At FanGraphs, the incomparable Dave Cameron lists how he pronounces various statistical categories. This sounds profoundly stupid to an outsider, I’m sure, but when the bulk of your statistical conversation is nonverbal, the first time you’re confronted with talking about a stat can create an awkward moment.
Does WAR rhyme with “star,” or is it pronounced like the second word in “World War II?” Or do you just say Wins Above Replacement? Here’s how I do things:
FIP – rhymes with dip, which is fitting in the baseball world.
wOBA – It’s much easier to say “whoa buh” than it is to say “W-O-B-A” or “weighted on base average.”
SLG – “Salt and slug, salt and slug, one’s sodium chloride, the other’s a bug!” I also say “slugging” sometimes.
BABIP – Joe Posnanski once described this as rhyming with “crab dip.”
WHIP – Just the way it looks.
WAR – To me, it rhymes with “star,” but I understand if people pronounce it like “War! HUH! Good god, y’all.”
Acronyms I spell:
E-R-A – Does anyone say this like the word “Era?” I’ve never heard it that way. I could though, since I’ve used Era laundry detergent for as long as I can remember. Good stuff.
O-B-P – This could also go in the next category – the full names. I alternate between “O-B-P” and the full “on base percentage is a better indicator of talent than batting average, sucka!”
O-P-S – I’ve heard some older TV announcers comically bumble through a conversation about “ops.” They were talking about OPS, but pronounced it like it was short for “operations.” It was awkward.
U-Z-R – This one also switches between the spelled-out acronym and the full name. Just depends on the audience.
I use the full name for these:
ISO – Isolated power.
LOB% – Left on base.
OBP and UZR – as mentioned above, fall into this category and the acronym one.
What do you say? Also, do you find yourself reading a ton about a particular prospect, and then realize when you’re talking to someone out loud*, that you have no idea how to pronounce the player’s name? This happens to me all the time.
*or even on the radio, NOT THAT I HAVE EVER DONE SOMETHING THAT STUPID.
[Ed. note: Non-Royals fans can skip this. My Royals blog has no home at the moment - the old URL no longer exists because MVN shut down, and my new home at RealClearSports hasn't been set up yet. It's supposed to be up soon, though.]
Two fine Royals people wrote things today(ish) that must be read by lots of people.
1) Do you want to know how the pointless Scott Podsednik signing figures into the grand scheme of things? Matt Klaasen (nee devil_fingers) continues his streak of frighteningly right-on posts at FanGraphs. “Trust the Contest” is the new “Trust the Process.” It’s a contest for the title of the worst GM, and Moore is winning!
2) Lee Warren talked to the author of “The Road to Omaha: Hits, Hopes, and History at the College World Series.” If you live in Omaha or have ever visited to take in games at Rosenblatt Stadium, go read this Q&A. I grew up in a tiny town, and Omaha seemed like The Big City. But when I moved there on a whim in 2007, I fell in love with the city in a big way. Now, when people ask where I’m from, I usually answer with “Omaha.”
So when I read the things Ryan McGee – not an Omahan – said about my fair city, it felt like a slice of my three blissful summers there. He talked about the tailgating, and compared the atmosphere to that of tailgating at a bowl game. Anyway, the whole post is a tremendous read.
There’s not a square foot in that ballpark where you can’t stand or sit or walk where a great story didn’t take place. -Ryan McGee
Yeah. What he said.
Is it baseball season yet?
Chen said Li’s neurosurgeon was perfect for the job since he had extensive experience with surgeries involving chopsticks lodged in eyes, foreheads and necks.
Extensive experience? I don’t even want to know…
(I’m sorry. This post has absolutely nothing to do with sports.)
(or, “with which I strongly agree,” if you want to be That Guy about it. But please don’t.)
In a much longer post about Tim Raines, Jonah Keri shares his love for the details that players share – on those rare and wonderful occasions that such details are actually shared:
Love, love, love when players go into some detail about how they do what they do. If we’re going to put ex-athletes behind the mic to do color commentary, or in the studio for a talking heads show, this is the stuff I want to hear. Fine details about a hitter’s ability to keep his head steady; in-depth breakdowns of a pitcher’s mechanics; second-by-second accounts of basestealing technique. Spare me your thoughts on MVP worthiness or anything to do with stats, ex-jocks. I can get that from any number of great writers, or even a learned play-by-play man like Boog Sciambi. Tell us what all those years of training and playing taught you.
Exactly. Occasionally, guests on various MLB Network shows do this in Studio 42. Tim Lincecum talked about his mechanics. Rickey Henderson talked about – what else? – base stealing. Stuff like that should be the primary reason most athletes or ex-athletes should be on TV or the radio. Give us something we as writers or fans don’t know, because we didn’t play at a high level.
Any old blowhard (like me!) can talk about why Player A should be in the Hall of Fame, or why Player B was a stupid choice for MVP, or whatever. But only players can share the details that makes their performance stand above the thousands around them who didn’t make it to the Majors.
Sure, some jocks or former jocks have a knack for writing or broadcasting, but most don’t. Those who don’t can still add value to the media, but only by giving insight that isn’t readily available to fans. Sadly, those guys actually got jobs calling games or showing highlights, and they suck at that.
Forgive me if I take a slightly contrarian track here, but I can’t wait for the Hall of Fame announcement tomorrow. All the spirited & intelligent exchanges are appreciated, but there comes a time where the battle of good versus evil, the “us versus them” and “right versus wrong” chorus grows stale.
Thank you, Drew Fairservice. May I send you a fruit basket to express my gratitude?
Tags: Agreeing with Whitlock this much is scary, antiquated notions, Gilbert Arenas, Gilbert Arenas gun, put that pedestal AWAY young lady!, sportswriting
I’ve never agreed with every single word of a Jason Whitlock column before. I’m pretty sure that, at those sad times when he has attempted to dissect baseball, I’ve disagreed with every word. I do think his football columns are quite good, but I can still disagree with him even in his best football work.
But this column is perfect. The nail could not have been hit more squarely on the head, no matter how hard any writer tried. I can’t decide what quote to highlight, so I strongly recommend reading all of it. Many (most?) pro athletes* are indeed pretty rotten human beings.
We let them get that way – once they figure out they’re awesome at a sport, all they have to do is play that sport well and everything else works itself out. Girls flock to them even if they’re jerks. People hang on their every word, even if they have nothing to say. I’m guilty of it myself – the hanging-on-words part, not the flocking-to-athletes part. Just look at the people I follow on Twitter. Lots of jerseys there.
*to my athlete friends – I’m sorry! You know I don’t mean you! But you also know you can think of a few teammates whom my description fits to a T, right?
This shouldn’t be news, yet lots of people still cling to this idea that athletes belong on pedestals. It’s absurd, but I think it won’t take much longer to change. Is it always right for blogs and gossip rags to air out athletes’ dirty laundry? Nah. But at least the public can see that it’s really not OK for little Timmy to worship Tiger Woods or Derek Jeter or really anyone who is paid for sport. Emulate them as athletes, sure – I always reminded myself of some of Tiger’s philosophy when hitting endless range balls in high school – but look somewhere else for heroes, please.
Here is another link to Whitlock’s column, in case the first two weren’t enough.
So here we are in a new year, and in a new home. Thanks for reading in 2009, whether you’ve been reading all along or you just joined my (meager) readership recently. Here’s what happened at Getting to First Base in 2009…
I mused about the Rocky Mountain News’ closing – and shared the Reader’s Digest version of a school paper I wrote about the evolution of sports blogs – all in one post. That was quite the post. Later, I saw an incredible hockey game, from right behind the home team’s bench. My gallery of ridiculous Spring Training photos got linked by Deadspin.
I shared why I really don’t want to be a baseball wife anymore, got linked on Deadspin again with a story about Royals catcher and Cuban defector Brayan Pena, and mused about autographs and the people who seek them.
I giggled at April Fools Day shenanigans, hated my life after the Royals lost on Opening Day, and was hit surprisingly hard by Nick Adenhart’s death. (Public service reminder: Don’t drink and drive!)
I went to a thrilling, instant-classic Royals game (and shared some photos from it the next day), made up some new Wonderlic* questions, and shared my Baseball Prospectus Idol entry. Then I got mugged and rescued by my brother! Whew, what a month!
This was my favorite month in the history of the blog, mostly thanks to the MLB draft. On Draft Day, I made some decent predictions, tracked and analyzed the first 20 picks (part 1, part 2), and interviewed 2008 Royals draftee Tyler Sample about his own Draft experience and how potential picks should handle the experience.
Meanwhile, the College World Series teams got commemorated with galleries of sad players after each elimination.
That month, I also went to the game where Gil Meche’s arm died. It was fun at the time, though, and I had some amazing seats thanks to my favorite KC radio host!
I gave Juan Uribe an award for botching a perfect game (and later listened to an actual perfect game), felt awful for poor Erin Andrews, and made up a Baseball-Reference drinking game with my brothers.
Joe Posnanski got his well-deserved position at Sports Illustrated, so I shared how he changed my life. (Later that month, I got to hang out with him for a bit in Omaha. Pure bliss.) Later, I was greatly moved by a tour of Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, and strongly disagreed with a stupid Royals TV commercial.
My name was in Posnanski’s book! AAAAHHHH! Here’s what Poz meant when he said I “almost” tracked down George Clooney for an interview. That weekend, I was heartbroken by Bo Pelini’s decisionmaking against Virginia Tech. With the start of the NFL season, I launched the Chiefs Fan Experiment series. The Huskers sold out their 300th consecutive home game, and I boasted.
Nebraska beat Missouri! The Chiefs won a game! I picked on Buzz Bissinger’s lack of understanding of sample sizes, then compiled some great #oneletterofffamousquotes ideas. And then I put Fievel’s hat on his twin, Jorge Posada.
Barry Bonds was intentionally walked more in 2004 than almost everyone in baseball was in the entire decade. The Heisman voters are dumb and I don’t respect them. Here’s some awesome photos from a hockey game; here’s the opening shot in my battle against unfair MiLB wages, and a Venn diagram about marching bands.
Thanks again for your support in the last year. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!