Thursday, November 29, 2012

Windy >> Indy

Editor’s note: This piece is part of an inter-blog point-counterpoint series on the site of the B1G Championship game. Scoot on over to Crossroads of the Interwebz to hear their take on why this years Leaders-Legends showdown should stay in Indianapolis. Stay here and read why it belongs in the Windy City. Either way, make sure to vote in the poll on the sidebar!

This Saturday Wisconsin and Nebraska will face off in Indianapolis for the B1G* championship. One of those things is wrong, and it’s not that Bucky is playing for a trip to the Rose Bowl despite being the third best team in its division. The major problem with the championship game this year and every year is that it will be held in Indianapolis. Now if this was the Big XII or the Mountain West and we were debating between places like Boise, Idaho and Norman, Oklahoma Indy wouldn’t seem so bad. But we’re not stuck in those flyover states,** we have a world class city at the heart of our region in Chicago. Specifically, the alumni base, ease of travel, stadium, and city itself all make Chicago the ideal place to host the B1G championship game. So why isn’t it played there? I don’t know either, but here’s why it should be.

*Yes, I am going to write it that way for the entire post.
**Mostly at least.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Droning on

I’ve taken a lot of classes as a college student. As a result, I’ve come up with more than a few ways of wasting time during lecture. One of my personal favorites is FanGraphs – an analytically inclined baseball blog. The irony of reading up on new hitting metrics during my stats lectures was delicious and I like baseball, so it’s a pretty good marriage. One of their tricks is to post two stat lines without identifying the player. If done right it illustrates for readers how their preconceived notions of player value may have clouded their judgment when evaluating talent. For example, which of these players would you rather have:
Player A – batting avg.: 0.302; on base %: 0.360; slugging %: 0.522*
            Player B – batting avg.: 0.251; on base %: 0.332, slugging %: 0.475*

*Stats per Baseball Reference, contract info (below) via Cot’s Contracts.

Player A is clearly better right!? Well player A is Aaron Hill, a second baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks who pulls down $5 million a year and didn’t even make the all star team this year. Player B is Mark Teixeira; he of the $180 million contract and New York Yankee fame. Unless they had already done their homework, few baseball fans would guess that Aaron Hill had a better 2012 than Mark freakin’ Teixeira! Anyways, if you’re into this sort of thing it can be quite fun, and since the presidential election was just a short while ago it might be a cool trick to apply to politics. So, try this one on for size:
President A – drone assassinations: 278; enemy combatants detained: 2,400; awesome quote: “I’ve now been in fifty-seven states; I think one left to go.”
President B – drone assassinations: 52; enemy combatants detained: 1,400; awesome quote: “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."