Saturday, November 6, 2010

But we don't really you know, we hate baseball...

Canada has a long association with the game of baseball, going back to the earliest days of it's development - but hockey, and the big bucks the NFL generate up here dwarf the grand old game, even during the MLB postseason.

At the bottom of the MLB page that listed all the game dates and start times through the 2010 postseason there is this little note I found quite amusing...

In Canada, Rogers Sportsnet will broadcast all 2010 MLB Postseason games.
* if necessary

They're two separate items, but the way it's laid out ...

If you followed my scorecard keeping through the MLB postseason you know Rogers Sportsnet broadcast 29.5 of the 32 games played. One wasn't broadcast in favour Major League Soccer's home town Toronto FC, one in favour of Sunday Night Football, and one half of one because of a Toronto Maple Leafs game.

I guess it wasn't, "necessary".


Toronto has always had a low opinion of itself - except when it has a too-high opinion of itself. So when the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993 the problem seemed solved. Suddenly we all walked with our heads high, when somebody said something critical about the city we took it to heart and tried to change - or else wrote it off to the ignorance of someone who should consider what they say before they say it.

But that has waned of late... to really be comfortable again with-in ourselves we need to win every single game, and every championship for as long as there is history.

So now, being interested in MLB - that we don't win - is only a part of an eminent strut, a put on, an attitude --- part of a post-modern understanding that we gleaned from when we were all happy with ourselves --- that if you act provincial, people will treat you that way. And it's not just Toronto, it's North American; we're all sluts for judgment, approval, acceptance.

In Toronto we pretend to like baseball still; and all (sic) the games are on TV, and the bla, bla, bla in the papers... .

But we don't really you know, we hate baseball. It's too slow, there's no hitting, nobody gets their bell rung every 60 seconds, it's boring - and now with the un-juiced ball, and the players off steroids - what's to watch?

At least with the NFL you can watch yourself watching the boring game - through the magic of betting in the pools that run in every bar - people spending all their money getting blotto, hoping to hit the jack pot so they can do it all again on Monday... and Thursday... and Saturday... .

Pretending to like baseball is something you do at work, in polite company, around girls you're trying to impress. In Canada, being openly baseball fan in a bar during hockey and football season is likely to piss someone off,

"RBI this, smart guy."



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Comparison of the Symmetry of Tim Lincecum's and Cliff Lee's Scorecards in Game 5

Another in the ongoing Symmetry Series of post here at Baseball Blogs.

The final game of the 2010 World Series (weep) was all about pitching - as was the series in retrospect. The blow-outs in games one and two were, I think, aburrations caused by the pressure of the moment on young, inexperienced pitchers. These two line-ups are full of power and run scoring ability, but as we see in this chart once the pitching settled down the series became all about pitching.

Game Matchup Day Date Time ET
Gm 1 TEX 7 @ SF 11 Wed Oct. 27 7:57 PM
Gm 2 TEX 0 @ SF 9 Thu Oct. 28 7:57 PM
Gm 3 SF 2 @ TEX 4 Sat Oct. 30 6:57 PM
Gm 4 SF 4 @ TEX 0 Sun Oct. 31 8:20 PM
Gm 5 SF 3 @ TEX 1 Mon Nov. 1 7:57 PM

So last night we finally get our 'year of the pitcher' World Series pitching spectacle for the ages. As such I wondered what a comparison between line drawing of the two starters might illuminate. Was there something to be seen in the metrics of simplification that might help us better understand the game, the series?

(All images are much larger on click)

Cliff Lee facing the San Francisco Giants line-up, 2010 World Series Game 5

(Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog)

Tim Lincecum facing the Texas Rangers line-up 2010 World Series Game 5

(Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog)

Below are two line drawings I made with Microsoft Paint. I filled in all the active at-bat boxes with colour, and then erased all the scorecard elements so you can see any patterns more easily.

Cliff Lee pitching to the Giants, batters faced per inning

Tim Lincecum pitching to the Rangers, batters faced per inning

On the left are the top and bottom of the 7th Inning; the top is Cliff Lee pitching to San Francisco, the lower is Tim Lincecum pitching to the Rangers.

I try to put aside my knowledge of the game when looking for patterns in the line drawings (I did after all, score it only 15 hours ago) and I notice that, just in the patterns, both pitchers hit their own kind of walls in the 7th inning. Both diagonal patterns break down there.

Lee's was the game breaking Hit, Hit, Homer inning where the Giants scored all 3 of their runs.

For Lincecum, a one run homer and a walk break up a nice smooth diagonal pattern in the drawing. He loses his bid for a shut out, and the momentum swings radically, to the Rangers bringing them right back into the game at the time.

There are 7 other post in this "Symmetry Series" here at Baseball Blogs.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Symmetry of Madison Bumgarner's World Series Game 4 Start

Here's another installment of The Symmetry Series of posts here at Baseball Blogs, where I illuminate the patterns that can be seen in scorecards of great pitching performances.

This one documents the San Francisco Giants' Madison Bumgarner's start in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series, against the Texas Rangers at Arlington Texas on October 31th 2010 - a game won by the Giants 4-0.

I'm using a scorecard I kept over at The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog.

(all images are much larger on click)

The Pitching line's of Starter Madison Bumgarner - World Series Game 4
(and closer Brian Wilson - 3 outs)

Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard

Texas Rangers face Madison Bumgarner in World Series Game 4

Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard

This is a line drawing I made in Microsoft Paint where I've coloured in active at-bat boxes; it shows batters faced per inning:

Here's the same drawing with the scorecard elements removed so you can see the pattern better.

There are six other posts in The Symmetry Series.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Symmetry of Cole Lewis' World Series Game 3 Start

Here's another installment of The Symmetry Series of posts here at Baseball Blogs, where I illuminate the patterns that can be seen in scorecards of great pitching performances.

This one documents the Texas Rangers' Coby Lewis start in Game 3 of the 2010 World Series, against the San Francisco Giants at Arlington Texas on October 30th 2010 - a game won by the Rangers 2-4.

I'm using a scorecard I kept over at The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog.

(all images are much larger on click)

The Pitching line's of Starter Colby Lewis - World Series Game 3
(and relievers Darren O'Day and Neftali Feliz - 4 outs)

Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard

San Francisco Giants face Colby Lewis in World Series Game 3

Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard

This is a line drawing I made in Microsoft Paint where I've coloured in active at-bat boxes; it shows batters faced per inning:

Here's the same drawing with the scorecard elements removed so you can see the pattern better.

There are five other posts in The Symmetry Series.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bigger Bullpen in Boston centre of off-season Bull session in Boston Media

The Boston's are thinking of widening their bull pens in right. And reducing the distance from the plate to a Home Run. Theo Epstein says it's his number one priority. That and finding a job after they fire him for saying things that make him sound like a moron.

That and letting the Blue Jays steal their pitching coach John Farrell, who will manage the Jays next year (that's a compliment).

Story via Joy of Sox, where folks were discussing how many extra homies would result...

David Ortiz spray chart. 'Fly Outs' 2010 shows 2 extra HR with new bullpen in right.


Monday, October 25, 2010

2011 Scorecard: Bigger! Better!

Blogger code to widen your Blog, and code for the new easier to use 2011 Scorecard

Below in the scroll box is code for the brand new 2011 Internet Baseball Scorecard.

You can see an example of the new scorecard at The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog. Also, I've kept score of all the games of both the NLCS and the ALCS, with the new scorecard. A page I've created has all those games, and the division series scorcards, linked in an easy to read "Play Down Tree": Road to the World Series - in Scorecards.

The code for the new scorecard has been Validated at W3C as a "HTML 4.01 Transitional" document. I've published it in a Google document at this link, where you can read it in a full page format, and below in the scrolling window from which you can copy and paste it into a notepad - or take it over to W3C and put it to the test.

As a result of the changes I've made, the scorecard is now almost 4800 pixels wide (Blogger default is 660px) - you may need to adjust your "View" settings. Firefox's zoom in or out feature: hold down 'Ctrl' and press '+' or '-'. Another browser? Your on your own. :)

I've made the Batter Line-up boxes and the "At-bat Boxes" 8 lines high and much wider, room for 26 lower case inputs. The pitch boxes beside each AB box can hold 32 key strokes of pitching notation. As well the "Batter Totals" boxes to the right of the AB rows can now accommodate at-bat data for 8 substitutions. This provides enough room for all the data - in it's proper placement - with-in the "Project Scoresheet Standards", outlined in Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler (Google Books)

The next step in this project is to develop a method to "scrape" play-by-play data out of these score sheets - and transversely - create a way to digitally "lay in" data from any game that there is data for - according to the standard created by - and available there at their "Play-by-Play Data Files" page. So far Retrosheet has play-by-play data files dating back to 1950 and new games update hourly. I'd like to build a way to populate the Internet Baseball Scorecard automatically with data from any game any time. For example, I think it would be neat to produce all the scorecards of every one of the 56 consecutive games in 1941 that Joe DiMaggio hit safely in. I expect that in the time it will take me to learn all that I need to know to make this functionality happen, Retrosheet and the rest of the "Sabermetricians" will have compiled data back to the war years - if it's possible.

Blogger Code to make your Blog Wider

Cut and Paste the code - from the scrolling box above or at this link - into your blog at the "Design" window in the "edit HTML" tab. This slightly edited blogger code makes the blogger window wide enough to handle the width of the score card. I've changed the sizes in "Blog Title Font" and the "Blog Description Font" and under 'posts' the h3 setting to 200% (that's the Post Title size, separate to the blogs font size).

I've also set everything that by default was set 'float: center;' to, 'float: left;'.

In the "Header" section I've imported a photo that I a re-sized for the Blogs Title Header Image and changed the header wrapper parameters to 1632 pixels (that wraps around the new pic).

You might want to adjust the following to create your blog's unique aesthetic: in "Variable definitions" section you can change "Blog Title Color" and "Blog Description Color".

Make your scorecard refresh automatically

You'll notice in the Google Document I've high-lighted some code - about 4/5ths of the way down. It's a "Refresh" feature for 'Live Blogging'. It can be set to any refresh rate you wish, currently it is set to refresh every thirty seconds (30000), so as I publish after each at-bat, the page people are viewing will up-date automatically. You can re-set the rate, for example '60000' is one minute. It is in the OFF position as it is.

To make your blog refresh, move the "-->" tag from the bottom of the highlighted code and paste it just after where it says STOP REFRESH . To turn OFF the refresh feature, just highlight and cut the "-->" tag and paste it back down at the bottom of the highlighted code (memorize where the tag was before you turn it ON!).

The Scorecard Code

Expand the scorecard for Extra innings

The code in the scrolling box at the top of this post produces a "Box Score" table along the top of the scorecard; a nine batter scorecard, 9 innings wide with "Batters Totals" boxes at the end of each batter's row, an "Innings Totals" row, and a "Pitcher Totals" table. (See an Entire two team scorecard here.)

All of these elements can be expanded for extra innings play though a simple copy and paste technique:

Add extra batters boxes

In Compose mode, high light an AB box and it's associated pitch notation box (four boxes - one on top of the other to the left of the AB box), left click and copy - then point with your cursor right beside the last batters box in the lead off batters row of AB boxes, and click. A prompt line should appear about have way down the box, right beside the box - with no space in-between - then just right click your mouse, and paste. A 10th inning batters box should appear in the lead off batters row. The extra inning AB box code is still in your mouse, so now continue down the column as before, clicking right next to the box, and paste for all 18 batter's rows. To complete the new inning add a number lable at the top of each teams scorecard. In the same place the '9' appears relative to the column of other AB boxes, type in the new inning number. Now your ready to score the next inning.

Add innings to the Box Score

To add boxes to the Box score table at the top, just under the Title of your post, or to the "Innings Totals" boxes along the bottom of each score card, use the same technique.

Add another pitcher

The same goes for the Pitchers Line table, just high-light one row, copy, and then point your cursor on the far left, just under the box with the last pitchers name in it click, a prompt will appear, outside of the last box - and paste.

Note: if you have a feeling the games going to go on, and on, and on, you can copy as many elements as you wish (as long as you copy horizontally) and paste them as before. The blog parameters are designed to accommodate an 18 inning scorecard. You can add nine innings to a batters row with one click of your mouse if you like. Just keep a copy of the scorecard in draft at your blog, go copy 9 batters boxes onto your mouse and Voila! 18 inning rows.

Trouble shooting the Scorecard

After you've pasted the scorecard table into your New Post window - twice, once for home team, once for visitors - then just switch over to "Compose" mode and start importing data.

Cut and Paste gremlins

Some boxes don't like cut and paste. Some of them decide to disappear when you try to cut and paste a players name into them! If this happens - Don't Worry - just stop what your doing and click 'edit' at the top of your browser window, then click 'undo' - the box will reappear. Then type the player name in - or - what I do is type three letters into the box, highlight them, then paste in the player's name. The same goes when cut and pasting team names, pitcher names, stats etc..

Another 'out' or 'fail safe' is to right click on the Firefox back button and choose and earlier "Edit Post" or "Publish Status" window. Amazingly, (to me) all your edits are saved in your browser for as long as the browser tab remains open.

Happy scorecarding. Any questions, suggestions, feel free in comments or email (top-sidebar).


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Did the Yankees Throw Game 6 of the ALCS?

After the Tiexiera injury in game 4 I saw a most dejected team.

Like there was now no point in contesting the rest of the game... the rest of the innings passing like the last hour of work on a Friday, just going through the motions, back at the real thing on Monday.

Then in game 5, as expected, they come back to life. the last game in New York, and with the veteran CC Sabathia on the mound - pulling every trick out from under his cap, his years baseball experience to find one last trick to fool just one more hitter - to find a way sans his 'A' game to keep the run happy Rangers at bay.

Then in game 6, after the 4 run 5th, the Yankees went back into their shell.

"Oh pitiful me! Oh, from want of will to live."

How fragile the Emperors, all the power but a mystique, a magic the court astrologers concocted that fooled us every time.

And now the team who play little ball quite well - from Texas, the biggest state in the Union - the unsophisticates, the know-nothings - they go right in and point it out to everybody, just like that. How regional, how provincial.

Can it be that simple? Some old myth repeated again, as just as they persist they must have some truth? That with out the spark plug Jeter, they are nothing?

Derek Jeter's Batting Line ALCS Game 6

Robinson Cano's Batting Line ALCS Game 6

So close to being normal, mere man-gods, that Tiexiera's being carried off the field on his shield destroys it all? What happened to these centurions? This mighty unstoppable army? The Empire at an end? Corruption eating at the core of the thing - the Senate fundamentally corrupted?

Surely there must be other logic; it must be 9 men out... the starting pitchers the key... then just a few at the top of the line-up... . The odds beyond cognition, the stake beyond dreaming.

Phil Hughes' Pitching Line ALCS Game 6

Did the Yankees throw the ALCS?

Or did the myth run out of magic. Did the chicken come home to roost? The ugly bleacher creatures and their homophobic delights too late to repent; the cock-sure interfere-rs too many; the Rodriguez cheats over years; the unabashed spending that has dwarfed any in either league - for so long.

Has the crash finally come? Have the Barbarians arrived at the gates? Has Faust come to account?

Or did they just do us one better? I'm wondering if the Yankees' threw the series.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Copy and Paste an extra inning onto the HTML Scorecard

If you've been following the progress of the development of the HTML Scorecard here at Baseball Blogs you know I've been working on a way to add extra innings to the scorecard 'in-game', quickly - so at the end of the ninth inning, heading into the tenth, one can add an inning in the time it takes for the networks to come back from the commercial break.


Here's two screen shots of the same scorecard BEFORE and AFTER:



All the data from the first nine inning remains intact, you just copy an empty AB box from some where in the table and paste one (or two or three...) onto the end of each Batter row while in Compose mode in your New Post window. Through the entire process you need not read a single line of code.

I'm about to score the ALCS Texas Rangers @ New York Yankees  - Game 5 (4:07 PM EDT) at The Internet Baseball Scorecard; I'll use the new scorecard. I hope it goes into extra innings as the Texans eliminate the hapless Yanks from the 2010 Postseason.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Symmetry of Cliff Lee's 8 Inning, 13 K shut out over Yankees in ALCS Game 3

I've become interested in the characteristics of line drawings that I create from scorecards of baseball games in the 2010 Post Season. In "The Year of the Pitcher" as they say. In this post I've discovered some new attributes of the Microsoft Paint program that, while less artsy, it is quick and gets across the symmetry of the game perhaps better than the line drawings.

Here's the same graphic with all the extraneous stuff edited out

The Blue boxes are closer Naftali Feliz's 1,2,3 9th inning.

A little harder so see,

1st inning to 3rd: 1,2,3 / 1,2,3 / 1,2,3
3rd inning to 6th: 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4
7th inning to 9th: 1,2,3 / 1,2,3 / 1,2,3

The graphic simplifies the scorecard down to batters faced and the passing of the innings. Great pitching performances display a symmetry that reflects the efficiency and effectiveness of the pitcher in those games. Lee was coming out to pitch the 9th but the 6 run top of the inning and Lee's 122 pitches thrown, manager Ron Washington changed his mind.

This is Lee's pitch by pitch speed chart, from Brooks Baseball, over the eight innings, notice his last fastball is the highest speed of any pitch all night; and his knuckle curve, the slowest.

This is the separation of the speed of Lee's pitches over the game. Good separation means batters can't time the ball's arrival at the hitting zone. He maintains good separation right to the last series of pitches.

Texas Rangers' pitching Ace, Cliff Lee's pitching line in New York October 18th 2010:

From The Internet Baseball Scorecard

Cliff Lee pitching to New York Yankees in Game 3

From The Internet Baseball Scorecard

I've published four other articles like this one:


Monday, October 18, 2010

Oswalt Brilliant - Sloppy, lackadaisical defence Giants Undoing in Game 2

"By all rights Oswalt should have been slaughtered on this play - not only for the impudence of the base hit and his ignotism on the sacrifice bunt - but for the audacity of running through a stop sign with his back to the play!"

Roy Oswalt pitched a shut out against all the San Francisco Giants except Cody Ross - who hit a solo home run in the fifth. Two other hits over Oswalt's eight innings - along with only 3 walks - were not enough to enable the Giants over the Phillies four run 7th in game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

The Phillies Innings Batting

From The Internet Baseball Scorecard

Errors were everywhere tonight, except in the thinking of the game's official scorer who seemed to prefer home town hits to E's. Sloppy, lackadaisical play at key moments in the game were the Giants undoing in this Sunday night adventure.

J Rollins hit a high pop in the forth inning that was arching on the third base side to just short of the mound. Third baseman Mike Fontenot was there but at the last moment looked to catcher Buster Posey to take it. (???) It landed in a Bermuda triangle between the catcher, first baseman Aubrey Huff and Frontenot. The official scorer had trouble accessing an error on a pop fly that was surrounded by Giants - yet not eaten.

The strangest base hit of this calendar year?

In the decisive 7th, the pitcher and the catcher combined for several miss-plays that aren't usually scored - errors or other wise - but which defined the character of the defence in that inning and in the game - and if they don't shape up, the series.

Roy Oswalt is on first base with a lead off base hit to centre, Shane Victorino lays down a good bunt that forced third baseman Fontenot to make the play - which he did, and Oswalt advanced to 2nd. On this play Buster Posey should have covered the vacated third base bag. A good base runner - one who was looking at the situation in front of him, instead of back at first base to watch the put-out of the player sacrificing to move said base runner up, and maybe over - would have seen that the whole left side of the infield was vacant, and that being the closest person on the field to the third base bag, he could have walked over there.

Bad Buster Posey, bad!

Now with one out, the Giants decide to intentionally walk Chase Utley to set up the double play and perhaps get out of the inning still only one run down. Placido Polanco, the Phillies third baseman is up - he's the ground into double play candidate. Polanco does not abide, instead he hits a fly ball to centre for a base hit, which moves Oswalt to third base, and here comes the throw from centre.

This throw from Andres Torres, and what the infield did with it could very well have reversed destiny in this game. With a good throw, on line to the plate, one that was low enough to be cut by the long cut-off at 2nd base, and one that landed just in front of the mound and one-bounded to Posey, and this upstart pitcher come base running phenom would have been out by a mile for the second out of the inning.

By all rights Oswalt should have been slaughtered on this play - not only for the impudence of the base hit and his ignotism on the sacrifice bunt - but for the audacity of running through a stop sign with his back to the play!

When I score a game I note what the official scorer says in my scorecard; but I also note my disagreement. The official scorer scored this play a base hit and a run batted in. In my opinion it should have been scored a sacrifice fly that advances the runners, and an error throwing on the centre fielder resulting in the run scored.

I note the official scoring (BH8 RBI) and then added my disagreement:

#9 2,3
#9 3,h / #2 1,2

#9 is Oswalt; I wrote, the base hit got him to 3rd base (#9 2,3). Next, the throw, scored "8-1-2" (centre fielder to pitcher to home), results in the run (#9 3,h). The last part, #2 1,2 is wrong, Utley got to 2nd base via the hit not the throw (Oopps).

Placido Polanco's BH got Oswalt to third (where the third base coach told him to stop!!), and moved the intentional walk from first to second. Then, the off line throw from CF resulted in the run. Aubrey Huff had positioned himself near the mound after the batter runner, Polanco rounded first (with Utley ahead of him stopped near second). Huff was acting as extra deep cut off and in doing so stopped the situation from getting worse - right away. Because the ball was too high to cut at the deep cut-off near second, Utley could have taken third if Huff hadn't been at the extra deep cut-off position. Huff then made a quick, hard throw home, slightly to Posey's right which pulled him to the first base side and allowed Oswalt to score, sliding with a hand sweep across the far side of the plate.

From there the decisive 7th went from bad to worse. Another intentional base on balls to load the bases - this time hoping for a fielders choice to any one of four stations - and the end of the innings, down by only two runs.

Then the Jimmy Rollins' three run double.

Three different pitchers combined for four runs on two measly fly balls that were by design, supposed to be ground balls. Two of the four runs plated were intentional walks.

Oh well. The best laid schemes of mice and men...


Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!


Robert Burns (1759 – 1796)


Friday, October 15, 2010

The Internet Baseball Scorecard gets Bigger, Better!

Earlier this month I published an article, New code for the Internet Baseball Score Card - with Extra Innings! -. In it I talked about how I had discovered "code break tags" (<!--extra innings-->) that hide code from a html rendering system (a blogging application, or a browser). I wanted to hide code that renders extra innings in the scorecard - so one could add innings to the scorecard quickly if a game went into extras.

It turns out blogging technology will not accept this hidden code - the code breaks and the code between them are erased as soon as you swtich to "Compose" mode, or click on "Publish". I'm still researching why - and if there's a work around.

To wit:

Yesterday I decided the time was right to make a more expansive change to the scorecard. It was something I was to putting off until the 2011 season - but I thought, how am I going to test it when there are no games on?

So, in time for the 2010 MLB League Championship Series - here it is - the 2011 Scorecard: Bigger! Better!
(check the link or click the image for a larger version)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 MLB Postseason Games - Scorecards of every Division Series game

I've been developing an HTML baseball scorecard since March of 2010. As the MLB Postseason came along I thought it would be a great idea to score all the games - what better way to spread the word about the craft of score keeping? Postseason games are different than regular season games; a lot more people watch, and people sometimes remember these games for the rest of their lives. After the last pitch of the season all baseball fans feel that let down - no baseball until March - bummer! For those cold January days just a few months before pitchers and catchers report, reading a scorecard from a great World Series game in October will bring a smile to your face, I guarantee!

The Division Series are now in the books - and every game has been scored; they're waiting for you over at BaseballBlogs sister blog,

The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog

Have a look, grab a copy of any game you wish, it's free! If you republish or re-purpose, please mention with a link where you found it. :)

Also there's on on-going series at this blog:

How to Read a Baseball Score Card - and how to Score a Baseball Game

If you're the coding type, the code for the scorecard will work in any blog (with a few parameter changes to the Blogger html). You can have a copy of the code for free (with a link-back) here.

MLB 2010 Division Series Scorecard links

(all links open in a new tab)

Atlanta Braves - San Fransisco Giants

NLDS: San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves - Game 4

NLDS: San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves - Game 3

NLDS: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants - Game 2

NLDS: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants - Game 1

Cincinnati Reds - Philadelphia Phillies
(game 2 should be up before 10/16/2010)

NLDS: Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds - Game 3

NLDS: Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies - Game 2

NLDS: Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies - Game 1

Minnesota Twins - New York Yankees

ALDS: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees - Game 3

ALDS: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins - Game 2

ALDS: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins - Game 1

Tampa Bay Rays - Texas Rangers

ALDS Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays - Game 5

ALDS: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers - Game 4

ALDS: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers - Game 3

ALDS: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays - Game 2

ALDS: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays - Game 1


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Symmetry of Cliff Lee's Complete Game Win over Tampa Bay Rays

I've become interested in the characteristics of line drawings that I've created from score cards of baseball games in the 2010 Post Season - in "The Year of the Pitcher" - so they say. The Line drawings simplify the score card down to batters faced and the passing of the innings. In the drawings Great pitching performances display a symmetry that reflects the efficiency and effectiveness of the pitcher in those games.

I've published three other articles like this one that illuminate some interesting metrics observable in simple line drawings derived from score cards of the 2010 MLB Post Season.

The Texas Rangers' pitching Ace, Cliff Lee has beaten the Tampa Bay Rays both times he faced them in this short Division Series, they were both effective starts, but Great? ... well, have a look at the numbers for yourself. Here's Cliff Lee's pitching line from the October 12th game, Tampa Bay's final game of 2010:

Here's the bottom half of the score card from last night's Game 5, Cliff Lee pitching all 9 innings, helping his team eliminate the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here's a line drawing I made from the score card above. It shows the number of batters Cliff Lee faced each inning; each vertical plane represents an inning. To help you see it I've made a list of the batters faced/inning:

1st inning - 4 batters
2nd inning - 3 batters
3rd inning - 6 batters
4th inning - 3 batters
5th inning - 4 batters
6th inning - 3 batters
7th inning - 4 batters
8th inning - 3 batters
9th inning - 3 batters

It's kind of boxy in the first half of the game it doesn't have that diagonal symmetry that all the other drawings I've made had. The 6 batter 3rd does that I guess. It's sort of like there are two different pitchers here, one before the 3rd and another pitcher later - rather than what we know, 9 innings from the great Cliff Lee. The second half of the drawing starts to resemble the softer pattern that represent what I've come to see in these line drawings as a great pitching performance.

What changed?

Good pitchers are able to adapt in game, if a particular pitch isn't hitting the spot intended, or an umpire is calling strikes on stuff that's half way to the moon for example, a battery may change what they're doing. Plus, hitters get used to a pattern; good pitchers change that pattern after 1 or 2 times through the order.

After the game Cliff Lee said that when he was warming up for the game, the curve ball was working great and that he knew he would be getting lots of outs with it. I wonder if by the 4th the battery figured out they would drop a pitch from the repertoire or perhaps just use the curve more?

I thought I'd check out that idea by going to Brooks Baseball page for Lee against all the Tampa Bay hitters in the game. Below is Brooks Baseball graph of pitch speed over the entire game, note the slow curve ball (that he throws with his index finger knuckled - see image above), is the 32nd pitch of the game. By reading ESPN's pitch by pitch of the game I counted that Cliff Lee threw 31 pitches in the first three innings. The slow curve was the first pitch of the 1,2,3 forth inning, representing the 5, 6, 7 hitters in the Rays line up - one and a half times through the order.

A battery can get behind hitters if the curve ball isn't hitting the strike zone, or if it's flat - riding up without a good drop through the hitting plane - the opposing batters will spank it out of the park on you. Interesting then that catcher Bengie Molina and Cliff Lee introduce the curve ball to the bottom half of the Tampa Bay order - to get it working before the line-up turns over?


Image of Cliff Lee's 'knuckle curve grip' on his curve ball from,

Thanks to Brooks Baseball PitchF/X for the chart: Pitch Speeds, Cliff Lee to Tampa Bay Rays over 9 Innings.


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Symmetry of Cole Hamels' great start against the Cincinnati Reds

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels had a brilliant outing in game 3 of the NLDS in Cincinnati.

I've become interested in the characteristics of line drawings I created from score cards of great pitching performances. They have a symmetry that reflects the efficiency and effectiveness of the pitcher in those games. I've published two other articles like this one that illuminate some interesting metrics observable in score cards of games in the 2010 MLB Post Season.

Here's Cole Hamels' pitching line:

Score card: Cole Hamels pitching to the Cincinnati Reds on October 10, 2010:

The line drawing derived from the score card. In four innings he faced 4 batters, in five innings he faced the minimum 3 batters.

Notice the diagonal symmetry, even though the innings where he faced 4 batters and where he faced 3 batters are fairly random.

  • 1st inning 4 batters
  • 2nd inning 4 batters
  • 3rd inning 3 batters
  • 4th inning 4 batters
  • 5th inning 3 batters
  • 6th inning 3 batters
  • 7th inning 4 batters
  • 8th inning 3 batters
  • 9th inning 3 batters

If he had had a 3 batter 2nd inning, there would have been a nine inning pattern. As it is a really solid pattern doesn't start until in the forth.


(Is English the only language where two identical words can follow each other in a sentence?)


Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm Score Keeping every game of the 2010 MLB Post Season

Over at my my other baseball blog, where my home made 'Do-It-Yourself' baseball score card lives, I'm taking on the colossal task of score keeping every post season MLB game. So far so good:

I've always found that when you put the work in, stay disciplined, focused on you're dream the universe usually cooperates. Well getting the score all set up with extra innings capability in time for the play-off was my dream, to do this right I needed a quick, easy way to add at-bat, innings totals and pitchers' lines boxes if a game went into extra innings. I thought I had it all worked out - I did my research and found a neat tag that cloisters code from a browser, so the extra innings code sits there hidden away, if I need it I simply remove the code block tags, and voila: a 9 inning score card expands to 18 innings with all the game data from the first 9 innings intact.

See the announcement... "New code for the Internet Baseball Score Card - with Extra Innings! - Score Card Coding update.

I'm using a work in progress called, "Blogger in Draft" blogging application to run the Internet Baseball Score Card Blog because it handles the massive code I've written better than normal blogger. (Normal blogger reads every space in a CSS code as a blank and renders it as a space in publish mode - which leaves about 25 lines of blank space between each table in the Score Card.)

Currently Blogger is in a software race with Word Press - which has all kinds of innovative widgets coming on line all the time - Google's is falling behind in a race they invented - and with Microsoft dumping their blogging software support and sending all their users to Word Press last month, the race has become a do or die one for Blogger.

So, while "Blogger in Draft" is a Beta thing, and s subject to change, it's necessary for the code I've written to score ball games; but imagine my pissed-off-ness when just before the second game of the MLB post season I realized that Blogger in Draft wasn't reading my code blocks. Not only was it not reading the code, but the thing was deleting the code break tags - and everything they were cloistering!


But as I said above, hard work and perseverance pay off in the long run, and in ways you don't see coming - or sometimes even recognize.

I sent Blogger in Draft a bug report and hoped the game I was about to score didn't go into extra innings. That game was Roy Halladay's No-hitter, a nine inning, 1 walk, 4-0 win for Philadelphia. It was the first no-hitter I've ever scored, it was a pleasure and a half. As well, the headlines circling the internet about only the second such no-hitter in post season history have brought lots of eyes to my score card project - which is very important in my view; the art of score keeping is connected to an enlightened view of sport and especially the special game of baseball.

Also having the cultural artifact (a no-hit score card) in my computer has lead to several articles here on the aesthetics of the iconography of a score card. These articles, and something a friend of mine said a while back, have lead me to a new appreciation of the lay out of the score card and it's place in history. It was Chris F A Johnson that pointed this out in his obtuse way a couple of months back. Why, he was saying, box in all the data into the old metric? It is after all just a derivation of old technology, paper and penciled lines laid out in a graph - it probably comes from the book keeping of accountants. Chris made me realize I'd taken the old way and tried to translate it directly, with out thinking as deeply as now, into 1's and 0's.

The essential function of a score card is to put ALL the data from a game of baseball into a graphical, user friendly interface that one can 'read'. The graph paper like score card did that in the age before the computer - do we need that same graph paper lay-out now? The new vessels of media allow us to imagine new vistas. A better interface could be out there - if you can imagine it. So why keep the tight little boxes where you have to develop notations to fit all the data you want to put in? The internet doesn't have space constraints - it's infinity large.

Great question! I can always count on my friend Chris to think WAY outside the box - so to speak.

Well the answer I come up with is; the big moderator, the thing that, in my opinion will save the score card as we move further into the digital age - is our eyes, our brains. The history of communication has evolved technology that lays stuff out in a way that it is easy to see; like a book or a ledger, because our eyes, a huge part of our brains functioning needs that lay out.

Part of the beauty of creating an html score card is that isn't a black box like the iPad score keeping technology that hides all the data while you're writing it. The tables lay out lets you read it while your adding new data, at a glance, you can see the character of the game unfolding. And if you want you can 'drill down' if you want and read in detail. For example you can easily see that a team scored 5 runs in the first inning of a game - or you can read the pitch by pitch detail of one at bat. After the game is over and all the totals have been tallied you can sit down in a chair at a desk with a reading lamp - a few of the associated cultural artifacts to the book - and study it.

This the legacy of thousands of years of humans trying to communicate information - cave walls were good, but hard to send, better was the Greek parchment roll, still better the hand printed book object with its' binding, the printing press that made pages reproducible on a mass scale. The history of the advances in communications haven't developed new sizes or concepts, they were all improvements that didn't change the basic thing - a hand in the hand sized object that you can sit down with and study.

The personal computer is a variation on that thing; the lap top computer, close to the book in that it sits on your desk, and now the Kindle and other hand held interfaces are developing according to how people want to use them. The smart phone now tries to imitate the pocket book, of 1930's invention (Wikipedia: Pocket Books).

So there is no need to re-invent the score card - just how it's written and shared. The digital age won't change that held in the hand element that our eyes (or brains) and our bodies require - the computer will change to fit us - not the other way 'round. The accountants ledger lay out of the baseball score card is not going to go away, it's here with us in the history of baseball for a reason, and it will endure. An opportunity presents itself now to make the score card more popular than it has ever been.

Score keeping has always been about making watching a baseball game better - from this writers perspective the digital age will do that even better by making the score card easier to read, write and share - and in the process more accurate, and ubiquitous.


The Symmetry of Timothy LeRoy Lincecum's Complete Game 2-hitter

There's watching the game and seeing the spell Tim Lincecum was weaving on Thursday night - and then there's the box score that mirrors the magic that was on the field - now in a funny bit of iconography produced by some nut 3,000 miles away in Toronto.

Look how Lincecum's innings unfold, this is batters faced/inning:

  • 1st to 3rd: 1234, 123, 123
  • 4th to 6th: 1234, 123, 123
  • 7th to 9th: 1234, 123, 123
The three, 1234 innings represent 2 hits and 1 base on balls. The rest of the innings are three up, three down.

As I did in an earlier post on the art of iconography of a great pitching performance - namely Roy Halladay's no-hitter - I simplified the score card down to a line drawing.

Here's Roy Halladay's No-hitter with one base on balls, against Cincinnati on October 6th, 2010.

As an example, here's a line drawing of a perfect game. All perfect games will look like this.

This is a line drawing of Tim Lincecum's Complete Game 2-hitter with one walk, against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, October 7th 2010.

I don't want to use the terms dominate, over powering or masterful to describe Lincecum's outing last night - they're over used - but they really do fit here. This was a pitching performance on par with Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956 and Roy Halladay's post season no-hitter a couple of days ago. Because it happen the day after Halladay's gem - and in the western time zone - it might not be noticed as much as it deserves; it was a peerless performance. (except the ones I just mentioned - you get my point :).

Here's all 119 pitches Tim Lincecum threw, via the PitchF/X data system and rendered into a graphical representation through Brooks Baseball's user interface. (Thanks Joy of Sox.)

Notice there are only three called strikes outside the box. Great Umpiring.

The year of the pitcher is happening in the play-offs and it's shaping up like this years post season may go down in history like the original Year of the Pitcher 1968 has. But perhaps not a full year; let me explain...

Almost all of the elite pitchers are in the post season this year; the exceptions are these four from the top ten in wins:

St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright (20 W - 11 L 2.42 ERA)
Colorado Rockies, Ubaldo Jimenez (19W 8 L 2.88 ERA)
Boston Red Sox's Jon Lester (19 W 9 L, 3.25 ERA)
Detroit Tigers' J Verlander (18 W - 9 L 3.37)

I say that taken all together; the juiced ball, steroid use by hitters and the new smaller parks, has resulted in pitchers having had the stuffing kicked out of them for the last 10-15 years. This renaissance, this rebound of the pitchers, could just now be forming a new élan in their minds that we haven't seen for quite some time. Perhaps this new mindset and post season focus are causing a "high tide" of pitching excellence - perhaps building to a post season to remember.

The 2010 Post Season Hall of Fame:
( - so far - )

Roy Halladay - no-hitter
Tim Lincecum - complete game 2-hitter


The Symmetry of a Perfect Game

On the first day of the 2010 post season, in a first post season appearance, Roy Halladay gave up one walk on his way to no-hitting the Cincinnati Reds. That walk spoiled my scorecard.

Do you see how in this work, the sixth column of iconography contracts in at the top, expands out at the bottom and skews up towards the top corner? Sort of like a twitch under your eye caused by a bad memory? Or the crumpled front fender of a car that has run into a telephone poll at a high rate of speed?

It's supposed to look like this...

..but the rules say I have to maintain a connection to the cultural artifact it is derived from.

So if Roy Halladay doesn't pitch a perfect game - how am I supposed to score a perfect score card? It's like if Beethoven made a mistake while he was writing the 9th symphony and put in a b-flat instead of a d-flat - is it still a just as beautiful? A rose by any other name would look as beautiful?

You decide.

See the score card for Roy Halliday's no-hitter at the Internet Baseball Score Card Blog.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Part Two of How to Read a Baseball Score Card - and how to Score a Baseball Game


How to Read a Baseball Score Card - how to Score a Baseball Game - Part One

Introduction to Part Two

How to Read a Baseball Score Card - how to Score a Baseball Game - Part Two

Introduction to Part Two

By way of an introduction to scorekeeping in part one, I wrote about the history of the craft. I wrote about how the scorecard had over time become the essential scoring mechanism in baseball, how it is used by teams, leagues, media and fans. It is the only practical way to record a game at the field, it's existence the result of millions of person-hours full of love and discipline over 150 years. I noted how the newspaper box score, and for that matter, all baseball statistics you read anywhere, are derived from the simple scorekeeper's card.

In an ironical counter-point, (and to trumpet my new, and I think important, HTML scoring technique), I noted how in the the Web Age the mainstay of baseball culture, including Major League Baseball, have ignored the history of the craft of scorekeeping and reverted to sentences and paragraphs at their web places to try and record games. ESPN for example devotes an incredible 18 feet of computer screen on FIVE different pages to record one game!

Somehow pencil and paper scoring, where a scorekeeper can record everything that happens in a game on two 11" X 17" notebook pages, has been left out in the transition to digital.

Apple is leading the way with specialized hardware and software that allows one to score at the game in a hand-held, and even print out graphic table-type score cards after the game. But where's the art, the craft, in pushing the appropriate icon button? The beauty of a 11" X 17" score card is that you can see by the amount of ink on it when, what happened - it gives you a sense of the passage of time, a sense of epochs passing in the midst of a timeless game. With all the data deep inside an iPad score keeper all the magic is lost. The simple html score card can be coded to slide around inside a smart phone, or used on a Kindle, or simply on a lap top - and with a quick zoom-out you can see the whole inning - or the whole game.

This loss of the graphical interface, which is the fundamental nature of the score card, isn't the geeky, generally non sports minded web developers fault only; the understanding of the fundamentals of the game of baseball has been waning in the popular culture since 1948, the year "..the Boston Braves [...] decided to sell the television rights to all of their home games for the next two years." (Wikipedia)

Twenty five years later, marked by the introduction Designated Hitter, the media of Television, (which due to it's two dimensional nature is incapable of capturing baseball), had usurped the culture baseball had created - the game would now be less, because the camera could not be more.

Since 1973 AL games have become boring mechanical assembly line affairs, each piece rumbling out at the appropriate moment along the time line, each beautiful, grotesque specialization then doing what they were designed to do, when they were designed to do it ... to the point where the American League fan's only respite from the boredom is to become the game themselves - to cheer like insane monkey at balls hit out of stadia by colossus who's only function is to rise from the bench every eight outs and hit such things - in order that the fan can then become a centre of their own vain calamity.

I maintain that the DH rule is but a bi-product of the dumbing down of the culture of baseball caused by TV's inability to translate the game to fans at home. There are SO many things going on around every pitch, and in such subtle ways, and on such a large field of play that the directors quickly gave up trying to weave a tapestry (if they ever saw it), and focused the camera on the simple, stupid duality - the war between pitcher and hitter, Mano y Mano.

It's like the Coles Notes version of a great novel, or every bad Hollywood adaptation that replaces compexity with a love a story: it results in pseudo-intellectualism, a shallow understanding, and a knee jerk in the seat next to you.

A return to the love and joy of of the game through keeping score I hope will re intellectualize the game on all levels. Those who play the game don't need any help here, they know though doing. The people who need to restart their brains are the 90% of us who don't eat right because we don't play - our metabolism is eager for easy answers, or panacea, preferably sweet ones. We all know there are different flavours of sweet, scoring baseball and thus understanding the complexities of each game is one of them.

I hope this guide and the HTML score card results in a generation of scorekeepers and constructive critics of the game, such that maybe by 2073 we'll have rid ourselves of the DH rule, and TV will look more like an scorecard on a lap top. :)

How to Read a Baseball Score Card - how to Score a Baseball Game - Part Two

The Example Game - August 7th 2010, D-Rays at Blue Jays - bottom half of the innings:

Here in Part Two I will continue from where we left off with our August 7th 2010, D-Rays at Blue Jays example game. We were working our way through the first inning of the game, Travis Snider had walked and scored on a Yunel Escobar double to left centre field. Now with a run in and Yunel Escobar on second, baseball's 2010 home run champion is up to bat - with no one out in the inning.