Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Links for Wednesday

If you aren't watching the Clemens hearing, you are missing out. It's crazy theater. I can't look away.

Scouts Inc. picks on 5 things the Colts need do in the offseason.

Maddux might be done soon. All good things, I guess. I'm glad I saw him pitch three times. I saw him last September in Colorado, and he was brilliant. Thanks to Chad for the link. This is precisely why the Clemens things makes me mad. I never saw him pitch, but on several occasions tried to work out my life so I could watch him. I'm glad I didn't waste my efforts. I love baseball. I want my kids to love baseball. I take opening day as a holiday and throw a party every year. I spend more time watching/listening to baseball in a MONTH than I do on most whole NFL seasons. I hate being lied to and played like a fool. I'm not willing to throw a whole generation under the bus, but I will go after those that the evidence points to. Maddux went from dominant with a 95 MPH fastball to wiley and frustrating with a high speed of 87 at the last game I saw him pitch. He had 1 three ball count and no walks in that game. He threw 61 pitches in 6 innings at Coors, giving up 1 run. He got the win. The Rockies would win just about every other game they would play for the next month.

I'm glad I was there. That's how you are supposed to pitch in the twilight.

The Football Scientist agrees with us about Derek Anderson. He also hates on Dallas Clark because of a low YPA (read D.R.O.P.S).

Fox Sports does a fairly useless preview of the Colts offseason. This one is a tad better.

The argument is (poorly) made that Jim Caldwell's impending promotion is BAD for black coaches. A black guy has made it into the 'Old Boys Club' and that's a bad thing? I'm not buying what he's selling.

Kelvin Sampson is in trouble. (duh)


zac said...

This Clemens stuff is just insane. We could be watching the end of an icon. However, star power is a funny thing, and he may wriggle of the hook here.

Demond Sanders said...

This guy is toast.

As a caller on Jim Rome put it, "So we are supposed to believe that the trainer gave Clemens' wife a HGH shot without Clemens knowledge and she had a bad reaction, complaining of circulatory problems. And Clemens didn't freak out and fire his trainer once he found out?"

zac said...

In the midst of this Clemens hoopla I feel compelled to remind you that the Patriots went 18-1* this year, Rodney Harrison returned for the Pats (this is good news to me) so their defense continues to age, and the Colts are still loaded.

Oh yeah. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow.

Shake'n'bake said...

All this for stuff that probably doesn't even enhance performance.

zac said...

Steroids definitively do enhance performance. They can build muscle and have even been shown to boost vision. They can increase your hand-eye coordination. They increase strength, allowing athletes to both compete and train at a higher level. They also have numerous instances of taking good players and making them insanely good, i.e. Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi.

HGH is much less clear on its benefits. Steroids and HGH are two very different things

Shake'n'bake said...

I only have the hearing on in the background. Everything I've been hearing is about HGH, which like I said probably doesn't enhance performance.

I meant the whole hearing, not the whole steroids scandal. Steroids do enhance performance, no doubt.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Clemens is accused of steroid use too. The HGH stuff is big in this hearing because Debbie Clemens and Pettite both used it

JC said...

Steroids definitely do enhance performance. The last kid I knocked out was about 6'3 225 and it only took me one shot.

Had I not been on a tren-winny stack, I probably would have had to hit him a few more times.

And when did Greg Maddux throw 95?? I mean....I'm an AL guy so I didn't see him in the early 90's for the Cubs, but I loved that Atlanta staff when I was in high school.

He lived on the black and topped out at 90-91....and even that was the ESPN gun which has ALWAYS been off.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Maddux could go as high 95 when he had to in the very early 90s. Give me some time and I'll try to find some evidence of that...

Deshawn Zombie said...

Ok, this is proving harder than I thought. I found one uncredible site that said he threw 93-94 early in his career. Maddux said at some point that he wasn't comfortable in that range, so kept it down to 90-91. I swear I saw him hit 95 on a gun after a strike out. It was a big deal at the time since that's not where he lived. At any point, upon reading what I wrote, you're right that at the very least I overstated the consistency at which he threw in that range. This fall, he hit 87 once. Most of his fastballs were in the 84-85 range.

My point is that he's really good.

Shake'n'bake said...

FO on the AFC South

Deshawn Zombie said...

not their best effort. We WON'T be going for another DT. DT is was not this team's problem for once. We need more depth at end.

Shake'n'bake said...

They did pimp Dungy's HOF case though. That gets them some points.

JC said...

Is this Congressman from your district???

This guy BLASTED McNamee.

Killed him.

Bob M. said...

Shake, Yes, that counts for something.

Regarding steroids, I read a very good article or series a few years back (no idea where... Slate? ESPN? SI?) scoffing at the idea that pitchers would use them as that are antithetical to what a picther most needs (aside from assisting in injury/wear & tear recovery). Big thick muscles are not what a pitcher needs--his control lies mainly in overall mechanics and hand/forearm strength and his velocity is a matter of mechanics and physics that muscle mass would inhibit. (this was at the height of the "all sluggers are juiced" craze maybe 3 years ago? The main thrust of the article was that it was a sluggers-only phenomenon) It made a ton of sense and Clemens is one of the few pitchers who has always been known as a muscular fireplug (who cannot conjure up the image of him working his arms through a barrel of rice or beans or sand? I forget which. It was just "Rocky" enough to remember.) Now frankly, a pitcher could just work his legs on the juice and improve his speed as well as stamina, but the anti-arm work argument made a lot of sense.

I am not arguing for or against Clemens' case; I just find it odd that few pitchers are in the bulls-eye for steroids (not HGH) compared to sluggers. My wife points out (quoting Bob Costas) that there is no statistical upswing in Clemens career for those juiced years like the hockeystick (a statistician's term) Bonds experienced going from 40 HRs to 73. My counter-argument is that "yeah, but he didn't slow down as most other guys do once he hit 35 either." I'm just glad my oldest is 7 and I don't have to explain too much of this right now.

In terms of injury/fatigue recovery, every athlete at every age and level of competition could benefit from some help whether it's ben Gay, placebos, or serious drugs; when you're making $15 mil, there's a ton of pressure to try to squeeze in a couple more wins on less rest.

Trivia note: Another favorite baseball article written by a physicist focused on why corking a bat was stupid--because it compromised the strength of the bat and made a funny sound and was bound to get you caught. Much smarter, he argued, was to use your usual bat but put 6 oz of lead in the butt and choke up an inch--the mechanics would enable you to swing a bat as if it was 3-4 oz lighter, yet it has a big, solid head. Faster bat speed is the whole point anyway for those cheats and if you're caught with lead you can always claim it's your "practice swing bat" like with a donut, and you used it by mistake.

JC said...

Bob - Winstrol/Stanzolol is not a bulking steroid.

It's a cutting steroid, and builds lean muscle mass. Believe me..... I know.

It also, although unfounded scientifically speaking, has fat burning qualities.

Winstrol a.k.a. Winny V, when combined with diet and cardio will make you ripped/cut/shredded. More importantly, it makes you stronger without making you HUGE a la Testosterone, D-Bol and Deca (nana something).

No upswing? Dude look at 1995-96 with my Sox when he was a fat disgusting pig versus 1997-98 when McNamee was first alleged to touch him up with Winny V. He won back to back Cy's.

Winstrol is perfect for a power pitcher who lost his mojo.

Deshawn Zombie said...

First off, there was a HUGE statistical uptake in in Clemens numbers. Costas is flat wrong.

Secondly, Burton is from a nearby district. He is exactly reason 1a why I stopped caring about 'moralist' candidates. He runs on the whole right wing thing, but has a very...checkered public life. His performance made me sick. It was also hilarious to see him call Macnamee a liar for saying Clemens was at Canseco's party. Nice job, Dan.

Bob M. said...

jc, deca-durbolin, I believe. Most of my knowledge comes from the book "Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Body Builder" by Sam Fussel--a great read, BTW. It is 15 years out of date, however. Then again, Clemens' 'roids hey-day seems to be about 9 years ago as well--at least the specific incidents in question.

And not to pick nits, but lean mass is still mass--unless you are replacing less dense fat with denser muscle, you are also adding volume, no? And starting with an elite pitcher, there may be fat in the gut, but not a whole lot in the arms. I never watched him all that much and always thought of him as thick, but not fat like, say... Mickey Lolich of the 1970s comes to mind as a fat tub of goo.
If you add an inch to the circumference of your upper arm (biceps+triceps) as well as adding mass, however lean to your delts and lats, you probably have to (1) change your pitching motion because you cannot have two things in the same place at the same time and (2) lose some flexibility. I'd think both would wreak havoc on control. Also, when you change mechanics due to muscle issues, it's not fat-fetched to think that some downstream joint problems would arise. I suspect that in RC's case, film study of his body and pitching motion, as well as injury reports over the past 10 years will bear this out. I bet the team staff in charge of uniforms would also be helpful, as his measurements likely changed.

Oh well, I am not trying to argue that he is not guilty. I am merely saying that everything evil in sports has something to do with Boston. Yeah, that's what I'm getting at.

Funny line in a current FO column today notes that the one thing we're sure of about Bill Belichick is that he did NOT shoot drugs in the Clemens' butt.

And when millionaires testify before congress, regardless if they are in denial about innocence or guilt, why the hell don't they hire a coach to polish their performance and demeanor? Didn't any of these goons learn from Mark McGwyre? I blame their agents! It's all a huge PR stunt and everybody knows it, yet they go into it unarmed for the real battle--the battle for public perception. duh. smile, sit up straight like it's a job interview, firm handshakes, look at ease and in control, look 'em in the eye... basic stuff. Sheesh!

Bob M. said...

DZ, the article you linked to committed a cardinal sin in being all about stats but not presenting any. ("Huge spike" they said, but did not present data for us to judge. Fishy! I will have my wife send back her Wharton degree in protest.)
That aside, they focus on age 30 as a turning point for others but not for Clemens. He was 29 in 1991 and 34 in 1996, all Boston years--a 6-year chunk selected because it has both highs and lows statistically (per this url:

That 6-year avg ERA was 3.36. the previous 6-yr avg ERA was 2.79 (wow) and the subsequent two-six-year ERAs were 3.48 and 3.27. (regardiung ERA, he had a very volatile career). Since this is probably a departure from the norm (no time to dig further) I'd say it is indicative of something odd, but not a huge spike by any means.

The fishiest years appear to be the 3 in Houston with a 2.38 ERS and average age of 42 (!) from 2004-2006 and his two years in Toronto with an ERA of 2.40 and an average age of 35.5 (!) in 1997 and 1998. With the Yanks and Sox before and after these seasons, he was good, but not as good as with THOSE two teams. Weirdly, the stuff I have read does not directly address those years, which seem the fishiest! His 5 seasons in NY saw an ERA averaging 4.01 and 15.4 avg wins--nice production, but not a Barry Bonds-like explosion beyond all other mortals.
Also, their other metrics, BB+H/9 innings clearly have 4 standout seasons after age 31: all in Tor and Hou.
Now the reason all this focuses on those NYY years and not others is because that's what the Mitchell report happened to unearth a witness for. I can understand a Boston fan's specific anger because RC's fortunes really shot up when he went to Toronto at age 35. 2 Cy's, an average of 2.05 wins and that 2.4 ERA. And of course any sports's fan's anger because his whole career is tainted.
But to point to a statistical "hockeystick" is misleading in my view. A preponderance of smaller statistical points might describe it better. Less dramatic, but mroe accurate.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Still looking for the orginal data this refers to.

Clemens cheated and the numbers back it up.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Stupid copyrighted books. Why can't everything just be free for me to steal and use on my blog?

I can't believe how much time I've wasted today looking up articles and stats on Clemens.

zac said...

One problem in all of this is using ERA and wins as a predictive stat. They simply are not because they are far too dependent on the overall team to make huge assumptions about the pitcher in question.

ERA in and of itself is an incredibly volatile stat and can be affected by literally dozens of variables, everything from defense to the home park to the role in a pitching staff can inflate or deflate an ERA.

If you want to seriously discuss how Clemens' performance stayed consistent or increased throughout his career and even into his 40s, look at his K:BB ratios, his K's/9 innings, his ERA+, his HRs allowed ratios, etc.

This things can be found at or Both are ESSENTIAL for the hardcore baseball fan.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Thanks Zac. I spent a long time on there yesterday before the events of life and Valentine's day stole my enthusiasm for making my case against Clemens. It really is a wonderful site. It's excellent for Hall of Fame disputes...