Category Archives: Tids ‘n Bits

HOZED!: Installment 1

As I’ve mentioned in the podcast over the last three weeks–three weeks marked with broken promises concerning the date of the introduction of this series–there are certain aspects of a player’s performance that go unnoticed in the post-game stat line. My first choice would have been gratuitous bat flips, but FanGraphs affiliate NotGraphs already has that covered.

I therefore turned to my second choice, the outfield assist. Some of you may raise the objection that this particular feat does, in fact, appear in the post-game stat line. Those of you who raise such an objection would be correct. However, I would argue that an outfield assist is appropriate recognition only for an out resulting from a ~150 foot throw to second base, or for those whimpy-ass left field to third base throws. It is not appropriate recognition for throws that result in non-force-outs in which the ball travels some 250 feet or more.

Therefore, I have decided to enshrine the best such plays in a bi-weekly series aimed to improve recognition of what I call, the Art of Hosiery.

In order to qualify for this series, the throw must travel some 250 feet in the air (roughly, I ain’t got no tape-measure for no computer screen) and result in an out at third base or home plate. The criteria used to judge the throw are as follows:

–The maximum height obtained by the ball during it’s flight to the base (lower throws are better)

–Number of bounces the ball takes on its way to its destiny (under all foreseeable circumstances, this number should be <1).

— Distance between the runner and the player applying the tag (the greater the distance, the better).

— Documented shock or surprise upon the visage of the runner or third base coach. Preferably both.

Finally, it should be noted that for each time period, the players responsible for the hosiery showcased in the videos in this series shall be considered nominees. Therefore, there shall be a winner, which shall be the player earning some combination of the most/highest accolades in the comments section following the article.

Without further adieu (click on images to link to videos):

Marlon Byrd hoses Darwin Barney like a stray cat trying to make a home for itself underneath your porch:

This throw was most excellent because a) Barney is out by ~1 mile; b) the throw remains relatively low for the duration of the flight, but remains above the ground; c) the announcer denigrates the decision-making abilities of the third base coach; d) Darwin Barney (5’10”, 185 lbs.) appears to consider, however briefly, the merits of lowering his shoulder in what would have been a feeble attempt to dislodge the ball from the glove of John Buck (6’2″, 230 lbs.). That he considered this course of action is amusing. It would have been more amusing, we can all agree, had he done anything more than consider it.

Owen’s Rating: 4/5

Michael Bourn hoses Jacoby Ellsbury like the afore-mentioned cat, this time attempting to search your garbage can for any tuna/chicken you may have discarded.

It is possible that Bourn’s throw may not have obtained the required 250 feet. As we know, it is ~127 feet from home plate to second base. Does Bourn’s throw originate from >=123 feet beyond 2nd base? We’ll never know for sure, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Further, Bourn’s throw attains too great a height to command the respect of Marlon Byrd’s hosing of Darwin Barney. That Jacoby Ellsbury was frustrated that he made an out on such a fantastic throw is amusing, but total resignation, combined with shock and awe, is the preferred emotion for the player thrown out on the play.

Owen’s Rating: 2.5/5

Leonys Martin hoses Andy Dirks like a squirrel you’ve just discover pillaging your bird feeder while it thinks no one is watching.

When I envisioned this series I suspected that many of the entries would reference Rick Ankiel, Jeff Francoeur, or Josh Reddick. However, these players also seem to be incapable of striking out less than all of the time (actually, the range is between 23% for Reddick and 45% for Ankiel, so I’m not exaggerating very much), which limits their opportunities in the field. Leonys Martin is currently striking out at just a 17.9% rate and has posted a 107 WRC+ to date. Martin has also shown a propensity for hosiery, adding a notch to his metaphorical shillelagh with this gem just one week prior. Also, this.

If you didn’t notice, in the original video, Martin made this throw quickly on a soft single to his left with a relatively speedy Andy Dirks running. It was also a fucking strike. Catcher didn’t even move.

Owen’s Rating: 4.5/5.

The Correlation Between Knowing What Science Is and Being Right Is 1.

By Owen McMurtrey

During our most recent podcast, an argument arose between Justin and myself in which I claimed that an expository essay on steroids in baseball was “flat-out wrong” in its claim that anabolic steroids do not improve lower-body strength sufficiently so as to affect the distance that a ‘juiced-up’ batter can hit a baseball. Here at Sports Symphonies, we’re all about bold claims, and so, rather than using ‘hedge language’ as my old history professor George Vrtis would call it (an avid White Sox fan, good man), I just said that this Mr. Eric Walker, the author of the aforementioned expository essay, was full of shit. One benefit of making such bold claims is that it offers the claimant, in this case myself, the opportunity to gloat mercilessly in the face of any and all counter-claimants when able to  demonstrate my supreme rightness (in all other instances, the issue of my being wrong will be quietly and politely ignored).

First, let’s clarify the structure of the argument that we’re dealing with:

1) A batter generates power using primarily the muscles of the legs and torso. Arm, shoulder, and chest muscles are not as important.

2) All other things being equal, stronger leg and torso muscles will allow a batter to hit the baseball farther.

3) Anabolic steroids (and, therefore, HGH, since they work similarly) significantly increase lower-body strength in baseball players.

4) The use of anabolic steroids enabled players who took them to hit more home runs than they otherwise would have and this is evident in the baseball statistics.

I believe we agree on items 1) and 2), but we clearly disagree on item 3), which is what this debate is basically about. We also disagree on item 4), to an extent. I believe that it is impossible to prove item 4), and I also believe that the effects of a few bad apples taking steroids across the whole game was relatively small, but we’ll get to that later.

In the case of item 3), my bold prediction paid off. For I am RIGHT! Behold, Raphael, Justin, and probably no more than four other readers:

Storer et al. (2003) found that testosterone caused a dose-dependent increase in maximal voluntary strength of the leg (i.e., amount of weight lifted in a leg press), as well as in leg power (i.e., the rate of force generation).

Storer

And:

Bhasin et al. (1996) fount that “in the testosterone-plus-exercise group, the increase in muscle strength in the squatting exercise (38 percent) was greater than that in any other group, as was the increase in bench-press strength (22 percent).”

Bahsir

I could stop here and just move on. But no. It is not enough that I am right. I, in my great magnanimity, will explain just exactly how any and all counter-claimants are wrong and why their wrongness is a product of their inadequacies as critical thinkers.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Bauers

by Justin

Trevor Bauer and I have a lot of things in common. We’re both white, we both like hip-hop, and we both think he’ll be a very successful major league pitcher. Where we differ is on our opinions of our own rapping ability. I am quite convinced that I cannot rap. Trevor seems to think he can. Trevor is wrong.

If you didn’t know before, you certainly know now that Trevor Bauer is a terrible rapper. I know this, you know this, the whole world knows this — except for Trevor. When Trevor’s “haters” come out, Trevor responds with even more rapping:

Trevor recorded that “song” in response to critiques of his performance and his work ethic last season, which led to his eventual trade to the Indians. Some have even speculated that Trevor aimed this song in particular at his catcher, Miguel Montero, who was very outspoken in his criticism of Trevor.

Trevor, allow a fellow white guy who likes rap but can’t do it himself to give you some advice. It’s not a power move to respond to your critics with something that’s clearly a weakness of yours. Let’s look to your kin, Jack Bauer. When Jack Bauer’s haters crawl out of the woodwork, does Jack Bauer respond by handing out free puppies and ice cream? No, Jack Bauer does not. Jack Bauer does what Jack Bauer does best.

Trevor Bauer, take a cue from Jack Bauer. Quit the rap game, get healthy, and focus on your strengths. After all, your best weapon certainly isn’t your flow; it’s that devastating curveball.