Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why the Americans don't Win the World Baseball Classic

I don't watch much baseball since my team moved (Expos), but I tend to watch the World Baseball Classic still. The WBC increases the flavor a bit by putting players on to national teams and playing a tournament to decide the real champion of the world.

Japan has won both times. In fact, the USA does not even have a silver or a bronze medal even.

The first WBC:

GOLD: Japan
Silver: Cuba
Bronze: South Korea

The second WBC:

GOLD: Japan
Silver: South Korea
Bronze: Venezuela

Not even a bronze? How can this be? The first thing to look at is the quality of players going to play for the US team. An easy answer to this question is that no big name players are participating. That doesn't seem to be the case. In fact let's add up the salaries for the starting lineup of this year's USA team to get and idea of the caliber of players participating.

Teixeira, M - 22.5 million
Phillips, B. - 12 million
Rollins, J. - 11 million
Wright, D. - 15 million
Braun, R. - 6 million
Jones, A. - 8.5 million
Victorino, S. 13 million
Vogelson, R. 6.5 million

So that totals 94.5 million bucks for their starting nine this time around. You can't argue that they are not sending prime players to this tournament because they are sending 100 million dollars worth of players to this tournament.

Hmmmmm. So they send prime players....and still lose? Why is that?

I have a theory and I will try now to present it.

Are Homeruns Over Rated?

According to this data: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr6.shtml,


Homeruns have risen exponentially since 1901. They were around 500 per year at the turn of the 20th century and have increased to over 5000 at the turn of the 21st century.

The question is....is hitting homeruns the most important thing? Is the best asset a team has their power? I don't think so.

Here's a really good example...who won the World Series of Major League Baseball last season? The San Francisco Giants. Now, out of the 30 MLB teams which place did they finish in team homeruns? 30th. Yes, dead last. Did only hitting 103 homeruns all year hurt or hinder them? Obviously not, they won the championship.

When did baseball go overboard on estimating the importance of homeruns? It could have just been a marketing thing.


Chicks dig the longball. It was a successful marketing campaign. Personally, I hated this commercial because it featured three players I personally despised (McGwire, Maddux, Glavine...blech). It's true though, homeruns did bring people back to the park after the strike ('94) and lockout ('95) soured relations with the fans. They took measures to increase the amount of homeruns being hit (tighter balls, steroids, lower mounds, mile-high stadium, etc.).

It's not just the fans that want homerun hitters though. The managers want these types of players too. I think it has to do with statements made by Earl Weaver...that were unfortunately taken horribly out of context.

In Earl's historical classic, "Weaver on Strategy: The Classic Work on the Art of Managing (孫子兵法)," Weaver states that the key to winning games is to rely on the "three run homerun" and he emphasized drawing walks and getting homeruns. (i.e. you have your 1 and 2 hitters guys with high OBP and your #3 hitter someone who can hit homeruns).

Now, this is a good idea, BUT, I believe that managers down the line took this advice TOO FAR. Next thing you know every team is stocked with homerun hitters...and they sacrifice every other skill in order to stock their teams with power hitters. Yet, Earl Weaver was only referring to a small section of the lineup. If we look at Earl's lineups he did indeed have good power hitters but he never sacrificed other skills just to get a power hitter into the lineup. 

Case and point: Mark Belanger

The year Weaver's Orioles won the World Series in 1970, Belanger hit .218 with 1 homerun. His OPS was .562. That's horrendous, but he was the starting shortstop for them and with good reason, he was a gold glove defensive shortstop. Weaver praised the "three run homer" and the "big innings" over small ball...but he never sacrificed defense in exchange for it. Belanger even got some key hits in the playoffs in 1970, picking up 5 runs and 2 RBIs.

Belanger is not going to help you get very many "big innings" but he will make 243 put-outs, get 552 assisted put-outs, and only make 13 errors while doing that (like he did in 1974). 

Defensive stats are important too. If you played a player who hit 10 more homeruns than Belanger but only made 200 put-outs, and 500 assists, while making 25 errors...do you know what that means? That means 107 opposing players got on base when they shouldn't have...that means your pitchers with a 3.50 ERA suddenly become pitchers with a 4.50 ERA. It's a big deal! Defensive stats are a very big deal.

Weaver never took this guy out of the lineup. In 1974, the year Belanger made 243 putouts and threw out 552 runners whilst only making 13 errors...Weaver had two infield prospects on the bench, thirdbasman Enos Cabel and power hitting prospect Doug DeCinces. You didn't see Weaver pushing Belanger out of his spot to get one of these rookies to take over. Why? Because Cabel was 6 foot 5 with hands of stone and DeCinces (though becoming a 30 homerun hitter for the Orioles) could not hack it at shortstop. It wasn't until Cal Ripken Jr. came that the Orioles found a player who could handle the position and hit (though Ripken was over-rated defensively).

Managers obsessed with getting power hitters into the lineup because of what they read in Weaver's ancient stratagems should take note of the Belanger Factor. These present day managers have 100% interpreted his divine texts WRONGLY (as such). They have misinterpreted the late Weaver's scriptures!




Fundamentals

Is this a God Damn?
What is the explanation as to why a fucking god damned team like the fucking god damned 2012 San Francisco Giants can win a fucking god damn World Series trophy without even having one longball hitting cock sucker like Terry Crowley on it? Easy...

Fundamentals.

And you know what? Every other country on earth knows that. Man, I read once that Ichiro Suzuki's dad pulled him out of high school so Ichiro could practice baseball 19 hours a day. That's fucking crazy, but that kid learned the tricks of the trade, that's for sure. Ichiro can do almost everything, he's a good fielder, good hitter, good baserunner, good bunter, has a good arm, and other qualities. He doesn't hit homers, but he's still a great player.

Honestly, I don't understand why Ichiro never added plate patience and walks to his game. That's what seperates him from the likes of Henderson, Raines, (and to a lesser extent Lofton). He could hit .350 but still only have a .380 OBP, which is odd. Anyway, this paragraph is neither here nor there. I just want to keep that picture of Terry Crowley in an Expos uniform in this article but I want to add a pic of Ichiro too...so I need to flesh out some text/words so it's not just two pictures right-god-damn-fucking-next-to-each-other. So yeah, Ichiro would be elite Henderson/Raines class if he learned to draw a walk (.365 career OBP? Not greatest of all time caliber).

I can see yer hair turnin' grey....
Seriously, though. Ichiro is a good example of the Japanese offensive template. It's all slap hitting, running, making the plays, and getting the job done. Offense isn't even the main aspect of Japanese style of baseball though...pitching and defense is of higher value and importance than offense.

Ichiro was the first position player to excel at the major league level, but there were many Japanese pitchers (Hideo Nomo, etc.) who were stars way before Ichiro was. Pitching is paramount to hitting over there, and with very good reason.

Your pitchers and defense have to make 27 outs per game. Meanwhile, your homerun hitters only have about 4 chances per game to hit a homerun and even a 40 homerun hitter only hits a homer every 4 games (162/40). Are you really going to place utmost importance on a player who adds a homerun every 4 games...or should you worry more about the 27 outs you have to make every single game? What about the 3 (out of 4) games where your star homerun hitter doesn't hit one out? Then what?

Most games are won with pitching, and sound defensive fundamentals....not longballs.

Conclusion

Will the Americans win this year's WBC? I don't know....but I think their love for longballs acts as a major hinderance to their overall chances though.

I understand that homeruns bring people to the park, but that doesn't explain why present-day managers are obsessed with homeruns too. Basically, word to the wise, when you read divine tomes from master tacticians of the past such as Weaver on Strategy you should not jump to conclusions. You must take all the verses into account whilst making your final-most interpretations of them and formulating your respective opinions on the subject matter.

MASTER TACTICIAN

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Unfathomable Anabolic Cheating in the 100th Degree

Observing humans swing bats in the effort to hit leather balls effectively and having swung a few bats myself with the intention of launching leather spheres great distances, I have to agree with the notion that the Art of Hittin' is a skill more than a display of strength.

I see arguments on the internet that due to Hittin' being more of an art than a display of strength that players who used steroids should be allowed in the Hall of Fame. This is taking that argument to an extreme and that statement is not correct. To say that steroids do not improve the performance of a player is not correct by any stretch of that argument.

Mechanics of Hittin'

These are the skills a human needs in order to employ the Art of Hittin' effectively:

1. Hand-eye coordination
2. Bat Speed
3. Strength

The following factors are what determines how far the ball will go:

1. Location on bat the ball makes contact with ("sweet-zone" preferably)
2. Speed of swing (how fast the human swung the bat)
3. Weight of the bat  (all results show that heavier is not better)

With math, the factors can be synthesized to find the ideal conditions for hitting (relative to the hitting style of the individual player).

Weight of the bat can be thrown out as being important. The velocity of a batted ball will be increased off of a heavier bat, yet the loss of bat speed seems to be too high a price to pay in return. Every test from articles online seems to show that getting the bat to be lighter is to the advantage of the hitter. That's why "corked" bats have come under scrutiny over the years, it's considered cheating to make a bat super light but it's not considered cheating to use a 60+ ounce bat. Lighter is better, 100%. Being a muscular dude on steroids does not help you at all because swinging heavier bats is not very important overall.

Hand-eye coordination and the location the ball makes contact with on the bat go hand-in-hand. The hitter wants the ball to hit the "sweet-zone" of the barrel for optimum contact. This has nothing to do with muscles and strength but has everything to do with vision and coordination of the self.

So far it's looking like steroids wouldn't help a hitter at all, like people seem to be saying, but let's move on to bat-speed.

Bat Speed

Bat Speed is how fast the individual gets the bat through the box. This is really where physics comes into play. As mentioned above, getting a nice light bat to zip through the box lightning fast at an incoming pitch is where you generate the real velocity.

There's a lot of research online but I'm going to be mostly using this source for bat-speed physics: http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/bats/batw8.html (to avoid citing like a million sources every five seconds)

Players in the majors these days are clocking bat speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Once a player has the fundamentals of hittin' under his belt (hand-eye, judging the strike zone, patience, etc.) it all boils down to bat speed. Players with fast swings can wait a split-second longer to judge whether it's a pitch they want to hit and when they apply the fast swing unto the ball at the sweet-zone ...the velocity of the ball will be determined mainly by the speed of the swing.

This is where your physique comes into play. Bat Speed is generated by a well-grounded and powerful lower body. You ever see Jeff Bagwell for instance? He kinda looked like he was taking a dump while sitting on a toilet while he batted. He was just focusing the power of his body into his legs to build up a tremendous center of gravity into his oncoming swing. Look at his hands in the clip I linked to ("taking a dump") they are mobile and loose, his hands and arms are meant to swiftly get through the box, all the power is generated from his legs, feet, and stomach.

That being said, do players with muscular builds focused on their lower half, generate faster swings? Yes. The question being brought up here is, would steroids increase bat speed? Yes!

From twigs to tree trunks. Thanks steroids!
Most people take steroids to get big arms and flex for chicks. We're used to associating steroids with big arms, and since people know that arms don't play a major role in a players swing, they conclude that steroids don't aid a hitter. You can't rush to conclusions though. Look at Barry Bonds' legs...they almost doubled in mass in 15 years. It's not his arms you should be thinking about...it's his legs!

More leg and lower body mass will generate faster swings. That's a proven fact, steroids without a doubt effects the physical aspects of a human's lower body.

Wait There's More

Humans have a natural cycle. They are born, they grow into adults, they hit their prime-time peaks, then they wither and die. That's life, bro.

In baseball, most players lose their shit at some point, all humans do. When you hit your mid-thirties you naturally lose your physical stature. Your hair starts to turn grey, your body starts feeling like lead, you have trouble getting out of bed after a long day's work. That's normal.

Well, unless you are on steroids. You can counter the effects of aging by juicing yourself up with artificial hormone tonics and anabolic elixirs. Let's look at Bonds' career stats now...


Remember I told you that ALL players decline in ability when they hit their mid-thirties? I guess Barry didn't feel like declining like a regular human. Barry instead felt like pumping so many chemicals into his body to bring him into overdrive and turn his decline years into....oh come on. If anyone on earth believes that chemicals didn't enhance this person's level of play, they are nuts. Who hits their prime-time peak at 36-37-38-39? No one.

Bonds was already a Hall of Famer thanks to his natural peak (when he still looked human at the ages of 27 to 32). When he pumped himself full of hazardous chemicals to get a second prime-peak when he should have been declining is absurd, those stats from 2000 to 2004 are absurd.

Are They really even Bad for You though?

The only thing possible to argue now in favor of steroids is an argument such as...

"So what if they made themselves into over-sized hitting machines. Steroids aren't even that bad for you. Good for them for taking them, I think they are good role models for every aspiring athlete who wants to win at all costs."

I don't agree with that at all. All drugs which alter the physiological balances of your body must be used with caution. Drugs can save lives and cure many ailments, but they are not danger-free...and they are by no means things you should use recreationally or to alter your body.

Here are some side-effects associated with steroid abuse:

1. Horrible acne
2. Reduced sperm production
3. Raisin balls/Raisin dick (your testicles or weiner start to look like dried up raisins)
4. Man breasts (altered hormone levels throw everything out of whack)
5. High blood pressure (your heart goes into overdrive to deal with your body)
6. Liver damage (like any other chemical that goes into your body, the liver has to clean it up)
7. Enlarged prostates (even in teenagers which no one ever thought they'd see)
8. Chicks can start looking and talking like dudes (again hormones go out of whack)
9. Aggression (roid rage, again due to hormones being out of whack)
10. Stunted growth in kids (let your body have it's growth cycle, don't interfere with it)

I was debating whether I wanted to hot-link people to Chyna's sex-tape rather than an interview with her. I chose not to because it's not polite to do. That woman's clit is a DICK! No joke. Her clit has taken all that testosterone and grown into an actual dick.

If you argue that it was a good idea for these guys to take steroids for the good of the game, you're not on the right path. Baseball players were my role models as kids and I feel that they probably play a similar role today. What kind of message is it to send kids that steroids are ok?

I don't know how many kids are messing with steroids, but honestly, you'd much rather have your kids messing with weed and beer than you would want them messing with these chems. Steroids will alter their normal growth patterns, throw their hormones out of whack, and cause a myriad of issues with teens.

Conclusion

I do not believe that anyone confirmed to be a steroid abuser should be in the baseball Hall of Fame.

If you think that steroids does not enhance a hitter's performance...you are incorrect. Steroids enhance a hitter's performance and postpone the natural cycle of aging.

If you think that steroids are good for you and think anyone who wants to should use them, then I do not agree with you at all. There's too many risks involved, and it sends a terrible message to young people. It really is not a good idea for young people (or anyone) to abuse these chemicals.

Steroids is not a miracle drug that makes you all-powerful and immortal...steroid abuse will ultimately catch up to you. The overdrive your putting on your heart to keep up with your roided-up physique will take a good 20 years off of your life. The overall mass of the body and heart problems are correlated. It's a curse more than a blessing to be a huge hunk of meat...your heart will not be able to sustain your body into the ages of 50, 60, and over.

The most important and vital tools in the human body are the brain and the heart...not the biceps and the cavs.


'Roids

Friday, February 8, 2013

Plastic, Plastic, Plastic

I got one word for you, plastics. There's a great future in plastics.

In fact one might say that there is no future without Plastic! Plastic! Plastic!

Mult-Colored Plastics
Me? I like plastic, it's great. There's just one thing I don't like about plastic. It is too often used as a argument to prove that we need crude oil to live a modern life and that we even need to go die for crude oil.

So, In this article we shall be lookin' at alternative methods to create plastics without relying on crude oil. Okay, let's go...



Bio-Mass

Bio-mass is what many hope is the replacement for crude oil, not only for fuel but also to create the plastics of the future.


Article from 2006: http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/chem/2007-0621-201429/NWS-E-2006-3.pdf

Article from 2009: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616144533.htm

Article from 2011: http://www.fujixerox.com.au/company/media/articles/679

Article from 2012: https://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6070/835.abstract

Article from 2012: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2012/apr/plastics-biomass-043012.html

Article from 1958: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/aj/abstracts/50/10/AJ0500100598?access=0&view=pdf




Alrighty so, "olefins" or "alkenes" or "napthas" seems to be what we need to make this darned plastic. These  can be created through modifying crude oil and gas products but that is not the only way to get them.

From the articles above, we know as early as 1958 someone was making plastic out of biomass (he was using cornstarch).

Knowing this, I am not sure that the "we need oil for everything we use" rhetoric you hear all the time is a very convincing argument. It seems we make the things we need for modern life out of fossil fuels not out of necessity but out of greed. Doing everything we do with fossil fuels is very profitable for a select group of people. That seems to be the only reason we don't implement the alternative methods.

Oil companies make a lot of money by keeping society addicted to their product. Alternative ways of operating society will cause great damage to their profits. It's not hard to figure out why we are dependent on oil, they've literally set it up that way. It makes for a fancy and aesthetic rhetoric, where defenders can always claim,

"If you don't like oil then don't use plastic or any other [insert good(s)/service(s) here]! You bum!"

It's a good argument and all, but it won't work on people who follow science. People who follow science understand that as a society we have the methods to create alternative fuels and synthetic products but implementing them is almost impossible. The oil lobby in America alone is unreal, I predict it's much higher but this site might give you an idea. Meanwhile the country I live in is very open about this, Canada is honest about being an oil company it doesn't even pretend to be a country anymore.
  
Conclusion

Reliance on fossil fuels that has been enforced on society has stagnated scientific research for more than a century now. Everyday some brilliant scientists are discovering new more efficient, effective, cleaner ways to operate yet the new methods/products are not implemented into society for the sole reason of keeping monetary profits high for the beneficiaries of the archaic and obsolete methods/products.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Art Appreciation...the Art of Appreciatin' Art.

When I made the index page, I noticed that I mostly write about nonsense, politics, and baseball. The only article I ever wrote about the arts was this one.

So, how 'bout we appreciate some art for a change? In this appreciation we shall be examining two pieces from varying eras and attempt to appreciate them.

Defeat (aka "five across da lips!")
Artist: Augie Pagan (site)

Defeat (aka "five across the lips")
Aunt Esther has been defeated. What is defeat? It is much more than just losing. Defeat means you tried your hardest, gave it your all....but came up short.

Many viewers of Pagan's "Defeat" seem to identify Fred as the protagonist of the piece, yet this is not the case. The protagonist of the piece is Esther and you are supposed to identify with her as such.

You may have even looked at it yourself and said aloud or in your mind,

"Oh Ya! Fred finally got that old hag! Ka-Bam!"

If you said or thought that, then I must regrettably inform you that it is an inaccurate assessment and you are appreciating this art badly. Why? Take note of the expressions of the onlookers one by one (from left to right), their emotions are as follows...

Julio's Goat: Apprehension
Julio: Shock
Lamont: Horror
Rollo: Amazement
Grady: Horror

Julio's Shock and Rollo's Amazement are obviously just the tip of the iceberg. Even Julio's Goat, who is an animal with less cognitive ability than a human is obviously distraught over this situation. The real proof, however, lies in the eyes of Lamont and Grady.

Lamont and Grady were the closest to the combatants out of all the onlookers...and they are visibly Horrified by what has just transpired. Within their eyes we see the true story. Go ahead and try it...gaze first into Grady's eyes and then quickly follow by gazing into Lamont's eyes...

Did you see the story told by their eyes? No? Ok, I will help you out then...

Esther had demanded one day that Fred give a large donation to her home for troubled youth. Fred, angered by the query, outright refused. This caused Esther to refer to Fred as a "beedy-eyed heathen" and then a "fished-face turkey-eyed fool." Fred not one to take criticism well, retorted by calling Esther "ugly" and let her know that she "smelled bad". They continued to argue for several minutes until Lamont (of sound mind) interjected to provide a voice of reason to calm the situation down.

Lamont suggested they "kill two birds with one stone - so to speak" by raising money for the youth center and taking their aggressions out at the same time. He suggested they do this in the form of a charity boxing match. He suggested that they just take a few light fun punches at each other and sell tickets at 5 bucks a pop. Though reluctant at first, both parites (Fred and Esther) agreed.

Lamont planned the match out, kayfabe style, and instructed Esther to phantom-punch Fred in the 5th round. He instructed Fred to drop like a sack of potatoes when hit by the feigned attack.

When the fifth round approached, Fred forgot his cue and didn't fall when the phantom punch was deployed. Esther was angered by his forgetfulness and showed her anger by referring to Fred as a "Web-toed, bat-winged, donkey-faced suckah!" much to Fred's dismay. Fred didn't mind being called many things, yet being referred to as a "suckah" was one thing he did not like to be called, he thus let Esther know that it was indeed "on now."

Fred told Esther that he found her hair style to be off-putting and her breath to not be as pleasant as one would like. The kayfabe quickly wore off, and the first real attack with malice came at the hands of Esther who swung her purse with such ferocity that it solidly connected with Fred's right temple.

Esther wanted to knock that fished-eyed heathen to the ground for telling her that her hair style was off putting, and she fought him like a woman possessed. Even as the rounds progressed and she was showing signs of fatigue, she refused to give up and kept fighting with all her efforts.

From this point, you can probably fill in the rest of the story.

What emotion does Esther's eyes portray? Defeat.


The Annunciation of the Proton Streams
Artist: Argeoth Vindalew


Many Christian artists of the late 16th century wished to bring bible verses to life. Thousands of works were produced yet the above piece is rarely appreciated. This work by Vindalew is a verse of the bible brought to life through art. No longer was it just words on paper, but thanks to art, the verse was now a living and breathing entity. The verse the piece is based on is Romans 1:4:33,

And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

Our Lord proclaimed that all non-believers shall perish. The townsfolk asked which among them would be saved, and Jesus proclaimed that none were without sin and ALL MUST DIE. Jesus told unto the Gentiles that Jesus the Traveler and Jesus the Destructor has finally arrived on earth and informed the Gentiles to choose the form of their destructor. The Demon God began sucking the life out of the townsfolk to rob them of their blood.

Unable to accept assured mutual arbitrary demise, four noble Gentiles confronted the demon sent from hell and saved mankind by unleashing 400 metric tons of nuclear proton pressure unto the demon.

Upon promptly sealing him in a portable containment unit of striped black and yellow metal...the noble Gentiles told unto the townsfolk that they..."Loved [this] Town!!!!!"

Cue the Music!!!!  -(Romans 1:4:33)

Wow, this guy Romans was a pretty good writer, no wonder the artist wanted to bring this verse to life. Ghosts, Gods, Demons, Death, and those four noble saviors? Dang, Romans sure knew how to tell a good story.

I gotta re-read the bible, I love a good old fashioned yarn about death and suffering and shit like that.

Art depicting the 4 Nobles who busted the demon have continued throughout history, I will now leave you with some choice pieces, in hopes that you are left edified by them.


Here we find the Ancient Mariner and his harpooned shark returning to the land of the living...thankfully the Heroic Egon was there to bust it.


Many are familiar with this iconic work from the Aldini period. This one is particularly edifying.


And so, thus concludes another look at artistic creations throughout the eras. I hope you did some appreciation and enjoyed an art or two.

We appreciated two pieces. The former, a painting which brought out words from art...and the latter which brought out art from words.