Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So you think Boston is cursed ?

A recent question to Curt Schilling's 38 Pitches blog made the claim that Boston is "the most championship starved city in the U.S." I must respectfully disagree.

Let us turn back the clock to the beginning of the 2004 baseball season, before the Red Sox ended their curse, and look at the longest droughts in professional sports at that time.

NL World Series : Chicago Cubs, 1908 (last Boston Braves series title : 1914)
NL Pennant : Cubs, 1945 (Boston Braves : 1948)
AL World Series : Chicago White Sox, 1917 (Red Sox : 1918)
AL Pennant : White Sox, 1959 (Red Sox : 1986)

Stanley Cup : Chicago Black Hawks, 1961 (Bruins : 1971)

NFL : Chicago Cardinals, 1947 -- even moving away from Chicago did not help them any (Patriots won the Super Bowl after the 2003-04 season for their second title in three years)

NBA : Celtics 16 titles (last in 1986), Bulls 6 (last in 1998) -- however, the Bulls had not made the playoffs since their last title
Since the start of the 2004 baseball season, the Red Sox (twice), White Sox, Bruins, Blackhawks, Patriots, and Celtics have all won titles, as have the men's ice hockey teams from Boston College (previous in 2001; 2008, 2010, 2012) and Boston University (previous in 1995; 2009).

I still don't see how Boston could be more cursed or starved than Chicago.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My College Football Playoff Plan

Recall from the previous post the results of the conference championship games:
PAC-10 : USC 29, Oregon 20
WAC : Utah 37, Fresno 28
Big XII : Missouri 38, Texas 32
MWC : Air Force 26, TCU 15
Big Ten : Iowa 22, Ohio St 19
MAC : Ohio 36, Central Mich 17
SEC : Florida 30, Alabama 13
C-USA : Troy 25, Louisiana Tech 16
ACC : Boston College 19, Virginia Tech 16
FE : Connecticut 32, East Carolina 31

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New NHL Conference Names

The National Hockey League recently announced it would be realigning into two western conferences of 8 teams each and two eastern conferences of 7 teams each. Since then, Twitter has been abuzz with #NHLConferenceNames. Here are my contributions:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fight Junk eMail

Fight Spam! Click Here!

The link will trap sp*mbots with an awful lot of phony eMail addresses.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unusual scores in the NFL

This afternoon's games featured some uncommon NFL scores, or at least ones we hadn't seen for a while.

  • 34- 7: Last seen 11 Sept 2011, 57th 34-7 game overall

  • 41- 7: 11 Sept 11, 21st

  • 33-20: 14 Nov 10, 9th

  • 27-21: 8 Nov 10, 80th

  • 18-15: 22 Nov 09, 6th

  • 32-20: 8 Nov 09, 3rd

  • 6- 3: 11 Oct 09, 34th

  • 28- 0: 13 Sept 09, 40th

  • 33-27: 16 Nov 08, 17th

  • 23-16: 26 Oct 08, 28th

  • 24-18: 9 Dec 07, 3rd

By comparison, the most common score in NFL history is 20-17, which has occurred 236 times.

Research performed with the PFR Boxscore Finder

UPDATE: Sunday Night's 62-7 game was the first since 15 Jan 00 (playoffs) and the 3rd overall

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FBS Realignment

Instead of picking players from various teams to see how well they do each week, my fantasy football is a little different. I have played a simulated expanded college football season and am about to start again with a second season.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Top 5 sports pet peeves

ESPN Radio on Saturday 16th July (Dari and Mel) had the announcers' list of their top 5 pet peeves. Here are mine :

  1. Baseball announcers who don't know the definition of a foul tip. The MLB rulebook clearly states "A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand." It is not a foul tip unless caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught. If it is not caught, it is just a foul ball. Runners may steal on a foul tip, since the ball is in play, but not a foul ball.

  2. Pitchers who can't go nine innings, and managers who won't let them, to paraphrase Dan Quisenberry. At one time, 10 CG was the requirement for the ERA title. No one has qualified for the ERA title since 1999 when Randy Johnson completed 12 of his starts. Oh, and they play more than 154 games now.

  3. In-game interviews. The players are primarily there to play, and the managers to manage. If you can't wait 3 hours to talk to a player or manager, maybe you need to find a new sport to follow. For the fans, the sport is not life, as much as they may hate to admit it. NCAA football does not allow players or coaches to give interviews during the game except a coach at halftime. Similarly, I want the chance to watch the game on the field, not talk about what happened already, or the new book that the player wrote.

  4. The two-point conversion. It may have its place in college and high school football, but not the NFL. Consider Super Bowl XXXVIII (Thirty-eight) : New England scored 4 TDs and 1 FG. Carolina scored 4 TDs and 1 FG. Tie game, right? Wrong! Carolina scored 2 extra points (2-2 0-2=2), New England scored 5 (3-3 1-1=5), and that's the difference in the game.

  5. NASCAR considering itself a sport. The way some people drive their car, it seems they spent more time watching NASCAR than paying attention in Driver's Ed. Seriously, can't we make it illegal for people too young to drive to watch this? And then there's the origins of the sport in the alcohol bootleggers, trying to outrun the G-Men, the T-Men, and the Revenuers... I'm not saying that there's no competition, or physical activity, but so much more of the outcome depends on other factors than physical performance of the driver.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My MLB realignment plan

Various sources are mentioning the possibility of realignment in the Major Leagues, including shipping Houston to the AL and having an odd number of teams in each league.

My plan: Keep the AL and NL as they were in the 1960s with 10 teams each, and put all of the 1969-97 expansion teams in the third league. During the 1981 strike, there was talk of a third major league; there was also talk before the first round of expansion in the 1960s. Playoff spots would go either to the top 3 spots in each league, with #9 playing #8 in a single game before the first round series began, or to the league champions with only one wild card.

This has the advantage of not needing or requiring interleague play in September when the pennant races are most intense. If there is no interleague play, teams would play their 9 opponents at home 9 times each and away 9 times each over 162 games. With interleague play, the schedule becomes more difficult with a 162-game schedule. The 162-game schedule was originally devised for a 10-team league; the leagues made it work for a 2x6 and 2x7 league, until the NL didn't like their 2x7 schedule.

Ignoring effects on scheduling, the 2010 regular season results and playoffs:

NY 95-67 PHI97-65 TB 96-66
MIN94-68 SF 92-70 SD 90-72
TEX90-72 CIN91-71 TOR85-77
BOS89-73 ATL91-71 COL83-79
CHI88-74 STL86-76 FLA80-82
DET81-81 LA 80-82 MIL77-85
OAK81-81 NY 79-83 WAS69-93
LAA80-82 HOU76-86 KC 67-95
CLE69-93 CHI75-87 AZ 65-97
BAL66-96 PIT57-105 SEA61-101

Playoff: CIN at ATL., may be played on the same day as the opening game of the postseason.

  • #9 TOR (X) at #8 TEX (A), winner to play #1 PHI (N);

  • #7 CIN/ATL (N) at #2 TB (X)

  • #6 SD (X) at #3 NYY (A)

  • #5 SF (N) at #4 MIN (A)

First-place finishers were seeded 1-2-3, second-place finishers 4-5-6, and third place finishers 7-8-9. The second-round series would feature at least one matchup with teams from the same league, making a World Series between two teams from the same league less likely.

The four-team playoff would require the wild card team to play against their league champion in the first series instead of the World Series, so 2010 would give MIN vs NYY and TB vs PHI.

The other problem posed is the differing rules relative to pitchers batting or DH. Most professional leagues in the world that does not allow some form of a DH; exceptions include the National League and Japan's Central League. The DH was used in the World Baseball Classic. NL purists could be satisfied with this compromise: Allow teams to use a DH, but require the pitchers to bat as well. This will put 10 players in the batting order. No double switches could be made with the DH, but a triple switch could be made if the DH takes a position in the field with another position player switching at the same time. Example:
  1. Abel,2b
  2. Baker,lf
  3. Charles,3b
  4. Daniel,1b
  5. Edward,dh
  6. Frank,rf
  7. George,ss
  8. Hooker,c
  9. Irwin,cf
  10. Jones,p
[1-9 as in the MLB rulebook, but no positions assigned; I am not intentionally inserting myself into this lineup]

In the next half inning, Irwin, Jones, and Abel are due up. Jones is replaced as pitcher by Miller. Since we don't want the relief pitcher to lead off, we want a double switch. Hooker is replaced at catcher by Edward, but the DH-C switch leaves a hole. The manager announces the new DH position will occupy the 10th place in the batting order, and as it turns out, Lopez bats in that place. Miller will bat in the 8th spot in the order.
  1. Abel,2b
  2. Baker,lf
  3. Charles,3b
  4. Daniel,1b
  5. Edward,dh c
  6. Frank,rf
  7. George,ss
  8. Hooker,c   Miller,p
  9. Irwin,cf
  10. Jones,p   Lopez,dh

typo edited 21-IX-2011:0346Z

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chicago's Northside Baseball Team

The Chicago Cubs play in the National League, and play at Wrigley Field. Wrigley Field opened in 1914 with the Federal League Chicago Whales, and the NL moved in when the FL folded after the 1915 season.

Officially, the Chicago National League Ball Club (Cubs has only been part of their official name for less than 10 years) was founded in 1876. But let's look at what happened between 1915 and 1916.

When the Federal League folded, former Whales owner Weeghman bought the NL Cubs.

The team played in Weeghman field, as had the Whales. The park was later named for the successive owner Wrigley.

The Manager was Joe Tinker, who had managed the Whales for two seasons. The Cubs acquired Tinker along with 11 players on February 10th.

Looking at the 8 regulars for 1916 described by Retrosheet, 4 were with Chicago NL in 1915, 2 were with Chicago (FL), one was acquired in a trade mid-season, and one made his major league debut in 1916. That edge would go to the 1916 team being the continuation of the Cubs.

On the entire pitching staff (11 pitchers), 4 pitched for the Whales in '15, 3 were with the Cubs (including George Pierce, who appeared in only 4 games in 1916), and 4 were elsewhere in the majors. This would tend to suggest that the 1916 team was the continuation of the Whales.

Looking at all position players with 100 plate appearances, we find 7 on the 1915 Cubs, 5 on the 1915 Whales (including Art Wilson, who began 1916 in Pittsburgh), and 4 who were either out of the majors or with another club in 1915. So this puts it at 9 Cubs and 8 Whales counting regulars and pitchers except for Pierce and Wilson, with 8 spending their 1915 elsewhere. I'd say this might be too close to call.

If you look at the 18 players who had less than 100 PA and who were not pitchers, however, we find only one player who was on the 1915 Cubs -- catcher Bob O'Farrell, who played 2 games in 1915 and 1 in 1916. There are 5 Whales, including Tinker, and 12 who were elsewhere in the majors or minors in 1915. Counting all players, this makes 11 Cubs and 14 Whales including the manager.

So, is the current team the continuation of the Whales or of the Cubs?

Looking at 1998, we find the Milwaukee Brewers changed leagues but kept their same ownership and players. They also kept the history of the 1970-1997 Brewers. In 1972, the Washington Senators of the AL East moved to Texas and the AL West as the Rangers. They retained legal rights to the name Washington Senators and the records of all the Senators; eventually they transferred the 1901-1960 history to the Minnesota Twins, who had previously been the Senators.

If the current Cubs are in fact heirs to the Whales, then they have never won the World Series. Granted, the pennant they won in 1915 did not lead to a berth in the World Series, but they still did not win the Series. They were only 20 games over .500 (86-66), and had 2 fewer decisions than the St Louis Terriers (87-67). The Boston Red Sox finished 51 games over .500 and the Philadelphia Phillies were 28 games over .500 that year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Penalty for celebration

In the Eagles-Cowboys game of 12 December, DeSean Jackson was flagged for excessive celebration after a touchdown. Looking at the replays, it seems the foul occured before the touchdown. Why was in not penalized from the spot of the foul rather than the succeeding spot? If the NFL really wants to cut down on taunting, they should have penalized this from the 1 instead of on the ensuing kickoff. I recall one Packer game from the late 1980s or early 1990s where there was a flag for excessive celebration after a touchdown that was called back due to a holding penalty. Both penalties were assessed before the next play.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

IHSA Football playoffs

East St Louis (Sr.) qualified for the IHSA football playoffs and was seeded #1 in the southern half of the southern 7A bracket. They were later required to forfeit five of their victories because they had a player who did not live in their district, reducing their record to 4-5 and knocking them out of the playoffs.

If East St Louis (Sr.) were replaced in the IHSA football playoffs...

  • They would have been replaced by Belleville Althoff (5-4, 38 playoff points), a 4A school.

  • Metamora (8-1, 39) would move up to 5A.

  • Crystal Lake Central (7-2, 41) would move up to 6A.

  • Collinsville (5-4, 46) would move up to 7A.

Collinsville could easily take ESL's place in the south-south subbracket for 7A and teams would just move up one placement.

In 6A, SN#7 Dolton (Thornridge) (5-4, 43) would move from south-north to south-south, and N#9 Palos Heights (Shepherd) (6-3, 41) would move from north to south-north. Dolton (Th.) would play Danville and DeKalb would instead go to Rock Island (HS). Shepherd would become the SN#6 seed and Calumet City (TF North) would drop to SN#7 unless there is a restriction about playing conference opponents in the first round, in which case Shepherd would be SN#7 and TFN would be SN#6. CLC would become the #8 seed, knocking Lake Forest (HS) down to #9, so LFHS would lose a home game.

In 5A, the North would lose their #8 seed. They could be replaced with New at #8 Lenox (Lincoln-Way West), currently #4 in the south-north. Metamora would be coming in at #3 in the south-north, dropping Sterling to #4.

In 4A, Rochester would move from #1 in the south-south to #1 in the south-north, where #1 Pontiac would fall to #2. Belleville Althoff would come in at #8 and all eight teams would move up one spot in the rankings.

Total number of games affected: 6 in 4A, 3 in 5A, 4 in 6A (and the integrity of the bracket), 4 in 7A.

Total number of teams affected: 34.

The suggestion to create a bye was a better idea. Unfortunately, the courts required ESL be allowed back into the playoffs.

Why they call it FOOTball

The play at the end of the Montréal-Toronto CFL game last week featured a placekick, two punts, and a drop kick.

Video at the CFL website here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


So Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter, the first in the postseason since Don Larsen in 1956. A lot of people are mentioning that this is the first time a pitcher has thrown two no-hitters in the same season since Nolan Ryan in 1973. Not too many are comparing this no-no, in the opening day of the playoffs, to the one by Bob Feller on Opening Day in 1940.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My fault

In golf and pick-up recreational sports, one often calls fouls on oneself. Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune tells about one NCAA women's volleyball team doing so here.