March 11, 2004

Ask SpoFi: In baseball, what is the importance and significance of having errors tallied next to hits and runs on scoreboards? [more inside]

posted by jasonspaceman to navel gazing at 11:29 AM - 10 comments

Having read this post, I have come to realize that I have never questioned this before. Can someone enlighten me? Is there any answer? What are some other unexplained quirks with baseball?

posted by jasonspaceman at 11:31 AM on March 11, 2004

Errors determine whether the runs pitchers surrender are earned or unearned, an important metric of pitching success and defensive performance. If a pitcher gives up a run that wouldn't have scored without an error, it's not counted into his ERA ("earned" run average.) Sure, it's arbitrary to have them next to runs and hits -- but in the final analysis, only runs really matter. Both hits and errors are interesting FYIs, I think, with hits measuring offensive performance and errors measuring defensive performance. All sports have quirky conventions about scoring, I think.

posted by jeffmshaw at 12:16 PM on March 11, 2004

I think it's more of a "how did the team do" sort of metric. If you see the team gave up 5 runs on 3 hits, you'll be thinking that they walked a lot of batters. But if you see that they also committed 4 errors, then things start to make sense. And it also fits the baseball "3" design: 3 strikes 3 outs 3 bases (and one "plate") 3 outfielders 3x3 innings 3 "tasks" (offence, defence, pitching) 3 "true outcomes" (strikeout, walk, home run...see Deer, Rob for details)

posted by grum@work at 03:14 PM on March 11, 2004

I like grum's theory of three's there. But as people are saying, looking at runs, hits and errors gives you a 10,000 foot overview of the game. You can almost imagine how ugly a 8R 3H 7E game was without knowing anything else.

posted by pivo at 05:10 PM on March 11, 2004

Certainly helps one see if a pitcher has thrown a perfect game as opposed to a no-hitter.

posted by scully at 05:21 PM on March 11, 2004

Or how a pitcher (*cough* Matt Young *cough) threw a no-hitter and lost. Not that they count as no-hitters anymore.

posted by yerfatma at 07:19 AM on March 12, 2004

Here's another question...why are strikeouts scored as Ks? I mean, there is a letter k in the word strikeout, but I've never heard a reason for this stat designation.

posted by bcb2k2 at 10:11 AM on March 12, 2004

Oh, and my boy A.J. Burnett threw a no-hitter with 9 walks. Did win, though.

posted by bcb2k2 at 10:12 AM on March 12, 2004

why are strikeouts scored as Ks? from the straight dope

posted by goddam at 10:26 AM on March 12, 2004

Odd that Chadwick would pick sacrifice to take the S over strikeout (or, I guess, struck). I would think sacrifice would live with a 'Sac' designation.

posted by bcb2k2 at 10:53 AM on March 12, 2004

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