Let me give you and update of an unusual stat that I mentioned recently. As of this morning, the Oakland A’s have the worst record in the AL at 55-72. Notwithstanding that record, the A’s have outscored their opponents this year by 16 runs. To give you an idea how strange that is, let me give you the run differential totals for teams with comparable records to the A’s:
Tigers– – 59-66 minus 53
Mariners– – 58-68 minus 97
Red Sox– – 57-69 minus 44
A’s – – 55-72 plus 16
Braves – – 54-72 minus 106
Marlins – – 51-75 minus 55
Phillies– – 50-76 minus 155
You get the idea…
Since the A’s are the poster children for using statistics to their advantage, what did the A’s do to address this statistical oddity? They fired their third-base coach. That is correct; Mike Gallego is out looking for work. If it is clear to you how the third base coach might be responsible for that monumental underachievement by the A’s, I would like to hear the explanation.
It is not often that a pro sports league and the union representing the players in that league team up to do something right in the middle of an extant CBA. However, MLB and the MLBPA got it right recently announcing that they have come to an agreement on a domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. Here is the essence of the story from a report at CBSsports.com:
“For the first time since collective bargaining began, the commissioner of Major League Baseball will be empowered to discipline individual players for acts of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Along with the announcement of the establishment of a joint committee that will be tasked with evaluating and (if necessary) supervising the treatment of a player, commissioner Rob Manfred will be given power to punish the player as he sees fit. No maximums, no minimums. And that’s regardless if the player is convicted or enters a guilty plea in a legal case.
“Intervention, treatment and confidentiality provisions also are written into the agreement, which was announced jointly by the commissioner’s office and the players union.”
This is a positive step for baseball. If you want to read the entire report and see the scope of the new agreement, here is a link.
Recently, Brad Dickson had this comment in the Omaha World-Herald:
“A team at the softball Little League World Series supposedly threw a game. If this is true, what hope is there of the Tour de France being clean?
The team in question tanked the game because the tournament structure was such that by losing the team could eliminate a more competent opponent from the next phase of the tournament. That is pretty cheesy behavior by the adults in charge to be sure and plenty of scorn was heaped upon those folks. However, all of that score and opprobrium for these coaches begs a question:
NBA teams tank entire seasons – and in the case of the 76ers tank sequential seasons – and there is no scorn or shame. The players try to win but the front office – the adults in charge – make it such that they cannot win.
In the Little League softball tournament, the team was punished for this behavior. The NBA does not punish its teams for such behaviors.
So, the next time you hear about an NBA team tanking a season, remember the Little League softball example. There needs to be more shame allotted to the tanking team(s) and the league needs to find ways to make sure it is not advantageous for teams to behave that way.
A recent report said that the Lakers are considering signing Metta World Peace to a 1-year contract. One of the driving forces behind that consideration is that Peace might be a good mentor for the development of rookie Julius Randle. Peace has been out of the NBA since the 2013/14 season when he was waived by the Knicks. Last season, he played in Italy and in China. During his time in China, there were reports that he contemplated changing his name again to The Pandas Friend.
The Lakers are going nowhere next year even with the return of Kobe Bryant and the addition of Randle (their first round pick from 2014) and the addition of D’Angelo Russell as this year’s first round pick. Adding Metta World Peace or not adding him is not going to change the destination for the Lakers next year which is another trip to the Draft Lottery. Frankly, I would probably ignore this report as just a wild rumor that someone put in a story just to take up web-space except for the fact that the report came from Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports and his NBA reporting is usually much more factual than fictional.
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Dominique Perron, president of the French Bullfighting Association, got his leg broken when a bull leapt out of the ring and attacked him last Sunday, EuroWeeklyNews.com reported.
“Suggested new nickname: President Gore.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………