Thursday, March 17, 2005

I find your lack of faith disturbing

I should have checked back after the 88 minute rain delay, I guess

If I had, I would have listened in on a pretty nice make-good performance by Zach Day: five innings, 55 pitches (42 strikes vs. 13 balls), one run, no walks, and no gopher balls. According to the article in the Times, his mechanics were sound and he was getting ahead of the Braves' hitters. Frank Robinson was pleased:

"A big step in the right direction," Robinson said. "He can work from that. That was a good outing for him. That's what you're looking for: getting the ball over the plate and challenging hitters."

And now Day has apparently jumped back into the lead for the final rotation spot---if indeed he lost it in the first place, a point of which Robinson is pretty vague now but wasn't so vague in quotes to the Post's Dave Sheinin after last Friday night's FUBAR against the Cardinals.

National Cheese has a nice entry on just how silly it is to put too much stock in early spring stats, which stretch "very limited" beyond comprehension. It's quite well-written, so I'm going to take the liberty of quoting the whole paragraph:

Spring Training is a thorny piece of evidence for causal determinists to deal with. Mike Hinckley, the top pitching prospect in the organization, was sent to AA as a result of his 6 innings of subpar work this Spring. John Rauch pitched pretty well in his 6 innings, and is being talked about as a possible 5th starter. These kinds of decisions are made all the time in Spring Training by GM's, managers and coaches. What's the problem? Anything
can happen in 6 innings! For a major league starting pitcher with a 5 year
career, 6 innings represents 0.7% of his career. For any pitcher in history you can find a 6-inning stretch where they allowed 8 runs and another 6-inning stretch where they allowed no runs. 6 innings simply cannot tell you anything about the capability or potential of a pitcher. Imagine if I gave a child a 3-page reading test but judged his/her literacy based on how they pronounced the first word! I know attention spans are short these days, but making decisions about someone's career based on a fraction of a fraction of their work is pretty dangerous stuff. There is a wonderful book on this topic by Steve Fireovid called "The 26th Man" detailing the patent absurdity of Spring Training analysis.

Of course, a child isn't being paid hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars to take the reading test, but you get Cheese's point.

---District of Baseball has a different take on the Nats Fan Clubbers' rally outside the Post building yesterday. Jeff makes two main points, both of which, in retrospect, have some merit:

The first one is something that didn't really occur to me:

While the protest was well intentioned, it was also a bit misguided. Protesting outside the Post makes some assume that the Post is somehow allied with Angelos, or otherwise culpable for publishing the ad. In
fact, the ad is very critical (if wrong) of the Post's coverage; why protest
outside someone Angelos thinks is on your side? The Post, like most other major papers, routinely prints advocacy ads like this, but it doesn't mean the Post supports them.

I had immediately assumed that the rally was organized outside the Post building for the reason that it would get the Post's attention, and the Post---as a daily with a regional, rather than local, geographical reach---would be the best strategic target for coverage that sends the "fans' message" up toward Baltimore. It didn't really occur to me that the Fan Clubbers might be protesting the Post itself---especially in light of last week's editorial and this week's Boswell and Fisher columns.

Of course, as Jeff notes, whatever the motivation, the Post didn't pick up on the story, apparently---or at least didn't deem it worthy to devote space, either print or electronic. Which leads to Jeff's second point:

Perhaps it's fortunate the event didn't gather more media attention: seeing a dozen baseball geeks march outside a newspaper office probably wouldn't do much to win the hearts and minds of the undecided in DC (let alone Baltimore.) If the fan club is really serious about this, they should spend some more time coordinating a protest to increase turnout, coordinate
media coverage, and pick a more suitable venue (if not the Orioles offices in
Baltimore, which might be too far for the casual DC-based protestor, how about the Orioles shop in Farragut Square?)

I don't live in DC anymore---haven't for almost five years now---but it seems to me like the Nats Fan Club has done an extraordinary job making itself known, at least known to the DC media. I can't really comment on its organizational efforts, especially in light of its success in getting out the word to the print and radio media, but Jeff's probably got a point on the optimal location of a protest. And it makes the first point pretty salient.

I will say that I heard a quick sound bite on WTOP yesterday evening (yes, WTOP-FM reaches to Richmond), and it sounded like more than a dozen people.

Protesting outside of the law offices of Peter Angelo$, esq. would have made more of an impact methinks. Perhaps if the deal is not made by the end of this week, they could do that instead...
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Yep, I heard some brief coverage of the event on WTOP yesterday afternoon; it's possible it got some mention on local TV newscasts (which I gave up on long ago), but nothing in print or online. Had they put some more planning into this, such as picking a more appropriate venue and working to increase the turnout, it might have been worthwhile. But from my point of view, it seemed a little odd, even desperate.

By the way, Ball-Wonk has a first-person account of the event. He's got one thing right: red caps don't go well with pasty complexions!
Yeah, I saw that a little while ago, Jeff. That Ballwonk is one of a kind; the rally/gathering/whatever is presented in grand, epic scale. ;-)
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