Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking at the offseason and the problems of covering the postseason.

Since I'm still debating a name change for this site, I will direct readers to Part One of a possible three piece series I'm writing at the AZ Snakepit which speculates on a variety of directions Kevin Towers may go as GM of the D-backs.

The first part explores the D-backs bullpen, I'm hoping to have Part Two (which will look at their starting pitching staff) up in the next few days.

Also, I've been asked by the Hardball Times to help out with their postseason coverage. This is an incredible honor and one that challenges me since I've never really done postseason analysis before. Obviously, as a baseball fan I've always been quick to throw out an opinion here and there about each short series but I've never been one to search out articles beyond the occasional recap.

It's strange I am starting to notice more analysis about each given series but most of it treads on the same few themes:

1. Pointing out what mistakes the broadcasters are making: this is such a point of contention and one that is very easy to (justifiably) pick apart (Dave Cameron did this very well, recently, with his defense of Ryan Howard.)

2. How each manager handles or mishandles the team's bullpen and positional platoons.

3. Looking at announcements made regarding the formation of a team's pitching staff and batting order.

4. Shuffling through the stats after the fact - what went wrong in a single player's 20-26 at bats or 4-16 innings from a single starting pitcher.

These are basic approaches but very easy to do in a quick mash-up of 1500 words or less.

Ultimately there is an art here and many writers much better than myself have achieved it or come very close to capturing something much deeper than four simple points I've listed. The one thing that I have trouble coming to terms with is the idea of trying to apply intelligent statistical analysis to a series where too many variables seem to exist.

Recently, Jay Jaffe did a good job of coming to terms with the Yankees recent loss to the Rangers as a microcosm of what was wrong with the Yankees despite their 95 win season. It's laughable to many to watch a team win 95 games and still point out their flaws and limitations - but it's possible. The same day my article was released on THT, Steve Treder published a very fun piece about the 10 great What If's regarding the World Series. It's a great read and really looks at the what could have been if one or two little things went right. It also does nothing to settle the argument about why the best teams never face each other in the World Series... but can that "argument" ever be solved?

I guess the best thing I can do is try to look at these games individually and later see what can be discovered collectively.  I will always be fascinated with how statistics measure how we objectively look at something - whether it be the span of an entire career or what we can expect in the future (be it the direction of a franchise or prospect) but that is different from looking at a span of 4 to 7 games.

I guess that's why I'll always remember one or two things about each series - whether it's Buckner's boot or Gibson's gimpy home run... I guess in a short series I have no choice but to have a short memory span.  Anyway, tonight I'm going to immerse myself in basketball and then I'm going to look at each game of this upcoming World Series and see if I can share something new and insightful.

Enjoy the series.

No comments:

Post a Comment