I’ve been watching the empty-park White Sox-Orioles game. As a game it’s not so competitive, with the O’s putting up a six-spot in the bottom of the first. We’re now in the third inning. But people don’t really care as much about the game as the environment of this one.
As far as that goes: it’s kind of weird, but it’s getting more normal as it goes on. It’s not entirely quiet, actually. A good number of Orioles fans have lined up outside the gates and they are cheering when the Orioles do good things. A moment ago they had some sort of chant working.
From a broadcast perspective we’re in bizarro world. I started watching the MASN broadcast, featuring Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer. They’re one of the better broadcast crews around, but they talk. A lot. More than you realize when a normal game is going in. Maybe they’re talking more here to cover for the lack of crowd noise, but it became annoying after half an inning and I switched to Hawk Harrellson and Steve Stone over on WGN. They’re . . . not one of the best crews around, but they’re more quiet. Especially given that the Sox are getting shellacked, which tends to shut Harrellson up.
With that quiet we’re getting the sounds of clicks from the cameras in the photo well. At times you can hear the pitcher’s cleat grinding on the mound as he pivots. Once I heard an iPhone text message tone, presumably from the Sox’ booth. You can actually hear Thorne — whose voice carries — talking in the next booth over, even on the WGN broadcast. There’s a helicopter circling the ballpark now, presumably for a news broadcast. That’s odd.
Beyond that, the bat crack is a bit louder. The pop of the mitt is a bit more pronounced. But it’s baseball on TV. And as I watch this game, I’m realizing just how little of the crowd you actually notice while watching TV. Foul balls and homers and some occasional oohs and ahs, but that’s about it.
Major League Baseball today opened All-Star voting. As was reported a few weeks ago, the league has abandoned the paper ballots distributed in ballparks in favor of online-only voting. This angered some people because they like traditional, inefficient things that give them warm memories of their childhood. Like paper ballots. And pitchers batting.
But while the disappearance of the paper ballots has bothered some, it has led to a new efficiency: the ability to put players on the ballot who were not on the Opening Day roster. Before this year they had to do that because of lead-times and printing and things. Now teams had until this past Friday to submit names for the ballot. That’s better, of course, because now guys like Kris Bryant can be on the ballot.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to vote for the All-Star team (vote here!) followed by my retiring to the comments section where I will read the arguments of people who think that God made paper ballots and that it’s an abomination unto Him to do it all new-fangled-like with the computers and the whatnot.
When it comes to the empty-stadium game in Baltimore today, you gotta laugh, right? At least one of the players involved does:
Douglas Adams, from “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”:
“It is worth repeating at this point the theories that Ford had come up with, on his first encounter with human beings, to account for their peculiar habit of continually stating and restating the very very obvious, as in “It’s a nice day,” or “You’re very tall,” or “So this is it, we’re going to die.”
His first theory was that if human beings didn’t keep exercising their lips, their mouths probably shriveled up.
After a few months of observation he had come up with a second theory, which was this–“If human beings don’t keep exercising their lips, their brains start working.”
Justin Verlander is evidence that, if their arms stop working, their brains start working and then their lips start moving and, sometimes, that’s the worst possible thing:
Lie detectors are totally useless, by the way. But I think most of you knew that.
Justin, get well soon. We need you to be doing the things you’re good at, OK?
I will preface this by saying that I have not read this article yet. Once I read it, I’m sure it will take me longer to understand it than most of you guys because I’m a moron when it comes to stats and metrics and things. And once I understand it, I’ll be less comfortable applying it and talking about it than most of you too because, again: moron.
But I’ve been pretty big on the idea of knowing what one does not know, lately, and I’ve been trying to be as comfortable with that as I can. A corollary to that notion is to not reject what you don’t know as something not worth knowing. Which is a really damn common response when it comes to advanced baseball metrics.
What I do know, however, is that this new metric, DRA or “Deserved Run Average,” is getting a lot of buzz in sabermetric circles today. And the guys who came up with this new metric — Jonathan Judge, Harry Pavlidis and Dan Turkenkopf — are smart cookies.
So, consider this linked without comment for now: DRA, or Deserved Run Average. When Pouliot wakes up I’ll ask him if it’s something I should get excited about and eventually we’ll comment.