Top Nine Google “Search Queries”

I’m long overdue for another one of those “things people search for to get here” posts, but this is not quite one of those. This is based on Google’s “search queries”–that is to say, search terms that cause my page to be listed by Google, whether they click through to them or not.

And they shouldn’t always, because some of them will be woefully unhelpful. This is still “top” in the sense of “most amusing,” not “most common” (“lipogram” is still doing well).

  • bleachers with people (they’re much better than the empty kind)
  • hull swingers (I’m assuming this is a mashup of two different sports)
  • person jumping off a cliff (what?!)
  • mayské symboly (I don’t know what you’re looking for, but you will not find it on my blog)
  • animals running into things (hey, it’s a lipogram, but still)
  • titles of jesus christ (uh…)
  • plural words ending in s (they’re much more numerous than the other kind. Or did Google drop a “not” or something?)
  • bad graphs (Hey!)
  • do good anyway poem (which actually loads my graphs page, not even a poetry archive.)
Weird. Thanks for finding this place, however you do.

Top 9 Random Tidibits about Making Slams Grand

So grand slamming is a big topic now, what with it occurring for a third go-round by a squad in a short duration. And I got to thinking, “grand” is arguably a poor word. It’s a “four-run” blast, truly–that’s your only way to notch four runs in a go. But “grand” could signify lots of things. Such as:

  • going far
  • finishing up your matchup
  • winning a thousand dollars for a fan (WGN TV almost has this promotion, but it’s in your fifth inning, so you could obtain that many “grand”. Also, as long as I’m talking about “a thousand” on my lipogram blog, you should try and track down a short story known as “1 to 999” by Isaac Asimov if you can. You will know why if you find it.)
  • staying in bounds (possibly? A thing is cool by dint of its difficulty, translating to going not as far? I don’t know about this.)
  • By that logic, any oddity of surrounding data could qualify a slam as “grand.” Of all counts, a particular count (full? Two and two? First pitch) is most common for hitting balls out. But I don’t know which. I doubt it’s known to that many. And if it would vary…no, I don’t think this is a good way to count.
  • Having a triad of guys on is unusual. You start with nobody on, and must work to load up bags. Possibly you could all go out without loading up bags, just as you could possibly hit a ball into play and not fill up your count. So is a full count most uncommon?
  • Okay, now I’m curious and want to look this up. 16% of slams in 2011 occur on a first pitch. I still don’t know about full counts or anything.
  • This fraction is roughly constant across campaigns, although this particular statistic is a bit low.
  • I didn’t plan for this post to go in this fashion at all. Oops. But it’s probably good that I’m blogging–hard to know just what to post about. I’ll probably try putting up random Q&As again.

Top Nine Translation Telephone Lines (a puzzle for you!)

So, maybe you’ve seen sites like this one. Translation Telephone runs text through Google Translate so many times, often all grammar and meaning is lost–even if a few key words can be preserved. Proper nouns often stay put, so something like “Go, go, go, Gomez, we wish you could stay, But we want someone who knows how to play,” becomes “Go, go, go go Gomez, we want to stop, we want people to know how to act” after twenty translations. (It stays perfectly the same after four, which might be my personal best!) Similarly,

“Euler set it up right:
Sines and cosines might as well be the things
That fans love best–imaginary springs.”

turns into  “Euler to right: male Cassin, hot fantasy fans love.” (“Imaginary” turned into “fantasy” by way of “fictional.” “Sine” became “male” by way of “son.”)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify which of my original (or parody) lines got turned into the results below.  Many were originally complete sentences, possibly criss-crossing lines of poems. All of them can be found on this site, in some form, under the “poems” or “parodies” category. Good luck.

  • “Courage to decline further, but respect for those who have never said no.”
  • “Fear, hope, faith, prayer, Continuing what is this?”
  • “I often dream of missing. However, the loss of shame, after all, love the city probably can not win.”
  • “Lost in a dream the night. Aquila championships.”
  • “Maybe revolutyonari Forsa Colombia army, was in his heart.”
  • “Not finding work, must be less than what a game like this.”
  • “Not old, declined to discuss it with your family is difficult. But for me, so I do not.”
  • “We are together. You can not delete. Our children will stop the plague.”
  • “You will love it. This is the time for sorrow.”

Top Nine Facts About Multiple No-Hitters

To whoever got here by searching for “graph of no-hitters by year” (I’m overdue for another one of those search engine roundup posts…), welcome! As some of you know, my graphs of no-hitters specify walks and errors…which sort of helps pin down another variation on a no-hitter, the “facing the minimum.” This was the feat accomplished by Justin Verlander in his (second) no-hitter (of course, facing the minimum can occur while giving up hits. Also of course, the minimum number of batters one can face in a game is zero…retire a runner by throwing them out or something and then leave the game. The minimum batters one can face when throwing a complete game is 25, if you lose a road game (but you need one runner to score) (and that’s not even getting into rain-shortened games)).

But on the subject of actual pitchers of multiple no-hitters and how they did, facing-the-minimum wise, here were my top nine observations…

  • Mark Buerhle has two twenty-seven up, twenty-seven (eventually) down games; the perfect game and another no-hitter in which one batter was walked but got picked off.
  • Sandy Koufax also faced the minimum twice, once a perfecto; in his other two no-hitters, he left one and three on, respectively.
  • On the subject of more than two no-hitters, Bob Feller faced 6, 5, and 4 more than the minimum in his three no-hitters. In the last case, one of them scored.
  • Nolan Ryan’s high-water mark in seven attempts was 8.
  • The overall record among the pitchers I looked at was Jim Maloney, with ten left on base (but cut him some slack, it was ten innings).
  • Johnny Vander Meer faced just one more than the minimum in his first no-hitter. Perhaps rattled by the attention four days later, he faced eight more.
  • Warren Spahn also faced the minimum in one of his no-hitters; he walked two batters, but they both got out on the basepaths. Moreover, his team is recorded with making one error; a foul catch that should have been made, wasn’t. However, that batter struck out, so the error did not put a runner on base.
  • This is something I had not thought to consider in my previous graphs and as a result those “error” numbers, while correct, are perhaps misrepresentative.
  • This analysis only included games that Retrosheet had box scores for, so I’ll have to look up the exploits of Adonis Terry on my own.

Top Nine All-Star Game Improvements

The All-Star Game just keeps getting bigger and better each year. These ones count, yes? Well, guess what; they could be made even more awesome. To wit:

  • You know that new rule about not letting people pitched if they’d pitched two days before? Well, after 12:00 midnight, it’s a brand-new day.
  • Winning the Home Run Derby, unlike its historic Kentucky-based counterpart, doesn’t help your quest for Triple Crown glory. We can fix this.
  • It’s not actually a Final Vote if there are two of them going on at once. Stagger the voting. The league of whichever candidate amasses the most votes, overall, has the honor of being the final Final Vote the next year.
  • Throwing a bone to sabermetricians, hold a walk-drawing derby to showcase the honor of plays highly correlated to winning games. We could put this on the Wednesday afterwards to fill the hole in the professional sports calendar.
  • More confetti afterwards. You know they do something with all those tiny circles you punch out of the ballot.
  • Use Golden Balls with two outs in every half-inning. Runs count double.
  • Put it in Hawaii.
  • Have the umpires chosen by fan vote.
  • Pit the best players from both leagues up against each other, just for the fun of seeing them pitted up against each other. I recognize that this might not be a realistic proposal, but hey, a blogger can dream.

Top Nine Win Probability Graphs

It’s a sad duty to pay a yearly homage to the Atlanta Braves, but their comeback win against the Phillies was pretty impressive. To see just how impressive it was, check out this graph. It shows the likelihood of a Braves victory plotted against how far along the game was. As you can see, the Phillies almost had it in the bag; they led by 3 with two outs in the ninth. However, Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer, Jason Heyward hit a solo homer to tie the game, and then Nate McLouth homered in the tenth inning to win.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. See that tiny uptick just to the left of the Heyward home run? That was Troy Glaus’ homer. It only increased the chance the Braves would win by 2.8 percent. Come on, 2.8 percent? It’s gotta have been a bigger deal than that!

In order to make up for the lack of information presented by the graph, I have created nine more graphs, that lack different information. Click and zoom for full size!Graphs

Top Nine Other Holidays Baseball Should Celebrate

This post was originally meant to involve holidays that occur when the baseball season is actually going on. Upon further consideration, however, I remembered that MLB is actually pretty “good” about adapting its uniforms to any given occasion. So I figured I’d have to include some from the offseason, as they haven’t gotten to those yet…

*Valentine’s Day: all-red uniforms. Fans in Cincinnati will be gypped, but they’ll survive.

*April Fools Day: “If the season ended today, we’d be in the playoffs! We’re in first place! Why are you looking at me like that?”

*May Day: Bullpen coaches get absolute control over the pitching staff, with the manager’s contribution limited to calling, hanging up immediately, and snickering.

*Cinco de Mayo: A uniform scheme will admittedly be difficult here if the Diamondbacks veto the Mexican flag logo, but it’s doable.

*Flag Day: June 14. Seriously. They can reuse those hats they keep wearing on Fourth of July weekend.

*Halloween: normal uniforms, but with orange ribbons to symbolize the fight against tooth decay.

*Thanksgiving Day: All-you-can-eat deals in the stands. Half-price in Cleveland.

*Chinese New Year: Fireworks after every home run. And hit. And out.

*Presidents’ Day: Top hats. ‘Nuff said.