November 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

As long as there’s nothing M’s to discuss…

I’m curious about the legendary Zumsteg Potato Dish. Yesterday my T-Day contributions were: the turkey (organic free-range from Oregon), gingered sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce with sage and Uncle Gerry’s (not my uncle) butter rolls. I hope that Dave, some 2500-odd miles from home, was able to track down a decent meal.

OK, I thought of something M’s related. Does anyone see a scenario in which Mike Cameron returns to the M’s? When Ibanez signed, they announced that he’d be playing LF. There’s that Ichiro dude in RF. That leaves free agent Cameron and arbitration eligible Winn; I have a hard time believing they’ll non-tender Winn in order to pay Cameron bigger money. Just a thought.

November 27, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I hope our internatioal readers enjoy a nice meal today. I’m thankful we have such fine readers who write in with advice on totally-not-Mariner-related stuff (like networking advice) because they’re cool.

I’m making the legendary Zumsteg Potato Dish today. Oh, if I could give all of you a portion I would.

November 27, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Happy turkey to all (and to all some good pie).

November 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Totally off-topic, but I think at the end of computer games, particularly action games (like, say, Tron 2.0, which I recommend) whoever you’ve saved at the end should congratulate you: “Your ability to save and load games repeatedly until you got past particularly difficult levels has thwarted the universe-domination plans of that evil corporation/renegade Chinese general/H.A.R.M./Imperial Remnant.” Instead of the standard “Wow, you’re the greatest hacker/spy/U.N.I.T.Y agent/Jedi Knight in the world…”

Or, alternately, I want quick load/quick save capabilities in real life.

More on Out of Left Field

November 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on More on Out of Left Field 

Hey, check it out, I’m in black-and-white in the Seattle Weekly with my review of Art Thiel’s Out of Left Field. Check it out. I love running in print… the web’s fine, but there’s something cool about newsprint. I was once a paperboy for the Seattle Times (“Paper of Quality”) in case you’re curious.

For those of you who are curious, here’s a couple of Art Thiel’s clunkers. Seriously, you should read the book, but holy moly… unless you’re as into writing as I am, you might not find this as funny as I do.

p2: “If there was a banana peel, or an open manhole cover, anywhere in the neighborhood, the Mariners were on it and in it.”

In order: a manhole cover can’t be open or closed, it’s a cover. The manhole is open or closed. And a long sentence doesn’t automatically need commas, though that’s really nit-picky. It should be “slipping on it” rather than “on it” — what’s so bad about being on a banana peel? And you can’t be “in” a manhole cover.

p14: Lester Smith says “If I knew what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have touched it with a ten-foot pole”

Next paragraph opens “But he did, and by 1981 the pole has splintered.”

What pole? The pole that he didn’t have, that he wouldn’t have touched it with?

p104: On the drive for a stadium after the strike of 1994: “In terms of timing, the maneuver ranked with stowing away aboard the Hindenburg.”

Since the Hindenburg made a bunch of successful voyages, stowing away aboard the Hindenburg would have worked out fine unless you specify that you mean the May 3-6 Hindenburg journey.

On Thiel’s constant transitioning and bridging throughout the book: p115, on October 1995:

“Langston’s left arm was so sore he couldn’t comb his hair….” and then the next paragraph “Even if Langston could comb his hair, his coif was destined to be messed up.”

Much of the book is like this. The Mariners were on Cloud Nine. But Cloud Nine was a thundercloud, and it would soon be raining on the team’s victory parade…

Anyway, check out “Out of Left Field,” an example of story triumphing over story-telling.

November 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Joe Randa re-signed with Kansas City today. Everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief, as we’ll apparently settle for only overpaying for one mediocre ex-Royal.

On a non-baseball note, Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you have the opportunity to spend time with your family in the next few days, do so. Now that I don’t have the luxury of spending all the holidays with my parents and my brother, my appreciation for the amazing gift of families has grown. Enjoy the holidays, and make sure to let your loved ones know how you feel about them.

Also, please send some heat towards the east coast if you have a chance. My extremities will thank you.

November 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Sheffield… that’s about Cameron plus Winn money, no? I have to say, the Ibanez-Ichiro-Sheffield outfield looks a heck of a lot better than the Ibanez-Winn-Ichiro trio the M’s will likely be running out next season. And sure Sheffield’s right-handed, but have you seen the guy (and his numbers)? I’d have no problems sticking him in Safeco and watching him mash. Especially if he’ll take a two- or three-year deal.

Ah, dreams.

And following up on Derek’s most recent post — is anyone out there happy with this article? Grr.

November 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

For those of you have already found it, I put chapter two up. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, uh… never you mind.

November 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

M’s Blogosphere Update: New M’s blog @

And I swear better link listings are on my to-do list for the U.S.S. Mariner.

Some stats in the air today, and I want to go off an riff briefly.

Statistics tell us things. To be useful, a statistic must convey information. That seems obvious, right? It’s not. Meaningless information is thrown at us all the time, stuff without reference or relevance.

This is particularly true in the world of baseball. If you only know one stat for every player, you’d want on-base percentage. OBP tells you that in x% of a player’s plate appearances, they got on base on their own merits without making an out (since DPs don’t count, errors don’t count). A team has 27 outs, and not making outs is how you score runs. OBP is the life of an offense. It’s a meaningful and interesting statistic. AVG, SLG, ERA, they all tell you something direct about a player’s actual performance.

Then there’s more complicated replacement-level stats, like Keith Woolner’s Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), or era-neutral comparison stats, like Clay Davenport’s Equivalent Runs (EqR), all park-adjusted. They give a measurement of how many runs you gain or lose between Player X and Player Y. That’s useful information derived from real things.

Aaaaaaand then there are the short-hand, rough-cut stats. This + this (and + 1.4 this when it’s Tuesday) = this Super Number. Then compare super numbers to determine the best player!

They’re junk stats — sweet, attractive, filled with empty calories and no nourishment of thought or advancement of progress.

OPS allows you to roughly say “Player X is better than Y, but I don’t know what that gap means” and all of the SLOB and OB2SLG and the rest have the same problem. If I created a stat called Super USS Mariner Player aPproximation of Universal Measure of Performance and calculated it as

[(2*AVG) + (6*OBP) + (2*SLG)]



It would prodce a pretty number like .280 or something similar, and you could compare and rank players to your heart’s content… but you’d have learned nothing. You know less about the players than you did before you came up with the super stat. The difference between .280 and .285 tells you nothing about the performance of a player* except that one is incrementally better on a scale you don’t know.

Step back to OBP for a second. Over 600 PAs, a 50-point difference in OBP is 30 times on base. That’s a meaningful number. That’s runs for a team. AVG tells you something: in 450 ABs, you know that 50 points of batting average means (what) 12 extra hits? That’s runs, too. Anyone can estimate this stuff and compare player value over a season and even in part-time play.

So what’s more useful to a fan, a SUMPPUMP score of .340 or knowing a player’s OBP is .300? If you knew both, you’d realize hidden in the SUMPPUMP is probably a higher slugging than OBP, but it’s hidden — without both pieces of information, you know *less* from a complicated calculation than you knew when you started because calculating it requires you have both SLG and OBP… what’s the point? Why not create a stat like SUMPPUMP 2, which is calculated as




This is clearly the best stat ever invented. It has the same correlation to run scoring as OPS! Who wants cupcakes? Theeey’ve got frosting…

If you want one stat for use at the ballpark and for easy sketching, use OBP. Get it park-adjusted if you can, but even if you can’t, use OBP. It’s simple, it works, it’s easy to use, it makes sense.

* Yes, I realize this means I’m pro-EqR while anti-EqA, but my EqA opinions get much more detailed and complicated than I think anyone wants to read.

November 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

You know what I don’t believe? Jason made two posts in a day. All hail Chef Barker!

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