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random links: may 26, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce: the power of choices, of market segmentation. Two on folded paper: pictures by Simon Schubert (via @KathySierra) and a TED talk by Robert Lang on the origami that modern math and computers allow us to produce. An abandoned island city. (Via @japanesepod101.) Or, if you want a whole blog about […]

maybe i should become a basketball fan?

It looks like the Warriors are going to be more entertaining than the A’s this year; maybe I should change my TV-watching habits? Starting the season 0-6 was not so great, but getting back to a .500 record a mere 8 games later was quite impressive, and they’re now 11-8 after a very good comeback […]

go rockies

My brain would seem to be rooting for the Rockies now. Which surprises me, given that I lived in Boston for nine years; I guess this is what happens when the Red Sox have recently won a World Series, have too much money, beat the Indians, and are up against a team that’s been an […]

micah owings

I had not realized until listening to the radio today that the Diamondbacks’ best hitter is, in fact a pitcher. Only 60 ABs, but still: a .333 average, .683 slugging, 1.032 OPS isn’t shabby at all. The announcers were saying that he’d gone 4-4 twice this season, once with 2 HRs and the other time […]

mechanical assistance

An interesting analysis of the beneficial effects of Bonds’ armor on his swing. Sounds plausible to me, if not 75-100 home runs plausible; I’d be curious to read further studies on the topic. And, if it’s true, what’s the proper way to deal with the situation? I guess I’d lean towards allowing body armor for […]

jason kendall

I see we managed to foist Jason Kendall off on the Cubs. About time: not only is he blocking an actual prospect (Kurt Suzuki), his OPS is currently the worst in the majors by a full 40 points. He may have hit twice as many home runs this year as the last two years combined, […]

good pitching

A couple of months into the season, I was not expecting the Harden-less A’s to have the 1st, 3rd, 11th, and 18th slots in AL starting pitcher ERA. I am not, however, surprised that, despite that pitching performance, the only reason they’re four games over .500 is that they’ve won their last five… The Indians […]


Results here not so good, alas.


I am pleased with the first round of the playoffs this year. For better or for worse, I’m not planning to get ALCS tickets, but if the A’s win, it would be nice to see a World Series game…

2006 baseball season

I haven’t been all that excited about the upcoming baseball season so far, but here it is. Kicking off with an Indians / White Sox game; I can support that. I picked up the new Baseball Prospectus yesterday. Some nice tweaks to PECOTA (their player forecasting system), and the articles on the Indians and A’s […]

esteban loiza

Esteban Freaking Loaiza? A 33-year-old pitcher for three years at more than 7 million dollars a year? Was he as good as any member of the A’s starting rotation last year? Sigh…

bill king, r.i.p.

Bill King, the radio voice of the A’s for the last 25 years, died two days ago. I loved listening to him; he was an excellent play-by-play announcer, and he pulled in a delightful wealth of external referents. It will not be the same listening to A’s games next year. (At least those of us […]

a’s postmortem

The A’s were eliminated from the playoffs last night. Unfortunate, though a third (or a half?) of the way through the season most people would have considered it a miracle that they’d come this close. A bit of a let-down after the amazing tear that they went on, though. All things considered, I’m quite happy […]

king felix

We saw a game at Oakland for the first time this season. Liesl’s company has season tickets to the Giants, so we’ve been there, but not Oakland. The game featured Felix Hernandez, whom Baseball Prospectus ranked as their top pitching prospect coming into the season, against Joe Blanton, whose star had dimmed coming into this […]

dan johnson, shanghai crab

I was kind of bummed when Erubiel Durazo got hurt, and Scott Hatteberg’s performance has certainly been nothing to write home about this season. (I still have no idea why he’s gotten the contracts he has from Billy Beane.) But Dan Johnson’s performance has been a pleasant surprise: I’d literally never heard of him, but […]

(more baseball)

Despite what I said a week and a half ago, maybe the A’s are going to make the playoffs; they’re tied for the lead (and about to take the lead) in the wild card, after all. Even the AL West title seems not out of reach right now. They will, of course, cool off eventually, […]

rich harden!

It was very pleasant reading the International Herald Tribune every day (except Sundays) over our vacation, and watching the A’s get closer and closer to .500, and finally reach it. (It would have been nice if they’d given baseball a bit more space in their sports section, though; ah well.) And then we got home, […]

baseball, computer, nausicaa miscellany

The A’s are continuing to do pleasantly well: they haven’t gone on a huge win streak or anything, but they’re winning almost every series these days. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by Bobby Crosby’s return; call me a pessimist, but even though he was rookie of the year last year, he only batted .239 last […]

aged indians

Yesterday was a good day for Indians of my youth. Julio Franco, 46 years old, an age normally reserved for knuckleballers and the occasional freak lefty reliever, went two for five with two steals. And the comparatively spritely Omar Vizquel, a 38-year-old babe in arms, went five for six, with a double and a triple, […]


As I lamented about a month ago, the A’s offense has been subpar this year. What I didn’t expect was that it was actually going to get worse after that post: I had largely chalked it down to small sample size, and how long can that continue? But from May 1 to May 29, they […]