Category Archives: Information

Spring Training Update

Since this is technically a log book I should be writing development notes here but have not kept up. The site has now been running daily Spring Training updates. Cubs are playing well so far BTW. The site has also been upgraded to https from http using the help from the awsome Let’s Encrypt folks

All the current year code that processes source data had to be rewritten because everything runs off the database now. The current year database is very similar to the historical year databases. In past years current year data was stored in text files because that was easy and allowed for great flexibility in making changes. Since building the historical databases from 1900 – present the yearly organization and table schemas now work very well.

This season complete box scores as well as handicapping info will be easily accessible for every game just like they are in the historical dataset. This was made possible through developing the code base to manage the historical database during this off season.

This site will continue with Horse Race posts, Cubs Status reports, and various other musings like past seasons. In the past these reports were the only view into this data model. Now all this information can be retrieved for any team for any day.

Since the White Sox have gotten much better and look to be a real contender this season, they’ll be covered here as well with the Cubs.

Since my local bar won’t get Marquis network it appears I’ll be stuck watching White Sox games this season in a bar on the North Side of Chicago! Fortunately we can still follow the Cubbies on MLB gameday and AM radio still works around here. I like Steve Stone however. Cubs should have never gotten rid of him.

More to come this season. Until then ….

Update 12/20/2020

This is a test of the new server hosting this site as well as Since this is technically a log book soon there will be posts documenting some new developments on that web site as well as the iteration 3 of Tier Combo simulation.

There will not be any more game by game analysis here. There is still a lot to do on the baseball-handbook site and notes on that development should be documented. All of that is forthcoming. Until then ….

Cubs Clinch

This blog has been offline for awhile while working on the baseball-handbook site which is starting to take shape. The purpose of this public log book was to ferret out table formats and test the code that produces them from data sources. All tables produced by this code had to be manually copied and pasted into these WordPress posts. All this code was reused to quickly put together the clickable site that provides player, team, and handicapping information for any team, any player, any game since 1900 in a (hopefully) easy to use format.

Ironically the Cubs clinch a playoff spot almost the same time in current year 2020 as they did in 1984. This year there was little to no fanfare.

Last night in 1984 when the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-1 clinching NL East Cubs fans celebrated as intensely as they did in 2016 after winning a World Series. Unlike in 2016 however, Cubs had to play another game the next day on September 25.

Cubs lost that game 7-1 with all their regular players nursing hangovers or something. Reggie Patterson who previously pitched 1 inning in 1984 started and Cubs lineup went from a typical tier 4.00 to a tier -1.97 today.

Lineups are dynamic from game to game so that would be reflected in the handicapping. With only one inning pitched, Patterson would disqualify simulation for this game and handicapping would be a discard. One of the problems with simulation is it only takes into account data model factors and not other influences like most players not playing with their normal competitive mindset. Factors like this would be difficult if not impossible to model mathematically.

Cubs were cruising to the playoffs after our matchup post over a month ago so it was only a matter of time before it became official. Memories of the 1969 season lingered but collapses like that are unusual and considered anomalies with low probability of occurrence.

Dredging up 1984 was in response to no baseball this year. Since then MLB has concocted an exhibition season which is coming to a close in a couple of days. Cubs and White Sox are in post season and both teams have interesting profiles.

By calendar days, if this were a normal year, we would be at the beginning of June. A normal baseball season is a marathon enveloping summer. This year it is a sprint. This data model right now has just enough data to start handicapping and the season is almost over.

We’ll cover both 2020 and 1984 playoffs with commentary and links into baseball-handbook data which are already up for 1984 playoffs.

The days of posting Cubs matchups and status here are over as that is all done automatically with more colorful tables for any team you choose. This log book will still stay active for various coding rants as the handbook site develops and becomes an app for that. There’s also an issue with WAR and 1969 Ernie Banks which is rather peculiar. Until then ….

The very first draft of is up and running. This will be a work in progress from now until eternity but the next few months will show the greatest improvement.

Right now careers are working well. The Today tab which will show current data will take awhile before we actually get enough current data. It is currently evaluating lineups, starters, and relief using 2017,2018, and 2019 cumulative data.

We’re currently 23 days into this season with 264 games played, 39 not played, with 17 of those involving the Cardinals. This is not normal. It is usually assumed most teams and players are around the same playing time which isn’t the case this season and could affect the way these averages work — still not sure.

The Today tab currently lists all current Vegas odds with team strengths for each game and soon will have links to rosters and all games played this season so far and to come. Stay tuned as this site develops over the next few months.

The 1984 Houston series was skipped and we’ll resume when the Cubs host the Reds on 8/17. Until then ….

The 2020 MLB Season

Back to the future we travel to the year 2020 when MLB starts its season tomorrow July 23 with two night games and then the next day the rest of the league starts their season. The season ends September 27 with only 60 games scheduled for each of the 30 teams.

Normally in April we do a playoff horse race using 3 year splits based on opening day rosters of each team when all rosters are known. Rosters are divided into Starters, Relief, Hitters, and then added to make a Total which gets sorted from highest to lowest.

Although most teams in the top third of these lists either make the playoffs or are competitive throughout the season and the bottom third, not so much, there are always exceptions. Cubs and Houston had the two lowest totals at the beginning of 2015 but both teams had young talent with little to no accrued WAA value. The next few years both these teams rose to the top when their young guys started racking up value in three year splits while their teams dominated the league.

This model needs a month of current year data in order to properly rank players. It needs at least 45 days, or 25% of a season, in order to simulate and handicap games. Think of a baseball season like a marathon or the Indy 500. At the start runners and cars are bunched together and as time goes the field spreads out to reveal front runners, middle of the road, and bringing up the rear participants. Even win/loss records of most MLB teams are still bunched up closely by mid May.

Vegas however starts handicapping on day one of a season and probably even bets meaningless pre-season games. In order to handicap on day one the simulator for this model would have to depend upon player data from previous seasons. The simulator currently doesn’t work that way but it is something that should be looked into and perhaps a shortened season like this will provide some insight into how that can be done.

Simulation draws data from complete seasons in the past from teams limited to 25 player rosters. This season will have 30 player rosters and other roster shenanigans that may invalidate comparison with team valuations in games from the past. Currently expanded rosters is a problem for the simulator in Septembers for many reasons that we won’t get into here but is still a work in progress to figure out had this been a normal season. This entire shortened season is similar to a normal September expanded rosters.

A normal baseball season is a 6 month marathon. This 2 month sprint for each team requires different managing strategies. It’s like a marathon race requiring runners to only run 10 miles. Runners will run differently if they know they don’t have to run the entire distance and baseball players will know they can rest a few days off without worrying about IL/DL rules.

In April this model fixes broken scripts from data sources that change their APIs. This will be the first year this model estimates current year rosters which will be a lot more accurate than past years when they were being downloaded from Wikipedia. Wikipedia was a good source but sometimes lagged a few days.

We’ll be getting detailed box scores from the api which will allow for a much more accurate valuation of relief squads than in past seasons. switched their API from XML to JSON this season. The code to decipher JSON was being worked on in March when everything in the world went haywire.

Like in past Aprils, after analyzing all opening day rosters there really isn’t much to discuss for the next few weeks when we get a handle on what players and teams are breaking out this year . Right now I don’t even know what teams are in the Cubs’ division or even how playoff matchups get chosen.

Speaking of Cubs. While testing the JSON API from using a recent Cubs White Sox game it appears the Cubs are 8-14 and the White Sox are 12-7 before Cubs lost that game. When this season starts and we have full rosters we’ll cover both White Sox and Cubs. We knew White Sox would be contenders this season but not sure about Cubs. Can’t really tell without knowing exactly who is on each team however which we’ll know in a few days.

The 1984 Cubs season will continue unabated until the very tragic end late in October. Meanwhile, Cubs spilt a 4 game set with the last place Giants losing money for Cubs bettors and it’s on to Philadelphia for a three game series with Rick Sutcliffe on the mound tomorrow. Until then …