Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Link Dumpage

What a day for offbeat news junkies...here are five beauties:

--Two Waterloo, Iowa hucksters were arrested for allegedly filing a fake an obituary: "Authorities said James Snyder and Mary Jo Jensen filed an obituary with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier in December, saying Jensen's 17-tear-old son had died after a lengthy illness. Police said they did it so they could get off work for a few days."

I know what you're thinking, and I completely agree: That's awesome. These guys didn't just half-ass it and deliver a shitty excuse in order to duck out of work. They went all out, conjuring up a fake, terminal illness for the woman's son, then killing him off after a long battle just so they could take off for a few days. I love these people. Snyder and Jensen, you guys are on my list of amateur geniuses.

--You're a 58-year-old man. You just won a $1,000 Bingo jackpot. Four women approach you outside. They request you hand over the prize. Do you comply with the demand, or do you choose to receive the female thrashing of a lifetime, resulting in death? If you answered for the latter, you'd be correct, but also dead. Death by Bingo, tough gig.

--This story needs no real introduction or joke attempt, because it comes with some pictures and a video: "State Senator Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) jumped over a fence to avoid Channel 9's cameras minutes after learning he was charged with two crimes." Faaaantastic.

--This one, thankfully, does not come with video or photo evidence, but it still requires no real introduction: "Joseph 'Donald' Scordato offered a rare defense when Ridgewood police charged him with masturbating in public. 'That's not possible,' the 81-year-old man told police after his arrest in September. 'I don't have a penis.'" No penis, folks. Another stupendous story. It's also funny because he's lying.

--Who wants to bet there's a follow-up on this story by the time Slack inevitably runs its course? Something like "Brash Bullfighting Boy Dies Disgusting Death in front of Laughing Americans." Yeah, that'll do.

Slack Sports Link of the Day: Ethan pointed me to this piece over on ESPN's Page 2 -- excerpts from "Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game is Wrong." Very interesting stuff, about clutchness, Billy "Not the Gay One" Beane and Moneyball, and of course, the salary cap.

Slack Song of the Day: Two years ago tonight, the Trey Anastasio Band hit Winooski VT's famed Higher Ground venue. Since I've blow Big Red so often on this here rag, I'll cease with the intros. Here's Push on Til the Day, Drifting, Sultans of Swing, Chalk Dust Torture and Higher Ground (with members of Phish, Jamie Masefield, Seth Yacovone and others on those last two).


At 11:59 AM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I read the baseball between the numbers book. It's quite excellent, and for the pro-Jeter faction it contains a ton of great stuff. For instance, over teh last 30 years, Jeter's 1999 season is one of the three most valuable (highest Vorp) seasons by a player who drove in over 100 runs, and the other two are Mr. Bonds. They also have an entire chapter on his greatly improved defense.

It's even kind of a page turner. It only took me two days.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Excellent recommendation...you just might have pushed me over the "Should I buy this book?" fence. Not sure yet, considering I usually only pick up free pamphlets or cheap brochures.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous JMoney said...

doesn't factor in the clutchness of the game. sept/oct can be more clutch than april and any game can more clutch than another against the right opponent.

if you're like the red sox where your lineup sucks and counts on one guy to do everything you have to be clutch. whilst a team like the yankees doesn't need a clutch guy because they have more talent throughout their entire lineup.

in summary: this proves rickey henderson should be in the hof.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

Um, jmoney, what???? Their lineup sucks and counts on only one guy to do everything? Have you been living in a cave for the last 20 years? Or are you just one of those "diehard fans" who walks around screaming "Yankees Rule, Red Sox suck" while sounding extremely intelligent? Not to say that there aren't Red Sox "fans" who do the same, but I think you're in the wrong place for comments like that. Especially since your comment was utterly atrocious and baseball-ignorant.

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled program........

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

And, if there were anyone who could be considered clutch, it would be Derek Jeter. He was clutch long before Papi was. So let's not line up the Yanks and blow them like circus seals before thinking historically for a moment.

Case in point: today's game.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger ethan said...

first off, rickey henderson is a first ballot hof-er. guaranteed. whatever "proof" you're alluding to is irrelevant.

next - the "clutchness of the game"?? good lord. a win in april counts the same as a win in september. the outcomes of games late in the season are not weighted more than others in the standings.

lastly, you win an award for using the word "clutch" 5 times in 4 sentences.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Settle down, troops, settle down. The guy's got a point: The Red Sawx do suck.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous JMoney said...

of course a game in april statistically is the same as a game in september but if you lose 10 in a row in April, there's plenty of time to make changes (individual athletic or team or personel) therefore sept games are more clutch. it's do or die time. the clutch stat thing doesn't support that.

i'm just saying the yankees have more "clutch" guys than the red sox. and i didn't say clutch nearly as much as the clutch article said clutch.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

Thanks for the jab, Ace. I'm too lazy to go back and find the post where we talked extensively about clutch hitting, from late last fall, but I know a lot of people made some good points on it, namely Ethan (likely the next Bill James). But if you can find it, we'd all be more appreciative.

But I still take offense to the "lineup sucks" comment, which is utter bullshit. David Youkilis leading off today? Priceless.

At 7:56 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

The Baseball Prospectus folks also write a chapter on (ugh) clutchness in BBTN. To hit the highlights:

There's not much to clutchness, and for all practical purposes, it doesn't exist. But...

They did find a few metrics that point to certain players being clutch. I'm not going to get into details, you can read the thing yourselves. Suffice it to say that Big Papi was in fact "clutch" in the years 2000 and 2005, however, these appear to be random statistical variations, and not a skill. If you take out those two years, his lifetime clutch rating is 0. (Page 27 of said book, if you'd like to look it up).

Here are the top 5 career leaders in "Clutch" from 1972-2005:

Mark Grace
Toby Harrah
Jason Kendall
Kent Hrbek
Matt Lawton

And the worst:
Royce Clayton
Larry Parrish
Don Baylor
Chet Lemon
Joey Cora

In the end, clutch ability correlates positively with walk rate and strikeout rate, which makes sense. Players that are strong in these categories are good at adjusting their approaches at the plate, and may be able to adjust better to certain situations, but it's not much of a correlation. It's still mostly luck.

At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Greg said...

The guys who wrote "The Book" (www.insidethebook.com) Dolphin, Lichtman and Tango, (credited as tangotiger) did what is essentially thought of as the most thorough study of the subject, I think some of it is available online if not all. It's been a while since I read it but from what I remember, they did find evidence of defined "clutch ability", however the effect was very small and there was essentially little value in leveraging it (not only is the effect small, but it seems unlikely that a great player will sit on the bench and be held back for a certain situation, and if that's not the case then there's really no way of increasing the odds of your clutch guy getting up in a clutch situation).


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