Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Come from the Era Everyone Loves to Hate

For better or worse I am realizing more and more that I come from the era in baseball that everyone seemingly loves to hate. I grew up a Yankees fans after being born in the Bronx and after moving just outside the city in 1985 and really got into baseball around the 1994 season. I didn’t grow up watching the terrible Yankees teams of the 80’s, all I knew was the dynasty years and the World Series victories and Derek Jeter. Many call me spoiled, and I was, but now it’s a whole new generation and fan base that is being attacked, the sabermetrics community.

I grew up in the era where a teenage kid could sit in front of a computer and scout every pitch every player ever threw in every game ever. The same can be said for every bat that ever made contact with every pitch, fair or foul, and somehow quantify it into meaning something. I am a fan of sabermetrics, I believe the defensive shift does more good than it does harm, I’m all about pitch framing and I truly believe a strikeout is no worse than a ground or fly ball. I watched and read Moneyball, I idolized Billy Beane there for a minute and I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Girardi’s binder when he actually used it and the more you look around the internet, twitter etc. the more you will see that I am more so in the minority than I thought.

How can you argue it though? Batting average across the league is at its lowest level since 1971 since the shift has been employed and coaches are having to find new and inventive ways to teach their players. Shifts are changing the game, for better or worse, and not just regular season games either. Remember the 2014 World Series Game 7 when Juan Perez was almost huddling the left field line against Nori Aoki? Off the bat it looked like Aoki had a game tying fifth inning double that could have drastically changed the outcome of the game but instead Madison Bumgarner continued to shut down the Royals when the ball was played perfectly and caught and the rest became history.

In 2011 teams shifted 2,357 times which doubled to 4,577 in 2012, increased to 8,180 in 2013 and ended with 13,296 in 2014. The first defensive shift can be linked back to the June 25, 1870 game between the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Cincinnati Red Stockings and has caught fire more and more ever since and the fans that agree with the notion have had to defend themselves and their thinking more and more ever since as well. I am growing up in unprecedented times and swimming in unchartered waters and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)