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Saturday, December 03, 2005
i should have said balls
instead of ass. can't lick the sweat of ricky henderson's balls. unless ricky wants him to. if ricky wants ricky's balls licked, ricky's balls should be licked!

before i start to imagine the appearance of ricky's balls, i'll move on to whatever the hell i was gonna talk about. which i don't remember. actually i didn't have anything to talk about. i was just going to ramble. looks like i'm doing it.

what can i say? here's something. the thing is, we're all analyzing. here we are, us analysts, analyzing. we're saying whoa, look at that move! hey, that's a good move! what? why'd they do that? that's terrible! but the thing is. here's the thing. the thing is the moves are not made from the perspective of baseball. that's right. they are not made from the perspective of baseball. they are made from the perspective of business. the business is entertainment. the contracts are advertisments. the signing of a contract is news, which is an advertisement, which sells tickets. tickets. 81 home games a year. still a significant source of revenue. never mind that gate receipts should be split between the home team and the visiting team. that's another story. and there's tv revenue. but the point is, the team is not trying to win games. it's trying to make money.

winning games is one way to accomplish that. but if your analysis is based on the assumption that teams are trying only to win games, you have a flaw. a fundamental flaw at the core of your system. your system of analysis.

you are a farce. baseball prospectus is a farce. for many reasons. but this is a fundamental one. the media is a farce. the major media. trades and signings are presented as baseball moves instead of business moves. yes, they talk about the dollars involved, aren't we interested in dollars, but there's a fundamental misrepresentation of motivation. and facts.

what is a beleagured baseball analyst to do?

that question is too big. let's leave it aside. let's call it rhetorical.

i love baseball. that is all there is to do. love baseball. we can talk about the business. the signing of chipper jones not because he's a great hitter, which he is, but because he's a good ole southern boy like ourselves. he gets hurt, and he fights through the pain, and we root for him. we go buy tickets. we cheer and cheer and cheer.

i like to cheer. i like to yell at darin erstad for hurting johnny estrada. and make friends with the angels fans sitting next to me. and yell at darin erstad.

yeah i'm a braves fan. i like to watch andruw jones hit the shit out of the ball. and the cow jumped over the moon. it says "cow" on the back of his neck. does anybody know that? it's chinese. he's got the chinese character for cow tattooed on the back of his neck.

but what is there to do. we can talk about what we would do if we were trying to win. because if i were a general manager, i would win. of course, it's not that simple. you've got a budget. how do you decide how much money to keep and how much money to spend. fundamentally it's a business. the only thing a business can do is go for profit. a corporation. an entity. it lives forever. as long as it's profitable.

so what's left? the game. we can talk about the game. we can talk about the beauty of a throw by jeff francoeur. we can talk about the cut fastball of mariano rivera. we can talk about the thirteen steps from first to second of a steal by ricky henderson.

and we can talk about his balls. we can talk about how to play the game. that's something i haven't seen anywhere, really. what i'm talking about is the theory of the game. how to hit a curveball, i don't really know. how to throw a change-up, can't help you. but i do know how to play games. i do know game theory. i'm a lifelong gamer and a mathematician. i've got some things to say.

that's what we'll be talking about. because baseball players are terrible at it. it's amazing, actually, how terrible they are. they play and get paid millions not because they understand the game, but because they have talent. some have both. bonds. pujols. schilling. maddux. martinez. but there are others with all the talent and no understanding. they can only go so far. shawon dunston. pedro feliz. cristian guzman. then there are those with little talent but lots of theory. they make the most of their opportunity. adam dunn. sabermetricians aren't going to like that. david wells. just throw strikes. game theory. we will talk.

this post is over and i like it, mostly. i feel like i get a little self-important, sometimes, but fuck it. it's just something i wrote. am i really full of myself? kind of.

there's so much bad information out there. you beat it back, and it pops up again. you take your machete, and cut cut cut, and two days later it's back. it's a fuckin jungle. what can i do? nothing, it seems.

but i gotta do something.
i laughed out loud twice.
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