Showing posts with label monkeyification. Show all posts
Showing posts with label monkeyification. Show all posts

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Using my two Favorite Techniques to Analyze Rachel Alexandra's Chance in the Woodward- Plagiarism and Primates

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

I was thinking about monkeys again last night. But I also kept thinking about the Steve Haskin article on that I linked to in my previous Rachel Alexandra/Woodward post; he made some really good points that concerned me. So I thought I'd break his article down paragraph by paragraph and kinda translate it for my readers that maybe aren't as versed in horse racing jargon as they are other languages- like Monkey Language, for instance.

Here is Haskin's first paragraph:

Rachel Alexandra drew post 3 for Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I). No big deal, you say? By breaking close to the rail, and with a big bruiser in the aptly named Bullsbay drawing directly inside her in post 2 and a speedy Nick Zito-trained stalker, Cool Coal Man, directly outside her in post 4, a scenario is developing where Rachel could find herself in some heavy traffic at different stages of the race.

To monkeyify getting stuck betwixt Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man:

Haskin's next paragraph:

When you see Zito put in two tactical speed horses against a heavy favorite who has the same running style as his horses, you can bet he has an agenda, meaning Da' Tara, breaking from the rail and coming off a bullet :47 flat work on the Oklahoma training track, likely will bust out of the gate to assure Rachel will not get an easy lead in case that strategy was to enter Calvin Borel’s mind. If Rachel takes off the pace, she will have Cool Coal Man, It's a Bird, and Past the Point all in a position to pin her down on the rail behind Da’ Tara, meaning there is a decent chance she could wind up in a neat little box by the time they hit the backstretch.

Watch out for possible bunching, grouping, crowding, boxing, etc.:

crowding....... .....boxing

Haskin's third paragraph:

Sitting back, waiting to see how the race unfolds, will be Asiatic Boy and Macho Again, both tough, battle-tested closers. Now, remember, this is merely a possible scenario based on how the race is shaping up. But it surely is one to be wary of.

Two combatants waiting until others put their cards on the table, then playing their own hands accordingly:

Haskin's 4th paragraph:

The bottom line, this is not a race or a field to be taken lightly. These older horses are more formidable than people think, at least on any given day. Each has shown they have a big race in them, including Past the Point, who gave Curlin quite a scare at 40-1 in last year’s Woodward. Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man each are coming off a 107 Beyer at Saratoga; It’s a Bird ran a 107 Beyer two races back; Macho Again is coming off a 105 Beyer; and Past the Point ran a 110 Beyer in last year’s Woodward.

Be wary of assassins:

Haskin's 5th paragraph:

Before anyone starts getting depressed over this unsettling scenario, the intention here is not to suggest Rachel is going to get beat, but it is Saratoga and it is a 3-year-old filly against older males, and Borel is going to have a bulls-eye on his back and must constantly be aware of everything going on around him and any plots developing during the running of the race, especially the first half-mile. Just remember how they ganged up on poor Stewart Elliott and Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Borel's in need of vigilance: It won't be a day at the beach for Calvin Borel, that's for sure. Heck, even if it were a day at the beach, he'd still want to stay vigilant.

But he'd probably want to be even more vigilant than that. Too bad he couldn't have another pair of eyes looking out for Rachel.

(Answer: I'm pretty sure you can't. It'd be tough to do that and stay within the weight requirement. But good thinking!)

Haskin's 6th paragraph:

Of course, we’re dealing with a filly who could prove to be as great as any who ever lived and who most likely will not be fazed in the slightest by any tactics the other riders might employ. But it is something to think about. If Rachel is able to escape any ambushes and booby traps early on and gets a clear run, then it will all be up to her to show what she can do against these big, tough ol’ boys.

Let's not forget that Rachel Alexandra knows how to kick hiney:

And finally, Haskin's final paragraph:

Asiatic Boy, for example, has won or placed in grade I stakes on three continents. If you’re looking for a horse who can’t bear the thought of getting beat by a 3-year-old filly it’s one named Macho. Bullsbay is a bull and he’s a bay and last weighed in at over 1,230 pounds. It’s a Bird possesses the magic name “Bird” that has been soaring all year in major stakes, and his name just happens to be the opening line to the introduction of Superman. Yep, this is a tough bunch.

The competition is strong:

Steve Haskin made some great points and painted a very believable picture of a scenario that a lot of people simply didn't envision. It wouldn't take a freak occurence for Rachel Alexandra to get beat on Saturday. Sometimes in horse racing the field teams up on the big favorite- maybe one horse (like maybe Da' Tara) sprints out faster than he ordinarily would, ostensibly sacrificing his own chances at victory just for the sake of bothering the favorite (Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey relished doing just that when he wasn't aboard the favorite). Then, the very instant after the sprinter is turned away by the favorite, a closer (like maybe Asiatic Boy or Macho Again) might start his run a bit earlier than he'd like, and take on the favorite- almost as though he and the faded sprinter are in a relay race against the favorite. As soon as one horse gets tired, he passes the baton off to the next horse. Now it's his turn to make sure that the favorite stays harried and never gets any chance to catch his (or her) breath. Maybe the big favorite digs in and heroically kicks away from the early closer with his (or her) last ounce of effort, only to be nipped at the wire from the VERY deep closer (like m aybe Asiatic Boy or Macho Again) who came from out of nowhere, and is the benefactor of the group effort.

Really, it's a lot like the last scene of Scarface, with all of those would-be assassins taking their shot at Tony Montana, and all of them getting killed one-by-one, at least at first. And when it appears the tide is starting to turn in favor of the assassins what happens? Tony says, "So you wanna play rough, huh? Ok. Say hello to my li'l Fr'en'!" and #@**POW**@#, that threat is over with a boom and a cloud of smoke. After that, Tony thinks he can let his guard down. That's when The Skull calmly creeps up behind Tony and gets his man without even breaking a sweat. You set 'em up, he'll knock 'em down. Sure, some people lost but the team won.

There is a pretty decent chance that a similar pack-mentality will develop on Saturday- it certainly wouldn't be the first time that has happened to the big favorite in a big race. But there's also a pretty decent chance Rachel Alexandra will win by open lengths and leave us all stupified with mouths agape. I'm not sure which it will be.

Either way, it will be a great....


I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter 9/26 Edition: 3 Games Left

By: T.R. Slyder,

No one tore an ACL, so that was good. Lou started all the usual non-starters, and other than starter, pitched all the un-usual suspects so it's tough to care too much about anything. Except Micah "The Hoff" Hoffpauir. He was 5 for 5 with 5 RBI and 3 runs scored. That's good. And I like good. One thing about Micah Hoffpauir that most people don't know is that during a game in AAA this year, he hit 4 home runs in a game AND was involved (defensively) in a triple play. I love that guy.

In Chicago baseball A-Hole news: I was watching part of the White Sox game for a bit. Juan Uribe (of the white sox) was up with the bases loaded and two out in like the third inning with the game tied. So it was an important at bat, but nothing huge since it was still early in the game. He got ahold of a pitch and hit it up the middle and TAGGED the pitcher in like the forearm or ribs. It ricocheted a few feet from the pitcher, where he collected ball and overthrew first base, allowing 3 runs to score. So that was a pretty dramatic 5 seconds. As soon as Uribe hit it, you're thinking "ok, this is a few runs." then the ball hits the pitcher and you're thinking "ouch, I hope he's ok. He may actually be able to throw Uribe out." But not White Sox announcer, Hawk "The Hick" Harrelson. When the ball plunked the Twins pitcher, he didn't say anything humane like "ooohhhh" or "ouch" or "I hope he's ok". What did he say instead? "Dagnabbit" as in "Dagnabbit, the pitcher blocked it from going into the outfield". After the play, Hawk's moron co-announcer, Darren Jackson, was playing the part of diplomat talking about the condition of the fallen pitcher and wishing him well, while Hawk was like a kid on Christmas morning, shouting "What a lucky break! Oh boy! What a HUGE play that was! That's three lucky breaks for the Sox this inning!". Classy.

Enough crappy news.

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: Keepin' the big blue train on the rails.

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter Cub Fan Emotion Monkeyified: Deep in thought about the playoffs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter 9/25 Edition: 4 Games Left

By: T.R. Slyder,

I feel that, much like Nancy Reagan in the photo above, the Cubs are on the precipice of greatness. Right now the good Cubs fans are just casually coasting through the rest of the regular season and are more concerned with making sure the (playoff bound) pitchers are doing well and everyone else stays healthy, moreso than wins and losses.

To that end, last night's start by Carlos Zambrano raised an eyebrow as he gave up 5 earned runs in 4 and 2/3rds of an inning, punctuated by giving up a grand slam to Carlos Delgado, which I think is Spanish for "Carlos of the the Cat". In contrast to that start, middle reliever Neal Cotts had a very good outing and Bobby Howry showed some grit in getting out of a jam, albeit a jam he got himself into.

Today's Cubs Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: "Just keepin' it on the rails. " That was the answer my train conductor gave me in Philadelphia a few years back when I asked him what his strategy was for my trip. That simple answer has always stuck with me for some reason. Nothing fancy, just keeping things in order.

Today's Cubs Emotion-o-Meter Fan Emotions Monkeyified: Just hanging out until the playoffs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter 9/20 Edition. 9 Games Remaining.

By: T.R. Slyder,

Cubs got humiliated, so I'm in no mood to be chatty about it. On the sunny side of the street, Milwonky lost. The magic number is now 1. That's remotely significant because it add to the Cubs climacticness (to quote Jamie Foxx's character Bunz, in Booty Call). Since the Cubs had a magic # of 2 on Friday, and played before Milwonky, had the Cubs won and Milwonky lost, the Cubs would have clinched the division while they were all at home. Clinching with a win is always preferred (it does wonders on the Emotion-o-Meter), or clinching due to an opponent's loss is still ok, as long as you're playing at homes and the crowd can all go nuts when the score is posted. So effectively, had the Cubs won yesterday, there wouldn't be a quasi-formal celebration of the divisional title, like there will be tomorrow if they clinch. Since both teams play at 2:55 CT tomorrow, a celebration should ensue.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: Let's get it over with. Ready celebrate.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Fan Emotion Monkeyfied: Get ready for the division clincing celebration people ....Get in your places people..... PLACES..... Ready, Set.... annnnnd Action!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter: 9/19 Edition. 10 Games Left.

By: T.R. Slyder,

Huge comeback win today by the Cubs. They scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th, capped by Geovanny Soto's 3-run HR with two outs. Derek Lee won it with a single in the 12th that scored pinch-runner Jason Marquis. Great come from behind win, to cut the Magic Number in half- from 4 to 2. This means that even if Milwonky wins every one of their remaining games, the Cubs will have to win just 2 of their last 10 to win the division. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: Parking Lot Pimpin. still.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Fan Emotion Monkeyified: Got to applaud today's performance.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter: 9/18 Edition. 11 Games Left.

By: T.R. Slyder,

Game 1 went like this:
Game 2 left me like this:

Magic Number remains at 4 and I like the Cubs' chances tomorrow with Harden pitching.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: still "Parking Lot Pimpin", no need for alarm after the loss.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Fan Emotion Monkeyified: Stay strong, my brethren.

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter: 9/17 Edition. 12 Games Left.

By: T.R. Slyder,

Cubs won a doozie last night, and the magic number is down to 4. If they sweep Milwonky in this series, they win the division.

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: Parking Lot Pimpin'. Apparently, if you want to be a rapper and represent the dirty south, you have to make reference to parking lots in order to maintain your credibility. Why should I be any exception?

Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Monkeyification Picture: Smokin' and jokin', baby.

Today's edition of the CEOM will break tradition and not end with the monkeyification picture. It will end in pontificating. Ron Santo has been placed on the ballot for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee. It's time to get him elected into the Hall of Fame. It's a joke that he is not in the Hall already. Since this is (I am purely speculating here) read primarly by Hall of Fame Veterans Committee members, allow me to state Ron Santo's case.

1. Bill James thinks he should be in.

2) All of what Kerry Wood said here. It is exerpted below.

Cubs Closer Kerry Wood onRon Santo
"The Hall of Fame vote and Ron Santo are talked about a lot in our clubhouse. He's been denied 18 times, and after each vote we'll look at his stats and ask, 'Are these Hall of Fame numbers?' You'll get a yes from 95% of the guys. When you start digging into the numbers, I don't think there's any doubt. How can you not vote for a guy who was a nine-time All-Star, earned five Gold Gloves, had four top-10 MVP finishes, three top-10 home run finishes and four .300-plus seasons, and led the National League in walks four times? And if you look at all the third basemen who played between 1950 and 1975, Ron ranks second in HRs, third in hits, RBIs and games played, fourth in slugging, and seventh in on-base percentage. And he did it despite having diabetes. For him to play in the big leagues at that level is amazing.

"For some reason, third basemen get jobbed in the voting. There are only 13 of them—three Negro Leagues stars and 10 major leaguers. Nothing personal, but if George Kell is in [see chart], then Ronny should be too. Ronny crushed him in HRs, RBIs, hits and runs, and he did it with a respectable .277 career batting average, which is almost 25 points higher than the NL average during his career. I'm not saying Brooks Robinson doesn't belong in the Hall, but Ronny played eight fewer seasons and finished with 74 more HRs, a higher batting average and on-base percentage, and nearly the same RBI total. I know, Ronny never played in the postseason. Neither did Kell or Ronny's Hall of Fame teammates Ernie Banks and Ferguson Jenkins. Neither did Billy Williams when he was with the Cubs.

"I keep it simple: Look at the third basemen who are in, then look at Ronny's numbers. I'm amazed he isn't in yet. His next chance is in 2009. When it happens, and if the schedule lets us, I'm going to be there for the ceremony. He's the epitome of Chicago baseball. He's still part of this team. He lives and dies with it. In fact, I think we've put him in the hospital a few times. He should get in just for that."

Santo stacks up with his third-basemen peers in Cooperstown.

Ron Santo (1960-74) .277 342 1,331 9 5
Eddie Mathews (1952-68) .271 512 1,453 12 0
Brooks Robinson (1955-77) .267 268 1,357 18 16
Wade Boggs (1982-99) .328 118 1,014 12 2
Mike Schmidt (1972-89) .267 548 1,595 12 10
George Kell (1943-57) .306 78 870 10 0

3) This ESPN article, also exerpted below, furthers the Santo debate.

Santo is unique in baseball history, a third baseman who hit like a left fielder while playing excellent defense at the hot corner.

Part of the reason Santo has been left out of the Hall of Fame is that the BBWAA has never quite figured out what to do with third basemen. They are historically underrepresented, and the change in the position over time has made it difficult to establish standards for what makes a Hall of Fame third baseman. Santo also lacked one signature skill on which to hang his case; he doesn't have 400 home runs or 3,000 hits or one major point his supporters could use to beat his candidacy home.

Actually, the biases Santo fights are more basic that that. Large parts of his value are hidden in areas that the BBWAA hasn't done a good job of recognizing: defense and walks. Santo was the NL's Gold Glove winner at third base from 1964 through 1968, and led the league in bases on balls in four of those five years. He was among the league leaders in OBP and slugging throughout the 1960s, finishing in the top 10 in both categories in every season from 1964 through 1967.

He was a reasonable MVP candidate throughout this time, with his chances being hurt every year by the lousy Cubs team around him. You simply couldn't win an NL MVP on a bad team in the 1960s; every NL MVP winner in that decade played for a team that won at least 90 games. The Cubs won 90 games just once, in 1969, a season that for some reason isn't remembered on the North Side as their best performance of the decade. Because Santo never appeared in the postseason and rarely was a factor in a pennant race, he didn't have the visibility of other players. This hurt him, probably unfairly, with the voters.

Santo never had a monster season, in part because his era wouldn't allow for them. Yes, he played in Wrigley Field, which helped his numbers, but the game-wide dampening of offense kept him from having the signature years, the 40-homer, 120-RBI campaigns that Hall of Fame voters love to see on a resumé. He was never the best player in the league -- there was this guy named Mays who made that impossible -- but you can make a case for him as the second-best player in the NL during his peak.

So Santo was one of the top few players in his league for about six years, the second-best third baseman in the game's history upon his retirement, and put up numbers at a defensive position that would have made him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate at an offensive one. That is a Hall of Famer.

The omission of Ron Santo is the most egregious mistake ever made by the Baseball Writers Association of America. They should have inducted Santo 20 years ago, and that they overlooked him throughout his 15 years on the ballot is a shame. I sincerely hope that the new Veterans Committee rights the error quickly. It will be a boon to their credibility and a honor for a man too long left outside the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.


Do the right thing, Veterans Committee.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter- 9/16 Edition- 13 Games Left

By: T.R. Slyder,

Cubs won again today, while Milwonky was idle. Well, idle in the sense that they didn't play a game today. But they were not idle from the standpoint of personnel moves because they fired their manager today! With two weeks left in the season, and tied for the Wild-Card lead, they canned Ned Yost. Ted Lilly nearly followed Zamrbano's no-hitter with one of his own. He took a no hitter into the 7th inning before giving up a base hit it would be Houston's only hit of the series. There was lots to like about today's win: the Cubs played with determination after an emotional game last night, and the power-slumping Geovany Soto and Derek Lee both hit home runs, and the defense was outstanding. Things are looking good.

So with 13 games left to go the Cubs Magic Number is down to 6. They start a three game series with Milwonky tomorrow, and if the Cubs sweep the series, they'll have clinched the National League Central. Things are looking good for the Cubs.

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: Calm.

Cubs Emotion-o-Meter Fan Emotion Picture Monkeyified: Just cruisin', man. Just cruisin'.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Media Failure

By: T.R. Slyder,

Yesterday I read a lot about Kim Jong Il's health (ok, just this article). He had kept an unusually low profile in recent weeks then on Tuesday skipped an appearance a big propaganda parade, which commemorated 60 years of communist rule in North Korea. So that lead to speculation that his absences were due to him being in filling health, much like how it was Castro's lack of public appearances that ultimately forced his handlers to inform the public that he was in poor health. So today the web was abuzz with questions about his health.

My question is, where are all the "Kim Jong Ill" puns?? I saw nary a headline like, "Kim Jong Ill", "Kim Jong Il ill", "Kim Jong: Ill". Not even the New York Post head a pun headline! If puns were old people, the NY Post would be like their Florida. I mean, it's where puns live. I never thought they'd pass up on an opportunity for a pun, especially one dealing with the Il health (see, the pun can both ways!) of a dictator, but they did! As a pun enthusiast, I was not pleased.

My reaction personified by monkeys (i.e. monkeyified): Somewhere between Shocked and Sad.


(I'm here)