Good morning HDWEB'ers, it's February 11th and baseball kicks ass. Here are today's baddest baseball things to inspire, entertain, educate, and amuse.
If you have ideas or suggestions, send 'em my way at @justinbopp.
The tweet that will not die:
Grant's attempt to place teams on the WIN NOW spectrum is definitely the big thing you have to see if you haven't already. The best part of the tweet, other than the Astros peeking in and Detroit fans demanding why everyone thinks they're an old team, was definitely the several dozen questions asking where the Dodgers are. Dodgers fans, lean in a little bit -- they're right there. Just look closer.
The sport that will not die:
Major League attendance trends past, present, and future - Beyond the Box Score -- This graph (without the clever additions) is used as evidence that 1) we're currently in a golden age of baseball attendance, and 2) it's probably coming to an end soon. It's a fine piece by Scott but I think most of it can be explained away through general, public economic health. The graph above does kinda mirror the stock market, doesn't it?
More teams are paying for younger, faster, harder, stronger ... earlier.
The Escalating Trend of Paying for Prime Years -- FanGraphs Baseball -- Dave has a nice little piece that demonstrates teams have started paying for talent before it hits free agency, which you can see in his graph starting at 2008-2009. My heart wants to exclaim, "yes! teams are finally getting it!" And that might be true. Another part of me can't help but notice that 36+ line growing in stature throughout the 2000s and then suddenly dropping off. It's also obvious this group is the one instantly affected. So is it that teams like the Rays are getting smarter and locking up talent earlier? Or is it that a sizable number of aging veterans stopped getting as many gigantic new contracts around then (for reasons which might or might not be related to PEDs)?
Assuming you buy that it's the former and not the latter, Dave's point here is a good one:
While MLB’s salary structure certainly isn’t setup to equate single year performance and salary, it isn’t really in anyone’s best interests to have a system that creates a never ending series of albatross contracts. By shifting the payroll allocation towards younger and more productive players, MLB teams are decreasing the likelihood of paying large salaries to unproductive players.
Essentially, they’re trading in what used to be bargain years for more equitable payments during a player’s most productive years in exchange for not having to continue to finance their incomes well beyond their own usefulness.
- Pete Rose says PEDs worse for baseball than gambling - ESPN New York -- A-Rod, are you taking notes? This man has the "how to become less likable over one of the best careers ever" down to a science. Aside: I'd like to establish a hierarchy of baseball sins. Somewhere near the bottom, sending call girls to your opponents' hotel the night before a series clincher; somewhere near the top, actual murder. Somewhere in between we'll find greenies and betting and HGH.
- Masahiro Tanaka hired a private plane for his dog - SBNation.com -- WHY NOT HIRE A DOGG FOR YOUR PLANE?
These are smart:
Examining the Orioles 2014 rotation without a free agent signing - Camden Chat -- The Orioles are among the teams (and Jays, and Reds) that spring to mind when I think of teams that have had slow offseasons. And by slow I mean nothing. Steve argues that the 2013 Orioles used fourteen starters, and if the 2014 Orioles use the fourteen starters they have then they're in big trouble. I agree.
Exclusive interview of Phillies Analytics Manager Scott Freedman - PART 1 | Part 2 -- The Good Phight -- This two-part interview with Freedman is quite telling. Particularly this give-and-take from part two:
It's a cliché but seemingly one grounded in truth that 'old-school' baseball types regard analytics with suspicion, if not hostility. Without naming names, how have you tried to establish credibility in the front office, and is it your sense that the old guard is starting to understand that traditional scouting and new school quantitative evaluation are complementary rather than in conflict?
Freedman: "It isn't my job to worry about establishing credibility or force-feeding material to my colleagues. The aim of the analytics aspect of my job is to support Ruben and Scott and the Baseball Operations Department as best I can by providing a complementary perspective. Hopefully, the credibility component takes care of itself over time.
That sound you hear is the cold, calculating clicking of keyboards and calculators in mother's basements everywhere. We don't have time for your silly, infantile emotions like "approval."
On the other hand...
Brad Ausmus takes traditional approach as Tigers manager - Bless You Boys -- "First time manager Brad Ausmus is placing his focus on communication and a stronger defense instead of sabermetrics." Well nobody's perfect. And hey, there are a lot of not-perfects managing teams. To be fair, Ausmus admits using "some numbers" to help with the lineup and defensive positioning.
While you're wondering which numbers exactly he might be thinking of, I'm thinking whether or not Ausmus succeeds in the short term will have nothing to do with sabermetric decisions falling on his shoulders.
This is pretty damn cool:
There is now a GIF database of pitcher GIFs sorted by pitch type. It's not comprehensive (Luke Hochevar is missing. Don't ask why I looked for him first), but it is neat. Check out King Felix's pitches.
One for the road:
Have suggestions or want to be featured in HDWEB? Send links to Justin at @justinbopp and hashtag #HDWEB.
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