Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

April 11, 2012

Nerds Around The Net

Filed under: Baseball,Football,Video Games — Tags: , , , , — Willis @ 4:00 pm
ManSquid

I don't know what kind of science went into the creation of this Man-Chicken-Squid-Cub's Fan hybrid, but the Mad Scientists Guild would be proud.

I’ve been reading some nerdy stuff on some other sites that I figure I can share here:

Unbeatable FreeCell – Here’s the story of one guy’s quest to prove that the author of the game was wrong when he wrote in the rules of the game that “It is believed (though not proven) that every game is winnable.” And how he attempted to solve all 32,000 hands.

Science: Sun And Wind Probably Did Not Cause Bobby Petrino’s Motorcycle Crash – The guys over at DeadSpin are compiling some “Science” as to why Coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle accident seems fishy (other than Petrino’s date).

Survey: Cubans disappointed in Ozzie – With the most unsurprising results (and story headline) ESPN take a poll of Cubans and their feeling on Ozzie saying that he is a fan of Fidel Castro.

And finally this little piece of the current suckitude of the RedSox. It is near to my heart as I have tickets to Friday’s Opening Day game.

Tickets anyone? – A sad look at the Sox sellout streak and how it may be coming to an end, and why ticket sales are down nearly 3% from last year.

April 4, 2012

Opening Day 2012

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , — Willis @ 9:30 am

Today is Baseball’s North American Opening Day — A sure sign that the summer should be here soon enough and that ESPN will no longer commit 80% of their airtime to replays of dunks and half-court shots. (Don’t you sometimes wish that the “world-wide leader in sports” would cover some world-wide sports highlights. I hear European Lawn Diving is in full swing right now.)

Baseball in Japan

It was probably because it was 5am, but I'm pretty sure this is what I saw for MLB's opening series

At the beginning of any sporting event the only thing, really, for one to do, is to predict the outcome of that event. I am not doing anything different, but I shall mix it up by coming up with crazy ways to make these predictions. This year I am going to predict the final standings of MLB based solely on team salary. Using the salary numbers from Baseball Prospectus, I’ve calculated the teams Cost Per Win (CPW) for last year. And based on this years salary (and a 4% inflation due to an overall increase in spending across the league) and that CPW, here is what we have:

American League

AL East Wins Loss
 Tampa Bay Rays 123 39
 Boston Red Sox 89 73
 New York Yankees 89 73
 Toronto Blue Jays 88 74
 Baltimore Orioles 53 109
AL Central
 Detroit Tigers 109 53
 Kansas City Royals 106 56
 Cleveland Indians 81 81
 Chicago White Sox 55 107
 Minnesota Twins 50 112
AL West
 Texas Rangers 116 46
 Los Angeles Angels 85 77
 Seattle Mariners 51 111
 Oakland Athletics 41 121

National League

NL East Wins Loss
 Miami Marlins 115 47
 Philadelphia Phillies 98 64
 Washington Nationals 88 73
 Atlanta Braves 77 85
 New York Mets 45 117
NL Central
 Milwaukee Brewers 101 61
 St. Louis Cardinals 85 77
 Cincinnati Reds 76 86
 Pittsburgh Pirates 67 95
 Chicago Cubs 51 111
 Houston Astros 36 126
NL West
 Arizona Diamondbacks 115 47
 San Francisco Giants 84 78
 San Diego Padres 74 88
 Los Angeles Dodgers 62 99
 Colorado Rockies 61 101

As you can tell by the crazy number of Wins attributed to the Rays, that I do not take into account a variable CPW, where the higher the win total the more it costs for additional wins. But even without that, I wonder how close to this outcome, standings-wise, we will see? Will the Royals be a wildcard team? How many teams will actually have 100+ wins (last year: 1)?

Want to make your own predictions? Go ahead and leave a comment and we can come back here in a few months and see.

March 15, 2012

Varitekian Sonnets

Recently, a collection of sonnets in the Shakespearean form were submitted to this site for review. They were not solicited, and despite our multiple entreaties for him to stop, the submitter sent multiple versions multiple times, both electronically and via post, and often with poorly Photoshopped images suggesting poor moral character. The submitter left it unclear as to whether he wrote the sonnets himself, was submitting them on someone’s behalf, or had taken these sonnets without the author’s permission.

We here at Nerds On Sports have decided to make the most of these submissions and taken a critical eye toward them. This is the first of the whole collection, as well as the start of an introductory subset which the submitter referred to as the “recreation sonnets.”

Sonnet 1

No longer will the captain make his trek,
A walk of solace from home plate to mound:
To meditate on throws did Varitek –
Whence pitcher’s victims whiffed or cursed  aloud.

Four times opponents did score zeros twice1,
And Captain’s ‘rouse with applied glove to face2
The shame of  A-Rod! And new rings! – Quite nice,
Yet how I’ll miss your crouch behind home base.

O  Captain, hitting switch is but a tease.
Must you tell me how better it will get?3
There’s need to learn to catch, if you would please,
A happy player if we ever met.

No4 single, only a grand slam will do.
A  highly scoring game with love so true.

1 ie A no-hitter
2 An obvious reference to the July 24, 2004 game
3 http://youtu.be/TGcY_ip3w7g
4 A few versions of this sonnet had this as “Now” instead of “No,” possibly suggesting that part of it was written following Varitek’s divorce. However, the majority and most recent sonnet had it as is.

The sonnet follows the traditional form, with the first two quatrains establishing Jason Varitek as the hero, the “Captain,” the leader of the Red Sox who ultimately achieved their long-sought goal of winning the World Series. But by the end of the second quatrain, the sonnet moves away from the establishment of Varitek’s pietas and toward the author’s view of him.

The thematic turn, or volta, comes into full force at the beginning of the third quatrain, when the author entreats the hero for a closer relationship. While spelled out clearly in this quatrain and the couplet, this is hinted at throughout the poem, especially with the use of “rouse” in line six. Ostensibly, this is referring to Varitek rallying his teammates to overcome the Yankees and to evenutally lead the former into what would be an epic post-season. But this could also refer to getting the crowd excited for the game. Or for one fan in particular and in a very specific fashion, spelled out in the final couplet. Indeed, the remainder of the sonnets get exceedingly more graphic and are unpublishable for a family-oriented blog such as this.

March 9, 2012

Let’s get it (kick) started in here!

I have a bit of a Kickstarter problem, to the tune of 14 backed projects in the last 7 months. But don’t worry — I can handle it. I can quit any time I want. Until that time comes though, let me tell you of a few interesting finds.

162pixels 2012 Baseball Statographic eBook – These guys are putting together a small ebook full of preseason baseball pretty statistical goodness. In less than a week, we’ll know if they made their tiny $1500 goal. And no, I didn’t go for the level that includes a link to my blog in the book.  🙂 And if you think that $5 for a silly baseball book isn’t worth it, give them the money for the fun Moneyball-style promotion video:

Gridiron Heroes – This one actually just finished funding. But don’t fret, you can still get in line to play some Gridiron heroes by checking out their Facebook page. What are you getting in line to play? A Tecmo Bowl style football simulation MMO game on the Facebook. If you are into MMOG then you should try playing destiny, if you want to level up your character faster then check out this awesome destiny 2 boosting. I’m tired of all the Facebook games being puzzlers or boring farming simulations, so I can’t wait for some footballs up in there. Here’s their gameplay trailer:

BALLCRAPS – Also recently successful in getting their project kickstarted, BALLCRAPS is a mix of craps and football. Basically it’s a felt craps-style board where the betting that happens is about predicting the future plays of the game. I’ve put myself on their mailing list to be the first to know about Baseballcraps when the get around to making that.

That’s kind of all I found for decent sports-related KickStarters, but instead of ending this post now, I’m going to point out a few interesting board gaming ones for the nerds who are into that.

Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack – This is strategy and tactics LEGO-based miniatures game. The designers are Vincent Baker (of Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, The Abductinators, etc.) and Joshua A.C. Newman (of Shock:Social Science Fiction, Shock:Human Contact, and Under the Bed). So it has some decent pedigrees and it’s about fighting LEGO robots — What more do you want?

Bazooka Bot

Bazooka Bot has bazooka that is as tall as himself

Dog Face Robot

Don’t You think this Robot has a Dog Face?

Leaf-bot

Watch out for this bot, it has 5 penises!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! – “Velociraptor! Cannibalism! is a card game of survival, mutation, and the occasional volcano. Based on a crude understanding of natural selection,Velocipator! Cannibalism! puts you in the role of a young, eager and bright eyed Raptor as they must eat delicious, adorable prey, survive environmental disaster, mutate and steal the body parts of other Raptors.” And if that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps this fancy kitten-eating raptor can change your mind:

March 8, 2012

iPad Sports Apps

Filed under: Baseball,Soccer — Willis @ 9:53 am

In honor of the Apple announcement of the iPad 3 or The New iPad or iPad: The Next Generation or whatever they’re calling it, I’m going to list some of my favorite iPad sports apps.

ESPN ScoreCenter XLFree – ScoreCenter is one of the many apps that can get you the latest scores and news, but what I like about this app is the favorite teams functionality. When you start the app, you get the days games and news/video front and center for your favorite teams. Other sports/teams news crawls the ticker at the bottom, and you can just touch that to open the full story. All in all, I think ScoreCenter does a pretty good job of getting me the info I want pretty easily.

ScoreCenter Screencap

Here you can see the main layout with a few favorite teams added

ESPN iScore$9.99 – Ever wish you local beer-league softball club had readily available stats? Want to show off to all your work buddies because your daughter’s OPS is better than their son’s? ESPN’s iScore apps does all this and more. At its heart it’s a scorekeeper so the basic functionality is to track players and the game. On top of that it adds statistical analysis, live game broadcasting (to twitter and/or to a GameCenter like web app), and even a website to publish all the results. It’s available for baseball, football, and basketball.

ESPN iScore Baseball Scorekeeper

A triple down the like for Test Test. Mr. Test is a beast in this league.

MLB AtBat 2012freemium – Major League Baseball’s app continues to stand out for giving fans a great product. This year they’ve combined the free and paid versions to a freemium version. That way you only have to buy it once for both your iPhone and iPad – or you can just hook it up to your mlb.tv subscription and your ready to watch games on the go. Free version has scores and some game tracking, but paying will get you game audio and video highlights.

MLS MatchDay 2012freemium – Similar to MLB’s app, Major League Soccer’s app offers live game stats, tracking and video. Alerts for your favorite team are nice. Also you can track MLS clubs in outside tournaments like the CONCACAF Champions League happening right now.

Pennant$4.99 – Pennant offers a pretty and fun way to traverse baseball data from every game from 1952 – 2010. All the play-by-play and data you don’t actually need to know is right there at your fingertips. Who was batting leadoff on the day (or closest day to when) you were born? For me in Boston it was Jerry Remy and Eckersly was on the mound. Thanks Pennant – $5 well spent.

Pennant Screen

A balk!? I didn't know those even existed in 1962!

That’s all for now. Let me know if I need to run out and pick up any cool sports apps that I’m missing.

March 6, 2012

Geekapollooza AKA Sports Analytics Conf.

This past weekend at MIT was what Mark Cuban calls “Geekapollooza,” but what everyone else calls the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.  It’s nice to see that the professional nerds on sports have their own conference. The description from their site states:

The conference goal is to provide a forum for industry professionals (executives and leading researchers) and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry. MIT Sloan is dedicated to fostering growth in this arena, and the conference enriches opportunities for learning about the sports business world. The conference is open to anyone interested in sports.

Though the real description is that a bunch of (usually highly educated) nerds come together with the people in sports management and discuss their idea and breakthroughs in statistics and analytics. The ESPN Numbers Never Lie team made a little video that explains the conference well:

As far as I can tell from what I saw/read/heard about coming out of SSAC these are the important stories:

  • Every sport was covered. Of course there were panels for baseball, basketball, and football, but there were panels for soccer, golf, tennis, advertising, and even hockey.
  • Bill James is a god among nerds. He was a special guest on panels, podcasts, and ESPN interviews. I think everyone is trying to make up for the Baseball Abstracts days.
  • There was a panel dedicated to sports gambling, because it turns out that degenerates who gamble on sports have paved and are paving new roads in predictive sports analytics.
  • TicketMaster started talking about their new PriceMaster stab at dynamic ticket pricing. Probably means more expensive tickets, but maybe there’ll be a last-minute cheap-o (like myself) option.
  • EPSN was all over this thing: They has sponsorship ads in place. They had people on half the panels. They had their own panels. They were even broadcasting live.

To end this, I’ll leave you with a video of Kevin McHale, who, though not as hating as Joe Morgan, has never been a fan of all the advanced statistical analysis until (as you’ll see at about 2/3s into the video the video) he realizes that his GM (Daryl Morey) is a big fan of this stuff. So much so that he’s a co-chair at Sloan.

October 21, 2009

[Business Day One] Hehehehehe

Filed under: Baseball,Business Day One — Tags: , — Serpico @ 9:02 am

There are few absolutes in sports. But I can absolutely promise that this is going to grow more bizarre and hilarious and time goes on.

July 30, 2009

[Business Day One] I’ve Been Waiting All Along

Filed under: Baseball,Business Day One — Tags: , , — Serpico @ 11:54 am

David Ortiz tested positive for something in 2003. We’ll find out what for soon, but as for right now, I’m just going to savor the fact that my gut instinct about Papi has been right. He suddenly became a masher, then fell apart in his early 30s. That’s drug use, world.

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