Closing arguments held in the Bryan Stow civil case — both sides blame alcohol as a contributing factor

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The evidentiary phase of the civil case Bryan Stow filed against the Dodgers arising out of the brutal beating he received in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in 2011 has concluded. Lawyers for Stow and the Dodgers gave their closing statements yesterday, and the case is now in the jury’s hands.

The arguments each side made are to be expected in a case like this. Stow’s argument is that there should have been more uniformed police officers at the stadium and more security officers who would have likely ejected Stow’s assailants from the ballpark before there was ever a chance for an assault to go down. The Dodgers’ attorney asserted that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day in history, and no one could have prevented the assault on Stow.

But alcohol played a part in both sides’ closings. With the Dodgers claiming that Stow’s state of intoxication at the time of the attack contributed to what happened, and Stow’s lawyers blaming the Dodgers for excessive beer sales. From the Dodgers’ closing:

“There were three parties responsible — Sanchez, Norwood and, unfortunately, Stow himself. There were things Mr. Stow did that put these things in action,” Fox said.

He added, “You don’t get yourself this drunk and then say it’s not your fault.”

From Stow’s lawyer:

“Dodger Stadium got to a place where it was a total mess. There was a culture of violence. Beer sales were off the charts . . . “

The jury will now decide.

A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.