Tom Verducci — a baseball guy — has a football-related column up over at Sports Illustrated today in which he throws in some baseball spice to the NFL soup:
Baseball fans get the importance of context on performance — especially where the game is being played — going all the way back to the debate over what would have happened if Ted Williams were a Yankee taking aim at the rightfield short porch in the Bronx and Joe DiMaggio were a Red Sox swatting away at the Green Monster.
Football, however, treats teams and quarterbacks with almost no regard for context. Sure, unlike baseball, the dimensions of the playing field are uniform, but football is a very different game depending on where it is played because of the elements.
Verducci then proceeds to explain how Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are somewhat overrated due to the fact that they play in domes, and how Aaron Rodgers is underrated because he plays outside in the cold all the time. He goes on to note that Ben Roethlisberger indoor/outdoor splits aren’t as pronounced, thus Rodgers has the advantage in the Super Bowl. Which is fine as far as it goes.
But with the caveat that I read absolutely zero NFL analysis and don’t really plan to, I have to ask: is it really the case that no one analyzes this stuff already? I know there are football websites and blogs who have followed in the footsteps of baseball sabermetrcians. This stuff has to have been covered a decade ago, right? It seems fairly basic even to a non-analytical, non-football guy like me.
Am I wrong about that? Is it like Verducci says and football “treats teams and quarterbacks with almost no regard for context?” Or is that just teams and mainstream media who haven’t embraced advanced analysis like baseball teams and media have? Or is Verducci just wrong about it all and both teams and media covering the game have factored this stuff in years ago?
The NFL is a mutli-billion business and guys are on the firing line way more on a football team then any baseball manager or coach is. I have to think, then, that folks in the NFL are well aware of this kind of thing.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.