Posted on: May 8, 2008 10:25 am

15 Games

When I post MLB rankings,  hear a lot about which teams won a series of three or four games from another team or about a team's record over the last ten games. My response to all of these is that these numbers don't mean anything because they're arbitrary.

If a team sweeps another or wins a series and completely outscores the other team, then there's a case for saying one team is better than the other. Unless the losing team dominates the next two series and the winning team tanks. But squeaking out two wins and getting blown out in the other game is such a weak argument.

And what's up with a team's record over the last ten games? How does anybody justify the significance of ten games? Is it because our number system is based on a factor of ten, and that's because we have ten fingers we can count on? That's the most logical reason I can come up with. So please, help me out with this one.

I propose that the least significant number of games on which to judge a team's performance is fifteen. This number is based on three factors:

  • Teams typically play six to nine games on the road and then at home. Sure, this can be as little as four and as many as ten, but six to nine is typical. Fifteen games allow us to evaluate a team's performance over the course of least one full home stand and one full road trip.
  • With about five or six pitchers in the starting rotation, this allows the team to play the ENTIRE rotation two or three times. One or two rotations would be enough but three will allow each pitcher to play both at home and on the road. (And please quit telling me one team is better because of so-and-so, unless so-and-so is throwing every pitch for that team).
  • Each team can typically play about four series in fifteen games. That should be enough teams to judge their performance against, especially this early in the season when nobody really KNOWS how good most of the teams are.

So there you go. I dare you to come up with a better system, even if you have to count on your toes.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 30, 2008 3:38 pm

An Accomplice to the Crime

I’ve looked over some of the earlier posts on this subject and noticed the lack of enthusiasm but I’m going to press forward on the subject anyway. This is about drug use in professional sports, and more specifically, as you can tell from the title, who I’m pointing the (index) finger at.

We can all agree athletes share a large part of the blame for steroid and drug use. They’re responsible for their own actions and I don’t mean to say they’re blameless. But union representatives, team owners and league officials are responsible for maintaining the integrity of their profession. That’s why they need to accept a large part of the blame for the situation. Of course professional sports are going to pursue this issue only as much as they have to. Like any other business, they’re just trying to make a profit.

Keep following the money trail and it leads right back to us, the fans. But how much is the casual fan contributing by attending a couple games a year and buying a few hats and jerseys? Probably not as much as the corporate sponsors and season ticket holders. I’m sure AT&T has a drug policy for their employees but no problem sending buckets of money to the MLB so they can put their name on a ballpark. Not to mention all the skybox owners at all the stadiums throughout the country.

So next time we feel inclined to complain about Barry Bonds or Curt Schilling, we should ask ourselves what we’ve done about the problem, or how we’ve contributed to it. At that point we might also ask ourselves if we really care at all.

Category: General
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