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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Ichiro Suzuki, from the “Land of the Rising Sun”, provided the sunshine in the first inning of the game with the Blue Jays when he drove an outside knuckleball delivered by R.A. Dickey into left field for his 4000th hit. His 4000 hits represent the sum of his 1278 hits in Japan (1992-2000) for the Orix Blue Wave and his 2722 hits in MLB (Major League Baseball 2001-2013).To Ichiro’s surprise the entire Yankee team came out of their dugout and walked toward first base to hug and congratulate him. Ichiro then showed his respect by bowing to the fans and then to R.A. Dickey. For this moment in the first inning, the dark cloud over the Yankees, caused by the conflict between Alex Rodriguez, Major League Baseball, and the Yankee management, was lifted. All I can think of was here was a Japanese born ballplayer acting as a role model for MLB. Ichiro, now 39 years old, takes care of his body the correct way. If you watch him in the outfield he is always stretching.  Ichiro has never talked trash to any opposing player, coach, or umpire. Yes, I too congratulate Ichiro for not only getting his 4000th hit but doing it the right way. Of course, there are people who do not believe Ichiro belongs with Cobb and Rose in the 4000-Hit-Club. My own opinion is in spite of the fact that Ichiro does not have 4000 MLB hits he is in the same class with Cobb and Rose. The rest of this posting will use a formula from sabermetrics called the Equivalence Coefficient Equation (ECE) to answer the following question:

If Ichiro Suzuki had played his entire career in MLB, how many hits would he have at the end of play on August 21, 2013? In order to use this formula the following baseball statistics for Ichiro, as of August 21, 2013, are needed: His total MLB at-bats (MLBAB = 8509), his total MLB base-on-balls (MLBB = 538), his total MLB hits (MLBHits =2722), his total plate appearances in Japan (JPA = 4003), his total hits in Japan (JHits = 1278).  If Ichiro had played in the US for the years 1992-2000 his additional at-bats

(AddAB) = [MLB AB/(MLB AB+ MLBB )]*[JPA] = [8509/(8509+538)]*[4003]=3765.  

We are now ready to apply the ECE formula: ECE =[1+ (AddAB/MLBAB)]*k. The reason for the constant k is to adjust the formula to take into account the period of time we are estimating. Since the Japanese baseball season is shorter (140 games a season) than in MLB, I will let k = 1.10 to add an extra 10% to his additional at-bats. ECE = [1 + (3765/8509)*1.10] = 1.48

The product of his MLBHits and his ECE gives a prediction of his total hits, assuming he played his entire career in MLB. Ichiro’s Predicted Number of hits = (MLBHits)*EC = 2722*1.48 = 4046.  If you ignore the adjustment factor of k = 1.10, the predicted number of hits would be 3926.

From a sabermetric point of view, based on whether an adjustment factor is used or not used,    the starting point for each of his future hits will be either 3926 or 4046. So either Ichiro is in the 4000-Hit-Club already or will soon enter the 4000-Hit-Club. I understand that a purist will not accept this logic. Yes, I do remember the Roger Maris asterisk debate about him breaking Ruth’s home run record with the new 162-game schedule.  

Since Ichiro averaged over 200 hits a year in his MLB career, holds the record for most hits in a season (262), has an MVP Award, has 10 Gold Gloves, has 9 All-Star appearances, and has three silver slugger awards, his invitation to the Hall of Fame will come. Of course, since he keeps himself in such great shape, he will continue to increase his baseball statistics.

When he was asked about his most meaningful hit, he thought his game-winning hit for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic meant the most to him. Interestingly, this is not one of his 4000 hits.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man
A Whac-A-Mole game consists of a cabinet with five holes in its top and a large mallet. Each hole contains a single plastic mole and the machinery necessary to move it up and down. Once the game starts the moles will begin to pop up from their holes at random. The object of the game is to force the individual moles back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet,

To Ryan Dempster, Alex Rodriguez was the mole and his mallet was a baseball. In his first at-bat on Sunday, August 18, 2013, Dempster threw four pitches to Alex. The first pitch was low and went behind Alex, pitch number two was low and inside at Alex’s feet, the third pitch was also way inside. With a 3-0 count the fourth pitch finally hit the mole. What possessed Dempster (currently with an ERA of around 5.00) to play Whac-A-Rod? Let’s look at some possible reasons.

Maybe Dempster thought of himself as a judge responsible for punishing A-Rod for his use of PEDs. Yes, Alex broke a rule of baseball but his punishment will be determined not by Dempster but by Major League Baseball. Strike one against Dempster. Maybe Dempster believed A-Rod had no right to appeal his 211-game suspension while continuing to play baseball. The right of appeal and playing at the same time is part of the negotiated agreement between the players and the league. Strike two against Dempster. A hockey writer tweeted that he was told by Dempster that he intended to hit Alex because Alex snubbed him at a social event. Strike three against Dempster.

In baseball, three strikes and you are out. Unfortunately, the home plate umpire, instead of tossing Dempster, warned both benches. Since this warning punishes the innocent team as much as the guilty team, the time has come to change this rule. A possible change might be to continue the warning for the guilty team to the next game.

Dempster’s manager, John Farrell, in an interview said that Dempster was just wild and was not trying to hit Alex. If Farrell was given a lie detector test I think I know what the result of the test would be. However, as his manager, it was the right thing for Farrell to do. Dempster told reporters he was not throwing at Alex. As for Dempster, if he admitted to throwing at Alex he would be suspended. Ironically, if he was suspended he would also have the right to continue playing while he appealed his suspension.

Now that we discussed the bad and ugly what was the good? The good was supplied by Alex’s manager Joe Girardi and many of Alex’s teammates who supported Alex. Some of these teammates probably dislike Alex but they also did the correct thing by supporting a fellow teammate. In particular, I commend Joe Girardi, CC Sabathia, and Brett Gardner. The former Red Sox pitcher, turned sportscaster Curt Schilling, who was doing the play-by-play should take his bloody sock and shove it in his mouth (he recently sold the bloody sock for $92,613). He kept saying that CC should retaliate immediately and thereby get himself thrown out of the game. Fortunately, CC knew how important the game was to his team and did not follow that advice. One of the players that had to be held back after the incident was the scrappy Brett Gardner. It was fitting that he provided the game-winning triple later on. Joe Girardi came out of the dugout and you could see the veins popping in his neck as he argued with the home plate umpire. Alex Rodriguez himself controlled his anger. After being thrown at four times, he still did not charge the mound; he got his revenge the right way by hitting a 447 foot home run off of Dempster.  I think Alex deserves his suspension but at least for this one game he acted in a professional manner. As a Yankee fan, I hope this game provides the rallying point for the Yankees in their drive to reach the playoffs.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

 

After reading his blog post titled "Baseball and Statistics: The End of an Affair?" use these links to further understand the Trolley Codger's viewpoints about the effects of drugs in baseball.
Here are where these references appeared in the post:

In paragraph one:

 
In the bulleted list:
The Trolley Codger is, in real life, Dr. Martin E. Cobern. Marty grew up in The Bronx rooting for the Brooklyn (Trolley) Dodgers. (Yes, that was how they got their name!) After the joy of 1955 was followed by the 1958 betrayal, he tried other National League teams. The arrival of the Metropolitans in 1962, and their hiring of neighborhood hero Ed Kranepool, ensured his allegiance to the team. This loyalty persisted through many moves around the world. Later in life, however, his two daughters, both Tufts alumnae, convinced him to root for the Red Sox as well. After all, both teams hate the Yankees! At his advanced aged, codger seems more appropriate than dodger.

 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Note: My friend Dr. Stan has graciously invited me to expand on my earlier comment on this blog ( A Call for Amnesty, dated  August 6, 2013), and I am pleased to do so.

Baseball prides itself on being our national pastime, brightening even the darkest days of the Civil War. It is also a team sport in which individual accomplishments are readily tracked. This combination has led to a wonderful affair between the sport and statistics, which is celebrated in this blog and all of Dr. Stan’s efforts. By following the numbers, one can put any player or team, past or present, into a marvelous stream of history. Any fan can become a participant, simply by scoring the game with a stub of a pencil. Unfortunately, hand scoring is becoming a lost art.

The statistical chain adapted as the game has evolved. Most of the changes have been evolutionary. 

  • The formation and incorporation of the upstart American League.
  • The end of the “dead ball” era.
  • Integration. (Jackie Robinson was the chief reason for my being a Dodgers’ fan.)
  • The rise of the “closer”, largely thanks to Elroy Face and his “fork ball,” now called the split-finger fast ball.
  • The lowering of the mound after Bob Gibson decimated batting averages.
  • Playoffs, which battered [sic] the records for “post season” play.
  • The designated hitter. (Ugh!)
  • Interleague play. (Double Ugh!)

Despite these developments, the chain has held, albeit with some problems along the way. Some of us remember the Great Asterisk War after the 1961 season, when Roger Maris (and not the beloved Mick) took advantage of eight extra games to overturn the Babe’s cherished record. (My wife, another Dodgers fan from The Bronx, heard number 61 through her open window, three blocks away from the Stadium.)

to include this sorry situation, but it does not look promising. For a related view see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/opinion/how-to-play-baseball-in-all-innocence-and-fun.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fopinion%2Findex.jsonp&_r=0.

 

I would argue, however, that today’s drug-enhanced players represent a qualitative change in the nature of the game which we cherish. Compare the physiques of Mark Maguire, Barry Bonds and A-Rod to Mantle and Maris (or even to their own younger selves) and the difference is manifest. Does it truly make sense to place their statistics in the same data set? (Of course, those earlier players ingested various chemicals, but it is doubtful their stats were improved by them.)
Furthermore, unlike earlier breaks, which had clear start dates and affected all (or at least half) of the teams, this change is difficult to quantify. When did it start? Which players were affected? When will it end, or will it? In essence, another variable has been added to the analysis of baseball data – the drug influence axis. The problems for the Hall of Fame will make the Pete Rose issue seem piddling. Perhaps someone like Dr. Stan can find statistical means to include this sorry situation, but it does not look promising..

See the following post for important links that go with this post and help porve the Codger's viewpoints about the effects of drugs.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

 

Please read my accompanying blog which talks about my trip to the game with my Yankee buddy, Art Meole, who took these great pictures for me.

 

Dr. Stan the Stats Man and his Yankee Buddy Art

 

me and Art getting ready to leave for the train to Yankee Stadium

 

Warmups

Gardner and Granderson warming up.

 

Dt. Stan the Stats Man at the Yankee Game

Me (Dr. Stan the Stat's Man) at the game!

 

 

Hitting

Taken from our seats, this photo shows the live action during the game. At bat is Soriano with Granderson in the on-deck circle.

 

 

Kids Playing on Old Yankee Staduim Field

 

This is one of my favorite pictures. The ground of this field is the original old Yankee Stadium which opened in 1923. This field is located across from the new Yankee Stadium. The piece of façade in the background is from the original Yankee Stadium. The entire facade was located at the top of the original Yankee Stadium and stretched from the left field foul pole to the right field pole. This is the façade that Mickey Mantle hit with a home run ball that almost was the first fair ball hit out of the old Yankee Stadium. It was great to see this hallowed ground which held the foot-steps of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Berra now holding the foot-steps of youngsters playing our National Pastime.

 


The New Yankee Stadium

The outside of the new stadium showing the score when we left the game.

 

 

 


 


 
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