Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

May 24, 2014

STATurday: Looking For A Job

Filed under: Staturday — Tags: , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am

Today’s STATurday is about looking for a job. This is from a survey of over 1200 people about their plans for looking for a new job. The biggest surprise is how often people keep their résumé up to date. If you haven’t switched jobs in a few years, do you really need to make updates every week?

Infographic

For the full article, visit Fast Company.

May 13, 2014

Tabletop Tuesday: Monopoly

Filed under: Tabletop Tuesday — Tags: , , , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am

I’d like to start a weekly feature for boardgames up in this nerdy and sporty place. It’s not like anyone is reading this blog, so I can pretty much shout into the dark voids of the internet whatever I want. Let’s start this new feature this week with a game that almost everyone has played: Monopoly.

monopoly-manMonopoly is a weird game, since almost everyone has played it, we all have differing memories and opinions on the game. Now, before you go about giving me your opinion of the game, you should read the rules and realize that you played the game wrong (Was there money on free parking, or no auctions, or maybe you traded for future rent immunity – All wrong). How would you like someone judging your favorite game if they didn’t play by the rules — Football is stupid & boring, we just passed the ball back and forth until we got to the endzone untouched.

What I’m saying is that perhaps you need to look at the good parts of Monopoly. The wheeling and dealing of properties and cash between players. The game is almost completely about making the right trades and having the dice luck pay out for those trades. Hell, there’s math and statistics on the optimal strategies of the game. The thing with that being the good part of the game is that it’s also what makes the game terrible. If you’re lucky with dice, your trading skill can kill the game for you and vice versa.

In conclusion, Monopoly sucks.

May 3, 2014

STATurday: Smart Spending

Filed under: Staturday — Tags: , , , , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am
Glove with money

Money Ball?

Last week, Businessweek published a fun tool for calculating what they call an “efficiency index.” This is what there using to figure out how much a team spends per win and how that compares to the league average. They are taking into account playoff and championship wins as a multiplier value compared to regular season wins. That multiplier is what you can adjust. You can set it to only show a single league, say MLB, and start increasing the value of post-season wins. Watch as the Marlins plummet from the top as the Yankees begin their climb.

Check it out: Smartest Spenders in Sports 2014

May 2, 2014

It’s Kentucky Derby Time

Filed under: Racing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Willis @ 11:57 am

Happy almost first Saturday in May. You know what that means… It’s Derby Time!

So grab your over-sized hats and substantial fascinators because the 140th derby is tomorrow. Pour yourself a strong mint julep, find your rose garland, and sing along to My Old Kentucky Home.

Now that you’re mostly prepared, it’s time for learning about the horses, and for that I’m going to strap a feed bag of useless untrue horse info to your face:

  1. Vicar’s In Trouble (20-1) – Sounds like a newspaper headline out of Boston, but I actually think it’s a dirty joke based on the horse’s parents names: Vibrant, by Vicar and Into Mischief. Why I’m betting this horse: He’s being ridden by a female jockey.  And not just any female jockey, the best female jockey. And I think it’s time for a lady to win the derby.
  2. Harry’s Holiday (50-1) – This horse is ranked 19th of the 20 horses in the Derby, but I think the name was just created to pull some royal buzz. Yesterday Prince Harry parties hard at a Miami bachelor party after split from Cressida Bonas… Sounds like a pretty good holiday to me. Why I’m betting this horse: The longshot odds… Just imagine the winnings potential!
  3. Uncle Sigh (30-1) – Yup, it’s a horse named after a dude on TV. Uncle Sigh is named for Uncle Si Robertson from A&E’s reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.” I hope the jockey has a duck call in his mouth and is quacking the whole race. Why I’m betting this horse: Wounded Warrior Stable pledges to donate 10-percent of his earnings to various charities supporting injured veterans.
  4. DanzaDanza (8-1) – Just when you get over the surprise of a horse named after a TV guy… Danza was named after Tony Danza, and got the name in a horse naming contest. Also, there are horse naming contests!? How do I get a piece of that action? I know tons of dudes on TV’s names! Why I’m betting this horse: Tony Fucking Danza! And the Jockey pretty much has a superhero alter-ego name: Joe Bravo.
  5. California Chrome (5-2) – Everyone loves California Chrome. It’s so shiny and nice, and he’s won his last 5 races. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. He’s already won more money than all the other horses here – he’s starting to not care. It’s time for CC to lose. And when he does, we can all say he sucked so bad he could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.
  6. Samraat (15-1) – I never know how to pronounce  a double a in words like this. Is it sam-rat or sam-ra-at? Also, I always hear it in my head like Mumraaa the Everliving. Anyway, let’s just go with the English translation of this Indian word: “Emperor.” Why I’m betting this horse: He’s the Emperor and he’s got a new groove.
  7. We Miss Artie (50-1) – I was hoping this horse was named by someone who really wanted Artie Lange back on the Stern show or something, but no — Artie is just the daddy horse name. Do you think some race horses have daddy issues? So many of them are named after them and are expected to be as good as or better than their fathers. Is this the way we’d want our horse children treated? How many suicidal horses must we lose before we learn!? Why I’m betting this horse: Because I miss Artie, don’t you?
  8. General A Rod (15-1) – On one of the sites I was researching horse info, this horse’s name is written as General a Rod. Which instead of honoring a A. Rodriguez becomes an insult for the guy leading your army. Who’s in charge here — General a Rod Up His Butt? Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. I don’t like ol’ Purple Lips A-Rod and the real horse’s namesake no longer owns the horse.
  9. Vinceremos (30-1) – Horses are so often named after their parents. Is this horse the love child of @VinnyCaravella and @chrisremo? Why I’m betting this horse: Because of Vinny and Chris even though they have nothing to do with this horse or horse racing or Kentucky.
  10. Wildcat Red (15-1) -This horse is coming out of the gate with no quarterback. It’s a 2 full-back formation and those other horses will never see it coming. This trick has worked pretty well so far as Wildcat Red has either been first or second in all 7 of his previous races. Let’s hope those other horses haven’t been studying the tape too much. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. I don’t bet on communist horses from Venezuela.

    Hoppertunity

    File Photo of Hoppertunity

  11. Hoppertunity (SCR) – Someone caught on that this wasn’t actually a horse, but was, in fact, a team of rabbits in a horse suit. Maybe next year bunnies.
  12. Dance With Fate (20-1) – Have you ever tried dancing with fate? She’s a terrible dancer – so predictable and it ends with the same dip every time. Also, horses can’t dance well — they have 2 left feet. Why I’m betting this horse: Because of the pretty pink shirt the jockey wears.
  13. Chitu (20-1) – Anyone know what a Chitu is? Is he the son of Chiwon? I’ll admit that was a terrible joke, but I really don’t know what a Chitu is and Google is no help. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. This horse might as well be named Blasted Samoflange (actually, that’d be an awesome horse name) because I don’t know what the heck it is.
  14. Medal Count (20-1) – Medal Count is the worst, most awful part of Olympic coverage. Useless info. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Why I’m betting this horse: Yesterday was his third birthday, and I have to assume there is a child, that speaks horse, who will go to the paddock before the race and inform them of this. The horses will collude to allow Medal Count to get a win. Cartoons have never led me astray before.
  15. Tapiture (8-1) – His dad (sire in horse terms), Tapit, played a mean guitar solo to woo his mother (dam in horse terms). She was named “Free Ride” but was actually the prude of the stables. When Tapiture was born, Tapit chose the name because he was the son of Tapit and an awesome guitar jam. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. Tapiture is a stupid name created by a stupid horse.
  16. Intense Holiday (8-1) – Half brother of Harry’s Holiday in the second slot. He is a bastard child as his dam never won a race, but I think that just drives Intense more. The sibling rivalry is huge between these two: Harry’s won more races, but Intense has won more money. The Derby could be the deciding factor in this sibling war. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. I only bet on one Holiday bother to keep the rivalry going.
  17. Commanding Curve (50-1) – With a sire of Master Command this horse could have been named Commanding Anything, yet somehow they chose the worst possible word. How does a curve command? Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. This is the worse name here and it doesn’t deserve to be recognized at all.
  18. Candy Boy (15-1) – As the son of Candy Ride, Candy Boy makes complete sense. That’s more than we can say about Commanding Curve. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. The other horses are gonna say Candy Boy needs to shut his mouth, go down Know Your Role Boulevard, just off Jabroni Drive, and check himself directly into the Smackdown Hotel, where we will be waiting to layeth the smacketh downeth on his candy ass!Hipster Horse
  19. Ride On Curlin (15-1) – I’m pretty sure this is the indie hipster pick of the race. (Other than his dad being the richest horse in history that is.) OwnerDaniel Dougherty is furniture dealer from Louisville, Kentucky.  He bought Ride on Curlin for $25,000 and then turned down a $1 million offer after the horse set a track record at Ellis Park. Trainer:  Billy “Bronco” Gowan trains a small number of horses at Churchill Downs training center in Louisville, Kentucky. Jockey: Hall of famer, Calvin Borel of 2009 longshot Mine That Bird fame. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m a hipster.
  20. Wicked Strong (6-1) – Yeah khed. Boston strong dude. Reds Sox, and Pay-chits, and Brunes are winnahs too so this horses is best. Gimme some steaks tips and Budweisers and I’ll see you at the Frog Pond.  Why I’m betting this horse: Boston Strong and 5% of his winnings go to the One Fund.
  21. Pablo del Monte (50-1) – The replacement for Hoppertunity is Pablo Del Monte. Ever wonder what was in those fruit cups? Well, it’s horse. Now you know. Why I’m betting this horse: I’m not. Pablo was probably the one that tipped off the authorities that Hoppertunity wasn’t a real horse. And snitches don’t get my bets.

So let’s get out there and yell at some horses for 3 minutes after drinking whiskey for 3 hours!

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.

January 28, 2008

[Business Day One] Stacks and Stacks of Letters! (pt. 2)

Filed under: Business Day One — Tags: , , , , , , — Serpico @ 1:04 pm

The opening line on the Big Game was 14 points. That means that in initial Vegas action, anyone that bet on the Patriots believed that they were two touchdowns and two extra points better than a Giants team that has won on the road in three straight weeks and mounted an effective pass rush against the Patriots the week before. I don’t think I’d take that bet.

The line has come down since then, but the Pats are still favored by a touchdown, a field goal and some change. I still don’t think I’d take that bet. I, and most of the western world, do believe New England is going to win. But by twelve? Thirteen? That’s a fairly tough thing to do. In the past five years, only one team has won by a touchdown, a field goal and some change. And that team wasn’t the Patriots, though they’ve played in three of those games. Granted, this Pats team is far different than the XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX versions, but in a game this big, I’m not going to give the points.

In fact, I challenge someone to tell me why I should. That’s right. I challenge someone!

There, a gauntlet has been thrown down. In the meantime, I believe I still have more mailbag to get to:

Dave L (Somerville, MA) – Do you think baseball will ever have a salary cap? (in say… the next 30 years) why/why not?

I think we’re going to see a “salary floor” of some sort before we see any salary cap. (more…)

November 24, 2007

My Value is Better Than Your Value

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , , , — Willis @ 1:47 pm

Turkey Playing FootballI hope everyone enjoyed their Thursday football. I’ve been in a tryptophan induced coma for the last 48 hours and I still haven’t finished all the leftovers. I guess I’ll head back into the coma tonight.

Earlier this week Perich posted his article about the value of Major League baseball players. Well, that got me thinking about some things I’ve read (and you can read too: Baseball Between the Numbers, Player Value: Last Piece of the Puzzle, Dollar Value of a Player: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and the Hardball Times MVPs), and that there has to be a better different way to figure out a players value. Plus, Perich said “If you have a more objective standard of value, let me hear it.” Maybe my way isn’t “more objective,” but I hope it’s a different enough view of the numbers to see some differences. It’s still not a vote, and that’s what counts. I know I want to take into account a players salary, a players performance, and the teams overall performance. The teams performance is where I vary from Perich.

Baseball Math TextbookI believe that if you perform well on a good team, you have more of a value. Why? Because a team that makes the playoffs makes more money. And like any other business the goal of the business is to make money. The hard part is to quantify this difference.

I started my calculations the same way, by downloading all the 2007 salaries from USA Today. Then I downloaded the 2007 stats for Total Bases and VORP for 2007. According to VORP Alex Rodriguz is the clear AL winner with a 96.6. Or almost 10 wins more than a replacement 3b, or 9 more wins then if the Yankees had Ty Wigginton. In the NL, Hanley Ramirez had a great year with a VORP of 89.5. Compare that to the actual MVP, Jimmy Rollins, who had 66.1. Lower than other NL powerhouses: David Wright, Matt Holliday, and Albert Pujols among others. (more…)

November 20, 2007

What A Value

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , , , — Perich @ 10:35 am

When a term like Most Valuable Player gets thrown around, it brings out the economist in me. What does “value” mean? When most people hear “value,” they think: a lot for a little. Stretching your dollar. A great reward for a little price.

Then I remember that the MVP is voted on, not decided by math, and I frown a lot. Thanks for making the term “value” subjective and meaningless, you clods. Whoo-hoo, another popularity contest.

So, always the contrarians, Nerds on Sports would like to present their own Nerds on Sports MVP.

How We Decide

Since the MVP is typically a reward for offensive play – fielders get the Gold Glove – we focused on offensive statistics. Our usual standards, like OBP and SLG, aren’t any good here. They’re not weighted by number of games played.

So our formula for MVP is pretty simple:

2007 Salary divided by Total Bases

This gives us Dollars per Base – how much it cost your team to get you to advance one base. The lower your Dollars per Base, the more valuable you are to your team.

(If you have a more objective standard of value, let me hear it)

2007 NL MVP

Go on, kick the tiresIt was a close race here, but Hanley Ramirez, shortstop for the Florida Marlins, is the most valuable player in the National League. He put up competitive numbers – 0.386 OBP, 0.562 slugging – at bargain basement prices. At a final price of $1119.78 per base, Ramirez was not only the Most Valuable Player in the NL, but in the entire league.

2007 AL MVP

Forty-nine Curtis Grandersons!  Just stack them in a closet!Despite all the love this site (and this columnist) has shown A-Rod in the past, Alex Rodriguez is not the most valuable player in the American League. He’s not even in the top 20. Steinbrenner’s paying $60,395.01 for every base A-Rod reaches. For that kind of money, you could get forty-nine Curtis Grandersons (outfielder, Detroit Tigers). Sure, Granderson might have posted slightly less impressive numbers – 0.913 OPS vs the Rod’s 1.067 – but can you pass him up at a beggarly $410,000? I submit that you can’t.

2007 World Series MVP

This is tricky – not dog-in-the-bathtub tricky, but rock-a-rhyme tricky – for several reasons:
(more…)

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