New Yorkers fail to bring the Manny-hate

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New York fans — who take pride in their passion and hostility, even when it’s misguided — need to take a long look in the mirror today after being shamed in the pages of a Los Angeles newspaper:

Reporting from New York — Manny Ramirez, you’re not in San Diego anymore. Or are you?

The Dodgers’ left fielder sparked some boos Tuesday night during an
abbreviated appearance, but he mostly generated indifference from a
Citi Field crowd that displayed something resembling SoCal cool. The
heckling was especially mild among those seated behind Ramirez in left
field during the 4 1/2 innings he played before being ejected for
scattering his bat, helmet and arm guard on the field after a called
third strike.

“I’ve been in some hostile environments,” Daniel Nussen, a Santa
Monica-born Dodgers fan who now lives in Manhattan, said from his seat
in left field. “This is just like another Mets game.”

The only possible explanations for this are (a) Citi Field has priced
out your typical, obnoxious Mets fan in favor of a bunch of
mild-mannered white collar types; (b) the Mets’ recent struggles have
simply demoralized the fan base, to the point where they can’t get
their dander up over much of anything; or (c) Manny Ramirez isn’t
nearly the villain in the eyes of fans that the press desperately wants
him to be. What say you, Manny?

“I get that support everywhere I go. “The fans have been great to me, especially in L.A. . . . People really like me.”

Makes sense to me. Now, can we finally get over the phony outrage?

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.