Monday, August 27, 2012

Go and read about the results of this very important study right now!


We interrupt your regularly scheduled lack of programming to bring you this breaking news bulletin:

Friends of the site Seth Amitin and Adam Felder recently completed their study of racial bias among baseball commentators. The results were posted in an article for The AtlanticAlthough, if you are reading this right now you have most likely already seen the article, as the authors were kind enough to link back to this (regrettably) long-dormant web log.

It's a really nice piece of research and a concise, engaging summary of the all-too-predictable results. (And I don't just say that as one of the project's financiers). Go read it for yourself!

Anyways, below please find a picture of Jon Heyman's face to tide you over until the next time I decide to post something here.

Read the Scorekeeping report at theatlantic.com!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jon Heyman doing work



Friend of the site Jon Heyman has spent his Saturday doing some hardcore investigative journalism. Because, you know, those darn Latinos in baseball...you just can't believe a thing they say, especially when it comes to their DOBs.

In all seriousness, Heyman's distrust of Pujols is utterly bizarre, and this seemingly monomaniacal pursuit of "the truth" about Pujols--especially now that Pujols has signed his $255 million megadeal--represents nothing more than a lame attempt to drag Pujols's good name through the mud. Combined with the other evidence we have of Heyman's "racial issues" (linked above), it also suggests that he harbors at least the seeds of the sort of paranoid xenophobia that comprised the ideological underpinnings of the "Obama Birther Movement."

I have no way of knowing this for sure, of course, but my gut tells me that Jon Heyman would have preferred baseball before 1947.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cam Newton, the QB Position, and the Racialization of Expectations


Black Quarterback Judas
KC Joyner has an article up at ESPN.com (it's Insider only, so you'll have to pay or find someone who has paid if you want to see it) that compares the passing stats of rookie quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. Using an array of unconventional passing metrics, Joyner makes a convincing, objective case that Dalton has been a better passer than Newton this season. Joyner shows that on all passing routes 11 yards or deeper, Dalton has bested Newton in yards per attempt. He also shows that Dalton has made fewer bad decisions with the ball that have led to turnovers or near turnovers.

Again, the conclusion a reasonable reader can draw from the data Joyner has provided is that Dalton has been a better passer than Newton this year. It's not a particularly controversial conclusion given what we knew about each of these rookies coming out of college. Here's what Newton's NFL.com draft card noted under "weaknesses":
Not proficient at going through his progressions or making NFL reads. Doesn't anticipate receivers getting open, must see them in a window. Inconsistent accuracy due to poor footwork and falling away to avoid a big hit. Despite athleticism, needs to improve his drop mechanics and the finer points of pocket mobility.
And likewise, here's what Dalton's NFL.com draft card noted under "strengths":
Dalton is a well prepared player that scans the whole field and makes solid decisions. Has a quick release, a strong arm and is an accurate passer, especially on the run.
Knowing this, it's hardly surprising that Dalton would have better early results as a pure passer.

Except the conclusion that Joyner reaches is quite different than the one supported by his evidence and thus, is significantly more controversial. The article is called "Andy Dalton is NFL's top rookie," and Joyner fancies himself to be cutting against "the hype" in making this claim:
[Newton] is on pace to throw for more yards than any other rookie quarterback in NFL history and has a good shot at breaking the season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.

Those numbers are certainly prolific, but if one desires quality over quantity, Newton should not be considered the front-runner for this award.

That honor would go to Andy Dalton, as a detailed tape review and metric analysis indicate Dalton's numbers are better than Newton's in a variety of ways.
He then goes on to make his case that Dalton has been a better passer than Newton.

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Michael Vick and the discourse of race and poverty


Michael Vick might be the householdiest name in the NFL. Which is to say: because of his conviction on dogfighting and cruelty to animals charges four years ago and his subsequent incarceration, any given dinner table discussion of Michael Vick could most likely be reduced to the elemental question of "would Michael Vick be welcomed into this household?" Even two years after his release from prison, Vick remains an extremely polarizing figure in the sports world.

It is probably obvious to most that Michael Vick is black. So, naturally, race plays a role in the way he is perceived, and many have no doubt wondered how things would be different if Michael Vick was white. It's a question that "esteemed cultural critic" and mononymous person, Touré, claims to hate but nevertheless ponders in depth in a recent ESPN The Magazine article. Titled "What if Michael Vick were white?" (against the author's will, apparently) the article is accompanied by a literally absurd and absurdly literal photoshopped image of a white-skinned Michael Vick.


The headline and image have generated a lot of controversy and have been the subject of ridicule since the article's publication. ESPN, for its part, has defended the use of the Chappelleian whiteface version of Vick, stating:
We firmly stand by our representation of the story and the photo-illustration, which has since been re-posted and appreciate and encourage the discussion it has prompted.
But the discussion it has prompted, or, rather, the one it hasn't is precisely the problem.

After the article went live, Touré took to twitter to publicly distance himself from ESPN's choice of a title and art for the piece. "I asked them not to call it What If Vick Were White but they did," he said. "ESPN the mag titled it & added art without me (normal procedure). Judge me on the story not the art," he tweeted later. But Touré should be utterly relieved that ESPN's editors chose such a jarring photo and title to sit atop the piece--they serve to channel discussion away from the content of the article, which as it turns out is deeply problematic.

This is why when he tweeted "My essay on Vick is nowhere near as inflammatory as the pic of him in whiteface which contradicts me saying you can't imagine him as white," he couldn't have been more wrong.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hey everyone! Go help fund some very important research.


Hunter Pence "plays the game the Right Way" and you should too
We interrupt your lack of regularly scheduled programming for a brief message:

If you enjoy reading this blog, then boy have I got something exciting for you!

Our friends over at Dingers Blog are hoping to embark on a serious research project that tracks racist shit in baseball. Here's the gist:
This project was dedicated to taking any instances in which a black, white, latino or asian player was belittled or praised for hustle, or lack thereof, or any other instances that may have a mildly racist connotation.

In previous years, we've kept track in two different ways: the major incidents and the minor incidents. The major incidents are incidents that are without a doubt in clear view--when a manager or teammate calls out a player for anything mildly racist. The minor incidents are any incident in which a sports columnist, blogger, player, manager, coach, farm hand, broadcaster, groundskeeper, anonymous fan or sentient television says something with racist undertones.

However fun this was to do, it was completely unscientific. In the middle of our second year, I was approached by a grad student named Adam who wanted to help in order to make it more scientific. He came up with a full list of data requirements and lit review and now that we have this going for us, we need 30 people to watch 30 broadcasts for a month.
Now, the thing is that they need money in order to pay their researchers to complete this project. So that's where you come in. You can go over to the site liked above and donate as much or as little as you please. Again, if you enjoy reading this site, you should already feel invested in the results of their study, so now go and actually invest in their study! 

Finally, after more than a month of inactivity I am hoping to have some new content up on this site soon. I am deeply sorry for my absence, but other obligations called. But alas, the world keeps turning and people keep saying racist shit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google Images Search for "Cleveland Indians Racist"


I came across this hat today (which is a real thing and caused a bit of controversy a few years ago, because, I mean, just look at it). This prompted me to run a quick Google images search for "Cleveland Indians Racist." Below is some of the best stuff I found.


I'd totally wear the New York Jews hat.





You get my point?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why We Hate LeBron (according to one guy)


Not a citizen

I think LeBron James is a schmuck. He will undoubtedly retire as one of the greatest players of his generation--probably one of the best players ever. I have no qualms with that, because it is an objective fact that he is able to do things on the court that few others can.

But for many (including me) it is hard to overlook his narcissistic prickishness. Simply put, taking an hour of national airtime to inform your former team and the entire city of Cleveland that you are "taking your talents to South Beach" is a huge dick move. So now a lot of people hate LeBron James. This is old news.

To the most lispingist man on Around the Horn, Bill Plaschke, however, it's much more complex than that. Plaschke speculates that maybe we don't like the Heat because we can't tell LeBron apart from Dred Scott*:
I know where it starts, of course. We all know where it starts. It starts, and possibly ends, with Dirk Nowitzki versus LeBron James.

Even though he hails from Germany, the Mavericks star Nowitzki is viewed as an all-American player. Humble, deferential, shaggy hair, floppy walk — he's Jimmy Chitwood with an accent.

Even thought he hails from middle America, the Heat star James is viewed as a foreigner. Dark stare, hulking frame, intimidating swagger — he's Ivan Drago with a headband.
I know that Plaschke is actually attempting to critique this view, but the ease with which the words appear to roll off his fingers is chill-inducing. Later in the article, he backs away from this characterization.
Not a citizen either
Far be it from me to actually defend people against the charge of racial bias, but Plaschke is just wrong on this one. People hate LeBron because he's a nonpareil douchebag. LeBron is such a douchebag that douchebags insult each other by calling each other LeBron. This is a point he raises (in so many words) later in the article, but also backs away from.

Really, Plaschke's article is an example of a terrible piece of sportswriting more than anything else. It is terrible in the way sportswriting is typically terrible: offer a theory for a phenomenon you are attempting to understand, dismiss your own theory; offer another theory for the phenomenon, dismiss your own theory again; offer another theory for the phenomenon, dismiss the theory again; conclude with a wishy-washy statement that doesn't actually bring the reader any closer to understanding the phenomenon you set out to dissect in the first place. Read the article, you'll see what I mean.

It's like post-modernism without the highfalutin twaddle.
_____

*It is perhaps worth noting that both James and Scott have famous "decisions" associated with them. 

See also: Bill Plaschke tries Bill Simmons on for size