3.29.2008

What The Hell?

Via UmpBump:

In a bizarre drama, Hideki Matsui announced on Thursday that he has secretly gotten married, but he refuses to divulge the identity of his wife, showing only sketches of her drawn by himself and his brother.

What made the whole situation even more bizarre is that Matsui may have married her in order to win a bet he made with teammates Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu.

Offered without comment. This is all very confusing.

Random Bitching About CBS' NCAA Coverage


As a casual college basketball non-fan, I freely admit that I know nothing about the game and only watch it while gambling. Perhaps some of you hoops diehards can clue me in on a couple of things:

  1. Why the hell does CBS (or the NCAA, if that's who is making the decisions) run multiple games at the same time? I get the fact that they don't want their viewers stuck watching a blowout, but it sort of sucks that 75% of the country didn't get to watch one second of O.J. Mayo in the tournament. And don't give me some crap about how spacing out the games (even to the extent of adding extra days) would hurt revenue at the arenas, cause travel problems, or hurt the "students'" academics -- ticket sales are chump change, logistic problems are solvable, and basketball players don't go to class. Assuming the games are valuable ratings-grabbers ... wouldn't you want to show more of them?
  2. Who is the midget playing for Xavier?

3.27.2008

Mr. McFadden's No Good, Very Bad Day

MSNBC:

Reid, Turley and Lieb are among more than 800 customers who responded to the first wave of marketing for do-it-yourself DNA paternity tests sold as Identigene by Sorenson Genomics of Salt Lake City.

...

Results are reported online, by phone or by mail in three to five business days. They come back as a probability figure that verifies paternity with 98 percent to 99 percent accuracy, Watson said.
What?!?! Oh, shit.

3.25.2008

Atonement, Part 2

All good things come to an end, and the greatest thing we've seen in a while is Can The Cubs Mend My Heart?

The author was a recently dumped Chicago fan who dreamed of a Cubs championship ... and his girlfriend coming back to him. Unfortunately, well, people on the internets are big meanies, especially to soul-baring douchebaggery. The site has now been taken down, but you can go here to see some of the best parts.

Tulane Baseball Update: The Hitters: March 25

Week in Review:

Mar 23, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 12, Sacred Heart 0 Box score
Mar 22, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 5, Sacred Heart 2 Box score
Mar 21, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 8, Sacred Heart 0 Box score
Mar 19, 2008 LSU Tigers 7, Tulane Green Wave 5 Box score

Well, the cannon fodder scored on us this weekend, but the story was much the same. By Game 3, Sacred Heart's depth was more or less shot to hell -- the umps could have called mercy sometime in the third inning and everyone would have been happier. Again, I think pulling any conclusions from the weekend slate of games is silly, and WE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF THE MIDWEEK GAME.

HITTERS:

AVG SLG% OB% EqA
Jared Dyer 0.375 0.556 0.413 0.308
W. McFadden 0.349 0.476 0.468 0.318
Aja Barto 0.333 0.500 0.418 0.308
Rob Segedin 0.329 0.468 0.391 0.284
A. Scelfo 0.301 0.534 0.463 0.322
Seth Henry 0.296 0.507 0.359 0.290
A. Rodgers 0.273 0.527 0.403 0.294
Drew Allain 0.237 0.322 0.338 0.226
Sam Honeck 0.237 0.342 0.341 0.217
Josh Prince 0.164 0.164 0.246 0.113
Marc Robert 0.500 0.750 0.500 0.428
R. Rebowe 0.500 0.750 0.400 0.378
Steve Moritz 0.385 0.385 0.500 0.292
Scott Powell 0.300 0.433 0.382 0.276
N. Boullosa 0.154 0.154 0.214 0.090
G. Griener 0.000 0.000 0.400 0.149

Go here for complete stats.

Observations:
  1. Scelfo is quietly having the best season on the team. Even during his early-season "slump," he still showed enough plate patience to be a valuable cog in the lineup. Now that his "traditional" stats (AVG, power numbers, etc.) are coming around, he's headed towards a monster season.
  2. WoMac Revival, baby! We're still hearing rumors about hitches in swings and bad approaches at bat, but they're easy to dismiss with the numbers he's been putting up. Watch closely when we start to see some decent pitching, though -- if the numbers bottom out, the problems aren't fixed.
  3. Prince. Let's be clear -- he's in the lineup because he plays good defense and he hit .371/.448/.449. in 89 ABs with Texas last year. At what point, though, does past performance have to be disqualified as a fluke? I'm not saying we should give up on him yet -- the sample size of ABs is still a bit low -- but RJ better be working on a backup plan, because Tulane's lineup doesn't have enough pop to hide a gaping black hole.
  4. Again, I'll believe that we're a good offensive club when we hit against a team with a pulse.

Tulane Baseball Update: The Pitchers: March 25

Player ERA BB/9 K/9 WHIP dERA BABIP
S. Hunt 0.56 4.22 12.66 0.781 1.974 0.179
J. Garrett. 2.31 3.51 7.01 1.126 3.667 0.262
R. Broach 3.25 4.96 4.96 1.654 4.509 0.337
A. Loup 3.56 2.69 6.28 1.196 3.972 0.300
T. Rogers 0.00 5.40 12.60 1.000 2.095 0.200
Mason Griffin 1.88 2.55 7.02 0.851 3.876 0.216
P. Claiborne 2.31 4.82 9.64 1.607 2.653 0.353
T. Martin 2.51 2.55 3.83 0.922 3.205 0.209
M. Petiton 2.84 5.90 7.38 1.475 5.804 0.313
N. Pepitone 3.00 4.50 5.00 1.278 4.968 0.275
J. Zeid 8.31 4.39 7.68 2.439 5.136 0.471
TULANE 2.65 3.87 7.43 1.225 3.690 0.290
Opponents 6.41 4.74 6.75 1.697 5.028 0.359

*dERA is defense-independent earned run average. This is a component-based stat, so think of it as what a pitcher's ERA should be.

Observations:
  1. dERA seems to think Petition, Broach, and Griffin are pitching a bit over their heads. High walk rates are the culprit for Petition and Broach, while Griffin's BABIP (batting average on balls in play) may be unsustainably low.
  2. Don't get your panties in a bunch over Shooter's jump up from ERA to dERA. The system is designed for a long season, and not league or park adjusted (yet). That said, it's unlikely that Shooter's BABIP stays quite that low, and he is walking quite a few people.
  3. Loup may deserve a little more credit than he's getting. If he can bump that K rate a bit, he could look great on paper. Anyone know whether Loup is a primarily groundball pitcher? Just curious, but that could explain his relatively high BABIP and low K rate.
  4. Our defense is quite good, judging by these statistics. According to dERA, it is saving us about 1 run a game, which is an enormous number. I'm going to recheck a few things this weekend -- the discrepancy may have something to do with variances between the college and major league game (I used MLB rate stats in the calculation).
  5. Shooter Hunt is getting some great press across the internets, and it was nice to see my new favorite site, Saberscouting, run a feature on him.

Pitch - Present Grade/Future Grade [ed. note: baseball scouting is done on a 20-80 scale]

Fastball - 65/70

Curveball - 65/65

Changeup - 45/50

Command - 45/50

...

Power pitcher but struggles with command in spurts. Sometimes spots his pitches as well as anyone but can fall out of his groove incredibly quickly. Lots of walks, lots of strikeouts. When on, he’s got frontline potential. Plus makeup, plays to win, great competitive attitude. Must learn to pitch, not throw. Huge upside.
Go read the whole thing -- it's a nice breakdown of his mechanics, his upside, and his warts. At this point, we're talking about a top-15 pick, assuming he holds up against better competition. If he sharpens his walk rate, then watch out.

Tulane Baseball Update: The Week Ahead: March 25

This Week's Schedule:

03/25/08 at Southeastern Louisiana Hammond, La. 6:30 p.m. CT
03/28/08 at UAB* * Birmingham, Ala. 7:00 p.m. CT
03/29/08 at UAB* * Birmingham, Ala. 2:00 p.m. CT
03/30/08 at UAB* * Birmingham, Ala. 1:00 p.m. CT

SELA goes with Adam Jones tonight. He's started three games this season, but really hasn't stretched out at all, pitching only 13 innings total (he also made a relief appearance). He appears to be a pretty solid pitcher, but don't look for him to go much past 3. After him, SELA has a mishmash of average middle relievers. Efferson, their other midweek starter (who we may see tonight) has been knocked around this season. Hitting-wise, SELA has a core of Hargis-Summerlin-Street, and not much else. They should be out of their depth tonight, but remember that they did knock off LSU earlier this season (throwing a weekend starter, granted).

UAB is the weekend matchup, and it should be a nice way to start the conference season for Tulane. UAB has more or less been beaten like a drum by anyone and everyone this year, and they haven't exactly played great competition. First baseman Ryan Keedy is having a monster of a year, and Bell and Stewart are average players, but the rest of the team might as well be swinging wet newspapers. On the mound, Wallace and Klostkowski are decent starters, but UAB is a giant question mark after that. 9 different pitchers have started games; 8 others have pitched in relief. This should be a perfect week -- anything less would be a disappointment.

3.24.2008

Atonement, Continued

This has been kicking around various sites, but we've watched it at least twelve times and it's still making us laugh. Summary: Patrick Roy's (he's a famous hockey goalie, apparently) son's hockey team gets in a fight, and Junior wants to participate. The other goalie isn't wild about the whole fighting thing, but Roy solves that problem by beating the ever living crap out of him. Really, it's worth three minutes of your time.

3.23.2008

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

If true, at this point, we should be slightly more popular your favorite grandmother. Seriously, folks, we apologize -- we went on vacation under the impression that we'd have internet access, and that obviously wasn't the case.

We're back now, and we swear we'll make it up to you. For now, enjoy this picture from Poon of the SEC, encapsulating many of the reasons that you should have gone to school in New Orleans.

Classy.

3.17.2008

Tulane Baseball Weekend Review: March 17

Week in Review:

Mar 16, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 16, Oakland University 0 Box score
Mar 15, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 19, Oakland University 0 Box score
Mar 14, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 3, Oakland University 0 Box score
Mar 12, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 18, Northwestern State 11 Box score
Mar 11, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 4, Northwestern State 3 Box score

Five patsies, five wins. You'll note the 38-0 showing the Mighty Oakland Something-0r-others put on this weekend. In short, a weekend due to inept pitching, full of pings and thwacks, signifying nothing.

Blah blah blah everybody's stats look great:


AVG OB% SLG% EqA(Nat.) EqA(CUSA)
W. McFadden 0.346 0.460 0.462 0.315 0.312
Jared Dyer 0.339 0.381 0.554 0.298 0.296
Rob Segedin 0.333 0.395 0.464 0.279 0.277
A. Rodgers 0.333 0.444 0.644 0.335 0.332
Aja Barto 0.323 0.400 0.508 0.303 0.301
A. Scelfo 0.267 0.429 0.517 0.308 0.306
Seth Henry 0.259 0.295 0.448 0.248 0.247
Sam Honeck 0.239 0.329 0.358 0.219 0.220
Drew Allain 0.226 0.339 0.302 0.218 0.218
Josh Prince 0.184 0.273 0.184 0.129 0.134
Steve Moritz 0.455 0.556 0.455 0.332 0.330
Scott Powell 0.429 0.467 0.643 0.346 0.343

Go here for complete stats.

Five items of note:
  1. I think it's safe to pencil Rodgers into that cleanup spot for the remainder of the season.
  2. Seth Henry, extra base hit machine? We'll see if this continues. Scelfo, on the other hand, continues to produce despite ugly "traditional" stats.
  3. The pitching is deep and dominant. It'll be interesting to see if Loup does well against better competition this week.
  4. Broach's peripherals still look terrible. Watch him closely.
  5. I'll believe all of these Candyland fantasies when we perform against a team with a pulse.
Shooter Hunt, 2008 All-American and top-15 draft pick. Sound about right? Anyway, we have another "baseball team" coming to slaughter this weekend in Sacred Heart ... and of course there's that meaningless midweek game.


Go to Hell, LSU!

3.16.2008

Yes, Stupider Than Berman

Just a quick note to say that the opera singer on ESPN's NCAA coverage is the dumbest damn thing I've ever seen on the network. And this from a channel that gave us Battlebots.

CWATCF March Madness Gambling Advice

Each March, we encounter a huge problem -- we don't watch much any basketball, but we do gamble. Obviously, there's nothing more satisfying than winning an office pool without any research or knowledge, and watching the basketball junkies seethe quietly while you win without class or dignity. But how to do this? Like any smart gambler knows, games of infinite complexity can always be solved: you just need a system!

So we spent 7 or 8 minutes poring over the last two champions, trying to find their central, driving characteristic:

  • They were both named "Florida," but that seemed unlikely to repeat (we are told they will not make the tournament this year).
  • Both featured a number of tall, black men (DQs Duke) ... but this didn't narrow the field enough.
  • The teams both featured the biggest douchebag in college basketball. Aaaaand we have a winner!
So all we have to do to pick this year's champ is to identify NCCAA basketball's biggest toolbox? Pffft ... that's a toughie:

Tyler Hansbrough, Douchebag Extraordinare


Yes, yes, that's him -- the guy missing the chromosomes. We are just surprised he doesn't play for Duke.

Anyway, you heard it here first -- pencil UNC in on the champion line and work backwards. You can thank us later. And if you need to balance out your discomfort with pulling for this mongoloid, you can watch this.

3.14.2008

SEC Name of the Week: March 14 Edition

The clear #1 reason to have children? The opportunity to brand them with a ridiculous moniker that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their days. Thanks to a wonderful confluence of immigration, Yuppies, and a generally terrible education system, today’s America is a brilliant moment in child-labeling – sort of a Golden Age for Retarded Names, if you will.

Fortunately, many of these blessed children play football in the SEC. Each week in this space, we will introduce you to two of them. For an introduction to the SEC Football Names of the Week, go here.

SEC Name of the Week:

Phelon Jones, WR, Florida Gators


There's only one thing I can think of that would cause Berman to splooge in his pants faster than Phelon being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings:


Let's all pray that Phelon sucks at football.

3.13.2008

Holy Sh-t

From With Leather:




Well then. Now we know how Northwestern State's pitchers felt last night.

Taking a Dump on New Orleans, Day by Day

RUTH'S CHRIS CORP DUMPS KATRINA DAMANGED NORTH BROAD HEADQUARTERS TO CITY OF NO
Every city that recently had a large corporation leave town and close its flagship location while also dealing with a catastrophic flood and even worse mayor would just LOVE to have a decrepit and uninhabitable building dumped on them. Right? RIGHT?


So says Craig Miller, Ruth’s Chris CEO, president and board chairman. “The original building obviously has sentimental value for the New Orleans community. We plan to return it to the community through a philanthropic gift consistent with our company's historical commitment to giving back to our communities.”

Hmmm...get a building in a bad part of town off the books. No more liability, no more property taxes, and no more presence in New Orleans. Sounds like a winner!

3.11.2008

Coppin State Baseball Victory; The Gods Rejoice


Coppin State's baseball team snapped a 55-game losing streak tonight with a doubleheader sweep of North Carolina Central. This was the longest losing streak in Division I baseball history.
Three outs from the Eagles’ first win of the season, [CSU starting pitcher] Cothiere allowed a lead-off single to Oliver Jenkins to start the seventh. After he hit Justin Goodson with a pitch, head coach Harvey Lee replaced Cothiere with freshman Moses Muldrow. Working in a save situation with the tying run on deck, Muldrow got Kurt Wilson to ground out and Wesley Brown to pop up. With two outs and runners on second and third, Kyle Davis reached safely on a ground ball to third base, but the home plate umpire ruled that Goodson had interfered with the fielding of the play, ruling him out and giving Coppin State their first win of the 2008 campaign.
How about that! In the second game Coppin State showed off their fearsome resolve by rallying from a six run deficit, finally taking the lead on a walk-off wild pitch.
“I finally got the monkey off my back,” said [hitherto victory-less] head coach Harvey Lee after the game. “The kids deserve this. There have been a few games where calls didn’t go our way, but I wanted them to see they really are a good team.”
Well, not exactly a "good" team, Harvey, but enjoy the victory nonetheless. Obviously, this blog is a slump-busting good luck charm, and the really amazing thing is the turnaround time. From the minute we first featured Coppin State to their first victory was less than 24 hours. We're basically insta-karma, and expect a thank you card from the Eagles ASAP.

The Funniest Thing I've Read All Day

From Ragged Thots via Sullivan:

3 AM Call...

The phone rings. Hillary Rodham Clinton picks it up.

"Yes?"

"Hillary, it's Silda Wall Spitzer. Sorry to call so late. Eliot's still not home. Based on your experience, what should I do?"


Coppin State Baseball: CWATCF Official Team Update

Coppin State plays a doubleheader against North Carolina Central University today. This may be the Eagles' best chance for a victory this season, as NCCU is, well, horrible. So far this season, NCCU has a 1-7 record, receiving within-an-inch-of-your-life poundings from baseball powers like Norfolk State, Savannah State, Chicago State, and something called Alderson-Broaddus. We will, of course, keep tabs on the results for you.


GO EAGLES!

Tulane Recap: Week 3

Weekly Recap:

Overall Record: 8-5

Mar 09, 2008 UC Irvine Anteaters 5, Tulane Green Wave 1 Box score
Mar 08, 2008 UC Irvine Anteaters 7, Tulane Green Wave 3 Box score
Mar 07, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 2, UC Irvine Anteaters 0 Box score
Mar 05, 2008 Tulane Green Wave 14, Southern Jaguars 6 Box score
Mar 04, 2008 New Orleans 4, Tulane Green Wave 2 Box score

Midweek games don't usually come as tough as UNO -- the team is solid (if not spectacular) top to bottom, and features a first team preseason All-American second baseman in Johnny Giavotella. The basic recap: Tulane starter Jonathan Garrett struggled with his control for much of the game; UNO starter Bryan Cryer was dominant. Still, the game ended in dramatic fashion, as Tulane junior Andrew Rodgers damn near parked a 2-out grand slam in the 9th.

Things eased up a bit with the Southern game, which gave us all a glimmer of hope as the bats got going. Unfortunately, UCI and their top-ranked pitching staff were coming to town (yeah, it's early, but these guys are top-5 legit in the pitching department).

Friday night: Shooter 1, UCI 0. You have to think that Hunt, a dominant 6'3" sophomore righty, is a legitimate All-American candidate ... and draft-eligible at that. Saturday and Sunday were similar thematically for Tulane: no hit, shaky outings by the starters, and solid relief performances from Nick Pepitone and Preston Claiborne, respectively.

Hitting stats through 3/10:


AVG SLG% OB% EqA(Nat.)
Jared Dyer....... 0.333 0.511 0.392 0.287
Aja Barto........ 0.333 0.556 0.415 0.315
Warren McFadden.. 0.270 0.378 0.372 0.264
Rob Segedin...... 0.265 0.327 0.321 0.197
Sam Honeck....... 0.239 0.348 0.352 0.229
Drew Allain...... 0.234 0.319 0.321 0.212
Seth Henry....... 0.233 0.302 0.283 0.178
Anthony Scelfo... 0.171 0.390 0.382 0.264
Steve Moritz..... 0.750 0.750 0.667 0.447
Scott Powell..... 0.250 0.250 0.400 0.194
Andrew Rodgers... 0.231 0.423 0.333 0.243
Josh Prince...... 0.161 0.161 0.257 0.049

I get the feeling we're going to see more of Rodgers, who at least has shown some pop in limited at bats. Again, Prince and Henry have been awful ... and really, it's unfair to limit that statement to them. ALL of the hitters, with the limited (and brilliant) exceptions of Barto and Dyer. But for those two, Tulane would be what -- 3-10? The team has to get some production out of Segedin and Honeck -- too many punchless at bats at power positions are going to those guys. Granted, we've seen some decent pitching, but man ... bats need to warm up. You've got to hand it to Coach Jones -- he's juggled the lineups and attempted to play the hot hand, but that's tough when nobody's performing. The big question is, whither Warren McFadden? After a stunning freshman year, WoMac has regressed to being an average (if useful) player ... fine, but far from the first team All-American we had expected. Some observers have mentioned that he's developed hitch in his swing ... let's hope he can get that ironed out and put up some numbers.

What We've Learned:
  • The weekend rotation may not yet be set. Broach and Loup have both been shakier than their ERAs indicate (high WHIPs, low K rates), and RJ had a pretty hook attached to Loup this weekend. I'm guessing we'll see a new face on the hill this Sunday.
  • Tulane has lots of pitching depth, but not lots of pitching dominance (i.e. power pitchers capable of putting up a Shooter-like performance). In my view, this is a good thing -- it gives the team a decided advantage in midweek games, and will pay dividends when we hit tournament time.
  • We can't hit. At all. There's really no silver lining in the stats -- the K rate is too high, the BB rate too low, and there's no pop from the power positions. It's not time to panic yet, of course, as the season is young and the sample size is small. Perhaps it's the weather, maybe we've run into some tough pitching (likely something of a factor) or some bad umpires, or maybe the hitters are just a bit behind the pitching.
The Week Ahead:

03/11/08 vs. NORTHWESTERN STATE New Orleans, La. 6:00 p.m. CT
03/12/08 vs. NORTHWESTERN STATE New Orleans, La. 3:00 p.m. CT
03/14/08 vs. OAKLAND (Mich.) New Orleans, La. 6:00 p.m. CT
03/15/08 vs. OAKLAND (Mich.) New Orleans, La. 2:00 p.m. CT
03/16/08 vs. OAKLAND (Mich.) New Orleans, La. 1:00 p.m. CT

To put it as nicely as possible, these teams are patsies. Both have put up average numbers against poor competition, but have been steamrolled by anyone with a pulse.

We should note, though, that Northwestern is exceptionally patient at the plate, which could be a bad mix with our pitchers. Not throwing a ball within ten feet of Mike Jaworski might be a good idea, too -- he comes into the game sporting a .739 slugging percentage. These two midweek games should be easy wins, but a loss in either would signal that Tulane's early-season flaws are a bit more serious than we'd hoped.

Oakland, on the other hand, should be easy pickings. The team sports an ERA over 8, but their bats have kept them semi-competitive. Hopefully, this series will be a good opportunity for Tulane's hitters to build some confidence at the plate.

3.10.2008

Political Trading Cards: We Can't Wait To See The Stats On Spitzer's

Today's Fark Photoshop contest subject was "Political Playing Cards," and featured this gem:

The contest is still running, so hurry up and get your submissions in. Our guess is that before long, you'll see a "Barack Obama, King of Spades" card submitted by user markpenn2008 or wolfsonisdabomb.

UPDATE: It occurs to us that Eliot Spitzer's natural position would be Punter.

3.09.2008

Worst. Athletic. Team. Ever.

While playing around tonight with last year's college baseball statistics, I noticed something that had to be a misprint: 2007 Coppin State had team EqA of .106. To put that in perspective, Christian Guzman's offensive (pun intended) 2005 season clocked in at a disturbingly anemic .205.

Again, as a refresher, EqA basically translates in batting average terms -- a .400 season in MLB ranks as one of the top 15 seasons of all time. A .200 season means you'd better be a pitcher. Coppin State's team was on my spreadsheet at .106!?!?!! Roughly speaking, a .106 EqA is what Christian Guzman would hit if he lost an arm, blew out both knees ... and went blind.

So I assumed I'd made an error, looked it up, and holy crap, this team was 0-44 last season. 0 and f'ing 44.

By the numbers:

"Hitting"

  • .161 team batting average.
  • 7 regulars hitting under .150
  • .202 team slugging percentage.
  • 18 shutouts against.
  • 3 no-hitters against.
  • 4 times scoring 4 runs in a game.
  • 0.78 opponents' WHIP.
  • 7 times Archie Scott was picked off or caught stealing. Archie reached base 17 times on the season.
"Pitching" & "Fielding"
  • .445 opponents' batting average.
  • .538 opponents' on base percentage.
  • .679 opponents' slugging percentage.
  • 16.67 team ERA.
  • 38 times allowing more than ten runs.
  • 6 times allowing more than twenty runs.
  • 3.30 WHIP.
  • 1 player with a sub-10.00 ERA (he only pitched 3.2 innings).
  • .908 fielding percentage (this is not good).
  • 126/136 opponents stolen bases/attempts.
The scary part of the team batting stats is that Coppin had a player, Harry Williams, who was legitimately good. Harry put up a more-than-respectable .339/.380/.441 line. Unfortunately, he was nicely counterbalanced by Marcus Robin, who started every game and hit .057.

So I was going to write a nasty little piece making fun of this team ... but then I felt something [my girlfriend tells me that what I experienced was "sympathy"]. How awful must it have been to lose -- and to lose like that -- 44 straight times? To have your coach suddenly quit before the season started, taking a number of players with him? To end up with 11 players on the roster, some of whom "hadn't played baseball before"? And to show up every day to take your beating? Sounds like the type of crap Dante would have come up with.

The 2008 Coppin State team is 0-10 on the young season, but is actually scoring runs and playing (semi)competitive games -- last weekend's game at Hofstra ended in a "wild" 9-7 loss. Still, you add those ten losses (and the final-game loss in 2006) to last year's total, and Coppin State is on a 55-game losing streak.

We hereby dub Coppin the official team of CWATCF, and we'll follow them for the remainder of the season as they soldier on in search of that elusive victory. Go Eagles!

3.06.2008

Even Nature's Innocents Hate Notre Dame

Sure, this little rugrat will grow up to have frosted tips and Prada sunglasses, but for the meantime he's as god intended him. Thanks to Ethan at SECFootballBlogger for making our week.

3.05.2008

Tulane Baseball: Early Season Recap

Every week for the remainder of the season we'll do a rundown of the past week's games (including midweek) and player performance. We encourage comments and contributions -- email us at CWATCF@gmail.com if you're the appropriate combination of stats nerd and Tulane fan.

Following last weekend's games, Tulane is 6-2 (yes, we're aware they played last night -- it'll be covered next week).

Mar 02, 2008 Minneapolis, Minn. Tulane Green Wave 5, TCU Horned Frogs 3 Box score
Mar 01, 2008 Minneapolis, Minn. Minnesota Gophers 7, Tulane Green Wave 5 Box score
Feb 29, 2008 Minneapolis, Minn. Pepperdine Waves 4, Tulane Green Wave 2 Box score
Feb 27, 2008 New Orleans, La. Tulane Green Wave 10, Louisiana-Lafayette 1 Box score
Feb 26, 2008 New Orleans, La. Tulane Green Wave 4, Southeastern La. 3 Box score
Feb 24, 2008 New Orleans, La. Tulane Green Wave 9, Illinois Chicago 2 Box score
Feb 23, 2008 New Orleans, La. Tulane Green Wave 4, Illinois Chicago 3 Box score
Feb 22, 2008 New Orleans, La. Tulane Green Wave 6, Illinois Chicago 0 Box score

UIC, unsurprisingly, was a bit of a mismatch for the Green Wave, and doesn't tell us much. The victories over ULL and SELA, however, were solid and cause for a good bit of hope -- repeat after us: Louisiana baseball is the best in the nation. On the other hand, the 1-2 weekend in Minnesota wasn't exactly a disaster -- the competition was solid, if not great -- but it exposed a few potential weaknesses. Like last year, the Wave are striking out a bit too much, not walking quite enough, and not showing a ton of patience at the plate. As the YOGWF boys have pointed out, some of that can be attributed to some strange strike zones in the early games (perhaps the umps have a bit of warming up to do, too?) ... but if it doesn't get fixed, Tulane's going to have trouble putting up runs against better pitchers.

Speaking of pitchers, the majority of Tulane's have been excellent, sporting a WHIP of around 1.21. The starters in particular have been exceptional, going deep into games and proving to be difficult to hit. That said, there are some signs of trouble on the horizon. Some of the BABIPs are unsustainably low, the BB/9 of 3.84 is teetering on the edge of ugliness, and holy crap we've hit 16 people in 9 games!?!!?! We may need to invest in Kevlar vests for visiting teams.

Still, if we get pitching like this for the rest of the season, we'll be playing well into the summer.


Player SLG% OB% EqA(Natl.) EqA(CUSA)
Jared Dyer 0.654 0.433 0.323 0.330
Aja Barto 0.714 0.441 0.355 0.362
Sam Honeck 0.367 0.382 0.239 0.246
Rob Segedin 0.375 0.303 0.208 0.214
Drew Allain 0.406 0.343 0.244 0.251
Seth Henry 0.280 0.333 0.161 0.168
W. McFadden.. 0.348 0.357 0.255 0.261
Anthony Scelfo 0.414 0.378 0.265 0.272
Josh Prince 0.143 0.217 0.095 0.085

(FYI, EqA National balances the team's stats against a large sample of national teams; CUSA only uses conference stats. Go here for a primer on EqA, or here for our breakdown. Go here for full Tulane stats.)

A few things stand out here, even given the small sample size or around 25 ABs: Dyer has had an All-American start to the season, Barto has been excellent (though his 33% K rate is frightening), Henry has had a rough first two weeks ... and wow, Prince (a big time transfer) has been horrible. What worries us is that RJ won't give him enough time to work through his early season troubles, and there's not a great second option at SS.

Note for uber-nerds:

We use last year's statistics from CUSA, Big 10, Pac 10, ACC and SEC schools for our league numbers. This is poor methodology, obviously, but we do it for several reasons: 1) College baseball stats are hard to find (especially for smaller leagues like the SWAC), rarely updated, and poorly organized. Using last year's stats means that we don't have to spend hours finding and reformatting stats from various leagues. Assuming no major changes (new bats, etc.), statistics should be similar from year to year. 2) Since the season is relatively short, sample size is relatively small. Using the larger pool of numbers from last year gives us a more accurate reading. 3) College baseball ballparks aren't uniform and often don't play "fair." Bigger leagues play more games in relatively uniform, "fair" parks and therefore are more susceptible to statistical analysis.

We should also note that none of the numbers are park adjusted. The rationale here is the same as above, coupled with the fact that Tulane's new stadium, unlike Zephyr, plays relatively fair -- Rick Jones said it, so it must be true. When we post next week about last year's team, we will park-adjust for Zephyr.

In other words, spare us the bitching or do a better job yourself.

3.04.2008

Naked Indiana Cheerleader Ahoy

As the friend of ours who sent this classy portfolio (extremely NSFW) along said, "I thank god every day that I live in the age of digital cameras." With Leather points out that there may be a spot on the squad opening up soon.

Quick Note On Politics

For those of you baffled by the Democratic delegate counts, here's a handy calculator from Slate.com that'll clear things up a bit. Punch in the vote percentages you expect the candidates to get in the upcoming states, and the delegate total will automatically update.

Even assuming Hillary wins big in Ohio and Pennsylvania and ekes out a narrow win in Texas, it's hard to see any set of circumstances where she holds a delegate lead by the time this thing wraps up. That said, if she can change the media perception of her campaign (i.e. become the "comeback kid")and string together a few wins, she'll be in position to take this all the way to the convention. If that happens, she'll have an argument -- not necessarily a good one, mind you, but an argument -- that she should be the nominee. That translates as all-out political warfare, so grab your popcorn or cover your eyes.

My take? He wins Texas handily, and loses Ohio by 6-8. With a big Vermont win for him (and a narrower RI one for her), he takes a net delegate lead on the day. She'll attempt to spin this as a win, and it won't work.

College Baseball, In Nerd Terms

One of my favorite tools when evaluating players is Equivalent Average (EqA). First of all, it enables us to compare apples (traditional sluggers) and oranges (high batting average/base stealers), along with the occasional kumquat (high OBP guys). Secondly, it makes the comparisons in the language of batting average, perhaps the statistic most ingrained in the American consciousness. This makes EqA easy to appreciate (more so, at least, than something like WARP-3). Finally, it provides easy opportunities for the person calculating the stat (in this case, me) to adjust for things like park effects. As anyone who has ever seen the cavernous Zephyr Field knows, this can be important.

Basically, EqA takes the traditional statistics we know and love -- batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage -- and rolls them together, tacking on things like sacrifices and stolen bases. To measure EqA, we take the player's offensive production, and using the number of outs made by the player as a rate statistic, we get an accurate measure of the player's run production in game (were he to bat in all nine slots). EqA takes that measure, balances it against league performances, and divides by a constant. Sounds complicated, but the whole idea is to make Joe Average's production equal to .260.

Think of it on the same terms as batting average -- a guy who hits .230 is a terrible baseball player; a guy who hits .300 is a really good one. Albert Pujols, for example, clocks in around .335 for his career. Neifi Perez? Not so much.

We'll probably play with a few other statistics as we go along, but this should lay the groundwork for EqA. Later today (or perhaps tomorrow), we'll do a rundown of Tulane's current team.

You Can Thank Us Later, Coach Fulmer

Straight from YesButNoButYes.com's keyboard to Phil Fulmer's heart, we present to you [drumroll] Bacon-Flavored Vodka:

Makes up one pint.

  • Fry up three strips of bacon
  • Add cooked bacon to a clean pint sized mason jar. Trim the ends of the bacon if they are too tall to fit in the jar. Or you could go hog wild and just pile in a bunch of fried up bacon scraps.
  • Optional: add crushed black peppercorns.
  • Fill the jar up with vodka. Cap and place in a dark cupboard for at least three weeks.(No need to refrigerate)
  • At the end of the three week resting period, place the bacon vodka in the freezer to solidify the fats. Strain out the fats through a coffee filter to yield a clear filtered pale yellow bacon vodka.
  • Decant into decorative bottles and enjoy.
We're hearing new offensive coordinator Dave Rawson's duties include play calling, holding Phil's hair back, and fetching daddy's apple juice. Doesn't sound like much, but remember that he's got to fit all that in between Krispy Kreme runs.

3.03.2008

Restaurant Review (Chicago): Aigre Doux

Our visit to Aigre Doux violated a number of the rules of intelligent restaurant eating -- we went during Chicago's Restaurant Week, late at night on a Wednesday, and to a place that bills its cuisine as "New American."

In this case, it shouldn't have mattered. Aigre Doux was named to Citysearch's Top 10 New Restaurants list, and its chefs are alums of Jean-Georges and Chateau Marmont. Throw in the fact that entrees clock in around $34, and we had good reason to expect a top-quality restaurant experience. Our visit, in a word? Meh.

Again, we have to mention that our party ordered off of the special prix fixe menu. Since they had run out of several items, however, our appetizers ended up coming off of the regular menu.

Apple and arugula salad with serrano ham and manchego cheese.
By consensus, this was the highlight of the meal, but should it have been? An apple-heavy salad is an odd choice for late winter, and the ingredients were B-grade at best. A classic pairing, expertly seasoned and perfectly boring.

Butternut squash soup.
At high-end restaurants, you usually get one of two things: 1) incredible ingredients that blow your doors off, or 2) innovative, interesting food with a twist. Here, we got butternut squash soup. Quite nice, and again expertly seasoned, but the ingredients were average and the dish seemed unfinished. No schnazzy crouton, no drizzle of exquisite olive oil to round things out. Butternut. Squash. Soup.

Baked salmon in a garlic sauce, served with polenta and an artichoke heart.
After dinner, several members of our party commented that it seemed like the food had been prepped and sitting in the back for hours, just waiting to be warmed through. This dish was the principal culprit, and really nailed the theme of the evening: fine, but not at this type of restaurant. Think about it -- baked salmon, $35. Oy.

Sweet and sour short ribs with squash puree and kale.
An unmitigated disaster. The meat was nicely cooked and very tender, but neither sweet nor sour (neither was the tasteless, thin, orange-colored sauce drizzled over it). The kale was fine, but totally out of place on the plate. It is unclear whether the puree was intended to be cold or hot; it was neither. Short ribs are basically a blank slate, with any number of options available for an inspired chef. Why the hell would you do this with them?

Sticky toffee pudding with Devonshire cream.
Chef Ameen's dessert was undoubtedly the "star" of the meal -- texturally interesting, packed with flavor, and topped with delicious cream. A little too sweet? Perhaps, but still a big win.

Other
The single best thing to hit the table was the bread. Ameen is supposed to be a whiz with pastries (and, we presume, also handles the baking), and this was a moist, cheese-crusted killer. Likewise, the after-dinner coffee was exceptional.

As for the other stuff ... well, we're generally food snobs, not restaurant snobs. We don't need (or really want) our napkins folded when we hit the bathroom, and we rarely notice service (unless highly informative) or decor (unless dazzling). When the food's not great, however, we tend to be a bit more critical on those fronts. Smudged windows and somewhat condescending, uneven service are generally things we overlook. In this case, they were mildly annoying.

Summary:
Frankly, we just don't understand what we paid for. If innovation isn't Aigre Doux's thing, ingredients and preparation need to be ... and they aren't. Our experience featured the rare flash of quality -- amazing bread, delicious cream -- and a whole lot of blah. At a restaurant featuring $20 entrees, that sort of thing might be tolerable. When the tab for two approaches $200, not so much.

Ratings follow the Zagats model. Food Price is for an average-priced entree, appetizer, and dessert. Wine Price is, in the grand tradition of Homer Simpson, for the "freshest" bottle on the menu.

Food: 20
Service:
21
Decor:
20
Food Price:
$57
Wine Price:
$42



Aigre Doux

Chefs Mohammed Islam & Malika Ameen
230 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (312) 329-9400