Tag Archives: Baseball

Who Has the Best Performance of the Last Decade?

Many of you know that I really love Brian’s blog, Advanced NFL Stats. Brian does some amazing things with numbers. I’m not sure where he gets his numbers, what statistical program he uses to squeeze out answers, but his information is sure intriguing. His basic premise is that football is just like baseball, that it can be broken down into numbers. So, he asks, who has had the best performance since 2000?

From Advanced NFL Stats (his glossary is here [your going to need it!]):

Michael Vick blew up the Redskins Monday night with 333 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 80 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs, and no turnovers. It was an almost flawless individual performance from beginning to end, worth 29.4 Expected Points Added (EPA). How does it compare to the top individual performances since 2000?

The decade’s top performance belongs to Tom Brady, 2007 edition. His performance in the Patriots’ 59-12 win at Buffalo was worth 33.3 points. Here are the rest of the top performances:

Player EPA WPA WP Graph Vis Score Home Score Date
T.Brady 33.3 0.44 WP Graph NE 56 BUF 10 11/18/2007
P.Manning 32.1 0.35 WP Graph HOU 24 IND 43 9/17/2006
D.Brees 31.9 0.51 WP Graph NYG 27 NO 48 10/18/2009
P.Manning 30.8 0.35 WP Graph DEN 24 IND 49 1/9/2005
T.Brady 30.1 0.72 WP Graph NE 48 DAL 27 10/14/2007
P.Manning 29.7 0.47 WP Graph DEN 10 IND 41 1/4/2004
M.Vick 29.2 0.43 WP Graph PHI 59 WAS 28 11/15/2010
P.Rivers 29.0 0.49 WP Graph SD 48 SF 19 10/15/2006
T.Brady 28.7 0.32 WP Graph NE 49 MIA 28 10/21/2007
A.Rodgers 28.7 0.11 WP Graph GB 45 ARI 51 1/10/2010
B.Favre 28.6 0.55 WP Graph GB 41 OAK 7 12/22/2003
T.Brady 28.3 0.18 WP Graph TEN 0 NE 59 10/18/2009
B.Roethlisberger 28.0 0.54 WP Graph SD 28 PIT 38 10/4/2009
D.Brees 27.9 0.48 WP Graph DET 27 NO 45 9/13/2009

Interesting that one of the games were losses for the top performer. Notice Aaron Rodgers’ WPA was only 0.11 in his 28.7 EPA game against Arizona in the playoffs last year. That was thanks to the strip-sack-TD to end the game in OT.

Wondering about the worst performance? That would belong to Dallas’ Anthony Wright, whose 31-0 loss at Tennessee was worth -36.3 EPA and -0.42 WPA. It was a Monday night game, broadcast on Christmas night. Wright went 5 for 20, totaling 35 yards. He was sacked 4 times for 26 yards of losses. That’s a net of 9 yards passing. Wright was intercepted twice, once for a TD. He fumbled 3 times and lost all 3, 1 of them returned for another TD.

Obama Likes Pitching

In a recent New York Times article, Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams says that his Chicago friend Barack Obama always focuses on pitching when he asks how the White Sox are doing. 

I found this an agreeable revelation. Pitching and fielding involve a measure of strategy and sophistication in contrast to the vulgarity of the home run. 1-0 or 2-1 are the ideal baseball scores.

Home runs are jarring. The idea of one swing producing as many as four runs is to me a violation of the context and proportion that I think forms the basis of legitimacy. A baseball game should be a slowly rising crescendo with the final note being a last out that seals a narrow lead. Home runs are events onto themselves that overwhelm the flow of the game. They are as much a stunt as anything else.

I can see Senator Obama as a fan of pitching. Tight. Controlled. Disciplined. Throwing every pitch like it mattered. Not looking for the home run and not losing his game when the other guy scores a run.

The best Major League pitcher of all time was Walter Johnson (Above) . Mr. Johnson played for the Washington Senators between 1907 and 1927. A winner of 417 games, no pitcher ever pitched so well for so long. 

Mr. Johnson was later elected a Montgomery County, Maryland County Commissioner and in 1940 was a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress. Mr. Johnson lost 53-47 to Democrat William Byron.

A candidate for best Negro League pitcher ever is Satchel Paige (Below) . Mr. Paige pitched in the Negro Leagues from 1927 well into the 1950’s. He also was Major League pitcher between 1948 and 1953. Mr. Paige threw a wide variety of pitches and was known as the best not just among Negro League observers, but by baseball fans of the white-only leagues as well.    

All You Can Eat

The Houston Astros baseball team has introduced “All You Can Eat” Thursdays. On Thursday home games you can pay $35 and, in addition to a seat, get unlimited hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda and water. Maybe this is being done in response to concern by the team that the rise in gas prices will hurt attendance this year. Another option my hometown Astros could consider is allowing fans to bring their own food in the stadium. This would lower the cost of going to a game. Other teams allow outside food. In any case, this new offer is disgusting.

Meanwhile, much of the world is being impacted by increases in the price of food. I’m not suggesting we poison the world with stadium food. Or that a person eating a meal of four hot dogs and three trays of nachos is denying a hungry person in Cameroon a meal of hot dogs and nachos. But what if the Astros donated $1 from each ticket on All You Can Eat Day to world food relief efforts? This would at least acknowledge that some people don’t have access to things like “All You Can Eat” Thursdays.

Above you see a picture of the world’s longest hot dog. Maybe instead of many hot dogs, “All You Can Eat” customers could be served a four or five foot long hot dog?

Below is a picture of Zam Zam Cola. This brand is produced in Canada and is popular in Iran and in parts of the Arab world. I would have a Zam Zam with my five foot hot dog.