Jeff Francoeur says Mets are "110 percent" behind Jerry Manuel

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Francoeur Mets.jpegAccording to MetsBlog, last night on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, host Seth Everett said Jeff Francoeur, John Maine, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana were unhappy with manager Jerry Manuel. This forced Francoeur to issue a denial before Saturday’s game against the Cardinals, via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

“We’re 10 games into the season. We’ve lost a lot of close games,”
Francoeur said. “We’re behind Jerry 110 percent. Are you always going to
agree with everything a manager does? No. Nobody does. At the same
time, he’s our manager. He’s a guy that has fought for us, stuck up for
us through a tough offseason, through this time. We’re here for him at
this point to stick behind him because he’s the guy we want leading us
out there.”

I hope Francoeur learns his lesson here. Earlier in the week he told reporters that he would like to see Jose Reyes remain as the leadoff man as opposed to batting third. It’s a reasonable opinion to have, but he should have had the presence of mind to realize that the press would run with the story, positioning it as though he was questioning his manager’s authority. It’s really a frivolous storyline when there are many other aspects of Manuel’s decision-making that are fair-game for criticism.

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.