Explain That GIF!

Examinate:

Let us now Explain That GIF!

  1. After being held hostage by the Cosplay Gang, Milo finally senses an opportunity to escape.
  2. “But how will we smuggle that much heroin into San Francisco?” Rogelio asked. “Easy,” Henry told him. “We hide in plain sight. We’ll be so conspicuous, nobody would ever suspect us.”
  3. Desperate to boost ratings, NBC adds a few last-minute events to the Rio Olympics.
  4. Goddammit, Jeffrey Robert Pludermacher thought as he plunged into the chilly waters. I thought dressing in a skeleton suit would be such a badass way to be a serial killer.
  5. As John Paschal fell backwards into Bradley Woodrum’s waiting arms, Christian LaFontaine realized all too late that the Banknotes Industries company picnic conflicted with his dentist appointment.

Readers! Contribute!

Serious Suggestion

As many of us are aware, accuracy of valuation in defensive metrics is one of the more uncertain elements of advanced statisitcal analysis of professional baseball.  The traditional measure of Fielding Percentage is too limited for our purposes, partly as it incorporates the Error — what is ultimately a judgment call by the official scorer — and partly as it is crap.  You, the reader, or the listener if this is being read to you, may be familiar with other, more statistically-oriented baseball sites — perhaps even one or more edited by a highly jeer-worthy individual — which feature items that have sought to provide more precise alternatives by which to measure a player’s defensive prowess, and subsequent worth as a real man.  Still, there is no broad consensus. Continue reading

A Hall of Fame Career, One More Time

The 2016 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced last week, and the list held but two names.  The first was obvious: Ken Griffey, Jr., “Junior,” “The Kid,” “The Natural,” “The Man Who Saved Baseball in Seattle,” “The Sultan of Sharjah,” “Beets Wellington,” “Oliver Olaf Moosehawker,” “Irving Feingold and His Orchestra Present Mr. Pembroke’s Wet Diary, a Musical Tragedy in Four Acts and a Ragtime Finale,” and so on.  Griffey secured the second-highest electoral percentage in history (first place is shared by a number of dictators, including “Handsome Dick” Manitoba) and happiness resounded from the hills.

The second fellow, achieving enshrinement in his fourth year of eligibility, was one Mike Piazza, catcher.  To him we turn.  Often when evaluating a player, the experts will attempt to put his accomplishments in context by suggesting career and season “comps” — that is, telling us how good he was by suggesting whom he resembled.  There are of course better and worse comparisons — ones that work only partially, for select stats, for a time period — but sometimes one can turn up what seems to be the best.  We do that now for Piazza.piazza

Continue reading

Andrelton and Me

simmons-face

I don’t get ballet; and with a handful of taps on a keyboard I have dismissed a centuries-old art form. I see it performed and the neural activity I get might compare to sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, listening to Journey at subliminal volume over muffled speakers. Not only that, but I’ve no idea what I’m supposed to be seeing either, so my appreciation is neither visceral nor academic. I guess, rather, I appreciate the other things I could be doing with my like, really valuable time.

Now, that being said, the same is not the case for other select contemporary forms of dance. Occasionally a video finds its way onto whatever video aggregator I’m perusing of some human-shaped thing doing something indescribable with its body and I can’t help but be impressed. The less the maneuver resembles the natural movement of the human machine, the more tingly feels I get. I don’t know if there’s a name for the feeling, but it’s as delicious is to food, wonder is to observing nature, and nerdgasm is to when a world-weary writer-director subverts a dramatically cohesive storyline to resurrect a fallen character because he got too many tweets about killing him off.

The source of these feelings I don’t know how to dissect. I’m touching on the very root of how we are able to vicariously enjoy and appreciate anything at all, a topic that is too vast for my tiny brain to even maintain the illusion of intelligence when talking about. There is undeniably an aspect of it that comes from the pure, physical difficulty of what is being done. Why we should feel a base pleasure when observing a person simply intentionally do a thing that most people cannot do, for no other reason than that, is a question I have never seen answered to any degree of my satisfaction. Is it cultural or innate? Could we have developed in such a way that watching a five-foot-tall gymnast do a double backflip on flat ground would cause us to gag? We might think, why can’t she do something more sensible with her time, like update her resume? Continue reading

Scouting This Year’s Top Prospects

We here at Banknotes Industries talk with a wide network of professional scouts. Here are the latest updates from around the minor leagues…

Kyle McMyne

Kyle McMyne

  • Indianapolis Indians catcher Elias Diaz is mainly viewed by the team as a defense-first catcher, but he’s also seen as a clubhouse leader for his role in managing the team’s postgame Netflix binge-watching.
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-handed relief pitcher Kyle McMyne has a high leg kick delivery, during which he releases a 75-grade fart. One of the highest-velocity farts in the minor leagues, clocked at over 30 mph.
  • In a game last Thursday, Marcos Derkes, center fielder for the Boise Hawks, reached a remarkable 4-second reaction time between hit and bat flip.

Continue reading

Real Advanced Statistics

chrisjohnson As astute readers and by this point even semiliterate dullards will know, at some moment during the last several seasons the minds behind the official MLB website, in the game box scores for each batter, in addition to the figures for Runs, Hits, RBI, BB, SO, and Avg which we accept as standard – three because they denote what the batter actually did in his matchups against the pitcher(s); two because they tell the story of the game; and one that intends to suggest, as it represents a measurement over a time broader than the span of a single game, how often we should or should not expect such a performance – began listing the curious character of LOB, or Left On Base.  Who knows who it was that decided this was important information?  I have yet to encounter anyone who can even hazard a reasonable explanation for its sudden appearance, but perhaps I run in the wrong circles.  Presumably, it is in recognition of the view that a bro – no, a real man – a warrior – understands that per the code of honor by which he abides, no one is left behind; that it is his duty to ensure that every soldier makes it home – and LOB tells us how many of his brothers-in-arms died out there on the basepaths, their remains abandoned in foreign territory, when this gutless, limp-wristed chickenshit flied out to left.

Continue reading

A Closer, More Serious Look at Arbitrary Endpoints

A Thinking Man,

– Between June 1 and June 3, Giancarlo Stanton experienced June 2.

– From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Didi Gregorius had an hour to kill.

– From Jan. 10 to Jan. 29, Jered Weaver racked up zero strikeouts but also zero walks.

– Between the bottom of the third and top of the fourth, Joe Mauer jogged to his position. 

– From June 15, 1984, through June 15, 2015, Tim Lincecum lived for 31 years. 

– Between the third pitch and the fourth, Sonny Gray caught the throw from the catcher. 

– From May 1 through May 31, Manny Machado experienced the entire month of May.

– Between the time he sat and the time he stood up, Jason Kipnis took a dump.

– From the first out to the final out, David Ortiz thought about his statistics. 

– From Oct. 27 to sometime in early November, Ryan Howard will watch the World Series. 

The Real No-Hitter Jinx: Saying “Macbeth”

Chris Heston just threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets. There are a lot of superstitions around no-hitters, but the most famous is: don’t say “no-hitter.” If you tell your friend, or if the TV announcer says “Chris Heston has a no-hitter going in the seventh inning,” the attempt is doomed.

But original research by the hardworking interns here at Banknotes Industries has revealed another, even stronger correlation with a pitcher’s odds of giving up a hit: how many times people in the audience say “Macbeth.”

Below is a chart of regular-season games so far in 2015, including Chris Heston’s no-hitter, along with the number of times “Macbeth” was spoken during each game by fans, broadcasters, players, umpires, and (an especially frequent culprit) cotton candy salespersons.

Macbeth chart

Click to expand.

As you can see from the line of best fit (y = 0.7x + 4), pitchers average 0.7 additional hits allowed for every single utterance of “Macbeth.” So far in 2015, just three pitchers have surrendered any hits at all if the audience members have been kind enough to say “the Scottish play.”

In case you’re wondering, that dot in the upper right corner is April 28, 2015, a night in which the Nationals and Braves combined for 32 hits (and two errors) while the Royal Shakespeare Company, with stars Mark Rylance and Cate Blanchett, performed Macbeth on the upper concourse next to the bratwurst stall.

We expect that, as a result of this information, home teams may begin asking audience members to please use the term “Scottish play” during games. However, MLB may wish to encourage people to exploit this jinx, to add excitement to low-scoring games. Until then, the choice is ours.

So, What Did Josh Donaldson Say?

During yesterday’s Blue Jays-Angels game in Toronto, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson and Angels pitching coach John Butcher got into a cross-field shouting match, one that TV cameras and subsequent social-media outlets succeeded in capturing. What Butcher said remains unclear, but what Donaldson said – as you can see (way) below – remains a lot less unclear. Indeed, we can read the man’s lips pretty easily. Or can we?

I mean, what are we? Professional lip readers? (Answer: No. No, we are not professional lip readers.) And so, via a highly scientific analysis, linguistics-wise, I hereby seek to solve the mystery of Josh Donaldson’s angry utterance. What follows is a list of possibilities.

1) “Stop my clock.”

Argument for: Some clocks simply need stopping. Case in point: As everyone knows, the temporal exchange rate for Canadian clocks vis-à-vis American clocks is 1.8 to 1, meaning that for every ’Murican minute, you get 1.8 Canuck minutes in return. And at the end of the day – hey, look, a non-clichéd usage of the phrase “at the end of the day,” and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? – that adds up to (OK, let me see here – carry the one, subtract the two, drink a six-pack) that adds up to a lot of extra time with which to do Canadian things such as go snowshoeing to the ice-fishing pond and then, you know, go ice-fishing while talking about The Great One’s hot daughter. Now, as everyone also knows, Josh Donaldson is a red-blooded – what’s the word? – person from the US of A, and, as such, he don’t need no stinking extra Canuck minutes with which to do Canadian things such as discuss the Canadian health-care system vis-à-vis the American health-care system while whipping up Geddy Lee’s delicious poutine recipe.

Yep, as a red-blooded person of American provenance, all he needs is the usual allotment of good old-fashioned U.S. minutes with which to play nine innings, take a nice hot shower, knock back a couple of Bud Lights and get home in time to watch American Idol.

Conclusion: Donaldson is simply issuing a formal request that his Canadian clock be stopped, not only so he can avoid snowshoeing to the nearest Tim Hortons for a steaming cup of Canadian joe but also so he won’t have to lie awake in the extra hours of morning while mulling the absurdity of human life vis-à-vis the timelessness of Niagara Falls.

Argument against: That’s pretty stupid. Donaldson could just stop the clock himself.

2) “Sack my crock.”

Argument for: Some crock-pots simply need sacking. Example: I once had a crock-pot that simply needed sacking. And so I sacked it. And it would appear that Donaldson, too, is in possession of a crock-pot that requires a similar act of sacking, in the same way that 5th-century Rome needed sacking – did it not? – at the hands of the tribal Visigoths.

How many tragic crock-pot scenarios might we imagine? Answer: this many. Perhaps Donaldson’s crock-pot is burdened by an ill-fitting lid, the result of which is an unfortunate escape of steam and a very dry pork shoulder. Perhaps the plug is all messed up – maybe there’s an electrical short or something – the result of which is an unfortunate four-alarm fire in a fancy condominium complex in the city’s Fancy Condominium District.

Conclusion: Donaldson is simply issuing a formal request that his crock-pot be sacked, not only so he can avoid snowshoeing to the nearest – wait, wrong example – not only so he can avoid the tragedy of a fancy four-alarm fire but also so he can go snowshoeing to the Canadian Costco to buy a new crock-pot and, more importantly, eat poutine samples.

Argument against: That’s pretty stupid. Donaldson could just sack the crock himself.

3) “Sic my cwock.”

Argument for: Some cwocks simply need siccing. Or do they? As everyone knows, provided that everyone has consulted Urban Dictionary, the term “cwock” – derived from the Olde Easte Coaste phrase “cwock’n’bwalls” – is a heavily accented reference to that part of the male anatomy known otherwise and more genteelly as the “tallywacker.” As everyone also knows, the term “sic” is defined this way: “to set a dog or other animal on someone or something.” Which means, “Hey, Bowser, go attack that there mail truck!”

Conclusion: What we have here – perhaps – is Donaldson’s formal request that Angels pitching coach John Butcher set his – Donaldson’s, not Butcher’s – cwock (and by extension, bwalls) on a vehicle operated by an employee of the United States Postal Service, though it remains conceivable if not logical that a FedEx truck would also do.

Argument against: That’s pretty stupid. The act of slamming one’s genitals into a large delivery truck – whether moving or parked – would generate a great deal of pain and make one wish that he had simply gone snowshoeing into a glazed donut at Tim Hortons.

Counterargument for: As everyone knows, the word “sic” is also used to show that a word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original. What does this mean? It means that Josh Donaldson really did say, “Sic my cwock,” or at least something very, very similar.

A New Solution for the Rockies

There’s been a lot of debate about baseball in Colorado. The stadium’s elevation is so high that balls carry farther and pitches don’t have the same movement. Should the Rockies continue using a thermidor? Should they go for broke and employ nothing but sluggers? Should they use a committee of four or six starting pitchers?

I would argue that the solution is much simpler. The Colorado Rockies should build an underground stadium.

Click to expand my highly scientific blueprint plans for the new structure:

New Coors Field