The first third of the 2011 season is just about in the bank as we turn into June, and it struck us that it might be interesting to look at how the standings as of Game 54 resonate in terms of the post-season.

    In other words, how many of the teams whose records are in the top five of 54-game winning percentages go on to the playoffs? How many of the teams in the top ten slots wind up in the post-season?

    So we collected some data from the years since 1995, when the wildcard team was first invented (actually, it was put into play the year before, but the baseball strike--you remember the baseball strike, don't you?--put the kibosh on it). That data, as displayed in the chart on the left, shows us that nearly three-quarters of the teams whose won-loss records are in the top five over the first third of the season go on to the post-season (73% to be exact).

    When we take it down to the top ten, 71% of those teams make the playoffs.

    The team that has won the World Series over the past sixteen years has had an average won-loss record in the first third of the season that is just a hair under .600. Only one team (the 2003 Marlins) has posted a sub-.500 record over the first third of the year and gone on to win the Fall Classic.

    But there are some other interesting tidbits. Teams that have the best 54-game record but fade away and don't make the post-season (as shown in the column marked "+54, -162") actually play a tad bit better than the eventual World Series winnners during the first third of the year (.603 to .599). Teams that languish in the first third of the season and rebound from that point onward (as shown in the column marked "-54, +162") break out into two distinct groups: those who make the playoffs play a good bit closer to .500 (.463) than those who don't (.414).

    So it clearly doesn't pay to fall too far behind in the first third of the season...only the 2009 Rockies and the 2005 Astros had truly rough starts and were able to lift themselves into the playoffs.

    All in all, only 19% of teams that played under .500 over the first third of the season in the years from 1995-2010 were able to rally and make it into the playoffs.

    What about the rest of the season? How does the "last 108 games" look in terms of this formulation? Well, it's probably not surprising to find out that the level of certainty for teams in the Top Five and Top Ten of WPCT over two-thirds of a season is extremely high.

    Teams with a WPCT in the Top Five over the last 108 games make it to the playoffs in just under nine out of ten cases (89% to be exact). Teams in the Top Ten are a bit better (91%). The aggregate winning percentage, however, declines a bit, down to .587--which makes sense given the long haul of the season. We've been on a streak of sub-par performances for World Series winners in this area over the past six years--only one team (the 2009 Yankees) has played really well in the last 108 games.

    Conversely, you might wonder what type of indicators are in place when we go down into smaller sample sizes. We took a look at slices of the season at the one-sixth (27 games) and one-ninth levels (18 games). Those results can be seen below.

    What we see is that the level of correlation drops a good bit, but it seems to stabilize when it gets down into these smaller slices. Yes, we are going only on one year's worth of data for these, but the aggregate percentage of Top Five and Top Ten teams in any given "sixth" or "ninth" slice seems to stabilize at or around 55%, though the totals do move around a good bit from slice to slice.

    There's an interesting little reversal in the WPCT distributions for these slices. 27-game slices tend to tip toward teams that play a bit under .500, while the 18-game slices go the other way. The distributions are not uniform in nature, since the average WPCT in each category isn't necessarily that orderly, but it's still striking that the tilt in each slice is so dramatic between the teams that play .500-.599 ball and those who post WPCTs between .400-.499.

    It's interesting to know that a team that makes the Top Five in WPCT over an 18-game period has more than a 50% chance of being a playoff team. We wouldn't necessarily think that to be the case, but there it is. We'll take a look at the teams who fit that definition in 2011 in just a few days from now.

"Like a fish out of water"..."Como um peixe fora d'água"

    Julia Saner by Ahmet Polat for Vogue Turkey June 2011

    "Como um peixe fora d'água", dei este título a este editorial mal o vi, por um lado através de uma leitura muito literal da primeira imagem podem supôr que me inspirei na bancada do peixe do mercado em cenário na primeira foto, ironias à parte,... a verdade é que se percorrerem todo o editorial vão verificar que ele espelha a sensação que nós todos temos de vez em quando, de nos vermos numa situação desconhecida e desconfortável, em que tal como um "peixe fora de água" (expressão que no meu caso ainda assenta melhor, já que sou peixes,lol) temos que tentar procurar o nosso nicho, descobrir onde nos sentimos bem, todas as fotografias vivem desse impacto, desse confronto controlado dado por cenários pouco usuais...

    passando à frente esta reflexão mais filosófica (já devem estar a achar que eu hoje não estou muito bem,lol), gosto muito do acabamento das fotografias, do facto de todos os contornos surgirem como que realçados e as cores muito intensas, quase parecem ter relevo, a sensação que transparece é a mesma daqueles dias de trovão quentes em que o céu escurece mesmo durante o dia e as cores parecem adquirir fluorescência, para além disso adoro a selecção das peças e do contraste descontextualizado com o ambiente

    "Like a fish out of water", in the moment I saw this editorial immediately I gave him that title, not because of the fish in the first photo, as you could be imagining,lol, but because the editorial describes in images the feeling that we all feel from time to time of non belonging, of not feeling well in their element in a certain place or situation

    beyond this philosophical reflection ( you are already thinking that I'm not very well today,lol) I love the finishing of the photos, the enhanced contours and intense colors...the  impression is similar to the days of thunder in which all the colors seems to acquire fluorescence, besides  I love the selection of clothes and the descontextualized contrast with the background


    Anatomy of the USA baby boom,
    End of the line, as we prepare for the Big Show Down itself, masterminded by a highly valued old crony who wishes to remain anonymous to protect what's left of his reputation. The 1949 squad is highly populated, even though there was a bit of a lull in the "baby boom" birth rate, which had become a virtual straight line in the years immediately following WW II.

    Percent of black ballplayers in MLB, 1947-1986
    The '49s are also a team with an unusually high preponderance of Afro hair styles, demonstrating the developing link between politics and fashion and the role of the latter in diluting the former. This was also the time when the percentage of black players finally broke through to a plateau where they represented more than twice the actual US population (as shown in the diagram accompanying Mark Armour's SABR essay on major league baseball integration from 1947 to 1986). As a consequence, the 49s have the highest proportion of black players on the roster of any team in the Birthyear Showdown.

    Catchers--Ted Simmons, Rick Dempsey, Fred Kendall, Johnny Wockenfuss
    First basemen--Cecil Cooper, Mike Hargrove, Andre Thornton, John Mayberry
    Second basemen--Bobby Grich, Phil Garner, Lenny Randle
    Shortstop--Frank Taveras
    Third basemen--Mike Schmidt
    Outfielders--Dusty Baker, George Hendrick, Don Baylor, Ben Oglivie, Bake McBride, Garry Maddox, Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, Bill Buckner

    "Two-thirds of the earth is covered by
    water; the other third by Garry Maddox."
    OK, OK, we'll play him, despite the
    ungodly stack of big sticks in the OF...
    Top-heavy with outfielders, to be sure. And it's going to get surreal, because this squad needs to squeeze some more OBP into the lineup by playing Mike Hargrove in left field. That gives us a total of nine outfielders on the roster.

    The jam-up of talent in the outfield is about as daunting a proposition as any manager could have to deal with, as the career data chart indicates. The guys in green are really the only ones you can trust to play center field; some of the career defensive numbers in the Sean Smith WAR system seem unduly harsh (George Hendrick's -5.5 leaps out as some kind of anomaly), but it's clear that there's very little advantage to be found in any single configuration of players.

    Platooning is the only answer here. We'll go with the following:
    Ted "Simba" Simmons

    Not aerodynamically sound: Oscar Gamble.
    Hargrove and Baker in left;
    McBride and Maddox in center;
    Oglivie and Zisk in right.

    That leaves Baylor, Hendrick and Gamble to come out swinging off the bench.

    Elsewhere, things are more cut and dried. You're gonna play Ted Simmons just as much as possible behind the plate, except possibly against the squads with big base stealers (where wise-ass but big-armed Rick Dempsey will get a few chances to do the thing he did best aside from shoot off his mouth).

    He made his mark in
    Milwaukee: Cecil Cooper.
    You're going to platoon Cecil Cooper with Andre Thornton at first, if only due to the fact that A.T. was one of yours truly's very favorite players back in the mid-70s.

    Bobby Grich is going to play every game at second base.

    So, unfortunately, will be the case with Frank Taveras at short. Trust us, the alternatives among the other SS born in 1949 are even worse.

    Mike Schmidt, perfectly balanced at the horizon line...
    Michael Jack Schmidt, who used to wear his own red Afro, will bat cleanup for this team in 162 straight games.

    So that lineup is going to look something like this (left handed platoon first, then right):

    1. McBride cf/Baker lf
    2. Hargrove lf/Grich 2b
    3. Simmons c
    4. Schmidt 3b
    5. Cooper/Thornton 1b
    6. Oglivie/Zisk rf
    7. Grich 2b/Maddox cf
    8. Taveras ss

    Except for that black hole at SS, this team has some nice pop.

    Pity there's no room for Johnny Wockenfuss.

    The pitching staff is pretty well balanced and ought to hold up reasonably well. There are no superstars here, but a rotation of Vida Blue, Rick Reuschel, Jerry Reuss, Steve Rogers and some combination as yet to be determined between Mike Caldwell and Rogelio (Roger) Moret seems as though it could hold its own.

    Rick "Big Daddy" Reuschel...
    ...and Al "The Mad Hungarian"
    Naturally, we want to make easy-going, never-saw-a-milk-shake-he-didn't-like Reuschel roommates with the little left-handed relief pitching mountebank and all-around-slice-of-cheese Al Hrabosky. Talk about strange bedfellows.

    The rest of the pen features Gary Lavelle, Jim Kern, Steve Foucault and Doug Bair. Some possible control issues for most of these guys, so this just might the team's only real Achilles' heel.

    Do I think this team could win it all? Well, just maybe. They have to carry Taveras, but they will score some runs anyway (projected to around 760). They need some fancy pitching out of the top end of their rotation, particularly Vida Blue. I'd be pretty surprised if they came in with less than 85-87 wins.

    So just who is Vida Blue talking to, if you catch my drift?
    And just what kind of a cigarette is that, Beauregard??
    We'll toss together some kind of wild and woolly overall comparison for the ten Birthyear teams (that's "Birthyear," not "birther", for all you Afro-haters out there...) and then we will actually get down to the season, which will start early in June at an accelerated pace, to be reported on across the rest of the 2011 campaign and wrap up in tandem with this year's competish.

Ready Made Fashion

    source: fashiongonerogue - All You Can Get by Ryan Yoon for Virgine #1

    Não é novo o facto de pegar em objectos quotidianos e descontextualizá-los associando-os a ao universo artístico, do design ou a produções de moda, como no caso das peças da Joana Vasconcelos ou dos Irmãos Campana, desta vez foram escolhidos objectos pouco usuais, como embalagens de Tide, M&M's, ipads e latas de coca-cola para dar forma às "produções de moda"...a parte mais irónica é que este é o editorial inaugural de uma nova revista de moda e cultura urbana lançada nos Estados Unidos, marketing? provocação? ou simplesmente um editorial diferente?...

    p.s. ( reparem que as latas de Coca-Cola usadas são de Diet Coke, Coca-Cola light, uma provocação light ao mundo da moda...)

    Is not absolutely new the fact to use unusual objects in artistic projects, design products or in fashion, like in the cases of the portuguese plastic artist Joana Vasconcelos or the brasilian designers Campana, this time were choosen unusual products like Tide's packaging, M&M'S, ipad's and coke cans to a different fashion editorial...the most ironic is that this is the inaugural editorial of a new fashion and urban culture magazine launched in the U.S, marketing? provocation? or simply a different editorial?

    p.s. ( note that the cans used are Diet Cokes, a little "Diet" provocation to the fashion world)



    You may remember our earlier look at eleven-game performance data. We thought we'd provide it periodically throughout the current season, and so the chart at the left shows the six baseball divisions in these eleven-game chunks.

    At this level of "granularity," there is a fine line between playoff viability, mediocrity, and just plain "badness." The way 2011 is shaping up, a team that could post 6-5 records for fourteen consecutive eleven-game segments would be almost certain to have some kind of shot at the post-season (their 154-game won-loss record under such a scenario: 84-70).

    Of course, as the charts for the first four of these eleven-game segments demonstrate, there is only one team who has posted a winning record in all four. That would be the Cleveland Indians.

    There are only two teams who've managed to post losing records in all four: the Chicago Cubs (maddeningly consistent at 5-6 in each eleven-game chunk thus far) and the Minnesota Twins.

    A distribution chart for these eleven-game segments will show that the Cubs are the poster boys for the slow slide to oblivion, as represented by their four consecutive 5-6 won-loss records.

    Almost one-third of all eleven-game performances fall in the 5-6 zone, and in keeping with the bell-curve distribution that one expects from this data set, half of the eleven-game units thus far (60 out of 120) are either 5-6 or 6-5.

    There have been 18 instances of a team dominating their opponents over an eleven-game chunk thus far. (We define that as having at least an 8-3 record.) Fourteen teams have done it: Colorado and San Francisco in the NL West; Cincinnati and St. Louis in the NL Central; Atlanta, Florida, and Philadelphia in the NL East; Boston and Tampa Bay in the AL East; Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit in the AL Central; Seattle and Texas in the AL West.

    The only teams who've done it more than once thus far in 2011: Boston, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Cincinnati.


    Charlotte Cordes by Koray Birand for Vogue Hellas June 2011

    Reparem em cada peça deste editorial, cada uma delas revela a minúcia do mais requintado pormenor artesanal, este é o pretexto ideal para partilhar convosco uma impressão pessoal, apesar de cada vez mais vivermos rodeados de materiais tecnológicos e de formas depuradas, a verdade é que ao mesmo tempo existe cada vez mais um retorno ao que é artesanal, único, que revela uma memória ou um padrão de significados mais complexo, fenómeno que está patente tanto na moda, visível pela profusão de peças em renda em colecções como a da Dolce & Gabbana, na cada vez maior presença de peças "statement" no que toca aos acessórios, ou também no design, onde no panorama nacional são as marcas como a Boca do Lobo ou Piurra que se evidenciam pela singularidade das peças, pelas construções ecléticas e pelo trabalho artesanal...visto por outro prisma, há um retorno à ideia de luxo, mas que deixa de estar associado ao supérfluo ou excessivo, mas a padrões de qualidade e à procura pela autenticidade, talvez porque cada vez mais nesta como em outras áreas estejamos a precisar de referências...

    Observe each dress of this editorial,each one reveals an amazing craft work and amazing details...nowadays we are surrounded with tecnological materials and standard shapes , but at same time fashion labels like Dolce & Gabbana has presented an entire collection of lace, and the portuguese product design brands like Boca do Lobo or Piurra has found their sucess in amazing crafty furniture...I believe that nowadays we are trying to find "luxury", and for luxury I mean quality and authenticity, maybe because in this areas like others we are trying to find references, role models to follow...

White Rest

    O cenário perfeito para um dia relaxado de domingo...espero que estas imagens vos ajudem a captar energias para a vossa semana!!

    The perfect background for a lazy sunday...I hope it will help you to capture energy for your week!!

Um Dia no Dia de Hoje...Today's Mood


    Jason Giambi: nothing but "orange juice"... (heh, heh)
    Jason Giambi isn't quite ready to ride down the Colorado River in a de-inflatable kayak.

    The embattled King of the Instant Weight Room launched three jacks in Philadelphia last night, keeping the slick chicks waiting at river's edge and sending me a not-so-subtle (Giambi? Subtle?? Visualize a flying mallet...) message that he's not ready to relinquish the Rockies' pinch-hitting rocking chair to Matt Stairs.

    Yes, it was Kyle Kendrick (he of the hot young wife, who probably has a better fastball than he does...) who served up two of Jason's bombs.

    Many folk are discounting Jason's achievement as a result of facing "sub-standard" pitching--but, hey, Kyle didn't serve up the gophers to Carlos Gonzalez, or Troy Tulowitzki, two of Jason's teammates who aren't close to needing a rocking chair.

    Jason will always be controversial, but we should celebrate even those folks with "the taint" because they will soon be extinct from the game and folks will lament having to think up new things to moralize about.

    Trust me, they will pine for the days of easy scapegoats...

    Traipsing through the statistical megaload that Forman et fils make available to us, I am struck by the notion that it might not have been the 'roids that brought Jason (and his In'n'Out fueled physique) to his peak. The chart seems to indicate that Jason's best years coincide with the years where he was able to excel against left-handed pitching.

    I don't know about you, but I am not holding my breath for the medical study indicating that steroids create a marked success rate against pitchers of the opposite hand.

    Jason probably has a year or two left before he needs to commandeer that kayak. What say that we enjoy him in all his tawdry glory until that time...

    ...and then Matt Stairs can take his place in the Rockies' rocking chair.

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