Principal Clown

Mar 19th, 2011 | Posted by | Filed under Mike Brownlee
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So the other day I did a story about Jeff Privia, principal at Underwood Elementary School, dressing up as a clown because his students met their Jump Rope for Heart fundraising goal.*

*Remember Jump Rope for Heart? I didn’t know it was still around until I did this story. Good to hear. Wish the Council Bluffs schools would start doing it again. Always a lot of fun.

Anway, I immediately starting thinking about the situation/story as “Principal Clown.” Which made me think of President Clown, from this The Simpsons quote from the Kamp Krusty espiode:

Krusty: “I’m no fake! I’m the real Krusty!”
Lisa: “Oh, yeah!? Who played your daughter in the short-lived sitcom President Clown?”
Krusty: “I don’t know her name, but she held up a liquor store last year.”

In case you were wondering what Simpsons quote popped into my head while writing the story.

Babe Ruth

Mar 16th, 2011 | Posted by | Filed under Mike Brownlee
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So I’m a nerd who occasionally (and with more frequency lately) just pulls up player pages at Baseball-Reference.com to revel at stats. I’ve already subjected you to one of these types of posts on tax evader, adulterer, cheater and insane OBP-er Barry Bonds.

The other day I looked up Babe Ruth and here’s a few fun facts you probably hadn’t thought of in a while or don’t know:

Babe Ruth led the league in homeruns in 1918 with a magical 11 bombs for the Red Sox.

His OPS+ the next year was 219, beginning a stretch where he OPS+ed 200 or higher in 11 of 14 years.
Though not a perfect stat, OPS+ is a fairly accurate comparison of a player’s individual worth compared to others who played the game at the same time.
I guess we already inherently knew that Ruth was a full 100-percent better than anybody in the game during his era, but seeing it in numbers is just astounding.

In 1923 Ruth won the American League MVP award after posting a .393/.545(!)/.764 line, with 41 home runs, a 238 OPS+, 131 RBI and 151 runs. His Wins Above Replacement* (Baseball-Reference version) that year was 14.7, which is insane (for a little reference, Barry Bonds’ best from his totally-clean 2000-2004 run was 12.5).

*And to be clear, WAR, nor OPS+ nor any of the advanced stats were anywhere near being a stat during Ruth’s era.

The funny thing is Ruth never won another MVP. At first I just sat there, my mind boggled. Then I noticed that until 1930, previous winners were ineligible for the award. Socialists.

He had strong a case in 1931.
That year The Babe put up .373/.495(league leading)/.700(league leading), with 46 home runs, 163 RBI and 149 runs (league-best 11.4 WAR). He finished fifth in the AL MVP voting*, behind, most egregiously, Earl Averill (.333/.404/.579 with 32 HR in almost 100 more at-bats).

*Lefty Grove won that year with a 2.06 ERA and ridiculous 1.077 WHIP in 288 2/3 innings pitched, good for an ERA+ of 220. He had a 31-4 record (pitcher W-L means little, if anything, when evaulating how good a pitcher is. But it did mean a bit more back then because there were far more complete games).

The next year he had a great season, but was definitely outdone by Jimmie Fox. From there he was good and then sputtered at the end, eventually being played by John Goodman in a movie I remember enjoying as a kid.

That’s all I got.

To sum up this post: Babe Ruth was good at baseball.

Taco Tuesday*

Mar 15th, 2011 | Posted by | Filed under Mike Brownlee
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*This post has nothing to do with tacos.

Some quick linkage, to be followed by a “I’m a nerd” post later in the day.*

*Tomorrow.

Just in case you missed it elsewhere on NonpareilOnline, check out Evan Bland’s piece on the Council Bluffs-Omaha roots of the Nebraska-Iowa football rivalry. A great job of reporting and research by my colleague and fantasy sports combatant.

Lincoln native, Nebraska standout and – to this point – major league baseball bust Alex Gordon is hitting the ball well lately and hopes to finally make good on the promise of his college and minor league career. Nice piece in the Kansas City Star on Gordon.
Gordon started spring slow but even then was drawing walks, something he’s been okay at during his time in the bigs. If he can OBP around .350-360 this year, I don’t care what his average is, as long as he’s showing some power when he does hit the ball.
I do wish the Royals possesed a time machine to go back and draft Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun or Troy Tulowitski in that 2005 draft. And while they’re at it, go back and kill Hitler in the 1920s.

Joe Posnanski explains some of the sabermetric stats in this post, in an easy to read, fun way (Poz is the man; have I mentioned that before?). Definitely worth reading.

You know what I haven’t checked out lately? McSweeneys. I’m going there right now.

Couple decent ones on there. Here and here.

Piece of Mind: Initial thoughts on UNO

Mar 12th, 2011 | Posted by | Filed under Tony Boone
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Wow! Just wow! I expected something to go down at UNO, but I never expected it to drop the two sports that have the most tradition. Unbelievable. I’ll have more thoughts on this after I let it sink in, but this news was shocking. I was imagining football at TDAmeritrade Park this past week. Couldn’t have been more off with that one.

Feeling so bad for coaches Pat Behrns and Mike Denney, a couple of great coaches who are even better guys.

Piece of Mind: Lockout? How ‘ bout knockout!

Mar 12th, 2011 | Posted by | Filed under Tony Boone
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Thanks to the back-and-forth mudslinging going on with the NFL, we can finally see Ravens safety Tommy Zbikowski do what he was born to do … knock dudes out. Sure, he fought a nobody (Richard Bryant) Saturday on the undercard of the crappy Cotto-Mayorga PPV event. But the guy can crack. Hope he sticks this out for a while.

Until he loses (or continues to not fight), Floyd Mayweather has the No. 1 spot on my boxing pound-for-pound list by a slim margin over Manny Pacquiao. But, wow, is Sergio Martinez closing on them quickly. The middleweight king looked sensational again tonight in a TKO win over previously unbeaten junior middleweight champ Sergiy Dzinzurik. Love to see great fighters fight great, something Mayweather rarely does. Co-main event between Andy Lee and Craig McEwen was awesome too. Nice of HBO to step to the plate and give us a quality show for a change.