Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kidding around: the three levels of Rock

I first really got to know Kid Rock on a random weekend during my junior year of college in Madison. It was Saturday, there was weather, and we didn’t have anything better more fun to do so me and my roommates were drinking beer and grilling brats in the backyard we shared with our neighbors. I don’t really remember who, why, or how it happened, but “Cowboy” came over the iPod that was furnishing the soundtrack to our cookout. It’s not like everything stopped, but I think we all had a moment not unlike the first time you drink a beer out of a pink lawn flamingo. It might not make a lick of sense, but it’s awesome nonetheless. For the rest of college that song remained our anthem. It had all the right ingredients: it was badass, it sounded good, and we were the only ones on the block that knew it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More fun with binomial stats: Dunn, Davis, and Anderson

I mentioned in my last post that it is possible to use binomial theorem to compare player statistics year-to-year (between any two samples actually) and assess whether a player’s current numbers are in line with previous performance or well beyond our expectations, indicating that something – a new mental approach, a lingering injury, a mechanical adjustment – has changed and substantially affected his or her abilities.

Since it’s fun* and easy,** let's apply this to a few more cases and see what we can see.

*You bet your sweet ass it’s fun.
**Again, see my previous post for a slightly more detailed explanation of just what we’re up to here.

The new Gordon Beckham: binomial statistics for baseball

Watching the White Sox this year has been awful.* I have to imagine Robin Ventura wants to do this pretty much every  night. Through the end of May the Sox were hanging around .500 and then the wheels just fell off. It’s ok to lose to Detroit or Texas, but to get swept by the Cubs and Twins or drop three of four to the 4A team that is Houston** is just…ugh.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve stopped watching.
** Seriously, a league-average major league player puts up about 2 WAR in a given year. The Astros have 6 players total (4 position, 2 pitchers) on pace to even sniff that mark this year. That team is baaaaaaad.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kickin’ Around a New Name: Minnesota soccer plays the name game…and loses

Editor's note: The President of the Minnesota United FC, Nick Rogers, responded to this post and his comments are below. 

About a month ago, the Minnesota Stars* decided that it was time to re-brand themselves after the then-league-owned team was purchased by former UnitedHealth CEO, William McGuire.  Like naming a child, choosing a name for a professional sports team is a rare occurrence that provides the owners/parents the opportunity to provide the team/child with the opportunity to be successful while also acknowledging familiar surroundings and family ties.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays recently determined that supporting the underworld’s patriarch was not good for business and decided to drop “Devil” from the team’s moniker.  The New Orleans Hornets, after moving from Charlotte to New Orleans (and then to and from Oklahoma), will begin anew as the Pelicans next season.**

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Poster boy

Something terrible happened to Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. I could try to explain, but it’s best if you just take a look at the video after the jump.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tactless in Seattle

This is awful. Actually, I should specify: Sacramento’s NBA franchise moving to Seattle after a rather public courtship is awful for the fans. It’ll work out just fine for the owners, and probably even better for the league. New stadiums flaunt, new merchandise to sell, and hey even though they won’t be able to the threat of moving to Seattle as leverage for franchises anymore, they’ll be able to do the same thing with Sacramento in a couple of years.

There has been plenty of study/discussion of team relocation and how best to handle it. You could just keep on playing and hoping or you could dance on a grave or practically anything in between. After seeing my hometown Twins forced to sit under the damocletian sword of contraction in the aftermath of the 2001 World Series, I got to watch helplessly again as the Viking were batted around as a likely candidate for LA's new NFL franchise* during the second half of 2012. That is at least until the state built them a new stadium. Funny how that sort of thing works out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fully Framing Farmers

Maybe I’m getting older, but this year seemed a down one for super bowl commercials. Budweiser turned in a few clunkers featuring a man who may or may not have been Stevie Wonder*. Go Daddy decided that tasteless was not enough and just went for straight out stupid. And Audi, along with Hyundai and others, simply recycled previously aired spots. The one commercial that did manage to stick with me, however, was a “Dodge Ram: the pickup truck for farmers, for America” spot.**