The Golden Pitch

There is an esoteric term in the glossary used by persnickety baseball fans like myself called the golden pitch. It refers to a pitch on which either team can win the World Series if a certain hit or out is recorded. For example, with two outs and runners on second and third bases and the home team down by one run in the bottom of the 9th, almost any base hit wins the game and any out loses the game for the home team. As such, it must take place in Game 7 of the World Series, in the 9th inning or later, with the home team behind by three runs or fewer and at least one runner on base. Until 2016, it had happened on only seven occasions, most recently just two years before, in 2014. Continue reading

The Hypocritical Hall of Fame Electorate

In 1965, the Astrodome opened to the public in Houston. The world had never seen a stadium like it before, leading some to call it the Eighth Wonder of the World. Houston’s fledgling baseball team, the Colt ’45s, was renamed the Astros. Although they finished 9th with a poor record of 65–97, attendance was quite high as people came from all around to see the Astrodome. Judge Roy Hofheinz’s vision of major-league baseball in Houston was fully realized.

Fifty years later, there will finally be a plaque in Cooperstown with an Astros cap as Craig Biggio was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Continue reading

On Being Stubborn

A couple years ago, we switched TV providers in part because we weren’t able to watch the Rangers on a regular basis with our previous provider. Before we went with that option, my wife looked into MLB.TV to see if we would be able to get the Rangers games that way. I’m pretty sure she looked online for information about the service, but I envision her experience as a conversation that might have gone something like this: Continue reading

Numbers are Ruining Sports

Wait, no, they aren’t. At least, not in the way a lot of purists are saying. If numbers are ruining in sports in any way, it’s because some people think you should ignore them completely and focus on the game itself, and some others that think that, because numbers don’t lie, you should never deviate from what they tell you. And like any highly contentious subject, you can’t expect to convert most of those fundamentally entrenched on either side.

The truth is, not surprisingly, that both qualitative and quantitative data are essential. Continue reading