Monday, September 10, 2012

9/11/2001: Never Forget

September 11th 2001 was a terrible day.  

Nearly 3000 innocent people lost their lives in the attacks on the World Trade Centers, Pentagon and Flight 93.

It was a significant day in a lot of ways.

Maybe I'm a callous disgusting human.  Maybe I'm not.  But it wasn't that significant of a day in the number of deaths.

By my best estimate/googling it appears that, on average, about 150,000 people die every day.

An additional 3000 died on September 11th 2001.  How does that look on a graph?

Hardly a blip.

How about if we look at it from a more nation-centric point of view?

It certainly stands out a bit more here.

And that's the point.

The more narrow our focus.  The more people that we EXclude.  The bigger the impact.

Never forget.  One hundred and fifty thousand people a day are dying.  They won't have their names carved into a billion dollar monument in New York City.  Their deaths won't start wars between nations.

But their friends and families will miss and love them just as the friends and families will miss and love the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and Flight 93.

I know what I am about to type will fall on blind eyes, but I in no way mean to disrespect those who lost on September 11th 2001.  The pain of so suddenly losing a loved one must be almost death in itself.  But, in terms of death, September 11th 2001 was likely just another day.

Used the number generator at to generate the number of deaths for each day.

For the whole word graph the settings were between 145,000 and 155,000.  Why those specific numbers?  I have no good answer.  They are round numbers and they seemed somewhat reasonable.
For the number of deaths on September 11th 2001, I chose 153,000 (the average number of deaths + 3000).

For the US only graph I figured/googled that the US population is about 300,000,000.  I then googled that 6699 people per day die in the US.  I then set the number generator to choose numbers between 6476 and 6922 (the same rate as in the world graph).  For September 11th 2001 I chose 6699+3000.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Unwritten Rules in Baseball: The Nationals are better than the Cubs

We oft hear of the "unwritten rules of baseball".  Things like not mentioning a no-hitter, not walking between the catcher and pitcher, not stepping on the pitcher's mound when you're on offense, retaliating for one of your teammates being hit by a pitch, etc.

I think the reason that these rules are unwritten is because they are too stupid to write  down.

Case in point, last night's Nationals vs Cubs games.

The Nationals have the best record in baseball.  The Cubs, well, they have a better record than the Astros.

Last night the Nationals were beating the Cubs 7 - 2 in the 5th inning when this thing happened.

The Nationals had been putting it to the Cubs in this series, outscoring them 29 - 8 at that point.  Apparently, Cubs' bench coach, Jamie Quirk, began yelling at Nationals' 3rd basecoach, Bo Porter, about Jayson Werth swinging at a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded and the Nationals up by 5 runs.

The fracas eventually cleared, Werth hit a long flyball to right field and order was restored.

Until the bottom of the 6th inning when this happened.

Harper was the next Nationals batter after Jayson Werth and Cubs' pitcher, Lendy Castillo, appears to try and hit him with a pitch.

I'll admit I don't know exactly what happened and I'm doing some speculation and mind reading here.

Apparently the Cubs felt that Werth should not have been swinging 3-0 up by 5 runs.  That's when things first started.  Why should Werth not have done that?  I don't know.  Up by 5 the Nationals should quite trying to win because the game has already been decided?  That's certainly not true.  The Yankees had a 5-run inning that same night.  A 5-run lead is a good lead, but certainly not insurmountable.  But, maybe, the Cubs felt the Nationals should stop playing to win at that point.


But it gets even dumber.

If the Cubs felt that that Nationals should stop trying to win the game, why were the Cubs still trying to win the game?

How do we know the Cubs were trying to win the game?  Because they didn't throw at Jayson Werth in the 5th inning.

Lendy Castillo could very easily have thrown a 3-1 fastball at Werth right after the 'inappropriate' swing.  But he didn't.  Why?  Because the bases were loaded.  Throwing at Werth would have given the Nationals another run.  Why wouldn't the Cubs want the Nationals to score another run?  Because the Cubs were still trying to win the game.  If the Cubs are still trying to win the game, then, by any type of logic, the Nationals should also still be trying to win the game.

Apparently that type of logic eludes a frightening portion of individuals involved with Major League Baseball.

So, instead of throwing at Jayson Werth, the Cubs wait until the next inning to throw at Bryce Harper.

Harper has been at the center of controversy before.

There were a faction of idiots who felt that 'the punk' Harper deserved this.

There is another faction, that includes me, who thinks that Harper is an amazing player who combines outstanding natural talent with maximum effort as evidenced by his steal of home against Hamels and this similar play made in the first inning of the game against the Cubs.  Of course, Harper got to 3rd base by combining his talent and hustle on this triple.

The Nationals are having an amazing season because they combine talent with hard work, hustle, and smart baseball.  The Cubs are looking up at them and should look up to them instead of engaging in this petty nonsense.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Who I'm rooting for in 2012

With only about a month left in the 2012 baseball season the pennant and wild card and 2nd wild card races are getting interesting.

I don't like baseball, according to some, but I'm pulling for the Dodgers to win the NL West.  At 4.5 games behind the Gnats they currently have just a 13% chance of winning their division.

They're a lot close to both of the 2 wild card slots though.  If the season ended today the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals would be the wild cards.  The Dodgers trail Atlanta by 3.5 games and the Cardinals by 1.5 games (though the Cardinals are currently losing to the Mets).  The Dodgers' wild card probability is about 14%.

LA has passed up the Pirates in the standings - they lead Pittsburgh by 1 game.

This is where it gets interesting.  I'd like to see the Pirates in the playoffs, but not at the expense of LA missing out.  So, I can't root for you Pittsburgh.  I have no desire to see St. Louis or Atlanta make the post season, so I'm perfectly content to point my mental powers towards their opponents in an effort to control the outcome of those games.

In the NL East the Nationals are a great story.  Having lived in DC for 3 years I have a bit of a soft spot for the team and will be pulling for them to win their division and beat every team in the playoffs they encounter that doesn't hail from Los Angeles.   I need the Braves to lose, of course, but I'll be rooting for the Phillies to finish the season strong.  They have an excellent core of players and I think they'll be back with a vengeance next year and look forward to some Nats/Phillies rowdy-dows as the Phillies try to avoid passing the torch completely to the young Nats.

The NL Central looks like the Reds' to lose.  They are the best team and I don't expect anyone to challenge them for the division.  Pittsburgh and St. Louis (as mentioned above) stand to stand in between LA and the post season so they must lost.  The Brew Crew are an interesting collection of players and I'd like to see them finish up over .500.  Chicago's Cubs will have their day under the guidance of Theo, but not yet.  They can lose.  Houston has a chance to be historically awful.  I'd like to see that.

Everyone in the NL West not named the Dodgers can go to hell.

In the AL East, things have gotten interesting as of late.  The Yankees, Orioles and Rays are all within sniffing distance of each other.  I always root against the Yankees, and it's been working recently.   I hope that it will continue to.  I hold no real love for the Orioles.  As long as their winning threatens New York's chances then I'll cheer for Baltimore.  I'm certainly a fan of what the Rays have been doing since 2008 (actually before that when it became clear they knew how to run an organization) and I'd like to see them take the division.  I want to root for Boston, but I don't think there's any point in that.  They aren't going to the playoffs and if they start winning they might think James Loney had something to do with it and re-sign him.  I wish that fate only on the Yanks.  Toronto?  With no Jose Bautista, there isn't much to make me pay attention.

The AL Central should be an exciting race.  I though the Tigers would walk away with the division, but Chicago has gotten resurgent seasons from a few players and Kenny Williams has done whatever it is that he does again to get the White Sox in contention.  But, I don't like the White Sox.  Detroit all of the way.  As with the Rays, the Royals have some interesting things going on.  I'd like to see them finish strong and put themselves in good shape for next season.

The AL West is fun as well.  Texas and Anaheim were supposed to battle down to the wire.  The Angels stumbled and it looks like the Rangers will claim the division.  Of course Oakland has come back from the dead and I can't even resist their charm.  Go A's.

Who I Want To Make The Playoffs
NL West - Dodgers
NL Central - Reds
NL East - Nationals
Wild Card 1 - Pittsburgh
Wild Card 2 - one

AL East - Rays
AL Central - Tigers
AL West - Rangers
Wild Card 1 - A's
Wild Card 2 - Orioles

Who I'll be rooting for
Whoever is playing the Giants
Whoever is playing the Yankees

Who I'll be rooting against
St. Louis
White Sox

Go teams!!!!

*All playoff probability data from the Outstanding