Auctioning Off Historic Baseballs

Whenever a fan catches an important home run, there is the push and pull between giving it back to the player, giving it to the Hall of Fame, keeping it, or selling it.  When a ball has sentimental value to the player but not necessarily the Hall of Fame, it’s always a little obnoxious to me when the fan decides he’s going to sell the ball.

Yesterday, someone sold Alex Rodriguez’s 500th home run ball for $103,579.  I have no sympathy for Alex Rodriguez in any facet of his professional life, but it does remind me of an important point.  Why doesn’t the player just buy the ball at the auction? 

Maybe this does happen and they just keep it hush-hush, the way international companies pay ransoms for their kidnapped employees.  Still, I can’t imagine there is a more interested and financially capable bidder for Alex Rodriguez’s 500th home run ball than Alex Rodriguez.

Trends Dashed

Some trends which ended with this World Series (dashed trend indicated by sad orange text):

1) In this playoff season, the demise of good closers and the ascent of bad closers:

  • Jonathan Papelbon (good):
    Regular season: 38/41 in save opportunities, 1.85 era
    Post season: 0/1, 13.50 era
  • Joe Nathan (good):
    Regular season: 47/52, 2.10 era
    Post season: 0/1, 9.00 era
  • Ryan Franklin (good, somehow):
    Regular season: 38/43, 1.92 era
    Post season: 0/1, 0.00 era (couldn’t retire side after Holliday error)
  • Jonathan Broxton (good):
    Regular: 36/42, 2.61 era
    Post-season: 2/3, 4.05 era
  • Mariano Rivera (good):
    Regular season: 44/46 svs, 1.76 era
    World Series trend dashed: 5/5 svs, 0.56 era
  • Brad Lidge (bad):
    Regular: 31/42, 7.21 era
    Post-season until World Series: 3/3, 0.00 era
    World Series trend dashed: 1 IP, 3 R, loss

2)  Alex Rodriguez continuing to not win a World Series:

  • Alex Rodriguez, July 27 1975-November 3, 2009: not winning the World Series
  • Alex Rodriguez, November 4, 2009: won World Series

3)  The Phillies winning the World Series and the Yankees not winning the World Series.

  • 2008: Phillies win the World Series, Yankees do not
  • 2009: Yankees win the World Series, Phillies do not

One trend that remains to be tested is teams getting better after Alex Rodriguez leaves:

  • 2000 Seattle Mariners, with A-Rod: 91-71
  • 2001 Seattle Mariners, without A-Rod: 116-46(!)
  • 2003 Texas Rangers, with A-Rod: 71-91
  • 2004 Texas Rangers, without A-R0d: 89-73

If this one holds, look out for those 2018 New York Yankees.