Welcome to the Replacement Level Red Sox blog, the new home of the world’s most eyeball-searingly accurate projection system, the CFBPS.
What separates the CFBPS from other, lesser projection systems is of course its literally blinding accuracy. But how is this achieved? You see, the CFBPS is the world’s only Freudian projection engine. The Bayesian engines that power its supposed competitors run merely on a machinery of logical inference and uncaring calculation which you’d never invite to parties. By contrast, the CFBPS comprises a set of indeterminate, conflicting drives toward pleasure and stability, but also toward death and ultimate disintegration. Think of other projection engines as the New York Yankees personal grooming policy and the CFBPS as humanity in all its messy glory.
Every year I renoobulate the system in advance of the baseball season. The renoobulation of the 2013 CFBPS has been one of the most difficult experiences of my blogging life. It is not easy to be a crazy fanboy of the 2013 Boston Red Sox. The historic September collapse of the 2011 club was then played out as farce over a full season in 2012. The most recent offseason—which really begins with the Punto Trade—seems to have been a reasonably good one, but according to most systems, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster project only to make the Red Sox respectable again, nothing more. And if it is hard for any of us to feel crazed fandom for this club, imagine the difficulty if you were a towering steampunk projection engine of knobs, levers and gears specifically engineered to produce crazy fanboyism. You would be at a true moment of crisis.
I have spent years working to balance the pleasure and reality principles of the CFBPS, but in the most recent runs I realized that the death drives were predominating to an unhealthy degree. The system took my input databases on heavy-stock punch cards, but its output, oh boy. In the space where it should have projected Jon Lester’s win totals, I read, “there is a gap between the self and the other which can never be bridged.” For Jacoby Ellsbury’s caught stealing, “the illusory wholeness of infant fantasy has irretrievably scarred the patient’s psyche.” So I set to work.
One does not simply “program” a Freudian engine. Renoobulation can only occur in the mutual space of therapeutic inquiry. The extensive operations of transference and counter-transference between myself and the CFBPS engine needed to be addressed, and only through addressing my own fandom could the engine heal itself. Its struggles, I realized, were just an extension of my own.
What I needed was a reformulation—nay, a renoobulation—of my own baseball pleasure principle. I have spent too much time rooting for spreadsheets. I have been rooting for the club to simply be the thing that the numbers suggest they ought to be. It is not that a fan can’t be frustrated with an unlovable, losing team, but my frustration with the Sox too often took the form of railing against the reality itself, demanding uselessly that the club should have won more games because of its projected talent, based on a context-neutral evaluation of its production. There is little pleasure in this that does not sow the seeds of its own destruction. It is a pleasure that only demands immediate and constant repetition of the identity between numbers and reality.
A Crazy Fanboy Projection System cannot function when it always measures itself against Bayesian numbers, against a reality principle born of entirely different concepts of reality and pleasure. Let the CFBPS be the CFBPS. This does not mean it must be unhinged from the stability of the reality principle, but it cannot derive its pleasure from the alignment of reality with the statistical projection of reality. The pleasure of the fan must come from the game.
And with that breakthrough, suddenly the gears spun, the smokestacks rattled, and stacks of fresh white paper began cycling through its old-timey hand-cranked printing press. The CFBPS for 2013 has arrived. Unsurprisingly, the CFBPS is most excited about the club’s young talent, though a few of the new boys have caught its eye as well. As always, due to the entirely real risk of retinal damage, I publish only excerpts of the complete CFBPS projections. One notable trend is that the CFBPS is very impressed with the new conservatism of the Red Sox in dealing with injuries, suggesting an internal overhaul of training and medical staff has finally taken place, and it foresees a somewhat better than normal health picture for 2013.
- Mike Napoli, 294/402/547, 35 HRs, 109 RBI, 2 functional hips
- Dustin Pedroia, 319/390/486, 51 2B, 121 R, a gold glove and a contract extension
- Will Middlebrooks, 270/336/562, 43 HRs, 126 RBI, Brett Lawrie’s 2012 UZR, near-constant overheated MVP debates
- Jacoby Ellsbury, 306/372/461, 122 R, 41 SB, 147 games played
- David Ortiz, 285/417/522, 124 G, 29 HRs, but five of them walk-offs
The system took a few runs to get Jackie Bradley Jr right. The initial output was 331/401/566 with a double RoY/MVP. This suggested to me a slightly out of balance pleasure principle, and a little renoobulating later I got:
- Jackie Bradley Jr, 298/380/492 with just a runaway RoY.
Much more realistic. The CFBPS is still working out the most likely playing time arrangements for Iglesias, Drew, Carp and Nava, but it expects them all to be very good! Daniel Nava in particular looks like a breakout candidate with projected rate stats of 313/399/474.
- Jon Lester, 21-5, 3.16 ERA, 213 IP, 225 K, a questionable CYA
- Clay Buchholz, 14-4, 2.22 ERA, 187 IP, 206 K
- John Lackey, 12-14, 4.81 ERA, 190 IP, 122 K
- Koji Uehara, 2.19 ERA, 65 IP, 61 K, 3 BB, 32 SV, named closer in May
- Andrew Bailey, 2.84 ERA, 57 IP, 54 K, didn’t matter too much who was named closer
- Junichi Tazawa, 2.53 ERA, 71 IP, 70 K, not much at all
- Andrew Miller, 2.62 ERA, 63 IP, 82 K , no sir
The Red Sox start off well for the first time in forever, and by July or so the CFBPS has them breaking to a lead in the division that they don’t relinquish. The Yankees finish fourth as both Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia are stricken with radioactive cooties and miss most of the season with hilarious itching.