Count Along With Nate

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Nate Silver created PECOTA (for better or worse) and has expanded his statistical analysis into politics (he’s quite good at it) on fivethirtyeight.com and the Oscars (I don’t pay attention because I don’t care).

He also writes the occasional piece for the NY Times Magazine in which he counts stuff and calculates such things as the likelihood of a bar hookup (seriously) and in which country you’re going to get the best service in hotels, restaurants and other potential gratuity-based places of employment as he did in this week’s issue.

I understand the purpose of counting as they do in the PECOTA system of predictions, but as I’ve said numerous times, counting and calculating based on history and “projections” is not analysis. People are not boiled down to their statistical parts in any endeavor and there’s little-to-no accountability when it’s wrong. It’s chalked up to a player not “achieving his regular production”.

How is that an understanding of baseball?

In the Times piece, Silver discusses whether or not a patron will get better service in a country—like Japan—where a tip is unwanted. In Japan, good service is a matter of pride. In the United States tipping is expected and accounts for a vast chunk of the salaries of the employees.

The study is taken out of context—just like PECOTA.

In many areas of Europe, waiting tables in a restaurant is a salaried job in which people go to school to learn to do it properly; in the United States, in most casual establishments, that’s not customary. In fact, the hourly wages are minimal with only the promise of tips making it worthwhile.

All it takes is a little common sense—without counting things ad nauseam—to determine that you’re going to get better service in a place where employees are hoping to get a good tip or, as stated before, in Japan where there’s a matter of personal pride in their work to do a good job and shame to do a bad job.

Similar to the frequently denied free agent year boost, it happens regardless of any widespread numerical evidence. Jose Reyes is one such player who’s having his best year as he’s about to enter free agency. Another individual, Albert Pujols, is having a down year (for him) as he’s heading toward free agency.

The conclusion goes as follows:

All of this brings us to the Tipping Curve. If servers expect a generous gratuity, there is a strong economic incentive for them to do superior work. And if they expect nothing at all, good service is taken completely out of the economic context and becomes a matter of custom. But when countries try to split the difference or if they introduce confusing rules into the system, their servers are more likely to leave customers dissatisfied.

In other words, you don’t know what you’re going to get when there’s a wide range of possibilities as to the compensation for a job done well or poorly.

No kidding.

Like PECOTA, comparing individuals to the masses and making broad-based statements without accounting for the deviations doesn’t tell the whole story—in any case.

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Precision Strikes 6.26.2011

Books, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, Players

Sedition.

While I’m aware my resistance will be frowned up on by the self-proclaimed “gatekeeper” Jason Zillo—Yankees media director with his eye on being Emperor—I’m safe under the protection of my supporters, friends and associates.

Others may not be so lucky.

Rebel against the would-be dictator at your own risk and earn my unending admiration for speaking out against a little nobody who thinks he’s somebody.

Read my posting from yesterday to understand what I’m talking about as respected writer Michael Sokolove authored a piece involving (but not entirely about) Derek Jeter for the NY Times Magazine and was denied access to the Yankees clubhouse by “Zillo the All-Powerful”.

You don’t need to worry; nor do you need to look over both shoulders for such acts of Yankeeland illegality because Zillo is a nobody who can’t do nothin’.

Don’t tell him because he evidently doesn’t know. Shhhhh.

Hack recognition software.

Joel Sherman’s new profile picture in the NY Post is leading me to wonder if he’s pulling a Whitey Bulger and resorting to facial surgery in trying to avoid detection for safety’s sake if he ever decides to plagiarize me again. (Scroll down to the “Hmmmm…..” bulletpoint on the link.)

Even if he somehow transforms his face into looking like Brad Pitt (or Billy Beane; or Brad Pitt as Billy Beane), I’ll recognize him from his awful, cheap-shot laden baseball “analysis”.

I see you….

Outsources.

Is it possible for “sources” to be accurate once-in-a-while?

The reports of Davey Johnson taking over as manager of the Nationals appear to be true, but there numerous details of his contract status, whether he’ll be there for longer than this season, whether John McLaren will stay on as a coach or follow Jim Riggleman out the door of career-suicide—and we don’t know what’s real since it changes with the wind.

Are there sources? Are writers making this up as they go along? Are they “whispers” of the Mike Francesa adolescent embellishment (non-existent) variety? Are they nuggets dropped into the public sphere to gauge the reaction? Or all of the above?

Defense.

Ryan Ludwick might be the worst outfielder I’ve ever seen—and that’s saying something because I watched Todd Hundley briefly play left field when the Mets wanted to get him and Mike Piazza into the same lineup.

Ludwick runs to where the ball appears to be landing and throws his glove up—facing the wrong way—at least once every time I watch a Padres game.

Needless to say, he doesn’t catch the ball.

The haplessness isn’t nullified even though he doesn’t get an error.

It happened again in the Padres 10-1 loss to the Braves last night and helped open the floodgates to turn a 3-1 deficit into 6-1 in the eighth inning. The Braves scored 4 times in the ninth to make it a blowout.

He doesn’t hit enough to justify being in the lineup every day, let alone batting 4th the majority of the time…except for the Padres, whose offense is atrocious.

Mail.

Norm writes:

As a Jays and occasional Mets fan, I was wondering what you think of the chances of a trade involving David Wright…say wright and pagan for lawrie, thames and aminor league pitcher or 2, or wright straight up for lawrie plus 2 minor league pitchers?

I would trade Wright for Brandon Morrow, Brett Lawrie and Eric Thames.

I dunno what the Blue Jays would want with Angel Pagan.

But the Mets aren’t trading Wright and the Blue Jays aren’t making that trade.

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