We are a fantasy baseball league whose draft is scheduled for April 14. Ten men enter (or nine or eight), and one man leaves.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Caption That Kevin!

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That's Right. It's Time for *Caption that Kevin* the only contest where you don't  win only if you don't play. Are you Ready? It's time to *Caption that Kevin* And the first caption is:

che was right.

you can't lead a revolution

with split ends.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Who's on First. What's on Second...

Cats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Josefa ortiz
Josefa ortiz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
... and Ortiz is also on first.

That is to say, it's time for our annual arguments about who qualifies where.  As BCL, it is my job to establish perspective, set parameters and in general herd the cats in the only way cats can be herded, by guessing in which direction they are headed and racing ahead to be there when they arrive.

Which can be a long wait.

Thus, I understand that these preliminary discussions are often reversed 'at table.' But what the hell. Better to light one little candle than curse the darkness or Marko, whichever comes first.

By team:

Boston: Ortiz is a first sacker. No problem there. Rusney Castillo will start the year in the minors, but Victorino in RF is the guy he'll most likely replace when he comes up.

Baltimore: DH Steve Pearce is listed as backup at 1B.

Chicago: DH Adam LaRoche is listed as backup at 1B.

Cleveland: DH Carlos Santana is listed as backup at 1B. Didn't catch or play 3B this spring.

Detroit: DH Victor Martinez is listed as backup at 1B. Didn't catch this spring.

Houston: DH Chris Carter is listed as backup at 1B.

Kansas City: DH  Kendrys Morales isn't listed as backup anywhere. So: 1B.

LA: DH Matt Joyce is listed as backup in LF.

Minnesota: DH Kennys Vargas (whom I've never heard of till this moment) is listed as backup at 1B.

NYC:  Aha. Room for argument here. DH Garrett Jones is listed as backup at 1B. DH Alex Rodriguez is listed as backup at 3B. Who actually plays where the first ten days will be suggestive.

Oakland: DH Billy Butler is listed as backup at 1B. Gentry and Fuld will platoon in CF once Cocoa Crisp returns to retake LF.  But Gentry will start the season in left, so I'd say draft him there along with fragile Cocoa.

Seattle: DH Nelson Cruz is listed as backup in LF.

Tampa: DH John Jaso is not listed as backup at C *but* he's a catcher. So Jaso: catcher.

Texas: DH Mitch Moreland is listed as backup at 1B.

Toronto: DH Edwin Encarnacio is listed as backup at 1B.

Any other position puzzles we need to chew on???

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Billy Butler, Canary in the Green and Gold Mine

English: French explanation of the baseball st...
English: French explanation of the baseball strike zone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
from 538

The strike zone is (or was?) dropping

Offensive numbers are falling for a number of reasons, but none contributes more than a strike zone whose bottom edge is sinking lower and lower. Since at least the introduction of a PitchF/X grading system in 2009, umpires have been calling a larger and lower strike zone. Pitchers noticed, and have thrown an ever-greater proportion of their pitches at knee height. Meanwhile, the league’s hitters have been reduced to feebly hacking at low balls and producing an endless string of ignominious groundouts.
But a curious thing happened in the second half of last season: After years of sustained decline, the average pitch height bottomed out at about 2.25 feet. Soon after, during the playoffs, average pitch height suddenly rose to a place it hadn’t been since 2011. It was too drastic an increase to be the result of chance alone, and an analysis of ball/strike decisionsconfirmed that umpires were calling pitches in an unusually old-fashioned manner.
Was this a playoff aberration, or the beginning of a correction? Keep an eye on Billy Butler to find out. Despite his entertaining playoff run last year, Butler struggled in the regular season, notching a -0.6 WAR, about equal to what some triple-A replacements might do. Part of his woeful hitting was due to his performance in the bottom third of the strike zone, where he hit .278/.307/.394 and grounded into 12 double plays. Butler is uniquely harmed by the low strike zone because of his poor plate discipline and sluggish speed, which turns most grounders into outs.
If the low strike evaporates, Butler may see his fortunes turn (this is a scenario Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who signed Butler to a contract in the offseason, may be banking on). Balls higher in the strike zone can be more easily turned into flies, and that is where Butler does his damage (he slugged .472 on fly balls). If you don’t want to dive into a trove of Pitch F/X data, Butler’s early season production can serve as a barometer of the strike zone instead: If he’s launching balls high into the outfield, the strike zone may be rising. If he’s attempting to leg out infield singles to poor effect, the zone may still be at its low point.
So far this year, spring training has seen an average pitch height of 2.29 feet,2 lower than the playoff spike but higher than it was at any time in 2014.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Entirely Useless to Us But Interesting

Run Expectancy By Base-Out State, 1999-2002

Monday, March 23, 2015

By Popular Request, Beardsley's Official Pablo Portrait

Draft Day: Pablo, or The Elephant in the Room

Le Tampon
Le Tampon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A baby elephant. Pablo already weighs 50 pounds more than a baby elephant, and it's early days. So how much a pound are you willing to pay for him, Giants bitches?

Until his rant about the Giants tampon (as in toxic shock) clubhouse a few weeks ago, I thought drafting at 3B would be quite straightforward. The G4Gs - goofy for Giants - guys would bid him up pretty high, and then Marky Marko would buy another vowel for 9 bucks or so.

But now that Pablo's slandered the Men of Orange, I am really not sure the degree to which bruised feelings will counterbalance the possibility of bruised baseballs bouncing off the Green Monster - and I don't mean Peter's crunchy kale salad.

I had thought I'd bring Pablo out at once at a stiff dollar figure,  just high enough to tempt the rest of you into leaving me hanging so that you could chuckle at my apparently misreading the room. That is a bidding strategy, based on the premise that most of us seem content to start low and boost the bid in quarter increments, hoping that enough of those at the table will be drunk, dumb or unfocused enough to let a player slip through at a bargain price. But what if you are immediately challenged and bumped offstride with an initial offer of, say, 5 dollars, which breaks the rhythm, the drumbeat of quarter-up, quarter-up until someone blinks?

(And someone is always blinking.)

Maybe I will make that preemptive strike, if only to see Mark snap to attention. I really do like Pablo after all. We both have clearly had a bellyful of Frisco.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

No First-Time Champion Since Fife in 2010

Peter Moore, Town Crier to the Mayor of London...
Peter Moore, Town Crier to the Mayor of London and The Greater London Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roll of Champions

Patrick Finley Memorial Baseball League

1984  Patrick Finley

1985  Jeffrey Pressman

1986  Jon Carroll
1987  Jon Carroll**
1988  Michael Robertson
1989  Jeffrey Pressman
1990  Michael Koppy
1991  Michael Tola
1992  Jeff Barton & Jeffrey Pressman
1993  Peter Moore
1994  Michael Robertson
1995  Michael Koppy
1996  Jeff Barton
1997  Kevin Berger & Michael Koppy***
1998  Michael Robertson
1999  Michael Robertson
2000  Jeff  Barton***
2001  Michael Tola
2002  Peter Moore
2003  Jeffrey Pressman
2004  Robert Wieder
2005  Kevin Berger
2006  Michael Robertson
2007 Michael Tola
2008 Jeffrey Pressman *****
2009 Kevin Berger
2010 Paul Fife
2011 Michael Robertson ******
2012 Peter Moore***
2013 Michael Tola ****
2014 Kevin Berger ****

****** Six-Time Champion
***** Five-Time Champion
**** Four-Time Champion
*** Three-Time Champion
**Two-Time Champion

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

MLB Games by Position 2014

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pitching? I don't need no stinkin' pitching.

He's In there Pitching For Us^ - NARA - 534109
He's In there Pitching For Us^ - NARA - 534109 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bro Corwin makes the point that Tier One pitching is down in the AL this year. Question is will that drive up the value of Tier Two pitching?? Tier 1.5??

I believe the late great Jeffrey Pressman most loudly celebrated the tier notion - here's a collection of players all about the same value. I will not bid early on those in this pool of talent, hoping to get a bargain when the bin is almost empty. But then one may end up in a bidding war with someone playing the same strategy, when only one player in a particular tier is left and the tier below is garbage.

Deep thoughts, right?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

One Shred Remains of the Greatness of the League

Left fielder position on a baseball diamond
Left fielder position on a baseball diamond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes an old man warms himself with memory, holding metaphoric hands over a metaphoric fire, and so I recall the days of this league when it was not yet a memorial to Patrick Finley because Patrick Finley still walked - and sometimes staggered - the world.

It was truly a handmade league - draft prep done from a few magazines, standings put together once a month, sometimes by the league as a group and sometimes by various crazed fellows (usually me). Now, of course, so many websites (most run by 12-year-old boys) rank players by position that the power base has shifted and prep means nothing. Now it's all about draft day, a day ruled by those of cold and distant, even reptilian, intelligence, men like Berger and Moore, chilly men in whose gaze when it falls upon lesser mortals is always found the old Biblical judgment:

Thou art weighed in the balances, and thou are found wanting.

Yet there is one area left for vigorous debate. And that is placing players at positions. Though in some ways we are as sloppy as an old man in slippers easing down the porch stairs in mid-morning to bring in the morning newspaper - what is that old fool doing, the young neighbors think? what is that thing apparently discarded in his driveway? - in one aspect the league has rigor.

We do not qualify players at multiple positions. There is no last minute, "But he played second for two innings last September!" You have your list for left field and you have your list for catcher, and that's that. I am about to start working through the various depth charts in prep for the start of the actual season, though that's a waste of time, isn't it? Once the season starts we can rely on the USA Today "games at position" to guide, and, in the case of DH's like Big Papi who burned their gloves year ago, just rely on common sense.

Big Papi: first base. No, fuck you.

And if you don't want to worry your pretty heads? Let the BCL decide. And if you sometimes think,

 O BCL, thou hast not humbled thine heart, but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and thy servants have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.

O put a sock in it

Friday, February 27, 2015

Time to Start Writing Down All Those Sports Metaphors Applied to Politics. (Pat. It's a Column!)

Rafael Palmeiro in mid swing, Spring Training ...
Rafael Palmeiro in mid swing, Spring Training 2005. Photo by Googie Man 19:33, 18 June 2005 . . Googie man . . 774×615 (822 KB) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From Charlie Cook

Gov. Walker now has an opportunity that long-shot presidential hopefuls can only dream of: He is on the verge of breaking through to front-runner status. He is going to be asked thousands of questions—some fair, some not, some awkwardly or vaguely worded, others that could contain a trap. Like a baseball batter, he can take pitches that are high and inside, or he can swing at them. It's what separates the major-leaguers from the wannabes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

lovin that skiing...

adjust your draft accordingly.

Josh Hamilton meets with MLB officials about a disciplinary issue


I Used This Online Service to Determine What Song Topped the Charts the Day I Clinched My First League Championship

Don't Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin


What was the #1 song the day you were born? Or what about the day you graduated? Find out the #1 song for any day since early 1940 all the way until 2015!

I Hate the Lying

English: Bill O'Reilly at a Hudson Union Socie...
English: Bill O'Reilly at a Hudson Union Society event in September 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So many things about which we evade or deceive:

* our ratio of having had sex with a woman - or human; no foregrounding heterosex here -  vs. having had sex with our hand
* our having run run away or turned and faced the mob as Bill O'Reilly did
* our having had sex with Bill O'Reilly, who may be a pod person and thus doesn't count

But I think no deception runs deeper than exactly how much draft preparation we do. This morning I googled fantasy league dollar values and was happy to have confirmed that there is no league like our league in terms of categories and eligibility and amount we have to invest at auction. Dollar values I found don't correlate to our practice.

But that does not mean I won't print out a cheat sheet or two and then tweak them to my own uses. Indeed, knowing our little league is unique gives me a certain pride. We were an early one, starting -  I recall in 1984 - at the instigation of the late Patrick Finley who saw it (as he did all things prefaced with a dollar sign) as his cash cow. First year the buy in was $30. Second year he increased it to $40. Third year he raised it to $50 and would have continued, but we put our foot down. It is interesting to note that if we adjust the 1986 buy in for inflation it would cost $106 this year.

But (third "but" in a row - that can't be good) it's not about the money but the fame. Though I do remember the year Jon Carroll refused to pay off the winners, which may have been the beginning of the end for our friendship. I think a couple of friendships have been dented during the life of the league, but I'm not sure any others have actually ended.

Hey, wait: Koppy, Pressman, Russ and Peter's evil boss. And, of course, there was the man-wife accountant team whose names I can't remember, though I don't think they rose to the level of acquaintance. I guess the league has had its share of minor drama, though probably not enough for a sitcom.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Draft Memory, Part Deux

Draft memories

Happy Birthday, Michael Tola

Baseball All Star Kids Birthday Invitations

In our eyes you will always be our "little slugger"

7 Reasons Why the A’s Will Win the AL West in 2015 | Community – FanGraphs Baseball


Daily baseball statistical analysis and commentary.

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Fwd: A's Training in Luxury -- Butler Hoping to Add Some Power -- Would Zobrist Be Wasted in LF?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bleacher Report <noreply@bleacherreport.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 1:26 PM
Subject: A's Training in Luxury -- Butler Hoping to Add Some Power -- Would Zobrist Be Wasted in LF?
To: jmr1944@gmail.com

Oakland Athletics Edition
Why Zito Is Player to Watch at A's Spring Training Why Zito Is Player to Watch at A's Spring Training
A's Training in Luxury in Their New Spring Home A's Training in Luxury in Their New Spring Home
Billy Butler Hoping to Add Some Power Billy Butler Hoping to Add Some Power
Every Team's Non-Roster Invitee with Best Shot at Roster Every Team's Non-Roster Invitee with Best Shot at Roster
Would Ben Zobrist Be Wasted in LF? Would Ben Zobrist Be Wasted in LF?
New-Look A's Should Be Deep and Versatile Again New-Look A's Should Be Deep and Versatile Again
Pre-Spring Top 100 MLB Players Pre-Spring Top 100 MLB Players
How Current Superstars Compare to Legends How Current Superstars Compare to Legends
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