Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wrong Call on Homers

Updating a previous post, it is well-known that the Globe choses to publish only a few of the factual errors in Shaughnessy's columns.

Here's an example from Dec. 10, 2004. The CHB wrote: "[Kapler] was in the majors for six full seasons, saw the home run explosion, and the tapering off [sic!] of homers with the advent of limited drug testing."

In fact, at the time it was written, that latter comment was absolutely wrong.

MLB instituted steroid testing in 2004. That year, the number of homers per game rose. In 2004 it was 1.123 per game, up from 1.071 in 2003 and 1.043 in 2002. Moreover, the number of doubles -- another power indicator -- rose to 1.837 in 2004 from 1.816 in 2003 and 1.793 in 2002. (Other averages such as runs per game also went up.)

I don't have the final 2005 numbers handy, and in fact they are irrelevant to this point. The point is, it's just another example of Dan not bothering with the research -- at the time he wrote the column, had all the data on its MLB statistics page -- making stupid extrapolations and the Globe looking the other way.

(I should add that a few months later Gordon Edes once again quietly put things into proper perspective.)


Merv Tedwards said...
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objectivebruce said...

Wrong again. Major league baseball instituted limited testing in 2003, with a provision that more widespread testing would follow in 2004 if if more than 5% of players tested positive.

Sounds like "the advent of limited drug testing" was in place before 2004.

When will you correct your latest error?

The Chief said...

Man, are you confused. Baseball agreed to the policy in September 2002; testing did not start until 2004. Yes, baseball survey tested in 2003, but those results didn't count, and understandably plenty of players simply ignored them and continued to use. 2004 was the first year during which penalties were issued to major leaguers.

Meanwhile -- and this is the point -- the number of homers per game continued to rise from 2002-2004, which flies in the face of The CHB's contention, which, I'll remind you, was the "tapering off [sic!] of homers with the advent of limited drug testing."

Again, way to try to change the subject.

objectivebruce said...

Survey testing is most assuredly limited testing.

I would say that the columnist's remarks about tapering off of home runs can be misunderstood. But let us look at the context: Home runs had exploded to 2.19 per game in '96; 2.06 in '97 and 2.03 in '98 during the run up to the Maguire/Sosa juiced-up assaults on the Maris record. Steroids became a hot topic; it was an issue between the owners and players' union -- ad the number of home runs fell dramatically. The increase from '02 to '03 is statistically insignificant, the equivalent of one home run every 35 or so games in a year. Also, after 1998 up to 2004, PNC Park, Miller Park, Petco Park, PacBell Park and Safeco field opened, replacing,for the most part, cavernous all-purpose facilities

The Chief said...

Testing with no teeth (read: penalty) isn't testing. When a minimum of 5 to 7% (most assuredly higher) players still were caught, it clearly wasn't a threat.

Statistically insignificant, yes, but it's still not the decrease The CHB asserted.

And PacBell is a pitcher's park, except if your name is Bonds. And Petco is a severe pitchers park.

objectivebruce said...

Wow. Such ragtime. Tests are tests are tests,stop trying to justify your screw-up.

The Chief said...

Is that what your doctor told you when he gave you the results of the syphilis exam?