Well, It Worked

No, I am not addressing someone with a given name of Wellington. In this post from July I revealed that I had signed up for a VPN primarily for one reason: so I could continue watching the Canadian TV show Transplant. Although I had to hold my nose and use the Internet browser I had refused to use for almost five years (long story), my wonderful wife and I were, indeed, able to watch the first episode of Season 3 yesterday. That episode originally aired just last Friday.

Even if NBC decides to air Season 3 episodes they will not be broadcast for months after their original airing in Canada. So, how was it? From a technical standpoint no issues occurred while watching the show. There was no buffering, no skipping. As for the episode itself, I thought it was good, not great. I don’t think the show will be quite the same without the character played by John Hannah, Dr. Jed Bishop. Dr. Bishop was the Chief of Emergency Medicine and trained most of the doctors working for him. The new Chief is being portrayed as a “progressive bureaucrat” without any previous experience in Emergency Medicine.

I did say a couple of times to my wonderful wife, “I can’t believe it worked and we’re watching the show.” Now, if I could just figure out a way to cast the show from my phone to the big-screen TV in the bonus room. No, we did not watch the show on a mobile device, but on the decent-sized monitor for my desktop computer.


Speaking of Canada, the Canadian government confirmed yesterday that noncitizens entering the country–including professional athletes–will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning in October. The mask mandate for airplane passengers and crew has also been dropped. The Canadian government is still recommending that people wear masks, particularly in crowded environments such as planes and trains.

While the “pandemic” phase of the damn virus seems to be coming to an end, the endemic phase will probably be with us for a long time. While modern humans seem to have very short memories, I still think that some changes in how we work and live will be long-lasting.


Speaking of professional athletes, while he seems to be “stuck” on 60 homeruns, Aaron Judge–whom I mentioned in this post from September 25–was the subject of this comment yesterday from Bill James: “Unfortunately, I am unable to celebrate the successes of ANY Yankees, but I do have to grudgingly admit that Aaron Judge is perhaps the greatest player I have ever seen. PERHAPS, I said. Don’t take it to the bank.”

Judge is currently leading the American League in the traditional Triple Crown statistics–batting average, homeruns and runs batted in (RBI) in addition to runs scored and more meaningful metrics such as on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG), since he leads in both OBP and SLG he obviously leads in on-base plus slugging (OPS), as well as advanced metrics such as Wins Above Replacement (WAR). What is WAR? It is an estimate of the number of additional wins a player’s team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted with a replacement-level player, a player who may be added to the team for minimal cost and effort. A replacement-level player is not as good as an average player.

An esoteric tangent: since the distribution of talent in major league baseball–in all professional sports, really–is not a normal distribution (that is a statistical term and not a value judgment) more players are below average than above average. I learned that from Bill James. While the concept made sense theoretically, I didn’t fully believe it until I started working in major league baseball and began performing analysis of player performance on a regular basis. Even eliminating players with insignificant playing time, more players were below average than above every year whether it was in hitting or pitching performance.

I once had what turned out to be an impossible task in trying to describe this fact to my colleagues at the Baltimore Orioles. Even after explaining the difference between the mean/average and the median, they did not understand the concept. Was I really that far ahead of my time? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I was using statistical methods to help a major league team make decisions in a full-time job 15 years before Moneyball was published.








If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.




Odds And Ends

No, that is not the name of the shared practice of a psychiatrist and a proctologist. My wonderful wife and I will not attend today’s final auction day at Barrett-Jackson as we have some more pressing matters.

Today’s docket is short, about 120 vehicles. A quick count yielded 51 pickup trucks and SUVs among those vehicles. While that might be a slightly higher proportion than for the rest of the auction, it’s not much higher if any.

I know I am already sounding like a broken record, but I am dismayed by the invasion of these non-cars into car auctions, regardless of how that mirrors what is happening in the “regular automobile” market where more than 70 percent of new vehicles purchased are not cars. I will once again offer my politically incorrect view that the trend away from cars is in large part due to the fact that more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight and more than a third are obese.

Shifting gears, the right to buy the first retail production 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 was sold yesterday for $3.6 million. It was among the vehicles sold for charity at this auction. Barrett-Jackson offers many significant vehicles where the sale proceeds are given to various charities with no fees paid by consignor or buyer. Operation Homefront was the organization that received the $3.6 million from the sale of the first C8 Z06. From their website: “Our mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive—not simply struggle to get by—in the communities that they’ve worked so hard to protect.” A relevant photo:



To be clear, VIN 001 for the 2023 Corvette Z06 has not yet been built. The winner of this car will get to pick the exterior color, interior color and trim, option packages, etc.


An interlude from Barrett-Jackson…four years ago today Kevin Towers, former General Manager of the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks, died of thyroid cancer. Of course, I worked with Kevin during my four years with the Padres. As I have recounted previously, he always treated me with respect and we enjoyed real camaraderie even though he didn’t hire me. Below is a picture shown many times before in Disaffected Musings.



This picture was taken in the visitors clubhouse at Dodger Stadium after we clinched the 1996 National League Western Division title. Kevin is the one kneeling in front and I am one of the other three people.

It is difficult to describe the amount of work necessary to be involved with making decisions in a professional sports organization. Although I enjoyed most of my roughly 10 years working in a full-time Baseball Operations job for a major league team–six-plus years with the Orioles and four-plus years with the Padres–it was a lot of work. (I worked as a Baseball Operations/Player Personnel consultant for major league teams for more than ten years, but that was not as a full-time employee.) It might not seem like work, but the effort expended is quite real.

It is important that the principals can work well together because the hours are so long and the stakes are high, relatively speaking. No, we’re not healing the sick, but in case you hadn’t noticed professional sports are important to a lot of people. Except for my last year with the Padres I enjoyed working there. My dissatisfaction at the end that led to my resignation had little to do with my baseball colleagues, anyway.


“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne


Remember this car?



This supposedly genuine 1969 Pontiac Trans Am with the Ram Air IV option, of which only 55 were built, hammered for $105,000 yesterday, which is $115,500 all in. I am reluctant to mention this again, but a fugly box on wheels, a 1957 Volvo SUV, brought twice that amount.

Although the price of most collector cars is on the rise, and even though “experts” advise car aficionados to buy what they like instead of worrying about potential price appreciation, a comparison like the one above makes me wonder if relative car bargains still exist. I worked as a consultant for the Oakland A’s for ten years. The A’s, led by General Manager Billy Beane, were the team featured in Moneyball, Michael Lewis’s famous book about analytics in baseball and, in all honesty, a book that played a large role in the eventual end of my baseball consulting business, although that was not his intent, of course.

Anyway…the A’s never had a large player payroll–they couldn’t afford to–so they needed a way to compete with less. They needed to find assets that were undervalued in the baseball marketplace. Relying on data more and subjective evaluations less they used principles that are taken for granted today, but that were cutting-edge 20 years ago.

Eventually, of course, other teams copied what the A’s did. It has been said that teams like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers started using “Moneyball” with real money.

The sub-head in the header of this blog reads, “I am a disaffected Moneyball pioneer who loves cars.” My contributions have been forgotten, but I am a real Moneyball pioneer. I was using analytics in a full-time job to help a major league team make decisions 15 years before the book was published.

If I had access to car auction data I might try to unearth relative bargains, assuming the collector car market can be modeled accurately. Sometimes, human behavior defies mathematical modeling.








If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.