3. Dissecting a Baseball - Except I should clarify I would be dissecting multiple types of baseballs, not just MLB ones.
Be sure to vote as soon as you can because I want to start publishing regular entries this Monday, so I’ll write about what it is that has the most votes at the end of today
If you want to know the context for this entry, here’s last year’s version. I go over stats from the past season of ballhawking. It’s fun for my stat-geek mind. If you’re into stats, it might be fun for you too, but it’s really to have a record of everything. Feel free to leave a comment below suggesting any other stats you’d like to see in the entry.
Here are the overall numbers:
Baseballs (B): 223 (12th on mygameballs.com)
Games (G): 53 (12th on mygameballs.com)
Balls Per Game (BPG): 4.21 (24th on mygameballs.com. Ouch.)
Game Balls (GB): 3 (23rd on mygameballs.com)
Hit Balls (HB): 94
Hit Balls Per Game (HPG): 1.77
Balls Caught On The Fly (COF): 41
Balls Caught On Fly Per Game (CPG): 0.77
Thrown Balls (TB): 119
Thrown Balls Per Game (TPG): 2.25
Easter Eggs (EE): 7 (which is actually less than last year)
Easter Eggs Per Game (EPG): 0.13
Glove Trick Balls (GT): 3
Glove Trick Balls Per Game (GPG): 0.06
Balls During The Game: 5 (less than last year)
Balls After The Game: 16
Average Competition Factor (ACF): 143,718 (16th on mygameballs.com)
High: 11 (14th on mygameballs.com
Overall Snag Tracker:
Stats Broken Down By Month:
Balls broken down by Stadium:
New Yankee Stadium-
Snag Trackers for Yankee Stadium in 2012:
Snag Trackers for just the hit balls:
And for just the thrown baseballs:
Snag Trackers for Nationals Park:
Snag Trackers for just the hit balls:
And just for the thrown balls:
Snag Trackers for just hit balls:
And just for thrown balls:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards-
Just the hit balls:
And just the thrown balls:
High: 4 (so sad, but so Citi Field at the same time)
Just the hit balls:
And just the thrown baseballs:
Citizens Bank Park:
**EDIT/NOTE**: In looking at the image above, I realized I put this into my records incorrectly. I snagged 6 baseballs during this game, as you can see from the entry. That means I actually snagged 224 baseballs this season. I’m dumb for doing that, but I’m just going to leave everything as it is. If you want to see how that extra baseball affects my stats, click the link over there ——> in the sidebar for “my mygameballs.com account”. I got all of these stats from there and the site has more information stored than I could ever write about, so you should check it out anyway and sign-up if you have ever snagged a ball at a baseball game. And to those of you on mygameballs.com, make sure you not only vote for president and all that stuff, but make sure you vote for Ballhawk of the Year and Junior Ballhawk of the Year. Voting is now open for the two awards on your account’s page. Back to the rest of the entry…
In this version because I only attended one game there this season and I didn’t want to do all of the stats stuff for just one game.
As for my New Year’s Resolutions, they’re not really resolutions; they’re goals, but whatever. We’ll see how many of them I managed to reach:
1. Go to 50 games- Yes, I went to 53.
2. Average 4.5 Balls Per Game- No, I averaged 4.21.
3. Go to 8 Stadiums- No, I went to 6, but I could have gone to 8 easily without school getting in the way (both high school and college).
4. Double my career total- Yes, I did it on the last game of the season.
5. Catch one Game Home Run. Period- Yes, Trevor Plouffe’s game-tying home run to be specific.
6. Catch 5 Game Balls total- No, I only got started catching game balls at the end of July and only managed to snag 3. I’ll take game balls in back-to-back games over this goal, though.
7. Be in the mygameballs.com Top 10- No, I was in 12th. You were right, Alex.
8. Go to 10 games at Nationals Park before June’s end- I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this goal, but no, I didn’t.
9. Average 5.0 Balls Per Game at Nationals Park- No, I averaged almost half-a-ball under this mark.
10. Average 3.5 Balls Per Game at Citi Field- No, I didn’t anticipate Citi Field becoming a worse ballpark due to their additions.
11. Average 2.5 BPG at Yankee Stadium- Yes, I actually blew this out of the water with a 4.06 average.
12. Improve on my HB/TB ratio- Yes, from 0.51:1 in 2011 to 0.79:1 in 2012.
13. Go to Camden Yards 3 times- Yes, I went 4 times in 2012.
14. Enjoy the summer of Baseball- I would say I did. Some times I wasn’t having fun, but overall, the whole summer was a pure blast.
15. Post Entries Regularly- Compared to 2011, I definitely posted my entries a lot more quickly when discounting these past few entries at the end of the season that have taken me forever to get up.
If you made it this far: thank you. You are too kind. (And you probably have a longer attention span than I do. Even if I did write this whole entry pretty much in one night.) I will be trying very hard to get a video up Friday explaining my winter blogging plans. I’m very excited the potentiality for awesomeness the stuff I have planned for the winter, so make sure you check the blog sometime during this next weekend November 9-11. If it isn’t up then, that means I decided to post the video November 12th. Anyway, the winter blogging plans are dependent on reader input, so make sure to read and vote on what you want to read. But anyway, I feel like I’m just confusing you. More explanation will come Friday…or Monday. It depends on when the video comes out. I haven’t even fully scripted the video. If you were wondering, I am planning to get on a regular entry-posting schedule; or at least attempt one. That’ll be in the video too, so like I said, watch out for a video coming soon.
Sorry it’s two days late– given October 13th was Observing Baseball’s two-year anniversary– (YouTube was giving me problems uploading it, FOUR TIMES) but this is a video tribute-type thing I did for two years of Observing Baseball. Feel free to pause the video to click the links below the video that I allude to in the video itself. The reason I wanted to celebrate this way is because I know a bunch of you have joined on in the past year. Also, sorry for the length. I prioritized having everything in there over making it watchable for people with ADD. Enjoy:
And one good thing about being two days late on this entry is I get to shoutout all of the cool people who wished me a happy birthday. Here are said cool people:
A while ago, when I was writing an entry about all the stuff I had collected over the couple of years I have been ballhawking, I found a unique ball that had all (or close to all) of the MLB ballparks. This particular ball was still in the package, so I could see who made it.At the time, I was tweeting out a bunch of pictures of what I was finding while going through my collection of “stuff”. I wanted to mention the maker if they were on twitter, so I looked them up and mentioned that they had made that ball. The owner, who also runs the twitter account, then replied and followed me.
Later, I saw the Bergino Baseball clubhouse on a slideshow made by CNBC of the “Baseball’s Greatest Attractions”. Right after I saw this, my thought was, ” This is one of the top baseball attractions in the country, and the owner follows me on twitter. How have I not already been down there? I should really go before I start going to a bunch of games.” As many of you know, my schedule really starts up next week when I got to 8 games in 9 days, so I figured this week would be as good as any to go.
After some walking and forgetting what side of Manhattan I was, I arrived at The Bergino Baseball Clubhouse:
For the record, this wasn’t a picture I took, but rather, a screen shot of a video I took of me getting lost in downtown Manhattan. Long story short, I was planning to make this a vlog entry, but my last vlog reminded me how long a process uploading a video to YouTube is, so I probably won’t upload that video.
Once I got in, a man greeted me inside. Since there was no one else in the store, I presumed it was the owner, Jay Goldberg. I introduced myself as Mateo Fischer, and by his reaction, he recognized the name. I then spent the better part of what must have been close to two hours taking pictures and having Jay explain the different items in the store to me.
Before I get started, I must say, do check the blog’s Facebook page. I will include various pictures of the store in this entry, but there are several pictures I took that I can’t segue into and aren’t in the entry.
As you enter the store, there are the following things set-up in your path:
A game-used base stool.
Some mostly generic baseballs.
Some more specific baseballs.
Of course, these baseballs were just the ones on display; here are all the baseballs that were for sale:
Yeah, and you thought *I* had a lot of baseballs.
To the left of that shelf of baseballs, was this wall:
The items there are pretty self-explanatory, right? I should note, though, that it is not an actual glove you are seeing, but rather a wooden sculpture of one.
Opposite this wall is a wall Jay described as having different pieces of “baseball art”. I use quotations because although, he and I both consider the items on the wall art, they aren’t all what most people would consider pieces of art. You know what, I’ll just include a picture so you can see for yourself:
Since I’m all out of transitions between pictures, I just want to include four more things, so here they are:
This is a Bob Gibson poster from what appears to be a game at Forbes Field. What’s so special about that? Well as Jay pointed out, it’s that it is just that- a Bob Gibson poster from a game at Forbes Field. Can you imagine if that was today? There would be at least one sponsor’s logo on the poster. Heck, this poster doesn’t even have Bob Gibson’s name on it. You’re just supposed to know it’s Bob Gibson.
In addition to the balls they design, Bergino also makes specialty baseballs for companies or events. For example, the middle ball is for a kid’s bar mitzvah. As you can also see, there are mini-gloves that they also make. They are designed to be business card holders, but according to Jay, people get creative with their usage, e.g. as gloves for babies.
3. Jay wants Jackie Robinson to always have the strongest presence in the clubhouse- I don’t know how many pieces relate to Jackie Robinson on the “wall of baseball art”, but there are several, and here is one of them:
Another piece I photographed in the store relating to Jackie Robinson is this one:
You may recognize this painting, but regardless, the story behind it could very well be more interesting. The artist is a French woman who came over to America. She had never seen baseball before, but she went with a friend to a Mets game, and although she had no clue what was going on, she loved the energy in the stadium. She then became a baseball fan, and now, she only paints about baseball (I think I got that last part right, but I may have one of those Andy Pettitte “misremembering” incidents).
Anyway, that’s it. I bought two hats; an Oakland A’s hat and a Bergino hat, and because I had told my schedule, and he knew I would be at 4 different stadiums this week, he gave me a bag tag for free that is on my backpack as I write this entry:
I then got a picture of Jay with the store before I left:
(Notice the TV in the corner. As far as I can tell, it is turned on constantly to MLB Network.)
That was it. It was a really great experience. It is a really great store for any baseball fan contrary to what you would think for a store that really isn’t that big. Again, I urge you to check the blog’s Facebook page, which can be accessed by clicking on the link in the sidebar over there —>. There are far more pictures, and as I always do with pictures that have an entry attached to them, I add a caption for almost every picture.
Ah, welcome to Sh… excuse me, Citi Field:
I was planning to get the $10 student ticket for this game. When I got there, though, those tickets were sold out, and the cheapest tickets were $37. Neither did I have the money, nor would I have paid that price had I brought enough money.
There I found myself in the situation of being at Citi Field with nothing to do. I figured that as long as I was there, I could take a tour around the stadium, since I had never been fully around Citi Field. Also, fun fact: up to this point in the season, I had taken more trips to Citi Field when I didn’t enter the stadium than I had to actually enter the stadium and go to the game. I had only gone to one game there so far, but I had gone once to pick up my six-game ticket plan and now this time.
My tour started off by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, which is behind home plate. I then went down the first base side of the stadium:
On this side, there was…
The team store:
The Hodges V.I.P. entrance:
and whatever this thing is:
I then had to go around a parking lot, which I suspect may have been the players’ parking lot. I have two pictures here if anyone can confirm or deny this:
After passing that, I came upon the right field gate:
I then kept walking until I passed the Bullpen Gate:
I also took a picture of the picnic area just inside the gate:
Did you notice anything in that last picture? No? Here’s a closer look:
Apparently there was some pitcher working in the bullpen. I had half a mind to throw on my Reds gear and ask one of the coaches for a ball, but I knew I would then have to count this game in my stats, and there was really no hope of me getting another ball, since I wasn’t going to enter the stadium, thus probably not being worth my while. I guess it would have been a cool story. I think I’ll have to try that sometime in the future. I don’t think anyone has gotten a ball at Citi Field before the gates open, and it would be great to be that first person.
I then walked right behind the play area in dead-center:
Behind me at this point, was the huge collection of auto-related establishments. I’ve already blogged about this, so I didn’t feel as obligated to take a picture of this, so I didn’t. I then came across something I really wasn’t expecting to find.
As I walked behind the left field portion of the stadium, I saw this right here:
I figure out that it was the employees’ entrance. As I kept walking, I saw a checkpoint where there were two security guards checking to make sure only employees were passing:
I then passed by the left field gate, which, little known fact, I have actually entered through before:
After which, I passed by the Stengel V.I.P. entrance:
Here’s the view from the Stengel gate looking towards the JRR (Jackie Robinson Rotunda):
I must say, for all the things they mess up on, the Mets are pretty solid with letting you know where you are on the outside of the stadium. First of all, there are these map things:
then they also have these directional thingys:
So yeah, I just complemented the Mets on something. Maybe the apocalypse is this year.
As I kept walking, I passed the Seaver V.I.P entrance:
and then I was back to the ticket booth that denied me a $10 ticket. Here is my poor attempt at word play:
Then I was back at the Rotunda where I had started. I do want to explain a more minute detail of Citi Field to everyone, though. Outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, there are these funny looking patterns on the sidewalk:
Before Citi Field opened, the Mets made it so you could buy one of the little stones within one of those patterns. The darker ones cost one price and the lighter ones cost a different, presumably higher, price. Therefore, they each have a different message on them. Here are two examples:
Oh, and just because I can, here are two signs that are useless to 80% (or more) of people, but whose function is simply to idiot-proof Citi Field. I will give no further explanation:
That was it for my tour around Citi Field. I *was* then going to hop back on the train to go to Manhattan, but I saw Garrett Meyer and Zack Hample, so I stopped to chat with them at the gate until it opened. I didn’t take any pictures for myself and this blog, but I took the opening picture in Zack’s entry of the game. After the gates opened, I actually did get on the train and an hour-and-a-half later, I was back at home.
So I have a gap here that I have to bridge. I’m not quite in “ballhawking mode” just yet (my first game will probably in Baltimore on April 7th), so I’ll just write more miscellaneous entries until this weekend. That can range anywhere from writing entries about games that I have attended before I made this blog to just adding my opinion to MLB news.
In today’s entry I’ll do the latter. Obviously the biggest news today is that Tim Lincecum is to undergo Tommy John Surgery. If you haven’t heard the news, Lincecum injured his arm during his between-starts bullpen session yesterday. Reportedly he felt no discomfort in his March 27th start:
Anyway, I’m shocked and disappointed by this. If you’ve read this blog semi-frequently you know that Tim Lincecum is my favorite player in MLB right now. Part of the reason is that I always held the belief that he had a fantastically efficient delivery that would actually prevent him from getting arm injuries more so than the more conventional deliveries of pitchers now adays. So first I guess is the disappointment that what I believed to be true when it comes to pitching has seen its foundation rocked and all those people that diagramed how bad Lincecum’s delivery is/was were right:
I mean that’s pretty much it. All I can say is that Chien-Ming Wang, Joe Nathan, and Julio Teheran better stay healthy this year. Oh, and I just covered the basic facts, but if you want to read the whole article on what happened to “Timmy”, here is the link.
For those wondering why it took me so long to get this posted, last week (March 4th- 10th was National Procrastination Week), and I was… er… celebrating until this past Sunday. So anyway, here is the entry…
Ah, day 2. This conference couldn’t get any better, right? Well, it didn’t. It simply maintained its awesomeness from the first day, but before we delve into the events of the second day, here are some items I got on the first day that I would like to share. First, here is the ID I used to enter the convention center. It might look familiar to those of you who follow me on Twitter (If you don’t follow me on Twitter and would like to do so there is a button to do so over there —> It is near the top of the page):
Pretty self-explanatory, right?
At the door, in addition to giving us those spiffy IDs, we also got a “goodie bag” of sorts:
The lower right item is the bag all this other stuff came in. The labeled items going clockwise from the bag are: an ESPN the magazine you may recognize from my introductory entry to this conference, the “handbook” is really a book that explains everything about the conference. Mostly, it has all of the panels and bios of each of the participants, a list of all of the participants in the conference (about 2,200) sorted by organization, and finally, a mouse pad that is basically a square cut out of some thin plastic sheet ( I actually don’t know if it is a mouse pad, but I assume so with how it looks). The other two things are a metallic bottle and some book I still haven’t figured out the theme of.
So anyway, NOW let’s get to the action of the day. There was no common panel for everyone to watch this day. It was just “go directly from breakfast to your first session”. That first session for me was “Measuring Belief in Sports Performance Research”. Since it wasn’t Baseball-related, here are only a few of the slides:
Just to give you an idea of the “globality” of this conference, the talk was given by this guy, Peter Blanch:
Yeah, well he’s from Australia.
The next talk was sort of a spin-off of a talk I had heard the previous day in that Peter Fadde helped research for this company.
Anyway, it was “Training Above The Neck”. The company was Axon Performance and the talk was given by their vice-president, Jason Sada:
The idea of the company is to enact Malcolm Gladwell‘s idea of getting mastery of something with 10,000 hours of practice, but instead of having a player go on the field and wear down their body’s mileage and risk injury, the athletes master the mental aspect of the game through their products. An example of the mileage thing being the case is, for those who pay attention to football, Quarterbacks will almost always say after they’re retired that once they started figuring out the mental part of the game, their body started failing them. An example of the usage of these products is that Minor League Baseball Players, who have eons of time traveling on buses, could actually see 5,000 pitches and practice identifying the first 1/8th of a pitch’s flight instead of just being bored out of their mind. This really was a presentation meant to be experience and not read, so I actually won’t post any of the slides. For example, the presentation started off with a movie about the company.
Not to belittle the other sessions, but next was by far my favorite session of the day and quite possibly the conference. Actually, though, it wasn’t as easy a choice as you might have thought. Right up until the end of Axon Sports’ presentation, I still didn’t know whether I was going to either: Franchises In Transition, or Box Score Rebooted. Right at the end of the session I thought to myself, “Hey, doofus, what are you even debating? You are a stat-oriented Baseball fan. Go to Box Score Rebooted!” So not only did I go to that one, but it was boxed lunch time so I was able to out-race people and get in the first row of seats. Check out the view I had:
Mind you, this shot was taken with the camera zoomed all the way out.
You may be able to recognize one of the panelists, but let me introduce them all:
John Walsh (moderator):
- Executive Vice-President ESPN.
- I already introduced him in the previous day‘s entry.
- Director of Production Analytics ESPN ( if you have seen TQBR in football used, he was part of the team that invented it).
- The founder of STATS Inc.
- Official Historian for MLB.
Trust me when I tell you they had some very interesting things they talked about, but unfortunately I don’t have my notes with me as I lent them to someone else who wanted to know about the conference. Like the Ron Shapiro video, I’ll tweet it out when I update the entry. However, here is a video if you want to watch the whole panel:
Also, here’s the panel I was thinking of going to. You can tell me if you think I made the right choice:
Next up was a session that I really didn’t expect, and it was disappointing as a result. It was a competition between business schools when I thought it was going to be a presentation or panel on business. So, I’ll show the competitors and that’s it.
Here are the three people from the first school I forgot the names of, even though they were sitting right next to me prior to, and during the competition:
University of Chicago Booth School, the eventual winners:
So anyway, after that it was time for “Building the Modern Athlete: Performance Analyitcs“. This panel was made up of:
Peter Keating (moderator):
- Senior Writer for ESPN the Magazine.
- CEO of Athlete’s Performance.
- Co-Founder of BASE Productions.
- Legal Analyst for Sports Illustrated.
- Director of Player Personnel for the Indiana Pacers.
- Four-time Olympic Ice Hockey Medalist.
This panel really didn’t talk a bout Baseball at all, so I’ll refrain from writing about the content of it.
The next panel I went to was entitled, “Fanalytics“. It was either that or “Fantasy Sports Analytics”. The deciding factor was that the former was held in the Ballroom, so I would have an easier time finding a good seat for the closing ceremonies. So, I left the previous session a tad early and managed to grab a seat in the section directly in front of the stage. Unfortunately, it was towards the back so all of my pictures were taken through the heads of people in front of me and some of the “good” pictures were ruined as a result, but anyway, here are the panelists:
Bill Simmons (moderator):
- Writer for ESPN. Listed, though, as the editor-in-cheif for Grantland, which is that mysterious book in the middle of the second picture of the entry.
- President of the Kraft Group.
- I already introduced him in this entry.
- CEO of Ticketmaster.
- Executive Vice President of Business for MLB.
It really wasn’t a Baseball panel per say, but I think its better moment came from the Baseball related banter going on between Bill Simmons and Tim Brosnan. For example, Bill complaining about the fact that you can’t watch Baseball clips on Youtube and then Tim responding to it. If I ever get around to posting the footage I have of this panel, I’ll tweet it that the entry has been edited, but it’s pretty crumby because of all the people’s heads I had to constantly move my camera out of the way of. So if you want to watch it just for the entertainment value of that (and it was entertaining to those of us present), here is the video if you want to watch:
Next up was the First Annual Alpha Awards, which were awards in the field of analytics made for the conference. There were a bunch of them, so I’ll just highlight the most notable ones.
First (I believe), was Bill James winning the “Lifetime Achievement” Award. Here is a video I took of the occasion. I apologize for the blurriness, I had a telephoto lens all the way zoomed-in, so I wasn’t exactly close, and the camera was feeling heavy at this point:
Next was the Tampa Bay Rays winning the prize for best-run organization (this being in terms of analytics, of course):
The last notable award was for the University of Chicago Booth school winning the business competition I was at earlier:
I really have no idea whether those events actually took place in the order I presented them, but I do know that after the awards, there was a “Live B.S. Report” with Mark Cuban.
First of all, it was a completely non-baseball “session”, so I won’t share anything besides the pictures, but it was a unique situation that I want to describe in that this was Mark Cuban’s only session of the conference (it was the last session of the conference period). Even though he was supposed to be there the whole weekend. So he basically flew out from wherever just for this session. The only other panel I attended he should have been in was the “Fanalytics” panel. So, here are the pictures:
After the BS Report itself ended, Cuban and Simmons got mobbed on the stage by all of the MIT students who organized the event and personally thanked/ shook the hand of each one of them. If you are a Basketball or aspiring Sports Business person, it may be a session to listen to as both involved are “personalities”. So for those of you who do want to take a look/listen, here is the video:
They were then nice enough to pose for me to take a picture. Don’t let their eyes fool you, the whole set-up was for me:
Oh and when I say “mobbed” it’s not that much of a stretch. The stage was pretty small and there were a lot of people. This next picture is just me moving the camera to the left to show all of the people outside of the shot, and that’s not including the people out-of-frame to the right:
…and that was your conference. I went out in the halls to film a video you will probably never see and went back to my hotel room already planning to comeback next year.
So obviously, I extremely recommend this conference if you are really into sports and live in the North-eastern region of the United States. Even if you don’t, it might be worth it. It was just THAT amazing for me.
Lastly, there may be a few more entries regarding this conference coming up, so if you’re waiting for the rest of the “Offseason Recap and Preview” entries, bear with me. I wanted to keep writing them all the way up until the beginning of the season and this conference provided the perfect excuse to do so. I will actually be doing an in-school internship involving this blog, so expect entries done during the month of April to be a tad more developed along with me experimenting with a few things. Also, if you want to check out the video page, here, is the link. They used some of my pictures as the shots for the videos. See how many you can pick out that are my pictures from these two entries.
P.S. I really didn’t want that to be the last word, just because the conference was so awesome so here are the final word: What a way to spend two days.
Ah finally. The MIT Sports Analytics Conference:
As those of you who read my last entry know, I’d been waiting for this day for a while. I bought my ticket in October, but I had known, and therefore wanted to go to this conference ever since Moneyball came out (whenever that may have been).
First of all, here is the video showing me taking a tour of the halls of the third floor of the convention center where this was being held:
Anyway, the day was action-packed, so let’s get to the action, why don’t we. The first panel, which was the only panel everyone attending the conference saw was the ” In the Best Interest of the Game: The Evolution of Sports Leagues” panel:
This panel included five people. Those five were:
Michael Wilbon (Moderator of the panel):
- Commentator for ESPN. Most notably a co-host of the program “Pardon The Interruption” of PTI for short.
- Commissioner of the NHL. On a side note, the first two look kind of nasty in the pictures I caught them, but I can assure you, they were nothing like that during their presentations.
- COO of the NBA.
- Executive Vice President of Labor Relations and Human Resources for MLB.
- Chairman and Executive Vice President of the New York Giants. Also I learned that he won an Oscar for his work on Forrest Gump.
- President of Boras Corporation (he’s a Baseball agent and that is his company).
I won’t bore you with all the details since this IS a *Baseball* blog and the panel wasn’t entirely Baseball comprised, but there was a discussion brought up on Labor Negotiations of MLB alone. There only Boras and Manfred talked and both made good discussion. Obviously, Boras was on the players’ side and Manfred was on the league’s side for most of the all of the labor conflicts the two have gone through, so they discussed this. There was no actually “arguing” during any of the panels i went to yesterday, but the panelists did give a better view of their side than the average fan usually gets. During this portion, Boras made an interesting point that the actual average career of a MLBer is 3 years and the players have this in mind during negotiations.
Here is a look at the panel via the video screen since I couldn’t fit all of them in one picture without a couple being blocked by some person’s head:
Here is a video of the whole panel if you so wish to watch what actually went on during it:
After the panel ended, I walked up to the stage and photographed it to give you a better idea of how it looked. Here was the result:
I also went to the back of the room to take a picture of the control booth/platform:
I then left the room to explore a little more since there is 20 minutes between sessions. The most interesting thing I found on this little venture. If you want to read the actual presentation, the picture is high enough quality to click on it and zoom in to read it, but for me to actually explain the idea behind the presentation would be too long to write out. Anyway, here is said picture:
The next panel I attended was entitled, “The Business of Sports: Winning Off the Field”, which was also held in that main Ballroom. The panelists were:
Jessica Gelman (moderator):
- Vice President of Customer Marketing & Strategy for the Kraft Sports Group.
- SVP Corporate Development for the NFL.
- CEO Manchester United.
- Co-Owener of the Boston Celtics (that spelling is of whoever put together the book not my own).
- President of MSG Sports. One story for him is that during the panel, he gave a signed Jeremy Lin T-Shirt to a Houston Rocket’s personnel to thank that specific person for releasing Lin (I assume that person was the GM, but I don’t pay enough attention to the NBA to know the name). Edit: After going to the second day, I realized that it was one of the co-chairs of the conference O’neil gave the shirt to. Who was this co-chair, and what did he have to do with the Rockets? It was actually Daryl Morey, the GM himself. So this whole exchange makes much more sense now that I know this information.
- Executive Vice President, Business Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Again, I won’t go through of any of the details, because there were no MLB panelists. However, if you really want to watch it, here is the hour-long video of the panel:
If you want to see the Jeremy Lin Jersey Exchange, it can be seen starting at around the 7:00 min mark of the video.
Next I went to the Research room for a couple of PowerPoint Presentations. Let me just clarify one thing, there was no set route for a person to go. At anytime there were at least 4 different sessions going on at a time and it was your job to decide which it was that you were going to.
The first Presentation was entitled, “Big 2′s and Big 3′s: Analyzing How a Team’s Best Players Complement Each Other”. It was a Basketball Presentation, so I won’t share anything, but I will show that it was presented by this guy:
If you do, however, have an interest in this research paper and what the presentation was like, here is the video:
The next presentation was entitled, “Predicting the Next Pitch”. This was a completely Baseball study looking at whether some students at MIT could develop a method for predicting pitches. The presentation itself was done by the professor, John Guttag (I assume that’s his name as it was on the cover slide):
Since it was a Baseball Presentation, here are some of the slides:
If you want to have a look at the presentation itself, here is the video for ya:
Next was definitely one my favorite sessions of let’s see if you can guess which panel it was:
If you guessed Baseball Analytics, you are correct. Oh yeah and if you read this tweet before answering it’s cheating:
“They just claimed this is, ‘The best Baseball Analytics panel assembled’. A bold one, but looking at them, I believe it.”
Anyway, the panel itself went as follows:
Rob Neyer (moderator):
- Editor for SB Nation.
- I’ve introduced him already.
- Special Assistant in charge of Scouting and Player Development for the Tampa Bay Rays.
- President of the Cleveland Indians.
- GM of the Houston Astros.
- Operations Advisor for the Boston Red Sox.
The panel discussed many things, so I will share what it is I wrote down.
- Jeff Luhnow used to work with the Cardinals, but when asked he said he liked the Astros, because it let him start from scratch in terms of implementing analytics.He also mentioned that analytics was a part of why the Cardinals won the World Series this past season.
- I have a note simply labeled “Sports Psychology”. I guess that means he was focused a lot on the mental part of a player.
- Rocco Baldelli said he would like to know why certain guys hit and certain guys don’t.
- Mark Shapiro commented after Bill James spoke that it reminded him how little he knew.
- Scott Boras made a great argument against the implementation of an International Draft.
- He also said that Baseball has an advantage because everyone plays, but they then release the kids into other sports.I personally played Soccer before Baseball, but I get the point.
Next up was a presentation in the “Evolution of Sports Room”:
Actually I missed the best part of that banner in that particular picture, but see if you can spot it in any of the pictures from either this entry or the next one.
The presentation was entitled, “The Sixth Tool: Training Baseball Recognition”. The presentation was given by this guy, Peter Fadde:
Since it was a Baseball related presentation, here are a few slides:
Basically, the idea was to train hitters to recognize the pitch based on the first .150 seconds of flight. It was a very interesting idea for me as a manager of my high school baseball team. If it is interesting to you, here is the video:
The next presentation was yet another Baseball presentation and I’ll also show the extent of what I paid attention to:
It just wasn’t THAT interesting a presentation. The slides were monotonous, both speakers were uncertain in their words, and the demo site they put together for the conference was pretty unimpressive and basic. I really wanted to leave and got to “Art and Analytics of Negotiation”, but didn’t want to be rude in such a small room so I stayed for the whole thing. A fun fact, though, the first presenter, Mike Attanasio, is both an MIT Sophmore and the son of the Brewers’ own Mark Attanasio, or so I am told. Basically, the only thing I would possibly use the site for is looking up stats if I wanted to know how a specific player performs in a certain temperature. The example they used, Carl Crawford, stunk in cold weather last year, but did well in warmer weather. Anyway, it might be interesting for you, who knows. If that is the case, here is the video for this presentation:
The next session I went to was one entitled, “Competitive Advantage: Sports Business Analytics”. I really didn’t like this one, because it was four presentations instead of a panel and I once again wished I were in the ballroom. This time the panel taking place was “Coaching Analytics”. Anyway, here are the faces of the people who presented in this session. I don’t know their names, because they’re not in the book I got since they weren’t a panel:
Next was the final session of the evening simply listed as “A Systematic Approach to Sports Negotiations”. I didn’t think it was possible, but it competed with the Baseball Analytics panel for my favorite of the day. The speaker was Ron Shapiro. TH first thing he did once he got up on stage was that he complained that his son, Mark Shapiro, and his son-in-law, Eric Mangini had already spoke (both were present for this session) and “thousands of people showed up, but now that the old man was finally up there were only a few dozen (to be fair, he did have the room filled. It was just that his room was significantly smaller than the Ballroom where both of them spoke. It is very interesting for anyone looking to get into the business side of sports. If you have any such inclination, or just want to watch this presentation, here is the video. Some of the presentation goofs are pretty entertaining:
In addition to being a baseball session, sort of (Shapiro does a bunch of things. He was/is: Cal Ripken’s and Joe Mauer’s agent among others, has worked in/for the front of the Baltimore Ravens and San Antonio Spurs, and was originally a lawyer.) It was also an amazing talk. So, I will put up every picture I have of him. I did take some video in this session and once i have it on YouTube, I will announce it via twitter that this entry has been updated, but I don’t know how long that could take since my home computer is nearing its disk limit and videos tend to take up a lot of space on that:
So that was my first day it was a great day and now that I’ve gone through it, I can say that the second day equaled it, so stay alert, because that entry will be published either tomorrow or Monday and then I will resume the Offseason Recap and Preview entries with the Washington Nationals, the Atlanta Braves, and some team from whichever division you select.
First of all, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. As I type this, it is already halfway through said holiday her in France. I hope, though, no matter what a anybody believes, that this be a good day for them. Now, here, is the link to the first entry predicting the then Florida Marlins’ 2011 season.
Predicted Record: 75-80 wins
Actual Record: 72-90
So I was a little off on this prediction. Though, I was a LOT closer than I thought when I initially looked at the discrepancy between the two records. That is because, I failed to put Josh Johnson in the Notable Subtractions column. Does anyone remeber the first two months or so of the season? Josh Johnson had about 3 or4 starts it seems that he had a no-hitter for the first 6 innings of a game. He was THE best pitcher in baseball when he got injured, and that is with Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw included. Johson was their bonafide Ace and had I known he would have been down for most of the season, I would have down graded the Marlins about four wins. Case in point, the second to last video on Johnson’s Player Page is entitled, “J.J. is key to Marlins’ success.”
Just a side note, as much as I like Josh Johnson, I don’t think he will get over his injury woes. Last Year, when Stephen Strasburg was coming up, everyone and their mother had their eyes on him. Curt Schilling was no exception. He did a segment with ESPN or MLBN where he looked at both Josh Johnson side-by-side with Stephen Stasburg because he wanted to look at a Pitcher of the same height of 6’5″ (Strasburg is 6’4″ and Johnson is 6’6″, but whatever)
Had Josh Johnson been out from the beginning of the season, I would have adjusted my prediction correctly. So all things considered, I predicted the Marlins’ season pretty well. They were who I thought they were! A team that was above average offensively, but not so spectacular to overcome any lack in pitching. I’m not saying their pitching staff was horrible without Johnson, but they have a lot of slightly above average homegrown Pitchers and some below average mercinaries. All in all, this is a well run organization for the funding it provides its GM with.
Wow. I truly cannot believe it has been only a year. When I created this blog last year, it had been a thought brewing in my mind for a few months. When my birthday came around (the night of October 12th/ the morning of October 13th)I figured I would just try something a little out of my comfort zone. I created the blog and named it Observing Baseball just because I like to see past the surface in things and it was going to be a baseball blog. I made the link mateofischer.mlblogs.com, not because I thought I would some day have 100 hits on the site each day, but because the blog was going to be me. More specifically, it was going to be my opinion on baseball. I then wrote the blog’s first entry at 12:52 on the morning of my birthday, the 13th.
October 14- My next entry is still one of the ones I have most pride in where I delved into all the great pitchers that were in the playoffs last year and broke them down showing the world and Ace they may not have considered before.
October 16- After that, the world got its first taste of Mateo Fischer randomness when Cablevision and News Corp engaged in a price negotiation at the Bronx’s expense. By the way, if you actually look carefully at the title of the entry, the blanked out word is actually “freaking” and not the word everyone would think to be blanked out. This is also where I got my first comment.
October 20- My next entry was my first taste of both the ballhawk style of blog entry and ALCS baseball. Thanks to the enormous generosity of my dad, I went on Ebay three days before the game and got us both a ticket for this game. It was one of the most unique experiences I have ever experienced and has really contributed to my entries this year. I am amazed by many things in this entry. First, when I re-read this entry, I was both impressed and disgusted at how quickly I got an entry of that magnitude up and how sloppy my writing is. Secondly, I am amazed by how good some of the pictures were for it being my first time blogging about a game and how random some of the other pictures were. Sure, I still have some random pictures in my entries but in this entry, the time I spent outside the gates had almost as much coverage as the time I spent inside the stadium. It was like I took pictures so I felt the need to use them in the entry.
November 1-30- Here is where I got my first taste of other thing getting in the way of blogging. In both entries, listed here and here, I found myself in the position of having to explain to the readership why I hadn’t been posting entries that often. The problem was that I was too ambitious but in retrospect I wish I would have finished the entries because there were maybe five people reading at this point and so I should have held future readers in mind because looking back on it, it just looks sloppy.
December 19th- This is the point where I realized that I didn’t have that many viewers and so I actually stuck through it and finished the whole entry. Sadly, I did write other entries in December but this is the only one that survived the WordPress conversion. Fortunately, this is another one of those entries I am very proud of. It is completely conspiracy theory but it does make sense when you think about it from the standpoint of a GM (which I aspire to be). The name of the entry is Pure Genius. It deals with the Cliff Lee acquisition by the Phillies last offseason and the moves that, intentionally or unintentionally, made that move possible (I argue that they would have been intentional if I were the GM of the Phillies and imply that Reuben Amaro might have done them intentionally).
January 2-6- New Years Resolution/Revision I initially made all of my all of goals for the 2011 ballhawking season in the New Years Resolution entry. Four days later in the New Years Revision, I went back on these goals because my dad’s test came back and his cancer looked much worse than I had perceived when I wrote the first entry.
January 27- This was one of those entries I am most proud of. When I first read Moneyball, I sort of understood the statistics themselves and how they worked but I didn’t truly understand why they worked better than the usual statistics. This is an explanation to those people in that fuzzy zone that get Sabermetric stats but don’t get why they work better. I will be the first to admit that I would probably do a much better job now of explaining the stats and that this entry is a bit awkward and confusing. The entry is aptly named, Sabermetrics (the explanation).
February 16-April 19- Offseason Recap and Review entries. This stemmed from me looking at things from a GM’s perspective. I just thought to myself that it would be fun to grade how the teams had done in the offseason. Little did I know, it would also be a great tool for communicating with the different fan bases of Mlblogs because I did do all 30 teams.
March 9-30 Fordham Prep Baseball I tried writing about Fordham Prep Baseball because I am already the manager for the team and I could have some insight along with recapping the games. It started with posting the varsity roster on the blog. I then recapped some games but it faded out because there was some criticism as to how I recapped the games and it was just taking up too much time so I stopped writing the entries. I will NOT be resuming this on this blog. If at all I start recapping games, it will be on another blog created specifically for Fordham Prep Baseball, but will most likely not happen.
March 10- In the first week of March, Zack Hample’s “The Baseball” with a subtitle I’d rather not write out, came out. I “Pre”-ordered and several days later on March 8th, it arrived. I then went onto do my first ever book review. I know absolutely nothing about how to review a book. So, I just went over each of the sections and added my own little commentary to go with that particular section. Here is the review in all of its overkilling-ness, The Baseball Book Review.
March 17- This was just a play I had in my mind forever and wanted to get out into the world. I realized that I could put it on my blog and so the Super Bunt became a blog entry. What do you think? Could it actually work?
March 27- I know you are sick of entries that “I am very proud of” but here’s another. The Survey of Adult’s Perception of Baseball is close to, if not the entry I have/will put the most effort into. It is basically me seeing how adults view baseball as a sport through asking my teachers who their favorite players are and why.
April 27- I copied and pasted a research essay I did for English on the moral standard held by baseball throughout the years. I did this by examining who was being let into the Hall of Fame and whether or not they deserved it according to the rules for the BWAA for voting. I looked at Mark McGwire, Ty Cobb, and I believe Pete Rose. The entry was called, Case Study on the Morality in Baseball. It may be a bit drier than you are used to from me because it was for a class but it certainly has some interesting information. You might be surprised by what you find.
May 6- about June I was going to games fairly infrequently as you can see from the distance between blog entries. This was because my dad was in hospice care and I was trying to spend as much time as I could with him after Fordham Prep Baseball ended. He died May, 17, 2011. To show how much I love baseball, I went to a game that night. Granted it got rained out but still.
June 19- August 4 I don’t want to say that I caught fire because that carries the implication that I was overachieving but something certainly clicked for me in all the games between these two points. Coincidentally, (this is sarcasm) I was not in New York for any part except for but one game of this hot streak. The schedule consisted of: June 15-16 Nationals Park, June 24 AT&T Park, July 2 Tropicana Field (where I snagged my 100th ball), July 4-6 Turner Field, July 7-9 Sun Life Stadium, July 18 Citi Field, July 22-24 Camden Yards, and July 27-29 Nationals Park.
August 4- September 23 I went on an even colder streak than the last one was hot. Not coincidentally, there were a whole bunch of Citi Field games. The streak was so bad I actually ended my consecutive games streak at 56. I think my average for this stretch was a little over 1 ball a game. This included a trip to the Midwest where I wasn’t as prepared as I would like for games because I was visiting like 10,000 colleges.
Now we are pretty much up to date. Like I said, it was a crazy year. This blog started out as just something to do but it has evolved into something so much greater. I have been able to be in communication with so many more people because of it and now can’t imagine my life without it. It has even affected my college search so much as that I am actually considering Journalism as a serious major. Last year, I would have gone on a hunger strike before I applied to a school for Journalism. This year, I am actually applying to Northwestern, the top Journalism school in the country.