Tag: baseball

Yankees down 2-1

The Yankees just lost to Detroit and they are not down 2-1. I feel as thought I should care more, but after 2 Jaeger shots and a tequila shot (not to mention a couple of beers), I really don’t care at the moment. We watched most of the game at Molly’s, a bar nearby where Jen and Jason live.

jen_ashlock has had less to drink than both Jason and I (and Doug, who is drinking with us remotely) but she seems to be three sheets to the wind. In fact, she has disappeared, and I assume she has gone to bed.

It’s about time that I did the same.

Yankees take game one

That was probably one of the most impressive lineups I have ever seen in my life! It was simply relentless. And how about Derek Jeter, stepping it up a notch in the post season, as he always does, and going 5-for-5 (2 singles, 2 doubles, and a home run).

I was on the phone with Doug for part of the game, and he was making fun at me because I kept saying redundant things like: “And how about Jeter! He’s gone 4-for-4 and been on base every time!” (Duh!) The Fox feed in Seattle was also several seconds earlier than my feed. Doug would say something like “Uh-oh!” and three seconds later, I’d see someone on the Tigers get a hit.

Regardless, the Yankees more or less dominated the game and I was very pleased. I’m looking forward to tonight’s game just as much.

Filling a day with nothing

I have filled my day with nothing today. Well, not quite nothing, but the next closest thing. I watched countless episodes of Scrubs which is probably the last funny sitcom on TV. (People who watch The Office will debate this but I don’t find The Office funny. It’s too much like being at work to be funny.) I also discovered that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is available on the Apple music store, so I can watch it afterall, without having to stay up late on a school night. I downloaded the second episode and watched it. It was okay, but the ending was absolutely brilliant. It was a parody of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I am the very model of a modern major-general” (“I am the very model of a modern network studio”). That happens to be my favorite G&S song (of those few songs that I have heard) and so I was pleased.

And in even bigger news, the Yankees are going to be playing the Detroit Tigers in the AL divisionals, which is the matchup that I was hoping for, since the Yanks went 5-2 against the Tigers in the regular season.

Okay, I have some chores to finish up that I have been ignoring all day long.

Macro and micro baseball economics

In an email thread yesterday between several of us, strausmouse said, regarding baseball salaries and World Championships (and in particular, the Yankees): “you can try and buy a championship every year. Hasn’t worked out lately though, has it?” It got me thinking about whether you can ever buy a world championship and my gut tells me that you cannot.

Prior to writing this entry, I began compiling statistics of baseball team salaries back to 1988 but it was taking too much time, so much of what I am going on here is a hunch, but if I get more time, I will finish compiling the numbers and see if they match my hunches. So, before I get started, I could be wrong, but this is what my gut tells me.

I don’t believe you can buy a World Series championship, in the sense that you have an enormous budget and pay for the best players. I suspect that when push comes to shove, teams with the higher salaries in general do not have a statistical correlation to winning the World Series. Let me be clear on this point. What I am saying is that a team with a high salary and world championships are not correlated. In other words, a high salaried team may win a world championship, but it will have less to do with salary than with other factors. This is somewhat intuitive by virtue of the fact that the team with the highest salary does not win the world series every year. To be correlated, changes in salary would also affect changes in world championship titles. But as anyone who knows the history of baseball will tell you, this is not the case.

So what does a $190 million salary buy a team, if not a championship? I say it buys a team consistency which in turn buys a team a trip to the post season. My hunch is that, when all of the salary statistics are compiled, you will find a direct correlation between teams with high salaries and teams that make it to the post season. And I believe the reason for this is consistency. A team with a high salary can afford to offer larger contracts for longer periods of time. Four, five, six, even seven year contracts are possible. The more of these contracts a team has the more consistent they can be (players change less frequently, etc.) This in turn leads to more success on the playing field over longer periods of time which in turn leads to more division titles. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have high salaries and in the last decade, both teams have been consistently making it to the post season. Ditto the Atlanta Braves. Or the St. Louis Cardinals. There will always be exceptions: The Oakland Athletics, for instance. But I suspect the aggregate data will show a correlation between salary and post-season visits.

But if a team has a high salary, and consistently makes it to the post season, why don’t they win more world championships? This is complete speculation on my part, but here is what I think. The regular season and post season are really like two different seasons. Once you reach the post season, you have a “clean slate” and have to play up to 19 games to win a World Championship. However, you can play as few as 3 games to be knocked out. Again, it goes back to consistency. In a span of 162 games, a team will sweep some series, win some series, lose some series, and on occasion, split a series. Teams that make it to the post season tend to have better records, and therefore tend to win more series than they lose. But they still go through streaks were they lose a series or two or three in a row.

In the post season, you cannot lose a series. Losing a series means being eliminated. Imagine a team who, during the regular season has a tendency of winning two out of every three series it plays. In the post season, if that same team wins two out of three series, it still does not win a World Championship. (And depending on which series was lost, it may not make it past the Divisionals.) If high salaries are, in fact correlated with making the post season (which demonstrates consistency in winning), then they are still not necessarily a measure of World Championships. It takes more than consistency. It takes luck.

During the course of the regular season, the order in which series are won and lost make no difference. In the post season, it makes a huge difference. During the regular season, a consistent team could lose three series in a row. In the post season, a team must win three series in a row. This may happen from time to time over the course of 162 games, but what about over the course of 19 games?

Finally, there are quirks to the post season play that make it more challenging. On that leaps to mind is that you gain some familiarity (on both sides) when playing a team 7 games in a row. You face the same pitchers more than once in a short period of time, etc.)

In conclusion, I suspect that consistency in the regular does not correlate to consistency in the post season. Since consistency in the regular season probably does correlate to team salary, and consistency in the regular season does not correlate to consistency in the post season, then team salary probably does not correlate to winning World Series Championships.

Again, this is speculation on my part. I have not yet done the math to back it up, but when I get some time, I’ll play around with it and see what the numbers say. But I wanted to point this out because too often I hear people assuming that salary correlates to winning championships, and then they are surprised when a team like the Yankees haven’t won more frequently.

The last baseball game of the season

I attended the my last Orioles game of the season today. The game was against the Twins, and naturally, I was rooting for the Twins in hope that the Yankees won’t have to play them in the divisional series. The Twins ended up winning the game.

AJ went to the game with me and it was the first time in the 11 games I went to this season that the game was delayed (in the 7th inning) due to rain. Fortunately, my season ticket seats are in a section that is covered so we waited out the delay without getting soaked.

And since it was the last game of the season, I gave our usher, Bill, an extra big tip to thank him for helping out during the season.

Good morning, Riverdale!

I met AJ and Denisse for dinner last night and we had a nice meal at Ruby Tuesday’s. As it turns out, Karen was meeting her mom there for dinner last night, so AJ and Denisse got to meet her as well. By the time dinner was over, I was pretty tired. AJ and Denisse were heading over to Costco and I headed home. I got home shortly before 10 PM and I went straight to bed.

Which explains why I am wide awake at 7:30 AM on a Saturday.

It’s been cooler out these last several days, but today it’s supposed to get back up into the mid-80s. The plan for today is to try and finish up The Demon-Haunted World. I’d like to start on Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors tomorrow if I can. Maybe a little writing, too, and perhaps a little work on the book database. I also have to do at least one Critters critique by Wednesday.

Tomorrow is my last Orioles game of the 2006 season. It should actually be a good one: O’s vs.the Twins, who are only 1-1/2 games back from the division lead. I invited AJ to go to the game with me.

Invisible man on first!

So I’m sitting here, innocently reading, when suddenly, I had a kind of daydream about when I was a kid and we’d play baseball or whiffle ball in nearby fields. We never had enough people to field 9 players on each time. Often the teams were 2 or 3 players each. But, inventive as kids are, we played with “invisible” players. I’m sure this isn’t unique, but what amazed me was that I completely forgot about this facet of our games until just this moment–a quarter of a century lapse in memory.

You’d get a base hit, touch first base, and then head back home, to bat again shortly. In the meantime, before each pitch, one team or the other would call out: “One out, invisible man on first!” or “Two outs, invisible man on first and third.” It was awesome!

I can’t believe I forgot about that!

Thank god for baseball!

I got a good night’s sleep last night, after a long day yesterday. After breakfast this morning, Mom and I went for a walk around Buddy Attick lake in Greenbelt. We then headed up to Baltimore for the Yankees game. The weather was perfect today, with great breeze blowing in off the harbor. And of course, the game was great too with the Yankees winning 9-4. After the game, we headed to the inner harbor and ended up at McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner. I had their Sockeye Salmon and it was outstanding (still, not quite as good as Copper River salmon, but close).

In Baltimore, I parked at the Sheraton Inner Harbor, which is where I usually park if I am going to the Inner Harbor after the game. It’s about halfway between Camden Yards and the inner harbor. About 1 block from the stadium, we passed a small church with a sign out front that read: “The Yankees are coming. God bless us all!” I thought that was amusing. After the game, we passed the church again as we headed toward the harbor, and we noticed that the sign had changed. It had been altered by one word. It now read:

The Yankees are going. God bless us all.

You’ve got to love a church that (a) has a sense of humor; and (b) can figure out a way to mention the Yankees on their sign only a block a way from Camden Yards (the sign never mentioned the Orioles).


I was looking forward to settling down this evening to watch the Yankees/Tigers game, and when I flipped to the channel on my DirecTV ExtraInnings package, it was blank. I thought it might be a problem with the service, but all of the other channels were working. So I checked the game online and, you guessed it: it was rained out. They are playing a double-header tomorrow.

Oh well! I suppose that means I can squeeze in some writing this evening.