spira's profile

Name: Greg
Member since: March 22, 2002
Last visit: May 21, 2010

spira has posted 6 links and 130 comments to SportsFilter and 0 links and 0 comments to the Locker Room.

Recent Links

Showcase: The Sports of Photography: A look at some of the greatest photos of and the relationship between Neil Liefer and Walter Iooss, the two greatest sports photographers of the last half-century

posted by spira to general at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2009 - 3 comments

Bowling's newest twist: Is this two-handed bowler from Australia the star the Pro Bowling Association needs to regain its lost popularity?

posted by spira to other at 01:24 PM on March 15, 2009 - 5 comments

Mike Wallace interviews Bob Feller: It's August 4, 1957, and Mike Wallace, the host of The Mike Wallace Interview, is interviewing Bob Feller in an effort to go after "the controversial story of conflict between players and team owners in major league baseball."

posted by spira to baseball at 09:24 PM on April 04, 2008 - 4 comments

A Breakthrough for Cricket in NYC High Schools: The first competitive high school cricket league in the country - or at least the first one that anyone remembers - started up on Wednesday in New York City, with 14 teams beginning a 12-game season. Response was more positive than league organizers expected.

posted by spira to other at 07:58 PM on April 03, 2008 - 10 comments

Greinke trying to bounce back from personal problems: Royals pitcher Zach Greinke talks about his battle with depression, how it almost ruined his baseball career, and his current attempt at a comeback.

posted by spira to baseball at 03:37 PM on February 22, 2007 - 5 comments

Recent Comments

Floyd Landis admits to doping.

Marion Jones, Floyd Landis, ... We're waiting Barry.

Barry, unlike Marion and Floyd, has never showed any real interest in convincing the public of his innocence.and has never sued anyone regarding steroid accusations. So I'm not really sure why he belongs in the same conversation as the other two, especially Landis.

posted by spira at 03:13 AM on May 21, 2010

Belichick Call Questioned in Pats' Loss to Colts

Belichick's call was almost certainly the correct one. 70% of the time, teams will convert 4th and 2. If they convert, they win. Puntthe ball back to the Colts, and you have a smaller chance of winning.

Coaches almost never make a mistake by going for it on 4th down because they do it so rarely. They make the mistake of punting instead of going for it lots of times, mostly because they know that's the "safe" thing to do and they won't be criticized for it.

posted by spira at 10:31 AM on November 16, 2009

Will the Rams leave St. Louis?

Portsmouth might be willing to take the Lions back. Then again, maybe not; an Arena Football League team might be preferable these days

posted by spira at 01:28 AM on June 02, 2009

I know the Ruskies are tough, but this is ridiculous!

racde - Jose Cardenal was traded (technically sold) from the Phillies to the Mets in the middle iof a twi-night doubleheader between the two teams on August 2, 1979. He played for the Cardinals in the first game; he dressed as a Met for the second game but did not get into the game.

I don't believe this was the first time this ever happened, but it's not a frequent occurrence. The player traded for himself is a different weird thing that happens more often.

posted by spira at 02:12 PM on January 10, 2009

Walking His Way to Cooperstown.

The most remarkable thing about Rickey's career accomplishments is even if you totally ignore his stolen bases, his numbers are still Cooperstown-worthy.

posted by spira at 01:54 AM on December 17, 2008

Sports announcers already know it, and now Elan Fuld has proven it: clutch hitters really do exist.

If clutch hitters do exist in the major leagues (as opposed to clutch hitting, which exists by definition) 1) We have no way of identifying them 2) Their clutchness would have to be of little importance because we can't find it. It's impossible to improve that clutch hitters don't exist, but we can prove that we have no meaningful way of figuring out which hitters are clutch hitters if they do exist. So I really don't care. It's certainly legitimate to add the value of a hitter's clutch hitting when you measure his past performance, because hitting in the clutch can provide extra value (though, of course, some of that value is negated by inferior performances the rest of the time). You just can't reasonably consider clutch hitting as a special skill that player has that is different than his overall hitting. (None of that applies to clutch pitching, by the way, which I'm not really sure about. And i would be extremely surprised if clutch fielding did not exist; I think it more or less has to.) The worst thing about talking clutch hitting though is that it has become a way of announcers telling the audience "Well, this players stats aren't very good, but i like him a lot, so he must be a clutch player." Clutch is used to express personal likes and dislikes. Since it's not easy to measure, announcers feel safe in saying whatever they want about the clutch hitting abilities of a batter. Greg

posted by spira at 01:22 AM on July 10, 2008

Sports announcers already know it, and now Elan Fuld has proven it: clutch hitters really do exist.

Wasn't any more interesting a study than when I first read about it 3 years ago...... Phil Birnbaum recently did a round-up of clutch hitting studies on his blog, including one new one that was presented a couple of weeks ago.

posted by spira at 02:47 AM on July 08, 2008

AL Elias player rankings released

Aside from errors, the formula doesn't really count fielding, so the formula wouldn't have any reason to rate Young negatively. No one takes this formula seriously except the media, and they only do that for one day a year. It's a formula designed by bureaucrats for bureaucratic purposes. It isn't really even an attempt to measure player value.

posted by spira at 10:24 PM on November 01, 2007

Belichick's cheating could lead to dark days for NFL.

Whoa.. NFL teams are cheating? I would never have guessed! Every single week players on the field try and cheat by committing penalties without being seen. We all know what happens in every pile on after a fumble - hidden from view, players do everything they can, including things that violate the rules, to try and end up with the ball. What Belichick did is equivalent. He got caught and deserves the punishment. But this talk of Belichick somehow damaging the integrity of the NFL is inane. If he has hurt the reputation of the NFL, he has hurt it by getting caught cheating, not by the cheating itself. Most fans know that cheating is rampant, but they prefer not to hear about it so they can ignore it. The fact that drug use has been prevalent in NFL and MLB for the last 50 years or so has never been a secret, but fans were okay with that as long as they didn't know the specifics. This is not true in all sports, of course. In sports like golf and tennis, cheating is truly frowned upon. But baseball and football aren't like that. Vince Lombardi once said (though he wasn't the first to say it) that "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." He was later somewhat embarrassed that he said this, but he meant it. While he didn't want his team to kill to win, he wasn't about to tell his team that fair play was more important than winning

posted by spira at 02:16 PM on September 19, 2007


grad - There have been very few ballplayers over the last 50 years who haven't used any type of illegal performance enhancer. The only player of the last 50 years I'm convinced never used anything illegal is Tony Gwynn. I haven't heard of anybody else who clearly went out of his way to avoid any substance in the clubhouse that might be "loaded."

posted by spira at 09:30 AM on August 09, 2007


Aaron was a truly great home run hitter his entire career. The reason he snuck up on people when he broke the record was that he had played the first park of his career in a home ball park that suppressed home runs, and then moved to the Launching Pad for the second half of his career, a stadium which boosted his home runs. Here are his home runs on the road year-by-year: 1954 12 1955 13 1956 11 1957 26 1958 20 1959 19 1960 19 1961 15 1962 27 1963 25 1964 13 1965 13 1966 23 1967 16 1968 12 1969 23 1970 15 1971 16 1972 15 1973 16 1974 9 1975 8 1976 4 Aaron had one significant weakness compared to the other all-time great hitters of his time; he didn't get on base nearly as much as Mays or Mantle or Frank Robinson. But as a home run hitter, Aaron never was second best.

posted by spira at 09:18 AM on August 09, 2007


As far as Ryan goes, it's well known in baseball circles that he was cheating big-time during the last portion of his career with Texas. He was throwing spitters and other such things; that's how Ryan had his best seasons rate wise in his late thirties and early forties. The media never brings this up, however, because Ryan is such an icon. I think it's also safe to say that Ryan, like virtually everyone else in baseball in the sixties through nineties, was using stuff a lot more powerful and less legal than the Motrin he was endorsing in commercials to keep going. Ryan had truly bad control for most of his career, leading the majors in walks year after year. a problem that prevented him from being one of the top pitchers in baseball on the level of Seaver, Carlton, Palmer, etc. During those last years in Texas, though, he was able to get hitters to swing at his spitters and thus walked a lot fewer people per inning than he had during the earlier part of his career.

posted by spira at 08:58 AM on August 09, 2007

Does Bonds have a mechanical advantage?

CBS' Public Eye column also think it reads like something from the Onion.

posted by spira at 10:24 AM on August 07, 2007

One Thing We Can All Agree On:

Well, no. Even this article doesn't agree, as it gives Boras a lot of credit for bringing in Dorfman to work with his clients. The reality is that there are lots of players who work with coaches that are not on the team. Sometimes these coaches help players, sometimes they don't. If these specific coaches are doing what the author thinks - changing the approach of these players from one the one that made them successful to something else, then it's probably a bad idea. Obviously, this isn't something that happens to every Boras client. And Boras almost certainly pays his coaches more than major league clubs do, so he can probably hire better coaches. The problem here is a more specific one, involving specific coaches and specific players. Now, if Boras and his coaches think that they always know best, that they should be the ones who determine the approach of every player that Boras represents, then that would be a big problem. But I don't see any evidence that that's the case. Boras may indeed "care too much" about his clients and "overeducate" them, but the solution to that is to practice more restraint and not try and fix things that aren't broken, not to dissolve. Most players would be very lucky to have the (non-financial) resources that Boras provides his clients.

posted by spira at 01:08 PM on July 21, 2007

Plunk'd! The latest, greatest Craig Biggio story

Too bad Eric Plunk isn't around anymore to deliver the record-breaking pitch.

posted by spira at 12:38 PM on July 21, 2007