Sorry about the lack of a new entry yesterday. I don't have a good excuse, other than that I'm still trying to get used to my new schedule (which includes not only being awake in the morning, but actually working). However, in an effort to make up for the tumbleweeds that blew through this blog yesterday, today's link dump is super-sized.
Let me know when you stop clapping and we can get started. Okay, ready? Here we go ...
There appears to be an actual class at Tufts University called "The Analysis of Baseball: Statistics and Sabermetrics." Seriously, it even claims to count towards an American Studies major. If you're a fellow college student, I defy you to read the syllabus for the class and not want to transfer schools immediately. Or at least kill yourself the next time you're sitting in a biology lecture.
The required texts for the class include Moneyball and The New Historical Baseball Abstract. During the third week of class, the discussion will focus on the "limitations of traditional batting statistics," "count vs. rate stats," and "details of OPS, OPS+, and Runs Created." Required reading for Week 3? Jay Jaffe's DIPS page and a Bill James essay entitled "Mark Fidrych and the K."
Wait, there's more. In Week 5 the class will discuss "The Mazzone Effect." Week 6 focuses on "shortcomings of traditional fielding statistics" and assigns 40 pages of James' Win Shares book as required reading. Week 7 includes discussion of VORP and Win Shares, and assigns Nate Silver's "Introducing PECOTA" essay from Baseball Prospectus 2003 as required reading.
Are there classes like this at other schools? And if so, why was I not informed of this, say, four years ago?
Turning our attention to more "legitimate" fields of study, my aunt was recently profiled as a "distinguished professor" on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee website. One of the many great things about my aunt is that she is incredibly brilliant (just read the write-up of her), yet still seems to enjoy talking to someone who would seriously consider transferring schools and moving to the East Coast to take one course on baseball. She is also one of the first people to tell me my writing was good, so you can blame her for all this.
Yes, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots have won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Yes, Barry Bonds has taken home four straight National League MVPs. And yes, Elisha Cuthbert has recently been named Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com for a record fifth month in a row. However, none of those accomplishments even compare to the run Wilmer "I'm Fez on That '70s Show" Valderrama has apparently had. Six words: Lindsay Lohan. Mandy Moore. Eva Longoria.
In the immortal words of Henry Hill: Puh-leeze.
I'm sure most of you have absolutely no idea why I'm quoting Henry Hill or where that quote comes from. But the few of you who know exactly what I'm talking about will appreciate this: The George Takai Soundboard. If there's a more ridiculous way to kill 15 minutes, I have yet to come across it.
How is it possible that a 6'2" female college basketball player who shot over 50% on the season went 1-for-17 (yes, one for seventeen) in her team's most important game of the season (to date). That's not a rhetorical question either, I am literally wondering how it could happen. John Starks and Greg Norman laugh at that sort of performance. Also, I intentionally left out the name of the female athlete in question, because I sat next to her on a campus bus once and, to be honest, she scared me.
Here's a really positive and in-depth review of Rotoworld's 2005 Baseball Reference Guide, which I wrote a huge chunk of. My favorite quote from the review? "The non-Aaron Gleeman articles are good too."
As if that weren't enough, this Batter's Box preview of the Minnesota Twins is example of something that leads to people thinking I have a big ego. However, much like Barry Bonds, my hat has always been the same size.
Some poker sites I recently stumbled across: Andy Bloch's blog ... Phil Gordon's ESPN.com column(s) ... Bluff Magazine ... 5th Street Magazine.
And some baseball sites: Brew Grit ... Talking Baseball ... Chronicles of the Lads ... JDM's Rookie Report.
Friend of AG.com Will Young is doing some great stuff over at his blog lately. In the past week alone he has had interviews with Twins Scott Tyler and Michael Cuddyer, plus daily diaries from Fort Myers.
The preseason shuffling of blogs and updating of bookmarks continued this week, as two new baseball sites were launched. A couple of former All-Baseball.com bloggers, Bryan Smith and Richard Lederer, launched a new site called Baseball Analysts last month, and now comes another new site from some former All-Baseball.com alumni, this one called Baseball Toaster. Two of my personal favorites, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts and Alex Belth of Bronx Banter, are calling the new site their home, which immediately makes it one of my daily reads.
In addition to that big move, friend of AG.com John "Twins Geek" Bonnes has moved his Twins Geek operation over to a new site called Twins Territory. John is hoping to create more of a Minnesota baseball community at the new digs, complete with comment threads, multiple bloggers, and the ability for readers to post "diaries" of their own. I doubt there are many Twins fans reading this who haven't yet checked it out, but if you're one of the few, get over there.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Rick Ankiel, Ex-Pitcher (by Brian Gunn)
- Another True (Outcomes) Hero (by Tom Meagher)