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MLB Opening Day on Campus: W&L’s Most Loved and Hated Pro Sports Teams—Round One

This is an unofficial account of the inaugural celebration of MLB’s Opening Day at Washington and Lee’s Ruscio Center for Global Learning (RCGL).

The Center for International Education (which is housed in the RCGL) hosted the celebration.  It was originally conceived as a means of introducing our international students to an important aspect of American culture that frequently is overlooked in higher education: sports.  Amidst the divisiveness of contemporary politics across the globe and across our campuses, the center organized the celebration to highlight the transcendence and global importance of sports.

The campus community was peppered with colors as folks wore hats and shirts of their favorite sports teams.  Banners of sports teams from around the world adorned the RCGL atrium’s railings.   Along with national flags of our current students, banners of the New Zealand All Blacks, Manchester United, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea added color inside and out on a beautiful spring day.  Passers-by also noted the presence of Dallas Cowboys and Boston Red Sox colors…

As part of the celebration, the Center for International Education conducted an online poll of the W&L community to determine which teams are the most loved and reviled.  Mark Rush, Center Director, announced the results at 12:30 PM.  “Sports transcends political and national divisions,” Rush said.  Noting that “the ancient Greeks would stop wars so that soldiers could participate in the Olympic Games,” Rush said that the poll and the celebration added another element to the celebration of internationalization on campus.

Some 200 members of the W&L community participated in the poll.  Along with announcing the winners and losers, Rush also gave honorable mention to the most creative responses.  A couple of respondents listed several different teams that they hated.  One’s favorite team was “Any team but the Cowboys.”  Another loathed “the NFC East and Indianapolis.”

The New York Yankees were the most disliked team on campus.  They doubled the number of votes against the New England Patriots.  Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Boston Red Sox tied for the most loved teams.  The polling was diverse and covered sports teams from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America as well as North America.

The Center will conduct the poll again–and scores will be settled–in Spring, 2019.

 

Moonlighting: Reflections on 2016 Baseball Analysis

I offer here  a list of links to my 2016 Baseball articles.  Some were pretty solid.  Others, not as solid as I’d like (apologies to Baltimore and Toronto, whom I underestimated).

The columns received differing levels of play in several different venues.  The Studs and Duds columns did quite well.  My early season analysis of player rankings and dollar values also score a lot of hits.

This really is a great deal of fun and gives me the opportunity to dedicate some time to the analysis of a sport I love.  Many thanks to my colleagues at Major League Fantasy Sports for the chance to trade notes  and work with them.  Check out the site.  It’s a great source of commentary, snarkiness, humor and fine analysis of all sports.   Some of the writers are superior analysts of really granular data and trends.  My stuff moves back and forth between macro level analysis  of players and the league as a whole (see the historical trend pieces) and more granular analysis  of pitching. Heck, they even let me put on my professor’s hat and edit.  Nothing worse that good sports analysis marred by a split infinitive, gerund without a possessive or dangling modifier…

Anyway, it’s awesome to be able to do this.  Baseball is a fantastic sport that appeals to  the romantic  as well as the geek.  If you want to understand Americans, strip away politics and other stuff and talk sports. Even folks who can’t stand one  another will be upset if they know that even a sworn enemy is eating turkey and watching football  alone on Thanksgiving…  Sports get us through long winters and hot  summers.  Noah Syndergaard said it poignantly in an epic tweet after the Mets lost to the Giants:

Baseball has a way of ripping your ❤️ out, stabbing it, putting it back in your chest, then healing itself just in time for Spring Training.

Now then…

“September Studs and Duds”–a reflection on who paid dividends and who killed our rosters

“Strategic Stat Categories and Late Season Moves“–An historical analysis of trends in key counting stats–Saves, Quality Starts, etc.

“Go Big or Go Home: A Rumination of Midsummer Baseball Trends”–a little ancient Greek navigation, some stellar metaphors, and  baseball…

Fourth of July, All-Star Break Analysis

Early Season Studs and Duds Analysis, Part II

Early Season Studs and Duds Analysis, Part I

The 25% Solution–Analysis of the first quarter of the Season

Mid-May Musings on Pitching Prowess and Proficiency–An alliterative analysis of Pitching stats.  More than any other aspect of the game,  pitching stats tell  you an incredible amount about pitchers.  Other stats are harder to  parse.

Lucky Charms and (un?)Lucky Pitchers–oh…just a little anger-inspired analysis of a pitcher who was  killing me.   I included several other  early season duds to provide cover and credibility.  I hope Chris Archer was not upset…

Statistical Analysis of Pitching–rant early and rant often.  Seriously.  Why wait till July to complain about fantasy baseball.   Early-season rants will enable you to refine your venomous words so  that the  pro players get REALLY upset  at you later…

Ailing Aces“–A pretty insightful analysis of what was going on with three stud pitchers who were underperforming.

Week 3 Analysis of the American League East–Wow.  Someone must have misread my c.v.  They handed  this analysis over to a Red Sox fan.

Week 1 Statistically Unsound Assessment of the AL and NL East–OK.  You want analysis with virtually no useful data?  I can do  that…

2016 AL and NL East Predictions–Spring Training is over, the season is not under way.   So, predict… Actually, not half bad. Apologies to  Toronto and Baltimore.  Well, not really…

Preseason Analysis of the San Diego Padres.  Waiting for Todd Gurley…

Preseason Analysis of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Not so sunny in Philadelphia.  Waiting for a year  or two.   Lots of good baby pitchers here.

Preseason Analysis of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  When Fantasy is better than Reality…

Preseason Analysis of the Baltimore Orioles.  Wow.  They did better than I anticipated. Where did that pitching come from?

Preseason Analysis of the Boston Red Sox.  OK.  I may have been a homer…but I was right  on this one–David Price’s underwhelming performance notwithstanding.  Ojala que las estrellas nos  bendiguen..

Preseason Analysis of Starting Pitchers–Part n.  OK.  SO, they wanted me to come up with a tag line.  Jettisoned (along with the platinum blonde soul patch) later…

Preseason Starting Pitching Analysis–some pretty decent  wisdom and preseason here.

Celebrating the Super Bowl and the Last Days  of the Hot Stove League.  Column #1