Monday, 2 July 2007

Partisanship and the DH rule

For my political scientist reader who thinks the DH rule is an abomination: Chris Zorn and Jeff Gill on partsianship and support for the designated hitter rule in baseball. Mind you, I can’t tell if their extended literature review is intended to be taken seriously or is a parody; the following sentence suggests the latter:

By allowing pitchers to avoid hitting, and some batters to avoid fielding, the DH rule is suggestive of a larger-scale decline in the culture of personal responsibility in America over the past several decades.

I look forward to similar contributions on Americans’ attitudes towards soccer and the relationship between individuals’ attitudes toward foreign aid and interest in hockey.

þ: Dan Drezner and Henry Farrell.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Cards win! Cards win!

I took advantage of my free time today by going to see the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 2–1 this afternoon at New Busch. The price was reasonable—$19 for the ticket, plus $3.50 in Metrolink fare to and from the park-and-ride at Delmar Loop—and it was a fun diversion for a few hours, even if I had to overcome some mild agrophobia due to being seated literally in the highest row at the stadium. If nothing else, I can tell my kids I saw the Reds’ Ken Griffey Jr. hit a home run.

Here’s a bunch of photos I took today at the new stadium—it’s very nice.

There was a minor snafu on the trip back; since I had read the Metrolink travel advisory I wasn’t annoyed (unlike many other occupants) when the train I was on decided to kick everyone off at Forest Park, but I was getting irritated when the promised empty train to Lambert didn’t show up until after another full Lambert train had passed. Even so, I was back home within an hour of the end of the game, despite rush hour traffic virtually everywhere on my driving route back from the station (Skinker, Forest Park Pkwy, and Brentwood).

Sunday, 23 April 2006


Wherein I post about things that have nothing to do with current events:

  • The boss gave me tix to see the Durham Bulls in action against the Charlotte Knights Saturday evening at DBAP; here are some photos. The game was rained out in the top of the 7th, but it was pretty fun nonetheless.
  • In what has to be one of the most thoroughly bad ideas in human history, my Southern Politics students browbeat me into joining Facebook. Next you know I’ll be streaking all over Durham like Will Farrell in Old School.
  • I picked up this Plain White T’s album at Best Buy today; it’s surprisingly good, especially for a band I’d never heard of.
  • Most of the remainder of the weekend (other than the time I spent sleeping), I looked over around 20 draft papers for my quantitative political analysis class. Although having a huge stack of papers to grade at the end of the semester isn’t the most fun experience in the world, it’s still cool to see some of the questions—and answers—that students come up with as part of the paper process. Particularly fun is seeing the students who go after underexplored questions and find fascinating stuff.

Sunday, 9 April 2006

College kids drank, had parties with strippers; News at 11

Today’s News & Observer breathlessly reports that under ex-coach Bill Hillier, the Duke baseball team “had trouble with heavy drinking, rowdiness and academic problems.” Reporter Ned Bennett goes on to say that, after canning Hillier,

the university did not undertake the kind of sweeping assessment of its athletic culture that has been triggered by the lacrosse team. Had it done so, it might have uncovered conditions similar to what led to the lacrosse incident. The baseball players, too, had a practice of bringing strippers to team parties.

“We always had parties at the baseball house,” said DeMarco, now a graduate student at Fairfield University. “The thing to do was to get strippers.”

At a party he attended, DeMarco said, the dancer brought an imposing male bodyguard.

“I remember that night with the stripper,” he said. “There were video cameras, some big, tough guy there guarding her. It was pretty shady.”

Is this evidence of a lack of institutional control, or just part of an effort by the N&O to further poison (if that’s even possible at this point) town-gown relations?

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Rhetorical NCAA question of the day

Would it kill CBS Sports to buy a couple of HD cameras for their New York studios? Considering they could ammortize the cost across their NFL and NCAA operations, this seems like a no-brainer.

That said, I am somewhat impressed that WRAL and Time Warner are giving us two HD feeds (which may be the only HD feeds they’re transmitting, knowing CBS’ cheapskate ways) and all four regions in SD. If only I really cared about basketball…

Actually, it’s a HD sports bonanza today: World Baseball Classic on ESPN HD (although I could have lived without seeing Bud Selig in hidef), the NCAA tournament on CBS, and an NBA double-header on TNT. No hockey, but what can you do?

Bush-league umpiring

Matthew Shugart has the goods on the most recent example of the World Baseball Classic’s most glaring weakness (besides the lack of live English-language television coverage for most of the games)—the horrible officiating.

Incidentally, for all the discussion of how embarrasing it would be for the U.S. to not win this tournament, consider that (a) the British invented virtually every individual and international team sport, and they now suck at almost all of them (the English Premier League in soccer is the world’s best club league, but the English national team is just one of a half-dozen elite teams in European soccer; the cricket and rugby teams routinely get their butts whipped; British people never win Wimbledon), and (b) it’d probably be more embarrasing for Japan to not make the semi-finals than it would be for the U.S.—baseball is pretty much the only major sport Japan is good at on the international stage.

Speaking of soccer, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the U.S. win a World Cup within 30 years. I think the current world #5 ranking is probably a bit high, but the ascent to the U.S. team from nowhere to the top dozen in the world in the past 20 years has got to be one of the most meteoric rises in the history of the sport. Consider that in the 1986 World Cup, North America (CONCACAF) was represented by the host team Mexico, who did not have to qualify, and Canada; the latter team was a motley collection of indoor-league and ex-NASL players. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that the U.S. will win a World Cup before England’s next win.

Sunday, 31 July 2005

Silly question of the day

For reasons I don’t fully understand, I’m watching the Baseball Tonight Trade Deadline special (never mind that it isn’t “tonight” yet anywhere west of Greenland at this point of the day), and Karl Ravech and Harold Reynolds are wearing basically the same pinstripe jackets. Don’t they have wardrobe people to catch this sort of stuff?

Related: The Road from Bristol continues in the second round.

Monday, 27 June 2005

Now I don't feel so bad

The Texas Longhorns won the College World Series yesterday; I have to say that I was disappointed when Texas beat the Ole Miss Rebels in the best-of-3 a couple of weeks ago in Oxford, but losing to the eventual champs (especially given that the Rebels were on the verge of winning both games 2 and 3 in the 9th) takes a little bit of the sting out of it.

þ: Steven Taylor.

Saturday, 21 May 2005


I finished Moneyball on the flight from Jackson to BWI today. As I mentioned at the other place, the story of people getting ahead by bringing data to the problem warmed my little empiricist heart to no end. Plus, Michael Lewis is a really good writer—the ideas he expresses come across clearly and with good humor (compare, if you will, Jill Jonnes’ horribly-written Empires of Light, about a topic that ought to be at least as interesting; the difference is as between night and day).

I realize I’m probably the last person in America to read the book, but if you haven’t (particularly if you like baseball), do so immediately.