Friday, March 25, 2011

Texas Cainsaw Massacre

If you take the "h" out of "chain" in the famous event "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" then you end up with "Texas Cainsaw Massacre."  Apparently, that's the nickname given to Matt Cain's 9-0 mowing down of the Texas Rangers in Game 2 of the 2010 World Series.  I heard this on the radio today from a caller, and it seemed somebody also has a Facebook page by that name commemorating the event.  Not only is this true - I checked it out myself - but there's a t-shirt and a poster to go along.  And the original sign was made up the day before the event and brought to game 2.  Now that's cool.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Six Year Old Knows His Stuff

Our six year old son is a nuclear powered baseball nut.  Mrs. Scott and I are fans, but we decided before having kids that we wouldn't force sports (i.e. baseball...i.e. the Giants) on our kids.  But, one day when he was 18 months old, a Giants game was on TV, and he became instantly engulfed.  He learns all the players, collects cards, pastes newspaper clippings all over his room.  On and on it goes.  He's been playing pee-wee ball since he was four and even tried out while he was still three.

Two pee-wee teams he has played for have been the Red Sox and Cardinals.  So, on top of being a Giants fan, he's taken some interest in whatever pee-wee team he's on.  He just got drafted this winter on to the A's.  Anyway, when with the Cardinals, he was handed uniform #5, which is Albert Pujols.

Today, there was a spring training game on TV between the visiting Cards and the home Sox.  He knows all the channel numbers, too, so I walked into the room with the telecast already on.  As they gave the starting lineups, he noted all the players he knew from just having an interest in those teams.  As the last infield warmup throw went to first base, the camera zoomed in on the Red Sox first baseman as he tossed the warmup ball to the dugout.  He asked, "Dad, didn't that guy play for the Padres last year?"  Simply amazing.

Division Alignment Problems

I'm no fan of the current division alignment in major league baseball.  Each league has a different number of teams, and there are three sizes of divisions.  When MLB went to the current three-division alignment in 1994, each league had 14 teams arranged in divisions, one with four teams and two with five.  With the 1998 expansion, each league added a team and the Brewers moved from the AL to the NL.  The AL now has 14 teams and the NL 16.  The AL has division sizes of 4, 5 and 5, while the NL has sizes of 5, 6 and 5.

This poses a bit of a problem for the post season picture.  It is easier to win a division with fewer teams in that division, in terms of straight odds.  And it is also easier to finish second in that division and have a shot at the wildcard.  Now for some geeky math.  The odds of a team winning its division are 1/x, where x is the number of teams in that division.  That's obvious.  But the odds of finishing in second place is also 1/x.  Since there are three divisions, the odds of making the playoffs by finishing second (wildcard) are 1/3 of 1/x, or 1/3x.  The odds of a team making the playoffs are the odds of winning the division plus the odds of winning the wildcard.  So, that would equal 1/x + 1/3x, or 3/3x + 1/3x = 4/3x, with x being the number of teams in that division.  For teams in a four-team division, the odds are 4/3(4) = 1/3, or 0.333.  For teams in a five-team division they are 4/3(5) = 4/15, or 0.267.  For teams in a six-team division they are 4/3(6) = 4/18, or 2/9, or 0.222.

Making the playoffs gives each team (roughly) the same odds of winning the World Series.  So, for teams in a four-team division, the simple random odds of winning the WS are 50% greater than those teams in a six-team division.  Is this what baseball wants?  I think it better to balance the number of teams in each division, even if it means screwing up interleague play, than to create artificial favorites.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No Beer In The Bleachers

I was just reminded of something by a slip of the tongue.  Somebody on TV made reference to the bleachers at Dodger Stadium.  Then, I recalled that my entire life has been lived without beer being sold in the bleachers in Dodger Stadium.  Bleachers?  Well, Excuuuuse me!  La-ti-da!  There are no bleachers in Dodger Stadium.  That section behind the outfield fence is called the Pavilion.  No beer in the Pavilion.  I took a picture of such a sign once.  I should try to find it.

It goes without saying that of all the times I've been to Dodger Stadium, I've never sat in the "Pavilion."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baseball Detectives

Douglas Dinsmoor at his Open Stance blog writes a piece about being a baseball detective.  It seems a movie was filmed in Boston with a Red Sox game figuring into the equation.  Using all sorts of clues from the movie, a reader was able to pinpoint which Red Sox game was being filmed, the inning, who was on base, etc.  Douglas applied that to his foul ball and home run baseball collection.  He pieces info together from the ball, his memory, ticket stubs and so forth to figure out which game he snagged a particular ball.

I've done the same thing, and it's really fun.  I just remembered as I started typing this that I used to tag each ball - including batting practice balls - with a piece of masking tape that had all the info on it.  Date, inning, who hit it, all of that.  I kept them all in a big box.  Over the years, the masking tape lost its stickiness, and many of the tape pieces fell off.  So I've had to do some pretty detailed detective work to get the proper labels back to their rightful owners.  Some of the clues are whether it's an AL ball, NL ball or the newer MLB balls.  Who's signature appears on the ball and when was he the league president?  Was umpire's mud rubbed into the ball?  This may help distinguish the ball as a game ball or batting practice ball.

Dinsmoor's is the first baseball blog I ever read and his was an inspiration, both in layout and content.  We have quite a lot in common, baseball wise, and some things not.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Hat

It was my birthday this week, and my oldest son got me a new Giants hat.  The Sunday hat with the orange bill.  I haven't had one of those since 1982 when they had a similar hat.  That one was a cheap hat for a promotional hat day, and it wasn't constructed very well.  But this one is the official hat.  Thanks, son!