We have to wait for the World Series to end before anything will happen that necessitates any level of “analysis,” so I figured it was fine to just pull a Seinfeld and write a post about mostly nothing.
I thought about some of the silly baseball terms that people still argue about online (at least until Twitter dies, but I’m sure we’ll move elsewhere sometime after that) and let’s take a look below.
Batting Around vs. Batting Through
It is no surprise that there’s an article about this, but what is a surprise is that it is over seven years old. I offer this:
If you consider every plate appearance as a unit of time, then nine units of time are covered by the entire lineup, and those nine plate appearances will complete the circle. So for me, batting around is nine batters once that circle is completed.
Semantics about Perfection and Immaculate…ness?
I do see this some and I myself have stirred the pot a bit, but a “perfect” game is defined as one in which no baserunner reaches safely, basically 27 up, 27 down. Is it really “perfect” though if the pitcher has to rely on his defense and/or the umpire to help make outs and call strikes?
So if you really want an absolutely perfect game, maybe it’s either 27 popups to pitcher or 81 swinging strikes for those outs.
Along the same vein, an “immaculate” inning is three strikeouts in nine pitches. That includes called strikes and foul balls. But if you want to be “immaculate,” I feel like the batters shouldn’t make contact at all, not even a foul tip. Nine purely whiffy swinging strikes or GTFO!
Stuff about Hits and BABIP
A lot of accounts on the Twitters involve umpire scorecards, whether the home run would’ve been a home run in other parks, etc. And of course we have the usual angst with the exaggerated shift when there’s a guy standing right where the ball is scalded. There’s a sense, with exit velocity and launch angle and what have you, that some hits and homers are deserved and some are not, but they all count.
Jumping off the train of thought from above with pitchers making their pitches, the eternal battle between pitcher and batter is decided by the narrowest of margins, between a pitcher’s guile and deception and the batter’s ability to at least get wood on the ball. If the beauty of baseball is in the chaos, maybe it’s okay if a ball ends up in the Wrigley basket on a day when the wind blows out, or a ball hangs in the air for a few seconds before dropping untouched in no man’s land. Maybe just enjoy what happened and don’t try to analyze it to death? Speaking of which…
What’s Up with the Cycle?
Since baseball has been around for a very long time now, it seems like the 339 cycles in MLB history aren’t all that much. But if it happens at least twice every season, you kind of wonder why it’s such a bit deal when it’s happened more often than a no-hitter or an unassisted triple play (now those are rare! and cool). I guess it’s just one of those quirks people like to talk about, like home runs hit during a full moon on a Tuesday. It would be more productive to have Kris Bryant’s full house game where he hit three doubles and two homers (or was it the other way around?) or one of those four-homer games (which are rightly celebrated), but baseball does love their random trivia. And speaking of no-hitters…
This comes on the heels of Philly getting no-hit by an arsenal of Astros pitchers. In an era where pitch counts are strict, the three-times-through threshold is gospel, and max effort specialization even with the three-batter minimum is the norm, having a single pitcher complete a no-hitter is more rare than before, and a perfect game hasn’t been achieved since Félix Hernández did his thing a decade ago.
Looking at the list of no-hitters in MLB history, a large portion of the no-hitters in the past few years have been of the combined variety. Obviously no-hitters are a team effort and pitcher safety and health are a priority, but there’s something about the combined no-hitter that makes it seem so ordinary even if they are counted in the record books. It’s too bad they don’t let pitchers just keep going until they give up that hit, but then again, you probably don’t want your guy throwing 150 pitches like Edwin Jackson because he happened to walk nine guys doing it.
Like Kyle Schwarber said, why give a shit about a no-hitter? Especially when it’s a relatively ordinary combined no-hitter, just move on.