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    Sunday, October 22, 2017

    New Sporcle Quiz: Match Every World Series

    I've been trying to find the best way to do this quiz for a while, but I think this might be the best way to do it: can you match the different World Series match-ups in history? Let me know if you have any feedback on how to make it better. And it's now including the newest pair - congrats to the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers on their 2017 Pennants!

    Friday, October 20, 2017

    My Issues With the Nationals Letting Dusty Baker Go

    I’m going to be honest: I’m not sure that I see the logic in the Washington Nationals letting go of Dusty Baker.

    I mean, I’ve heard the arguments for it; that Dusty is a “bad tactical manager”, that his teams can’t win in the postseason, and so on. I’m just not sure that I totally buy it. Arguing that being a “good tactical manager” is necessary to win a World Series seems like a specious argument, given that three of the last four World Series were won by Joe Maddon (who has repeatedly come under fire for his strange bullpen management the last two years as well as his other “quirkier” habits), Ned Yost (no one’s idea of a stat-head), and John Farrell (who just found himself let go). In fact, just in the past decade, we’ve seen Yost and Ron Washington, two of the managers traditionally thought of as the least statistically-minded, each win back-to-back pennants; Yost with a title, and Washington a misplayed Nelson Cruz flyball away from his own.

    That’s not to say that being bad at tactics is a benefit or anything crazy; just that there are many things to being a manager, and while tactics are the only one we can really traditionally measure at this time, they clearly aren’t everything. And really, we know this; most studies on lineup optimization have found that it can save maybe a win or two a year, which is nice, but also not enough that a team can’t win 95 games and a World Series while batting Alcides Escobar and his .257/.293/.320 triple slash line leadoff.

    This is something that I’ve sort of changed my mind on over the past few seasons, that managing is easy and can be done by anyone willing to listen to their front office. Over the last few years, we’ve seen teams trying to hire inexperienced managers who apparently take orders pretty directly from their front offices, and the results have been…mixed at best, I would say. Guys like Mike Redmond, Robin Ventura, Walt Weiss, and Craig Counsell haven’t exactly done anything to impress (and the first three were all fired before 2017). Even the ones who have made the playoffs for the most part haven’t exactly set the world on fire; Brad Ausmus was just fired and Matt Williams’ tenure in Washington came to a pretty miserable end. The most “successful” manager of this type may be Mike Matheny, which…as a Cardinals fan, let me just say that I have many, many issues with his tenure. Viva El Birdos has a summary good enough that I don’t feel like I need to write my own.

    Sunday, October 1, 2017

    The Great 2017 MLB Playoffs Trivia Preview

    Over my years of writing at Hot Corner Harbor, I’ve acquired several traditions of pre-playoff previews, all of which make for interesting trivia. I’ve explored all of them in-depth in the past, so this year, I decided to combine them all into one mega-preview. So without further ado, let’s jump right in.