Dennis Lawson

I’m absolutely fascinated by the physics of baseball.  Talk about spin rate, multi-axis movement, and moment-of-inertia, and I’m here for it.  I’m equally fascinated by how easily the physics of baseball can become distorted or misrepresented by people who don’t actually understand much about them.   The Statcast era provides ample data for both intelligent discourse and not-so-intelligent discussion.  Too bad most broadcasters excel only at the latter.

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When the Cardinals aren’t clearly the best team in baseball, the BFiB quickly regress into a petulant child resolutely demanding the return of a favorite toy they’ve accidentally tossed through a second story window.  Much like that child can only focus on the assured destruction of that toy due to the incomprehensibility of object constancy, the BFiB hive mind narrows the possibilities with predictable haste.  The only solutions are to trade for a superstar, promote a small sample size All-Star from the minors, or designate someone (anyone) for assignment.

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Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to find a meaningful baseball statistic related to team performance that indicates the Cardinals aren’t doomed to mediocrity this season.  You may have to ignore small sample size issues and suspend disbelief to do this. We’re talking about data mining a mountain of data with a spork here, so good luck with that.

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When someone gets traded for a bucket of baseballs and proceeds to blow up bigger than Cee-Lo Green on The Voice, it raises a few eyebrows.  With no consideration for circumstance, it’s hard to blame the Cardinals for handing Matt Adams to the Braves for a player whose name probably escapes you.  But after you consider the sequence of events, it may be really hard NOT to blame the Cardinals for the long game domino effect that got them to this point.

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Mo:  “Mike?  It’s Mo.  Saw that Volquez no-hitter the other night.  Looked like a good time.  We haven’t had one of those since Bud Smith.  Haven’t even seen one recently.  The stat nerds tell me the last one against us was some pudgy guy for the Dodgers back in 1990.  Heck, I didn’t even know Lasorda was a pitcher!”

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Dex In A Box

When the Cardinals signed Dexter Fowler to 5 year / $82.5M deal, he was presented as a lasting solution to a myriad of deficiencies.  In theory, he checked several boxes for a team that needed a CF, a lead-off man, and a big name free agent signing to silence the Ballpark Village People clamoring for upgrades.  Thus far, he’s failed to perform up to expectations, and I’m beginning to wonder if those expectations were misaligned from the start.

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I Blame Brett Cecil

I blame Brett Cecil for pretty much everything now.  Stub my toe?  Blame Cecil.  Accidentally trip the house alarm?  Stupid reliever.  Diaz strikes out?  It’s somehow Cecil’s fault.  Yet another long Tim McCarver tale about Tim McCarver?  Yeah, that’s Cecil too.  The bullpen seems to be in shambles, and Cecil deserves no less than 104% of the blame.

Cecil is the face of a Cardinal bullpen that owns a record of 5-10 record (blame Cecil), and that tidbit does not get nearly the same attention as the underwhelming offense, atrocious baserunning, or subpar defensive play.  It should.  Better relief work could cover up a multitude of sins.  Push just 3 of those 15 decisions to the other side of the ledger, and we’re talking about an 8-7 bullpen record and a 29-24 overall record.  That’s good enough to lead a rather sad looking NL Central division even with Cecil.

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Sierra Has Peaked

Like most of you, I’m absolutely enamored with watching Magneuris Sierra do pretty much anything on a baseball field.  He’s dynamic, exciting and possibly the only player on the team faster than Mike Leake.  He represents the future of Cardinals baseball.  That’s why he’s nearly out of time.

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Actual Bridge Disaster

If you’ve paid attention to John Mozeliak for any length of time, you’ve heard him say this line in one form or another.  It’s his fallback answer for questions about anything from anticipated roster moves to how he decides which argyle socks to wear with a certain bow tie on a given night.  He’ll change up the wording a bit and maybe throw in an occasional variation, but his message remains the same.

Don’t spend too much time focusing on a bridge that you may not have to cross.

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I’m offended that you are taking offense to something that fails to offend me as much as it offends you.  Or something.

With a seemingly innocuous social media reminder regarding one of approximately 471 promotions at Busch Stadium this year, the Cardinals managed to author a tweet that launched a thousand negative reactions.  Running the gamut from predictably insensitive to “meh” to unparalleled outrage, those reactions provide a reminder that social media users enjoy getting offended and angry (while others enjoy poking fun at the offended and angry).

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Brain Versus Braun

Every single time Ryan Braun plays in St. Louis, he’s met with boos.  Loud ones.  Energetic ones with a viciousness powered by raw dislike bordering on hatred.  You can practically smell the loathing through the KMOX audio feed.  The former NL #MVPee gets similar treatment in other stadiums as well, but the Best Fans in Baseball seem to have a special place in their…..*hearts for Braun.

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In the movement to heap more and more raw data on fans, the undeniably ubiquitous Statcast represents the omnipresent data shovel.  Every piece of action on the field becomes translated into data which then spawns its own metadata which is really just data about data.  Life in this new quantifiable hardball reality requires some adjustments – both in how we view the game and how we choose to utilize/ignore the fancy new tools we have at our collective disposal.

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