Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Geek Stuff — World Series, and More

 The folks over at FiveThirtyEight have pretty much wrapped up their year. It looks like their world series prediction is coming down to a draw. 

Pretty good article about the teams here. But there's a lot more out there.

Did you know that the Braves' manager Brian Snitker had three seasons as the manager of the Durham Bulls? They were in 1983, 1984, and 1987 when the Bulls were in the Single-A Carolina League and an Atlanta Braves franchise. Playing at the famous old Durham Athletic Park, of course. How'd he do? 1983: 3rd place, South Division, 59-78; 1984: 3rd place, South Division, 68-72; 1987: 4th place, South Division, 65-75. We also saw a good bit of him as the manager of the Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A) 2014-16. I guess I'll have to root for the Braves this year. Assuming I don't go to sleep in the middle of the game.

Meanwhile, this part of the season brings with it some of the usual, and much-needed, hand-wringing. I could not agree more with the need to get a handle on the pace of play issues. It drives me nuts to watch batters adjust their gloves between every pitch (ban gloves; ban taped bats); pitchers twitch and scratch. And let's not talk about the six pitchers per game. Who's to blame? Just about everyone. But I'm coming around to blaming the players union as much as anyone else. And the season length? You could whack off 10 games and nobody'd notice. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Geek Stuff — Major League Playoffs

The playoffs are upon us. How did the geeks over at fivethirtyeight do?

They rated each team in baseball every day. Check the footnote at the link to see how they come up with their numbers.

I tracked their numbers for the American League East Division for this season. The answer is, they did pretty good. Plus, three teams in the AL East are in the playoffs (the Yankees and the Red Sox have a one-game Wild Card playoff tonight). 

Overall, not a bad way to look at the game. As we've thought most of the year, the Red Sox were overrated and the Blue Jays were underrated. But at the end of the season, the Blue Jays simply could not hold on. For what it's worth, they were the only team in 538's top rankings that didn't make the playoffs. And they had much better numbers than four teams that did. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bulls Nearing Final Stretch Championship


And the AL East Wild Card remains fuzzy. Two games left in season.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Bulls' Lead Grows in Final Stretch

The Durham Bulls' lead in the "Final Stretch" at a day game in Norfolk yesterday — day game? on Thursday? Three games to go. All in Norfolk.

Meanwhile, the American League Wild Card remains fuzzy. The Rays last three games are against the Yankees.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Is This T-Shirt Wrong?

Durham Bulls Championship T-Shirt, as of Sep 26th

Well, maybe. Deep in the footnotes of the so-called "Final Stretch" standings is this phrase:

Additionally, among all 30 clubs, a single 2021 Triple-A Final Stretch Winner will be crowned across both leagues based on highest overall winning percentage during a 10-game schedule immediately following the originally scheduled championship season.

And guess who leads in the "Final Stretch" standings? After last night's game in Norfolk, your Durham Bulls. They are at 6-0, followed at 5-1 by the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado), the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto), and the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee). Standings.

So, if the Bulls win this one, are they going to offer an improved version of the T-Shirt? Maybe a swap for a replacement edition. Am I stuck with an out-of-date shirt?

Watch this space.

In the meantime, the American League East is in its final days and four teams remain in competition for two slots. C'mon Blue Jays.

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Last Hurrah for 2021

 The last homestand of the Durham Bulls for 2021 saw some really good baseball. the Bulls went 5-0 against a decent Gwinnett Braves team.

To be honest, in spite of all of Patrick Kinas' and Scott Pose's effort,  I've not been able to get my head around what these last 10 games are all about. They don't count for season standings. They do count for individual stats. 

Not to be too cynical about it, it seems to me to be mostly for the MLB teams that have some playoff hopes. They can keep guys playing baseball without having to make a roster decision until the end of next week.

Meanwhile, a great season for us, the fans. As the back of the T-shirt proclaims

The Bulls won:

  • The Surf & Turf Challenge — Shrimp (Jacksonville) vs Steak (Durham)
  • Triple-A East/Southeast Division Champions
  • Triple-A East Champions
  • Triple-A National Champions

I even heard a broadcaster (Charlotte, maybe?) refer to the Bulls as the "Evil Empire" of Triple-A. 

The Bulls are off to Norfolk for a five-game wrap-up of the season.