Baseball is all about statistics

Since it’s July 1st, here are some highlights of the June statistics for this site…

  • The busiest day was June 1st. The second-busiest day in terms of requests for pages was June 7th, but the second-busiest day in terms of actual page views was June 3rd.
  • Tuesday was the busiest day of the week, followed by Wednesday, and then Monday and Thursday running neck and neck.
  • The busiest hour was 10:00-11:00 A.M. Central time, followed closely by 7:00-8:00 A.M. There is a dramatic dropoff after the 2:00-3:00 P.M. hour.
  • leads the list of organizations visiting the site…specifically,, which I assume is the computer in Levi’s office. It’s pretty far ahead of (me at home). Other Chicagoans are visiting the site via and, and I assume a lot of the traffic is emanating from Chicago as well.
  • Apparently, we were mentioned on the forums at, but I can’t figure out where.
  • Most frequent search used to find the site: “” You know, you can just type that into your browser somewhere to find the site. Or maybe you like using Google as an intermediary.
  • Other frequent searches: “steve kline tony larussa,” “nolan ryan 235 pitches,” “baseball jingles,” “baseball activities,” “ipod freezes,” and, of course, “gary pappas shaves head.”
  • And it didn’t show up on the monthly report because only one person used these search terms, but I think it’s my favorite search of June: “how much does kirsten storms weigh.” Less than me, I’m guessing!

Original comments…

Levi: It’s not that I obsessively check this page. It’s that I have assigned my assistant, as about 70% of her duties, to obsessively check it and write up reports for me.

Jim: Also, you can’t really access the site anywhere but your office (unless you take your laptop, um, “warwalking”), whereas I can access it from my office, from home, and probably from my cell phone if I’m willing to pay 25 cents a minute. And I get new comments e-mailed to me, so I only have to check the site if I can’t figure out the context of a comment (e.g., when I get an e-mail that tells me nothing but that Steve said “You’re a regular Charlie Lau or whatever the hell that guy’s name is.”

Swingin’ Simon

While the Cardinals were busy losing, again and again and again, to the Pittsburgh Pirates this week, I was thinking about Pirates first baseman Randall Simon.

Who doesn’t love Randall Simon? Well, a certain sausage in Milwaukee might not. And those of us who prefer our hitters to be patient and hit for power, especially if they’re manning first base, well, we might have our quibbles with him once in a while, too.

But is there any baseball fan who doesn’t love watching him hit? There are hundreds of impatient hitters. Rey Ordonez approaches his at-bats as if he’s Cinderella at thirty seconds to midnight. Corey Patterson, until recent weeks, swung at bad pitches as if he were the pitcher’s therapist and wanted him to feel good about himself. But no one I’ve ever seen combines a burning desire to hit every single pitch with an incomprehensible ability to hit just about every single pitch.

Sure, a lot of the balls he hits get fouled off. Or popped up. And he’s never hit for real power. But that takes nothing away from my marveling at his sheer ability to introduce bat to ball. Shoetops, helmet-high, inside, outside, in the dirt. It’s never mattered much to Simon. He’s a superhero of hacking.

And he’s chubby. Even rotund.

Though Simon’s career on-base percentage of .328 is abysmal, his .297 batting average has enabled him to keep a major league job for seven years. But I worry that the end is near: It’s only 100 at-bats, but Simon’s line this year is .210/.292/.280 is bad. He’s not striking out much more than usual, with 10, but he’s also not hitting for any power at all, with only 4 doubles and 1 home run. If he doesn’t come back strong in the second half, even the lowly Pirates (see the first sentence of this post) might let him go.

Who knows what the problem is? Maybe his bat speed is slowing just enough, though you would expect that to be reflected in increased strikeouts. Maybe he’s been unlucky.

But I have a new pet theory. Remember in the spring of 1998, when New Sammy burst on the scene, no longer flailing at curveballs in the dirt? Maybe Simon’s the Bizarro Sammy: he’s more than doubled his walk rate, from a career rate of one walk per 23.5 at-bats to this year’s rate of one every 11 at-bats. Maybe that’s the problem: he’s being too selective. That goes counter to everything I understand about hitting, but we’re talking about Randall Simon. Anything’s possible.

So my advice is to hack away, Randall. I think you shouldn’t take another pitch this season. Not a one.

If my advice works, Pirates fans can thank me later by beating the Cardinals’ rivals down the stretch.

Original comments…

Steve: You’re a regular Charlie Lau or whatever the hell that guy’s name is.

Toby: Ahh yes, thank you, Levi, for highlighting another in a long string of Pirate first baseman who really suck. I can trace it all the way back to the early 80s and Jason Thompson, who replaced “Pops” Stargell. Yes, I know Willie wasn’t really a first baseman–he played there late in his career, but still, he was the last good first baseman they had.

I liked Sid Bream when he played there, but then he went to Atlanta and then in that game 7 in 1992, he slid home with the winning run… So, now I pretty much hate him.

Man, I’ve been on vacation all week and must have built up some real anger. Sorry about that.

There goes the smuggling operation

From the “Returning to the United States” portion of AAA’s “U.S.-Canada Border Information” handout: “Articles considered detrimental to the general welfare of the United States are prohibited entry. These include narcotics and dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia, obscene articles and publications, seditious or treasonable matter, lottery tickets, hazardous articles (e.g. fireworks, dangerous toys, toxic or poisonous substances) and switchblade knives.”

Lottery tickets are detrimental to the general welfare of the United States? Have the various states been notified of this fact? Many of them seem to be depending on the sale of lottery tickets for a major portion of their budgets. (Hmm, maybe they specifically mean Canadian lottery tickets are detrimental to the general welfare of the United States.)

I guess this means we won’t be able to blow any remaining Canadian cash on lottery tickets near the border. Guess we’ll instead have to stock up on candy that’s not available in the U.S., including Nestle Smarties and Aero bars. (Because we’ll be in Canada less than 48 hours, we’ll be able to bring back up to $400 worth of candy, or anything other than lottery tickets. If we wind with anywhere near $400 worth of Canadian money with which to buy candy, it will either mean an ATM went crazy somewhere or we were surprisingly successful buskers.)

Original comments…

Levi: Jim, if you buy anything in Canadia, the terrorists win.

maura: you can buy aero bars at the deli around the corner from my apartment.

Jim: Along with poutine, Kraft Dinner, caffeine-free Mountain Dew, and Anne Murray CDs?

(Yes, yes, I know Kraft Dinner is readily available in the U.S. under the name Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or, if you prefer, Cheese and Macaroni. Leave it to the Canadians to just assume that dinner will involve macaroni and cheese.)

Levi: Also, $400 Canadian is equal to about $.28-$.35 American, depending on the prevailing exchange rates. We just might end up with that much money.

Jason: Don’t forget to pick up some ketchup-flavored potato chips.

On second thought, I think you’ve tried them before, so, forget it, after all.