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Orioles, Red Sox, Colts Band, Radio

baltimore colts mascotThe deeper we get into September, the harder it is to say anything about these games against the Red Sox. No point in getting all Don Quixote about how much I hate the fact that their fans invade Camden Yards — even I find it tough to muster that argument this late in the season. I still hate it, though.

It’s particularly hard tonight now that Nolan Reimold is on the DL with an achilles injury. He’ll have some surgery and be ready to go for next year, but this would (as noted in the article) seem to put a serious dent in his Rookie of the Year chances.

Reimold was one of my favorite things about the 2009 Orioles. He’s the kind of player I love to watch and he put up very decent numbers. If it were up to me, he’d be the unquestioned starter in left field until he proves he can’t get it done. Felix Pie has come along nicely but still looks like a better fit as the fourth outfielder than anything else.

That appears to be the Orioles’ plan. We are, however, a long way from March. This won’t be the same team by then.

Want something to get excited about in the meantime? Sink your teeth into the trailer for The Band That Wouldn’t Die, Barry Levinson‘s upcoming documentary about the Baltimore Colts Marching Band.

This looks amazing. It’s a very Baltimore thing to do, maintaining the Colts band even as the Colts themselves are gone forever. I’m hard on the sports fans of this city sometimes, and part of that is because I think tradition holds them to a high standard. The Colts Band is a significant part of that tradition and it’s about time they had their moment.

Finally, what do you have going on between 10 and 12 tomorrow morning? Not much, you say? Perfect. You’re invited to tune in to Fox Sports 1370 to listen to me banter with the Fighting Ungers about Baltimore sports and — probably — a lot of other things. Hit up 1370 AM here in the area or head over to this page and click in the upper right to listen online.

The usual offer stands: first person to tune in, call in, and mention The Loss Column wins a prize. It’s true — I actually have a small prize I’ll be happy to send you. Only caveat is that Ryan’s not eligible.

(Photo, which doesn’t directly relate but which I thought was cool, via paultravers.com. Interesting stuff there.)

17 comments to Orioles, Red Sox, Colts Band, Radio

  • neal s

    So Guthrie now leads the major leagues in losses with 15. Funny thing about it is that he also has 10 wins. I wonder how different the perception of his season would be if the record were 10-8 instead of 10-15.

    It wouldn’t change a thing, of course. Guthrie has had a tough year. Some of the basic numbers for consideration:

    Hits: 165 in ’07, 176 in ’08, 191 so far in ’09
    Walks: 47, 58, 52
    Earned Runs: 72, 77, 97
    ERA: 3.70, 3.63, 5.06
    Strikeouts: 123, 120, 99
    Strikeouts per 9: 6.3, 5.7, 5.2
    Home Runs: 23, 24, 30
    WHIP: 1.21, 1.23, 1.41

    I don’t need “advanced” stats here. When strikeouts drop and hits and home runs go up, things don’t go well.

    I can’t honestly say that I believe in Guthrie for next year. I want to, but tonight was a “good” performance and he still gave up nine hits in 5.2 innings while walking three and striking out only one.

    I like the guy and I think he has a role next year, but it’s increasingly clear that finding a strong starting pitcher to anchor this staff is critical.

    Just one problem: that guy isn’t out there this year in terms of free agents. Closest to a sure thing is Lackey, and he’s not exactly Halladay.

    Tough decisions ahead is all I’m saying.

  • Andrew

    originally posted by neal s
    I don’t need “advanced” stats here. When strikeouts drop and hits and home runs go up, things don’t go well.

    Goddamnit neal. Don’t you know every single time you say this stuff it makes me hate everything about you. I’m serious.

    Anyway. There is one thing you did not mention, which would be key. Naturally I had to get it from fangraphs, a quality baseball website where advanced thinking is welcomed instead of CONSTANTLY MOCKED, so I can see how it got past you.

    Fly ball rate: 38.2% in ’07, 38% in ’08, 45.2% in ’09. Bingo bango. There is your problem. Good news though is that the line drive rate has not changed (in fact it is lower than in ’07), but the BABiP did come back to normal, which explains the soar in hits (beyond that fly balls are hits mroe often than ground balls)

  • neal s

    Damn, dude, if anything I say here makes you “hate everything about” me then you probably ought to mosey along. Seriously. I value your contributions, but if that’s the case then it’s been nice knowing you. See you around sometime.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    maybe the advanced stats on hatred are completely contrary to the traditional stats on hatred.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    congratulations terps. you suck again.

  • neal s

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot today and I need to add to what I said above.

    First, Andrew, I’m not saying that you’re no longer welcome here. What I’m saying is that if you’re driven to make a statement like the one you made then I can’t see why you’d want to stick around. In which case, I wish you well.

    From a broader perspective, here’s the thing: this site isn’t FanGraphs. I don’t personally prefer Nate Silver’s approach to baseball analysis, and nor do I believe it is inherently superior to other perspectives (although he does great work in politics and I do not for a second question his smarts).

    Maybe that means this isn’t a “quality” site. Maybe there’s no value in what I do here. That’s not something I decide.

    But I do know that nothing I write here is designed to provoke the kind of emotion that would drive someone to real personal animosity.

    There are two main ways to try to communicate in a public form like this. One is to provoke controversy as a means of driving attention. It works. And when you talk to people who practice it, most of them will say that it’s just an act. That they do it for the ratings/audience/clicks/etc because that’s just how things are done.

    The other method, which I prefer, is to call things like you see them while simultaneously nurturing a civil discourse and acknowledging the value of multiple perspectives. That’s what I try to do. It’s the reason this site has less traffic than some others, but it’s also the reason we have more than some others. It’s not perfect and I’ve made my share of mistakes, but it’s what I strive for.

    Apparently, it isn’t working with you. What I thought of as basically a friendly bit of ribbing (the “advanced statisitcs” comment) you took as something quite different.

    So, you know, like I said: it’s cool. Mosey on. Nothing to see here. No reason to come to a website when you’re actually driven to hate the person who produces it.

    It’s just baseball, after all. Ask BBM — he’ll tell you.

  • dan the man

    If anybody’s looking for a mediator, I honestly thought Andrew’s comment was meant as a joke since you guys are always (mostly) harmlessly jarring at each other regarding the meaningfulness of stats, etc. It’s well known around here that you two have different viewpoints and I didn’t think twice about the comment because Andrew is a logical enough guy to not let something like this cause actual “hatred”, especially when he writes for the site. I thought it was an over-the-top way to highlight your differences of opinion, and nothing more. But that is simply my opinion and I understand Neal’s reaction certainly.

    Anyway, it’s a shame the bullpen blew it tonight. It was like ’07 all over again. And on a night when Hernandez bounced back against the Sox in a big way. Good for him – despite the blowout, his performance should be noted, though he still has a long way to go.

    I was in Fell’s this afternoon and it was crawling with Sox fans. I was just like… ughhhhh, let’s go home. I can’t wait until we are good and the presence of Sox fans in our city at least comes with some satisfying knowledge that they even have a CHANCE at going home after watching their team lose in Baltimore. Right now, it’s as close to a guaranteed win for these Pink Hats as they will ever get and that never ceases to sting, no matter what month it is.

  • neal s

    @dan the man – You might be right, and I wouldn’t have thought much of it except for the “I’m serious” followed by the dig about a “quality” site. That’s what led me to think, “damn, that’s one hell of a reaction.”

    I guess only Andrew knows, right? Hopefully what I’ve said about it is fair and reasonable, and I guess everyone goes from there.

    Jim Palmer made some great points about Hernandez tonight regarding his delivery. When he’s on, he’s following straight through and is able to deliver the ball down in the zone. With his stuff, that makes him pretty good. Problem is that he can’t repeat his “best” delivery consistently, resulting in balls left up in the zone and guys feeling comfortable waiting for a pitch to hit.

    If Hernandez can fix his mechanics and develop a sinking fastball he’ll be doing himself a great service. Right now, though, I’m worried about him.

    Then, yeah, the bullpen.

    Just another blown game against the Sox. Definitely sucks, definitely stings.

  • dan the man

    @neal s – Yeah, reading over that comment again and it does sound awful harsh the second time around. Maybe he was drunk?

    Heh.. anyway, who’s ready for some football tomorrow? I anticipate a close Ravens victory, and that Ed Reed will be a big factor.

  • neal s

    @dan the man – Man, if he was drunk at 10:17 AM then I hope it’s because he had one hell of a Friday night. Which would be kind of awesome in a way. There would be a hell of a story to tell.

    I’ve got a post on the Ravens written and scheduled to publish at about 8 tomorrow morning. Should be a good game. I’m with you on it being close — my call is Ravens 17-14.

  • Andrew

    Here’s the thing, and let me say: I probably am moving on, because it’s pretty clear that my style clashes with your style. That doesn’t make anybody a bad person – it’s a free country – but I think you are right when you indirectly say that I’d be happier writing and talking with people a little more open minded about advanced thinking in baseball.

    But, again, here’s the thing: I really like a lot of things about this site, but what has really been itching in my craw is that I feel like I’m just talking to a brick wall. Maybe you feel that way, too. But I honestly feel like I just keep saying the same things and just nobody is picking up on them at all. Heck, none of you probably give half a rat’s ass about BABiP, and that just seems like child’s play to me. I don’t want to sound harsh, but it’s just brutal for me to sit here and really be the only guy saying these things and everyone else sort of ignoring it or playfully mocking it.

    So: this morning. Yes I was drunk, yes I had a terrific Friday (there is a pub around the corner called The Olde Toad which introduced Toad-ally Pumpkin Ale and I was gone), but more than that I was angry. Maybe you just hit the same open nerve one time too many.

    Anyhow, adios.

  • dan the man

    For what it’s worth, I enjoy reading about the advanced stats and I’ve said so before. Does that mean all of a sudden I’m going to be using them in my comments? No, not really, but as a result of your comments, I am reading Moneyball and appreciating all the headway that’s been made in terms of thinking about baseball.

    The point is, if you’re on a mission to convert folks into changing how they think about baseball completely, then that’s not going to happen. But if all you’re trying to do is put it in people’s heads that this stuff is out there and it’s legit, then you’ve achieved that. I understand a lot more about it since you’ve been talking about it and I’d be willing to bet the same goes for the other commenters, Neal included.

    But TLC was never about stats and you can’t expect the main posts to include advanced statistics, or even regular statistics for that matter. And getting angry about it is silly – just the other day we were talking about enjoying baseball regardless of the Orioles losing, etc. and today you brought out “hatred”, which should only be used in reference to Nick Swisher, Youkilis/Pedroia/Beckett/Papelbon, or Hines Ward.

    The playful mocking isn’t a knock on you personally – I think that’s obvious. You just happen to be “that stats guy” on a website that’s non-stats oriented, so every now and then us non-scientific dudes marvel at it and poke fun. But when it boils down to it, I really do enjoy reading about it, even if I don’t talk about it.

    Either way, I would encourage you to just not take it so seriously, keep posting and doing your thing here, don’t hold it against us, and find some additional, alternate site to jive stats so you don’t get so frustrated.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    man people take the internet way too seriously around here.

    i read this site pretty much every day and i enjoy everyone’s posts even though i obviously don’t follow baseball (in case you didn’t know).

    but seriously, why does everybody seem so over-sensitive?

    andrew i wouldn’t want you to stop posting here because you’re the only one besides me who makes irrational, wasted, yet interesting 5:00 am posts!

    dude just post your address in rochester and i’ll send you something that’ll mellow you out, and make stats blow your mind even more haha.

  • sci

    We’re all friends (or cyber-friends), right? I personally find your posts and comments very interesting and informative, Andrew, for what it’s worth. (Particularly the minor-league breakdowns.) AND I find Neal’s posts/comments very thoughtful and stimulating. Although I personally identify more naturally with Neal’s less stats-oriented perspective at TLC, that doesn’t mean I don’t love reading FanGraphs and such. Both entities are quite awesome and unique, really.

    AND I agree with BBM here too. Why so serious? Isn’t this really all just for throwing thoughts/opinions around? None of it’s personal, and it all comes from the same place – an unabashed love of local pro sports teams. (In the case of the Orioles, a sad, unrequited love most of the time.)

  • Andrew

    Ok, guys. I appreciate the support. But I’m at least taking some time off. I suspect BBM is totally right about taking shit too seriously. This is what happens when you live in a place with no Orioles (or Ravens) fans…you end up on the internet looking for support.

    Oh, and Dan, Moneyball is completely dead. It doesn’t work anymore, and not because stats don’t work, but because every team has read it and now there is no advantage for the small market teams.

  • neal s

    @Andrew – I think the above folks pretty much covered it, but I’ll basically repeat what they said.

    1. I appreciate and welcome the dimension that your thinking brings to the table. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that before, too, as evidenced by the fact that I was genuinely curious if you had any thoughts on the US Open (it occurred to me that things like first serve %, performance on different surfaces, etc. might unearth some interesting perspectives). I don’t hate stats, I just don’t believe in their supremacy the way you do. I cherry pick them a little more. If your goal is to change that, I’m sorry. Probably won’t happen.

    2. You are, of course, still and always welcome.

    3. We are definitely taking this issue way too seriously.

  • dan the man

    @Andrew – Well shit dude, I write a nice long post about how I appreciate your posts and you pick out the one thing about Moneyball to criticize me on. I realize it’s old news at this point, but all I was saying that because I enjoy your posts, I found an interest in a book that in part is about advanced stats and thinking about the game differently. I love you dude, but you can be a dick sometimes you know? Haha.. but seriously it’s clear we all hope you stick around. Ok, enough said about all this, on to the football post.