Monday

CRM Events & Conferences

To aid the cause, we're looking at scheduling in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software industry. The CRM conferences and events occur on pretty much an annual cycle, with the major CRM software vendors such as SAP, Oracle, Infor, Microsoft, Sage and others hosting the CRM conferences. The CRM conferences tend to focus on CRM software, but also look at underlying technology (such as cloud CRM, social CRM, mobile and analytics), strategy and business processes.

Sunday

Bill James the Baron of Baseball Stats

Tonight on 60 Minutes there was a great special on Bill James, the baseball statistician whiz. Most people will be watching the Braves v. Nationals game or recovering from the Davidson loss but 60 minutes really pulled through with the story on baseball statistics. I am hoping that this story, being watched primarily by the elderly, will open the eyes of those batting average embracers. For those of you who don't know, Bill James is a baseball statistician who has written over two dozen books devoted to Baseball stats and in 2006 he was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. The king of almost every baseball stat geek, Bill James revolutionized the way baseball looks at statistics. He taught us, among other things, that individual ballparks have a profound effect on a ballplayer's production, that the largest variable determining how many runs a team will score is how many times the leadoff hitter gets on base, that much of what we perceive as pitching is actually defense. Some of James' most prominent theories include: Major League Equivalency (which shows minor league performance to be a valuable predictor of big-league success), Runs Created (quantifying a player's actual contributions to his team's runs scored), Win Shares (to compare players at different positions and from different eras) and Range Factor (as a measure of defensive effectiveness). Before James, the typical fan -- and, for that matter, many sportswriters and historians -- paid little attention to such variables as the impact of park dimensions, the value of stolen bases, or the truth of established beliefs over who was to credit (or blame) for a team's fortunes. Now such interpretation is taken for granted. In the late '70s, he started publishing his "Baseball Abstracts," yearly dissections of baseball players and baseball seasons that were typed, photocopied and sent to other aficionados. He built up a cottage industry and the publishing world noticed; in 1982, the "Bill James Baseball Abstract" was put out nationally, and became an annual bestseller -- despite concern that there was a narrow market for his work. In 2002 the Reds Sox hired Bill James and since then things have shifted within the organization. That includes providing input before the Red Sox signed players such as David Ortiz and Mark Bellhorn, who helped the team end an 86-year drought by winning the 2004 World Series and as you all know (I hope) the Red Sox won the World Series again last season two rings for crunching numbers....not bad. "Bill's had a great influence on the game," says Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who recalls reading James' Abstract when he was 10. "He's really helped bring objective analysis from behind the clouds into the sunshine. His unique perspective is always valuable for us. Whenever we have an issue, we solicit his opinion. His opinions help us get to the right answer."

Saturday

Solid Start for the Franchise

Phil Hughes was a beast in the last start of the spring for him. Here are the numbers from the wise Pete Abe

5 innings
3 hits
2 runs
1 earned
1 walk
4 strikeouts
69 pitches / 44 strikes

This is key for the Yankees because now Hughes has a solid spring start to help boost his confidence and give him a perfect way to end the spring that is perfect to get him prepared for the regular season.

Wednesday

A Pleasant Surprise

Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue came today, and as the title of this post suggests, I was pleasantly surprised. SI continues to prove itself as the best publication of the mainstream media. First of all, I was surprised at how reasonable the playoff projections were. First of all, SI has the Tigers winning ninety games this year, as opposed to ESPN's prediction of 177, as well as the Yankees winning the AL east. They have the Tigers over the Cubs in the World Series, but I won't argue here, as the playoffs are basically impossible to predict. In the team previews, SI truly shines. They still include useless stats such as batting average, RBI, runs, W-L record, and saves, but they now include K/9, BB/9, as well as a new influence on OBP. They even included PECOTA projections, as well as a mention of OPS+ (!). I completely understand the inclusion of the older, useless statistics, because this will keep the ignorant majority happy, but the transition to more sabermetrically inclined statistics will help spread these stats.

Woodward Tossed

Yankees released infielder Chris Woodward. They still have 42 players in camp

Tuesday

The Triumphant Return of Felix Heredia

I was looking through ESPN's transaction page (look at yesterday's) and I saw something that horrified me: Yankees claimed pitcher Felix Heredia off waivers from the Cincinatti Reds. At first, I thought this was some kind of cruel joke by ESPN, and I'm still not sure if it's true. You all remember Felix. He appeared in 59 games for the Yankees over a season and a half. In the 12 games he appeared in with the team in 2003, he actually was very successful. Pitching to a 1.20 ERA and also a 1.20 WHIP in 15 innings. The next year, however, when he wasn't hurt he sucked. He appeared in 47 games, throwing 38 2/3 innings with a 6.28 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. Heredia most likely will not crack the big league roster this year, as he hasn't appeared in a major league game since 2005, but still, I don't understand why anybody would claim this guy.

UPDATE: I think there may be a problem with the transaction page, because I just looked a little further down the page and it says that the Blue Jays activated Cory Lidle from the 15-day DL. Maybe this is just some kind of sick joke.

Fantasy Baseball

My favorite of the now very extensive fantasy sports is back yet again and of course I will come in last. Nate and I had our draft this weekend in our keeper league. Unlike me Nate is fairly skilled at Fantasy but I thought you guys should check out our teams.

First My Team

2Pacs West Side Ballerz
C- Bengie Molina
1B- Albert Pujols
2B- Dan Uggla
3B- Garret Atkins
SS- Hanley Ramirez
OF- Jason Bay
OF- Brad Hawpe
OF- Bobby Abreu
UTIL- Travis Hafner
Bench- Shane Victorino

P- Fausto Carmona
P- Javier Vazquez
P- Joe Borowski
SP- Carlos Zambrano
SP- Scott Kazmir
RP- Chad Cordero
RP- Francisco Cordero
Bench- Brad Penny
Bench- Bronson Arroyo
Bench- Matt Garza
Bench- Mark Buehrle

with my duo of RP Corderos I.......still will come in last

Now Nate's Team

Honey Nut Iichiro's
C- Kenji Johjima
1B- Adrian Gonzalez
2B- Ian Kinsler
3B- Alex Gorden
SS- Jimmy Rollins
OF- Vladimir Guerrero
OF- Ichrio Suzuki
OF- Nick Swisher
UTIL- Kevin Youkilis
Bench- Chipper Jones

P- Matt Cain
P- Tim Lincecum
P- Joe Blanton
SP- Roy Halladay
SP- C.C. Sabatha
RP- K-Rod
RP- Jose Valverde
Bench- Brett Myers
Bench- Matt Capps
Bench- Hiroki Kuroda
DL- Brad Lidge

Monday

Predictions for the 08 Season

Here are my projections for the 2008 season. They are basically just my feelings, they are not statistically based. If you want more thoughtful projections look at Pecota or the Hardball Times or the recent post on Replacement Level. There is your disclaimer, so don't tell me how stupid I am. Again, sorry for the lack of posts. Spring Training is painfully boring and Charlie and I have both been quite busy.

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
AL Wild Card: Red Sox
The AL, unlike the NL, has at least five legitimate playoff contenders, with the Indians as the odd man out. However, I think the Angels are the only lock, as their division sucks. A losing streak or two could be the difference between the playoffs or not for the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Indians.
Team to Watch: Tampa Bay Rays- made a lot of noise in the offseason, and although they won't contend this year, they could scratch .500.
Players to watch- Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Phil Hughes, Joba, IPK, Laptop Boy

Now for the NL:
NL East: Mets
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Rockies
NL Wild Card: Phillies
Okay, I take it back. The NL does have quite a few legit playoff contenders, but for different reasons. The NL is competitive because of a lack of standout teams, but a large concentration of average-slightly above average teams. I think the Mets could probably win the AL West, but no other NL team would make the playoffs in the AL.
Team to watch: Mets- Diamondbacks- Can they have another successful year with a very young roster, and despite the fact that they were outscored last year?
Players to watch: Troy Tulowitzki, Johan Santana, Dan Haren, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller

There you have it: The Chuck Knoblog's Unofficial Division-by-Division Predictions for the 2008 Major League Baseball Season- catchy, isn't it?

Tomorrow the Red Sox play the Oakland A's in Japan, at 6AM. It'll be nice to wake up to baseball after being without it for five months.

3.8 MILLION TICKETS SOLD

YANKEES REACH 3.8 MILLION TICKETS SOLD FOR THE 2008 SEASON; MARKS RECORD PACE IN FINAL SEASON AT CURRENT YANKEE STADIUM

Beautiful words from the Yankees front office. The greatest sports team in the world has exceeded 3.8 million tickets sold for the '08 season and they are the earliest club to do so, the current tally is 400,000 tickets ahead of the Yankees’ total on the same date last year.

“Even with historic advance sales, tickets remain available for most games,” said Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost. “I encourage fans to join us at Yankee Stadium throughout 2008 to celebrate the 84th and final season of Baseball at The House That Ruth Built.”

Looks the Yankees won't have any trouble funding the new stadium


(Sorry about the shortage of posts.....Spring Training isn't very eventful and we have been busy)

Wednesday

Shelley's Slide Latest Episode In Fierce Yanks-Rays Rivalry

The Yankees lost to the (Devil) Rays today 7-6, but the bigger story was the Yankees' retaliation for Elliot Johnson's collision at home plate with Francisco Cervelli. Shelley Duncan hit what should have been a single, but it trickled around a bit in foul territory and Shelley rounded first hard, but he was still out by about five feet, and slid spikes up into Akinori Iwamura, driving his foot into Aki's thigh. He was immediately ejected, and Jonny Gomes ran in from right field and kind of half-tackled, half-fell on Shelley. Shelley is okay, but Jonny is kind of pissed, and probably has about eight broken ribs. To sum it all up, I love Shelley Duncan. I hope he makes the team, just so we can all hear his quotes and watch him strike fear into opponents.

Monday

Kennedy, Mo Sharp

After Billy Traber finished Joba's inning, the Sandman came in for his one inning of work. He threw 13 pitches/8 strikes, striking out one batter and inducing two weak grounders. Looks like classic Mo. Ian Patrick Kennedy then came in to pitch his scheduled four innings, and unlike Joba, got threw all of them, pitching very well. He allowed two hits and walk, along with two strikeouts. Of his ten outs that didn't come via the K, eight of them were groundouts, another good sign. I know I shouldn't read too much into spring stats, but IPK and Hughes in the rotation is going to be very exciting. Following Mr. Kennedy was LaTroy Hawkins, who allowed one hit and got two groundball outs to close out the game.

Final Score: 4-0 Yankees

Joba Okay...Yankees Sign Billy Crystal

First the serious stuff: Joba started today's spring training game against the Reds, and wasn't good, wasn't bad. He was supposed to go three or four innings, but left after two and a third because of a high pitch count. He threw 49 pitches/32 strikes, allowing two hits and striking out one. He also picked off Jay Bruce.

On a less serious note, the Yankees have signed Billy Crystal to a one-day contract. He is thought of as one of the best baseball players in Hollywood, and is most likely better than Kei Igawa, and is more durable than Carl Pavano. He will wear number 60, for his age, and will play against the Pirates on thursday. Says Crystal:
“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this call,” Crystal exclaimed. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and Commissioner Selig. I know this’ll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I’m looking forward to helping the younger players…which, by the way, is all of them. Oops, I have to go, Scott Boras is on the phone.” (From Pete Abe)
IPK and Mo will pitch later, so I may update on what they do. Billy Traber is in right now.

Saturday

Cervelli Out With Broken Wrist

Catching prospect Francisco Cervelli broke his wrist today in a collision at the plate, and is out indefinitely. Hopefully he will be able to make a complete recovery and return to his previous level of play. Now, it there is a Posada or Molina injury, PJ Piliterre will get the call.

Thursday

Build Me a Bullpen...

Lately I've seen a lot of people forecasting the '08 Yankee bullpen and generally, I disagree. It's impossible, and probably a waste of time, to try to do this. The Yankees used 22 different pitchers out of the bullpen last year, and will use at least that many this year. Anyway, here's my take:
Mariano Rivera
Kyle Farnsworth
LaTroy Hawkins
Joba Chamberlain
Ross Ohlendorf
Scott Patterson
Heath Phillips

There it is, feel free to chime in and tell me why I'm wrong.

Spring Recap #5

Not a great day for the Yankees:
Hitting:
Johnny Damon was 2-3 with two doubles. Bobby Abreu was 1-3 with a homer. Austin Jackson was 1-3 as well. Greg Porter hit a grand slam and Chris Woodward was 2-3. Not too many regulars in the lineup today.

Pitching:
Wang got rocked, giving up six earned while only retiring two batters. He gave up six hits and walked two, an said he was overthrowing and overstriding, then threw in the bullpen to try to correct the problem. Scott Patterson retired all four batters he faced, striking out one. He has not allowed a baserunner in his 2.2 spring innings. The Farns pitched a scoreless inning, but did walk a batter. Darell Rasner gave up a grand slam in two innings of work, and Sean Henn gave up two runs (one earned) in one inning. Dan Giese and Billy Traber each pitched a scoreless inning, with Traber striking out one.

Wednesday

Review of MLB 08 The Show (PS2)

My favorite baseball video game comes back this year not bearing too many changes. What The Show did bring was the same features as last year but now with a more polished look. Also this game comes back with a much better soundtrack that includes ZZ Top, War, Queens of the Stone Age, Thin Lizzy, The Ramones and Franz Ferdinand. The only problem is the soundtrack has only 11 songs on it. Really the only feature that I am glad they added was the rob home run feature. Really I did not see much that needed changing last year and I am glad Sony did not do anything drastic.

I give it
8.5

Really this is the best baseball video game out there and 2k8 is not even close to The Show

Spring Recap #4

The Yankees lost to the Twins today, 7-5 at Legends/Steinbrenner Field. I was able to watch the 8th and 9th innings on ESPN. Here are some highlights.
Hitting:
Shelley Duncan hit a bomb in the bottom of the ninth. It really looks like he'll make the team. Derek Jeter was 2-2 with a walk. Robbie Cano was 3-3 with a double. Johnny Damon was 1-3 with a stolen base.
Pitching:
IPK threw two innings, giving up a solo homer to Delmon Young. Heath Phillips followed with a 1-2-3 inning striking out one. Joba proved he was human, giving up a two-run homer to the mighty Garret Jones. He struck out one and walked one. Jon Albaladejo pitched one and two-thirds innings, giving up a run on 4 hits, striking out two and walking none. I was able to watch Edwar Ramirez pitch, and he was awful. He didn't locate well, and his change didn't seem to move as much as last year. He gave up three earned runs on two hits and a walk. Chris Britton faced two batters, getting them both out. Ross Ohlendorf was pretty nasty. He hit 95 on the gun, with movement. he gave up one hit, but it was weakly hit, and Chris Woodward was out of position. Both of his outs were strikeouts.

One of the announcers, don't know who, said the Yankees won't make the playoffs because they don't have "that #1 starter." When will they learn?

In more important news, Bobby Murcer is okay.

Tuesday

More From The Scrappy Underdogs

From NoMaas:.

Oh Thise Scrappy Underdogs

From this article:
A group of men — some with Irish accents — beat up a 23-year-old Cambridge man and sent him to the hospital after they spotted him sporting a Yankees baseball cap.

Sound like nice guys.

Spring Recap #3

The Yankees beat the Blue Jays in Dunedin today 2-0 in five innings. It was shortened because of rain, and the Yankees pitchers combined to throw a perfect game. Here's a summary:
Hitting:
Since it was a shortened game, I'll highlight who has had the best offensive spring so far-
Shelley Duncan: 2.000 OPS (!), HR in 9 PA
Jason Giambi: 2.000 OPS (!) , HR in 4 PA
Melky: 1.425 OPS in 7 PA
Jason Lane: 1.222 OPS in 9 PA
Morgan Ensberg: 1.000 OPS in 8 PA
Wilson Betemit: .905 OPS in 9 PA
I left off guys like A-Rod and Abreu because they are guaranteed spots on the roster. Obviously, you shouldn't read too much into these stats because a) they are in ST and b) the tiny sample size.

Pitching:
I already said it was a combined perfect game, so I'll just give you the IP, K's, etc.
Hughes: 1 IP
Patterson: 1 IP, K
Igawa: 2 IP, 2 K
Traber: 1 IP, 3 K
Good all around, and very surprising from Igawa.

Monday

Spring Recap #2

Todays game was in Kissimme, against the Astros. The Yankees won 7-6. Here are some notable performances:

Today's Lineups

Courtesy of Pete Abe

I just want to say one thing about yesterdays spring training game. I was very impressed with Jason Lane who started in left field. His first at-bat he homered to left. In total he went 2 for 3 and had one RBI. I liked his performance.

YANKEES
Damon LF
Cabrera CF
Cano 2B
Duncan DH
Ensberg 1B
Betemit 3B
Lane RF
Cervelli C
Woodward SS

Pitching
Mussina (2-3 innings)
Karstens
Jackson
McCutchen
Ramirez
Melancon

HOUSTON
Michael Bourn CF
Kaz Matsui 2B
Lance Berkman 1B
Carlos Lee DH
Miguel Tejada SS
Hunter Pence RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Jose Cruz Jr. LF
Humberto Quintero C
Wandy Rodriguez LHP

Also pitching:
LHP Mark McLemore
RHP Oscar Villarreal
RHP Brian Moehler
RHP Mike DeJean

Sunday

Spring Recap

After the game, the Yankees made their first cuts. No huge surprises; Eric Duncan, Jesus, Eduardo Nunez, and Austin Romine. Tomorrow they play Houston at 1:05.

Hank The Tank Official Red Sox Nation Member

As you all know earlier in the week Hank the Tank bashed "Red Sox Nation" calling it " a bunch of [expletive]. Now in response Red Sox principal owner John Henry has decided to make Steinbrenner the newest member of Red Sox Nation complete with membership card and certain perks that only members can obtain, according to the Boston Herald.

"I'm a big Hank fan," Henry wrote in an email to the newspaper. "Just to ensure he knows how cool Red Sox Nation is, [Saturday] we officially inducted him as a member of Red Sox Nation and we are sending him his membership card giving him access to an array of options including our newsletter, bumper stickers, pins, Green Monster seats and a hat personally autographed by David Ortiz."

Thank you John Henry. Now I can not wait to see what Hammerin' Hank The Tank has in store for his next quote.

Spring Training Game #2

Here are the lineups courtesy of Pete Abe:

YANKEES (1-0)

Johnny Damon DH
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Jason Lane LF
Melky Cabrera CF

Pitching
Andy Pettitte (2 innings)
Steven White (1-2 innings)
LaTroy Hawkins
Kyle Farnsworth
Brian Bruney
Sean Henn
Jose Veras

PHILLIES
TBA

The game is on YES today, at 1:15.

Saturday

What? You Want an Aging Left Fielder?

I saw this post on MLBTR about the Padres' outfield situation. Basically, they want a better left fielder to sure up their outfield. Immediately, I thought MATSUI! or Damon. Of course, the Yankees would have to keep part of their salary, but we could probably get a decent return, along with the added roster flexibility.

First Spring Training Game: Yankees at Phillies

I know they played USF yesterday, but that didn't count. This one... also doesn't count, but it still counts more than yesterday. Anyway, here are the lineups, courtesy of Pete Abe:

Yankees at Phillies, 1:05 PM

YANKEES
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Shelley Duncan 1B
Morgan Ensberg DH
Jose Molina C
Greg Porter LF
Chris Woodward 2B

Pitching
Chien-Ming Wang (2 innings)
Darrell Rasner (1-2 innings)
Chris Britton (1)
Jon Albaladejo (1)
Heath Phillips (1)
Dan Giese (1)
Ross Ohlendorf (1)

PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Pat Burrell DH
Geoff Jenkins RF
Greg Dobbs 3B
Chris Snelling LF
Carlos Ruiz C

Pitching
Adam Eaton
Chad Durbin
Ryan Madson
Clay Condrey
Tom Gordon

The game is not on YES. You can see it on MLB.TV or via gameday, or on TV if you live in Philadelphia. Tomorrow's game, however, will be on YES at 1:15.

Update 1:42- Through two innings now, and the Yankees lead 3-0 on a Shelley Duncan 3-run homer. Wang is done for the day with a line of: 2 IP, 1 Hit, No runs, No walks and a Strikeout.

Update 1:52- 5-0 now, top of the third. Shelley Duncan doubled home Jeter and Abreu, and has 5 RBI. I guess he wants to make the team.

Update 2:12- 5-1 after three. Rasner gave up two hits and two walks. Chase Utley drove in the rune. We'll see if Rasner goes another inning.

Update 2:27- After four, still 5-1. Rasner was replaced by the lefty, Billy Traber, who put the Phillies down 1-2-3 on a grounder and two flyouts. The Yankees went down in order in the top of the inning.

Update 2:38- Clay Condrey pitching the top of the fifth for the Phils, as A-Rod goes deep off of him. Jeter singled and stole second earlier in the inning, but was then picked off of second.

Update 2:44- Some subs: Eduardo Nunez replaces Jeter at short, Marcos Vechionacci replaces A-Rod at third, and Jason Lane replaces Abreu in right. Chris Britton pitching, and he gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Ruiz followed by a Rollins grounder through the legs of Chris Woodward, scoring Ruiz.

Update 2:52- Britton recovered, and leaves the game after five with one hit and one unearned run in an inning.

Update 2:55- More subs after the Yanks are retired in order in the top of the sixth. Jesus takes over the catching duties, Austin Jackson in center for Gardner, Tabata in left for Porter, and Betemit at first for Duncan, who played a hell of a game.

Update 3:06- Heath Phillips throws a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and striking out two. On to the seventh.

Update 3:39- Top eight now, Eric Duncan in to play first, and in his first career Spring Training at-bat, Jesus Montero went deep. Jonathan Albaladejo pitched the bottom of the seventh, putting up a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. Dan Giese will pitch the bottom of the eighth.

Update 3:48- Dan Giese gave up a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth, Tom Gordon in to pitch the ninth for the Phils.

Update 4:04- Betemit hit a two-run homer off Tom Gordon, who went two-thirds of an inning.