7.27.2004

take advantage before someone shuts it down

www.bugmenot.com

don't know if it works on porn sites yet, but i imagine that you'll try and find out you big pervert.  it definitely does not work on blackmidgetamputeeporn.com (thanks ar).

7.26.2004

nacho nacho man

this will be my friend, patrick mackey in ten years.

ragin asian blog posting: special hall of fame edition!

i know that's it been way too long guys.  all i can say is teaching has kept me insanely busy.  there's much that i've missed blogging on including my recent trip to san diego, but i can only blog when my stupid computer is working, and well it's not working.  luckily for you and me, my laptop is running fine and i finally have some time to write.  and today i have a lot to write about.  i thought about breaking this one up into several entries, but i figured i'd make up for the recent lack of entries with a super extra long posting.

today, dennis eckersley and paul molitor were inducted into the baseball hall of fame.  for those of you who don't know, i'm an extremely big eckersley fan.  those of you who do know me know that when it comes to sports, the thing that juices me the most is when one team or one player completely dominates the competition.  that is everyone knows what this guy has got in his bag, and they know exactly what's coming, but even still no one can do anything about it.  jordan of course is a really good example, the early nineties cowboys of course make the list.  eckersley was certainly of this ilk.

warning, this next section will be extremely stat intensive.  those of you who aren't interested may want to skip down a few paragraphs.  there are a lot of people out there who say that the combination of being a pretty decent starter and a great closer is what earned the eck his ticket to cooperstown.  hell, i think i even saw dennis himself say that a few times this weekend.  i'm here to tell you that that is complete bullshit.  his performance between 1988 and 1992, his prime closer days, are unlikely to ever be duplicated.  i guess mariano rivera has strung together something like this the past several years, but eck has him i think on two key categories.  first era.  during rivera's best five consecutive year stretch (1997 - 2001), his era's were: 2.09, 1.88, 1.91, 1.83, and 2.85.  eck's: 2.35, 1.56, 0.61(!), 2.96, 1.91.  so both of them have two years where they were over 2.00.  although both of rivera's over-2.00 years are better than eckersley's, only the 2.09 is appreciably better than eck's corresponding era of 2.35.  in my eyes, the 2.85 and the 2.96 are basically a wash.  the real difference comes in the three under-2.00 seasons.  both have a 1.91 in there, a wash.  but the other two season, eckersley is waaaaaaaaaaaaay better.  0.61!  come on, those are playstation stats.  how do you only allow a single runs for every 18 innings you pitch.  as automatic as rivera was, eckersley was more so.

but as all of us true stats geeks know, the pitcher actually has very little control over how many runs or hits he gives up from balls put in play by the batter.  a much better indicator of a pitcher skills are his defense independent stats.  that is, what are the things that the pitcher has total control of.  the two main things are strikeouts and walks.  hence, the strikeout to walk ratio, which gives us an idea of how many outs a pitcher gets by himself for every baserunner he allows by himself.  during rivera's stretch 338 Ks to 103 walks, a not so impressive 3.28 to 1 ratio.  eckersley: 378 Ks to 38 walks, an otherworldly 9.95 to 1 ratio.  based on this metric, you could say that eckersley was 3 times as effective as rivera.  of course, that crazy ratio comes from the fact that he basically never walked anyone.  by the way, i can't find intentional walk stats on the web, but i do know that at least 6 of eckersley walks were intentional, so that would be an 11.81 to 1 ratio.  every pitcher walks people, that's just part of the game.  unless of course, you were the eck. 

a lot of people are quick to say that gagne's season last year was the greatest by a closer of all time, but let's not forget 92 when eck won the cy young and the mvp with a line of 7-1, 51 saves and a 1.91 era.  but that's not even my favorite eck season.  that would have to be 1989, when he was 4-0, 33 saves, and a 1.56 era.  that year (here comes quite possibly my favorite sports statistic of all time) he walked 3 batters.  three.  1-2-3 and that's it.  how stupid is that?  the crazy thing is that the next year, he pitched 16 more innings with an era of 0.61 and only walked 4 batters, but i just can't get over the number 3.  also, that was the year where he had more saves (48) than baserunners (42).  anyways, of the current group of relievers, i would say only mariano is the only one that also gets a nod to cooperstown.  wetteland and hoffman come close, but if i were voting, no dice.

stats section over.  the ceremony itself was neat.  i'm not really an emotional guy, but it's weird how sentimental sports moments can turn me into a blubbering idiot.  i was crying during the eck's speech as he detailed his battle with alcoholism.  statistical dominance aside, the great thing about the eck, which i just realized today, is that he really embodies the one thing that in this world that touches me, redemption.  it's like royal tennenbaum says, "can't someone be a shit his whole life and then try to make up for it?  i really think people want to hear that."  perhaps it is my own insecurities, but i for one, do want to hear that.  molitor was definitely more well spoken, but i think it was clear that eckersley's speech was truly from the heart.

other observations...paul molitor, great numbers, but i think that he's definitely in the lower echelon of hall of famers...kirby puckett must weigh 500 pounds...bud selig still looks like he's got aids...paul molitor's trophy wife, definitely hot...gary carter - shouldn't be in the hall of fame...rollie fingers - the handlebar mustache is both cool and lame...really lame god shtick from molitor at the end of his speech.

anyways, i was thinking that it would be cool we all could have these induction ceremonies for our own little halls of fame.  i'm in the process of developing criteria for election into my hall of fame, but i think that i would include people who are no longer in my life, but i constantly think about.  although i suspect that the most of the people who get in will be people i adore, but friendship or respect from me will not be a mandatory, but i would need to remember them in a somewhat fondly, even if it's just because the person was easy to make fun of.  obviously, people that i know now are not eligible, and i think i'll work like the baseball hall of fame and have a five year waiting period after people have left my life before they can be added to the ballot.  anyways, right now, i can think of two surefire first ballot inductees.  first ricardo perez-cantu.  ricardo played trumpet in the high school marching band with me.  i can't even begin to describe how screwed up this guy was.  maybe someday i'll recount some adventures with ricardo, but for now, just know that he was once spotted wearing sunglasses in church.  the other inductee would be derek oishi.  derek was one of my RAs during my time in AZ.  he made goofy films, he loved the pittsburgh steelers, he liked to gamble, and we could pay him 50 cents to do just about anything.  what's not to like about this kid.

anyways, it's really late and i have to gotobednow.  this is the last week of class, and i promise that after this week, i'll get back to blogging on a regular basis.

7.13.2004

don't trick up your sex or the all star game

just a few thoughts after watching this year's major league baseball all star game.

1. fox sucks. first of all, tim mccarver is awful. his nonstop banter about nothing makes me want to pull an elvis and shoot my tv screen out. i cannot think of any announcer who uses banal cliches as much as this guy. second of all, fox decided to put together a couple of bits that revolved around an animated baseball named "scooter". in these bits, scooter would explain in one of the most annoying voices known to the human race, what exactly a curveball is. lame animations aside, i sincerely doubt that this attracted the attention of kids who weren't baseball fans and then converted them into baseball fans. in the same way you shouldn't trick up your sex (see end of post for an explanation of what tricking up your sex means), i don't think that you should trick up the all-star game broadcast with crap like that.

2. bud selig and most of the yahoos running MLB suck. i think it was after the fifth inning they stopped down the whole game to honor roger clemens. it was a trite ceremony where they gave him some made up trophy and showed a wheels off video montage of the rocket. don't get me wrong, i'm of the opinion that clemens is probably the greatest pitcher of all time, but geez, what's the point of honoring him at the all star game in houston. he's only played a half season for the astros for chrissakes. it reminded me of the time when they stopped down the all star game to honor cal ripken and tony gwynn a few years back. nice sentiment and they're great players, but why try to manufacture special moments instead of letting them just happen. it's just so f-ing disingenuous. it's the all star game damnit, there should be plenty of special moments in the game itself. and holy cow, does bud selig have cancer? i've never seen him looking so bad. someone has got to tell him and all other balding men that the rug looks ridiculous.

3. jesus f-ing christ is ruben studdard fat. i'm only now realizing how amazing it is that he won the americal idol thing. his fatness is so grotesque that it's too distracting to listen to him sing.

4. a little something i noticed about the broadcast tonight and during the home run contest. they had plenty of mikes on the field (and plenty of lame "sounds of the game" segments during the all star game). anyways, i noticed that when they showed shots of the players, as soon as any of them started speaking spanish, they'd go mike off. as if we don't already know that most of the great baseball players speak hardly a lick of english. as usual, the thing that kills me is the inane logic of doing this. baseball, of all of the major three sports, is most definitely the most slow paced game. it's also probably the least popular of the big three. tv broadcasts are filled with shots of players sitting in dugouts looking totally spaced out. if there's one thing that baseball needs are colorful characters. as i'm sure anyone could see, those spanish speaking guys couldn't stop chatting it up, and it seemed that they were all laughing the whole time. i myself don't speak spanish, but i would imagine that one of the last loyal fan bases for baseball are spanish speakers. add on top of that all the people who took spanish in high school or college and then you have quite a few people who could probably understand what the players are saying and would in all likelihood be entertained or at least interested in what they have to say. it seems counterproductive to the business of baseball to me to pretend that players don't speak spanish in an attempt to make the presentation as palatable to white people as possible. i guess i could be wrong on this one. maybe whitey would get turned off by baseball if they knew that the stars all spoke spanish, but that's just dumb.

explanation of "tricking up your sex" - it always amazes me when i read about some of the crazy freaky things that people do while having sex: dressing up in mascot costumes, autoeroticasphyxiation, gerbils, and things along those lines. i'm all about spicing up your sex life and doing different things, but generally, i'm pretty sure that if you have to resort to these kinds of things to get excited, well, then i think that's a good sign that there's something wrong. anyways, these people are tricking up their sex, and as i said before, i don't think that people should trick up their sex.

dongs, taters, and round trippers...

somehow, i think that these euphemisms for home runs could be translated into euphemisms for the freaky-deaky, you know what i'm saying?

anyways, miguel tejada won the home run derby last night. in the second round of the thing, he set a single round record with fifteen homers. don't get me wrong, anytime you take 25 swings and 15 of them go out of the part, that's impressive. however, while i was watching it last night i have to say that it was far from the most impressive home run derby performance that i've seen. mcgwire at fenway and sosa at the ted, especially sosa at the ted were all much more impressive performances, mostly because of the monstrosity of their shots. true, miggy hit a few shots that cleared 400 ft, but most of them were poke jobs that landed a few rows in from the fence. anyways, no doubt that people will be singing his praises simply because of the sheer numbers.

which brings me to a point about many sports fans. one thing that i hate is the casual sports fan who roots for certain things. the home run being a fine example. so called fans will cheer when miguel tejada makes the ball go out, but they don't understand that what he did is hit a mediocre home run (i know, i'm nitpicking here, but all home runs are not equal). sammy in atlanta was launching the ball in humid weather over 500 ft each time. another good example are basketball fans who only cheer when the ball goes through the basket. they're missing out on the other things. like how great shaq is. everyone always gives this bullshit rationalization that he's not any good because all he can do is dunk. anyone who knows anything about basketball should be able to see that we've never ever seen his combination of power and agility in one package. watch his drop step. watch how he posts ups. and when he wants to play defense, watch the footwork that he uses to get into position. anyone who says that shaq is overrated simply does not know anything about basketball.

full disclosure note: i'm definitely guilty of this phenomenon for soccer. but i dont claim to be any kind of soccer fan.

the point is, while miguel tejada did hit more homers in a home run derby than anyone else before him, it was far from an incredible performance.

on a side note, the greatest batting practice home run hitter that i ever saw in person was...get ready...kenny lofton. it was in the early nineties when he was still with the indians, but he was spraying homers to all fields with ease. it was actually kinda freakish. but totally cool. nothing beats homers for entertainment value.

7.12.2004

goodbye weezie, goodbye

isabel sanford, better known as weezie jefferson, died last friday.

i was always a big fan of the jeffersons, sherman helmsley was some kinda comic genius. but weezie definitely did her part in setting up george jefferson for his comic antics. unlike so many insignificant celebs whose death we note, isabel sanford definitely made a quality contribution to the world of television.

more importantly, we can all say that weezie has finally moved on up to that big deluxe apartment in the sky. rock me.

7.07.2004

brando = genius

according to eonline.com, marlon brando didn't have a funeral.

according to the story, he left behind videotaped instruction about what to do when he died, and apparently he wanted no part of a funeral. kinda weird i guess, but nothing so strange for someone as eccentric as brando. the best part of the whole deal is that according to the story, he also gave a list of people who were forbidden from attending a memorial service that he wanted jack nicholson (i have no idea either) to lead. how much balls does it take to say "f you" from the great beyond. what a great freakin idea! so for all of you who actually know me, be advised, piss me off and you may be added to the "forbidden from attending memorial service" list

why i'm a fan of women's tennis

this picture of wimbledon winner maria sharapova is making the rounds on various blogs. and i guess i'm just going to go ahead and contribute to the continued trivialization of women's sports.

7.05.2004

there really are people that exist outside of santa barbara...

wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

i got my first comment about a blog post from someone that i didn't know! or at least i don't think i know him.

scott commented on my recent post on michelle wie and the lpga. his comment, although well thought out, is completely wrong. but that is totally beside the f-ing point. this is unequivocal proof that someone out there is reading. i can't even begin to tell you what a gratifying feeling it is to know that someone, albeit probably purely by accident, turned to me for my opinion. a canadian no less! good god, we live on such a small planet.

anyways, scott if you're out there, keep commenting, i'll start reading your blog, and we can help me get on my way to the senior reporter for rolling stone magazine. thank you.

in response to scott's comment, which says something to the effect that race is not a factor in some of the sniping about michelle wie, or at least not a big as a factor as i seem to be implying. i'll concede that race is not the only factor in the situation, but i still think it's a huge factor. i think at least in american culture, we love youth. anytime kids do something kick ass, we love it, as long as they do it within the framework of patriarchy/whiteness/westernism/etc. to get stupid sociological on you, the negative response to michelle wie is a result of the intersection of masculinity/race/age/sports. i know that other phenoms have recieved negative attention, but i think that it seems that the ones that receive negative reaction are usually more often not white than white. look at when the williams' sisters started out in tennis. all anyone could talk about was how unlady like they were and look at their domineering father. of course by now, we've realized how much ass they kick and how incredible a body that serena has, but when they started out, it wasn't about their skill, which in the pure theoretical sense is supposed to be the measure by which we evaluate athletes, no instead it was about their failure to adhere to the rules, which i say are derived to preserve existing power heirarchies, blah blah blah. of course, tiger didn't face nearly as much scrutiny, but he had the force of nike and the fact that he was a male (something people don't talk enough about) behind him to even out the criticism. the biraciality didn't hurt either.

so i guess i'm saying that scott has forced me to refine my argument somewhat. there are a variety of factors that go into villifying an athlete, especially by her peers. i still think that in this case, race is a factor, because michelle wie is not adhering to the docile obedient asian women stereotype.

on another note, teaching stats class is an enourmous time suck, and that is why i haven't been able to post on such topics as bill cosby's comments at a recent PUSH coaltion meeting, marlon brando's death, or coach K going (or not going) to the lakers. of course i have opinions about this, but like i said, teaching keeps me extremely busy. and i've learned that retro-blogging is somewhat missing the point of blogging.

but thanks to scott the canadian, i think i have a renewed energy for the blog. i'll keep blogging, and all of you reading, please please comment.

in the meantime, here's your fun link for the day: esquire's brutally honest personals.