Friday, June 27, 2008


I woke up today with the instant classic 'Boomdeyada' (aka - 'I Love the World', 'I Love the Whole World', etc) commercial by the Discovery Channel stuck securely in my head. Coincidentally enough, today's XKCD is a send up of that same commercial (and is seriously awesome, if you follow XKCD at all - which you should). Luckily enough, the song and commercial are so well done that getting it lodged in your cranium for hours is actually sort of a pleasant experience.

The Discovery Channel has been helpful enough to put the MP3 on their site, and ringtones are available there as well, but the site didn't seem to work for me so well. As a result, I've packed the MP3 of the song (and the downloaded FLV of the youtube video, as well) and placed them here (Rapidshare). For a lot of people, I suppose this whole thing is on the serious downswing, but I still haven't even approached getting sick of it yet.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To Bunt or Not to Bunt...

The myth that bunting is a sure way to advance a baserunner and that it should be used liberally is baffling to me.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who's a tad tired of hearing Dick Bremer ponder over whether the player after a leadoff single will be called to bunt.

Let's have a look at a table. From 1977 to 1992, this is how many runs a team could get on average, depending on the number of outs and the number of runners on base) (stolen with credit given to - It includes more information than I could hope to go over, including an argument for smart, situational based bunting - which increase the probability and help score runs. It's really quite interesting, and lengthy.)

TABLE 1 - Expected Run Table (1977-1992)

AL         0        1        2      NL        0        1        2
---     .498     .266     .099     ---     .455     .239     .090
x--     .877     .522     .224     x--     .820     .490     .210
-x-    1.147     .693     .330     -x-    1.054     .650     .314
xx-    1.504     .922     .446     xx-    1.402     .863     .407
--x    1.373     .967     .385     --x    1.285     .907     .358
x-x    1.758    1.187     .507     x-x    1.650    1.123     .466
-xx    2.009    1.410     .592     -xx    1.864    1.320     .566
xxx    2.345    1.568     .775     xxx    2.188    1.487     .715

(a dash '-' signifies an empty base, an 'x' signifies an occupied base. The numbers at the top indicate how many the number of outs there are, and everything in between indicates how many runs on average are scored per inning where the situations were met. Example, with one out and runners on first and second, an average of .922 runs were scored from that point on.)

You can see here that the 'tried and true' method of giving up an out to move the runner over to second base can often make it LESS likely than the team will score a run that inning. Bunting runners over from first and second to second and third is less painful, but it still gives away outs for positioning (except in certain situations), something that makes big innings less likely, and makes it more likely that even if runs do score, the damage will be minimal.

Last night, the Twins played the Padres, and the game was a pitcher's duel well into the late innings. With the score tied at 1, and runners on first and second (and no out, to boot) Jody Gerut was asked to bunt (Dick, of course, acted as if this was a smart play). Even with the bunt sign on, the first 2 pitches were off the plate, and Gerut got the count to 2-0. This is a hitter's count, there's really no earthly reason why a player who hasn't successfully sacrificed in 4 years (a streak that lives on, by the way) should be asked to bunt in such a situation. Even is he had been succesful, the statistics actually say that thier chances of scoring a run would have gone down anyway. Runners at second and third with one out historically has not been as advantageous as runners at first and second and one out. Besides which, Jody Gerut is hitting .288 this year, why not give him 3 chances to make something happen, as opposed to asking him to do something he doesn't historically have a talent for (4 sacrifices in 1284 career at bats, now)? At the very least, take the bunt sign off once he's up 2-0 and in a position to do some real damage.

I know I'm not saying anything that hasn't been parroted 10 thousand times before, and I'm not saying there's NEVER a good time to bunt (a lot of pitchers, for example). However, when it comes down to it, bunting is very often times a TERRIBLE way to score runs, and if a team is down (especially by more than one run), it represents a near pointless trading of an out for a small advantage on the basepaths (one that often goes for naught, anyway).

Luckily enough, major league managers are impervious to statistics, this is why the 'speed guy' will forever be leading off, even is he has a .200 OBP, and why bunting will always be looked on as a scrappy way to play some small ball, even if Jody Gerut is at the plate and hasn't bunted a runner over in over 300 at bats.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Incoming: The Elms

It seems to have been a long road from the Big Surprise days for The Elms. They always had something that other 'Christian' bands didn't - originality, for one - but over the last few releases, they've matured their sound by a wide margin.

The Elms now make a sound that hasn't been heard in a while. Rootsy, driving rock that doesn't drive down the same self-obsessed road that makes Jet hard to tolerate; music that would sound great in a smoky bar, and equally good pouring out of the radio speakers. The Great American Midrange looks to take the progression that made The Chess Hotel such an out of nowhere pleasure to the next logical step. The melodies that I've heard are more hook filled, the choruses jangle; things have been simultaneously slimmed down and toughened.

The Great American Midrange doesn't have a release date yet (hopefully in 2008, though that's not a certainty yet), but they've been releasing some of their stuff through Everything seems ready for The Elms to make a breakthrough; I just hope I have enough quarters for the stupidly expensive jukebox.

Friday, June 20, 2008 is Dead to Me

The new sucks. Fandango?? Seriously?? The (relatively) compact, to the point site that I've enjoyed the past few years has been replaced with a monstrosity.If this is the reason that Dave White abandoned ship, he was wise to leave.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Well... I Didn't See That One Coming...


For the record, Kevin Slowey is a pitcher (a starting pitcher, at that).

No, that isn't an all too common "Gameday Typo", that is the direct result of carrying THIRTEEN pitchers on your major league roster. Here's the situation.

Mike Redmond (the Twins backup catcher, for the uninitiated) gets a single with one out in the 8th inning. The Twins are down by a run at this point, and Redmond is not known for his blazing speed, so Gardy puts in Kevin Slowey (again... a starting pitcher) as a pinch runner. The fact that Slowey was recently injured doesn't seem to factor into this equation. They pinch hit for Craig Monroe with Jason Kubel. They then pinch hit for Delmon Young with Joe Mauer, who ends the inning without getting the run in. After all is said and done, Kubel takes over in left field, Mauer takes over catching, and Jessie Crain comes in to pitch. Because of the shenanigans, we almost had ANOTHER pitcher batting in an AL game (this coming just a couple weeks after Bobby Korecky had the Twins' first hit by a pitcher in an AL game in, like 30 years).

So, the question I have is this - how many more times do we have to see pitchers roaming the basepaths in American League games before the Twins get fed up and DFA Juan Rincon? We can't keep doing this, it makes games interesting, I'll give it that, but it's not a great way to win a ball game. I thought that the whole reason we kept 3 catchers up last year (a horrible decision, btw) was so that this would never happen.

I'm confused and somewhat horrified. Hopefully this doesn't come up again.