Category Archives: Weird Stuff

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

by Lauren Makris

Since our childhood, Halloween has always been a fun holiday, with tricks and treats around every corner and behind every door.     However, if you are a true hopeless romantic like me, then all you will be thinking about as you cake on the pale white makeup and wrapping yourself up with that ghoulish costume is, well, L.O.V.E.

After researching “All Hallow’s Eve,” I was surprised to discover how love plays into Halloween. It seems that back in the olden days, many folks hoping to find love or keep the ones they love, performed spells to do so. Since it’s the day when the dead and alive are so close to one another, Halloween is actually the best day of the year to cast a spell according to folklore.  

I came across a spell that you better believe I will be trying out this year.   There are many variations to it, but it seems quite simple. It’s all centered around the “apple.”  `I like to call it “The Hungry Mirror.” According to folklore, at midnight on Halloween you must cut an apple into nine slices while standing in front of a mirror. Make sure to not summon Bloody Mary in the process, by accidentally cutting yourself and making a bloody mess. Once you have made your snack edible, use the knife to hold each slice as you look into the mirror and eat each piece one by one. According to legend, as you are chomping down on the last of the delicious red (or granny smith) an image of your true love will appear in the mirror over your shoulder. Sound creepy? Heck no! I think it sounds like time saved on wasteful dating.  Try it out this year and tell me about it. I’m just dying to know…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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MILEY WAS AMAZING!

The Miley Cyrus “BANGERZ” concert at All State was FANTASTIC!

I only have one word to describe Miley Cyrus “Bangerz” concert  at the All State Arena….fantastic!

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Icona Pop was the opening act and got the crowd pumped! The duo lit up the stage with their DJ and rocked out! They ended their set with their smash hits “I Love It” and “All Night”. You could feel the energy level rise while we waited for the performance that was about to happen!

469444405-miley-tongueThe Queen of  Controversy opened the concert with the album title “Bangerz” (yes with a z) and just blew everyone away by sliding down a pink tongue shaped slide and immediately busted out her twerkalicious moves. The lights, the animated cartoons that went with each song, and the costumes were all part of this ridiculously off the wall concert that had the fans screaming Miley’s name at the top of their lungs!

She performed all of my personal favs like “Adore You“, “Love Money Party” where she rolled out on a Cadillac and then sang “Drive” and “FU” wearing a marijuana sequenced leotard.

The crowd flipped out when she came toward the back of the arena to do covers of “Hey Ya” and “Jolene” in a more intimate setting and all this while talking selfies! Can she get anymore adorable??

We all thought the concert was over when she started floating away on a giant hotdog but she came back for not only one but two encores! The first was to perform the two hit singles off the album “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” and she killed the show with the song that makes me proud to be an American, “Party in the USA“.

I had way too much fun at this concert and wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. Everyone always talks smack about the 21 -year-old but think about it… she’s the new Madonna! Miley is a 2nd generation cross over music artist and has her whole career to become a plain Jane. Right now she is just living like any young artist who has fame and money and it’s well deserved. Miley is coming out of everyone’s mouth and tongue (get it?).

The “Bangerz” album reminds me of everything any young person is going through right now in our generation and she is just rocking the charts.  Way to go Miley, GET IT GIRL! #Bangerz

Listen to Jessica Garcia every Friday morning from 7 to 11am on WCRXFM and WCRXFM.com.

Finding a Balance Between Sabermetrics and Baseball Purity: An Introduction

Image credit: The Simpsons
Image credit: The Simpsons

I’m not going to force numbers on you. I’m not going to take the effort, the love, the tenacity that baseball players pour into each and every game and throw it out the window. That being said, I’m also not going to let you tell me the only thing that matters is a guy playing really hard, getting his pants dirty, feeling like he “left it all on the field”, resulting in a genuine desire to win a baseball game; A desire more sincere than his counterpart. That’s foolish. Travis Wood doesn’t look Starling Marte up and down thinking, “I want this so much more than Starling. He doesn’t have a damn chance.” Both guys — ALL THE GUYS — are getting paid to play baseball. If you’re taking the field without the desire to win, it’s a character flaw and has nothing to do with the game itself. But who’s to say we can’t have a fair balance of both? Who’s to say we can’t watch Aaron Rowand circa 2001 knocking over anything and everything on his way to a measly infield single while also enjoying the intricacies and nuances behind why Mariners’ ace Hisashi Iwakuma probably deserved the AL Cy Young over the Tigers’ Max Scherzer?

No one, that’s who.

So, that’s what we’ll do. Throughout the 2014 MLB season, the Standby blog will be the only place you should go for a healthy mix of unadulterated baseball and the advanced analytics behind it. But first, you’ll need to know some of the basic sabermetrics used in today’s game:

OPS/OPS+: Odds are, you’re familiar with OPS on its own. The most simplistic of new-age advanced metrics, it takes the sum of a player’s on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG%), combining it into an easy to read number.  But just to show you how quickly the field of sabermetrics is advancing, many saberists already discredit OPS. Although an easy statistic for fans to understand, it treats OBP and SLG% equally, when data shows OBP to be worth roughly two times SLG% when it comes to the production of runs. That’s where the “+” comes in. It must be noted that nobody plays in the same environment all the time. The playing field is not level. So, OPS+ adjusts for these variables that might affect OPS scores, such as ball park effects and difficulty of the opposition.  A 100 OPS+ is league average, and each point up or down is one percentage  point above or below league average.  In other words, if a player had a 90 OPS+ last season, that means their OPS was 10% below league average.

BABIP: Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) is just what it sounds like. When a hitter puts the ball in play, he will either reach base safely or return to his respective dugout. It’s safe to assume that around 30% of balls hit in fair territory will go for a hit. The variables that contribute to that 30% and the remaining 70% are as follows:

Defense: The one thing players don’t have control over is the defenses they’re facing. A line drive is shot down the third base line, but Orioles phenom Manny Machado’s heels are dug in. The likelihood he fields that ball is high, but not determined at all by the hitter. The same could be said for the opposite.

Luck: This is the main variable fans think of when discussing BABIP. Regardless of the defense’s skill, bloopers happen. And on the contrary, lesser defensive players make plays that maybe they shouldn’t.

Phases and Adjustments: Over the course of a season, players find themselves making many changes. Whether said changes are to their physical approach, their mindset in the batter’s box, or the mechanics behind their swing, players adjust. And with positive changes, you’re most likely hitting the ball harder and making contact more often. Both of those things would point to a player having a BABIP higher than normal, as harder hit balls have a much greater chance of falling for a hit.

The average BABIP for hitters is around .290 to .310.  If you see any player that deviates from this average to an extreme, they’re likely due for regression.

ISO: Isolated Power (ISO) quite simply measures a hitter’s raw power. Or, taking a look from a different angle, measures a player’s ability to hit for extra bases. The simplest way to calculate ISO is to subtract a player’s Batting Average (BA) from their SLG%, leaving us with that player’s extra bases per at bat. Or if you want to get fancy, go ahead and calculate ISO this way:

ISO = ((2B) + (2*3B) + (3*HR)) /AB ISO = Extra Bases / At-Bats 

ISO requires a larger sample size than most advanced metrics. For example, if Albert Pujols has a .550 ISO (Like that would ever happen, amirite?) two weeks into the season, it’s way too early to expect that to continue.

Lots of numbers, I know. And I did say up top that I’m not going to force them on you. This is a friendly place for all baseball fans to hang out. Whether you like a player who grinds out at bats or you like the guy who is relatively unknown but whose numbers jump off the charts, I’m going to address it. Sit back, relax, and strap it down; We’re going for a ride.

Shane is a co-host and producer for both “Nothin’ But Net” and “The Baseball Show” on WCRXFM and WCRXFM.com.   Listen on Tuesday nights from 7-9pm and to the Baseball Show on Saturday mornings at 9am . Follow Shane on Twitter: @Shane_Riordan