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six-hopper

MotownSports Fan
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  1. I've been busy, and quite remiss in not posting some pretty good stats and feats that have happened over the last couple of months. But I'll throw one in here: It's September 3, and the pitcher leading the Majors in Wins has just 15, so it's pretty much a certainty that there will be no 20-game winner this year. There also weren't any in 2017 and 2009 (although there were four pitchers with 19 W's in 2009), although in recent years there have been some in most seasons, but typically no more than two or three a year, and even those have been in the very low 20s. The increase in bullpen use and the adoption of five-or-more-man rotations, and the corresponding decrease in starters' innings, have sharply reduced the opportunities for starters to notch victories. Fifty years ago, when Mickey Lolich started 45 games and threw 376 innings -- an average of 8.36 innings per start! -- there were 14 pitchers with 20 or more victories. Of course, the Win has long been a less-than-meaningful stat, but its value continues to fall. (For a great discussion and illustration of the weakness of the Pitching Win as a stat in modern baseball, see Brian Kenny's Ahead of the Curve, one of the must-read books for the thinking baseball fan, and one that is more entertaining and accessible than some of the math-heavier ones). As to a particular pitcher, what is far more meaningful than his individual Win total is his team's record in games that he starts, because for the best pitchers their teams will generally win the lion's share of those games, even though the starter often gets a No Decision. The most salient example of the proliferation of No-Decisions this year is Walker Buehler, who has had a fantastic season, but has just 15 decisions in 27 starts. There are only two active pitchers with more than 200 Wins, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, with Verlander's 226 the most among active pitchers. There are only four other active pitchers within striking distance of 200 -- Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Adam Wainwright. So the new 300 may not even be as high as 200, or even close. Bottom line, the era of even the greatest pitchers putting up gaudy Win totals is over.
  2. As we have all seen, many long-term big-money contracts do not pay off for the teams that sign them, especially if they extend into what are the years when there is typically big or even catastrophic age-related decline. The most common age for a player to have his best season is 27, with many players sustaining something at least fairly close to peak production to about 31 or 32, then entering a decline that accelerates as it progresses. And when serious injuries happen, that decline can begin early and go faster. That, unfortunately, may be the model for the remaining career of Mike Trout, which would be a shame, because he is such a huge talent. He may be following the Mickey Mantle path rather than, say, the Barry Bonds or Ted Williams one. I hope not, but some signs are pointing that way. Max Scherzer is obviously one of the happy exceptions to the usual dominance of Father Time. At age 37, in the last year of a seven-year contract, he was having a fine year with the Nationals, but since joining the Dodgers he has really dialed it up. Through six starts with LA, he is 4-0, with a 1.29 ERA, an average of 12.9 strikeouts per 9 innings, a WHIP of 0.771, a Strikeout-to-Walk ratio of 10 to 1, and an ERA+ of 310. He could be looking at a new deal of at least three years, maybe four or five, at something well north of 30 million a year.
  3. Even assuming that the 600,000 figure is true, that is about 0.18 percent of the US population. So while my chance of dying from COVID is higher than that of my winning the Powerball lottery, it is still pretty danm low. A whole lot lower than my chance of buying it from any of a whole bunch of other things.
  4. I'm sorry about your grandmother and your other loved one. But it's not so much a matter of luck as of probability. Many millions of people have been infected but have had no symptoms or at most mild ones, and the true death rate from COVID -- Deaths divided by Infections -- is very very low -- as in a small fraction of one percent. And the hospitalization rate -- Hospitalizations divided by Infections -- is also very low. Plus, of course, the population of those killed by the virus or made seriously ill by it is skewed strongly toward the elderly and those with significant other health problems. That doesn't mean that there should be no efforts to come up with genuinely safe and effective methods to prevent infection and to treat it. But as with everything else, the response should be proportional to the size of the problem. My perception -- based in part upon the fact that I see almost no one wearing masks anywhere, and upon my hearing people simply saying so-- is that, at his point, very few people are seriously afraid of COVID. When, after many months of a "pandemic," one knows very few if any people who have been seriously ill from it, much less died -- and especially if, like me and lots of other people, one has also been infected but suffered no symptoms or just mild ones -- it is understandable that one sees no justification for further significant disruption of one's life, and questions whether the past disruption was ever justified. A whole lot more lives than COVID takes -- including how many it took before everybody and his brother came up with a "safe and effective vaccine" in an incredibly short time -- could be saved by people eating better (and less) and exercising, but we're not closing the fast-food and breakfast joints and shutting down the butcher and donut shops, or forcing people to go to the gym. Despite the monumental and desperate efforts of those who stand to profit or to gain or maintain power from the continued fanning of the flames of COVID hysteria, it appears to me that as far as most people are concerned, it's over or all but over.
  5. The same plan as the thousands of people I see at those places and events. We're at least a year and a half, possibly as much as two years, into this "pandemic," and not a single person I know has died from it, and only two people I know have been hospitalized for it -- both of them members of high-risk groups, and one of them was hospitalized for only a short time. Those numbers are typical for the many people I've talked to about it. So my survival chances under my plan seem pretty good.
  6. I se a bunch of unmasked kids in the crowd at the Tigers game in Toronto. Good thing we're keeping those plague carriers on the other side of the border.
  7. Tens of thousands of people are attending Tigers and Lions games and concerts without masks. I go to a lot of sports events and car shows and fairs and kids' venues like playgrounds and C. J. Barrymore's and water parks and indoor arcades, many of which have hundreds or thousands of people in attendance, virtually none of them wearing masks or practicing "social distancing." The stores and restaurants and bars around me are full of people, many of them standing in line or sitting shoulder to shoulder, with none or almost none of them wearing masks. None of the many sports events I see, including my own games and kids' baseball and basketball games and practices and gymnastics events, are requiring either masks or "distancing." But we're going to require kids to wear them in school? Given all of the above, I'd ask for some rationale for the masks-in-schools thing if I weren't sure that there isn't one.
  8. We're hearing a lot about how "brave" she is for pulling out. So I guess Tom Brady and Lebron James and every other athlete who competes to the end is a coward. Because nothing says courage like quitting.
  9. In every season 2015-2021, Holland's ERA+ has been below average, and in all but one of those seasons WAY below average. He should probably never be in a game unless his team is ahead or behind by at least 10 runs.
  10. Before that Rortvedt home run, against lefthanded pitchers he was batting .083 with no extra-base hits. And he wasn't a whole lot better against righties, given his overall OPS+ of 6. No, that's not a misprint. 6!
  11. Isn't it ill-advised to throw a 1-2 fastball down the middle?
  12. Machinery assembled and maintained by carnies. How could anything go wrong?
  13. Pablo Lopez set a new Major League record today -- consecutive strikeouts to start a game -- by striking out the first nine batters he faced. He pitched three more innings after that, without notching another K.
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