Friday, June 05, 2015


Those of you who watch the Yankee games on the YES NETWORK, know that when David Cone is one of the analysts, we will be besieged with all kinds of statistics. Some are valid and some are interesting, but most of them rely on some sort of basic assumption or opinion out of which, these cyber-metrics are born. I thought we had reached the limit of how far these stats could go, but unfortunately that's not true. Brace yourself kiddies, this is a stunner.

We are going to talk about catchers, trying to determine which ones are the best defensively. Major League catchers can all  catch pitches, most can block pitches in the dirt and some are pretty good at throwing out potential base stealers. There are some other factors which should be mentioned:
1) Does he "call" a good game? Let's not forget that the pitcher has the final say on what gets thrown.
2) Is he good at "framing" pitches? This means can he fool those dummy umpires by pretending a pitch was over the plate. I'm sure umpires just love to be told that catchers can trick them like this.
3) Is he good at blocking pitches in the dirt? Typically with these Advanced Metrics, there are so many variables that you could end up blaming the ball boy down the left field line for letting runners advance. In addition, I am no longer sure what constitutes a wild pitch versus a passed ball. I have my opinion which is in agreement with...nobody else.  (But I'm still right!)
All these statics boil down to one basic cybermetric: WAR - Wins Against Replacement.

Baseball Prospectus can now tell us what catchers are the best defensively based on these simple stats:
gcWINSAA - game-calling wins above average
frWINSAA - framing wins above average
blWINSAA - blocking wins above average
and finally...
cWINSAA - catcher wins above average
The last item being a sum of the first three.

I have seen no proof that any of these are valid, probably because there is no proof. This is all just like beauty contests. Who can say which girl is the prettiest, it's all just someone's opinion.

So, Mr. Cone, if you want to get off on these, be my guest. I challenge you to debate these some day, privately or during a Yankee broadcast.

By the way, Yadier Molina has the best rating in the game today (big surprise).  Brian McCann is second. If that doesn't prove my point, I don't know what will.

## Gordon Edes, ESPN staff writer from Boston, describes the disappointing play of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in a recent column. He says Ramirez may be the worst left fielder in Boston History and when the comparison is to Manny Ramirez, you know you're at the bottom of the barrel. Hanley is not very popular in the clubhouse and usually leaves without talking to reporters about any miscues. He hit 10 home runs in the first month of the season and none since. Pablo is described as affable but is not hitting as well as expected, especially against lefties and has suddenly developed Chase Headley disease, the inability to field his position. These two, plus David Ortiz,  are the basic reasons that writers were picking the Red Sox to go all the way. The hole they're digging themselves is getting deeper.

" The NCAA has charged UNC with five major violations connected to the school’s long-running academic fraud scandal. Now let’s see how they come up with “severe” punishments that don’t keep the men’s basketball team out of March Madness."  -- Janice Hough
" Sepp Blatter resigns from FIFA with generous severance bribe"  --
"The first 25,000 Orioles fans at June 27’s home game will receiver a Buck Showalter garden gnome.

So what’s the Birds’ next managerial giveaway, Earl Weaver gargoyles?"  -- Dwight Perry
"Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis injured himself playing kickball: “Isn’t that like Arthur Rubinstein injuring his hand while playing ‘Chopsticks’?"  -- Bill Littlejohn
"The Women’s Soccer World Cup starts it's month long run in Canada on Saturday, and souvenir sales figure to be brisk. Everything will be on sale, soccer balls, jerseys, national flags, FIFA officials ..."  -- Argus Hamilton
"Ben Ancheff, the 300 lb St. Thomas U (Miami) college pitcher was suspected of having pine tar & resin on his forearm. Umpires checked him and it turned out to be Hersheys chocolate syrup, butter and jam."  -- TC Chong
"Johnny Manziel threw a water bottle at a badgering fan at the Byron Nelson Classic. Word is the bottle was half loaded — or was that Manziel?"  -- RJ Currie
"A swanky Mexican resort opened an underwater bar: In related news, John Daly is taking scuba lessons."  -- Mike Bianchi
"The Golden State Warriors invited a 105-year-old fan to Game 1 of the NBA Finals at no charge. She was only 102 when the 2015 NBA playoffs began."  -- Brad Dickson


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