Thursday, July 26, 2007


I was just looking at this statistical breakdown, and it got me thinking about how uninteresting I find Alex Rodriguez, either because, in spite, or irrespective of his chancha.

A while back FreeDarko hypothesized a system of determining how exciting a player is to watch (rather than how effective). I thought I’d try this for baseball. I mean, how often have I had to argue that Curtis Granderson is more exciting than Manny Ramirez? What about A-Rod? Why have to guess at these things when we have so many statistics at our fingertips? In addition, owners and GMs may want to use this stat, which I’ll call Excitement Factor (ExFactor), when deciding how much money to offer free agents.

I’ll start with just hitting and baserunning, and we can work on fielding, pitching, personality, blogging, and funny body type later.

Worth Offensive Excitement Points: Inside-the-park home runs, triples, homers, doubles, stolen bases, caught stealing, thrown out on the basepaths, bunts, HBPs, lining into double plays, and ejections.

Worth Offensive Boredom Points: Walks (especially intentional), groundouts, flyouts, and high pitches-per-plate-appearance ratio.

So let’s start with this equation to determine Excitement Factor:

The exciting plays are worth even more when they take place at the ends of close games, with runners in scoring position, and/or with a full count. Let’s say each stat is further multiplied as follows:
Late & Close: *2
RISP: *1.5
FC: *1.1

After those adjustments, we divide by Games Played to determine a player’s Offensive Excitement Rate. This is how fun a player is to watch. The three players I bothered to calculate this for came out as follows (2007 stats, admittedly a down year for Manny):
Grandy ...... 1.49
A-Rod ........ 1.08
Manny ....... 0.33

Musa’s Challenge: Name a player whose OER is higher than Grandy’s.

Tie-Breaker: Name a player whose OER is lower than Sean Casey’s.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Watching A Baseball Game At Trimble Technical High School in Fort Worth, Texas

The baseball player described in this post is wholly imaginary. No existing player or team of Commissioner Bud Selig’s Major League is represented here directly or indirectly. No character is derived from any man or woman, living or dead.

Ten men of slovenly appearance watched from the section of stands behind home plate. They were loose-jowled, glassy-eyed, and short-limbed. It was a hot early-April day, and they huddled together as if fighting to sit closer to an air conditioner. They peered about furtively and aggressively chewed tobacco. Each clutched under his runty arm a clipboard curiously devoid of notes. On seeing Yovani Gallardo take the mound, the men closest to the action edged back in their seats while those behind squinted and silently and unconsciously mouthed baseball clich├ęs over their companions’ shoulders.

Yovani Gallardo’s first warm-up pitch hit the catchers’ mitt and, after a brief delay, a sound that was loud and sharp echoed throughout the dilapidated stadium. The ten men recoiled as if the sound had been from their cheeks being slapped, and when they recovered they hunched over their clipboards and scribbled with 3-inch scorecard pencils a "+" symbol. Then they shifted in their seats and looked out of the corner of their eyes, each trying to gauge the reaction of the others.

“Good arm slot,” the boldest one muttered cautiously.
Another snorted out of his nose in agreement.
“Good movement, too,” another added in a slightly more confident tone.
“Good late movement,” the bold one corrected.
“He’s got a real live arm,” said a third, finally sensing that it was OK to gush about Yovani Gallardo.
“That’s a plus fastball,” the bold one said, wanting to be the first to define the pitch.
The remaining men chipped in:
“His stuff is electric.”
“He’s got a great pitchers’ body.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A-Rod Has Chancha

There is a word in Spanish, la chancha, that has a secondary definition that doesn't have an equivalent in English. The word is street jargon and translates to roughly mean "impossible luck" or "greedy luck" or "lucky pig." The closest single-word English equivalent might be "moxie" or "clutch."

But none of the above definitions do chancha justice.

It also means the slightly more melancholic feeling that, "I am happy with my life because I am a lucky bastard, but if ever my luck takes a day off--nay, a minute off--I might suddenly find my life pursuits unsatifying." Chancha is, to some degree, seen as an affliction, something to guard against, as in "me gusta suerte pero no me gusta el vacio sutil de la chancha" (I like good luck but not the subtle emptiness of chancha).

Or, "no deseo ser A-Rod, porque el tiene la chancha" (I wouldn't want to be A-Rod, because he has la chancha.")

Here is an example to illustrate how it could be used:
Man #1: Goooooaaaaaal!!! (Goal.)
Man #2: Que suerte! (You were lucky to score on that play, punk.)
Man#1: Si, yo tengo suerte. (Yes, I have luck on my side.)
Man#2: No, tu tienes chancha. (No, you have chancha.)
Man #1: No! No es verdad! (No.)
Man #2: No te preocupes. La chancha es un sombrero. (No worries, mate. La chancha is a wide-brimmed hat.)

This last response by Man #2 (the sombrero one) is a common expression which is intended to indicate that la chancha can be taken off like a hat, which is an oblique reference to the fallibility of someone who has chancha; a person's luck can change quickly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Introducing: The Red-Speedo Man

While Musa D’s girlfriend was busy dreaming about me, I’ve been spending a lot of time with a near-naked Musa D. look-alike.

Let me explain: I recently joined a masters swim team, and there is a man on the team whose physical resemblance to Musa D. is eerie.

He looks so much like Musa D. that I’ve begun to think that we are already very good friends even though we haven’t exchanged so much as a single word together. The Musa D. look-alike wears the same red speedo to every practice.

At our last practice, after another teammate complained that the workout was too difficult, I elbowed the Red-Speedo Man and rolled my eyes. The Red-Speedo Man didn’t react. I had my goggles on and they are tinted, so it is possible that he didn’t see my eyes rolling.

Practices are two hours long, but ninety-nine percent of that time is spent swimming. When we swim our ears are below water. This makes it difficult to get to know people. That is unless, of course, you are good at talking with people while changing out of a wet speedo or while soaping and ‘pooing up in a communal shower. I am not good at these two things.

Still, I think it is my duty to chronicle the exploits of Musa D’s look-alike, who I will heretofore dub the RSM.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

You did not see this coming.

My girlfriend dreamt last night that I’d died and Dr. Gravitee had, because he knew I’d want him to, taken over as her boyfriend. When, months later, after an appropriate mourning period, she asked him if he’d like to sleep with her, he became irrationally angry. He picked up a Felix the Cat wall clock by the tail and waved it at her threateningly.

Thank you, Dr. Gravitee, for honoring my memory in dreams.

Others are honored this week. My friend Carnahan has a surprise birthday party tonight. He thinks it’s someone else’s party, and it is, but it’s also a party for Carnahan. I don’t approve of this surprise, since he’s fully expecting a party, and the surprise is that he’s being shoehorned into the festivities at the last second. Similarly, my girlfriend’s parents are throwing her a party on Saturday. She knows this, but doesn’t know that they’ve invited childhood friends she hasn’t seen in fifteen years, or that the theme is “Bali Luau” and the dress is “Business Tropical.” These are, in a sense, a surprise parties.

Other recent surprise parties:

Yi Jianlian
Thought he was going to: His coronation as Prince of San Francisco Chinatown.
Was actually going to: Milwaukee.

Joey Renard Gathright
Thought he was going to: Jump over a car without untucking his polo shirt.
Was actually going to: The minors. But he got to be on YouTube.

Musa D
Thought he was going to: Free LaserBall Day at Comerica Park.
Was actually going to: Neifi Perez Bobblehead Day at Comerica Park.

Frank Wychek

Thought he was going to: Eat free pizza every night for several weeks, and twice on Sunday.
Was actually going to: Remove jacket and pants to reveal Titan blue and white wrestling trunks!

Musa D’s Weekly Challenge: Correctly predict any one of my girlfriend’s dreams this week.

Tie-breaker: Write something in the comments no one could ever have expected.

Winner gets a Neifi Perez Bobblehead!