Archive for December, 2006

Bullets on Barry Zito

December 29, 2006
  • Signing Barry Zito to a 7 year deal is crazy.  Signing Barry Zito for $18 mill per is crazy.  Doing both – that is 7 years at $18 mill per – is doubly crazy.  Where could Scott Boras find a GM willing to agree to these ridiculous terms?  Ladies and Gents: Brian Sabean.
  • The line of the day regarding Mr. Sabean comes from Keith Law at ESPN.com who remarks that the Zito deal will be “an albatross around the neck of the successor to GM Brian Sabean.”
  • A’s fans will relish the irony of this one.  According to baseball-reference.com, Barry Zito made $18,035,000 in his seven seasons with the A’s.  He will make that much per year with the dreaded (and dreadful) Giants.
  • Baseball-reference.com also has a formula for identifying the most similar players by age.  For the last three years, Zito’s most similar has been Mike Hampton.  You remember Hampton.  He’s been paid $77 mill since signing his mega-deal after the 2000 season, when he was 27.  In the next 6 years he has won 53 games.
  • As an A’s fan, I like Zito.  As a person, he seems like a fun, non-conformist who takes his craft very seriously.  Maybe he can win another 102 games during his seven years with the Giants.  Maybe he’s the next Tom Glavine.  I’m just glad I don’t have to pay him to find out.
  • Don’t you wish you were Johan Santana.
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Refunds Available, Inquire Within

December 22, 2006

Hello Readers:

I have not posted in a few days. As a result, I would like to offer a full refund, as promised here. Send your receipt and a letter of request to:

Dr. Dick, P.O. Box 1234, North Pole
While I may not have posted for a few days, I have been trolling the Internet for sports news and I came up with two items that deserve comment.

The first is from an ESPN.com chat with analyst Doug Gottlieb (no link added because you have to be an ESPN Insider to access the chats). I think Gottlieb is one of the better young, developing sports analysts (along with FOX Radio’s Sean Farnham). But I did not like his comment posted below:

Charles (San Jose): Doug, Arizona is #1 in RPI and #9 in the polls. Which is closer to the truth?

SportsNation Doug Gottlieb: No. 9 in the polls. RPI at this point doesn’t mean a whole lot. It just means they have a tough early schedule and have performed well.

I would argue that the RPI does mean something, even at this early juncture. To quote Gottlieb “It just means they have a tough early schedule and have performed well”. Well that information seems to mean something. Is it a perfect predictor of how the team will perform the balance of the year? No. But being successful a gainst a challenging early slate is a lot more impressive than A) losing to tough opponents or B) beating a bunch of lousy teams. Even losing (by small margins) to good teams (especially on the road) means something as discussed in an earlier post about the Winthrop Eagles.

The second interesting item is Gregg Easterbrook’s suggestion of moving to a seeded tournament in the NFL playoffs.  It is an idea with considerable merit.  First it would likely eliminate the possibility of an 8-8 NFC team making the postseason while a worthy 10-6 AFC team sits at home.  Additional benefits include creatting NCAA Tourney type anticpation with seeded brackets.  Perhaps most importantly, the idea challenges the NFL to evaluate the environment and provide its customers (fans) with an even better product.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

Are You Ready for Some (Arena) Football ?

December 19, 2006

I sure hope so, because with the partnership announced between Arena Football and ESPN, you are sure to see a lot more coverage.  As The Worlwide Sports Leader has shown in the past, once they acquire the broadcast rights to an entity, they quickly ratchet up the coverage, develop a brand link between the league and its broadcasters (think Ed Werder and the Cowboys), and ram it down their viewers’ throats.

Not that it is necessarily a bad thing.  Arena Football is solid live entertainment, that has yet to realize its full potential as a broadcast product.  While living in Bakersfield, I had a chance to do a few small research projects for the local AF2 team, the Blitz.  Going to the games was fun and the fans in attendance really seemed to enjoy the experince.

As a side note, I have had the chance to meet AFL Commish David Baker on a few occasions at academic affairs.  Really good guy.  Hell, he even remembered my name and a talk I had given a few years prior.

It seems like his AF brand may be poised to take off with the assistance of the ESPN juggernaut.  Now if this ESPN/AF partnership can somehow get AF fantasy and gambling to take off, it would just about guaruntee success.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

Brawl, Zeke, My Thoughts

December 18, 2006

The dominant story today (sorry Commissioner Goodell) today is the fallout from the Knicks-Nuggies melee of evening last.  As usual, Dr. Dick has a few thoughts:

  •  Carmelo Anthony should not be suspended for a punch.  He should be suspended, but based on the video broadcast on ESPNNews, it was nothing more than an open hand slap.  Of course that could still hurt.  Ask John Stossel.
  • Chris Sheridan reports online and by phone interview that Zeke”warned” ‘Melo that he was in eminent danger, because Coach Karl had the gall to have four of his five starters on the floor in the waning moments of a blowout.  Typical Zeke.  You remember him from his cheapshot days on the Pistons.  You remember when he attacked John Stockton because Stock took Zeke’s “spot” on the 1992 Dream Team.  You remember how Karl Malone evened the score by administering an elbow resulting in 40+ stitches to Zeke’s dome.  Well, here’s hoping Commish Stern levels Zeke with a suspension larger than any of the combatants.  Coaches are supposed to exhibit leadership, not be schoolyard-level thugs.
  • Overall, the NBA and its leadership have eliminated nearly all of the unnecessary violence from the pro hoops product.  If you figure there have been more than 2,000NBA regular season games played since the brawl at The Palace and this is the first noteworthy eruption of violence, that is a commendable record.  Last night event is a non-issue.  Except that it gives Stern and company a chance to: 1) enhance its inmage by coming down hard on the participants; 2) tremendous publicity on a weekend when the NFL would usually garner the lion’s share of media attention; 3) it might hasten Zeke’s exit from the NBA scene.  Hope Zeke has a successful career making infomercials.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

Congratulations!!!!

December 17, 2006

Today’s post will be brief, because a celebration is underway.

Dr. Dick has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

We hear at the editrorial desk at Dr. Dick’s Splog would like to share this honor with you.

Without your readership, loyalty and passion, this wonderful accolade would never have landed in Dr. Dick’s lap.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

Sagarin, Niners, Winthop and Other Minutiae

December 15, 2006

Yes, I had to visit dictionary.com to verify the spelling of minutiae.
Do you ever check out Jeff Sagarin’s Ratings?  He uses mathematical and statistical analysis to rate and rank sports teams based on their performances to date during a season.  I was visiting recently and a few observations that I made seemed worth passing on to you in this forum.

  • The 49ers were ranked last in the NFL (based on Sagarin’s Pure Points Method).  How can this be?  Their record (before last night’s victory over the Seadogs) was 5-8.  Through Week 14, there were seven teams with worse records.  There are teams, like the Raiders, with only TWO victories.  The brief explanation is that not all victories are equal.  Part two of the answer is that scoring margin is a component of the Pure Points rating and the 49ers have been blown out several times.  Part three is the quality of opposition component.  The Niners schedule ranked 28th in quality versus the Raiders’ strength of schedule, which was 8th.  It seems likely that if their opponents were swapped, the Raiders would have the better record.
  • How then can the Niners beat the 8-5 Seadogs?  A Super Bowl team?  A division leader?  Well, the Seadogs rank LAST in schedule strength and 23rd in the Pure Points System.  In other words, they are in the bottom third of teams in the NFL this year.  When framed that way, is it surprising that one crummy team can beat another one?  I think not.  Also the Seadogs were a Super Bowl team last year.  That matters not this year.  Ask the Steelers.
  • To further illustrate the usefulness of Sagarin’s data, consider NCAA basketball. Have you heard of Winthrop?  Likely not.  They play in the Big South and have a 3-3 record.  Not too impressive on the surface.  But the three losses were at North Carolina (73-66), at Maryland (71-60) and at Wisconson (82-79).  In the USAtoday/ESPN Coaches Poll those opponents are ranked third, twenty-eighth and seventh, respectively.  And each of the losses was on the road.  As a result, Sagarin’s Pure Point ranking for the Winthrop Eagles is #41.  So watch for the Eagles comeTournament time.
  • Finally, a word on “trends”.  The headlines this week in Bay Area newspapers screamed of Alex Smith “regressing”based on his performances during a three game losing streak.  Last night he rallied the Niners to a win, and this morning I heard Ronnie Lott on KNBR  singing Smith’s praises.  Funny how nobody was singing those praises last week.  He IS the same player, right?  A three game losing streak in today’s over-scrutinized sports world is enough data to make generalizations about players?  Of course not – three games does not a trend make.  But, of course, neither does one game.

Let’s Go Bowling Now…Everybody’s Learning How…

December 14, 2006

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know much about college football.  And really who (beside Kirk Herbstreit) really does.  There are 100+ NCAA DI schools playing football and something like 99 percent of the games are played on Saturdays, meaning even the most avid fan can only see a miniscule fraction of the action.  Being an alum of the University of Oregon, I follow the Pac 10 quite closely, a much more managable endeavor.  So, I like to think I know a bit about one conference.

With that information as a disclaimer, I offer my “I’m never embarassed to be wrong in public when selecting the outcome of random events  LOCKS”.  After careful consideration of all bowl games I am releasing these point spread winners:

New Orleans    December 22 Rice give the 5.5

Motor City       December 26 Middle Tennessee take the 10.5

Holiday             December 28 Cal give the 5

Music City        December 29 Clemson give the 10

Insight              December 29 Minnesota take th 6.5

Alamo               December 30 Texas give the 10.5

MPC                  December 31 Nevada take the 3

Gator                January 1 West Virginia give the 7

Rose                 January 1 USC pick ’em

Orange            January 2 Louisville give the 10

GMAC             January 7 Ohio take the 6.5

BCS                  January 8 The Ohio State University give the 7.5

That’s twelve chances to be wrong.  We’ll see how it turns out.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

More Mark McGwire: What Do the Stats Say?

December 13, 2006

Sorry…I had to delete this post because of a formatting error.

I hope to re-post with corrected tables soon.

With regret…Dr. Dick

AI, Stern, Bizarro Values?

December 13, 2006

A few of Dr. Dick’s bullets for today:

  • Many commentators (including ESPN.com’s Marc Stein) point out the advantages for the Sixers of dragging out the Iverson Sweepstakes (not sure I’d call it a Sweepstakes, for as I posted earlier, the team that acquires AI better “beware”.) The primary of these benefits is that losing games increases the likelihood of winning the Greg Oden Sweepstakes. Dragging it out also increases media speculation, which leads is to our second bullet…
  • David Stern is a !@#$%^&*()ing genius. In the last CBA (collective bargaining agreement) an inactive list was added. This list allows teams to stow players like AI away, with pay, while they hold an Ebay style auction for the player. Same thing happened last year with Artest. It is practically an annual event. I gotta believe this idea was Stern’s doing. If you have tuned in to sportsyak radio in the last 48 hours it is practically all AI, all the time. Net result: Stern ends up with valuable airtime at the NFL’s expense. Genius.
  • For example, I was listening to SportingNewsRadio personality Tony Bruno this morning and he was on a rant about the Goldies trading for AI. Paraphrasing: “Baron Davis is in play, but Monta Ellis is ‘untouchable’? How can that be? Davis is their best player!!!” To answer Mssr. Bruno, first, Monta (correct pronunciation Montae) is pretty damned good. Second, he is 21 years old, with an inexpensive contract. Anyone read Moneyball? Seems Chris Mullin has. Talented, inexpensive, young players have the MOST value. Now to acquire AI the Warriors could put together a package B Davis, M Pietrus and a #1, although I wouldn’t do it if I were the Goldies. But I’m not 66 year old Don Nelson.
  • After signing Aurilia (35), Roberts (34), Molina (32), Feliz (32) and Bonds (42) you gotta wonder if Giant GM Brian Sabean has even heard of Moneyball.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

Thanks for visiting…and other random thoughts

December 11, 2006

First, a big thanks to those of you who visited for the first time today.  Especially those that took the time to add Comments (or e-mail me personally).  If you enjoyed the site, keep coming back…and tell your friends.

Now for random thoughts:

  •  Yes, I realize that I have not blogged about the NFL yet (thanks to those who logged formal requests).  Over the last four years by Thanksgiving the Raiders have nearly extinguished my desire to talk (or write) about the NFL.  This year was no exception.  However, note that I said nearly!  Sometime soon I’ll post an autopsy of Raiders 2006 and make (nearly always misguided) NFL Playoff Predictions.  Keep checkin’ back.
  • KC Royals.  Who would have guessed.  They signed Gil Meche for$11 million/yr for five years (or is it more galling when described as $55 mill for five years?).  The guy is 55-44, has a career and most recent season WHIP of 1.43 and has pitched more than 150 innings twice.  What does that make Barry Zito worth?  Zito (born the same year as Meche) has a career WHIP of 1.23 and has surpassed 210 innings each of the last 6 years while compiling 102-63 mark.  Man, I should have been an agent.
  • I received a request from a reader to develop a trade proposal to have AI end up with the Knicks.  According to ESPN.com’s excellent, interactive Trade Machine feature (go give it a try, it’s fun!) AI and Starbury have the exact same salary.  While the Sixers will field much better offers from other squads, likely to include draft picks and younger players, it would be loads of fun to watch AI and Zeke battle.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick