Tagged: Baseball

PECOTA: Predictions Entirely Coming Outta Their A**es

Every year,
the geeks, nerds and losers at Baseball Prospectus take a break from playing
Dungeons and Dragons, and decide to make asinine predictions about the upcoming
baseball season. These predictions are based on several sets of sabermetric
algorithms that are meant to predict a player’s performance, therefore
eliminating everything that makes baseball, BASEBALL.

Oh no! How can you label what a
mathematical genius does as asinine? 
With great ease, actually.

My fellow
fans, I’ll let you in on a little secret: PECOTA doesn’t stand for what the
title of this blog post says it does. Though my title is an accurate
description of what it is, PECOTA really stands for: Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.

Yeah. How
about I tell you nerds what to do with your PECOTA?

Apparently,
while I was sleeping, Major League Baseball became a sport played by computers
and not by humans. It must be so if the entire sport runs on a bunch of
algorithms.


Ladies
and gentlemen, tonight’s batting lineup:

SS
– BlackBerry

DH
– iPhone

1B
– iPod Touch

3B 
– Motorola Droid

C  
– MacBook Pro

CF
– Toshiba

RF
– Nintendo Wii

2B
– XBOX 360

LF
– iPad

Actually,
I think I’ll bat the XBOX after the Droid. The MacBook isn’t providing
sufficient protection anymore.

 

Stat Zombies
in general piss me off (and a lot of them are probably reading this blog right
now – I’m so scared! Please don’t come after me with your TI-83’s and pocket
protectors!).

 Everything,
just everything, is about statistics to them. Players aren’t human, they’re
numerical models. They’re walking, talking, eating, sleeping, and breathing
numbers. Athletes are incapable of having career years, hot or cold streaks, or
even mental problems. Players are incapable of choking under pressure, or even
being clutch. Every single statistic or number these players put up shapes who
they are, and how they will be in the future.

Where do I
even begin to tackle this stupidity?

 If you haven’t
seen them yet, click HERE to check out the
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Depth Charts.

 

Do I even
need to point out how ridiculous these predictions are? Until these dorks put
down their calculators and pick up a bat or glove, I refuse to take anything
they have to say seriously. Do these zombies really think that their
predictions hold any degree of truth and accuracy? Let me tell you, any match
between PECOTA and reality is purely coincidental.

I’m not sure
what pisses me off more: the fact that the Stat Zombies keep believing these
predictions will come true, or the fact that they probably don’t watch any
baseball because they’re too busy tweaking algorithms. They must not watch any
baseball, because they don’t seem to realize that their accuracy percentage
among predictions is worse than Johnny Damon’s fielding percentage among left
fielders. Much worse.

Furthermore,
these Stat-Monkeys seem to have the memory span of goldfish. A player could
have a horrible career then have one career year and suddenly he’s the
second-coming of Babe Ruth. Have these nerds not expanded their memory chips?
Are they incapable of remembering these guys in a game dating back to over a
year ago? I’m not just talking about the Baseball Prospectus losers behind
PECOTA, I’m also talking about the idiots who actually believe in these
statistics.

While real
baseball fans live and die by every pitch and every hit, Stat Zombies live and
die by every statistic and every numerical trend. If baseball was truly run by
algorithms, don’t you think that Japan would have better baseball leagues than
America? No one creates better algorithms than the Japanese. I’m not being
racist, I’m just stating facts. If baseball ran on algorithms, then Kei Igawa
would have been the second-coming of Cy Young.

Give me a
break.

You may
think that I’m only ranting about this because PECOTA Depth Charts show the
Yankees in third place in the AL East. That’s not true. The actual predictions
are irrelevant. I’d be ranting and raving even if these idiots predicted that
the Yankees’ record in 2010 would be 162-0.

The
predictions make no difference to me whatsoever. First of all, I don’t take any
prediction made before spring training seriously. Secondly, I don’t care how
good they are in the world of Mathematics, these Stat Zombies are idiots when
it comes to baseball. When you remove the most important factor about an
athlete, the human factor, you are an idiot. If players weren’t human then
there would be no need for the Disabled List. There would be no point in even
watching a game, because we would all know the outcome. Betting on a game
wouldn’t be gambling, and we’d all be able to make a lot of money and live
happily ever after. I’m not angry about the actual predictions. I simply don’t
care about them. My beef is with these people degrading the sport of
baseball, and lowering it to the level of mere numbers. That is what I have a
problem with.

Another
thing I have a problem with is that Stat Zombies are feeding the
baseball-ignorance that exists among fans today. Not only the zombies at
Baseball Prospectus, but also several “analysts” who seem to base
everything they say on statistics, rather than thinking for themselves. These
so-called analysts feed information to the public and brainwash the masses into
thinking that baseball is all about numbers. While numbers in baseball do play
a significant role, it is completely idiotic to think that they play the most
vital role. That is why predictions like the ones on the PECOTA Depth Charts
annoy me. Not because of the projections, but because of their effects on the
minds of ignorant fans.

The morons
behind PECOTA have a deep understanding of statistics and mathematical models,
but their understanding of baseball as a sport is as shallow as the water in a
puddle on a flat surface. Guess what, Stat Zombies, there’s more to baseball
than numerical trends. Sorry for the rude awakening, but maybe you should put
your calculators down and step away from Google for a few minutes, and realize
that statistics do not make the player. Numbers do not make the team.

 

So, what do
I think of PECOTA? Baseball Prospectus can go choke on one.

 

• • • You can also find my blog post on 161st-and-river.com • • •

 

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Once again, I’ve been hit hard by the reality of living in a baseball-less country. Just when I start to forget, the fact that people here know nothing about baseball slaps me in the face. It’s not a regular slap, it’s a B*tch-slap. You know, the kind of slap that hurts your ego more than it hurts your face. Kind of like the slap that the Yankees handed to the crack-induced-self-proclaimed-psychic Jimmy Rollins. Yes, I’m still going there.

bitch_slap.jpg

I’ve managed to surround myself with a close group of American friends who follow American sports. Baseball, of course, is our main common interest. Four of us are Yankees fans, three are Mets fans, two are Angels fans, one is a Braves fan, one is a Dodgers fan, and the last of the group is a Cardinals fan. I have friends from other baseball backgrounds, but these people are the ones I hang out with every day.

Surrounding myself with fellow baseball enthusiasts makes me feel like I’m back home. It makes me forget that I live in a place where no one knows the beauty of a first pitch, or the passion that keeps us going through 9 innings. What happened today reminded me.

I was sitting in a coffee shop at the Mall Of The Emirates yesterday (that mall is mind-blowing) with a colleague of mine from work. He’s a fellow American who is just as passionate about baseball as I am. He’s a Mets fan, so we were exchanging banter. It was mostly me making fun of the Mets, after all, he can’t help but tip his hat to the World Champions. We moved on to discussing Hot Stove issues. Where players will be next year, what different teams should be aiming for; you know, the regular November topics of conversation.

A middle-aged man sitting at the table next to us decided to interrupt our discussion. “Sorry to interrupt,” he said, as though an apology would make it any less annoying, “but I couldn’t help overhearing you discussing sports. I’m a huge sports fan”. His heavy Australian accent didn’t sound too promising. “What sport are you talking about?” he continued to ask. I told him we were discussing baseball, to which he responded with the three-word sentence I absolutely despise: “Cricket is better”.

At this point, it took every ounce of strength in me to hold myself back from throwing my BlackBerry at his head. How dare he tell me that cricket is better than baseball? This man must be insane, or smoking crack. Or maybe he’s just Australian. Who understands those Australians anyway?

I stared at him blankly for a few seconds. You know, that blank stare that the cast of The Office give to the camera.

halpert.jpg

I asked him if he knew anything about baseball before he passed such ridiculous judgment on the best sport in the world. He admitted that he knew absolutely nothing about the game. That came as no surprise to me or my colleague. Such an absurd claim can only stem from pure ignorance.

This man, however, has no excuse for knowing nothing about the game. They have baseball leagues in Australia, I have several friends who play there. Granted it’s not a particularly popular sport down under, but for someone who claims to be a “huge sports fan”, you’d think he’d know about his country’s sports leagues.

My colleague and I decided to take a deep breath, calm down, and explain to him about our beautiful sport. We explained everything from innings, to rotations, to lineups, to defensive positions, to bullpen management. We took it step by step, and were careful to include all the details suitable for beginners.

I then proudly proclaimed that my team, the New York Yankees, are the World Champions of Baseball. I then continued to explain the playoffs to him, as well as the structure of Major League Baseball. I thought about explaining the DH rule to him, but decided that it was too soon, because then I’d have to go into explaining pinch-hitting which would lead to pinch-running, and it would all get too messy for him.

He listened intently, asked a few questions here and there, leading us to think that we got him interested. Yes! We recruited one!

We did everything short of busting out the charts and pie-graphs. We even drew a sketch of a baseball field on a napkin so we could explain base-running and defensive positions. After we were all done with our presentation, the man shrugged and said “I still think cricket is better. So are rugby and soccer”.

Blank_stare.jpgCheck, please.