08 August 2017: Goin Fishin’

This weekend I learned Derek Falvey & Thad Levine fired Jack Goin, the director of baseball research they inherited from Terry Ryan. The two of them will run the department until a new director is hired. I might've missed it being mentioned, but thought it was noteworthy enough to include here.

My first thought on reading the news surprised me a bit: would they hire Craig Breslow?

38 thoughts on “08 August 2017: Goin Fishin’”

      1. Covering it again with a link is nice. There are other interesting bits of information in the link.

    1. I was surprised they gave him a chance at all. Not too many teams take a guy from the ticket office and make him head if analytics. Twins way!

        1. I think Calvin was arguably the Twins' best head of baseball operations. He had a lot of problems, *to be sure*, but he assembled some pretty good talent on his squads.

          1. How much credit does he get/deserve? He had a good run from the early 1960s to the early 1970s. That was basically getting lucky with a handful of home-grown stars and good trades for one short stretch.

            1. I don't think it was just luck. Griffith had a pretty good scouting system . Even in the mid-to-late 70s, after free agency set in, he managed to keep the team relatively competitive. And at least some of the '87 championship team was players scouted and drafted under Griffith. I don't mean to overdo it--as SBG says, he had a lot of problems--but his Twins teams developed a lot of good players.

              1. Reading his Wikipedia bio, it looks as though he deserves a lot of credit for investing in the scouting staff and minor league affiliates after he took over from the Old Man in 1955. But he could not sustain the success in the wake of expansion and free agency.

  1. I know RBI is kind of a flawed stat and he has missed a lot of time, but, Byron Buzton has more stolen bases (18) than RBI (17).

    1. Done 403 times* since 1901 for qualified players. Last Twin to do it:

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      Rickey! had a few of these seasons too.

      * I did a >= search instead of >. There are a few seasons where they're equal and I don't feel like finding them.

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          1. Creating individualized learning plans is hard enough in the primary and secondary levels, where the learning objectives are highly agreed upon. I suppose there are courses at the college level that are amenable. Lots of math courses, intro courses in many of the sciences (social and natural), etc.

            I think we are already seeing some universities supporting this approach, seeking to leverage their brand names to create new markets.

          2. What you're describing is called a "flipped classroom" and is all the rage among college faculty who want to do more than just phone it in. The studies I've seen show that it is incredibly helpful in physics classes in particular, as it leads to more time for students to work problems in class when they have time for peer-to-peer learning (another current hot topic) as well as access to the professor in the moments you need the help the most.

            I've been moving my classes a little more in this direction every semester, increasing the interactive learning time little by little. But, it's definitely not taking the easy way out.

            I'm quite sure a big reason more faculty don't do it is that it is sooooo much more work. Lecturing is easy; after a few years teaching I can now make an hour-and-a-half lecture on just about any intro astronomy topic in 15 or 20 minutes, at most. Planning out useful videos as well as activities to do during class is much, much harder.

            1. You said it way better. The "flipped classroom" idea is a great one, in abstract. It is utterly inconsistent with the current model of mass, higher education, however. When I was teaching in the UC system, I had a grand total of one undergraduate class in 7 years with fewer than 25 students. Most were well north of 50. Giving individualized instruction to 50 students during an hour or hour-plus, is not feasible for one instructor. That's why we had TAs and discussion sections in lower-division courses.

              when I first arrived in grad school, my then-adviser told me an anecdote about his first conversation with the then-dean. The dean told him directly "we didn't hire you to teach." The economics are bad, trying to utilize highly-trained and very expensive research talent to teach freshman students the rudiments of a field.

              1. Bigger class sizes definitely make this much, much more difficult to accomplish in a beneficial way, through with enough in class TA support it can be done. One of the leaders in interactive learning in astronomy teaches a fully flipped class, with near-constant interaction for a classroom of about 1000 students. They have their TA's walking through the auditorium, giving instruction to small groups and individuals. Seeing it in action is quite impressive.

                Of course, that also requires an army of TA's, which many schools don't have. My classes are capped at around 40, but my wife regularly teaches classes of 50-75 with no TA, and sometimes no grader, either.

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      1. Because an abundance of caution. Some citizens (ahem, me) sometimes push the Forbidden Zone envelope. We are pretty good at self-policing, however. Using the spoiler function helps us do that.

    3. I'm thankful everyday for the public education I received in Minnesota, and am continually thankful my parents didn't choose to live in New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama ...

    4. I'm guessing Elaine is spinning in grave over this news. She was the G&T teacher at Thomas Lake Elementary back in late 1990s when the G&T program was just starting and had many battles with parents about who and who wasn't in the program.

      1. Given all the things you could suspend Joe West for, it's really odd that this was apparently the straw the broke the camel's back. But you're right, I don't have a lot of sympathy for him, either.

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