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Edman85

Where did Henning Get this?

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Edman,

You are right. I would say this thread is a bit harsher than your blog. But you do directly attack him in it with a question. And you might be 100% right. I do think it looks pretty suspect. And I think if he did use your info exclusively to create that opinion, he probably should've said something. Heck, it may have been worth his while to contact you before writing what he did.

There is a big part of me that wants to wholeheartedly support you. Heck, I "know" you. I don't know Lynn Henning at all. But I think I know of too many scenarios where things like this can be assumed when there are other facets to making educated guesses. One case in point is what I brought up above about the high school playoffs. I put that one down because that's current and the closest to what I think people would understand. But I clearly have many more that I can site. They involve sports gaming equations....

-------------------------

But where this may be your "thing" my "thing" is sports gaming and figuring out the formulas of how those things are derived for games. I can give you a pretty good guess on some games what a card will look like. Why? Because I love making my own games and I find it as much fun "breaking down the codes" as playing the games. Why? Because I want to see if they make sense and to enhance my games (currently I'm working very hard on a NASCAR game that I am actually replaying the 1984, 2005 and 2008 - yup that is this year - seasons with. Believe me, in my own way I'm as much a numbers guru (maybe not as smart with them) as you or Lee.

I don't need a formula to give me a good educated guess about many things because I break them down all the time. I have a pretty good how a Replay card will look before it is out. Heck, I only have one APBA baseball set, have only played about 10 games of it in my life and hardly dabble in that game. And with the one set I had, I wanted to guess pitcher grades (with less statistical background for that game than any I really have dabbled with) and nailed the grades of the next 7 Tiger pitchers for the season I had. The game has extra cards you can purchase so I asked some people on message boards if they could get me those grades - I nailed every one that had an actual card.

Lynn Henning is around baseball. He knows X% of the players are listed in this class ect... He probably has a general sense of how the statistics are used to create those Type A, B and C classes. Without doing a single stat, I wouldn't be shocked if he could get 80% right just by "common sense" and what he knows generally. I'm guessing if I (and not just me but a ton of us here) put two week's time over the last lists of who was a Type A, B or C free agent, many of us could do a reasonable job of doing it. Henning already is in that loop and I'm sure he sees those lists on a daily basis for a certain period of time annually. I'm sorry, but I think he could've made those guesses. He could've guessed differently than you, but even just looking at baseball-reference.com and looking at borderline cases between your rankings, I can get a quick general reasoning why they are listed where they are - and that's only after about one hour of spot checking while working and posting on this board.

All that said I think he could've used your site. That's entirely possible. But I think the way to approach this was to contact him first before directly attacking him.

And as a sidenote....

As a kid I loved creating polls for college football and basketball. I fell in love with the Sagarin Ratings the first time USA Today started posting those things. The first thing I did every day after school was get my copy of the USA Today that my boss at work kept aside for me. I don't recall the day that the Sagarin Ratings were in (was it Tuesday?), but I broke those things down hard. I don't think I ever had the Sagarin Ratings down, but one year I bought a NCAA Basketball Annual that had the list of every DI to DIII team on it. I created a "computer poll" with a pocket calculator and created my own ratings system. I think there were 282 teams that season (this was a long time ago I was still in high school) and it took me a few years to do it, but I finished the list. Despite the fact I know I included stats that Sagarin didn't (I gave point values for playing D2 and D3 teams), my ratings were amazingly similar to the Sagarin ratings. And I wasn't trying to copy it. I bet I still have those notebooks somewhere, but in today's computer world, I bet if I took those rating systems and used it to project what Sagarin may be like 3 hours before it came out, I could still probably get a pretty good idea despite the fact I'm not really trying to mimic it. I was a high school kid. I never took calculus or anything like that and I was able to do something pretty accurate.

I think if I could do it (in prep sports, in the gaming world and with the Sagarin ratings), if you can do it and if tons of people that are a heck a lot smarter than me can do it in whatever their expertise is, it's not hard to believe Lynn Henning could do it as well when it involves baseball.

I don't doubt your work is darn accurate and probably pretty awesome. You deserve credit for it (if he used it). But I wouldn't suggest just because someone came to the same conclusion you did, that they absolutely used your information and used it exclusively. I don't doubt a second that someone could come out with a list that's pretty accurate with a formula we could create in a week (maybe not as good as yours) or if just by eying it we could make a reasonable list within hours. Again, not as accurate as yours, but probably enough to make some guesses. Like I said, I did that a week ago with the MHSAA playoffs without the aid of the final week being played.

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I'm honestly not too worried about anything as far as retributions. I'm just calling out hackery.

Ed, It isn't hackery, in fact thats probably the best work Henning has done in years. At least it's factual, accurate and well thought out.

Which absolutley guarantees that he plagerized your blog.

The MTS respect for Henning's research and accumen is well documented.

Someone send him an email linking this thread so he knows we outed him.

I emailed him a link to to Mark's chat and told him to study it because he could use the knowledge upgrade.

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He doesn't even have to cite me or MLBTR or Morosi. He just needs to say how he came to that conclusion, because he gives the impression that he got the numbers on his own. Again, I'm not questioning his journalistic integrity. However I am questioning the credibility of his speculations.

One problem with our space is we often don't have the time to derive how we get to our answers. And even if we do, most people don't want to know. You make a story in a newspaper like that creating Bill James equations, you are going to lose a ton more readers than you would keep by putting those equations in.

That said, he could very easily post those types of things in a blog if he wanted to.

So I can see the pros and cons with your comment.

And again, I'm not trying to take sides. In fact, I want to agree with you. Maybe he did "hack" your information. But I think there are so many other ways he could've come to the same conclusions (just by sheer guess) that I think you probably should've contacted him first.

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I think we should give Lynn the benefit of the doubt and a chance to respond to reasonable inquiries before lynching him.

Is it out of the realm of possibility that a writer made those conclusions on his own? They are guesses after all, no matter how much research goes into it. It's not like we're trying to pick lottery numbers where there's thousands of possible outcomes.

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One problem with our space is we often don't have the time to derive how we get to our answers. And even if we do, most people don't want to know. You make a story in a newspaper like that creating Bill James equations, you are going to lose a ton more readers than you would keep by putting those equations in.

That said, he could very easily post those types of things in a blog if he wanted to.

So I can see the pros and cons with your comment.

Several other journalists took the sentence of space to cite where they got their data, so I don't understand why Lynn can't.

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It may also be possible that he has interns working with him who got the info & didn't pass it along. I applaud Ed for handling this with class. As someone else said early on, I'd bet that a quick e-mail to Henning to ask him where he got the projections would be fruitful. Let us know if you do - & what he says.

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I think if I could do it (in prep sports, in the gaming world and with the Sagarin ratings), if you can do it and if tons of people that are a heck a lot smarter than me can do it in whatever their expertise is, it's not hard to believe Lynn Henning could do it as well when it involves baseball.

There's a reason that the rankings hadn't been cracked in the past and it's because it is difficult to do. The rankings are kind of non-sensical and not that intuitive in the first place (wins are a category for relievers). Plus to do it you need to know the exact amount of time a player spent on the DL over the last 2 years. Plus, you can't do this for a handful of players. You have to do it for the entire league so you can't even work on a subset.

Eddie isn't the only one capable of it, but he's the only one that has put in the time and effort (combined with the aptitude) to do it.

For Henning to state unequivocally that a pitcher like Farnsworth wouldn't be a Type B, or that Jason Varitek would be a Type A, by just using intuition. So Henning had to know about these rankings.

That Morosi would write an article around the fact that Eddie figured it out is a stark contrast. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080921/SPORTS02/809210454/1050/SPORTS02

I'm not anti-Henning as a rule. I disagree with him regularly, but I don't share the disdain for him that many on the site do. But this doesn't smell right. One other thing to consider is that he may have cited Eddie but it got cut by his editors. That wouldn't surprise me at all. Regardless, it doesn't look good for Henning/Detroit News.

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The Elias info for past years was made available publicly all over the place. Edman used data from past years to figure out their formula. Then he applied that formula to this year's data. He took nothing from Elias that was not public and free.

Yes, but what license was their data released to the public under, might have had terms specifying you shouldn't reverse engineer their formulas, or that if you do you shouldn't release it to public.

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Yes, but what license was their data released to the public under, might have had terms specifying you shouldn't reverse engineer their formulas, or that if you do you shouldn't release it to public.

I don't see how anyone could put in terms that you can't reverse engineer something.

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Several other journalists took the sentence of space to cite where they got their data, so I don't understand why Lynn can't.

And, I have said he could've mentioned Edman's site if he did take it from there. I have mentioned that (I think) a few times. Then again, maybe it's just his opinion - and that's what it reads like from the post that was taken from his story. In a column you don't write (for attribution purposes) and "from the basis of what I believe from my own educated guesses" after everything you write that you think is a possibility.

He said Jason Varitek is a likely Type A free agent. It sounds to me that's an educated guess. And going through the stats of catchers within the minutes I have, it seems like that is a likely guess. Heck, I bet just saying he's a likely Type A free agent sounds like a reasonable assumption to most of us before we look at anything. I don't think there is a person that is shocked by that statement. I don't think it's that far off base that he would think that and it probably wouldn't take him too much to confirm that initial thought in his mind for a column. Probably just a glance at Baseball-reference.com may do it. And maybe that's what he did. You can't really attribute that to anything.

It's like saying Al Kaline is likely the best RFer in Tigers history. I know who he is, heard his name and see a statue. It seems like a scenario that makes sense. Maybe a check of his stats is all someone would need to say, "yeah, he is likely to be the best RF in Tigers history" without doing more research than that. He isn't saying definitely - just likely. And he could be wrong. It's his opinion.

As I said, I enjoy breaking things down and trying to get to the nut and cranny of how sports board games are created. I have some pretty technical ideas. But I know it's likely (forget likely it's 100 percent true) someone who has never done one mathematical equation to break down a game can tell me, "this guy should get two 11s in column 6" and he's going to be as accurate as me just by eyeballing the guys stats and playing the game. Thinks sink into your brain if you don't even know it and you just "know" things. I think to suggest to get to the same conclusion as they have because of their statistical work (no matter how great), probably isn't fair. Especially when, without looking at anything, I could say "yeah Lynn I could see those people being those type of free agents" - even if he ends up being wrong. His guesses seem to make sense without me knowing much about how these types are created.

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One problem with our space is we often don't have the time to derive how we get to our answers. And even if we do, most people don't want to know. You make a story in a newspaper like that creating Bill James equations, you are going to lose a ton more readers than you would keep by putting those equations in.

The Free Press did it:

Kyle Farnsworth deal not as rewarding

Free-agent value has dropped

BY JON PAUL MOROSI • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • September 21, 2008

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* What’s this?

When the Tigers acquired reliever Kyle Farnsworth for catcher Pudge Rodriguez in July, the deal seemed to include a bonus for Detroit.

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Farnsworth, 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA at the time, appeared on course to become a Type B free agent. The Tigers could have offered him salary arbitration after the season and collected an additional 2009 draft pick, a "sandwich" pick between the first and second rounds, if he signed elsewhere.

Team officials already had determined that they would not offer Rodriguez, another prospective free agent, salary arbitration after the season, thus no extra draft pick.

But according to research by Eddie Bajek, Rodriguez is on pace to become a Type B free agent -- and now Farnsworth is not.

Bajek, an engineer and lifelong Tigers fan, maintains a blog about the team called "Tigers Thoughts." Earlier this season he took an interest in the Elias Rankings, a complex system that determines which players will be Type A and Type B free agents based on their performance over the previous two seasons.

The precise algorithm is unknown to the public, but Bajek used his mathematical expertise to figure it out "with reasonable certainty."

One of Bajek's more significant findings was that shortstop Edgar Renteria will become a Type A free agent if the Tigers decline his $12-million option for 2009. Detroit could receive two draft picks as compensation if Renteria signs elsewhere.

"If the Tigers play their cards right and the right team signs him, they could get a first-round pick and a sandwich pick for him after the season," Bajek said.

According to Bajek's research, Renteria is the only Tiger who projects to be a Type A or Type B free agent.

Poor outings on consecutive days last week may have doomed Farnsworth's chance at achieving Type B status. He is 2-3 with a 4.48 ERA this season -- including a 6.75 ERA in 16 appearances for Detroit.

"He'd probably need two or three wins without any more runs allowed to close out the season in order to secure Type B status," Bajek said.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080921/SPORTS02/809210454/1050/SPORTS02

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Yes, but what license was their data released to the public under, might have had terms specifying you shouldn't reverse engineer their formulas, or that if you do you shouldn't release it to public.

Does a license stop anyone from reverse enginering a product? I don't think so. I think it only stops one from profitting from it, but not necessarily reverse engineering something by using data that has already been publicly released.

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Does a license stop anyone from reverse enginering a product? I don't think so. I think it only stops one from profitting from it, but not necessarily reverse engineering something by using data that has already been publicly released.

I'm not a lawyer but that would be my guess as well. When you release all the data, that's really the same thing as releasing the formula because the data contains all the information you need to figure out the formula.

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Does a license stop anyone from reverse enginering a product? I don't think so. I think it only stops one from profitting from it, but not necessarily reverse engineering something by using data that has already been publicly released.

Depends on the license, some licenses do require you to not attempt to reverse engineer the software, whether these licenses/eula's would hold up in court is a secondary question. The only product Elias Sports bureau has are their developed formula's for analysing the data.

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I don't see how anyone could put in terms that you can't reverse engineer something.

You are probably using the Windows operating system like the majority of the public out there, have you read your Eula? This is common practice in the software field, I'm not sure how companies like Elias protect their IP, but they probably do something similar, if you are tainted by their results you can't reverse their product.

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How far fetched is Lynn Henning with his guesses.

I really have no clue what is all needed to make these Type A, B, C free agents. I do know this. I found a site that says the top 20% at a position in his leaguegets an A, the top 40 percent (I'm assuming they mean 21-40 percent) gives them a B. Everyone else is a C.

How many people here are shocked

Vertiek is an A? Even if you don't think he's one of the top 20%, you have to see where Henning can make a case and state that in a column. I don't think that sounds too shocking. His stats are pretty reasonable for a catcher, he plays a lot and he has a good track record. Without knowing anything about the equation I can see where he could be an A. So why would it shock me if someone says he could be an A?

Rafael Furcal or Cesar Izturis are probably C - Furcal played 36 games because of a back injury. I don't see how anyone can be too terribly shocked that he thinks he's going to be a C. I don't need an equation to tell me that is a possibility. Checked out Izturis' numbers. They are pathetic. I'm not shocked he's a C.

I just don't see where anything he posted HAD TO BE from a site. I think he could've very easily did what I did after week eight of the MHSAA football season. He saw the lists, took a quick glance at their stats. And even if he didn't know the exact equation just made some educated guesses. He's not claiming these to be exact. The column reads as though they are educated guesses. Why does it have to be he HAD TO FIGURE THAT WITH EDMAN'S site. I'm not yelling there, just trying to put it in the context I think Edman was thinking when he saw the story.

In reality, I don't think he said anything that seems to be that shocking. All he did was say something in the context that Lance Parrish is probably one of the top 20% catchers in Tigers history. If I see that on a site, does it mean he took it from that site. Of course not. Just as it doesn't mean it in this case. It seems to me in all instances, an educated guess would've gotten many of us to the same conclusion as Henning made - we didn't need Edman's blog (albeit a great source of information if you want to see something more detailed and I'm not discrediting it at all - I hope that's understood) to get to that thought process. Did he really make any projections that many of us would've guessed? I just don't see where he did at all.

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The Elias rankings are not licensed.

Along that same token. Neither are my projections, but I would still like some recognition or at least something that says it wasn't him that came to those conclusions.

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I'm not a lawyer but that would be my guess as well. When you release all the data, that's really the same thing as releasing the formula because the data contains all the information you need to figure out the formula.

My guess is if you have a copyright on the formula, no matter how you figure it out, the copyright still exists. If someone owns a copyright, they own it. And just beause you reverse formula it or break the code, it doesn't give you the right to say it's yours. And if you use it for clear profit gain, then you are going to have issues.

I want to say this was a great issue with APBA baseball a few years ago on the message boards. I want to post what I think I remember about it, but I'm way too sketchy on my recall that I better not.

All this is a guess though.

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Edman, that's awful journalism on the part of Henning, and I hope he apologizes to you and writes a follow-up giving you credit. There is a reason the journalism profession has a bad reputation, and things like this continue to contribute to that.

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My guess is if you have a copyright on the formula, no matter how you figure it out, the copyright still exists. If someone owns a copyright, they own it. And just beause you reverse formula it or break the code, it doesn't give you the right to say it's yours. And if you use it for clear profit gain, then you are going to have issues.

I want to say this was a great issue with APBA baseball a few years ago on the message boards. I want to post what I think I remember about it, but I'm way too sketchy on my recall that I better not.

All this is a guess though.

Elias formula is also not copyrighted.

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My guess is if you have a copyright on the formula, no matter how you figure it out, the copyright still exists. If someone owns a copyright, they own it. And just beause you reverse formula it or break the code, it doesn't give you the right to say it's yours. And if you use it for clear profit gain, then you are going to have issues.

.

Right, using it for profit would not be allowed if was licensed.

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Along that same token. Neither are my projections, but I would still like some recognition or at least something that says it wasn't him that came to those conclusions.

Edman,

Don't you think it's fair someone could've just hacked a few hours on baseball-reference.com with a list of each starter at each position and not come to a general conclusion that was fairly similar to yours without seeing your site? Is what he guessing really that off base? I really don't think it looks that far-fetched. If you do, I'd like to know why? There has to be a reason why you are flat out certain he took this from you. It doesn't seem his guesses - even if they don't end up being correct - are that ridiculous to suggest "he must have gotten these guesses from somewhere with great incite."

I really think the burden is on you to prove what you have suggested happened.

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How far fetched is Lynn Henning with his guesses.

I really have no clue what is all needed to make these Type A, B, C free agents. I do know this. I found a site that says the top 20% at a position in his leaguegets an A, the top 40 percent (I'm assuming they mean 21-40 percent) gives them a B. Everyone else is a C.

Without looking, tell me where you think these players qualify: Type A, Type B, or no Type (there is not Type C anymore)

Ivan Rodriguez

Rod Barajas

Paul LoDuca

Raul Ibanez

Ken Griffey

Adam Dunn

Milton Bradley

Jim Thome

Cliff Floyd

Sean Casey

Eric Hinske

Moises Alou

Pat Burrell

Mike Cameron

Juan Uribe

Mark Ellis

Orlando Cabrera

Mark Grudzelanek

Mark Loretta

Orlando Hudson

Casey Blake

Ray Durham

Mike Mussina

Tim Wakefield

Derek Lowe

Paul Byrd

Braden Looper

Jamie Moyer

Brad Penny

John Smoltz

Oliver Perez

Darren Oliver

Trever Miller

Dennys Reyes

Eddie Guardado

Brian Shouse

Brian Fuentes

Russ Springer

Doug Brocail

Trever Hoffman

Eric Gagne

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Edman,

Don't you think it's fair someone could've just hacked a few hours on baseball-reference.com with a list of each starter at each position and not come to a general conclusion that was fairly similar to yours without seeing your site? Is what he guessing really that off base? I really don't think it looks that far-fetched. If you do, I'd like to know why? There has to be a reason why you are flat out certain he took this from you. It doesn't seem his guesses - even if they don't end up being correct - are that ridiculous to suggest "he must have gotten these guesses from somewhere with great incite."

I really think the burden is on you to prove what you have suggested happened.

I think it's pretty clear. If he didn't take it from my site, he took it from MLBTR. Why didn't he qualify it as a hunch or a guess. He had to have gotten it from somewhere, and there's no way he did it on his own unless one of his moles within the Tigers' organization gave it to him.

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