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.
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