May 31, 2009

A Pictorial Recap of CDR Radio 55


Featuring host Scott Aukerman with special guests Natasha Leggero and Jason Mantzoukas, and an unscheduled appearance by Bob Ducca.

May 23, 2009

A Pictorial Recap of CDR Radio 54

Featuring host Scott Aukerman with special guests Marc Maron and The Birthday Boys.

May 21, 2009

Just call him Fake Peavy

As you know, I am no White Sox fan. But I am a fan of my fantasy baseball team, and since my Jake Peavy-owning friend Peter is currently annihilating the rest of our league, it would've been nice if Peavy would have accepted the deal to the Sox, leaving Peter with nothing because of our NL-only alignment. So I'm not happy Peavy rejected the trade. Nor am I thrilled with his alleged reasoning. Because it seems to me that Peavy was being less than forthright when he gave his explanation for nixing the deal.
"As of right now, this is the best place for us to be. We made that decision for the time being."
The remarks were couched as concern for his family of five. And I am forced to call bullshit. The reason San Diego is the "best place for us to be," is not due to the uncertainty of moving his wife and three boys but because it is the best place for Jake Peavy to be. That is, in baseball's best pitcher's park, in it's crummier league. Going to a home run haven like U.S. Cellular Field -- in addition to playing in the Big Boy League -- would probably add at least a full point to Peavy's ERA. Which would cost him plenty when he hits free agency after the 2012 season, when he'll still only be 31.

Check out Peavy's ERA splits the last three seasons before this one: 2.72 home/3.73 road. All those road games are essentially the equivalent of playing in a neutral park, not a homer hotbed like the Cell. Since ERA is somewhat luck-dependent, I'll note that he's also allowed 229 hits and 32 home runs in 258.1 road innings, compared to 273 hits and 21 homers in 341 home innings. The relative rates:

Road: 7.98 H/9, 1.11 HR/9
Home: 7.21 H/9, 0.55 HR/9

Because of spacious Petco Park, Peavy has allowed roughly half the round-trippers at home than he would have at a neutral park. Looked at another way, he should have allowed twice as many home dingers, or 33% more overall. And you think he's just going to give that advantage up? And go into the league with the designated hitter and the generally-superior talent? I say no, unless his new franchise and home ballpark represent a more appealing combination than the White Sox, who might not be a contender, but still have a much better shot at winning their division than do the Padres. No one in the AL Central has been able to separate from the pack like the Dodger's have in the NL West. The White Sox' 6.5-game deficit to the Tigers will be much easier to overcome than the Pads' 10-gamer.

Peavy really didn't do a good job of masking his true motives by adding: "We made that decision for the time being." Yes, for right now, I'll say that moving is highly undesirable. For the time being, of course. Obviously, two weeks from now, when a more palatable team comes a-callin', it might be a better time, and somewhere else might then become the "best place to be."

Jake, I hear they call Milwaukee "The San Diego of the Midwest." Or perhaps you'd prefer "The San Diego of the Eastern Seaboard," New York. Though of course those San Diego-esque qualities exist only in the Mets' part of town. Yes, facing all of those more competent hitters -- and none of those oh-so-hard-to-retire pitchers -- in baseball's best division while pitching for the Yankees would be rather un-San Diego-y. And Jake's three sons certainly wouldn't want that.

May 19, 2009

I think I like the Nuggets

Yes, that's mostly because I despise the Lakers. But I really think (hope?) that Denver can knock them off. Here's why:

1. Though the Lakers have a significant size advantage up front, there's no way the Nuggets bigs are going to be dominated. In fact, I think with Kenyon Martin, Nene, and Chris Anderson, the Nuggets are going to intimidate the hell out of the Lakers. It's not like any of the Lakers' guys -- I'm looking at you Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom -- have a reputation as being mentally tough. The Nuggets will be the aggressors, and the Lakers bigs will be much less assertive than they were against Houston's depleted frontcourt.

2. The last time the heavily-favored Lakers got unceremoniously dumped in the playoffs -- in 2004, when everyone thought they would win it, but instead were stunned by the Pistons in the Finals -- it was Chauncey Billups who orchestrated the upset. I smell a sequel.

3. I hate Kobe Bryant.

And that's really it. I mean, Denver is probably playing better basketball, but the Lakers seem more to be playing only as hard as they need to. Perhaps the Nuggets will elevate LA's level of play, but I'm hoping they'll keep it on snooze. Go Nuggets.

May 17, 2009

A Pictorial Recap of CDR Radio 53

Featuring host Scott Aukerman with special guests Weird Al Yankovic and Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci of Garfunkel & Oates.

For those trying to use search engines to find these things, the above images contain references to Weird Al Yankovic's retroactively nailed cover of the Black Eyed Peas; Weird Al losing count of his numerous (three) Grammys; The Energizer Oy guy as the battery-tester at the Pleasure Chest; Kate Micucci turning a K Mart into FUCK Mart; Garfunkel and Oates requesting two bottles of water; a vagrant adorns Weird Al's yet-to-be-awarded star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; a full-service fill-up in lieu of a self-service pump; I Would Never Dissect a Ewe; Riki Lindhome hanging up on her mom rather than discussing fellatio; and Engineer Stu, with a passion befitting Harry Burns, following amorphous-blob-loving Riki and her taxed bladder.

A Pictorial Recap of CDR Radio 53

Featuring host Scott Aukerman with special guests Weird Al Yankovic and Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci of Garfunkel and Oates.

May 13, 2009

I know it's been a long time since I blogged at ya...

But I'm back!

And in the world of ridiculous headlines, this one takes the cake:

Marquis the one who got away

It's not often that I see something that makes me think, This cannot be real. But I thought exactly that when I saw that headline on the Sun-Times website. Yes, it is an actual headline of an actual article on an actual local paper's actual site. While at most papers the article's author doesn't write the headlines, just the idea that an editor could glean that from Chris De Luca's story blew my fucking mind and made the piece a must-read.

In truth, the headline misrepresents the main thrust of Chris De Luca's article, which is that the Cubs really shouldn't have dealt Mark DeRosa. (A point, incidentally, that I agree with.) But he nonetheless does argue that the Cubs miss Jason Marquis. That's right: The Cubs miss Jason Marquis. To wit:
Losing Marquis has been a bigger blow [than letting Kerry Wood leave]. The right-hander enters his start today against the Houston Astros with a 4-2 record and 3.92 ERA. Ted Lilly -- at 4-2 with a 3.11 ERA -- is the only member of the Cubs' regular rotation who has an ERA below 4.
This is horrible baseball analysis on so many levels:

Level 1: Using ERA as the only standard to determine a pitcher's effectiveness. Yes, Marquis' ERA looked good. But ERA has a lot of luck associated with it, and should only be part of the equation. De Luca fails to cite any other statistics, mostly because they will destroy his argument. Besides, every member of the Cubs' rotation has an ERA under 5, and this early in the season one good (or bad) start can change a pitcher's ERA by a full run. Ahem.

Level 2: Basing Marquis value on his six starts this season, as opposed to the 94 he made over the previous three seasons. Gee, I wonder which is more likely to be a fluke, and which is a large enough sample to derive some meaning from. Incidentally, Marquis' ERA in those 94 starts? 5.08. Not only is that worse than any member of the Cubs' rotation's ERA for this season, but it's also a far worse than any of their marks over those same three years: Rich Harden 2.57, Ryan Dempster 3.69, Carlos Zambrano 3.75, Ted Lilly 4.07, Sean Marshall 4.62.

Level 3: Failing to delve deeper into the numbers. Why was Marquis ERA so low? He clearly wasn't missing any bats, as his 19 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched came out to just 4.1 K/9 IP (Marshall has the worst K rate among the Cubs starters at 5.8 per 9; the rest are all at least 7.7).
So when De Luca cited Marquis' ERA, the first thing I wanted to know was his BABip (batting average of balls in play), a stat over which a pitcher has very little control. Essentially, a pitcher basically controls three things: home runs allowed, walks, and strikeouts. Most pitchers have a BABip right around .290; Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz all have career marks of .286, for instance, while Pedro Martinez is at .282 and Randy Johnson .295. At the other end of the successful pitching spectrum, Russ Ortiz is at .288, and Chan Ho Park .291. Marquis' career BABip is .285, and that's the same number he averaged over the last three seasons. But his 2009 BABip was an absurdly low .241, a mark that is quite simply not sustainable over a full season; in other words, Marquis' ERA was a complete fluke.

Obviously, I completely disagree with De Luca; in fact, getting rid of Jason Marquis was basically the only thing the Cubs did this past off-season that I liked. So imagine my extreme pleasure when in Marquis' aforementioned start against the Astros, he put up this line:

3.2 IP, 10 hits, 9 runs, 9 ER, 3 BB, 1 K

It isn't often that a writer with whom I disagree is immediately made to look foolish, so I truly basked in all the fabulous glory when I saw that Marquis was getting shelled. With one awful start (ahem), Marquis' precious ERA went up by more than a full run, and now stands at 5.40, a number that would be the worst in the Cubs' rotation. But oh how the Cubs should rue the day that he got away! Excellent insight, fine sir. I see why you are employed by a huge media conglomerate, and I'm stuck here blogging for two readers. Awesome. Just fucking awesome.

May 10, 2009

A Pictorial Recap of CDR Radio 52

Featuring host Scott Aukerman with guests Sarah Silverman, Ben Schwartz, and Harris Wittels.

For those trying to use search engines to find these things, the above images contain references to Sarah Silverman's inability to get into the fortress-like CDR Radio studios; a foreign body causing Scott Aukerman's Eyemergency; the J.J. Abrams-Steven Spielberg joint Ding Dong Doodle Time; noted profaniteur Juan Garcia being CDR Radio's first-ever caller; Ben, Harris, Sarah, and Scott forming a band called the Japan Dogs; an intense Cassidy O'Penner from TNT's new series The Opener; a portion of Harris Wittels' Bar Mitzvah; a portion of Harris Wittels' genitalia; alternative uses for Purell; a box score from Would You Rather; a dentist says, Getting my kid to clean his room is like pulling teeth -- Easy!; and Weird Al Yankovic will be next week's guest.