Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
La Leche League
2007-07-06 05:52
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees had a nice, only intermittently terrifying 7-6 win over the Twins this afternoon. The good news: they flashed some long-overdue power, and though A-Rod (0 for his last 19) sat this one out, his MRI came back normal. The bad news: Kei Igawa.

Igawa walked the first batter he faced and then allowed three straight soft singles (though Cuddyer was hung up between 1st and 2nd on one of those), a strikeout, a bungled play near the mound that became an awkward pop-up single, and another strikeout; when the smoke cleared it was 2-0 Twins. It's rare to get significant booing at Yankee Stadium in the top of the first inning like that -- people are still filing in and buying hot dogs and whatnot -- but Igawa's got the knack for it.

Those first-inning hits were pretty weak, so you could try to chalk them up to bad luck if you were so inclined... except that later in the game he would go on to enjoy much better luck, and pitch even worse. During the in-game comments, someone asked what kind of pitches Igawa was throwing, and the truth is I could barely tell. You’d probably need to get a forensics team in there to be sure: “Well, based on this partial thumbprint, it appears this was meant to be a curveball… but it’s difficult to be sure, as the ball has suffered severe blunt trauma.”

The Yanks broke through for five runs off Kevin Slowey in the second, all with two outs...

[Off the top of my head and in no particular order, the worst pitcher names* ever:
Kevin Slowey
David Riske
Homer Bailey
J.J. Putz
John Boozer
Grant Balfour
And, of course, the immortal Bob Walk.

Best non-pitcher name that I discovered by accident while looking up Pete Walker’s stats: Welday Wilberforce Walker.]

...Anyway! In that second inning, Robinson Cano homered, his fifth of the year; Andy Phillips and Miguel “Mig-Rod” Cairo hit back to back doubles to tie the game; Damon walked; and Melky Cabrera followed with a solid three-run shot to center, giving the Yanks a 5-2 lead. Melky’s been on fire recently, and his stats are beginning to come around to respectable levels, though after his molasses-slow start he still has a ways to go. Asked about Cabrera after the game, longtime friend, fellow home run-hitter, and carpooler Robinson Cano said, “we’re going to be making some jokes in the car.”

Igawa had a quick second inning and a passable third, but came undone again in the fourth. After a double and two quick outs (thanks to nice plays on line drives by Jeter and, believe it or not, Johnny Damon in center), Igawa walked tiny (but lovable!) .202 hitter Nick Punto, then got what he deserved: a two-run double, a single, and a tie game. Igawa recovered and made it through the fifth, but not before making thousands of viewers reflect with nostalgia on Tyler Clippard.

The Yanks then got scoreless relief from Luis Vizcaino, Scott Proctor, and Kyle Farnsworth… I feel this moment should be commemorated with some sort of plaque or official proclamation. But moving on. In the bottom of the 8th, the Twins brought in effectively twitchy submariner Pat Neshek, my choice for the final AL All-Star Vote (and I certainly wasn’t alone). With two out and Jeter on first, Matsui broke the 5-5 tie with a massive shot to right-center, and I may be wrong about this, but it seems like even though Matsui only has 10 homers this year, a lot of those have really been crushed. Rough day all around for Neshek, who also lost the 32nd All-Star vote to Hideki Okajima... but I still want a "Pitch in for Pat" t-shirt.

So it was 7-5 Yankees going into the ninth, but Mariano Rivera, thoughtful guy that he is, didn’t want fans to get bored. So decided to heighten the excitement by allowing two consecutive singles (though the second should probably have been called an error on Jeter, on a DP ball no less). He then settled down and, after a tense moment with one out, runners and second and third, and Joe Mauer at the plate, induced an RBI groundout; finally, Michael Cuddyer was called out on a somewhat questionable checked swing strikeout, ending the threat and the game. That moves Mo into a tie for third on the all-time saves list with John Franco (really? I always liked John Franco, but third all-time?). After the game, Rivera said he was thrilled with the personal milestone and determined to reach second place, and that this was just as important to him as the Yankees' record--... oh, just kidding:


"The most important thing is that we won the game," he said. " ... It's not about me."


* “What’s the pitcher’s name?” “What’s on second!” Sorry, had to get that out.

Comments (154)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-06 05:57:37
1.   Alex Belth
Dennis Lamp, that was a weird name. My favorite pitchers name is Orval Overall--he pitched with "Three Finger" Mordecia Brown on the Cubbies. As for non-pitchers, Pete LaCock is still a funny name, especially because he looked a little bit like a porn actor. He played for the Royals in 77 and in the 77 WS Box Set, they also have Game 5 of the ALCS, where Bill White says, "LaCock used to be a pull hitter but now he likes to go the other way."
2007-07-06 06:23:21
2.   Count Zero
1 "LaCock used to be a pull hitter but now he likes to go the other way."

Thanks for that one - I was having a ho-hum morning until I read that and started laughing out loud.

2007-07-06 06:40:31
3.   unpopster
Gotta give some votes to Boof Bonzer and Vinnie "cough, cough," Chulk, even though those two names don't necessary run with your pitcher theme. And, can you just imagine the backpage splash on The Post if Vinnie was a pitcher here in NY and had blown a game? A "VINNIE CHOKE" headline is like shooting fish in a barrel.
2007-07-06 06:44:05
4.   Sliced Bread
Tony Suck is the best baseball name I've ever come across.

I'm fascinated by his Baseball-Reference page which lists Suck's hits/throws as "unknown" yet his precise height (5'9") and weight (164) are recorded.

Also, forget the Mendoza line -- the Suck Line is a better barometer for suckitude, especially for catchers, which Suck was.

Suck's career line (58 games): .151/.205./.161
Wil Nieves's career line (also 58 games!): .144/.181/.182

conclusion: Nieves = Suck

2007-07-06 06:45:48
5.   AbbyNormal821
1 I really must start reminding myself NOT to be drinking my coffee while reading these things! Almost shot out my nose!
2007-07-06 07:01:50
6.   williamnyy23
2 I see the humor has quickly reached the gutter, which reminds me of a headline announcing that the Dodgers would be without 3B Billy Cox for much of the 1949 World Series.

"Dodgers to Play with Cox Out"

2007-07-06 07:07:21
7.   williamnyy23
As for Matsui's prodigious blasts, Emma, you are dead on. According to, Matsui has hit 2 of the top-5 blasts in terms of standard distance. He also is tied for 6th in "no doubt HRs" with the likes of Big Papi and Vlad (Arod leads the league with 8). Matsui also achieved the second fastest "speed off the bat" HR.
2007-07-06 07:09:41
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
You slay me, Emma.

"La Leche League."

Ok, I'll go read beyond the title, now...

2007-07-06 07:09:44
9.   Shaun P
6 has a small collection of CM Wang puns in newspaper headlines.

I wonder if that happened when Bobby Cox was playing for the Yanks? Or in Atlanta now, when Cox gets ejected?

2007-07-06 07:23:56
10.   Bob Timmermann
Welday Wilberforce Walker was the second black in the majors, after his brother Fleet Walker (Moses Fleetwood Walker).

Wilberforce is the name of one of the first universities opened for African-Americans, back in 1856 in Wilberforce, Ohio.

2007-07-06 07:24:07
11.   Mattpat11
FWIW, Cuddyer says he definitely went around.
2007-07-06 07:25:00
12.   weeping for brunnhilde
Btw, Emma, have I mentioned that you slay me?

I've not seen a game in what feels like forever now, but I'm especially pleased that Leche's hitting the baseball.

Anyone want to weigh in on what he's doing differently?

Is he looking confident up at the bat?

2007-07-06 07:25:09
13.   YankeeInMichigan
1 Funny that you mention Orval Overall. I recall watching a Cotton Bowl came in the seventies where the Baylor team had an Orval Overall and a Tommy Turnipseed.
2007-07-06 07:36:50
14.   Eric
1 I think Pete LaCock was also Peter Marshall's son, of Hollywood Squares fame.
2007-07-06 07:41:37
15.   williamnyy23
As for Matsui's prodigious blasts, Emma, you are dead on. According to, Matsui has hit 2 of the top-5 blasts in terms of standard distance. He also is tied for 6th in "no doubt HRs" with the likes of Big Papi and Vlad (Arod leads the league with 8). Matsui also achieved the second fastest "speed off the bat" HR.
2007-07-06 07:42:32
16.   williamnyy23
9 Of course, we can't forget that Wang made his MLB debut against one Mr. David Bush.

15 How did that happen!

2007-07-06 07:50:29
17.   Peter
I think my favorite baseball name is Clyde Kluttz, a BUC from the 40s and early 50s. He hit well above the Suck Line and briefly played for the '51 Browns -- the team best known for pinch hitter Eddie Gaedel.
2007-07-06 07:57:25
18.   unmoderated
my personal favorite pitcher name:
urban shocker
2007-07-06 08:07:32
19.   Shaun P
16 My comment in 9 didn't repost like yours did, but it did take about 7 minutes to show up originally. I kept hitting reload and didn't see it - and then it finally appeared.

Stubby Clapp is also another fantastic baseball name, especially for a backup MI.

2007-07-06 08:17:00
20.   weeping for brunnhilde
So, if we can take one out of three from California, I'll consider it a successful series.

God, this weekend's going to be fugly...brace yourselves.

2007-07-06 08:24:49
21.   bob34957
Funniest name, Dick Pole . He is in a league of his own.
2007-07-06 08:27:34
22.   bob34957
20mmmm, don't know because of the setup of the rotation. Don't we have Andy, Moose and Rodger? We should win 66%
2007-07-06 08:36:15
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
22 Ha ha ha haa haa!!! ha ha ha ha ha!!

That's a good one, bob, tell another!

2007-07-06 08:38:15
24.   Shawn Clap
21 This one's too filthy to type at work:

2007-07-06 08:39:17
25.   williamnyy23
22's Andy, Rocket and, maybe 100%?

I see that Bartolo Colon is pitching tonight. If anything should make Arod feel better, I think that would be it.

2007-07-06 08:40:06
26.   williamnyy23
24 I don't know about the 1890's, but I think they make something for that now.
2007-07-06 08:50:35
27.   JL25and3
0 Great list, but how could you forget former Yankee Eric Plunk?

A year or so ago I discovered my new favorite name: Bris Lord. As far as I know, he's the only player to be named after a circumcision rite.

But the fun doesn't stop there. His full name was Bristol Robotham Lord, which is pretty cool in its own right. And while his nickname clearly should have been "The Mohel," it was - and I'm not making this up - "The Human Eyeball." I have no idea what that means. I can't find any reference to its meaning, and the Hall of Fame research department doesn't know, either.

One final note on Bris "The Human Eyeball" Lord: Connie Mack picked him up in midseason 1910, a pennant-drive trade. Lord had the best 1-1/2 seasons of his career, helping the first great A's dynasty to back-to-back championships. To get him, Mack gave up a kid outfielder, just turned 20, who'd done nothing in two brief stints with the A's. Kid by the name of Joe Jackson.

2007-07-06 08:51:01
28.   mehmattski
I think we've all forgotten (because of his shoulder surgery) that in the very near future the Yankees' bullpen will likely feature Mr. J. Brent Cox.
2007-07-06 08:53:12
29.   JL25and3
21 The rare double-phallic name. Like Peter O'Toole.

There's also Rusty Kuntz (pronounced "Koonts." Right) and Randy Bush. Not to mention The Big Unit, our favorite 6'10" johnson.

2007-07-06 09:06:54
30.   RIYank
I don't get any of these name jokes. Are they based on some sort of slang?
2007-07-06 09:09:18
31.   weeping for brunnhilde
30 They're based on Pig Latin, rendered in Morse code, deciphered by a super-duper decoder ring.

Get with the program, RI.

2007-07-06 09:20:08
32.   JL25and3
30 It's the lingo where Albert Poo-holes was an instant Hall of Famer.
2007-07-06 09:22:52
33.   Emma Span
1 Orval Overall and 4 the Suck Line are truly excellent. And 27 Eric Plunk! [smacks self in forehead] Of course!

However, Bris Lord really takes it to a whole new level. Thank you for that, JL... the "Human Eyeball" thing is really going to bother me, though. What a creepy unexplained nickname.

2007-07-06 09:22:53
34.   JL25and3
And while we're at it: I think young Richard Harden made a dreadful mistake in shortening his name to Rich.
2007-07-06 09:31:50
35.   rbj
4 Actually those lines show that Nieves will have to improve to equal Suck.

Just for once I want to see a U.S.C. (Southern California) vs. U.S.C. (South Carolina) championship:

Trojans vs. Game Cocks

2007-07-06 09:36:29
36.   Shaun P
27 33 This page says that Bris was called "The Human Eyeball" because of his very large forehead:

I can't find anything to corroborate it, but it makes sense, I guess.

2007-07-06 10:12:39
37.   NJYankee41
Can I play? This sounds like fun.

Harry Child brings up a funny image.

2007-07-06 10:16:54
38.   JL25and3
36 Yeah, I just ran across that, too. But you really think that makes sense? Have you ever seen someone with a high forehead and thought, that guy looks like a human eyeball? And why would that be an "ugly" nickname, rather than just a strange one?

And, as you note, no one else seems to have heard that explanation, and we have no idea where this site dug it up. Without some other source, I'm not buying it.

2007-07-06 10:18:14
39.   bob34957
23Are you trying to tell me that the Halos are gonna sweep?
2007-07-06 10:18:22
40.   JL25and3
36 In fact, I can't even find a picture that shows Lord's forehead, so I don't know if that's true, either.
2007-07-06 10:19:26
41.   NJYankee41
29 Talk about double-phallic. How about Dick Cox. His real name is Elmer, so it leads one to believe they were in on the joke back then as well.

2007-07-06 10:26:05
42.   JL25and3
And I can't believe I forgot "Pebbly Jack" Glasscock, who was apparently a genuinely excellent ballplayer.
2007-07-06 10:27:08
43.   Javi Javi
I love this thread.
2007-07-06 10:31:33
44.   Shaun P
38 40 If we had access to Philly newspaper articles from 1905-1911, maybe they would tell us. If Bill James' biographical baseball encyclopedia ever got out of the Bs (I don't think it did), I bet it would tell us.

As for the name making sense, what I pictured was a guy with a big forehead, a bushy mustache (seems like lots of guys had those back then), and a long neck (he a big forehead, so why not?). Maybe its a stretch, but that's the best I've got.

Nicknames sure were more fun back then. Today he'd be B-Lor or something similarly uncreative.

2007-07-06 10:34:25
45.   JL25and3
Here's a picture of him. No matter how high his forehead, I still can't see him looking like an eyeball. But what do I know?

2007-07-06 10:35:04
46.   JL25and3
44 OTOH, at least we no longer have nicknames like "Dummy" or "Nig."
2007-07-06 10:42:36
47.   Shaun P
46 And "Lefty" was an uncreative name in its time, too.

45 I can't understand how anyone would think he had a high forehead. Or how an eyeball plays into it. No 'stache, so my guess is out. His head isn't particularly eye-ball shaped, so that's out. If he had really good eyesight, you'd think he would have been "Eagle Eyes" or something along those lines. I am at a loss.

2007-07-06 10:44:21
48.   Kered Retej
No pitchers names here, just wanted to say that Emma's recaps and posts are one of the rare bright spots in an otherwise dismal baseball season for the home team. I absolutely love, love, love your writing.

OK, back to the thread. One of my favorite names, though not a baseball player (and some would say not a sports figure even), is Dick Trickle (a former NASCAR driver). Always gets me giggling (I'm childish that way).

2007-07-06 10:47:45
49.   JL25and3
48 I agree completely. Emma, I always looke forward to your posts, and they always seem to lead to playful, spirited discussions without a dead horse in sight. Thanks.
2007-07-06 10:49:53
50.   Bama Yankee
47 Not sure I can help with ol' Bris and the Human Eyeball nickname. But it did remind me of this old joke:
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-06 10:50:21
51.   mehmattski
49 What about Barbaro?
2007-07-06 10:50:44
52.   Shaun P
45 Wait a minute. What if his nickname is a pun on his first name?

A bris is a circumcision rite. And what does a bris result in? Why, (bear with me here) a clear view of a "one-eyed willie". No one would have ever dared call him "one-eyed willie" at the time, that would have been too blatant. So, instead, "The Human Eyeball."

I may be crazy or sleep deprived, and I have no idea where this idea came from. But I like it better than "he had a big forehead".

2007-07-06 10:59:59
53.   williamnyy23
Memo to Cashman: trade for Ensberg now.

2007-07-06 11:03:16
54.   JL25and3
50 He made them into wallets that, when you rub them, turn into suitcases.
2007-07-06 11:04:06
55.   JL25and3
52 I doubt that there were ten people in baseball in 1910 who knew what a bris was.

But it's amazing how the nickname gets under your skin, isn't it?

2007-07-06 11:04:23
56.   Sliced Bread
Pickles Dillhoefer is a pretty slick baseball name.

Similar batters? Dud Lee and Coot Veal.

I (heart)

2007-07-06 11:06:52
57.   Bama Yankee
So, if
got together with
and ended up with
due to a bad case of the
should he go to
for a
2007-07-06 11:08:32
58.   mehmattski
53Only under one or more of the following circumstances:

1) We suddenly time-warped back to 2005.
2) Yankees give up no more than Chase Wright or Steven White (or any other players that rhyme).
3) Ensberg is intended strictly as a righty off the bench, and not in any kind of starting role.

I mean come on, he's a 31 year old two years removed from a decent year, has never played anything other than 3B, and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2008 season. Oh yeah, and he has a 2007 OPS+ only slightly higher than Miguel Cairo.

He's apparently a nice guy though...

2007-07-06 11:11:10
59.   Jim Dean
58 Let me add: 4) If Phillips starts sucking again.
2007-07-06 11:15:16
60.   Sliced Bread
57 is your friend, Bama.

Kiddin' of course. Nice job, dude!

Cannonball Titcomb is another beaut of a baseball name -- and what about Bill Calhoun of the 1913 Boston Braves?
They called him Mary.
Baseball Reference doesn't explain why but he hit .077 over his 13 game career.

2007-07-06 11:24:33
61.   Bama Yankee
60 LOL, Sliced. You got me with that one. Although, I seriously doubt that link is safe for work... ;-)
2007-07-06 11:25:37
62.   williamnyy23
58 In 2005 and 2006, Ensberg's OPS+ was 147 and 118. His career number is 117. Why should 184 ABs erase all that. If I was Cashman, I would take Ensberg off Houston's hands and find a role for him.
2007-07-06 11:26:40
63.   williamnyy23
60 Was Parcells the manager?
2007-07-06 11:27:39
64.   Shaun P
55 Could be. But you're right - its such a compelling nickname, you just keep wondering where it came from, and why it stuck.

All funny that, according to, only three guys had nicknames involving "human": Mike Hargrove (the human rain delay), our friend Bris, and Ralph Savidge (the human ripcord).

Which raises another question. An eyeball is part of a human. So why the human eyeball?

(And, way off topic, wasn't Hargrove also known as "Grover"? Why isn't that listed as a nickname on his page?)

2007-07-06 11:28:53
65.   JL25and3
I've always liked Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson.
2007-07-06 11:30:43
66.   JL25and3
64 I love baseball-reference beyond words. I'm a little ticked at them for one thing, though: they no longer list Greg Wells's nickname. He was the original Boomer Wells.
2007-07-06 11:51:33
67.   Bama Yankee
64 Could it be something as simple as the possibility that Bris had exceptional eyesight? I'm sure it is common for major leaguers to have better than average vision and maybe Bris' eyesight was "head and shoulders" (or in his case "forehead and eyeballs") above the rest of the league. Just a thought.

Now you got me curious about that "Human Ripcord" guy... on second thought, the way this thread has been going, I'm sure I don't want to know... ;-)

2007-07-06 11:52:34
68.   Jim Dean
64 66 BR is one guy. Can't hurt to email him.

2007-07-06 11:56:53
69.   JL25and3
67 It could could be anything, and none of it makes sense. Good eyesight --> The Human Eyeball?
2007-07-06 12:06:45
70.   markp
JL25and3, you beat me to it. I have him co-champion with "Piano Legs" Hickman. (Too lazy to look up the first name.) Ducky Wucky Medwick may be the only children's show nickname to win a triple crown.
2007-07-06 12:08:56
71.   JL25and3
67 Hmmm...The Human Ripcord. As far as I can tell, the parachute ripcord was invented in 1919, ten years after Savidge pitched. So it would have been this meaning: "a cord fastened to the gas bag of a balloon or dirigible so that pulling it will open the bag, releasing the gas and causing a rapid descent."

So maybe he was a big talker? Or, since he seems to have more or less sucked, maybe his presence in a game led to a rapid descent?

2007-07-06 12:09:02
72.   williamnyy23
69 According to the link below, it stems from his protruding forehead.

One interesting thing about the Human Eyeball is he was traded with Shoeless Joe Jackson and then for him straight up. That deal has to rank at the top for best nickname swap combined with greatest talent disparity in one trade.

2007-07-06 12:13:19
73.   Bama Yankee
71 or maybe he released a lot of gas in the dugout...
2007-07-06 12:14:53
74.   Shaun P
I will now shock the assembled audience (thanks to Marc Normandin).

Yankee relievers by BP's WXRL (Win Expectation above Replacement, Lineup-adjusted - aka, how many wins a reliever adds above a replacement level pitcher):

Kyle, .764
Mo, .700
Viz, .635
Henn, .500
Bruney, .379
Kei, .364 (entirely from his shutdown of Boston in relief of Karstens)
Andy, .147
Villone, .028 (LEV of .23, 17.3 IP)
EDSP, .010
the "LOOGY", -.473

In summary:

Villone is contributing almost nothing, and he's pitching in garbage time almost exclusively. Why he's on the team is beyond me. Why that spot wouldn't be better used on a position player (paging Shelley Duncan for a DH trial!) is beyond me.

Krazy Kyle isn't worthless . . .

. . . but EDSP may be.

And Myers can't be dumped fast enough. Swapping in Henn in his place is worth a win immediately.

Full stats (including leverage scores and IP) at

2007-07-06 12:18:49
75.   yankz
Oh my god...Chad Finn of FOX Sports thinks the reason the Yankees haven't won a championship since 2000 is because Derek Jeter hasn't talked to the media about the team's struggles enough.

Jim Dean: Tag, you're in.

2007-07-06 12:21:12
76.   williamnyy23
74 I'm not sure how the stat is derived, but could it be that Farns has benefitted from having Mo clean up his messes, while Proctor, Bruney and Viz have had to rely on each other's ineffectiveness (as Farnsworth never comes into an inning with men on).
2007-07-06 12:21:15
77.   JL25and3
72 We went through all that already - read the earlier comments.

Also, Lord was never traded with Jackson; I'm not sure where than comes from. Nor were they traded for each other straight up - the A's actually included more in the deal. It was Morrie Rath and a PTBNL for Lord, and Jackson was sent along later to complete the trade. Rath later played for the 1919 World Champion Reds, who won the World Series against...

2007-07-06 12:23:18
78.   williamnyy23
Here's more confirmation on Bris Lord:

"Of course, Lord, whose large forehead earned him the ugly nickname "The Human Eyeball," was not a great player like Jackson, and was out of the league in 1914."

2007-07-06 12:27:19
79.   thelarmis
ooh, interesting friday thread. echoing some earlier comments - yeah, i was excited when i saw emma had a post up today! i thoroughly enjoy reading your writing!!!

we had another good funny name thread pretty recently. for the double entandra, you must include Peter Schmuck - even though he's a baseball writer and not player (baltimore sun, i believe).

some funny shit here today, you guys rock!


2007-07-06 12:29:15
80.   Shaun P
76 Actually, no. WXRL accounts for inherited and bequeathed runners (more bare bones info here So Kyle has been doing that all on his own.
2007-07-06 12:31:00
81.   Shaun P
78 Hate to spoil it for you, but that's the same info I linked to in 36! So we still don't really know.

77 . . . Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox!

2007-07-06 12:36:02
82.   JL25and3
78 That's not confirmation, that's the only source of the info. They don't list any other source, and nobody else has ever heard that story. A picture of him doesn't look even the slightest bit like an eyeball, no matter how big his forehead is. And come on - would you ever look at a guy with a big forehead and think he looked like an eyeball?

A couple of years ago I wrote the Hall of Fame research department. They have no idea where the nickname came from. They even checked a book they consider the Bible of nicknames, and it said "origin unknown."

Bottom line is, one website tosses off that factoid with no attribution and no confirmation.

And yeah, we went through this entire discussion above.

2007-07-06 12:37:13
83.   cult of basebaal
On WXRL over at BP

One reliever statistic which you might be familiar with because it's used extensively on this site is WXRL. WXRL is a metric developed by Keith Woolner which is based on a Win Expectation framework. Win Expectation has its own statistical report (the Win Expectancy Matrix), and is a pretty complicated topic, so I'll give you a bare-bones, no-math explanation. Win Expectation breaks down each game situation—inning, score, number of outs, number of runners on base, and which bases they're on—that occurs in the major leagues, all to measure how the transition from one situation to another alters a team's chance of winning the game. So, within this framework, a pitcher who enters a game in a classic "save situation"—ninth inning, three-run lead, bases empty—increases his team's win expectancy if he makes it through the ninth without giving up the lead, albeit by a small amount, since the chances of victory with a three-run lead were pretty good to begin with. If the pitcher comes into the ninth with a one-run lead, no outs, and two men on, and gets out of the jam, his contribution to the team's win expectancy is considerably greater.

In WXRL the raw change in Win Expectation (the "WX" in WXRL) from the reliever's entrance to his departure is adjusted for the replacement level (the "R" in WXRL) and for strength of the opposing lineup (the "L").

The qualities of WXRL to keep in mind:

WXRL is a counting stat, measured in wins.
All WXRL values are above replacement level—any below replacement-level performances have negative values.
WXRL accounts for inherited and bequeathed runners.
Leverage matters. A reliever who comes into high-leverage situations will accumulate more WXRL than a player who pitches just as well in garbage time.

2007-07-06 12:37:59
84.   mehmattski
82 One hundred years from now, on the Bronx Banter, our grandchildren will be checking the archives and trying to figure out what everyone's handle is- "JL25and3... that's easy, Guidry 1978! But... mehmattski? He's Italian, not Polish, so why the ski? I don't get it!"
2007-07-06 12:38:52
85.   williamnyy23
77 Late to the party...sorry...although I did read somewhere that Lord and Jackson were involved together in some transaction on the same side. Both players played for Philly before Lord went to Cleveland (after which he returned to Philly in the jackson deal).
2007-07-06 12:40:49
86.   Bama Yankee
84 What about "weeping for brunnhilde" and "cult of basebaal"? Those are a couple that I have been wondering about...
2007-07-06 12:41:19
87.   williamnyy23
80 But, I'd imagine ERA is a component? So, if Mo saves Fransworth runners, it must boost his rating? I guess I should just read the link myself to see.
2007-07-06 12:46:22
88.   williamnyy23
82 Actually, the idea of a third eye (in the forehead) is not uncommon to some cultures (including some examples from our own pop culture). So, yes, I could definitely see that being the derivation of the nickname. Having said that, Lord's picture doesn't show evidence of such a forehead (although the accuracy of the pictures could be called into question).
2007-07-06 12:46:31
89.   mehmattski
86 And for those who care, mehmattski is my generic internet message board handle. It comes from playing way too much FIFA 2003, where my favorite player was Mehmet Scholl, and my friend started calling me "MehMatt." His favorite player was Scholl's teammate Carsten Jancker. Later, when playing very drunk one night, we discovered anothe player named Marek Jankulovski, and the joke was that you could add "-ski" to any name for instant Eastern Europeanification. And so MehMatt became MehMattski.
2007-07-06 12:49:25
90.   JL25and3
84 What's funny is that, in this very forum, a number of posters had no idea what my name meant. I didn't realize it until someone addressed me as "JL24and3" D'oh!

"Weeping for Brunnhilde" is obviously a fan of the Ring cycle - and no, I don't mean Frodo. I'm a big fan of the Ring cycle as well, but I have far less sympathy for Brunnhilde.

I assume that "cult of basebaal" is a play on words referring to Ba'al, a cult god commom (in various forms) in the ancient Middle East. (Wasn't he the male counterpart of Ashtaroth?)

Mehmattski? I have no freakin' idea.

2007-07-06 12:53:10
91.   JL25and3
88 That's way too deep an explanation. We're talking about ballplayers here, in an era when they weren't considered, ah, sophisticated.
2007-07-06 12:54:36
92.   williamnyy23
91 It's not really too thing that immediately pops to mind was a Twilight Zone episode in which an Alien had a third eye in his forehead. If such a reference could exist in 1950/60s pop culture, why not turn of the century?
2007-07-06 12:56:29
93.   williamnyy23
80 83 Also, if leverage is being mesaured, does it account for self created leverage. Two examples:

1) If Farns walks the lead-off batter, does he get extra credit for working out of a man on/no out jam?

2) If Farns enters a tie game and gives up 4 runs, does each run get assigned to tie game leverage, or is leverage reduced with each run he allows?

2007-07-06 12:57:22
94.   cult of basebaal
87 a bit more on WXRL, with examples:

WXRL is the change in expected runs due to the reliever's performance. As such, it matters very much the kinds of situations he comes to pitch in--and whether his good outings were in high or low leverage situations.

A simple example. A pitcher appears in two games. He gets lit up for 3 runs in one inning of work in game A, strikes out the side in game B.

Now consider two different game situations:

Situation 1: 1 run lead, bottom of the ninth. Assume win probability
upon entering is 80%.
Situation 2: Down by 12 runs, bottom of the 7th. Assume win
probability upon entering is 5%.

Combining the games and situations, there are two possibilities: A1,B2 or A2,B1.

A1: Blows a tight game, and his team loses. The reliever's win
expectation for this appearance is 0% - 80% = -0.800
B2: Pitches a perfect inning, but the game is pretty much
hopeless. Maybe the team has a 7% chance of coming back now. Win
expectation for this game is 7% - 5% = +0.020

The pitcher's combined WX for these two games is -0.800 + 0.020 = -0.780. Let's look at the other case:

A2: Pitcher shuts down the other team to preserve a clutch win. WX =
100% - 80% = +0.200
B1: Pitcher puts them further into an already deep hole. Suppose Win
probability drops to 4%. WX = 4% - 5% = -0.010

Pitcher's combined WX for the second case is +0.200 - 0.010 = +0.190.

A pitcher's performance in higher leverage situations will have a larger effect on his WX (and WXRL) than his performances in low leverage situations. Game A was very high leverage, Game B was very low leverage. And his performance in Game A pretty much determined his actual game value over that span.

WXRL is a way to assess past performance, usage, and game importance. But it is not independent of how and where a pitcher is used. A better measure for that would be Adjusted Runs Prevented (ARP), which takes into account only how a pitcher performed, not the leverage of the situation, but does consider inherited and bequeathed runners fairly in doing so. Hope that helps.

2007-07-06 12:57:26
95.   Sliced Bread
I think Bris Lord's family photos explain the nickname...

Have a looksee... if you dare...

2007-07-06 12:59:17
96.   cult of basebaal
that was from a Keith Woolner article over at BP, not me, btw
2007-07-06 12:59:26
97.   mehmattski
95 And of course his favorite band:

2007-07-06 13:03:41
98.   Sliced Bread
97 his favorite album?
2007-07-06 13:04:16
99.   williamnyy23
96 still leaves open a lot of questions though. Also, with the small sample size of most relieves (besides Proctor!), stats can be misleading. For example, if you watched Farnsworth give up very hard hit balls to three batters yesterday, you might think he pitched well in retiring the side in the 8th inning.
2007-07-06 13:05:52
100.   thelarmis
95 and his fave song would be Third Eye by TooL
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-07-06 13:07:18
101.   mehmattski
98 Combining that with Shaun P's theory from 52 made me laugh...
2007-07-06 13:10:20
102.   Bama Yankee
92 I thought the same thing about the TZ episode (it was called "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up")
I tried in vain to find a picture of that dude with the third eye on his forehead.

Wasn't Rod Serling supposed to be ahead of his time and not behind it? So, I doubt that those guys had the third eye thing in mind when they came up with the nickname... unless, Bris was actually an alien from Venus who had already set up a colony here and intercepted the Martians... Hmmm, maybe we are on to something now, where's Jim "ET" Dean when we need him?

2007-07-06 13:13:24
103.   mehmattski
102 Well, Rod Serling was only copying from Buddhism, which had only been around for 3000 years prior to The Human Eyeball:

If we could find anything about Lord's background, maybe williamnyy23 is correct in thinking that it's a reference to the Third Eye, and if Lord had one, it would be huge, given his giant forehead.

2007-07-06 13:13:45
104.   williamnyy23
102 Serling wasn't ahead of his time...he just used popular culture to touch on social issues that otherwise would have run afoul the censors. I still see a lot of validity in the derivation, but alas, it's just an opinion without facts.
2007-07-06 13:16:46
105.   Rob Middletown CT
"You'd probably need to get a forensics team in there to be sure: "Well, based on this partial thumbprint, it appears this was meant to be a curveball… but it's difficult to be sure, as the ball has suffered severe blunt trauma."

That had me laughing out loud in my cube. Nice.

2007-07-06 13:17:09
106.   RIYank
Good info at 83.
Here's the main thing I don't like abut WXRL. It allows the game situation to have too much impact. If you looked at 1000 innings, then this shouldn't matter, and in fact in theory it ought to be better than a stat that doesn't allow 'leverage' to make an impact, because it could be that some pitchers are great in high-pressure situations and some are particularly bad (worse than they usually are). Yankee fans will find this easy to believe.
But for smaller sample sizes, the leverage is just more noise. Now we have to worry not only about 'random fluctuations', but also about a further randomish factor that's getting mixed in. In short, with more noise the n has to be even larger to get significant results.

As cult of basebaal says, it's fine as a measure of past performance, but much worse (with small n) as a predictor.

2007-07-06 13:17:12
107.   williamnyy23
103 Taken even "all knowing" third eye would be very appropriate for someone with an omnipotent name like Lord.
2007-07-06 13:24:58
108.   cult of basebaal
99 obviously, it's just one slice of the information that's out there, it's not the end of any attempt to understand the overall picture of a pitcher's work ...

BP's sortable stats are awesome, btw, fer instance ... i can tell you that 31 of the 33 innings Krazy has pitched have been whole innings, that he has inherited NO baserunners (cause he never comes in to someone else's inning) and that he has only bequeathed 7 runners (in those appearances where he doesn't finish the inning) ... only 1 of those inherited runners scored

2007-07-06 13:25:53
109.   Andre
Neifi! Perez caught using steroids.
2007-07-06 13:28:41
110.   JL25and3
109 Not steroids, greenies. But presumably for the second time, since the first offense doesn't involve a suspension.
2007-07-06 13:29:39
111.   JL25and3
95 That's great. I especially liked the photos of "eyeball gumballs," and the picture of "Wayne eating eyeball soup." Yum, yum!
2007-07-06 13:29:44
112.   Bama Yankee
104 "he just used popular culture to touch on social issues that otherwise would have run afoul the censors."

That's seems ahead of his time to me... or maybe everyone else was doing that on early 60's television.

2007-07-06 13:32:09
113.   JL25and3
From the Neifi!riffic one himself: "I say to my fans that I am not stupid. I know the difference between good and bad and there are things that are going to be known going forward, but my lawyer has advised me not to talk for now."

I can't wait to hear this one.

2007-07-06 13:32:51
114.   thelarmis
great song title:

Soundgarden "Searching With My Good Eye Closed"

chris cornell is a god

2007-07-06 13:36:09
115.   JL25and3
112 Sure, that's what 60s TV was all about. Look at Gilligan's Island, with its portrayal of a monogamous, domesticated homosexual relationship, along with its commentary on exploitative capitalist fat cats, the cult of sexual celebrity, and the conflict between science and superstition.
2007-07-06 13:39:02
116.   cult of basebaal
new twist in the lineup today ...

Damon LF
Cabrera CF
Jeter SS
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Abreu RF
Cano 2B
Phillips 1B

2007-07-06 13:42:25
117.   Bama Yankee
115 LOL. You might be on to something... what about "Leave It to Beaver"? Who knows what that was really all about?
2007-07-06 13:46:00
118.   RIYank
116 Is that the best line-up we've had in a while? Seems like it.

I'm not sure why Damon is leading off. I guess because "he's more comfortable there"?

2007-07-06 13:48:15
119.   AbbyNormal821
115 then the Brady Bunch surely must be a Freudian clusterf**k!!!


2007-07-06 13:51:05
120.   Bama Yankee
119 not to mention what was going on with Wilbur and Mister Ed...
2007-07-06 13:53:42
121.   AbbyNormal821
2007-07-06 14:07:32
122.   Bama Yankee
121 What? I was talking about how Wilbur was ahead of his time in his ability to communicate with the horse... you know, kinda like the horse whisperer (except Mister Ed talked a little louder than that).

Oh, you thought I was talking about something else...

2007-07-06 14:09:43
123.   OldYanksFan
From PeteAbe:
This, to me, is a sort of "get ready for next year" move. The Yankees need to determine whether Damon can play left field and first base. Then next year you use him as a sort of super utility player at 1B, LF, CF and DH.

I hope he's right.

And can someone pontificate on the greater meaning of "My Mother the Car"?

2007-07-06 14:12:40
124.   Jim Dean
116 Hey - look at that. Someone in the organization does pay attention to statistics.

1) Damon = Nancy arm
2) Matsui = Bad fielder

1 + 2 = 3

3) Damon in LF; Matsui at DH.

Now the leadoff thing 118 - who can figure. A-Rod struggles and he gets dropped to eight. Damon struggles? He's the leadoff hitter.

2007-07-06 14:16:35
125.   Emma Span
Thanks everyone... I learned a lot about silly baseball names today, and gained a (probably lifelong) obsession with Bris Lord's forehead. This thread is like a living embodiment of the Wisdom of Crowds. But with better dick jokes!

Also, because I'm surprised no one's brought it up yet, let me just add: Tim Spooneybarger.

2007-07-06 14:17:12
126.   Jim Dean
BTW: Problem solved - the Yanks have signed their catcher of the future(from PA):

Zhenwang Zhang (catcher): He is only 5-10 and doesn't look like a baseball player whatsoever. Cashman only spoke about his defensive ability. Zhang prides himself on throwing out runners. He played for China in the World Baseball Classic.

2007-07-06 14:25:07
127.   weeping for brunnhilde
86 Indeed, Bama, JL 90 has it right.

But (in case you're interested) the full phrase comes from Augustine, who in his Confessions bemoaned the fact that as a youth he "wept for Dido, Queen of Carthage" and yet shed not a tear for his own benighted soul, estranged as it was from the love of God.

Well, I was writing a paper on this, trying to address (broadly) why Augustine was so repulsed by the idea of sympathizing with what he later judged to be a broken character, undeserving of sympathy.

Around the same time I finally managed to get to see a performance of Wagner's Die Walkure and indeed, I wept for Brunnhilde.

It's been my screen name for a couple of years now.

So there you have it, more than you ever wanted to know about Augustine and the origins of one man's handle.


2007-07-06 14:25:31
128.   JL25and3
125 Tim Spooneybarger. Excellent. And how about Juan Tyrone Eichelberger?
2007-07-06 14:26:34
129.   JL25and3
127 In Die Walkure, fair enough. In Gotterdammerung, I think she's rather of a whiner.
2007-07-06 14:30:28
130.   JL25and3
125 Emma, I've been kind of obsessed with Bris Lord ever since I ran across his name a couple of years ago. Someday I'm going to take some time off with the express purpose of tracking down that nickname.

Although, on my drive home today, I hit upon another possible solution. The Human Eyeball wouldn't seem all that unusual as an apellation for Sun Ra - and did anyone ever see Bris Lord and Sun Ra together? Kinda makes you think, no?

2007-07-06 14:33:51
131.   Bama Yankee
127 Thanks for the explanation. Although, sometimes the way the Yanks play (vs. the way you and I would like to see them play) I'm sure you could also be known as "Weeping for a Bunt-Hit"... ;-)
2007-07-06 14:35:04
132.   hoppystone
Unless it was in a previous link: how did everyone avoid the mention thus far of Dick Such? (you know: Such, Dick).
2007-07-06 14:35:57
133.   weeping for brunnhilde
129 :)

Now, the real question is whether this is to serve as the Game Thread.

I vote yes, because Emma's non-game thread Game Threads are lucky and God knows, we can use all the luck we can get with these confounded Californias.

2007-07-06 14:37:29
134.   weeping for brunnhilde
131 :)

When I was a kid I remember reading about Rod Carew and how he would often bunt to break himself out of a slump.

Good old Rod Carew.

2007-07-06 14:37:45
135.   AbbyNormal821
122 Sure...yah...of course, I knew that!!!
2007-07-06 14:37:45
136.   Schteeve
126 Gotta love those scouting reports that contain gems like "He doesn't look like a baseball player."

Apparently in Japan, he used to sit behind the plate wearing a costume he stole from backstage at "A Chorus Line." It was frickin' bizarre. Totally did not look like a baseball player.

2007-07-06 14:39:34
137.   Schteeve
126 Gotta love those scouting reports with gems like "Doesn't look like a baseball player."

It's a little known fact that in Japan he used to take the field wearing an ornate hat made of tropical fruit, and a coconut bra.

Totally did not look like a baseball player.

2007-07-06 14:40:35
138.   Schteeve
goddamn it. the first time i tried to post that lame joke it gave me an error, so I tried to recreate the joke, and now I look like a first rate ass.
2007-07-06 14:48:25
139.   weeping for brunnhilde
138 Don't flatter yourself, Schteeve. You look more like a second rate ass.


2007-07-06 14:49:44
140.   Schteeve
139 Yeah but at least I put the ball in play.
2007-07-06 14:50:07
141.   weeping for brunnhilde
140 ha ha hah aha ha hah ha!
2007-07-06 14:51:49
142.   Bama Yankee
136 & 137 re: "He doesn't look like a baseball player."

What's he got a third eye on his large forehead or something...

2007-07-06 14:56:57
143.   Zack
Great stuff today, the Banter's en fuego.

If you want some more humor, or perhaps horror, go look at the box score for game 1 of the C. Sox-Twinkies game today, specifically, Garland's line...

2007-07-06 14:59:35
144.   Zack
By the way, has anyone mentioned Dick Hoover yet?
2007-07-06 15:06:39
145.   Zack
Or, one of my favs, Frank Angelo Joseph "Creepy" Crespi.
2007-07-06 15:32:54
146.   JL25and3
143 I was listening to that game on the radio. I see the White Sox scored a second touchdown to close the gap a bit.
2007-07-06 15:54:25
147.   randym77
And it's Game 1. It's a doubleheader. o_O
2007-07-06 16:01:39
148.   mehmattski
Aww, don't they look cute in their YES polos.
2007-07-06 16:08:19
149.   standuptriple
146 I thought it was the Bears vs. Vikes.
2007-07-06 16:11:54
150.   mehmattski
Allow me to do Cliff's honors:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, Earth

2007: 52-33, 1st AL West
Pythagorean Record (49-36)

The Angels are basically the same team that came swept the Yankees out of the Stadium at the end of May. The only difference being that sophomore catcher Mike Napoli is injured and Jose Molina has assumed his playing time. Macier Izturis has also taken some playing time from Howie Kendrick at 2B.

Rob Quinlan gets the start at first thanks to his extreme split versus lefties.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-07-06 16:14:25
151.   standuptriple
Let's see if they can score some damn runs for AP tonight.
2007-07-06 16:20:01
152.   yankz

Did you really think Cliff wouldn't put a new thread up? Wannabe.

2007-07-06 16:22:40
153.   mehmattski
Man, Bartolo Colon sure is pitching a perfect game
2007-07-06 16:24:14
154.   RIYank
143 The fact that the dreadful ChiSox line-up scored that many runs against the Twins makes me feel less good about scoring off them.
But, a W is a W, I guess.

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