Just One More Thing I Wish I Had Written

yankees1One of the great baseball writers in the country is Joe Posnanski.  He almost always provides insight when he discusses the game, and he’s not a stat-o-phobe like many of his compadres.  I can’t wait to pick up his latest book, The Machine, about the Big Red Machine (it’s gotten rave reviews, and I’m sure it’ll be worth the read).

His latest blog post gets at exactly the feelings I (and many others) harbor about the latest World Series winners.  Of course I hate the Yankees—I think it’s actually built into my DNA somehow. But Joe explains why we shouldn’t buy the Yankee fans’ argument that spending the most money in the game doesn’t guarantee championships—why we should be a lot more outraged by their payroll than I already am. It’s definitely worth a read, especially on the day after the Evil Empire has cashed in yet again.

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4 Responses to Just One More Thing I Wish I Had Written

  1. PhilM says:

    Oh, those ’89-’91 teams were abysmal. . . . I grew up in the mid-70s as well, but as the child of New Yorkers transplanted to New England — so October 2, 1978 was a VERY good day!

    I just haven’t seen much actual analysis of salaries vs. performance, which would cut through what is obviously a very heated topic in the blogosphere.

    And I’m UVa class of 1991, then graduate degree from South Carolina — good to meet a fellow ‘Hoo!

  2. Larry says:

    Thanks for the comment–I’ll do some digging around on this subject when I get a bit of time. My anti-Yankee bias actually goes back to the mid-70s, when I grew up a Reds fan. The Yankees were the only real competition we had! And it’s served me well 30-odd years later, now that I’m living in Jersey and have tons of students who are Yankee fans and love to give me the business about my attitude. Since most of them were born around 1990, I have to remind them that it wasn’t that long ago that the Yankees really sucked. As one student asked me today, “Who’s Stump Merrill?” Kids these days. . . .

  3. PhilM says:

    I ran some numbers on payroll and posted the response to JoePo’s blog, but in case you missed it:

    “OK, I ran some quick-and-dirty calculations using USAToday’s MLB salary database. Even looking at only 1996-2009, when the Evil Empire’s Dark Age of the Sith apparently began and Yankees had the #1 payroll all but one season, standardized payroll correlates to team quality (using either wins or normalized run differential) with a coefficient of less than 0.50. In other words, LESS THAN HALF of the rationale for team quality is tied to payroll — and that’s with Yankee teams having some payrolls more than three standard deviations above average. So let’s look at the numbers and not play the “this just sounds right” game, shall we?”

    Sorry about your DNA! 😉

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