Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Classifying Sports Nicknames

The MLB, NBA and NHL each have 30 clubs and the NFL has 32 for a total of 122 teams in the four major American pro sports leagues. You would think there would be more diversity than there is, but 115 of them can fit neatly into one of 21 categories. Below is my list of these categories and their members. FUN FACT: There are six common names (Panthers, Cardinals, Giants, Jets, Kings, Rangers) leaving us with 116 unique monikers.

Regional Pride (18)
Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, New York Mets, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Colorado Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Vikings

Birds/Aerial (16)
Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Hornets, Winnipeg Jets, New York Jets, Philadelphia Flyers 

Patriotic (8)
Philadelphia 76ers, New England Patriots, Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Nationals, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, New York Yankees

Cats (7)
Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Florida Panthers

Western (7)
Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Rangers, Texas Rangers, Portland Trailblazers

Wild Animals (6)
St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks

Aquatic/Fish and Boats (6)
Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Clippers

Mystical/Fantasy (5)
Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, San Francisco Giants, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Colors (5)
Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Red Wings

Weather (5)
Miami Heat, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Oklahoma City Thunder

Native American (5)
Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, Chicago Blackhawks, Golden State Warriors

Spiritual (4)
New Orleans Saints, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, New Jersey Devils

Professions (4)
Pittsburgh Steelers, Milwaukee Brewers, Edmonton Oilers, Green Bay Packers

Bears (4)
Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Boston Bruins, Memphis Grizzlies

Galactic (4)
Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, Dallas Stars

Regal (3)
Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Kings, Kansas City Royals

Pirates (3)
Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders

Musical (2)
Utah Jazz, St. Louis Blues

Equine (2)
Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts

Dogs (2)
Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Coyotes

Reptiles (2)
Toronto Raptors, Arizona Diamondbacks

The five that don't fit neatly into one of my categories are: Oakland Athletics, Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Wild, San Diego Chargers. I had trouble with some of them (ex: could have put the Padres in the Professions group or the Blues in the Colors set), but did what I thought was best. What are your thoughts?

Originally published August 16, 2011
UPDATED October 16, 2013 after some reclassifying and changed names.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Speeding up The Game

A friend shot an email off to a small group of baseball fans after staying up late for the AL Wild Card game that his Indians had the misfortune of losing. Here's the short chain where we discussed how to speed up the game and the future of baseball.


I may be getting old.  Scratch that, I am getting old.  That said, baseball games get over too late.  This, of course, is owed to two main factors; the games are too long and start too late.  Now, I love baseball, but am concerned about how games like last night's Cleveland/Tampa tilt affects the future of the game.  How does MLB expect to attract young fans when games are ending near midnight?  It's one thing to let your kid stay up that late on a school night once in a while (tonight's Browns game will likely end similarly late), but the MLB playoffs are EVERY night.  I don't have kids (yet), but it's hard to imagine my sister letting my nephew stay up that late to watch every Indians game, had they advanced.  She probably didn't let him stay up last night.  And that all assumes he actually wanted to stay up.  Doesn't MLB want 10 year old boys watching the playoffs?  I should think they do.
MLB needs to account for the short attention span of the next generation.  One of the great things about baseball is it's slow, almost lazy pace.  There is ample time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the ballpark, have a conversation, and think strategically about the game unfolding before you.  I don't need four hours of that, nor do I want four hours of that.  I would rejoice more over an Indians championship than I would any other Cleveland championship, but even I was getting restless during the game last night.  Again, sitting there for four hours is tough for me, let alone a ten year old kid raised in a world of constant stimulation. 
A few thoughts, none of which are original I'm sure.
1.  Start the games earlier.  This is an easy one.  Why not just start at the standard 7pm?  Ok, it's not in primetime and you can't charge as much for advertising.  Don't you make up for that by keeping more casual fans watching longer?  Who was watching at the end of last night's game?  Tampa fans, Cleveland fans, a few Boston fans, and even fewer plain 'ol fans of the game.  I'd even be up for starting games a little earlier (6:30?) so kids can actually watch the whole game.
2.  Pitch clock similar to a shot clock.  Joel Peralta last night was taking a ridiculous amount of time between pitches.  Walk around, stretch, resin bag, hyperventilate, pitch, repeat.  I wasn't timing it or anything, but I gotta think you could cut down the time between pitches pretty easily.  What's reasonable?  10 or 12 seconds?
3.  Limited pitching changes.  Last night's game had a nice pace until the pitching changes started and Tito started going with matchups in the 5th inning.  I'm least wild about this option, as playoff games are of critical importance and skippers ought to be able to make whatever decisions he thinks will best put his ballclub in a position to win.  Plus, it's possible that the second and third order effects of actually making the game longer.  Do fewer changes lead to more runs, which in turn take up more time?
What say ye fine gentlemen?


I'm an 'ol fan of the game, but without a rooting interest, I was lying on the couch rather than sitting up in a chair, hanging on each pitch like I've done in postseasons past when the New York Yankees are competing. As a result of my lounging state, I fell asleep in the 8th and woke up to the post game.

Thinking back to Yankee games - as long as they are - playoff baseball isn't a ton of fun when it gets that late. God forbid it goes extra innings! But the stress levels of watching a game as a fan don't immediately evaporate after the final out, so it's not as if I'm passing out as soon as Rivera would ice the game. You're up later than normal watching, then winding down later than normal, so in bed 1-3 hours later. Baseball fans on the east are zombies the morning after playoff games and that's not a fun experience that makes me want to do it when my team isn't playing at all.

From the business perspective, as you mentioned, it's not primetime, but the bigger piece of it (I think) is people are still at work at 4p PT when a 7p ET game is starting and that's a big concern. Baseball already suffers from enough of an East Coast Bias (more than any othe sport, I believe), so starting the games earlier, while good for us, is bad for the West Coast. HOWEVA (stephen a. smith voice), Colin Cowherd makes a good point (just puked a little saying that), when he says college football is bigger in the South, which is often where better teams are, NBA hotter in the West and MLB more prominent in the northeast/midwest. Now, this is a chicken/egg situation for sure, but maybe it's not that bad if baseball says screw the west (for an ET game) and starts them at 7/730p. The casual fans in the west will still be able to tune in after work when the game is in the 4th or 5th. If I'm honest, that's more likely a time for me to tune into an early round game without my team in contention than I would in the 1st.

As far as accelerating the game, I like the pitch clock, but we need to make sure hitters also abide by those rules. Remember Nomar? Who's idiosyncratic pre-pitch routine involved re-velcroing his gloves, twirling his bat and a lot of gesticulation. There are plenty of guys who take a ton of time between pitches that are as guilty of delays as slow pitchers.

No league is going to do that makes them take in less money - no cutting seasons short, no starting games earlier and losing primetime slot, etc. without replacing the $$ elsewhere. So what other ways are there to raise revenue? More in-game ads on the broadcast is one idea. Listening to Yankee games, there is a promotion nearly every AB:
These are annoying, but they do two things: bring in new revenue and give advertisers a way to be heard DURING the action, not during commercials when people either A- tune out or B- flip channels/go to the bathroom, etc. Adding these in, along with visual cues in between pitches for TV broadcasts, creates more revenue, which means you might be able to start games earlier if you're pulling in ad dollars DURING the action and not just in breaks. Let's look at soccer.  MLB is favorite sport of purists and traditionalists, so I'd never advocate (or think it would happen) SAMSUNG across Indians jerseys and an interlocking TWC for TIME WARNER on Yankees caps, but there are no commercials during the uninterrupted 45 minute halves. There are usually score/ticker sponsors and often visual banners behind the goals that look real until you see a player step through them. Networks could add things like that (more than just the backstop ad) to get in more $$.

I'm at a 0 on limiting pitching changes. Just be thankful you can't bring pitchers back into games or imagine how annoying that would be.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Super Bowl Picks

49ers vs. Ravens.THE HARBAUGH BOWL. Whatever will Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh do?!

That's my pick, but it's too bad because if it ends up being Falcons vs. Ravens we can call it the Dirty Birds vs. the Murder Birds.

It's the first day of classes for spring semester at my alma mater, Miami University. That, coupled with the wheelchair kid Will Privette (@thrill21) rushing the court after NC State beat Duke and dropping this gem: "It was the dumbest thing I've done in college but it was awesome," made me miss college.

I love my life, have an awesome job, girlfriend, friends, dog and more. But college was the best wasn't it? I can't imagine how much I'd miss it if I was one of those who hated their jobs and lives and friends. Sucks to suck.

Going to try to blog more in the '13.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2012 MLB Playoff Predictions

WildCard Showdown
Man, I almost wish the Yankees were playing in that because it sounds much more exciting than AL Divisional Series. Nah, just kidding, WildCards are for suckers. 

Rangers over Orioles, 6-4
Cardinals over Braves, 3-2

Divisional Series
Or is it Division Series, I'm not really sure. Either way, it will be interesting with the new BBAAA format with B being the lower seed. The previous AABBA schedule was the norm for nearly 20 years of Divisional play. I think a dream scenario for the higher seeds is ABBAA. What do the hotels and airlines think of this with one less flight? The higher seeded teams sure don't like it from a business side because they only have one guaranteed home game in the first round.

Reds over Giants in 5
Cardinals over Nationals in 4

Yankees over Rangers in 4
Athletics over Tigers in 4

Championship Series 
Should this not actually be called the Pennant Series? You don't win the real Championship, only the League Championship, which is commonly referred to as the Pennant. I guess in the NFL they call it the AFC and NFC Championship Game, but in NHL and NBA it's dubbed the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. I like that better, but Pennant would be unique and baseball loves being unique.

Yankees over Athletics in 6
Cardinals over Reds in 6

World Series
So cocky. Only one team outside of America could possibly play in the series and we've proven over the last few World Baseball Classics that America isn't even the best baseball country on the planet. Whatever, part of being American is being overconfident, so I'm down with it.

Yankees over Cardinals in 6*

*did you expect me to pick another team to win it???

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How are our Yankee Predictions Doing?

Pelle, Alex, Christian and I made 2012 season Yankee predictions for a number of different stats and figures in March. Let's take a mid/late season look at where they're at now. Actual number and projected number are below our picks.

Pelle: 98
Alex: 95
Christian: 96
Jesse: 102
Actual: 72/Projected: 95
Alex looks like the closest here, but Christian isn't far off. They'll need a 30-9 run for me to be right.

Andy Pettitte Wins
P: 9
A: 10
C: 8 
J: 11
Actual: 3/Projected: 4
Woof. Dandy Andy would have likely had at least 7-8 by now if not for his broken ankle. With a September return on the horizon, he's got no chance to make any of these numbers.

CC Sabathia Wins
P: 17
A: 18
C: 19
J: 21
Actual: 12/Projected: 16
CC spent a month on the DL during two stints but should have seven starts remaining beginning this Friday. No chance he gets to my number, doubtful he's at Christian's.

Phil Hughes Wins
P: 15
A:  11
C: 13
J: 15
Actual: 12/Projected: 16
Hughes, as he is wont to do, has been up and down this year. Looks like we were right in the neighborhood with his win total and Pelle and I have the best chance to nail it.

Mariano Rivera Saves
P: 41
A: 43
C: 39
J: 38
Actual: 5/Projected: 5
With his season over right around the same time the Knicks' was, Mo ended 2012 with 5 saves. His replacement, Rafael Soriano has done excellently this year, with 31 saves thus far, projecting for 41.

Mariano Rivera ERA of 1.50
P: over
A: over  
C: over
J: over
Actual: 2.16/Projected: 2.16
He gave up two runs in 8.1 innings. Looks like we were all correct, but the sample size was too small to accurately judge.

Brett Gardner Steals
P: 53
A: 44
C: 39
J: 46
Actual: 2/Projected: 2
Another Yankee out for the year. GGBG had 2 steals in 9 games before sustaining an injury. In that minuscule sample size, he would have been on pace for 43 if he kept it up.

A-Bombs (Alex Rodriguez home runs)
P: 28
A:  31
C: 33
J: 33
Actual: 15/Projected: 18
Woof, again. A-Rod is in the middle of a 4-6 week recovery for a broken wrist. Even while he was healthy, he looked old and didn't have much pop at all. No shot at getting anyone's prediction.

Derek Jeter batting average of .310
P: under
A: under
C: under
J: over
Actual: .324/Projected: .324
Jeter was on fire in April (.389), good in May, (.293), awful in June (.232) and scorching again in July (.346) and August (.386). If Mike Trout would just stick to being the future of baseball and not the present as well, Jeter would be competing for a batting title this year with Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera. Jeter's career September average is .324 on the nose, so he will look to finish right around where he's at now.

Yankee with most home runs
P: Cano
A: Granderson 
C: Granderson
J: Teixeira
Actual: Granderson/Projected: Granderson
The Grandy Man has 32 bombs this year. Cano is second on the club with 25 (after having just one through Cinco de Mayo). Teix is third with 23. Looks like Alex and Christian are spot on.

# of HR for Yankee leader
P: 41
A:  38
C: 39
J: 39
Actual: 32/Projected: 42
Grandy should hit the 40+ plateau for the second straight year if he has an average September. We were all right in the neighborhood but Pelle was the only one with the stones to guess 40+.

Yankee with most MVP votes
P: Cano (winner)
A: Cano  
C: Cano
J: Cano
Actual: N/A/ Projected: Cano
Cano leads the club and is third in the league in WAR with 4.3.

Three Gold Glove winners
P: push
A: push
C: push
J: under
Acutal: N/A/Projected: 3
Too early to tell, but a number of Yankees are in the top three of FanGraphs fielding rankings including Teixeira, Cano, Ichiro and CC.

# of All-Stars
P: seven
A: six 
C: seven
J: six
Actual: 4/Projected: 4
Whoops, looks like we were a little too confident. Granderson, Jeter and Cano started with CC also named to the team.

Yankees with 100+ RBI
P: three
A: four
C: four
J: four
Actual: 0/Projected: 1
Only Teixeira, who has 80 now, is on pace for triple digit RBIs. Granderson is close, pacing out to 96 with a current total of 73, but that's it. Cano (68) and Swisher (69) will have to catch fire to come close and may not even break 90.

Yankees with 100+ runs
P: three
A: four
C: four
J: four
Actual: 0/Projected: 3
Cano, Jeter and Granderson are all on pace for 100+ runs in 2012. Teix has just 64 and no chance to join the club. I'm going to act like FOX News on election night and declare Pelle an early winner of this category.

Yankees batting .300+
P: two
A: three 
C: one
J: two
Actual: 2/Projected: 2
Cano (.302) and Jeter (.324) should both be on the good side of .300 at the end of the season,  but no one else will be close. Ichiro is batting .312 in pinstripes but just .271 on the year. A-Rod is the next closest regular with a .276 average, but he'll need to RAKE to get to .300 in the few final weeks of the season once he returns. Pelle and I look smart here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Numbers from my Trip to the Little League World Series

Michael on the field prior to Saturday's game vs. Indiana

This weekend, we went to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. to watch my youngest cousin, Michael Ghiorzi, and his team from Fairfield American LL in Fairfield, Conn. compete. We left Saturday morning, heading north on I-71, then west on I-76 and I-80 to the small city in the middle of Pennsylvania. The team played in a pair of elimination games (after losing its opener vs. California, Thursday, August 16) while we were there, winning them both. Here are some stats, dollars and other figures from the trip.

50,000+- pins traded by kids and adults during any number of formal and informal pin trading sessions throughout our time there.
777- miles from Columbus to Williamsport, around town and back home.
28.1- MPG for the trip. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about...just blog about.
$32- price of the New England jersey I bought as soon as I got there.
$16.87- what I paid for a black velvet blazer at Kohl's originally priced at $225. Guess people from Williamsport don't have anywhere to wear such a thing so it was on mega sale.
12- runs Connecticut scored during the Saturday, August 18 game vs. Nebraska before it was stopped do to the mercy rule in the 5th inning.
11.5- estimated drive time round trip, in hours.
6'2"- height of Michael's older brother, my cousin Christian. Who we got to hang out with and learned that he's starting at FB for his HS Varsity team as a Sophomore.
6- Michael's uniform number.
4th- Fairfield's final ranking on the list of best teams in the country after losing vs. California (again, ugh) on Tuesday, August 21.
2B- position Michael plays.
1- nice person from Williamsport that we met in three days and two nights there. Mostly people were curt and just generally mean.
0- runs Connecticut gave up in the two games we saw.
0- hits allowed by Will Lucas in an elimination game vs. Indiana on Monday, August 20. The 49th no-hitter in LLWS history.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ConfessLINs [REMIX]

These are my confessLINs
Just when I thought I said all I could say
Knicks get dumber every single day
These are my confessLINs
Man I'm pissed and I dont know what to do
I guess I gotta give part 2 of my confessLINs
How we ever going to beat the Heat?
Darn near cried when I saw that last tweet
I'm so pissed and I don't know what to do
But to give you part 2 of my confessLINs

[Verse 1]
Now this gotta be the dumbest thing I think the Knicks ever do
Letting go of Jeremy Lin and signing a fat number 2
'bout that Knick on part 1 I told you who was our hero our hero
Jimmy Dolan just let him walk out the door for zero for zero
The first thing that came to mind was why?
Second thing was is a NBA team about to make me cry?
Third thing was me wishin' that I never caught Linsanity
And how I'm thinking about ending my Knicks relationship


[Verse 2]
Looking at the roster, it's stupid, tryna figure out
A drunk point and one who can't stop shoving food in his mouth  
Said it ain't gon' be easy

To move on from LinsanityI gotta get over it
I'm going through my closet
Looking for your jersey
Talkin' to myself

Thinking how can I toss this outI pull out the hanger and I just want to put it on
Hold it close to me, I'll throw it out after this song


This by far is the hardest thing I think I've ever had to do
To tell you, the Jeremy I love
That my favorite team just kicked you out the door because of spite
I hope you can accept the fact that Dolan is immature enough to do this
And hopefully I can still root for you in H-town
This ain't about your career
This ain't about your life
It's about James Dolan and his ego