Friday Notes: April 4, 2008

This year’s just flying by for me.  I’m finding that to be the case each year as I get older, but man, three months can go by quickly.

  • I’ve basically abandoned my month-end meta posts because they stopped being interesting to write a long time ago.  I can’t even imagine what they were like to read.  Now I check up on stats just occasionally, and in doing so this week, I realized that March was (strangely) a big month for this site.  The Bison basketball season ended halfway through the month, and I haven’t even reviewed the final game yet.  Baseball wasn’t yet here, but somehow I had more traffic than ever before.  Before I got too excited about that, though, I realized that most of my new traffic was due to two direct links from popular sites: ME’s blog and some Georgetown message board (I’m not sure what they linked to…perhaps the log5 stuff?).  I got 132 visits on March 17th, so that was probably it.  Those two sites drove 15% of the site’s traffic for the month, up from 6% in February.
  • There were lots of searches in the last month for the NCAA Tournament, most of them with “bracket” or “analysis” as keywords.  Some of the more interesting searches included “harding sucks academically,” “pitt ncaa bid not deserving,” and “tattoo of a bisons.”  I hope everyone who arrived while searching for those things found what they were looking for, although I think my Harding education was solid, and I believe that Pitt was more than deserving of an NCAA tournament bid.  They did win the Big East tournament, after all, and it’s hard to dispute an automatic bid from that conference.  If anyone got a tattoo of the HU Bisons logo because they saw it here somewhere, more power to them.
  • Moving on to more pressing matters (i.e. stuff you might actually care about if you bothered reading this far), I suppose I have to mention something about Mike Hampton today.  His injury troubles have become more and more surreal as the days pass.  Having to be scratched from your first start of the season, which would have been your first start since 2005, has to be an unbelievably terrible feeling.  Looks like we’re getting a double dose of Chuck James and Jo-Jo Reyes in his place.
  • I’ll be resuming weekly posts about the Braves starting next week, although I’m still toying around with the format.  I’m also trying to get all my stat files together to make things as smooth as possible.  As long as Fangraphs keeps everything up to date, I should be able to have that each week on Monday or Tuesday.
  • I’ve been trying to come up with something to say about MGL’s post on The Book’s blog about his response to a Richard Justice (Houston Chronicle) blog post.  As much as I hate the demeaning references Justice makes to “stat geeks” and “geek conventions” and his insistence on being right despite not producing any data as proof, I can’t blame him for dismissing Lichtman’s post.  One of the things we “stat geeks” have to overcome is our desire to push out the truth without giving any thought to the message and its context.  Like any typical newspaper sports blog, Justice gets plenty of inane comments by uninformed fans on both sides of every issue.  Knowing how to respond to that audience (or the writer himself) is key if you’re going to bother commenting on such a site.  Trying to throw The Book at him in that context is something akin to reading the dictionary definition for “life” when someone asks you why you live the way you do.  MGL’s response was condescending in a way that sabermetricians should never be.  A much more concise explanation, applied to the specific circumstance Justice mentioned (Cecil Cooper’s decision to have Mark Loretta bunt with runners on 1st and 2nd and no one out in a two-run game), would seem to have been more appropriate.  I have to fight the same urge MGL has, but he doesn’t seem to think it’s an urge worth fighting.  Studes (one of my favorite sabermetric writers over at THT) seemed to agree with me in his comment (#4) at MGL’s blog.
  • The ongoing conversation about bloggers vs. the mainstream media is sometimes a parallel to the scouts/sabermetrics debate in baseball.  In essence, it’s one where both sides need to learn to get along and understand that both provide some value that the other doesn’t on its own.  Dodger Thoughts has a great post about this, and I hope you’ll read it.

Have a great weekend.  I’ll be working on my taxes, something I’ve delayed doing because I’m actually going to owe money this year.  I’m probably like Luke, in that I become more of a libertarian in years when I owe the government money.  Funny how that works.

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