Tag Archives: baseball


Pennant Races Yield Better Champions

More playoff opportunities certainly give career post-season stats less luster. Consider: Babe Ruth, 11th all-time with 15 home runs in 167 at bats vs. Derek Jeter, 3rd with 20 home runs in 734 at bats. You could say playoff stat opportunities have ballooned over the past twenty years. Derek Jeter played more than the equivalent of one full regular season in the post season.

While playing for a great team during a great run, roughly twenty of Jeter’s post-season games came as a result of the wild-card. The remainder came from an extra layer of playoff games to accommodate the 1994 realignment’s introduction of the wild-card. Baseball’s stats have always fluctuated, but again, why do these need to be post-season stats?

I truly appreciate the wild card. My team, the Marlins, have benefited hugely by finagling two World Series championships via that route, winning no pennants in their history. And, understandably, a wild card is necessary with the three division league structure, but are superfluous additional wild-card slots and playoff games really worth it?

The bloated MLB postseason only seems to serve as an extension of the regular season, negating the magic of a pennant race, which “is the only way to determine which teams are the best and deserve the chance to play for all the marbles. That’s it. You figure out who’s the best, and then they play each other.”

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Baseball: A Game of Statistics

baseball-and-stats2Being a slow-paced game that lends itself to easy record keeping, statistics have been kept since the beginning of professional baseball. Baseball’s first record-keeper, Harry Chadwick, created The Beadle Baseball Guide in 1861. It was the first modern sports journal.

Chadwick listed totals of games played, outs, runs, home runs, and strikeouts for hitters on important clubs. Because of his efforts, records existed in baseball before the turn of the 20th century.

Chadwick’s goal was to come up with numerical evidence that would prove what players helped or hurt a team to win. In a sense, modern baseball statistics are interpretations of data.

Baseball Card Stats


G  –  AB  –  R  –  H  –  2B  –  3B  –  HR  –  RBI  – BB  –  SO  –  SB  –   CS  –  AVG


W  –  L  –  ERA  –  G  –  GS  –  CG  –  ShO  –  SV  –  IP  –   HA  –  ER  –  R  –  BB  –  SO

Hitting Formulas

  • AVG—Batting average: hits divided by at bats.        (H/AB)
  • OBP—On base percentage: times reached base divided by at-bats plus walks plus hit by pitch plus sacrifice flies    (H+BB+HBP/AB+BB+HBP+SF).
  • SLG—Slugging average: total bases divided by at-bats     (TB/AB)
  • OPS—On-base plus slugging: on-base percentage plus slugging average ([H+BB+HBP/AB+BB+HBP+SF]+[TB/AB]).

Pitching Formulas

  • ERA—Earned run average: earned runs, multiplied by 9, divided by innings pitched    (ER*9/IP)
  • H/9—Hits per nine innings: hits allowed times nine divided by innings pitched     (H/9)
  • K/BB—Strikeout-to-walk ratio: number of strikeouts divided by number of base on balls  (SO/BB)
  • WHIP—Walks and hits per inning pitched: average number of walks and hits allowed per inning pitched    (BB+HA/IP)

Modern baseball statistical analysis is often referred to as Sabermetrics, and draws from a breadth of player performance measures and playing field variables. For example, hitters who hit left-handed pitchers well may receive more opportunity to face left-handed pitchers; or, some hitters or pitchers might play better against certain other players or in certain ballparks.

This ability, is measurable through statistics, and using stats to make managerial decisions is referred to as “playing the percentages.”

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Barry Bonds & The Smoking Ballcap

“Mike Murphy, the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse manager, testified Monday in the home-run champion’s perjury trial that Bonds’ cap size increased for the 2002 season. It went from 7 1/4 to 7 3/8, Murphy said.

This, despite the fact Bonds had begun shaving his head.”

via Barry Bonds and the smoking ballcap – Mike Berardino – Sun-Sentinel.

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