The Gray Pages

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Let's imagine ...

... that the Colts didn't move to Indianapolis after 1984. If the Browns moved to Houston, would Indianapolis gotten an expansion team?

Who is Nomar Garciaparra?

And what can we expect from him this year?

Let's look at the most recent five seasons.
G: 21, 156, 156, 81, 62
H: 24, 197, 198, 99, 65
2B: 3, 56, 37, 21, 12
HR: 4, 24, 28, 9, 9
BA: .289, .310, .301, .308, .283
OBP: .352, .352, .345, .365, .320
SLG: .470, .528, .524, .477, .452

Looking at those batting average numbers, I think it seems pretty likely that Nomar, healthy or not, will bat .300. And his onbase percentage, while it has declined as well, has held pretty steady, too. The evidence, though, suggests a pretty big drop in power. He lost 47 points of slugging from 2003 to 2004, and 25 more from 2004 to 2005. In a 600 at bat season, those 72 points translate to 43 bases -- let's call it 10 runs. And there's no real reason to believe that he'll increase to his former levels. He'll be 32 this season, and players get worse after they pass 28, not better. I think there's a pretty good chance that he declines another 25 points in slugging, which means .425 SLG to match that .320 OBP from last year.

What players in their early 30s had a .750 OPS last year? I poked around the stats a little to find a good match, and that's pretty similar to what Aubrey Huff did last year -- .321 OBP and .428 slugging. He played a full season, with 575 at bats, 150 hits, 22 homers. And Hardball Times translated those numbers to 13 batting win shares. If you got to the bottom of this list, you'll see players who had about production or better.

Nomar, even if healthy, will probably be overpaid. And he probably won't be healthy.

Thanks for the memories, No. 5.

Great moments from Bayside High

Remember when they found oil under the football field on Saved by the Bell? That was awesome.

Congratulations, Rothmen

Evan Jacob Rothman, born December 14, 2005 at 4:15 p.m.

Most live albums are terrible

Yet, Billy Joel's "Songs from the Attic" has ten songs, and all of them are probably better than the album versions. And Barenaked Ladies "Rock Spectacle" has a version of "What a Good Boy" that's better than the one on "Gordon." Or maybe I just like pianos.

I'm taking nominations for other great live versions of songs in the comments section.

Quote of the day

"If they're worried about 'keeping the Christ in Christmas,' what does that have to do with stores wishing people 'Happy Holidays'? Shopping isn't part of the holiday."


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Please Christmas, don't be late


Nationals should sign Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy

No? Well, then the Phillies should trade for Manny Ramirez and Miguel Tejada.


Like people everywhere, Iranians have many things to be concerned about: food, traffic, the education of their children, jobs, war and peace. The President of Iran knows this, and would prefer they not notice. Instead, he'll let them know that their miserable lives are not the fault of the failures of their theocratic dictators, but the fault of Jews they will never meet. Part of this strategy: deny the Holocaust.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cold and efficient

My address book -- my personal address book -- is now a Rolodex.

The DC Libraries stink

No, not because the building needs repairs.
No, not because it is inadequately staffed.
No, not because books are often not on the shelf where promised.
No, not because the book budget isn't big enough.

The DC Library stinks because they don't know how to manage their book collection. They buy multiple copies of the same book and then put them in places where they are difficult to find intuitively.

Take, for example, Richard Pryor's Pryor convictions, and other life sentences. MLK Library (downtown) has nine copies of this book. Seven of them are reference copies. Seven.

This is not a matter of their budget, which is too small. It is a matter of management, which is too dumb.

Great headline I never shared

From "Everyone's happy, mostly for Reinsdorf"
Oct. 27, 2005

'I am not an easy man to work for. While directing "Hats off to Channukah," I reduced more than one cast member to tears. Did I expect too much from fourth-graders? The review, [holds up a school newspaper] "Play enjoyed by all," speaks for itself.'
-- from "A Streetcar Named Marge"

Top Four Loads of Laundry

4. Whites
- Matching all those socks is hard work.

3. Sheets
- Often, you have to put them back in the dryer because the sheets get all tangled and twisted. On the plus side, nothing is easier to fold than a pillow case.

2. Colors
- There's a number of big items in there, so the folding doesn't take that long. And anyone who has ever seen me fold T-shirts knows the giddy thrill I get from a job well done.

1. Towels
- Fewest number of items, easiest folding.

Monday, December 12, 2005

War on Objectivity

Expect hard-hitting reports on Amcore Bank, coming up next, live from the Amcore Bank News Center.

What's the point of having a blog?

To share links like this:

Great moments in laundry

When you rearrange your dresser, and find a sweater you had forgotten about? That rules.

This has been another in a series of "Great Moments In Laundry."

Friday, December 09, 2005

This can't be good news

Soriano 'not going to play outfield'

... But Soriano also said the Nationals will be hard-pressed to convince him to play the outfield, if that is their intention.

"I have the same position [on moving] as I always had when I was with Texas," Soriano said. "I said that I'm not going to change from second base."

Goodbye Billy Mueller, Yankee Killer

Mueller has signed with the Dodgers.

Thank you thread on the Sons of Sam Horn choked me up. Another one of the 25 is gone, the one who got the hit after the stolen base in the game that changed everything.

Bill Mueller is the kind of player that Jim Bowden will never ever ever ever sign. Mueller was a free agent having come off a season in which he had an OBP of .350 and a slugging percentage of .393. The year before that, his OBP was .403 and he slugged .448. Those are really good numbers, and they are the numbers that matter when judging talent. The Red Sox signed him for about $2 million a year, the same amount Alfonzo Soriano will earn every 30 games to make outs for the Nationals.

Jim Murray: The Autobiography

Just finished it last night. Good book, if you get get past the lengthy chapter on golf. There's a heartbreaking chapter about his own family at the end that caught me off guard.

I've got nothing else to say. Anyone can borrow it if they'd like.

Great lede

From Bob Ryan:

"Edgar, we hardly booed ye."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Our Dumb General Manager

Unlike basketball, hockey, soccer, football, volleyball, waterpolo, swimming, diving, track, field, biathalon, tennis, boxing, poker, figure skating, ice dancing, ski jump, archery, badmitton, rings, floor, balance beam, vault, pole vault, hurdles, high hurdels, handball, and table tennis, the arenas in which baseball games take place differ from each other.

This matters a great deal, as anyone who has ever attended a game can attest. It is thus my theory that Jim Bowden, general manager of the Washington Nationals, has never attended a baseball game.

Ameriquest Field in Arlington has higher scoring games than most ballparks. Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington has lower scoring games than in most ballparks. They do math now, and have proven this. In fact, Bill James wrote about this. In 1988. "Of all the studies I have done over the last 12 years, what have I learned? What is the relevance of sabermetric knowledge to the decision making process of a team? If I were employed by a major-league team, what are the basic things that I know from the research I have done which would be of use to me in helping that team? No. 3: What a player hits in one ballpark may be radically different from what he would hit in another. "

If only there were a way to test this theory. Let's take a random player. We'll call him A. Soriano. No, that's too obvious. Alfonzo S.

Alfonzo S., playing in Texas, hit 25 home runs last year. When he wasn't in Texas, he hit 11. Alfonzo S., playing in Texas, had 27 doubles. When he wasn't in Texas, he hit 16. In fact, if we could add up all of his plate appearances, we'd see that he had splits of .315/.355/.656 in Texas and .224/.265/.374 when not in Texas.

Is Alfonzo S. going to be playing Texas next year? No, he's going to be in Not Texas.

Let's take another random player. We'll call him B. Wilkerson. No, Brad W.

Brad W., playing in Washington, had 61 hits last year. When he wasn't in Washington, he had 79 hits. Brad W., playing in Washington, had 17 doubles last year. When he wasn't in Washington, he had 25. His splits were .236/.367/.395 in Washington and .257/.337/.414 when he wasn't in Washington.

Is Brad W. going to be in Washington next year? No, he's going to be in Texas. See, I did something a little tricky there -- Brad Wilkerson was traded for Alfonzo Soriano. I know, I know. It's a little hard to believe.

But if we compare their numbers, we can see that Wilkerson hit .257/.337/.414 on the road and Soriano hit .224/.265/.374 on the road. You may notice that this is worse than Wilkerson's numbers. If only Jim Bowden had access to this classified information, maybe he wouldn't have made this trade.

Crappy, Vacuous Service

There's a CVS near my office. (You wanna talk about a redundant sentence? That's a redundant sentence!) There's a sign on the side of the building, and I'll paraphrase because I can't remember it exactly:

Your Prescriptions, On Time When We Promise Them


How dumb is our general manager? (A continuing series)

Very dumb.

Let's start with three baseball facts:
1. Younger is better than older.
2. Less money is better than more money.
3. Better is better than not better.

How do these apply to yesterday's trade?
1. Alfonzo Soriano was born on January 7, 1976. Brad Wilkerson was born on June 1, 1977.
2. Alfonzo Soriano made $7,500,000 last year. Brad Wilkerson made $3,050,000 last year. Each will make more money this year, but I promise you that Brad Wilkerson will not make more than Soriano.
3. Will be dicussed later.

All generalizations are wrong

My theory is that a man never has to complain about the temperature in a room, because a woman will notice first how hot/cold it is and take action to correct it.