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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Emily At Large

Brenda Schmidt links to this essay by Kamilla Denman on Emily D.'s poetry (focused on her idiosyncratic punctuation). I haven't really had time to read the whole thing thoroughly, it's quite long. Here is some of what Denman has to say about poem 341 (which appears in the comments to the last Emily post here).
The poem begins with words conventionally grouped (though the punctuation marks Dickinson used were not conventional), but by the third line, the grammar of the poem begins to disintegrate with the introduction of an additional comma, leaving only the iambic pentameter as a stabilizing if relentless rhythmic force throughout the first stanza.16 The first line describes the psychological state philosophically, the second describes it imagistically, and the two make an impressive epigram. But Dickinson is not content to end the poem here: she must explore the state from a more intimate and vulnerable standpoint. She is not content to recollect emotion in tranquillity, nor to describe it in eloquent, complete sentences...
I am writing this from a public machine at a coffee shop in Charlottetown, so I don't really have time to give the essay my full attention or put down my impressions of it right now. Hopefully, I can get back to this tomorrow.

Previous Emily posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.


Covering Bases

All your base are belong to us. Does anyone else remember this headclogging little phrase that was all over the web a few years ago?

Here are some definitions of base.

Finally, John Hill of the Cub Reporter has written one of the better articles I've read about on-base percentage and walks:
Contrary to an all too popular belief among sceptics, on-base percentage is not so much about walks as about the rate at which you succeed as a hitter in that singular purpose of not making an out. A walk may not be as valuable as a hit in most circumstances, especially with runners on base, but it is always preferable to an out. It is that sentiment that is glaringly absent in those infamous Baker comments, that realisation that when the presented with nothing to hit, it is far better to walk than to try and hit anyway, and to inevitably fail in doing so. Drawing that walk not only gets you on base, but it adds a minimum of four pitches, and often many more, to the opposing pitcher’s pitch count and is therefore a positive step towards a steady diet of middle relievers.
In the course of research for the article Hill made an ironic little discovery about players (I'll let you find it for yourselves) who have been managed by Dusty "Hit, Don't Walk" Baker.




Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Code, Etc

The CodeArchive could come in handy for anyone interested in learning programming on their own hook.

The number and lengths of post are down this week because both the baseball and fantasy baseball seasons are opening on Sunday. I'm in way too many leagues and have a few drafts to do before Sunday, so I'm concentrating on preparation for those. Once the season starts, the posts will climb again, and they won't be so baseball heavy.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sun Byrnes Away Delusions?

From Baseball Prospectus' The Week In Quotes:
"The sun was bad, but was it any worse than it's been the last 10,000 years? I'm gonna say no."
— A’s outfielder Eric Byrnes, on losing a ball in the sun, barely catching the next one hit his way, then watching two more fall in for doubles.
He may not have a firm grasp on the ball but he appears to have a firm grip on reality.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Let There Be Light

Every now and then, a pleasant surprize pops up south of the border. Today it's a tongue-in-cheek Scientific American (I guess it's only an oxymoron in lowercase) editorial that I was led to by The Gazetteer (excerpt) and Blondesense (full text):
Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.
Them there folks at that there magazine better be careful 'cause the spirit of god might stop moving upon the face of the waters long enough to drag their faces across concrete. Might say, "Let there be a small light, a bare bulb, in their cells."

Friday, March 25, 2005

Off the (Baseball) Stupidity Scale

A lot of stupid assertions have been made over the years by baseball writers and commentators. Until today, I thought that Joe Morgan's continued insistence a couple of years ago that Billy Beane wrote Moneyball was about the height of stupidity. I'd rate that episode as about a 20 on a stupidity scale of 1 -10. I guess Morgan's is still the worst, but this assertion by L.A. Times writer Bill Plaschke in response to an AP survey of 155 Hall of Fame voters has got to have the needle quivering at 19:
``I will not vote for Mark McGwire,'' Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times said. ``It's obvious from his own statements he used some form of performance-enhancing drugs and it's obvious from his statistics he did not become a Hall of Fame-type player until he did so.''
All I can say on McGwire's statements about steroids, etc., is that he seems to be following the advice of his lawyers. That's probably a smart thing to do when confronted by witch hunters.

However, Plaschke's assertion that it's obvious from McGwire's statistics that he did not become a Hall of Fame-type player until he [allegedly] began using steroids is absolutely ridiculous and immediately refutable by a quick look at the facts. The facts in this case are McGwire's career statistics, including his minor league stats.

There is no way to prove from those statistics that at a certain point in his career McGwire began using steroids, because even as a minor leaguer his two key abilities, patience and power, were present in spades. Is Plaschke looking at stats I can't see? Because all I can see from the stats I've seen is that if McGwire used steroids it began before his minor league days.

McGwire hit 49 home runs in his rookie year at the age of 23.

Think about that: 23 years old, 49 home runs off major league pitching.

Yeah, that happens every day. It don't take a special player, a Hall of Fame-type player, to do that. No sir. Nope.

Looking at McGwire's career in the context of the offensive environments in which he played (which can be found by scrolling down his Baseball-Reference page to the Special Batting section), all we can say is that through his career his offensive stats kept pace with the inflating offensive stats of major league baseball. So what looks like a power spike in McGwire's career in his early to mid-30's is balanced by a coinciding power spike in overall MLB offense in the mid-90's to early 2000's.

Complicating any effort to separate out a performance-enhancing substance-driven late career surge for McGwire is another fact: baseball players, as a group, tend to increase both power and patience at the plate in their '30's. Yes, power and patience, McGwire's two outstanding abilities throughout his career, tend to increase with age.

I'm not saying that McGwire never used any substance that is alleged to enhance performance. I'm saying that Bill Plaschke is a complete and utter idiot for asserting that McGwire's statistics prove he used something, anything, to enhance his hitting.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Baseball Past

As the 2002 baseball season wound down, I was still relatively new to the internet. I had yet to discover blogs, and many of the baseball blogs I now frequent had yet to exist. Knowing that I would soon be in baseball withdrawal, I went looking for fixes. One of the first and best sites I found was the Netshrine Discussion Forum (a celebration of baseball). Netshrine was and is populated by true fans with a sprinkling of fine thinkers about the game. (A couple of regular posters at that time were Lee Sinins, author of the Around The Majors reports and creater of the Lee Sinins Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, a powerful research tool, and Will Carroll, who had not long before created the injury/medical blog Under The Knife; Will now writes the Team Health Reports for Baseball Prospectus, as well as The Juice blog.)

As the fall of 2002 deepened, Steve Lombardi, the Netshrine creator and curator, asked for volunteers from among the forum membership to write a series of articles of past seasons. Each participant was given a particular season to write about and a deadline to write to. I drew the 1924 New York Giants. Researching and writing my assignment and reading the work of others was one of richer moments of my baseball obsession. The articles in that series, along with others, can be found here. I'm reposting mine below.

THERE WERE GIANTS (in New York in those Days)

There were Giants in New York in those days – John McGraw’s Giants – and they entered the 1924 season as favorites to win the National league pennant. After all, they had captured three consecutive pennants on their way to winning two of the past three World Series.

But the favorites opened the season with a 3-2 loss to the Brooklyn Robins, and would not nail down their fourth straight pennant (and McGraw’s tenth and last as Giants manger) until September 27th with a tainted [more below] 5-1 win over Philadelphia. They ended the season with a slim 1½ game margin over the Brooklyn team before going on to face Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators in a Series that went the full seven games.

As in 1922 and 1923, the ’24 edition of the Giants would not have a 20 game winner on the pitching staff, although Virgil Barnes and Jack Bentley won 16 games apiece while Art Nehf and Hugh McQuillan each contributed 14 wins as they led the staff to a third place finish in the pitching standings with a 4.16 ERA and 641 runs allowed in 1378 innings.

Offensively though, the Giants were the class of the league. Six of their regulars batted over .300, and they finished first in batting average (.300), home runs (95), on base percentage (.358), runs (857) and slugging (.432). The result of their hitting dominance was that they scored over half a run more per game than any other team in the league; a total of 857 runs.

There were other stories, of course, in the National League that year. It was the first season for which the NL presented an MVP award. Rogers Hornsby posted the highest batting average of the 20th century by hitting .424 but lost out in the MVP voting to Dazzy Vance of the Brooklyn Robins who won 28 games and struck out 262 batters while compiling a stingy 2.16 ERA.

Death, as always – in baseball as in life –, lurked in the background. Before the season began Boston Braves SS Tony Boeckel became the first major leaguer to die as a result of injuries received in a car accident. Pat Moran, the Red manager died of a terminal kidney ailment, Bright’s Disease during spring training (Ross Youngs, a favorite of McGraw’s and a large part of the Giants offence in 1924, would be diagnosed with Bright’s in 1926 and die of the disease in 1927).

On July 16th, Giants 1B George Kelly became the first player to hit home runs in six straight games. It was his seventh long ball of the season. He would finish with 21.

On July 17th, Tuberculosis Day at Sportman’s Park, Jesse Haines refused to cough up a hit as he threw the first ever NL no-hitter in St. Louis in a 5-0 win over the Braves on his way to an 8-19 record for the season.

In a July 30th game between the Phillies and the Cards, Bill Sherdel came out of the St. Louis bullpen in the eighth inning with men on first and second and no outs. He wound up and delivered to Johnny Mokan who tried to bunt. The ball stayed in the air long enough to be caught by Jim Bottomley charging in from first. Bottomley’s peg to SS Jimmy Cooney doubled off the runner at second. And Cooney wasted no time in throwing a strike to Rogers Hornsby who had moved over to cover first base. One pitch for Sherdell, one triple play for the Cards.

Jim Bottomley soon became the first player to drive in 12 runs in a game. On September 16th Bottomley hit three singles, a double and two home runs (including a grand slam) against Brooklyn whose manager, Wilbert Robinson, had held the old record of 11 set in 1892 when he was a Baltimore Oriole and a teammate of John McGraw’s.

The darkest day of the 1924 season for the Giants, and for baseball, coincided with the Giants clinching the pennant. After New York’s 5-1 win over Philadelphia that day, Phillies SS Heinie Sand accused Giants OF Jimmy O’Connell of offering him $500 to throw the game.

Under questioning by Commissioner Landis, O’Connell, a 23 year old playing in his sophomore year, admitted to making the offer but said he made it on behalf of coach Cozy Dolan and various players on the New York roster. On October 1st, Landis announced that both O’Connell and Dolan were expelled from professional baseball.

With the bribery controversy barely behind them, the rest of the Giants (including 18 year old 3B Fred Lindstrom) headed to Washington to meet the Senators on October 4th for the first game of the World Series. The game went 12 innings and the Giants eked out a 4-3 win as they beat Walter Johnson in his first-ever World Series appearance despite striking out 12 times against the 37-year-old pitching legend. Art Nehf was the winning pitcher.

Game two was decided in the bottom of the ninth on a double by Washington SS Roger Peckinpaugh that scored 1B Joe Judge.

The teams split games three and four, and in game five on October 8th the Giants once again thwarted Johnson in his attempt to win a World series game as they touched him for 13 hits and six runs at the Polo Grounds.

In game six, back in Washington, the Senators’ Tom Zachary gave up a run on two first inning hits but held the New York squad to five hits the rest of the way as he squeaked out a 2-1 win. Art Nehf took the loss as the 1924 World Series was sent to a seventh game.

To start game seven on October 10th , Senators player-manager Bucky Harris sent 23 year old RHP Curly Ogden and his 9-8 record to the mound. Briefly.

After Ogden struck out Fred Lindstrom and walked Frankie Frisch, Harris pulled him in favor of LHP George Mogridge (16-11) – apparently to keep Bill Terry and his left-handed bat on the Giants bench where Harris seemed to feel they belonged. Harris gave his team a 1-0 lead with a drive into the temporary seats in left field. That lead held until the sixth when a base hit by New York and two errors by the Senators combined to give the Giants a 3-1 lead which looked like it might hold up and turn into another World Championship for the Giants.

But in the eighth Washington pinch-hitter Nemo Liebold banged out a double which C Muddy Ruel quickly followed with a single. The next batter drew a walk to load the bases. That brought up Harris who hit a seemingly harmless grounder to Lindstrom which suddenly struck a pebble and sailed into left to bring home the tying run.

To open the ninth inning Harris brought back Johnson after one day of rest. Johnson held the Giants scoreless for four innings.

In the bottom of the twelfth, the game was looking as if it might never end. But with two outs, New York C Hank Gowdy stepped on his mask near home plate as he tried to field a short pop fly by Muddy Ruel. Ruel stepped back into the batter’s box and smashed a double. Johnson then reached on a error by SS Travis Jackson. Earl McNeely came to the plate and pulled a grounder to third base. And, just as in the eighth inning, the ball took a sudden hop over young Fred Lindstrom’s head into left field. Ruel scored from second to give the Senators and Walter Johnson a hard-fought victory and their first World Series title.

Yes, there were Giants in New York in those days but they never won another pennant until 1933.

Sources: Baseball Reference.com, BaseballLibrary.com, The 20th Century Baseball Chronicle.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Branch Rickey

I don't think there can ever be enough links to this page. There was a flurry of baseball sites linking to it in the winter of 03-04 just after Paul Depodesta took over as GM of the Dodgers. It contains excerpts from an article that Branch Rickey, one of the game's great thinkers, wrote for Life magazine in 1954. A must-read for anyone interested in baseball history, and especially in fundamental truths about the statistics that should drive roster decisions.
Baseball people generally are allergic to new ideas. We are slow to change. For 51 years I have judged baseball by personal observation, by considered opinion, and by accepted statistical methods. But recently I have come upon a device for measuring baseball which has compelled me to put different values on some of my oldest and most cherished theories. It reveals some new and startling truths about the nature of the game. It is a means of gauging with a high degree of accuracy important factors which contribute to winning and losing baseball games. It is the most disconcerting and at the same time the most constructive thing to come into baseball in my memory.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Picturebook Without Pictures (Hans Christian Andersen)

Just bouncing around this morning and I came across this online edition of Picturebook Without Pictures
It is strange that whenever I am conscious of the warmest and best feelings, my hand and tongue seem to be tied, so that I can express nothing, nor utter any of the thoughts that are within me. And yet I am a painter. My eye tells me that, and all those who have seen my sketches and pictures have agreed.

I am a poor fellow; I live in one of the narrowest of streets, but there is plenty of light, for I live high up, with a view over all the rooftops. The first few days after I arrived in town I felt depressed and lonely. In place of the forest and the green hills, I now had only the dark, gray chimneys to look at. I did not have a single friend here, and not one familiar face greeted me...
A fine read. The page, which I found through this site, also has links to other Andersen works.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Fits (but not so many starts)

The obsession today is my sidebar, which holds the blogroll, archives, profile and all links to recent posts. For some reason it has decided to descend to to the bottom of the page and refuses to respond to all my entreaties for it to return to its proper place. Ran into Cynthia of iridescent spoke at the coffee shop today and she tried to help me fix it. But no go.

So between messing with that, paying the light bill (which wasn't exactly light), and working with some friends on a loose outline of an evening of poetry and music we're doing this coming Saturday night at Piece A Cake Restaurant in Charlottetown, this is the best i can do for content today.

Well, maybe not. Check out the unabridged and annotated letters of Vincent Van Gogh, a man who knew a thing or two about obsession.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Paleolithic Diet Page

Paleolithic Diet Page (Paleo Diet, Caveman Diet, Hunter/Gatherer Diet)

Yeah, it's a real site. No more potatoes for you if you know what's good for you — Or so says this Australian doctor (wear sunglasses, the page background is very yellow).

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Emily/Wikipedia 5 (At Play)

Previously on Salt and Ice: Emily 1, Emily 2, Emily 3, Emily 4.

A little of the more whimsical Emily Dickinson today. Though I suppose it's arguable that whimsy is one of her defining characteristics as a poet, and that her sense of whimsy is often not only her saviour from triteness but is also the key that opens her poetry into brilliant spaces. How about the fly in this poem?

465

I heard a Fly buzz — when I died —
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air —
Between the Heaves of Storm —

The Eyes around -- had wrung them dry —
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset — when the King
Be witnessed — in the Room —

I willed my Keepsakes — Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable — and then it was
There interposed a Fly —

With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz --
Between the light — and me —
And then the Windows failed — and then
I could not see to see
And how about those Windows? Another poem with eyes:

327

Before I got my eye put out
I liked as well to see —
As other Creatures, that have Eyes
And know no other way —

But were it told to me — Today —
That I might have the sky
For mine — I tell you that my Heart
Would split, for size of me —

The Meadows — mine —
The Mountains — mine —
All Forests — Stintless Stars —
As much of Noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes

The Motions of the Dipping Birds —
The Morning's Amber Road
For mine — to look at when I liked —
The News would strike me dead —

So safer — guess — with just my soul
Upon the Window pane —
Where other Creatures put their eyes —
Incautious — of the Sun —
And because we have noon above, let's have midnight below:


347

When Night is almost done —
And Sunrise grows so near
That we can touch the Spaces
It's time to smooth the Hair —

And get the Dimples ready —
And wonder we could care
For that old — faded Midnight
That frightened — but an Hour —

No links for this last one today. Just enjoy:
467

We do not play on Graves —

Because there isn't Room —
Besides — it isn't even -- it slants
And People come —

And put a Flower on it —
And hang their faces so —
We're fearing that their Hearts will drop —
And crush our pretty play --

And so we move as far
As Enemies — away —
Just looking round to see how far
It is — Occasionally —


Friday, March 18, 2005

Lego Lass

More evidence that I have a relatively mild case of baseball on the brain.

Batgirl focuses her Legovison on yesterday's steroid hearings.

A previous Legovison incident.


In other news, I'll be doing another Emily D. post sometime over the weekend.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just A Baseball Dilettante

That's all I am. True baseball nuts do things like these: The Fourth Outfielder does the math to see what effect this season's reduced foul ground at Dodger Stadium might have on run scoring
From 1999-2004, there were 906 foul outs (418 by Dodger hitters, 488 by opponents) at Dodger Stadium. DS had a 1.25 park factor for foul outs. The average ballpark saw 730 foul outs. Oh yeah - this data is with interleague play removed.

So, there were 906/(72*6) = 2.1 foul outs per game, or one per team. If there were no foul outs, you would have one (or 1.05) PA per game with an out, or -.30 lwts runs, turn into a regular PA (0 lwts runs). So with no foul outs, you’d expect an increase of .32 runs per team per game (-.3*1.05).

Obviously, there will still be foul outs.
J. C. Bradbury, of the Sabernomics blog, after wading through years of data has a guest article at Baseball Analysts in which he examines how much of an effect Leo Mazzone, Braves pitching coach, has on pitchers while they're with the Braves
When separating pitchers into their defined roles, relievers appeared to benefit more from their time under Mazzone than starters did, though not by much. For starters, having Leo Mazzone as a pitching coach was worth about 0.41 earned runs per 9 innings or 1 earned run per 22 innings. For relievers, Mazzone was good for about a 0.68 reduction in earned runs per 9 innings, or 1 run per 13 innings. It's pretty clear that he helps both classes of pitchers quite a bit, but he seems to do a little bit more for relievers than starters.
And David Pinto has provided an amazing resource for baseball fans of all persuasions with his Baseball Musings Day By Day Database. Here, for instance, are Carlos Delgado's first four games in the major leagues


Game Date Opponent AB Runs Hits HR RBI BB K
10/01/93 At BAL 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
10/03/93 At BAL 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
04/04/94 Vs. CHA 4 1 2 1 2 0 2
04/05/94 Vs. CHA 3 1 2 1 1 1 0
Totals
8 2 4 2 3 2 2












BA OBA Slug% OPS SB% AB/HR



.500 .600 1.250 1.850 - 4.0


Baseball Musings is also tracking the congressional hearings on steroids in baseball.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (Eliot)

First half of Prufrock:
this is an audio post - click to play

Second half:
this is an audio post - click to play

Prufrock came up in a discussion in the comments of this post. So I figure I'll give reading it a shot (I can't do worse than the author — going by recordings I've heard, Eliot was a horrible reader). It's long though, so I had to do two audioposts to get it all. A couple of links to the text: this one (that site seems to have popups) has the best layout; while this one has some of the allusions in a scrollable frame beside the poem.

Whether you like or hate this poem, the damn thing can't be ignored. Like its author, it lurks in the shadows of 20th-century poetry with a snide little smirk on its face. Or is that a leer? You gotta be aware that it's in the corner of the room or it might just slip a knife in your back. It is fun to read aloud.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Prior Abuse (an Open Letter)

This is an open letter both to Aaron Gleeman of The Hardball Times, whose pat article about Joe Mauer and Mark Prior I took issue with today, and to the Chicago Cubs organization, whose history of callous disregard for the arms of young pitchers employed by them is abominable. Gleeman's article annoyed me because of his history of attacking loose logic and shallow analysis in the mainstream baseball media (with particular attention to the ramblings of Joe Morgan, great player, poor thinker).

To: Aaron Gleeman
cc: Jim Hendry, Cubs GM

Aaron,

I think you're making an unwarranted assumption in your article on Joe Mauer and Mark Prior when you say
...the only thing that would really have changed if they had gone with Prior is that the state of Minnesota would be breathlessly awaiting daily -- no, make that hourly -- updates on an elbow instead of a knee.

That assumption being that the two players would have had those injuries occur even if the teams which drafted them had been reversed.

Kinda sounds like Joe Morgan logic there. A nice, pat, little statement made to wind up a nice, pat, little article that really says nothing at all. You know, kinda the way some people seem to talk just to feel their jaw muscles move? They'd get the same result from chewing bubblegum. Bubblegum's nice, and all. But the flavour goes out of it real quick.

It's true that we can't know for sure whether Mauer's and Prior's career paths and injury problems would have been different to this point if the Cubs had drafted Mauer and the Twins had drafted Prior.

However, given what we know from observation over the past few years about the difference in the approach the two clubs take in the handling of young pitchers (i.e. the Twins proceed with caution, and the Cubs ride 'em hard and put 'em away wet), I think a safer assumption — and the only one that should be made in this case — would not be that the Twins would have been better off drafting Prior, but that Prior would have been better off being drafted by the Twins.

Conversely, given the Cubs' history of abusing young arms (see stats below), I think we can assume that they would have been better off drafting Mauer, whose knee injury, while not surprizing in a catcher (all that bending and straightening behind the plate) is much more attributable to chance/bad luck than Prior's elbow problems. But we can't say that Mauer would have have been better off in that case.

Prior's problems were foreseeable and, in fact, as we both know, have been being predicted in various quarters of the media and the baseball blogosphere since he was called up to the majors in 2002 and his overuse by the Cubs organization began. Prior has averaged 107.1 pitches per game started in his career. You have to throw a lot of pitches in a lot of games to reach an average that high.

The abuse of the pitching arms of Prior and others in that organization is not solely the fault of Dusty Baker, who took over as the team's manager in 2003, though he certainly has contributed. It seems to be part of the organizational philosophy. A quick look at Kerry Wood's history, who had an amazing first year in the majors in 1998 while averaging 109.2 pitches per game started then, oddly enough, missed all of 1999 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, shows us that.

Anway, here are the pitches per game started by season and some other stats (plus career totals) for Prior, Wood, and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs, plus a few Twins' starters and couple of pitchers in other organizations. Of course, not all of them are strikeout pitchers, or pitchers of ace quality (at least one of them, Eric Milton, actively sucks on a game by game basis), but I think the numbers tell the tale well enough:

Mark Prior






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2002 ChC 2034 4.19 17.5 107.1 11.34 3.87
2003 ChC 3402 3.94 16.1 113.4 10.43 4.9
2004 ChC 2061 4.04 17.5 98.1 10.54 2.9
Total -- 7497 4.03 16.8 107.1 10.7 3.9








Kerry Wood






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
1998 ChC 2838 4.06 17.1 109.2 12.58 2.74
2000 ChC 2390 3.96 17.4 103.9 8.67 1.52
2001 ChC 3019 4.08 17.4 107.8 11.2 2.36
2002 ChC 3384 3.78 15.9 102.5 9.14 2.24
2003 ChC 3545 4 16.8 110.8 11.35 2.66
2004 ChC 2222 3.73 15.9 101 9.24 2.82
Total -- 17398 3.94 16.7 106.1 10.43 2.36








Carlos Zambrano






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2001 ChC 165 3.93 23.6 70 4.7 0.5
2002 ChC 1892 3.97 17.5 99.3 7.73 1.48
2003 ChC 3413 3.76 15.9 106.7 7.07 1.79
2004 ChC 3468 3.91 16.6 111.9 8.07 2.32
Total -- 8938 3.86 16.6 106.8 7.56 1.84








Johan Santana






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2000 Min 1535 3.86 17.8 85 6.7 1.19
2001 Min 708 3.63 16.5 78 5.77 1.75
2002 Min 1843 4.08 17.1 92.5 11.38 2.8
2003 Min 2536 3.94 16.1 95.3 9.61 3.6
2004 Min 3427 3.89 15 100.8 10.46 4.91
Total -- 10049 3.91 16.1 95.7 9.56 3.01








Kyle Lohse






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2001 Min 1516 3.77 16.8 88.3 6.38 2.21
2002 Min 2981 3.81 16.6 95.8 6.18 1.77
2003 Min 3044 3.58 15.1 92.2 5.82 2.89
2004 Min 3330 3.77 17.2 97.5 5.15 1.46
Total -- 10871 3.73 16.3 94.2 5.8 1.95








Joe Mays






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
1999 Min 2771 3.71 16.2 93.7 6.05 1.72
2000 Min 2666 3.69 16.7 92.6 5.73 1.52
2001 Min 3426 3.58 14.7 100.8 4.74 1.92
2002 Min 1520 3.64 16 89.4 3.59 1.52
2003 Min 2006 3.48 15.4 81.9 3.46 1.28
Total -- 12389 3.62 15.7 92.8 4.87 1.63








Brad Radke






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
1995 Min 2802 3.63 15.5 98.4 3.73 1.6
1996 Min 3528 3.63 15.2 100.8 5.74 2.6
1997 Min 3539 3.58 14.8 101.1 6.53 3.63
1998 Min 3392 3.75 15.9 106 6.15 3.4
1999 Min 3208 3.53 14.7 97.2 4.98 2.75
2000 Min 3524 3.6 15.6 103.6 5.6 2.77
2001 Min 3168 3.45 14 96 5.46 5.27
2002 Min 1731 3.53 14.7 82.4 4.72 3.1
2003 Min 3130 3.52 14.8 94.8 5.09 4.29
2004 Min 3341 3.71 15.3 98.3 5.86 5.5
Total -- 31363 3.6 15 98.5 5.46 3.25








Carlos Silva






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2004 Min 2895 3.33 14.3 87.7 3.37 2.17
Total -- 5514 3.45 14.7 87.3 3.97 1.76








Eric Milton






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
1998 Min 3018 3.91 17.5 94.3 5.59 1.53
1999 Min 3377 3.94 16.4 99.3 7.11 2.59
2000 Min 3240 3.82 16.2 98.2 7.2 3.64
2001 Min 3536 3.75 16.1 102.8 6.4 2.57
2002 Min 2712 3.84 15.9 93.5 6.37 4.03
2003 Min 239 3.62 14.1 79.7 3.71 7
2004 Phi 3439 3.99 17.1 101.1 7.21 2.15
Total -- 19561 3.87 16.5 98.1 6.64 2.55








Jake Peavy






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2002 SD 1627 3.78 16.8 95.7 8.29 2.73
2003 SD 3226 3.9 16.6 100.8 7.21 1.9
2004 SD 2686 3.87 16.2 99.5 9.36 3.26
Total -- 7539 3.86 16.5 99.2 8.22 2.49








Oliver Perez






Season TM #PIT #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 K/BB
2002 SD 1521 3.93 16.9 100.1 9.4 1.96
2003 Pit 401 3.78 17.4 80.2 9.39 2
2003 SD 1911 4.04 18.6 100.6 10.16 1.8
2003 -- 2312 3.99 18.3 96.3 10.02 1.83
2004 Pit 3135 3.89 16 104.5 10.97 2.95
Total -- 6968 3.93 16.9 100.7 10.34 2.3


Monday, March 14, 2005

Ars Poetic (Czeslaw Milosz)

this is an audio post - click to play

A link to the text.

Brenda Schmidt's mention of buying a copy of Czeslaw Milosz's New and Collected Poems reminded me that I want to do at least one of his poems here.

Milosz, a Polish poet, died at the age of 93 on August 14, 2004. More about Milosz.

I'm not sure how much of 'Ars Poetica' I agree with. I'm pretty damn sure that I don't completely understand the poem. It seems to me to be about dignity and, perhaps, a responsibility inherent in consciousness or "sapience;" about the question of free will; about the place of the rational mind in the world; and about limits, boundaries, and how to go beyond them. But none of that seems to matter. I just like the poem as it is.

Baseball, Sportsnet, and I

Yes, today, this afternoon, baseball, the Sportsnet channel, and I will coincide for the very first time this year. Approximately 5 minutes from now. It's a spring training game between the Cards and the Braves. A wonderfully meaningless game, which means I should be able to enjoy it completely instead having the standings (or the performances of particular players who might or might not be on one of my rotisserie baseball teams) in the back of my head.

Later today (this evening, probably) I'll be posting a Czeslaw Milosz poem, and maybe some thoughts about Milosz.

Now to the game.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Vitriol

Hmm, yes, vitriol. (See also the last two paragraphs of the post immediately preceding this one.)

Scary Steroid Shit (and manifest destiny)

Not the allegations of steroid use made against Mark McGwire in this New York Daily News article by two dealers who were caught by the FBI in an early '90's steroid operation — allegations which include a recipe for the steroid stew they claim was a staple of McGwire's training. No, what I find scariest in this article is the description by steroid dealer Curtis Wenzlaff, allegedly the substance guru for McGwire and Jose Canseco, of his own steroid use and weight training regimen.

Of course, the scariest part of the overall steroids witch hunt is the Congressional committee hearing on steroids use in baseball. Scary, but not surprizing, as it is just another manifestation of the "for their own good" grandstanding and persecution syndrome which has proven to be the true manifest destiny of our neighbour to the South.

All I have left to say at this point to the fools they elect to public office down there is, "Keep shoving your deranged crap down your people's throats, boys. The more you do it, the sooner they'll puke it all back up and drown you in it."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Ankiel Over

The saddest story of this spring training for me is Rick Ankiel's decision to convert from pitcher to outfielder. This is a guy who has the proverbial "million dollar arm," a guy who happened to have an ill-timed bout of wildness while facing the Braves as a rookie in the 2000 playoffs. The media, of course, jumped all over it at the time and haven't left him alone since. Brian Gunn (of the now sadly defunct Redbird Nation blog) has an article about Ankiel and his troubles over at The Hardball Times.

I hope Ankiel changes his mind and makes another run at pitching. His curveball is poetry: a thing of beauty to teammates and fans, a thing of terror to opposing hitters.

In another spring story, The Baseball Savant, vocal critic of steroid use in baseball, takes a look at Jason Giambi and concludes it ain't yet time to stick a fork in him.

Going Blind (Rilke)

this is an audio post - click to play

The version I've read here is from the Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell. I prefer his translations of Rilke to any others I've run across.

The poem 'Going Blind' was originally published in Rilke's New Poems (1907;1908).


Yes, I found it really hard to resist making the cheap joke I can't help seeing as being implicit in the English title.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Just A Swingin'

It's nearly mid-March and spring training is well under way. It's the time of year when there are season previews everywhere you look. They can be stale fare. Good to run across a fresh approach, such as this Batter's Box look at the Los Angeles Dodgers (written by Leigh Sprague):

I am powerless against the allure of EA Sports' MVP Baseball 2005. The controller sits there on the floor, "pick me up", "play me", she will say. She is a formidable temptress, and I am well beyond the point of feigning self-control.

As is the case with most addicts, I have begun to look for ways that I can incorporate the object of my addiction into seemingly unrelated tasks that I must complete. Attempts at playing the game in order to prepare myself for a big meeting (I will be more confident if I can no-hit the Yankees) or to compile my grocery list (if Halladay throws a no-hitter, I will buy Cheerios... if Manitoban Koskie hits a home run, Shredded Wheat it is) have proven to be colossal failures.

But this task, writing the Dodgers season preview, this is my chance. I will play a game, with the Dodgers, against division rival San Diego. Brian Lawrence will start for the Padres, and I will roll a die to determine the Dodgers' starter: one represents Odalis Perez, two is Brad Penny, three is Derek Lowe, four is Jeff Weaver, five is Kaz Ishii and six is Wilson Alvarez. And... three it is, so Derek Lowe will be starting on the mound for the Dodgers....
And off he goes, melding his look at how the Dodgers are set up for this season with a recap of the video ballgame he played.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Accents

Just found this site which could be useful to any number of people, whether they're writers, teachers, actors etc, or just plain curious about language. From the mission statement:

The speech accent archive is established to uniformly exhibit a large set of speech accents from a variety of language backgrounds. Native and non-native speakers of English all read the same English paragraph and are carefully recorded. The archive is constructed as a teaching tool and as a research tool. It is meant to be used by linguists as well as other people who simply wish to listen to and compare the accents of different english speakers. It allows users to compare the demographic and linguistic backgrounds of the speakers in order to determine which variables are key predictors of each accent. The speech accent archive demonstrates that accents are systematic rather than merely mistaken speech.
The methodology seems good:

We constructed an elicitation paragraph to be read by each subject. The paragraph is written in English, and uses common English words, but contains a variety of difficult English sounds and sound sequences. The paragraph contains practically all of the sounds of English.

... Each Subject is recorded individually in a quiet room. Subjects sit at a table and are approximately 8-10 inches from the microphone.

Subjects are asked a series of seven demographic questions:
1. Where were you born?
2. What is your native language?**
3. What other languages besides English and your native language do you know?
4. How old are you?
5. How old were you when you first began to study English?
6. How did you learn English? (academically or naturalistically)
7. How long have you lived in an english-speaking country? Which country?


Here are five English speakers: 1. Kilkenny, Ireland; 2. Boston, Mass; 3. Belfast, Ireland; 4. Vancouver, BC; 5. Adelaide, Austalia.


Ulysses (Tennyson)

this is an audio post - click to play

I was first introduced to Tennyson's Ulysses about 15 years ago by a strange man from out around Pisquid Pond, P.E.I. "Lot of duckhunting at Pisquid Pond," he used to tell me. "Blinds and blinds full of blind inbreds," he'd say, "pointing their guns up, mostly."

He loved the poem. Not long after showing it to me, he told me a story about once feeling something sharp pressing through the skin of his forehead. He went to the doctor, said, "Doc! Doc! Feel this. Touch my forehead! What the hell is that? Am I growing horns?"

Well, he wasn't growing horns. He'd been in a car accident ten years before, thrown through the windshield. Face and head were all cut up. What was pushing through the skin of his forehead was the last of the glass from that accident, finally coming out on its own.

He killed himself about five years ago. I never heard why. I guess not everything that gets under the skin comes out cleanly as that windshield glass. This reading of Ulysses is dedicated to the memory of Kenny Grant.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Cheque's In The Ether (Virtual Publishing)

Today a friend pointed me to a three-part series of articles on the recent past, the present and the future of publishing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. The articles were written by Richard Curtis, a New York literary agent, and contain ideas worth thinking about.

Publishing, like every business, can be a dirty, ballbreaking, wallet-draining, soul-twisting day-to-day grind. I have empathy for anyone whose first reason for working in the industry is a love of the written word. There is very little return on that love these days; the people I know who have it often live in a nearly constant state of stress from working long, long hours in their efforts to ensure that at least a few quality books will appear in bookstores along with the brand names and flavours of the day.

Are their efforts futile, Sisyphean? Are the efforts of authors struggling today, probably this evening, with manuscripts aimed at the traditional sales arenas of bookstore shelves, airports, drugstores and [in]convenience stores, doomed to be curious footnotes in the future; the titles of the few that get published in the next few years perhaps maintaining a strange half-life by popping up every now and then on websites as hyperlinks to nostalgia? Has, as Curtis seems to think (and as others have been claiming for years was inevitable), the ease and inherent creative control of self-publishing via blogs and auto-eponymous websites brought the internet to a point where it is poised to be the major economic force in publishing, with novels, poetry collections, natural history, biographies etc — in short, all the interesting long forms of the written word — about to be relegated to quaint backwaters of publishing?

I don't know. The web is powerful and omnipresent. For myself the tactile pleasure of holding a book, the ease of flipping back and forth through the pages to reread particular passages, are not things I'll give up until I'm forced to through the non-existence of books. But my generation — I was born in 1966 and have seen my corner of the world move from crank telephones, LPs and eight-tracks, AM radio, and serious network television newscasts and newspapers that carried news to instant messaging, I-pods, web radio, CNN and its clones and independant, alternative online news sources — my generation may be very close to the last one with a true affinity for the written word on the printed page.

Yet here I am, blogging my slowly-aging ass off. What's that about?

Salt And Ice began as and remains an experiment and an exercise for me. The biggest challenge is quality daily content. I think it's important that a thing like this be updated via entry or comment at least once a day. So far I've been coping with that by linking to sites that catch my eye if I don't come up with an entry I feel is worthy of posting, or by engaging in discussions about current entries, if possible.

Yesterday I was thinking that if I can keep this thing going that I will, at some point, gather a selection of entries, refine them, and submit them somewhere as a book of short essays. We'll see.

In one of the articles I linked to above, Curtis claims authors can make money off their blogs. I think his view on that process and its returns are perhaps both optimistic and slightly naive. However, making a little money from this is not something I'm against. I like food when I can get it. The off-chance of it happening is the reason for the minor ads on the sidebar. If enough people happen to click on them, Google claims they will eventually send me a cheque. Putting the ads up in the first place was a whim. I've left them up because the traffic seems to warrant their presence. If anyone's curious about that sort of thing, here are the total numbers since January 15 that sitemeter.com gives me at the time of this entry:


VISITS



Total1,966

Average Per Day34

Average Visit Length3:51

Last Hour2

Today30

This Week236


PAGE VIEWS



Total4,711

Average Per Day66

Average Per Visit1.9

Last Hour2

Today66

This Week460

Another thing I've thought about, and will probably do soon, is to provide links on the sidebar or in the blogger profile to my own books. I've refrained from posting any of my own poetry because I don't view the blog as necessarily being the best forum for that (and because that's stuff I'd prefer to be paid for). One of the reasons for starting this blog was to try and get my prose limbered up. I think that bringing my own poetry into the mix would interfere with that exercise.

That said, I may do a couple of audio posts of poems from the books at some point. Or — and this is something else I've considered now and again since I began blogging — I may just set up a PayPal account and offer to provide readings (audioposts) of things, poems or what have you, for money. People could email with the title of something they wanted to hear. Public domain, of course, at least to start. And if I thought could do a decent job of their suggestion I'd agree to do it, pending payment.