On a personal note, I was disappointed that I didn't get to use all the ticket vouchers (an annual Christmas gift) this season, but one look at next year's schedule reveals that I'll be able to use a lot of them on a single day in '07; it turns out that they're playing a game on my birthday! I haven't had a Baseball Birthday Bash in about five years, so that'll be fun.
As I've noted before, I'm a huge baseball fan; I think it reflects many of the things that are good about America, and it can even be compared to jazz. I really miss it during the half of the year when it's not being played. Can't wait till April!
Defending Junior: I also wanted to use this post to reply to a comment from regular reader Gary P. from a few weeks ago, to a post where I congratulated Gary Matthews Jr. on hitting for the cycle. Gary P. writes:
Ugh! Matthews is 31 years old and never done anything like this before. The performance just screams FLUKE SEASON, and he's going to make some team very unahppy when he most likely returns to his career norms next year. I just hope it's not Texas (or Boston).Here's my take: If you don't like the way Matthews plays, that's fine, but I for one am skeptical of putting that much stock in the statistics of previous similar players to predict what another player will do. I'll wait for another post to fully expound on this subject, but let's say that, to me, using samples to predict what a populaton will do is hogwash to me; it's why I abandoned my Ph.D quite some time ago (OK, that, and the fact that my next degree really needs to be in the jazz studies area and not music education), because that course of study relies too heavily on that methodology.
For all the airtime given that one wall-climbing catch, the defensive rating schemes that use play-by-play data tend to rate him quite a bit below average at turning balls hit to CF into outs.... the primary complaints being that he gets a slow break and doesn't take good routes.
baseball-reference.com has a list of the ten most similar players to Matthews through age 30, and what they did the rest of their careers. Only one played more than 283 games for the rest of their careers, and that one was also the only one to be an above-average hitter for the rest of their careers.
SELL! SELL! SELL!
So if you're not a GMJ fan, that's fine, but if I were Tom Hicks and Jon Daniels, I would'nt just look at the statistics (or their cousins, "lies" and "damn lies") but also at how Matthews' play energized his teammates and probably helped put people in the seats (an area in which the team otherwise lost ground this year).
But hey, no big deal in the grand scheme of things--me likey, you no likey. It always makes for good discussion 'round these parts.
Blowing out the candles: Happy birthday Dingus!