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Some things keep getting better

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Earlier this week, the Baseball Prospectus projection system, PECOTA, predicted a third-place finish [2] for the Yankees. In an updated version of the projection [3], the Yankees are now predicted to finish 93-69, tied with the Red Sox for the best record in baseball.

The latest projection has the Yankees scoring fewer runs — down to 855, still the most in baseball — but also predicts a much better season from the pitching staff, with the expected runs allowed down to 733, which is 56 fewer than in the first PECOTA prediction.

Why the change? I don’t know the entire process, but these folks are trying to predict an entire baseball season, and that probably requires some tweaks along the way. They’ve been pretty good at it in the past. The numbers might not be exactly right, but PECOTA usually gives a pretty good glimpse of the big picture. The real gutsy prediction here is the American League West. Talk about going against conventional thinking!


Also wanted to pass along this picture of CC Sabathia, his wife Amber and his mother Margie Sabathia Lanier at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Thurmon Field, which Sabathia recently helped renovate. Here’s the story — in press release form — and the picture.

It was only less than one year ago when New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia returned to see the first field he ever played on at North Vallejo Little League. What he discovered was covered with weeds and totally unsuitable for children to play baseball. As a man who believes in the importance of giving youth as many opportunities as possible, Sabathia and his PitCCh In Foundation™, vowed to make a change. The reconstructed Thurmon Field will open with a field ceremony on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 9 a.m., followed by the North Vallejo Little League All Star baseball clinic at 10 a.m.

The result of an intense two-month schedule of construction, coordinated by the Good Tidings Foundation and project general contractor Robert A. Bothman, Inc., this revitalized field will include new irrigation including lateral lines, new heads, valves and controller; new infield dirt, new bases, pitching rubber and home plate; new dugouts; new electronic scoreboard; a black vinyl coated chain link fence donated by the California Fence Contractors Association, and 37,000 square feet of sod provided by West Coast Turf. It will be the exact same turf as the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum where the Oakland A’s play. In addition, the field will be adjoined by a rebuilt snack bar with new electrical and the addition of a new water line, floor and roof.

“We had a lot of help from some very dedicated people who are equally passionate as me about making sure kids get to play this great game of baseball,” explained Sabathia. “Thinking back to what was here in terms of weeds and old dugouts to what we have now, I’m as excited as the kids on the first day of the season.”