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The Scorekeeping Official Report is Up at The Atlantic

Long story short, I’m stuck in traffic and I just heard from Adam that everything was released.

Here is where you can read The Atlantic version, which isn’t the complete version–it was chopped down to 2000 words from 4500.



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Scorekeeping, the scientific study of subtle racism in baseball, is completed.  Adam and I are exhausted.  We both changed jobs at least once during this whole thing.  

The report will be published in the Atlantic some time this week.  Stay tuned for more.

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Bleacher Report Does It Again: Quasi-Racist Clubhouse Cancers Post

In late 2010, during the unofficial Scorekeeping, a lot of “clubhouse cancer” stuff came up.  It wasn’t a lot, it was a couple mentions here and there, mostly tedious stuff, but it was weird because it was ONLY players of color.  From that post:

Times a player of color was called a clubhouse cancer: 5
Times a white player was called a clubhouse cancer: 0

So that’s odd.  I do remember some white players being called clubhouse cancers back in the day–my go-to is Shea Hillenbrand–but how many can you name?

Anyway, without further ado, Bleacher Report came out with this article written by Robert Knapel.  It’s title?

30 Worst Clubhouse Cancers in Baseball History

Hm.  I’m sure this is gonna be an objective account.  

The players listed: 

  • Carlos Zambrano (latino)
  • Oliver Perez (latino)
  • Manny Ramirez (latino)
  • Vicente Padilla (latino)
  • Milton Bradley (black)
  • Gary Sheffield (black)
  • Marty Bergen (white)
  • Charles Comiskey (white)
  • Jocko Halligan (white)
  • Hal Chase (white)
  • Ty Cobb (white)
  • Rogers Hornsby (white)
  • Carl Everett (black)
  • John Rocker (white)
  • Julian Tavarez (latino)
  • Jose Guillen (latino)
  • Kevin Brown (white)
  • Shea Hillenbrand (white)
  • Albert Belle (black)
  • Barry Bonds (black)
  • Sammy Sosa (latino)
  • Carlos Silva (latino)
  • Vince Coleman (black)
  • Reggie Jackson (black)
  • Ed Whitson (white)
  • Rickey Henderson (black)
  • Dick Allen (black)
  • Jeff Kent (white)
  • Bobby Bonilla (black)
  • Luis Castillo (latino)


Nine latino players, 10 black players, 10 white players.  I have 29 listed here, so maybe I missed one, but I counted it again and didn’t find one.  

Either way, this list is … slanted, shall we say. Six players haven’t played in over a century and they’re all white.  That screams “editor” to me.  

A good chunk of these players played for the Mets at one point or another.  Of the players who played for the Mets, Jeff Kent is the only white one.  Some of them are even questionable: Coleman, while eccentric at times, was never known (to my knowledge) as a clubhouse cancer.  Carlos Silva may have had an anger streak, but clubhouse cancer is a long way.  Bobby Bonilla as well.  

Bonilla is the most curious because as far as I know he was a pretty likeable guy, even if he didn’t play that well for the Mets.


This is my greatest hope for Scorekeeping, which’ll be published in the next month (seamless transition!): we as humans like to find patterns.  However, a couple of isolated incidents is not a pattern and doesn’t deserve a label.  Let’s not get too deep into philosophy, but if you label me, you negate me.  Labels are lazy, just as comps are, and we need to be aware of that.

We also need to spread that awareness because social justice without awareness leads to contempt.  

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Scorekeeping Will Be Published in the Next Couple Months! + A Change in Plans

Adam and our top data coder Michael Carver have done an excellent job wrapping up the work.  The data work should be done by the end of the month and our rewards so far have been fruitful.  There’s a few correlations in there, which Adam and I are very proud of.  We’re currently editing the draft and it looks like it’ll be published in The Atlantic some time within the next two months.  That’s worthy of a little celebration *breaks out party hat and party blower*


This summer, I’m working with a card collector.  I’ll be selling his inventory, most of it on eBay.  Some of it is kind of random 80s junk and some of it is worthwhile.  I’ll be crossposting some of the worthwhile stuff on here.  

This is gonna be an awesome summer.

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Lilly’s impressive homerless allowed streak continues

Dodgers lost tonight in a bad way, but none of it goes on the shoulders of Ted Lilly, who had another great performance.

On the season, Lilly’s given up three runs (two earned) in 20 innings.  His WHIP is a sterling 0.85.

This likely won’t continue, but it’s cool to give him a tip of the cap now and again.

More importantly, though, is Lilly’s home runs allowed stats.

Lilly’s always been known as a decent pitcher who gave up too many home runs.  If the current trend is true, this is the exact opposite now.  Lilly ended the season with six straight starts without giving up a home run and he’s currently at three starts this season without a home run allowed.  That’s nine consecutive starts.  

You may remember this post.  The chances of Lilly pulling off this kind of run are basically .01%, so we’re past statistical anomaly.  Something’s changed and either it’s the Lilly doing something different or the marine layer or who knows.  Certainly there were some deep flyouts in tonight’s game and the competition the two previous games wasn’t stiff, but it’s time to give some credit to Lilly and the coaching staff.  This has been a cool run.  

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A Brief Moneyball Review (about its content, not baseball stuff)

Let’s get this out of the way: there are plenty of reviews about Moneyball right now. I’m not writing this because I feel the need to express myself, but because there were a few things I think some reviews missed.

First off, it’s a very good movie. It’s not particularly accurate, but it’s a well-told story. All of Moneyball, from the Sandy Alderson A’s to the Billy Beane years, is condensed into one season. Alderson isn’t mentioned. The idea is that Moneyball didn’t exist as a concept until Beane hired Fake Paul Depodesta (Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill) from Cleveland. If you have serious problems with this, don’t go see the movie.

What probably should’ve happened was renaming all of the characters except Beane. Scouts particularly don’t look good in this, but they serve a very important purpose: what Beane was doing was going completely against the grain. The book had it because Lewis couldn’t describe sufficiently the different levels of team building and so took it out on the scouts; the movie had it because there wasn’t enough time to expand on the universal nature conventional team building in the game. For that, I forgive it.

The movie does pound away at how different this concept is from anything anybody had done before. Whether or not that’s true is irrelevant because it’s the crux of the story. At some point, Beane and Peter Brand have to be completely alone to further the story and the director Bennett Something and Brad Pitt did a great job of isolating Beane from the rest of the universe, including Peter Brand who’s the person Beane brings into his universe. There are many beautiful shots of empty stadiums, Oakland more than others, and Beane sitting in the seats by himself. There’s one scene in particular in which Beane is standing at the Oakland Coliseum watching the game, frustrated again, and Brand sees him. Brand is seeing the game by himself as well. Brand doesn’t say hi because they’re both separated by distance in a swarm of people–who would warmly embrace them if they knew who they were. But they don’t because the GM and assistant GM are mostly anonymous pencil pushers.

The story tends to amble a bit, but for a purpose, not unlike Catcher in the Rye. This sets up the ending which I won’t spoil for you but does draw some interesting questions out of the story. What’s the point? Why are they doing this if their success is only the ALDS? The philosophy of the story winds up right there in the heart of the ending: this isn’t about money–and dang it if the guy who played John Henry didn’t absolutely nail the monologue at the end–it’s about finding success in places where success isn’t supposed to be. It’s about creating something that defies convention and, of course, finding the market inefficiences. As Beane says in the movie, it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.

Naturally there’s going to be shortcuts taken when a book is adapted into a movie and Moneyball is no different–but Moneyball did a few things perfectly. Beane does drive around the parking lot in circles–and instead of laughing, you feel his frustration. He also works out (alone) while the game is on and occasionally unmutes it at the opportune times to hear “A-Rod has scored again for the Rangers, making it 6-0 in Oakland,” and so on. Pitt’s acting carries these moments.

Brand, though he’s definitely not Paul Depodesta, is the perfect combination of numbers guy and MLB-office rube. Though he’s got some bright ideas, it’s clear he doesn’t have an understanding on the social relationships required to handle the job. It’s a stereotype, sure, but like other things in this story, it serves a purpose: Brand is us. We’re getting a sexy look into the behind the scenes of running a major league baseball team and it’s kind of horrifying. There’s a lot of frustration. There’s a lot of anger. There’s very little support and a lot of criticism. There’s a lot of emotions for a position that’s supposed to be void of it. It freaks Peter out a bit and he apologizes a few times for things he shouldn’t apologize for
On top of all of this is the cinematography and directing, where there’s these gorgeous shots with low stadium lighting in slow motion. They’re there to remind us that these guys are doing what Brand thought they’d be doing and this is why they’re undervalued. That although there’s some self-doubt and lots of questions from this new mode of team building, they’re ultimately right and it takes some time to prove it. It all culminates with Scotty H. doing his thing on Game 20 and it’s beautiful.

Keith Law had a lot of complaints about the movie. A good deal of them were correct, some were wrong, but the one I disagree with the most is that the story doesn’t work when the movie can’t decide to be a character construct of Beane and a story about the Oakland A’s. I can see where he gets that, but the story works because of its ending; the character of Beane works for the story; and the movie as a whole was very, very good.

Definitely go see it. You won’t regret it.

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Last Day to Donate!!!

I’m just going to leave this here:

Today is the last day to donate. Officially we have 12 hours. It ends at about 11 a.m. PST, and I’m going to be at work–first day of school for high schoolers! Regardless, this is our final push for donations. We want to get a few extra in to help pay for a few extra items, including manuscript printing fees and covering the cost of the kickstarter. If we get enough, we’re going to look into coverage of Spanish-speaking broadcasts. In any case, please help out if you can.

We’re also looking for people that can watch the broadcasts. If you’d like to be a data collector, please contact me by posting in the comments here or leaving a comment on the kickstarter page.


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