I Wish Dave Allen Was Never Born

What the hell is this crap?

Look at that mess. What the hell is it? Apparently, it has something to do with Ryan Theriot’s swings, but you can’t be sure.

I know what it really is, though. It’s just another in a long parade of terrible heat maps created by people who shouldn’t be allowed to use R. (I mean, really? It’s impossible Ryan Theriot is at his best on swing two feet past the outside edge of the zone.)

Ever since Hephaestus axed open Zeus’ head and Dave Allen sprung forth, the SABR community has enjoyed lots of neat charts. And as was bound to happen, the man co-opted Allen’s ideas and now anyone can simply copy and paste a heat map into existence on their computer. An understanding of how to smooth and regress is not required.

Carl Craword 2010 Strikeouts, from Baseball Prospectus

This blood splatter analysis is originally from an article by Mike Fast at Baseball Prospectus about how BIS blows. That article seems to be gone (Bed Jedlovec and his Beatdown International Syndicate probably got to Steven Goldman), but discussion–and the charts–live on at The Book blog.

Brett Gardner's something plotted by something, from Fan Graphs

The usually-not-crappy Jeff Zimmerman posted this, along with a mind-boggling number of other terrible heat maps on Fan Graphs.

Ryan Howard's fly ball distance on soft stuff thrown by right-handed pitchers... sure

We can thank TruMedia for this. As you can clearly see here, Ryan Howard’s fly ball distance against soft-throwing righties… is… well, the trend is obvious. Pitchers have been tie-dying the zone in an effort to contain Howard’s mammoth raw power.

Mark Buehrle's fastballs to righties, from Fan Graphs

Even FanGraphs has gotten in on the bonanza. But they’ve taken it to the next level: create your own heat maps. Shown here is a typically-incomprehensible one from Mark Buehrle’s page. And when this feature was announced at the end of January, the readers went nuts:

  • “I have such a huge boner for this.” –The Nicker
  • “Heat maps rock my world. FanGraphs rocks my world.” –shibboleth
  • “This is cool. I’m just starting to understand pitch fx so what do these maps mean?” –MauerPower

I’ve saved the best for last.

Curtis Granderson's "old" swing, from Pending Pinstripes Curtis Granderson's "new" swing, from Pending Pinstripes

These come from Pending Pinstripes, and I think the article is about how Curtis Granderson’s new swing is making everyone throw up? I’m not sure.

Sabermetrics got along well without heat maps for a long time. I know it seems that pitch location data is just begging for them and they’re just so darn easy to make, but cool it, people. It’s played.

12 responses to “I Wish Dave Allen Was Never Born

  1. Welcome back, Demos. It’s been too long since your last post.

  2. I love Dave Allen
    I am so glad he was born.
    However, I do wish people would stop regurgitating his stuff without an adequate knowledge of statistics.

  3. Why do you have to be such a hater? You are just jealous of Dave Allen. I think his work is top rate.
    Didn’t your mom ever teach you that if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all?

  4. Susan would’ve fit right in in Nazi Germany.

  5. You had to have made that last one up, that can’t possibly be real

  6. You know what Bloguin needs? A new fucking spam filter.

    There are ten comments on that Pending Pinstripes article, nine of them are most certainly spam. Examples:

    “the blog post is really the freshest on this noteworthy theme. I harmonize with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to hear your coming updates.tiffany toggle bracelet”

    “(“true faith” cowboy) is a famous brand found by Jeffery and Kym. Jeans and music accounted for most of the location of their lives. The true religion jeans are designed with a stylish and fashionable look that can match with your outfit perfectly and you will feel very relaxed and comfortable by wearing it. Now, you can get it at cheap price on the true religion jeans sale.com “

    I’ve excluded the links the comment authors included, they’re all links to websites selling things completely unrelated to baseball or awful heat maps.

    The only comment that isn’t definitively spam is the last one:

    “Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Thanks Again. Great.”

    Innocent, right? Except I can’t tell if it’s not spam because it’s written by a commenter with the handle “oil mill” whose name links to a solvent extraction company’s website.

  7. I think it has to do with search engines or whatever.

  8. i didn’t know you could make heat maps in ms paint.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s