Thursday, January 11, 2024

The Shohei Ohtani Contract

$700 million over 10 years.  It's mind boggling.  Someone asked me "How can he be worth that much?"  Here were my thoughts:

A) Because so much money is deferred, in reality it's more like a $460 million dollar contract over 10 years.  Still the largest contract in MLB history, but it no longer looks ridiculously larger than other ones (Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge in the $360 million range).

B) For those not familiar with MLB vs NFL/NBA/NHL, MLB has no salary cap.  So teams can go through the roof on contracts as long as the team has money.  It does not have the same impact towards roster construction like it does in other sports with caps.

C) Although I can't remember where I read it, one of the best articles I ever read on the topic of "player value" had the following thought expriment.

Is a player who hits 30 home runs worth twice has much as a player who hit 15 home runs?

To an average person, they would think yes, they are twice as valuable.  But the real answer is no.

Last year 26 players hit atleast 30 home runs (including Ohtani), while 148 hit atleast 15 home runs.  Only 6 players (also including Ohtani) hit atleast 40 home runs.

A player who hits 30 home runs is significantly rarer than those who hit 15 home runs.  In a league with only 30 teams, there's less than 1 to go around for each team.  A team's ability to accumulate atleast one, if not more than one, of these 30 home run hitters (or one of the 40 home run hitters) increases their chances of doing well.  (Note that I'm completely ignoring the ability to generate winning value in other ways, this is an example just for thought experiment purposes.)

So why is Ohtani worth this much?

Simply put, he is the unicorn of unicorns.  A player with no comparison in MLB or any other major professional sports league.  The best hypothetical example would be a NFL player being a Pro Bowl player on both offense and defense.

WIth Ohtani you get an elite hitter and (lets say) 2/3rds of an elite pitcher in one player (because he's not full time as a pitcher).   Some approximately 1.66 elite players in 1 roster spot. [1]

That means he's much more valuable than even the average *elite player*, let alone the average player.

[1] - Since he's a DH you could maybe knock down that 1.66 elite players a bit, but still, he's greater than > 1.0 elite players in 1 roster spot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Orel Hershiser's Scoreless Inning's Streak

With Jacob Degrom seemingly flirting with history this year (0.54 ERA through 11 starts), I was reminded of Orel Hershiser's scoreless innings streak in 1988.

Granted it was a different era of baseball, but I saw this on baseball reference and it just blew my mind.

Yup, that is a big fat zero earned runs given up over the entire month of September.  With 5 shutouts in a row and it would have been 6 if the Dodgers had bothered to score a run in his last start.



I decided to check out Bob Gibson's game log in his famed 1968 year (1.12 ERA, Cy Young & MVP) and saw this:


Again, it was a different era of baseball, but damn.  That's 19 (effectively) complete games in a row with 12 shutouts in the mix.  His ERA fell below 1.00 twice during that span.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Warriors Trading for D'Angello Russell, was it worth it?

So today it was announced that the Warriors had traded D'Angello Russell for Andrew Wiggins and some draft picks.

I began wondering, was the whole ordeal worth it?  Would it have been better to just let Kevin Durant walk away for nothing?

Remember, that the Warriors had the belief that they couldn't let Kevin Durant leave for nothing.  So they decided to trade for D'Angello Russell, but he wasn't free.  The Warriors had to trade:
  • A top 20 protected pick to the Brooklyn Nets.  Given the Warriors terrible record this year, that will revert to a 2025 second round pick.
  • Andre Iguodola to the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • A first round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2024 (1-4 protected), falling to 2025 (#1 protected), falling to 2026 unprotected.
By trading D'Angello Russell they get:
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • First round pick 2021 (1-3 protected), falling to 2022 unprotected
  • 2022 second round pick
So the net result is:
  • Losing Andre Iguodola (minimum 1 year, who knows beyond that)
  • Gaining Andrew Wiggins
  • Converting a 2024 first round draft pick into a (likely) 2021 lottery first round draft pick.
  • Converting a 2025 second round draft pick into a 2022 second round draft pick.
It's not entirely clear to me that this was a net win.  Granted the Warriors weren't going to be that good in 2019-2020 given all their injuries, but going into the 2020-2021 season, if they wanted to make a run at another deep playoff run, they would have the following the following to work with:
  1. their own 2024 first round draft pick
  2. their own 2025 second round draft pick
  3. Andre Iguodola, re-signed or traded for additional assets
  4. more cap space
  1. the Wolves 2021 first round draft pick
  2. the Wolves 2022 second round draft pick
  3. Andrew Wiggins
  4. less cap space

To me, it's not entirely clear its a net win.  The 2024-2025 drafts are so far off, it's hard to really tell if they are better assets than the Wolves draft picks.  The Wolves are likely to be a lottery team in 2021, perhaps making their draft pick more valuable short term.  And remember they still have their own 2020 draft pick, which will be a (likely) top 5 lottery pick.

The big question mark is really Andrew Wiggins and the salary cap space.  Is Andrew Wiggins better than whatever the Warriors could have acquired via the free agent market in 2020?  The free agent market for 2020 is considered quite thin, so perhaps its a reasonable gamble to get back into contention.

I can't help but look at the 2020 free agent market and think a Danilo Gallinari might fit in well at small forward for the Warriors (or Gordon Hayward if he opts out), and not cost quite as much money.  But signing free agents are never a guaranteed thing (see 2019-2020 Knicks of course).  Who knows who will be available (Gallinari was apparently offered an extension by the Miami Heat in his almost trade to them) and who knows if the Warriors would be considered a destination after finishing about last in the league.

And we can't forget, the Warriors may have wanted to make a run at a huge free agent in 2021 (i.e. Giannis).  But they may be unable to do so unless they unload Andrew Wiggins' contract.

But then again, by 2021, with only two years left on the contract, perhaps his contract will be more easily dumpable, especially with the 2021 draft pick from the Wolves.


After thinking about it a bit more, perhaps the goal of fighting for 2021 free agents is part of the plan.  They would prefer to not have to sign a decent 2020 free agent (think a Danilo Gallinari) to a 4 year contract (3 years after 2020-2021 season).  They would much rather have Andrew Wiggins with only 2 years left on his contract.  If Andrew Wiggins works out, great!  If he doesn't, with only two years left on the contract, his contract is now more tradeable.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Maintaining Software For A Long Time

On and off for a few weeks, I've been removing a good chunk of legacy support from some software I maintain (FreeIPMI). It's always hard to know exactly how much legacy support is ok to remove and possibly break users, so I decided somewhat randomly "if it's older than 10 years, it's ok to remove it".

It immediately lead to two somewhat orthogonal thoughts:

A slightly negative, "Have I really been maintaining this stuff for 10 years" feeling.  There's the tiny part of me thinking, "Damn, that's a lot of hours spent maintaining this over a long period of time."

A mostly positive, "People are still using my stuff after 10 years" feeling.  The reality is that so much software is not maintained well, so eventually people just stop using it.  So it does make me feel good knowing people still use it.  And everyonce in awhile, I answer a question on Stackoverflow or Serverfault about it, so I know people are definitely still using it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dinner @ Sons & Daughters in San Francisco, CA

Over four years ago I was able to hit up Sons & Daughters in San Francisco.  Some friends wanted to hit up the restaurant (partially based on my recommendation :-) and wanted to see if I wanted to come along.  I couldn't say no.

When I first went, the restaurant was amongst the cheapeast tasting menus in San Francisco, I believe $105 per person.  It's a bit more expensive now, clocking in at $145 a person.  However, the menu is a few additional courses with the ability to pay for an extra supplemental course.

So here's what we had tonight.

1) Ratatouille with grilled focaccia and basil

First up was this amuse bouche of foccacia bread toasted with some basil cream kid of sauce.  It was pretty good.  My friend joked if the above had edible rocks.  They were not edible :-)

2) Multigrain sourdough with cultured butter

Not much to say here, good.

3) Caviar d'Aquitaine Perlita with chicken stewed in chase-peanut milk and crispy chicken skin

So this caviar course was the supplemental course.  It's probably the most interesting caviar course I've ever had.  So the caviar is on the left, on top of stewed chicken, surrounded by chicken skin "crackers".  To the right is some nuts/herbs.  I can't remember the sauce though.

Overall, the course was delicious, the flavors were really good, but I think it drowned out the caviar a bit.  I did find the chicken skin "crackers" really interesting.

4) Chilled melon soup with horseradish cracker and sea urchin

When the staff first mentioned this first, my thought was "melon and uni?".  It didn't seem to match, until I thought of melon and prosciutto, which somehow matches.  Overall, not a bad dish, but not my favorite. I think it was hard for me to process the combination.

5) Halibut crudo with August Glo yellow nectarines, poppy seed and almond

This was delicious, loved the poppy seed sauce on top of the crudo.

6) Deconstructed samosa with warm potates and nepitella

This wasn't considered an official course, but a random snack.  It tasted just like a samosa.  I enjoyed the texture of the fried dough ribbons on the bottom.

7) Summer squash with raspberry relish, Brokaw avocado and tamarind

I think this was sort of like a fancy plated squash salad, with squash on the bottom, then some raspberry sauce, then avocado on top, and some fried squash blossoms to boot.  Overall pretty good, but I felt the raspberry drowned the other flavors a little bit.  I would love to see these flavors together in a bigger entree-ish salad somewhere.

8) Octopus katsu with tomato-bean puree and borlotti lomi-lomi

I wasn't sure what lomi-lomi was, but it's apparently a Hawaiian salad made with salmon and tomatoes.  Overall pretty good, although I might be biased because I recently had some incredible octopus at Mourad and Roister.  Any octopus dish right now would have had a hard time matching those dishes.

9) Tamal of king salmon with smoked trout roe and corn succotash

This was possibly my favorite course of the night.  Perfectly cooked salmon in a sauce of corn, trout roe, and (IIRC) clams.  I loved the crisped salmon skin on top.

10) Egg salad toast

So instead of butter, they presented us this egg salad made with quail eggs to be used on top of our next bread course.  Surprisingly simple, yet delicious and a nice contrast to the typical bread & butter.

11) Hibachi-grilled quail with 'cang ying tou', five spice seeds and fermented soy bean

Another contender for best course of the night.  The quail was stuffed with rissoto and had an incredible rub on the outside.  I didn't pick up what the greens were, but I think it could have been lightly fried (or baked) kale.  It sat on a bed of "cang ying tou", which is a pork and (I think) chive Chinese dish.  Overall, delicious.

12) Huckleberry sorbet with spiced granola and buckwheat custard

I love sorbet, and as far as palette cleansers go, this was delicious.

13) Peaches and lavender cream with blackberry oolong tea

The last time I was at Sons & Daughters, their dessert was amongst my favorite of all time.  This one missed the mark for me, but it may be due to my personal tastes.  You see the compressed peaches on top and the white is the lavendar cream. The bottom layer (which I assume was the blackberry oolong tea) was an icy popsicle like layer.  I would have much preferred a cake-like layer, as the lavender cream and icy cold of the bottom layer just wasn't to my taste.

14) Financier with strawberries and white chocolate

Finally, our mignardise was this cake with white chocolate and strawberries on top (I assume macerated and cut up).  Tasty, although I thought it was interesting they offered only this one mignardise.  It ends up it was because ...

16) Duo of chocolate truffles

We were given this box of chocolates to go.  The one on the left was caramel, but can't remember what the one on the right was.

Overall a good second meal at Sons & Daughters.  I think it's interesting to compare and contrast this meal with the one I had in 2015.

In 2015, I think that Sons & Daughters presented a very good meal that was a bit more traditional American in its ingredients and flavors.

This meal, perhaps as a sign of the times, was clearly aiming to be more experimental and international.  The experimental was clear in the chicken skin crackers, egg salad on toast, and popsicle in the dessert.  The international flavors were clearly there: samosa -> Indian, katsu -> Japanese, cang ying tou -> Chinese, tamal -> Mexican.  I think it leads to a meal that had a few non-hits along the way (I wouldn't call them misses), but overall makes the meal more interesting along the way.  With those changes, I can see myself coming back to see what they come up with in a few years.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Dinner @ Roister in Chicago, IL

Me and my +1 were going out to a show in Chicago and needed to get dinner before hand.  Since we were on a bit of a schedule, this meant we couldn't go to a longer tasting menu and had to find something a bit more casual.  My first thought was to hit up the famed Girl & the Goat, but reservations were already taken (> 1 month ahead too).

I considered a few other options, including The Publican, but eventually settled on Roister.  It's the casual restaurant by the folks from Alinea.  So I figured why not.

The restaurant offers a very simple a la carte menu and concentrates on many items being grilled in their wood fire oven.  Here's what we ended up getting.

1) Hearth Grilled Shishito Peppers - yuzu, togarashi aioli

We got this starter almost exclusively because we regularly bake sweet peppers when they are in season.  When I bit into these peppers, all I could think is "I can't do this at home".  Throwing these onto their wood fired oven to get that really quick char makes these really good.  Add into the aioli and lime, really good.

2) Mediterranean Octopus - fennel, nicoise olive, aleppo chili

This may be the best octopus I've ever had, but with an exception.  I assume many other gourmet restaurants sous vide their octopus or braise it in some slow cooked way to make it so tender.  It's not clear to me if Roister does that beforehand and chars it at the end, or cooks it all the way on the oven, but the char from the oven gives the octopus that extra flavor.  It was still very tender and delicious along with the sauce.

The exception to everything I said above is that parts of the octopus were overly charred, especially the "skinny" parts of the tentacle.  Still an overall net win, but it is what it is.

3) Chicken & Chamomile - braised, poached, fried with sunchoke

I did a bad job photographing this dish.  This dish comes with chicken prepared two ways.  One is the fried chicken thighs you see in the front.  The other way is the grilled chicken breast underneath.  As you can see, it's accompanied by some hot sauce and gravy.

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical of ordering this dish because, well, it's fried chicken and grilled chicken.  However, the dish is highly recommended per reviews online.  I will say that the fried chicken did not disappoint.  I don't know that it was about it, the crust, the juiciness of the chicken, or the gravy, it was just delicious.

The grilled chicken breast was also very good, although a slight notch below the excellent roast chicken I recently had at Mourad.  The charred skin was delicious, but it just didn't quite have the same juiciness as the one at Mourad or the fried chicken.

Overall, I loved the gravy and was a little meh on the hot sauce, but I'm not a big fan of hot sauce overall.  My +1 enjoyed the hot sauce more.

4) Grilled Asparagus - jambon de bayonne, meyer lemon vinaigrette

Similar to the shishito peppers above, these are simply excellent asparagus.  The vinaigrette really stood out and my immediate thought is "how come my grilled asparagus doesn't come out like this".  Are they picked at their peak?  Is it simply shaving the fibrous parts on the ends?  The vinaigrette brings out some flavor?  I have no idea, but it was really good.

5) Hearth Roasted Banana Split - passionfruit, macadamia nut, caramelized white chocolate

Finally, we decided to share this banana split.  It comes with a brown butter ice cream, some dried banana chips, roasted honeycomb, macadamia nuts, and chocolate pearls.  I'm mildly allergic to tropical fruit, so the passion fruit was not included.  I really liked the roasted banana, giving it this creaminess to go along with the ice cream.  I felt there were too many crunchy textures going on (honeycumb, banana chips, nuts), but perhaps that's just my quirky tastes.  My +1 loved it.

Overall, I really enjoyed Roister.  Nothing here is going to wow you with originality, but you can really taste how many dishes are just elevated and better than your average restaurant.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 - Brilliant Twist


After the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, a fair number of fans were upset with Daenerys's heel turn, after she laid waste to King's Landing.

My initial thought was, "I guess they could have done a little bit more to show her conversion".  Perhaps after Rhaegal died they could have spent a minute showing her depression.  Perhaps after Missandei's death there could have been a short seen between her and Grey Worm showing her sinking depression.  But I didn't think the turn of events was that terrible.

Many fans were far more upset about it, and as I thought about it, I realized that Daenerys's heel turn was far more obvious than I originally thought.  And the show did a great job at hiding it.

I want to concentrate on the following.

- Dany sacks Astapor, Yunkai, Meereen (S3 & 4)
- Dany had Drogon burn Kraznys alive (S3E3).
- Dany has the masters crucified (S4E4) (against the suggestion of Selmy).
- Dany feeds masters to her dragons (S5E5).
- Dany tells Tyrion she will lay waste to cities (S6E9) but Tyrion convinces her otherwise.

But the question is why did we not think Dany evil?  Despite all of the above, why is she "good"?  Why is Cersei "bad"?

Then it finally hits me, and I think it's wonderful storytelling in the end.

The reason is that all of the above are related to slave cities or slave masters.  Subconsciously, we don't view mountains of these actions as "evil" or "bad".  We subconsciously think of the actions as justified or "ok".

- Kraznys is a slave master and an asshole to boot, so we are happy to see him dead
- Crucifying the masters is A WAR CRIME. She has taken over Meereen, has taken prisoners, and doesn't elect to imprison them, doesn't elect to execute them quickly, but specifically chooses to crucify them.  But we don't seem that upset because they were slave owners.
- If she wants to burn down cities to the ground, we're sort of ok with that b/c it's slave cities.
- Are all innocents spared in Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen?  I doubt it.  We just don't see the sacking of the city, unlike the sacking of Kings Landing.
- Did we forget that Dany decides to go to Astapor in the first place?  Apparently she had little qualms of even visiting such a city to inquire about purchasing slaves?

I suppose there's other subtleties as to why we consider Dany "good".  The fact that Dany was "poor" and had to bring herself up on her own is part of the tale.  The Game of Thrones tale naturally having our hearts and minds view her as "good", and somewhat ignoring mountains of evidence to the contrary.  This is in contrast to Cersei, who is trying to maintain her power.

Here's a few other evil things Dany did that I could remember:

- Dany has burns Mirri Maz Duur (S1E10) by her own hand.
- Dany burns khals and others alive by her own hand (S6E4).  This includes innocents.
- Dany locked up Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah to die of starvation in a vault (S2E10).
- Dany executes Randyll & Dickon Tarly (S7E5).

How is locking up people in a vault that different than Cersei's imprisoning people in the dungeon?  Or how is the burning of the Khals that different than the destruction of the Sept of Baelor?  The execution of the Tarlys is again a war crime.

As I thought about the series further, I realized that Dany may have been equally evil to Cersei from the start.  However, minor subtleties in the story made her look like "good" vs "bad."  We can begin to look at some of her actions differently.

I actually began wondering, does she care about freeing slaves?  Or is freeing slaves simply a means to an end to raise an army?  If she really cared about the unsullied and their freedom, shouldn't she have them live a good remaining life?  Instead of having them sail across the sea to die, she could have just had them keep the peace in Meereen and she could rule there.