“I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.”
As we continue our sporadic series of DLDs which for no good reason hook on a common cultural touchstone which to all appearances has no relation whatsoever to the A’s or even baseball. But they do all mean something to me. So there! Previously: John Lee Hooker, Robert Anton Wilson, Dead Kennedys, Ned Flanders.
Now: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Doors!
OK, the obligatory Bay Area hook: like me, Jim Morrison spent a few years in the Alameda Public School system! However, also like me, he migrated to and graduated from a fine Northern Virginia institution of mass re-Neducation.
(oops, wrong DLD) In Jim’s case it was George Washington High School in Alexandria, VA, later demoted to Middle School status in favor of T.C. Williams HS, local rival to my own institution, Lake Braddock. Due to Morrison TC always easily won the coolest alumni argument. Even in later years, when we had Mia Hamm and Hubert Davis…both of whom followed the trail I blazed to the University of North Carolina. But that particular granfalloon is the making of another DLD, another day.
(Real quick, also like me: Jim Morrison is the son of a career Navy man, and he briefly attended…FSU. Yeah, baby…I AM the Lizard King)
Ken Arneson at Catfish Stew tells us that things look so dire for Alameda Unified’s upcoming budget that
The proposed new budget eliminates funding for all high school athletics in Alameda. If there's going to be another Jimmy Rollins or Dontrelle Willis coming out of Alameda, charity will be required.
(Been Down So Long)
A's play intra-squad game! Baserunning sucks!
Oakland's manager was impressed by Carlos Gonzalez's strike from center that cut down Jeff Baisley at third, but at the same time, Geren didn't like the baserunning, either at that point or overall. He has been emphasizing baserunning this spring, and there were several gaffes in that area at Papago Park.
"I'm not happy with that at all," Geren said. "It was awful, actually. It wasn't for lack of aggressiveness, but there were too many mistakes.
Dana “Some Enchanted” Eveland pitched well, Huston’s throwing 3-2 changeups, and Gio Gonzalez killed hit Daric Barton with a pitch. A curveball.
We shall go on playing
Or find a new town (Strange Days)
Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball explores the effects of recession on the fortunes on selected big league franchises. He maintains a characteristically rosy outlook, even for stadia development and naming rights, which seems downright Pollyannish to me.
(When The Music’s Over)
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--> A group of eight Nobel Peace Laureates are using the Olympics as their hook to pressure China into cutting off trade with Sudan, because of Khartoum’s culpability for the carnage in Darfur. This article explores the tricky moral terrain of using sports pressure for political ends.
I found an island in your arms,
A country in your eyes,
Arms that chain, eyes that lie
Break on through to the other side (Break on Through) <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->
Chris Gissell, pitcher from Concord by way of the Seibu Lions of Japan, is in A’s camp on a minor league deal. He learned a slide step from Daisuke, throws a wide arsenal of pitches, and (stop me if you’ve heard this before) had been on Billy Beane’s radar for several years before coming home this spring.
(The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat))
So this article is over ten years old. So what? It has A’s content, and I bet you haven’t read it before. The authors explore what happens to Dominican baseball players who don’t make it as pros. Many wind up in NYC, amid the large community of DR ex-pats, often joining weekend semi-pro teams. Tell me if the following logic doesn’t ring just a tiny bit familiar:
"Instead of signing four (American) guys at $25,000 each, you sign 20 (Dominican) guys for $5,000 each," (Colorado Rockies VP Dick) Balderson said. "The unfortunate thing about this game is that there are so many people yearning to play it." Especially in a country like the Dominican Republic, where $1,000-a-year wages are the norm and baseball is a religion practiced by the impoverished - a fuente de vida (a fountain of life).
Explaining how the strategy began, (roving instructor Ron) Plaza of the Oakland A's said: "When we first went to the Dominican in the early 1980s, we signed a lot of guys because we wanted to have our own squad because we didn't want to have a co-op with another team A lot of mistakes were made and we weren't sending a caliber of player (that was going to be successful). It's unfortunate."
Defending the strategy, Sandy Alderson, general manager of the Oakland A's, said: "It's a reaction to the cost of player development in the U.S. Part of that cost relates to the escalation of free agent salaries and increases in signing bonuses at the amateur level.
"If you are developing two or three players from traditional domestic sources and you can add just one player to that resource pool every year, then, in effect, you've increased your productivity."
Five to one, baby
One in five
No one here gets out alive (Five to One) <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--> (This one’s for salb and andeux.) <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--> Part of the fun of writing a DLD is that you get to take a random walk around the internet, going from a to b to 47 to pi to a link you find interesting. So here’s a little info on a fellow named John L. Kelly. Born 1923, died 1965, PhD thesis on “Investigation of second order elastic properties of various materials,” naval aviator, gun nut, Bell Labs genius, chain smoker, life of the party. But he’s best remembered for what came to be called “the Kelly criterion,” the mathematically optimal method by which a gambler with an edge can maximize his bankroll. Simply put: Edge/Odds. More specifically:
f* = ((bp – q)/b)
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
- f* is the fraction of the current bankroll to wager;
- b is the odds received on the wager;
- p is the probability of winning;
- q is the probability of losing, which is 1 − p.
- Poundstone’s layman’s version:
Example: The tote board odds for Seabiscuit are 5:1. Odds are a fraction -- 5:1 means 5/1 or 5. The 5 is all you need.
The (insider) tips convince you that Seabiscuit actually has a 1 in 3 chance of winning. Then by betting $100 on Seabiscuit you stand a 1/3 chance of ending up with $600. On the average, that is worth $200, a net profit of $100. The edge is the $100 profit divided by the $100 wager, or simply 1.
The Kelly formula, edge/odds, is 1/5. This means that you should bet one-fifth of your bankroll on Seabiscuit…
That's the good news. The bad news is that it's a rough ride. Downward plunges of wealth are frequent and steep…Many have found the "half Kelly" strategy to be a good compromise. You bet half of edge/odds. This achieves 3/4 the compound return of Kelly betting with much less volatility.
This volatility is where the random walk part comes in. It was once explained to me this way: say you’re walking alongside the Grand Canyon, 20 feet from the edge. On average, you maintain a straight parallel course. But every 15 seconds you must to randomly zig or zag 1 to 30 feet to the left or right. Your average course will take you safely through a place of stunning natural wonder. But eventually one of those zigs is going to be tough to recover from.
My old pal Jeff Pearlman finds Ranger lefty C.J. Wilson a lonely guy, as the only guy on his team…hell, maybe the only guy in the entire AL West…who even remotely cares about the 2008 Presidential election (vestiges of partisanship expunged by DLDiarist).
A free-thinking Californian with an appreciation for $%&*@, a dislike of &^%$, a hatred of the #$@%&^$%, a detestation of &%#s, and a longing for a grass-roots %$#@^ical &%vement that would truly represent the needs of the &%$#@%, Wilson stares blankly when asked who among his teammates he can talk with about Decision '08.
"No one," he says. "I keep it to myself."
wikipedia tells me that Jim Morrison slept with Nico.
Weird scenes inside the green and gold mine, baby.