Today's links are so full of themselves that they can't help pointing out what must be a record number of words in today's Link-O-Rama ...
Tim Marchman lays out -- with great intelligence and fairness, as usual -- the problems with defensive statistics. But before you think the problems are insoluble, now or 10 years from now, you should read Joe Posnanski's long (of course) take on defensive stats, which includes an illuminating chat with John Dewan, who's been in the defensive trenches for decades.
I still find that people have the wrong idea about the Society for American Baseball Research. Because Bill James (to his regret) coined the term "sabermetrics" to describe his life's work and sabermetrics is more popular than SABR, everyone assumes that the latter is an outgrowth of the former. But it's the other way around. SABR came first, and encompasses every area of baseball research you can imagine, from hardcore (yes) sabermetrics to the Georgia-Alabama League in 1915 and everything in between. I joined, so many years ago, not for the numbers but rather for the history, which to this day is the primary focus for most of SABR members. And as proof of what SABR can do -- and as one more imprecation for you to join this amazing group of people -- I offer Hauls of Shame's story about Ron Cobb and his exposure of Al Stump's habitual perfidy.
While we're on the subject, one of my favorite research presentations at the SABR Convention last weekend was given by Gary Gillette, who discussed his research into a forgotten old ballpark called Hamtramck Stadium ... which just happens to be one of the very few remaining ballparks once used as home fields by Negro League teams (in this case, the Detroit Stars). Thanks to Gillette, the politicians in Hamtramck seem sincere about preserving the ballpark, but of course someone has to find the money.SABR members have also become involved in efforts to mark the unmarked graves of Negro Leaguers; here's perhaps the latest example. Reading these stories, something occurred to me: Every summer, Major League Baseball goes to a great deal of trouble celebrating the old Negro Leagues. So why doesn't commissioner Bud Selig kick in just a few thousand bucks to preserve the few Negro Leagues ballparks? And why doesn't he establish a fund to mark the graves of those neglected Negro Leaguers. Seriously. Isn't this pretty easy stuff? I'm a Friend of Rickwood Field. Why isn't Bud Selig a good friend?
Finally, some don't like the term "sabermetrician," preferring instead "saberist." I don't know. Sounds to me like a guy who rides around on a big horse and swings a big sword with a curved blade. But 3-D Baseball likes "saberist" and 3-D Baseball likes Ted Williams.
From ESPN Sports Travel, Josh Pahigian takes a look at the statues of Major League Baseball.
Can we place a concrete value -- in terms of runs -- on various counts? Yes, we can. We know an 0-2 count has a negative value, a 2-0 count a positive value. But (Pat Andriola asks) can we also incorporate them into a player's value. As Pat writes, at this point it's just a thought experiment ...
Phil Hughes hasn't pitched well lately. Jay Jaffe runs through the data and concludes ... well, see for yourself (but if he's right, seems like an easy fix).
One thing I can't figure out ... If Curtis Granderson's swing is so lousy that it needs a total reformation, how did it work so well just a couple of years ago? (That's not a rhetorical or facetious question. I really want to know how this happens.)
You know those terrible things Brandon Phillips said about the Cardinals? Or maybe you don't ... a fair number of media outlets wouldn't print (or say) them. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch did print them, and here's why.
The L.A. Dodgers' musical history was just enough to whet our appetites ... via Flip Flop Fly Ballin', here's the Yankees (and all their cursed tings!).
The Baseball Project is back with another Broadside Ballad, this one about that ever-elusive Triple Crown.