Today Alex Rodriguez’s legal team amended the lawsuit A-Rod filed last month. No legal changes. The biggest factual changes are the inclusion of allegations surrounding Bud Selig’s failure to testify at the arbitration. From the Daily News:
They claim the baseball commissioner’s “cowardly stance” is consistent with his highly inappropriate past conduct – and as proof, they included a photo of Selig posing with a young fan wearing a Cincinnati Reds hat and an “A-Roid” T-shirt. “One cannot imagine the commissioner of any other professional sport – or indeed the CEO of any business – doing something similar with respect to one of his or her players or employees,” Team A-Rod said in the papers filed in Manhattan federal court.
Like so much of the original lawsuit and the public relations strategy Team A-Rod has taken since this drama began, this is all calculated to put Major League Baseball in a bad light and to try to make it appear as if A-Rod never had a chance at a fair hearing, thereby justifying their case being heard in court rather than dismissed as redundant. I’m dubious, however, about its legal merit or how successful it’ll be. It’s a lot of bomb-throwing.
The Daily News — which has spent most of the past decade slamming A-Rod one way or another — certainly thinks it lacks merit. So much so that they took a swipe at one of the people cited in the A-Rod complaint:
Well, you’re not exactly the New York Times. Pfft.
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.