Last week, the folks over at the absolutely brilliant Wezen-Ball wrote one of the greatest sports blog posts of all-time. In what could only be called a genius notion, they decided to cull through 20 years of Charlie Brown baseball comic strips and see what stats they could find. According to Larry Granillo, the author of the post,
Granted, they aren’t going to be pretty, but someone should find the answer to the questions: how many games did Charlie Brown’s team lose? how many did they win? how many times did Charlie Brown get knocked over by a line-drive? and so on…
And that he did. In Part 1, Granillo looked at every game from 1951 to 1960. Let’s just say the numbers aren’t good.
In Part 2, Granillo examines the Peanuts gang’s diamond exploits from 1961 to 1970. Charlie Brown and company get slightly better in their second decade, but not by much.
Admittedly, Granillo’s examination of Charlie Brown’s baseball stats may be overkill for some. Some might say analysis like that sucks the fun out of a light-hearted comic strip about and made for kids.
But like I said, I think it’s genius.
The Wezen-Ball – Charlie Brown post reminded me of another absolutely brilliant post on a baseball playing cartoon character. Back in 2006, Derek Zumsteg of the blog U.S.S. Mariner dissected the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon “Baseball Bugs“. Zumsteg, a noted baseball analyst, broke down Bugs’ performance on the field so thoroughly, he even calculated where and when Bugs uses super-rabbit skills. When describing Bugs’ ability to not only throw a pitch, but to race behind home plate and catch it, Zumsteg writes,
Therefore, he throws the pitch in the air at about 44mph and possibly quite slightly towards home. In the time the toss gives him behind the plate, he begins to chatter. In his three seconds of yelling, he’s able to cause the ball to accelerate extremely fast. We can estimate the speed of the ball given the force applied to Bugs while catching it. If, as seems reasonable, we figure he weighs 80lbs, the force to throw him directly into the backstop and do significant structural damage to that backstop can be estimated (“Estimation of pitch speed through re-creation of secondary observations using weighted mannequin and riot suppresion weapons,” Zumsteg, 2004). We are able to figure that the pitch was traveling at least 150mph and possibly much faster.
Needless to say, Zumsteg’s post is not for those who like to keep their humor and science separate.
Although Zumsteg’s and Granillo’s posts share similar subjects, they couldn’t be more different. Whereas Granillo wrote about 20 years of games in sweeping generalities littered with assumptions, Zumsteg had one game with a final score and recorded footage of performances, processes, and methodologies. Despite their differences, as a fan of baseball and of cartoons, I think they are two of the best sports blogs ever written.