The O's keep Dave Trembley

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The Orioles had one of their worst years ever, and got worse as the year went on. Despite that, they’re keeping Dave Trembley:

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail announced Friday
that manager Dave Trembley will return for the 2010 season, ending
rampant speculation that Trembley’s tenure was nearing an end.

The announcement that the Orioles had exercised Trembley’s option came
less than 24 hours after they broke a 13-game losing streak, the
third-longest in club history, and hours before they defeated the Toronto Blue Jays to begin the season’s final series. They still need to win one of two
remaining games to avoid the third 100-loss season in team history.

I’m of two minds on this one. On the one hand, it’s not his fault that he was given a crappy pitching staff, had veterans traded away in midseason and had key players — notably Adam Jones — injured.  To put it mildly, this team is a work in progress, and Trembley isn’t responsible for the unfinished parts.  Still, a 100-loss season is a 100-loss season, and the second half swoon was something to behold.  The fans in Baltimore are dispirited and it’s not like Trembley is some tactical genius.

I think there are worse offenses against nature than keeping Dave Trembley on board, but if I was running the team, I’d probably let him go.

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.