People Who Produce Things

–Lukas pointed this one out to me: predatory lending in the NFL lockout-relief market. The first thing the NFLPA advises rookies to do with their bonus is hire a financial advisor. The first thing they actual do is buy a house. If they bought that house in 2006 then at least they got an adjustable rate on their liar loan, not so this time, they’re just getting screwed from the outset. [Yahoo! Sports]

–How dare you suggest that the government has better things to investigate than point shaving at USD?!? Personally, I’m happy that tax dollars are funding any FBI investigation with a codename like “Hook Shot”. [WSJ]

–Jimmer’s the new blue blood. He was always the Great White Hope. [You Tube]

–Richard Linklater’s “Inning By Inning”, a documentary-length profile of Texas head coach Augie Garrido, is really, really good. Here’s a clip. [You Tube]

–HBO Real Sports got some ex-Auburn players to talk about money in envelopes, etc. It was the least-engaging, but most publicized, part of the show. Find the rest wherever you can. [HBO]

–“College baseball teams are hitting half as many home runs and averaging a run less per game halfway through the season,” says the New York Times. According to recent NCAA data, “Overall batting average has dropped to .279 from .301; E.R.A. to 4.62 from 5.83; and the number of shutouts has jumped to 444 from 277.”

You see, this college baseball season marked the introduction of new NCAA aluminum bat standards meant to reduce the effective “sweet spot” of the non-wood bats used in college play. These new specifications limit the “Ball-Bat Coefficient of Restitution standard (BBCOR)”–the ball’s “exit speed” or “pop” off of the bat–and were intended to reduce the number of sickening thuds that can be heard when a ball meets a pitcher’s face at hundreds of miles per hour.

Guess what? The new standards (might have, possibly) worked (anecdotally)!

And yet no one is happy. Why? Because three-run homers are down. Double-digit run totals are down and at least one coach, according to the Times, fears that attendance will be down as a consequence.

These numbers were taken midseason, mind you, and that alone makes them pretty raw. Even the NCAA–always the first in line to receive a gold star for improving safety–says they need more research before making “definitive statements.”

That has stopped precisely no one–including UNR baseball fans, I’ve heard plenty of them–from deciding that losses and anemic offensive performances can and should be blamed on “dead bats”, normal statistical variation be damned. If it’s the bats’ “fault” then it’s very weird that statistics concerning the nominal decrease in line drive-induced comas were not made available. It’s baseball, give it another year and they’ll have a number for you. [NYX; NCAA]

How did you celebrate Monday’s 57th anniversary of the most boring day in history? Yeah, me neither.

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