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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

DRStan-DaleLong
Many of my past blogs had the same theme. That theme was “Baseball follows me where ever I go.” It was three years ago when I was meeting my new biostatistics class at Quinnipiac University that baseball did follow me into my classroom. Reading from my new class list I came across the name Dale Long. The name Dale Long belonged to a Major League first baseman in 1951 and 1955-1963. Clearly, this Dale Long could not be the ballplayer I watched. When Dale Long the student raised his hand acknowledging his name I of course had to ask the question: Are you related to the Dale Long that played baseball? I am sure he was shocked that his Biostatistics Professor would have known about Dale Long the baseball player who played over 50 years ago. His answer was Dale Long was his grandfather.

Dale Long was a Major League first baseman. He was 6’ 4” and weighed 210 pounds. He played most of his years with the Pirates, Cubs, and ended his career with the Yankees. For his 10 year career he had a BA of 267 with 132 home runs and 467 RBIs. Yes, not awesome numbers.

So you might ask the question: Why did I remember Dale Long? There are two reasons. First being a Yankee fan, I watched him play in 1962 and 1963. The second reason is the connection between Dale Long and my book: Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics with Baseball. I have a chapter in my book devoted to a mathematical formula I developed to compare various batting streaks. Using the batting statistics of a ballplayer for a given year my formula assigns a probability of that player achieving his batting streak. Of course the most famous batting streak belongs to Joe DiMaggio when in 1941 he had a 56-game hitting streak.

In 1956 Dale Long had his most productive year. In that year playing for the Pirates he batted 263 with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs. During that year he had a streak of hitting a home run in eight consecutive games which broke the previous record of 6 consecutive games held by five players including Mays and Gehrig. Later on Don Mattingly in 1987 and Ken Griffey in 1993 matched Dale Long’s streak. Using my formula the probability of Joe DiMaggio accomplishing his streak was 1 in 10,000; whereas, the probability of Dale Long’s streak was 1 in 12,500. This comparison shows Long’s streak was a rarer event than DiMaggio’s streak.

Three years ago Dale Long came to my office with a scrapbook showing how the newspapers covered his grandfather’s streak. The newspaper articles had turned yellow but the words were powerful. Dale Long provided me with interesting stories about his grandfather. These stories I wrote about in my blog dated December, 2012. That blog is archived and you can pull it up and read these fascinating stories. One story is worth repeating. According to Dale Long, when his grandfather signed with the Yankees in 1960 Casey Stengel, the Yankees manager, said to Dale you will have three jobs with us. They are you will play first base occasionally, you will pinch hit, and whenever Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford go to the city you will go with them and keep them out of trouble. I had Dale come to my office last month. He is now graduating and plans to attend medical school. He told me his grandfather’s full name is Richard Dale Long. His father is also Richard Dale Long. However, his name is Dale Long. He told me he believes his grandfather was one of the first player’s to have an African American roommate. He roomed with Willie Mays. Another story his grandfather told was when he was playing first base Ted Williams hit a line drive at him so hard that the ball hit him on the wrist before he could turn his glove. His grandfather was a heavy smoker and died tragically of Lung Cancer in 1991 four years before his grandson was born.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

My latest blog was written by Karli Regalbuto, a student in my Baseball andStatistics class at Quinnipiac University. Please enjoy reading how a young girl grew up with a love for the Yankees and how her love for the Yankees created a beautiful bond with her dad. 

It was ninety-five degrees and humid outside. Stadium packed, at full capacity.

I was only three years old. Sitting on my dad’s shoulders because I was too short to see the game. It was my very first major league baseball game. Yankees stadium smelled of hot dogs and sweaty fans. I couldn’t tell you whom the Yankees were playing, because frankly I didn’t care. Filled with awe, I mostly watched a particular player. Derek Jeter was early in his career and I was amazed by his passion for the game. Only three years old I knew I was in love with the game of baseball.

Years following, baseball became a special bond that my dad and I shared. We would go to games every year together and watch others at home. My mom and sister were never that interested in sports to begin with. Even though my dad didn’t have a son to share his love of sports with, he didn’t mind because he had me. When we watched games at home, we would act as if we were in the stadium. Silence, focusing on the play at hand. Then all of a sudden, screaming at the top of our lungs. Mom would come running into the room panicking. Dad and I would start hysterically laughing. Eventually, she became accustomed to the mini stadium that took over the living room during baseball season.

Still, my dad realized I craved more than just watching games during the season. I needed more from baseball than the season was giving me. He remembered how in awe I was at three years old watching Jeter play. It was then he introduced me to Yankeeography. At about thirteen years old my dad sat me down in the same living room we used as our mini stadium. Flipping through the recorded television shows, he stopped at one entitled “Yankeeography”. He explained to me that all the greats throughout Yankee history have been featured on this special on the YES Network. Every episode displayed something or someone within Yankee history. I was able to learn about the players he grew up with and the players my papa grew up with.

The Yankees, in that moment, turned into more than a team that I watched to bond with my dad. They became more than untouchable heroes. The Yankees became more than a group of celebrities that I couldn’t possibly find anything in common with. They became human. I felt closer not only to my dad and my papa, but also to my team. My respect for the Yankees blossomed and I knew this was my team. Forever and always a Yankee fan. 
-by Karli Regalbuto,


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

This blog was written by Laura Grosso, a student in my Baseball and Statistics class at Quinnipiac University.

Many baseball players have earned themselves nicknames from famous plays or characteristics. When I was younger I was never able to have a nickname, a name like Laura is not open for much variation. However, in my baseball career I earned a name unlike any other that I will forever be proud of “Clutch.”

While most girls grew up playing softball, I broke the gender barriers by playing baseball with the boys. At first it was accepted, girls played from tee-ball to machine pitch, however once Triple-A began, all the girls switched to the more “gender appropriate” sports. I was left to be the only girl in the league for five years.My original nickname was the uninventive, “The girl.” I played baseball from 4 to 13. Each year I got all kinds of skeptical looks- then I picked up a bat. I do not mean to brag, or be oh so “modest” but I was a great player- all the teams wanted me. And while I made the most of all my years in Little League, my most memorable and rewarding came from the last season I played for the As, and led my team to win the World Series (in my town). Not many 13 year olds can say that. That season began like any other, awkward stares as I showed up to my first practice, whispers left and right of how they had the girl. I had the same coaches for the last 4 years, however this was my first season with a new team. This was the first time I had felt out of my element. I knew no one and had to prove myself to my 13 year-old teammates.  My teammates weren’t thrilled, but I would change their minds. Our team made it through the season undefeated and into the playoffs. I will never forget my last game. The game had entered extra innings; the score had been tied for what felt like hours. The game had begun at 6 p.m. and it was now reaching 9 o’clock. The weather fueled the atmosphere- freezing cold (40 in June is not natural), and undying wind. I had 2 layers of Under Armour on, and our team was tired- we still had homework to get done before school the next morning. The umps were ready to call the game after one more inning, but we were not ready to give up. We were the home team and now it was the bottom of our last inning, our last chance. Our 1st batter stepped up to bat. First pitch- strike. Second- strike. Third- he’s out. Our 2nd player repeated the process. However, our 3rd was able to scrape by and hit a single. I checked the batting order- I was up. Up with a runner on, two outs, and the win riding on my shoulders. No pressure. I stepped up to bat, trying not to become stressed out. The first ball went past the catcher, the runner advanced to second. We now had a chance- the stakes were now even higher. Slightly shaken up, I swung at the second pitch, regardless of where it fell- strike. Ball. Ball. Strike. It was now a full count, and I was not ready to let the situation get to me- I had to prove “the girl” could play. I choked up on the bat. I swear the ball came at me in slow motion, and I belted it. It went soaring straight over the center fielder’s head. Shocked, I ran to first, my teammate sprinted into home. I continued to run the bases, unaware of my walk off and what had happened. My team rushed onto the field, crowding me, slapping my helmet, yelling, “Way to go Clutch!” “Clutch! Clutch,” they chanted and I could not wipe the smile off my face. We had won our World Series, and I had earned a legacy- and a pretty nice trophy.

While I had to transition to softball in high school, I never lost my passion for baseball, or forgot about my “glory days.” I can’t say I never earned a nickname in my years as a softball player, but I’d like to think my baseball nickname could transcend the barriers between my 2 different worlds.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

On May 1, 2015 Alex Rodriguez sent a laser shot over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, the home of the Yankees arch rival the Red Sox. As everyone knows this was a milestone home run since it was Alex’s 660th which tied him for fourth place with Willie Mays for career home runs. A contract signed in 2007 between Alex and the Yankees which I will call the milestone contract guarantees Alex six million dollars for various milestones. The first one was hitting his 660th home run. This agreement coincided with his 10-year $275 million contract extension following the 2007 World Series.

 

The Yankees claim that they no longer owe Alex the six million dollars and the milestone contract is null and void due to his suspension by Major League Baseball for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED scandal. Alex’s side argues his milestone contract is valid and the numbers are the numbers. Of course, as is the case in most contract disputes, this dispute will eventually wind up in the courts. A trial will benefit the media but would be very negative for both Alex and the Yankees.

 

Since Alex has reported to spring training he has been a model citizen. He has said all the right things and has backed it up with his play in the field. Until his recent slump he has been their best hitter and his game-winning 660th career home run was his sixth this year. Listening to the cheers he receives every time he comes to bat the Yankee fans have forgiven him and realize he is one of the major reasons their team is currently in first place. Watching his interview after the game and seeing him overcome with emotion, I also see him in a different light. I think he really wants to put his past mistakes behind him. His Yankee teammates have also accepted him and want Alex to be successful. They realize for them to reach the playoffs his right-hand power bat is needed. An ugly trial with the Yankees might result in undoing all these positives.

 

As for the Yankees a heated trial can have a negative effect on the Yankee players and consequently effect their run to the playoffs. I also think the Yankees are missing a very positive marketing situation. The American people are very forgiving and when a person humbly admits his mistakes and apologizes more likely than not they will be forgiven. If the Yankee management followed the lead of the Yankee fans and forgive Alex they would be seen as a forgiving parent. They should come out with a statement that they do not condone Alex’s PED use but that is in the past. They should then state they accept his apology and welcome him back into the Yankee family. A small celebration of his milestone should then be scheduled. The end result from a PR point of view would be they would get what they expected from the six million dollars in the milestone contract.

 

I think I have a solution to the problem. Yes, Alex has backed up his apology with his behavior and of course his batting successes. There are some critics who say it is easy to say the words I apologize but other actions are needed to back up the words. Here is my suggestion to Alex. I do not believe Alex needs the six million dollars. So Alex should start a charitable foundation with the six million dollars. The money in the foundation could then be used for many different charities. Think what this would mean for the new Alex’s reputation. Guess what!!! The Yankees would also benefit since they are now living up to the contract and their six million dollars will benefit many needed people. Believe me the billionaire Yankees won’t be hurt by losing the six million.


 

 

 
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