Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Ignoring the fact that I'm having an internal conversation about the role of consumerism, Jesus, and the world we live in, and how and why the intersect, and what that means to me, I went out this morning on Black Friday.

Let's just say that I've got several new books to read, including the newest Rob Bell book.

And that makes me very, very happy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Score

It's odd when a celebrity passes away. One that you've never met, one that you've never had any real connection with. But, odder still when one passes away who connected with you, who actually had an impact on your life.

I'm not sure I've experienced that in my young life ... until today. Herb Score passed away today. The former pitcher and broadcaster for the Indians.

If you're unfamiliar with Herb Score, his professional career is a wonderful symbol of Cleveland sports in general. Promising young talent, only to have a catastrophic injury end his career, and along with it, the hope that he would lead Cleveland to the promised land.

But, it's not his playing career that connects him to me, it's his broadcasting career. He spent 34 years as the voice of the Indians, including the first 16 years of my life. In some ways, by listening to him on the radio night after night after night, Herb Score helped to raise me. He was a constant voice in my life. And, knowing he was retiring, part of the reason the loss to the Marlins in 1997 hurt so much (not that it needed much help, mind you).

And so ... it's an interesting feeling. Not the empty feeling and despair of losing a friend or a family member. But, not the unattached feeling of losing someone that you just hear about in passing and have no connection at all to.

Still ... I'll always have good memories of Herb Score. Calls only he could make like "Belle hits it to left field and ... it caught. No, its a home run!" or the magical call in 1995 when the Indians beat the Orioles to clinch the Central Division Title.

Rest in peace, Herb. I'll keep hope alive that one year, the Tribe will win a ring for you, yet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

NBA Stat Geek

So, there's no secret to the fact that I'm a math geek. There's also no secret to the fact that I'm a big sports guy. And, there's no secret that there's a human nature to attempt to combine the things you like.

Having said that, after a good bit of work on it, I've developed my own mathematical formula for ranking NBA teams. I'll leave the specifics of how I formulate scores to myself, but I'll share a little about how I wanted to develop them:

  • reward team that can impose their will during stretches of a game on both offense and defense
  • punish teams that get dominated during stretches of a game on both offense and defense
  • give teams credit for winning games
  • punish teams for losing games they should have won

  • And, that's it. I debated a few other factors, like margin of victory, or superstar presence, but decided those would be less unbiased and less helpful in predicting the best teams in the league. I'm hoping to keep up with it, and keep publishing my rankings periodically.

    So, here they are, my first rankings, to share with you:

    Rank | Team | score
    1. Boston 2.72
    2. Utah 2.37
    3. LA Lakers 2.2
    4. Atlanta 1.87
    5. New York 1.87
    6. Houston 1.78
    7. Phoenix 1.26
    8. Orlando 1.21
    9. Toronto 1.21
    10. Miami 1.04
    11. Indiana 0.94
    12. Cleveland 0.92
    13. Detroit 0.88
    14. Denver 0.71
    15. Chicago 0.64
    16. Golden State 0.5
    17. Portland 0.38
    18. Minnesota 0.38
    19. New Jersey 0.28
    20. San Antonio 0.08
    21. Philadelphia -0.12
    22. Sacramento -0.36
    23. New Orleans -0.45
    24. Dallas -0.45
    25. Charlotte -0.45
    26. Milwaukee -0.69
    27. Memphis -0.69
    28. Washington -0.78
    29. LA Clippers -1.64
    30. Oklahoma City -2.61

    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    The End

    Well ... it's over.

    The Campaign that is.

    And, a streak of mine.

    So far in my life, the candidate I've voted for in the general election for the Office of President of the United States of America has won. I'm fairly certain that streak is over (note that I've never voted for the winner, statewide or nationwide, for President in the primaries).

    And, so, I happily bid this season goodbye. I am glad to be done with the ads, with the media coverage, with the way it makes people behave. Whomever wins tonight, there's a 99.999999999% chance that I did not vote for that person, but I pledge to respect and honor them anyways. The winner will likely not agree with me on many things, and I won't like much of his agenda. But I love this country, and I pledge allegiance to it, and to its leader.

    And, just think, tomorrow morning begins at least one major party's campaign to find their candidate in 2012.

    Saturday, November 01, 2008


    Even I can believe in ...