Friday, June 4, 2010

Interesting Baseball Analysis

Sitting down and reading isn't something that I do a whole ton of. When I was in school I didn't read a lot of text books and I only really read sports books. I have read Pete Rose's book I have Bob Knights book and so on and so on. Other than the comics of Calvin and Hobbs (which is frickin awesome) I don't get into it.

What I do read is ESPN the Magazine. I used to subscribe to Sports Illustrated but kinda fell out of faith with it and I stuck with ESPN the Magazine because they just had a little bit more to offer to me. Don't get this wrong, by no means am I giving free advertisement for ESPN the Mag but I usually find something in each edition that really makes me want to talk about it.

One of the more interesting pieces is Player X. They take an unnamed player, who they say is a well known one, and they talk about things that no player would ever talk about and have his name put on it. I remember one Player X for the NBA was talking about the percentage of players that cheat on their wives at like 60%. They said it happens a lot more than you think and the article was about groupies, how they reel you in and how he, as a player, can pick them out when they try to get with him.

I wasn't here to talk about Player X but there is another section of this particular edition that I enjoyed a lot. It was the most recent edition where 100 unnamed player answered 20 questions. It was very interesting the questions the magazine asked and more so the answers that were given. I hope the Mag keeps these players unnamed so that we can get more stuff like this in the future.

Ahead here I am going to outline a few of the best questions, the answers and some reaction.

Q: In your opinion what percentage of married players cheat on their wives?

A: 36% Some put the figure much higher still: two say 70%. Others, though, take the under. "I say 25%-I bet it's actually lower than the societal level (28% in 2006 in a study by MSNBC)" says one AL infielder. "A 24-hour news cycle, camera phones, reporters hanging in hotel bars-you're constantly monitored. Plus if you get divorced, you lose half of everything"

My Take: I guess I am a little surprised that a majority of the players are taking the under part. I am sure stuff like this happens in every sport, and in real life, so it is kind of reassuring that most think it is low. With the time these players are away from their families it is bound to happen. Not a good situation for the marriage. As we talked about before with Player X for the NBA the groupies are there, and they want paid. Money talks and if it takes sleeping with a ball player and threatening to go to the media if he doesn't pay.

Q: If you could end your career with only one of these, which would you choose: A World Series Ring or a Cy Young/MVP Award?

A: Players had no trouble putting team first (87%). "That's what we play for," says a former AL Champ. In fact, only one player would prefer a Cy Young. "To be the best pitcher in baseball for that one year-that would be unbelievable," the AL starter says. But 12 others have different goals all together: a Gold Glove, an All-Star nod, 3,000 hits. For four, a long, healthy career will do just fine.

My Take: As a former collegiate athlete I can attest to the fact that I wanted to be better than everyone else no matter what it took. Although I felt that way I would trade in every single hit I ever had in order to win a championship. I find it really hard to believe how you can say you would rather have an All-Star bid rather than winning a World Series title. I mean what is the reason you play the game? If the reason people played the game was to get a Gold Glove then wouldn't that be the main prize? You would think so. I have no idea what those 13% were thinking that they would rather have personal accolades rather than winning a championship.

Q: On a typical 25-man roster, how many players do you think are taking PEDs?

A: 14 players declined to answer. But if the remaining 86 are right, Bud Selig had some work left to do. The poll put the average at 1.2 guys per dugout-which would mean about 5% of MLBers are still doing something. "I'd say not a single player is taking steroids," says one AL starter. "But there are guys who use HGH, because there's no blood test."

My Take: I guess I was expecting to find a little bit more on that list. Without blood test that is going to be hard to find but I was also surprised to hear that "nobody" was taking steroids. You have to figure players are still trying to get it done, but then again it is hard to say since there are so many drug tests that you take during the year. You figure 5% of players are still taking something, so I guess that isn't terrible. There is never going to be a perfect system. Getting out of drug tests, or getting stuff that isn't being tested for, is going to be ahead of the tests for as long as things are going on. I guess if you can keep it as low as possible I am going to be ok with it.

Q: I spend at least ____ minutes a game starting at women in the crowd.

A: Answers were ranging from 0-90, but the average gawking time was 18 minutes, or roughly 10% of the game. How is that even possible? One All-Star AL slugger explains: "Our games are three hours long, but you play only 10 seconds of any minute. What are you supposed to do for the other 50?

My take: This is just one I think is hilarious. In the summer there are a lot of good looking women in the stand and sometimes they don't wear much of anything so I do often wonder if the players check out the women and stuff. It was interesting to see it was almost 20 minutes a game, but I guess there is a lot of down time. I mean hey, why not look when you have a little bit of free time?

Q: Grade Bud Selig, A through F, on the job he's done as commish

A: For the most part, player like Selig's performance; his average grade was B-. One player gave him an F but 14 handed out A's. Steroids were mentioned in almost every response but so was increased revenue-which has gone from $1.2 billion in 1992, Selig's first year as MLB's central figure, to $6.6 billion last season. "Seems like he fell apart and made some panic moves during the steroids mess," says one AL pitcher, "but the game seems more popular than ever, and I don't hear many guys complaining about salaries."

My Take: From the bashing that Selig gets, for the most part, it is good to see that most players give him a good grade, and probably respect him. It is much easier to work for someone that you can give a high grade to. Sure there have been bad times and most of the players know that, but the players are smart and they know he has been helping baseball out a lot. The lone F is probably the minority since he averaged a B-, which isn't the best, but defiantly isn't terrible. Sure there was the roids era and the whole all-star game stuff, which is stupid, but like the unnamed player said, they like the salaries they are getting so it should be all gravy for them.

So as you can see this was pretty interesting. They have 15 more questions and some good answers so if you do get the Mag I would defiantly read it and if you don't then think about picking it up, or hell just read it while you are bored and walking around while your girlfriend looks at clothes at the mall you can go to a store, pick it up and just read it there and not buy it. Who knows.

What do you guys think of this? Leave it in the comments.

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