Monday, June 21, 2010

Florida Marlins and Pure Evil

As a Cubs fan I've always known that the Florida Marlins sold their soul to take away the 2003 NL Pennant from the Cubs. Now the devil has come to collect.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Does the US Need to Beat Slovenia?

Everyone is talking about the US game as a must-win game for the Americans. While a loss would just about finish the US, and a win would put the US in very good position, a tie would certainly keep the US in good position to still advance.

Here are the possible scenarios:

Versus Slovenia Versus Algeria Points Advancement?

Decisive outcomes:

L, L: 1 No advancement

T, L: 2 No advancement

W, W: 7 Advancement

W, T: 5 Advancement


Likely not advancing:

L, T: 2 Only way to advance would be for England to tie Algeria and lose to Slovenia. Then Algeria, US and England all tie at 2 points and the US could advance on the tie-breaker.

T, T: 3 Would need England to tie Algeria and either i) England to lose to Slovenia or ii) England to tie Slovenia and the US to win tie-breaker on goals.

L, W: 4 Would need England to either to fail to win both games or England to win one and lose the other and advance on tie-breaker.

All of the above seem highly unlikely and would see the US advance along with Slovenia instead of England. Nobody in the world, except the most neurotic, pessimistic Englishman, would expect England to finish up their final two games with a tie and a loss.


Probably advancing:

T, W: 5 The only way the US would not advance would be if England beats Algeria and ties Slovenia and the US loses the tie-breaker to both England and Slovenia.

W, L: 4 If England wins its final two games, this would be exactly the same outcome as the US had in the 2002 World Cup, backing into advancing. Actually the scenarios where the US fails to advance are pretty numerous, i) Algeria and Slovenia beat England, ii) Algeria beats England, England beats Slovenia and beats US on tie-breaker, iii) Algeria-England tie, England and Slovenia don't tie, Algeria beats US on tie-breaker, iv) Algeria-England tie, Slovenia-England tie, US loses tie-breaker to Algeria and Slovenia, v) England beats Algeria, loses to Slovenia, US loses tie-breaker to England, vi) England beats Algeria, ties Slovenia, US loses tie-breaker to Slovenia. However, the US can still advance in most of these scenarios if they can keep their tie-breaker numbers high (lots of goals, win by a lot).

Therefore the US will be in good position to advance if it:

1) Does not lose to Slovenia

2) Wins one game

So therefore a tie against Slovenia is not the end of the world, though it does put a little more pressure on the last game which the US will have to win.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Territorial Rights and New Arenas: The Case of the Phoenix Coyotes

Brad Humphreys at the IJSF blog has written extensively on the reluctance of the NHL to allow the Phoenix Coyotes to move to Southern Ontario. See here, here and here, though there are obviously many more as the last one listed is Part X. The resistance to the move is motivated by protecting the territorial rights of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.

However, I believe there is a pretty strong secondary motive to the reluctance to a move: the relatively new arena that the Coyotes play in Glendale. Glendale built an arena for the Coyotes in 2003. The arena is only for hockey, as the Phoenix Suns play in US Airways arena (formerly American West Arena; that name change cost me a point in a recent trivia contest). While some teams certainly care about some future team invading their territorial rights, they are all interested in eventually having an arena built for the team by the local municipalities. I do not think Nashville has to worry about another hockey team moving to their city, but they will probably want the city to build them a new arena at some point.

If the Coyotes move out of Arizona, the next time a team threatens to move unless they get a new arena, opponents will have a pretty convincing retort:

Team: "Build us a new arena or we will move to Albuquerque."

Opponents of new arena: "Well, if we build the arena, we will spend $300 million, then the team will play there for five years and then move to Canada. Look at what happened to Glendale."

Team: ?

One way to test this theory is to see if the league would restrict the team from moving to a location without a problem with territorial rights such as Houston, Kansas City or Winnipeg. Of course none of those markets would be nearly as valuable to an owner as Southern Ontario.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Instant Replay

I was not watching the "Perfect Game" last night by Armando Galarraga, because I was too busy watching the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win over the Blackhawks. What I am struck by is the discrepancy in instant replay rules between hockey and baseball. Baseball supposedly cannot have instant replay because it will break up the flow of the game. However, hockey which has a lot more natural flow to the game has instant replay. In last night's game there were two key calls that went to instant replay, one giving the Flyers a goal and one not giving them a goal in overtime. The first one went to replay after the game continued for a minute and a half. If hockey can have instant replay despite problems with the flow of the game, then I cannot see how baseball cannot. Admittedly hockey needs instant replay more in that both of the calls would have been impossible to necessarily get right without replay, whereas the ump in the baseball game should have gotten the play at first base right anyway.

P.S. After writing this but before posting, I found another argument along the same lines.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My MVP Picks at the 1/3 Mark

Here are my picks for MVP at the 1/3 Mark of the baseball season. (Actually as of games on Saturday).


The most interesting thing is that “the year of the pitcher” seems to be primarily an NL phenomenon, as the NL ballot has five pitchers to the AL’s zero pitchers. I think this is also a result of there being more really good position players in the AL so far. Also realize that each start could make a big difference for a starter, so the NL ballot actually would have changed some since Saturday as both Wainwright and Jiminez had good starts since then.