It’s Almost Baseball Season …

I received an e-mail from a friend and long-term reader whose “sports-worldview” is decidedly baseball-centric.  He included the following stat in a message that sought to remind me that:

  1. The World Baseball Classic is reaching its conclusion.
  2. Opening Day is right around the corner.

I was well aware of those two calendar-focused events but I had never seen anything like the stat that he provided as – what he called – a “teaser” for other baseball fans who read these rants:

“In his career, Greg Maddux faced a total of 20,421 hitters.

“Only 310 of those hitters got the count to 3-0.

“Of those 310 hitters with a 3-0 count, 177 of them also received an intentional walk.”

I have not even tried to verify those assertions for the simple reason that it would take far more work than it is worth.  However, my recollection of Greg Maddux as a pitcher makes those eye-popping numbers seem perfectly reasonable.  In a 23-year career involving 744 game appearances and 5008.1 innings, Maddux only walked 999 batters (177 of them intentionally).  And in all of those innings and facing all of those hitters, Greg Maddux only threw 3 wild pitches in 23 seasons.

Meanwhile, the World Baseball Classic has reached its final game; 16 teams started in the 4 pools that began the tournament back on 6 March; the tournament championship comes down to the USA versus Puerto Rico.  I do not want to nit-pick here, but natives of Puerto Rico are American citizens much the same as natives of Alaska, Hawaii and the Lower 48 are American citizens.

If the baseball mavens ever want to expand the tournament to 24 teams but can only find 22 national teams, they can use this precedent to add a team from California and another one from Texas to fill out the field.

Brad Rock of the Deseret News had this comment related to the World Baseball Classic in his column, Rock On, earlier this week:

“Playing in the World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands is 7-foot-1 pitcher Loek van Mil, who once played for the Salt Lake Bees.

“The Dutch team became interested after seeing him tag out a runner without leaving the mound.”

Let me continue commentary on baseball matters and citation of words by sports columnists around the country with these words from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Tick-tock: Now that a new rule requires MLB managers to ask for a replay challenge within 30 seconds, who will keep time on that? An umpire with a stopwatch? Someone in the press box? An official at MLB headquarters? Maybe a digital clock will count down on the scoreboard. And what about the arguments that could arise from either dugout if a team takes 31 seconds to call for a review? Does baseball know what it’s getting itself into?”

All of those questions are valid and need answers but let me just jump the line here and go to the last question posed.  No, MLB has no idea what they are getting into if history is any indicator of the future.

In an attempt to demonstrate that I do read things in the newspaper other than the sports section, let me note here that I read recently where scientists had discovered fossils of a bacterial species that have preliminarily been dated as 3.77 billion years old.  The protocol in privilege of naming the species.  I have no idea if any of the discoverers of these fossils are baseball fans but if they are, might I suggest a name for this species:

  • Bartolo Colon

Switching gears with regard to sports, consider this comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald about cricket:

“India beats Australia, I think: Actual lead of news story I read Sunday morning: ‘RANCHI, India (AP) — A 199-run seventh-wicket partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha gave India a 152-run lead after they declared their first innings at 603-9 against Australia on Sunday.’ Anyone who has any idea what any of that means, would you please keep it to yourself?”

About 5 years ago, my long-suffering wife and I took a month-long trip to Australia and New Zealand.  Our trip leader was a huge fan of cricket and Australian Rules Football (“Footy”) and he actually got me to understand the rules and scoring of cricket by the end of the trip.  Of course, never seeing cricket here in the last 5 years or so has randomized all of those synapses; so, I shall not be able to provide anyone here with an assessment of what all of that might mean.

Finally, Greg Cote had another comment related to cricket in his Miami Herald blog, Random Thoughts of a Cluttered Blog:

“Cricket! World cricket powers India and West Indies playing two weekend matches at Central Broward Stadium. Do cricket players have single names like in soccer. Is the star named Jiminy? (Sorry)”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “It’s Almost Baseball Season …”

  1. My guess is that the third base umpire will time the manager’s challenge period. The third base ump carries a stopwatch to time the interval between innings. He signals the plate man when the allotted time for commercial breaks has elapsed, and it is ok to start the next half inning.

    1. Gil:

      Gives him something to do since third base umpire is the “least busy” guy in the crew 9 times out of 10.

  2. Cote’s not sorry at all, just appalling. Three cheers to him for dreaming it up. I understood that the English invented cricket as a sport that no one else could understand for a few decades and England would reign supreme. Then the Aussies beat them for the Ashes.

    Then again, it would be fun to be known as the one playing “silly mid-off” which I guess is cricket’s version of a (very) hot corner.

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