Is Raul Ibanez on steroids?

June 10, 2009

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There has been speculation that Raul’s dream season at age 37 is due to performance enhancing drugs.  This really makes no sense at all.  If Ibanez was going to do steroids, wouldn’t he have done them last year, since he was a free agent last off-season?  This would have maximized the money he could have made as a free agent.  It doesn’t make much sense to do the steroids AFTER signing the free agent deal.

So why is Ibanez on the best home run pace of his career?

Perhaps it’s his 20.7% HR/FB rate (that is, 20% of the fly balls he hits are home runs).  This is largely a luck-driven number that would be expected to regress toward the mean (around 10%) at some point.  My guess is that he’ll end the season around 14% HR/FB.  Basically, Ibanez is just on a hot streak.

Cheating?  Nah.

A bit lucky?  Probably.

Scroll down to read the main article for today – a recap of day 1 of the baseball draft!

Sunday sports section

May 17, 2009

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My favorite golfer, Iowa native and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, shot a course record 60 in the third round of the Texas Open.  That’s just one shot off the PGA record of 59, which has been accomplished just three times in the history of the PGA.  The dream round vaulted Johnson from a seven shot deficit to a three shot lead.  A long rain delay caused play to be halted before all players had completed the third round.  The third round will be completed and the fourth round will be played today.


This is Tony Stewart’s first year as driver-owner, and he became a co-owner of Stewart-Haas racing during the off-season.  Many experts felt that it would take Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman a bit of time to get comfortable with their new team (similar to the way they felt Stewart would struggle last year with Toyotas).  Stewart has proved them wrong to this point, as he is second in point, just behind Jeff Gordon.  Newman is also having a good year, eight in points.  On Saturday, Stewart picked up his first win of the year in NASCAR’s All-Star race.  It doesn’t count for anything in the standings, of course.  There is a cash prize for the winner, though – a million bucks.  Seriously, you could put Tony in a Yugo and he might win a race for you.  Dude can drive.


Jockey Calvin Borel shocked many observers (including kosmo) by jumping from Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird onto Kentucky Oaks winner filly Rachel Alexandra.  The move paid off, with Rachel Alexandra holding off Mine The Bird to win the Preakness.  Observers were left to speculate whether Mine That Bird would have been the victor had Borel been aboard.  Borel can’t win the Triple Cown, but he does stand a chance of being abord the winners of all three Triple Crown races this year.


The two teams that many experts assumed would face off in the NBA finals are instead facing elimination in the conference semi-finals.  The Boston Celtics, playing without Kevin Garnett, are being tested by the Orlando Magic.  On the other side of the country, Kobe Bryant is trying to push his L.A. Lakers past a Houston Rockets team that is playing surprisingly well without All-Star center Yao Ming and fellow big man Dikembe Mutombo, both of who are out for the playoffs with injuries (Mutombo has announced that he will retire.)

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps jumped back into the pool and promptly lost.  He finished second in a 100 meter backstroke race to Aaron Piersol.  Piersol is no slouch, though – he is the world record holder and two time defending Olympic Champion in the event.  Phelps is making major changes to his program and will be featuring a different array of events in the 2012 Olympics.  After the 2012 Olympics, I expect him spend his retirement years playing golf in Florida with other retirees.  Or maybe not.

Raul Ibanez

36 year old Raul Ibanez of the Phillies is off to a very hot start, hitting .368 with 13 homers and 35 RBI and a sky-high 1.168 OPS.  The raw numbers may be shocking, but the fact that Ibanez has excelled after moving from Seattle to Philadelphia should not be a surprise.  Phildadelphia is a much better hitter’s park, and he has better production in the lineup.  Somewhat akin to Jason Bay’s move from Pittsburgh to Boston, where he also added protection and joined a team with considerably more offensive weapons.