The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for April, 2007

Weather in Cleveland

Posted by disappointmentzone on 26 April 2007

Dr. Greg Goodrich is a faculty member at Western Kentucky University. His research interest is “how multi-decadal climate teleconnections such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) influence precipitation patterns associated with interannual teleconnections such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).”

In other words, he’s a weather guy with a Ph.D., which makes him a bit more qualified to talk about the weather than Mark Nolan. (1)

Dr. Goodrich writes a blog about weather research. One of his recent postings is about the crappy weather that forced the Indians to cancel so many games and prompted a bunch of yelling heads to question whether teams from the north with open-air stadiums should be allowed to host games in April. (2)

His findings are interesting.

First, 6.5% of the days in April in Cleveland are “miserable baseball weather” days. This is the most of any of the cities he studied (Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York were the others). Miserable baseball weather is not a scientifically rigorous term, but from what I can tell “miserable baseball weather” means weather that is both miserable and likely to cause a game to be canceled. So cold and rainy, for instance.

Knowing this, 46% of Aprils will feature consecutive or multiple days of miserable baseball weather within a four day period. That’s once every two years. That’s fairly often. Whole series being canceled is rare, but rained- or snowed-out games are not unusual.

When do those days occur? It turns out, mostly during the beginning of the month. If you limit the sample to April 11-30, then there is just a 4% likelihood of consecutive or multiple days of miserable baseball weather within a four day period. That’s once every 25 years.

Dr. Goodrich’s conclusion:

By simply waiting until after 4/10 to schedule the opening series for the five cold weather baseball cities in this analysis, Major League Baseball could avoid roughly 80% of the type of cold and snowy baseball weather that plagued Jacobs Field April 6-8. This could easily be accomplished by scheduling the first week of the season in warm-weather cities or cities with domed stadiums.

What is remarkable about his study is that it shows that MLB doesn’t have to abandon playing games in these cities for all of April, or even for multiple weeks. Waiting just 10 days — more or less the opening week of the season — would solve the majority of the problems. Further, it’s just these five cities. Changing the schedule so that these five cities don’t have their home openers until April 11th wouldn’t take that much.

Just thought you might want to know.

1: Mark Nolan is the “official” weather man for the Indians by virtue of being employed by WKYC. He’s been doing the weather since 1994, full-time at WKYC since 1997, and he has seals of approval from the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. You probably already know this since it’s a fact that’s been trumpeted fairly often on broadcasts and commercials over the last few years. But what does the seal of approval mean in terms of qualifications? Well, to get the seal from the National Weather Association you must a) pay $150 to apply (but you can only do so if you have at least two full-time years or three years part-time experience) , b) pass a multiple choice test (#), and c) submit a tape of your forecasts. To get a seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society you must demonstrate on tape your ability to do the weather clearly. There is no minimum experience required. You don’t need any formal training, either. These seals, in other words, are essentially awards for talking clearly about the weather after looking at a radar.

2: Thanks to The Hardball Times for the link.

#: How lame is it that the test is multiple choice? Answer: very lame.

Posted in Cleveland Indians, statistics | 2 Comments »

NFL Draft roundup

Posted by disappointmentzone on 25 April 2007

I was going to provide links to a bunch of different mock drafts from across these here interwebs so that we could all get a feel for what a bunch of people think the Browns are going to do this weekend, but after searching for about 15 minutes one thing has been made absolutely clear:  the Browns are drafting Brady Quinn.

I dare you to find three “experts” who disagree. Seriously. Go ahead and try.

Of course, the Browns should draft JOE THOMAS. He’s the logical draft pick, considered by many to be a surefire player for the next ten seasons. He’s modest and hardworking and wants to play for the Browns. He’s from the Midwest. He turned down an invitation to attend the draft to go fishing with his dad. He probably eats meat with every meal (kielbasa, bratwurst) and enjoys dark beer.

And he’s a great dancer!

Posted in Cleveland Browns | Leave a Comment »

Hiatus

Posted by disappointmentzone on 24 April 2007

The thesis crunch has commenced and so I’ve been on a brief hiatus from the DZ. Things should get back to normal around here pretty soon.

In the meantime, check out another blog from another weary Cleveland fan.

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 1 Comment »

Dad says Oden is going pro

Posted by disappointmentzone on 14 April 2007

From the Indianapolis Star, posted early this morning:

Greg Oden will enter the 2007 NBA draft, his father said Friday.

And:

“They had an exciting season, but why take the chance on him getting hurt?” [Oden’s father said] Oden and fellow Ohio State freshmen Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook are planning to meet this weekend in Indianapolis. The younger Conley, a 6-1 point guard, and Cook, a 6-5 shooting guard, also are expected to put their names in the draft, Oden Sr. said.

 

 

That much is not too surprising. Oden going to the NBA after one season in college was pretty much a foregone conclusion when he arrived in Columbus last fall. Conley Jr. came on as the season progressed and finished having established himself as one of the top point guards in the nation. Cook will be back to school as soon as he learns that he’s a second round pick at best.

But the most incisive part of the article appears at the end:

 

 

“He’s averaging like nine shots a game, and he’s shooting 60 percent or better. It’s frustrating for him,” Jimmy Smith, Oden’s first coach and one of his closest friends, said prior to the Final Four. “They want him to play all this defense, then they want to go down and shoot the 3,” Smith said. “By talking to him, I know it’s frustrating to him that he doesn’t get the ball as much as he should.”

 

 

Perhaps that rupture between the upper classmen and the Thad Five never really healed, despite all the talk that it did. The fact is, in the National Championship game Oden was the only person doing anything on offense, and the team was certainly hindered by not giving him the ball on every single possession. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oden secretly was dreaming off eating the heads of Lewis and Butler while jogging back down the court to set up in his one man zone defense after they clanked another unwarranted three off the back iron. I’m serious. Have you seen Oden before? Definitely looks like the type of guy who dreams of eating people-heads, but in a very casual Silence of the Lambs sort of way (casual in both how he eats and how he dreams).

Anyway, so long rogue prince. We hardly knew thee.

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Posted in Ohio State Buckeyes | 4 Comments »

3-20: boo! 5-51: yikes!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 14 April 2007

In last night’s Indians game, a 4-6 loss to the White Sox, the team stranded 13 runners on base and hit just 3-20 with runners in scoring position. One of those hits didn’t even score a run. The team went 0-5 with runners on third base and fewer than two outs. The hitting display was just pathetic, and you hope that things can’t get much worse.

Curiously, 3-20 with runners in scoring position is actually an improvement over where the team had been over the last few games. The Plain Dealer reported this morning that in the last 51 at bats with RISP the Indians have five hits. 5-51. That includes the 3-20, which means that prior to last night’s game the team had been riding a sub-pathetic 2-31 streak with RISP.

Entered the game 2-31.

Went 3-20.

By this time next month the team should be hitting 10-19. Of course by then the Indians will be seven games back in the AL Central and the season will be all for naught. But at least the Indians will be scoring some runs, jacking up that Pythagoras expected record, and in turn confusing the stat heads out there a little more. And when that time does come we can all look back and see that the team just happened to start hitting with RISP, albeit a few weeks late.

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Posted in Cleveland Indians, statistics | 6 Comments »

Thanks, Milwaukee

Posted by disappointmentzone on 13 April 2007

Despite a ton of snow, freezing temperatures, no rooting interest, and no warning, the Milwaukee faithful transformed what could have been a disaster — the home opener for the Indians, take two, this time in another city — into something on the scale of a small miracle. “I was amazed. Absolutely amazed. Nobody imagined this. It actually felt like a home game,” Joe Borowski said in an a story filed on ESPN.com. For those looking on from afar, it actually looked like a home game. As Borowski stepped to the mound with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, 17,000 fans in attendance rose to their feet to cheer on our closer, and I swear I fell victim to a short-term case of paramnesia, so similar were the sights beaming out of Milwaukee to the ones usually coming from our Jacobs Field.

The Indians won the series, 2-1, and I think a portion of the credit must go to the fans who supported the team in Milwaukee over the last three days. Getting snowed out over opening weekend on top of getting the game on Friday called after being only one out from an official game was pretty depressing, and I’d imagine flying to Wisconsin only to play in front of a few hundred fans would have been a crushing blow to team morale. Due to the fine folks from the upper Midwest that fate was avoided as best as possible, and so I think it’s worth offering up a sincere thanks to everyone who supported the Cleveland Indians of Milwaukee. So thanks, Milwaukee. In honor of your outstanding display of good sportsmanship and spirit your Brewers are now the official National League team of the Disappointment Zone. Onward ho, Ben Sheets!

Posted in Cleveland Indians, flotsam and Jetsam | 3 Comments »

Quinn!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 10 April 2007

More and more the Browns seem to be leaning towards drafting Brady Quinn in the upcoming NFL Draft. A few weeks ago I wrote about how drafting Quinn could be a very wise move — provided that the Browns drafted Quinn after trading down to the 8-10 range while picking up other draft picks in the process. Now it appears the Browns will be drafting Quinn with the third pick, and there’s even talk of (gulp) trading UP to draft Russell, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Don Banks is the latest NFL reporter to suggest the Browns will be drafting Quinn, and now he can join the hoard of just about every other NFL mock draft maker working for a respectable publication who thinks the Browns are taking Quinn (at least Banks has Thomas going to Detroit). I’m not sure what drafting Quinn will accomplish other than a series of raging fires started by upset Browns fans across Northeast Ohio. My hope, of course, is that drafting Quinn is the first thrust forward in propelling the team into the Super Bowl and Quinn into the Hall of Fame. Yet I remain skeptical that a Super Bowl berth is in the near future for the Browns. For starters, there is the offensive line. If only there was a stud left tackle available, one who could improve both the running game and the passing game. The type of player who could anchor an offensive line for years to come. The type of player who could benefit from playing alongside Eric Steinbach. You know, someone like Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas. If only the Browns could draft Joe Thomas…

But that’s just wishful thinking. The Browns are drafting Quinn. I’m sure he’ll enjoy playing with the current offensive line of the Browns. They sure are great at providing a helping hand after their quarterback takes viscous hit after viscous hit. By far the best helping-hands in the league. The Irish Wonder and the Helping Hands. Sounds like the name of a terrible 1950s doo wop group. It also sounds like the name of a terrible offense playing an extended set over 16 weeks along the shores of Lake Erie in 2007.

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Posted in Cleveland Browns | 9 Comments »

The Cleveland Indians of Milwaukee

Posted by disappointmentzone on 9 April 2007

What with all the snow and cold temperatures — the inclement weather that caused the opening series against Seattle to be postponed indefinitely — Major League Baseball has decided to move the next series, against the Los Angeles Angels of Some Other City, from Cleveland to Milwaukee.

Of course, I decided to fly back to Cleveland from Chicago on Wednesday evening so that I could catch the game that night and then on Thursday afternoon. Looks like I could have just stayed in Chicago and driven the 90 miles to Milwaukee to watch what will certainly be one of the stranger series this season. Excellent.

Major League Baseball under Bud Selig — Gotta Love It!

Posted in Cleveland Indians | 6 Comments »

Switch pitcher

Posted by disappointmentzone on 7 April 2007

The NYT ran an interesting story today about a relief pitcher at Creighton Univesity who throws with both arms, oftentimes during the same game. The pitcher, Pat Venditte, has a custom-made glove that fits either hand, allowing him to pitch as a righty or a lefty depending on who’s batting. Since he uses both arms he can go for longer stretches because neither arm ever gets particularly tired. Due to his versatility Venditte has been the focus of some interest from MLB scouts, but he is leaning towards going back to school for his senior season before declaring for the draft.

We all know Wedge is a fan of platoons — I am too — and so I wonder what he’d think of the first-ever one-man platooning pitcher.

Posted in flotsam and Jetsam | 1 Comment »

Thoughts on Oden

Posted by disappointmentzone on 3 April 2007

There are a number of reasons why Gred Oden should forgo college to enter the NBA draft. The best reason is that staying in college, while not retarding his game, will certainly not provide him with the competition and challenges that the NBA will. If avoiding foul trouble while guarding players half his size is a marketable NBA skill (it isn’t) then there is an argument to be made that Oden could actually expand his skills while in college. But Monday’s game proved that there is no one in college who can challenge Oden in the way NBA player can challenge Oden. Florida threw three future NBA big men at Oden and all Oden did was dominate them like they were JV lackeys. If Oden stays in college at best he’ll be treading water.

By far the most popular rationale for Oden entering the NBA draft is that he’ll likely be the #1 pick. I don’t know how to put this any more clearly but: Where Oden is projected in the NBA draft should not influence his decision to stay in college.

Look, the only way Oden would ever slip out of the top three is if he injured himself severely. He’s insured while in college for $10 million, so there is some coverage for Oden should he stay and get hurt. But he could just as easily injure himself in the NBA — and is probably more likely to do serious damage in the NBA — and his rookie contract is not going to be for much more than $10 million — probably around $13 million, should he get hurt in his first three seasons.

Unlike in the NFL — where the rookie contract salary is not set by the league; where your first contract might be the biggest contract a player will sign; where a top pick can get over $25 million guaranteed — when you play in the NBA you are playing for your free agency contract. Unless Oden’s family is totally lacking money and he feels obligated to enter the NBA so that he can support his family, the money shouldn’t be that big of an issue, nor should where he’s being projected to go in the draft order.

The NBA isn’t the NFL. Being the #1 pick in the NBA draft isn’t even close to being productive in your first few NBA seasons, and Oden’s earning potential is not going to be dictated by where he goes in the draft. Being the likely #1 pick is more pomp and circumstance than substance.

Posted in flotsam and Jetsam, Ohio State Buckeyes | 5 Comments »