction

This has been a busy offseason for the NFL - the Pacman Jones and Chris Henry suspensions, the impending Tank Johnson suspension, the Michael Vick investigation. And this is just the tip of the iceberg with other players like Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett being arrested and a tenth Bengal in the last 14 months getting picked up.

While it seems like the NFL is a refuge for violent offenders and yes, the number is rising every year, the proportion of males given to criminal behavior in society as a whole is still larger proportionately than the number in the NFL.

No...the dysfunction that I want to talk about isn't the criminals as I have so often littered our headlines of late. I want to take a quick look at the NFL's dysfunctional franchises.

1. The Bengals - The Queen City's grid-iron entry gets the top ranking by default with close to 20 percent of the team making for a police line-up. Marvin Lewis has his work cut out as he goes about trying to change the culture of criminality in his lockerroom.

2. The Raiders - A few lucky bounces are all that kept this team from going 0-16 last season and now the players are whining that practices are too tough. Al Davis is going to be dead before this team wins again.

3. The Bears - How often does a team make it to the Super Bowl, only to have the defensive tackle go to jail, linebacker hold out, a defensive lineman throw the starting quarterback under the bus, and the ownership get involved in a protracted and ugly contract negotiation with the winningest head coach they have had since Ditka left. Anyone really think that this team is really going to make it to the Super Bowl again.

4. The Falcons - Everything that comes out of here is either done to enable Michael Vick, or make excuses for him, which I suppose amounts to the same thing. If Vick gets indicted in the dogfighting probe, and subsequently suspended, it could be the best thing to happen to this team.

5. The Vikings - It seems like whenever news comes out of the Dome in regards to the purple, it's about how Childress has already lost the locker room, what some player has done wrong, or what horrible personnel move that the team has made.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some more quick hits

Game over part 1 -
Baltimore bottoms out with only three teams in the majors with worse records (Kansas City, Texas, and Cincinnati), and the man brought in to be the savior is shown the door. Oddly, the team is batting .260 which puts them just below the Major League average of (approximately) .263. The team ERA, however, is in the top half of MLB at 4.27 (tied for 13th). Why do I bring this up? Because it makes no sense that all their other numbers would be around...well...average, and that they would have to win their next 11 straight just to be at .500.

It makes one take note of what sort of overall impact it has that they are batting near the league average, but somehow are 24th in runs scored. So long Sam Perlozzo. Nice knowing you.

Game over part 2 -
Didn't this guy promise Roger Goodell he would stay away from clubs and impose a curfew on himself in order to stay out of trouble?

Now, I know this isn't quite on the level of Vegas, but at this point, Jones has been caught be police while driving on a suspended license, and is now wanted for questioning as a witness to a fight at a club, and subsequent shooting involving friends of his. Not exactly keeping his nose clean.

Some thoughts and observations

What's wrong with this picture? Over the last six starts, Red Sox pitchers have won four games - Two by Wakefield, one by Tavarez, one by Matsuzaka. The two losses? Absolute shellings of Schilling and Beckett. I hope that we're not on the verge of seeing a repeat of last season with Beckett where he was sterling early and pitching batting practice late.

It was a good weekend for JD Drew who looks like he's breaking out of his slump. He and Dustin Padroia were a two man wrecking crew against the Giants on Friday, pretty much accounting for all of the Red Sox 10 runs.

If Padroia keeps this up, we'll be looking at two serious contenders (Hideki Okajima the other) for Rookie of the Year coming from the Old Towne Team. Also, if the adjustment that Matsuzaka made keeps him looking like he did over the weekend, he could still make a run at the award as well. I could be wrong, but I think the last time the Sox had two rookies up for that award, Fred Lynne edged Jim Rice for the honor.

And to end on a football note -

I am now officially a fan of New Orleans Saints defensive end Charles per Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column at SI -

3. I think the best story I've heard in a while about a guy not forgetting where he was in Saints camp on their last day of the off season program. Defensive end Charles Grant called over the club's vice president of communications, Greg Bensel, handed him a wad of $100-dollar bills -- 20 to be exact -- and told him he wanted to buy lunch for all the women who work in the team offices. "Can you make it happen?'' Grant asked Bensel. He did, handing the $2,000 to GM Mickey Loomis' administrative assistant, who organized the luncheon field trip for the women in the building. Way to remember where you came from, Charles.