darvish presser

Yu Darvish might not be posted? Really?


It’s been long assumed and reported that Yu Darvish will be posted by Nippon Ham, his NPB team.  Jon Paul Morosi is talking to someone who has a doubt or two, however:

Even then, there are questions about whether Darvish will come to the majors for the 2012 season. One source with close knowledge of the process said the Fighters will “more likely than not” post Darvish — but cautioned that it’s “not definite.”  For teams who view Darvish as an alternative to domestic free agents Wilson and Buehrle, the doubt could be enough for their pitching plans to remain in neutral for several weeks.

File it under “who knows?”  Worth noting that last year’s big (well, not big, but still) NPB posting was of Tsuyoshi Nishioka.  He wasn’t posted until mid-to-late November and the Twins didn’t land right to negotiate with him until November 25.  This stuff takes some time.  Morosi himself notes that there’s a delay right now because the NPB season was pushed late due to the earthquake.

Darvish’s team almost certainly understands the notion of selling high. It’s hard to see how his stock gets any higher than it is now. And the U.S. teams will wait for him.

Indians beat writer jumps in Lake Erie to settle a bet

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Back in September Cleveland Plain Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes ruffled a lot of feathers when he declared the Indians DOA. His rationale: too many injuries to Indians starters weakened the club too greatly. Even if they did make the playoffs, Hoynes argued, they wouldn’t go far.

A reader made a bet with him at the time: if the Indians didn’t make the World Series, he’d jump in Lake Erie. If they did, Hoynes would.

Today Hoynes made good on his bet. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a baseball writer drop trou, by the way:


The Cubs have been baseball’s unluckiest team

1908 Cubs
Library of Congress
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If you throw the word “luck” into a sports conversation you’re gonna anger some people because people don’t like to ever chalk up their own success or their team’s success to anything apart from their own skill, worthiness and merit. What we usually refer to as “luck,” however, is not meant to detract from one’s merit. It’s more about outcomes that were not necessarily predictable or expected given all of the known variables.

Thing is, we really don’t have a concise and compact word that captures the notion of “unreasonably underperforming or unreasonably outperforming one’s statistical expectations,” so the word “luck” is about as good as we can do. Sorry if that offends, but focus more on what we’re getting at when we talk about sports luck and less about how you feel about the concept of luck in general, OK?

With that in mind, know that, according to Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight, the Cubs have been the unluckiest franchise in baseball history in terms of turning success into championships. Given how much they’ve won over the years, they should have had six or seven championships and not the two they have (with none for 108 years, of course).

The luckiest? The Yankees. While they have obviously been immensely talented throughout their history, the numbers suggest that they should “only” have 19 or 20 World Series titles. They have 27. They’d still have the most if everyone performed at their level of statistical expectations, but their 16-title lead over the next most successful World Series team — the Cardinals — should not be as great as it is.