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Friday, October 31, 2003
world, meet josh beckett. josh beckett, meet the world.
that was some performance. game 6 of the world series, against the new york yankees for chrissakes, and he's snappin his curve like a pimp callin bitches. josh beckett and mark prior. now there are 2.
which brings me to my second point: woohoo! the yankees lost! you new york types will accuse me of bias, but that's a load of horseshit. the yankees ruin everything. as a true fan of baseball, it's my duty to root against them. to those true fans of baseball who, through circumstance, are also yankees fans, i pity you. your doom is eternal, and there's nothing you can do about it.
why did the yankees lose? same reason they won in 98--00. let me explain. ok let me ramble.
stat people say the playoffs are a crapshoot. i agree with them. baseball people say the posteason is different. i agree with them. wtf? i agree with everyone. i think it makes me a much more interesting person.
2003: the marlins win the world championship. 2002: the angels. what do they have in common? great pitching, great defense, contact hitting, and speed. 2001: diamondbacks, same thing. etc.
i figure most of my readers are stat people, so to you i say this: what do baseball people say wins championships? pitching and defense. over and over again. but you ignore them. you've seen the data, and you know they're wrong. you write them off as idiots. but guess what: you're wrong. they're not saying what you think they're saying. what they are saying is something they know to be true. and they're right.
having come from a statistical background, i can put their ideas in words you people can understand. have i pissed you off yet?
1. good pitching beats good hitting. false, as you know. what's true is: dominant pitching beats power hitting. that's not completely true. what's completely true is: people that strike out a lot can't hit kerry wood for shit. ok nobody can hit kerry wood, but some have a much better chance than others. they are the contact hitters. power hitters pad their numbers against soft-tossers, struggle against strikeout pitchers. this does not apply to barry bonds, who is a power hitter and a contact hitter. he kills everybody.
2. defense wins championships. a crock of shit, right? think again. translation: defense is more important in the postseason than the regular season. aren't they playing the same game? yes, but with different players. first of all, the post-season has dominant pitching. wood, prior, schmidt, beckett, martinez, mussina, santana . . . you get the point. that means the teams that succeed will have contact hitters. contact hitters mean more balls in play. more balls in play mean defense is more important.
i could go on, but i'll wrap things up. we saw that the world champion marlins and angels had pitching, defense, contact, and speed. what about the yankees? pitching, definitely. but that's it. so when those teams matched up, the marlins/angels put the ball in play, and the yankees couldn't deal with it. and the yankees hitters, while great, were not as great against dominant pitching. watching soriano flail at curve balls is comedy.
the a's are an interesting team to consider. the first three of the 2000 playoff teams lost in the first round. people said they "didn't know how to win". what they meant is the a's didn't have contact and speed. billy beane called it luck, but he was fooling us, as usual. his 2003 team had all the ingredients of a champion: great pitching, contact hitting, speed, and the best defense in the game. so why did they lose? luck.
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