Saturday, November 6, 2010

But we don't really you know, we hate baseball...

Canada has a long association with the game of baseball, going back to the earliest days of it's development - but hockey, and the big bucks the NFL generate up here dwarf the grand old game, even during the MLB postseason.

At the bottom of the MLB page that listed all the game dates and start times through the 2010 postseason there is this little note I found quite amusing...

In Canada, Rogers Sportsnet will broadcast all 2010 MLB Postseason games.
* if necessary

They're two separate items, but the way it's laid out ...

If you followed my scorecard keeping through the MLB postseason you know Rogers Sportsnet broadcast 29.5 of the 32 games played. One wasn't broadcast in favour Major League Soccer's home town Toronto FC, one in favour of Sunday Night Football, and one half of one because of a Toronto Maple Leafs game.

I guess it wasn't, "necessary".


Toronto has always had a low opinion of itself - except when it has a too-high opinion of itself. So when the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993 the problem seemed solved. Suddenly we all walked with our heads high, when somebody said something critical about the city we took it to heart and tried to change - or else wrote it off to the ignorance of someone who should consider what they say before they say it.

But that has waned of late... to really be comfortable again with-in ourselves we need to win every single game, and every championship for as long as there is history.

So now, being interested in MLB - that we don't win - is only a part of an eminent strut, a put on, an attitude --- part of a post-modern understanding that we gleaned from when we were all happy with ourselves --- that if you act provincial, people will treat you that way. And it's not just Toronto, it's North American; we're all sluts for judgment, approval, acceptance.

In Toronto we pretend to like baseball still; and all (sic) the games are on TV, and the bla, bla, bla in the papers... .

But we don't really you know, we hate baseball. It's too slow, there's no hitting, nobody gets their bell rung every 60 seconds, it's boring - and now with the un-juiced ball, and the players off steroids - what's to watch?

At least with the NFL you can watch yourself watching the boring game - through the magic of betting in the pools that run in every bar - people spending all their money getting blotto, hoping to hit the jack pot so they can do it all again on Monday... and Thursday... and Saturday... .

Pretending to like baseball is something you do at work, in polite company, around girls you're trying to impress. In Canada, being openly baseball fan in a bar during hockey and football season is likely to piss someone off,

"RBI this, smart guy."



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Comparison of the Symmetry of Tim Lincecum's and Cliff Lee's Scorecards in Game 5

Another in the ongoing Symmetry Series of post here at Baseball Blogs.

The final game of the 2010 World Series (weep) was all about pitching - as was the series in retrospect. The blow-outs in games one and two were, I think, aburrations caused by the pressure of the moment on young, inexperienced pitchers. These two line-ups are full of power and run scoring ability, but as we see in this chart once the pitching settled down the series became all about pitching.

Game Matchup Day Date Time ET
Gm 1 TEX 7 @ SF 11 Wed Oct. 27 7:57 PM
Gm 2 TEX 0 @ SF 9 Thu Oct. 28 7:57 PM
Gm 3 SF 2 @ TEX 4 Sat Oct. 30 6:57 PM
Gm 4 SF 4 @ TEX 0 Sun Oct. 31 8:20 PM
Gm 5 SF 3 @ TEX 1 Mon Nov. 1 7:57 PM

So last night we finally get our 'year of the pitcher' World Series pitching spectacle for the ages. As such I wondered what a comparison between line drawing of the two starters might illuminate. Was there something to be seen in the metrics of simplification that might help us better understand the game, the series?

(All images are much larger on click)

Cliff Lee facing the San Francisco Giants line-up, 2010 World Series Game 5

(Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog)

Tim Lincecum facing the Texas Rangers line-up 2010 World Series Game 5

(Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog)

Below are two line drawings I made with Microsoft Paint. I filled in all the active at-bat boxes with colour, and then erased all the scorecard elements so you can see any patterns more easily.

Cliff Lee pitching to the Giants, batters faced per inning

Tim Lincecum pitching to the Rangers, batters faced per inning

On the left are the top and bottom of the 7th Inning; the top is Cliff Lee pitching to San Francisco, the lower is Tim Lincecum pitching to the Rangers.

I try to put aside my knowledge of the game when looking for patterns in the line drawings (I did after all, score it only 15 hours ago) and I notice that, just in the patterns, both pitchers hit their own kind of walls in the 7th inning. Both diagonal patterns break down there.

Lee's was the game breaking Hit, Hit, Homer inning where the Giants scored all 3 of their runs.

For Lincecum, a one run homer and a walk break up a nice smooth diagonal pattern in the drawing. He loses his bid for a shut out, and the momentum swings radically, to the Rangers bringing them right back into the game at the time.

There are 7 other post in this "Symmetry Series" here at Baseball Blogs.