Tag Archives: the book

It’s Going to His Head

Tangotiger, November 4, 2010:

On the other hand, my method is to use existing stories as a launching point for what I really want to say and do. My objective is to be timeless.

Tangotiger, Novemeber 18, 2010:

Tangotiger
Dean of new-fangled stats

Tangotiger, November 19, 2010:

As for why I bother to highlight [J.C. Bradbury] here, I suppose it’s similar to trying to expose the ridiculousness of what the media does as well. A sort of sabermetric Jon Stewart if you will.

Tangotiger, November 19, 2010:

ChuckO/11: I think you perfectly captured exactly what I am about, better than I could have described myself.

You can put that on my sabermetric tombstone when I retire!

MGL Engages in Severe Avoidance of Sound Sabermetric Principles

To bring you up to speed, Colin Wyers tried to set the record straight on parallax as it relates to the strike zone and TV broadcasts. He made the fair point that camera angles and zoom are deceiving; the most reliable arbiter of ball/strike calls might just be the home plate umpire. Though I, for one, welcome our new PITCHf/x overlords. Anyway, a controversial call to Lance Berkman in Game 2 of the ALDS might have been a fair one after all.

But MGL was having none of that.

I say poppycock! I claim I can call most pitches almost as well as the pitch f/x graphics you see on TV. How can I do that even with all those camera problems that Colin talks about? Well, when you watch thousand [sic] of games and you get feedback from umpires, batters, pitchers, AND, most importantly, the “pitchtrax” graphics on TV over the last 5 or 10 years, you somehow mentally can make all the necessary adjustments, the same way that a batter can figure out whether a pitch is going to be a ball or strike (Jeff Francouer and Pablo Sandoval excepted of course) in less than 1/2 a second. In other words, for every pitch you see, you have seen that same pitch in the same visual location hundreds of times, and you have also seen what the umpire calls it, the reaction of the players, and many times, the exact location according to the TV strike zone graphic. You can reach into your memory bank, and call the pitch pretty much as well as the average umpire, the average player, the pitchtrax graphic, etc.

Bully for poppycock, but MGL was basically saying, “Screw your science and computers. I know what I’m doing.” This argument by experience–without a whiff of evidence–just reeks of the mythical old-school Baseball Man.

Fortunately, Mike Fast was there to call out MGL.

MGL and Dave [Smyth], it’s easy for you guys to claim that when you don’t have to offer any proof.  I’m extremely skeptical of your claims.

Later…

Put another way, what percentage of pitches do you call correctly, and how did you determine that?

And after some MGL flimflammery,

This thread is is [sic] pointless. It’s just like all of MGL’s favorite announcers and managers.

Kind of a non-sequitur, but still, that’s got to sting. And it did, as MGL replied,

Thanks Mike. That is a real nice thing to say…

If you can’t take the heat, don’t make a summary judgment in a thread on The The Book–Playing the Percentages in Baseball Blog.

Predicting Strikeouts with Wh- zzzzz…

In his article today throwing down the gauntlet against FanGraphs (and their Swartzianly-boring writers), Matt Swartz penned some of his finest prose yet:

For every one percentage point above average in the previous year’s strikeout rate, the following year’s strikeout rate is likely to be about 0.73 percentage points above average. However, for pitchers with the same strikeout rate the previous year, a pitcher with one percentage point higher swinging-strike rate only will have a 0.12 percentage point higher strikeout rate, which is not statistically significant.

Fascinating!

He even included six really killer tables, including something I can only call a Super Table:

The Super Table

Even more fascinating!

But then Tango had to go and kind of spoil the fun.

Anyway, BP was really strong today, as Will F**king Carroll led with “One of the hardest things I have to do is explaining [sic] what I do.” How about something like, “I write about sports injuries”? But that wouldn’t capture that certain je ne sais quoi of Under The Knife.

He went on to say, “The outright arrogance of some statheads and the inability to market any of the tools they’ve developed have held things back.” Can’t… write… irony… too great.

Tango Rushes to Summary Judgment

It’s surprising that the always-contrarian Tango is so upset that some unimportant Cub was injured by a flying piece of a broken bat since that position is so, well, trarian. Isn’t Tango the champion of letting the employees settle their own workplace safety issues? And being hit with sharp pieces of wood in the workplace seems like a workplace safety issue. (I especially like his line, “This is a workplace issue. Keep your righteous indignation to yourself.” Oh, the irony.)

I don’t necessarily think that things shouldn’t change, but I’m a little surprised no one has called out Tango on this (there are no comments on his post as of this writing). The Tangettes are slaves to Tango’s will, sure, but aren’t they also slaves to disagreeing with public opinion?

End of story.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

MGL calls Dayn “Dayne” Perry “supposedly smart” and then says his article is “dumb”. And he misspells his name to boot! The cherry on top, though, is this gem from the comments:

The sad part is that Dayne Perry used to be one the regulars at BP. Surely he knows this is poppycock…

It turns out he has a history of declaring things poppycock. So don’t get too excited, Dayne. Nevertheless, I’m excited to break out the “poppycock” tag here for the first time.

MGL Channels Travis Bickle

“Do your research; find the actual memo next time.”

You talking to me? What exactly did I get wrong? Not that it matters in the least. Who the hell are you?

And that’s why he gets to be in the header. MGL hasn’t written a more devastating put-down since this gem (one of the best paragraphs on the internet, in my opinion):

Spike, chill! I don’t get a “pass” because I am MGL. My projections are annually in the same league as the best on the planet. That is why I get a “pass.” And because I am considered one of the pre-eminent sabermetricians in the world. You? I didn’t catch your name?

AndrewN, you’ve been MGL’d.

This Week in SABR War

The Tangettes are revolting. Over on The Inside The Book The Book — Playing the Percentages in Baseball Blog (which reminds me of the Official Stephen A. Smith My Blog), you can witness the uprising in comment form against the God-King Tangotiger.

For those too squeamish for uncensored carnage, Tango said something about Stephen Strasburg and how he (that being Tango) is always right. And then we get to the comments. Here are highlight selections, in chronological order.

Mike Fast:

I don’t know what lesson, if any, I’d take from such a small sample, but it certainly would not be the lesson you [Tangotiger] are proposing.

Ken:

I don’t see how you can beat your chest on this topic, if anything I would expect you [Tangotiger] to post a “my bad”

Mike Fast:

Could your [Tangotiger’s] rule of thumb still be right, despite Strasburg’s performance? I suppose it could be. But to try to use his performance as proof that you were right is involving some major arm-twisting and severe avoidance of sound sabermetric principles.

Tangotiger:

This is how it works guys. That’s why the Tom Seaver Rule is needed.

David Gassko (with an instant 2010 SABR Comment of the Year candidate):

Tom,

No, no, no, no, and once more, no. You CANNOT say that Strasburg was lucky, because we are not having this argument ex-post. The question of how Strasburg would do came up before he had ever thrown a major league pitch—therefore, there is NO reason to “correct” bias in his numbers. That would be like regressing to the mean twice. If a pitcher posts a 2.00 ERA in a season, maybe his likeliest true talent projection is 3.00. If a pitcher posts a 3.00 ERA, maybe his likeliest true talent is 3.75. But if a pitcher posts a 2.00 ERA, it does not follow that his likeliest true talent is 3.75. Which is what you are currently trying to argue. Strasburg was a pre-selected subject. Therefore, there is no reason to expect bias in his numbers. What happened happened. Oliver was right. You were wrong. End of story.

Tangotiger:

End of story.

You can say all the rest, but don’t say that.

Nick Steiner:

I agree with many of the points you [Tangotiger] make, but this is incredibly disingenuous.

Tangotiger:

And I’m saying that we observed 75% keeps the conversation open. Telling me “end of story” is the same thing as telling me to shut up. I’m talking, and I’ll keep talking, thanks.

Jeremy Greenhouse:

Tango, this doesn’t feel right. I think that you should take a few steps back from this argument and start running some numbers. Brian’s projection of Strasburg is something he should take pride in, and it seems like you’re summarily dismissing his work without evidence of your own.

And Tangotiger gets the last word (for now):

I was fair then in that thread, and I was fair in this thread.