March 27, 2003

The 19 Commandments of Baseball:
Heed them well! This is the best collection of modern baseball wisdom that I have seen in a while. It covers all the major aspects of the sport: hitting, pitching, fielding and managing. Red Sox fans will have to hold their nose while reading as it comes from a member of the Evil Empire.

posted by grum@work to baseball at 04:04 PM - 4 comments

The author of this article, Steve Goldman, has been writing the Pinstriped Bible for a while now. It's an excellent source of baseball entertainment. He's funny, smart and has no problem dishing praise on other teams or scorn on his own team. I only came across his stuff a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I am fan of it now.

posted by grum@work at 04:12 PM on March 27, 2003

Great link, grum! Ties into that walk bonds discussion we had a few days ago; this is good stuff. I gotta comment/chime in on some of the points he made: 7. Placing good bats on the right side of the defensive spectrum is one of the keys to winning. 9. A player's offensive and defensive contributions must be in balance. 10. The difference between the best and worst defender is not as large as you think. Overall, pretty true. #7 I don't agree as much- it's nice to get those exception players like A-Rod, but mostly #9 is true that a good bat/mediocre glove is better- and cheaper!- than a good glove/mediocre bat. Plus, managers tend to get fooled by these players; they convince themselves the diving catch "saved" a run when it might have been a player's lousy defensive instincts that make them not be where they should be during that at-bat. Hitters can't "fake" success the way fielders can. Oh... and Jeter is actually a shitty fielder. Terrible, in fact- at best he should be on third, and is almost certainly among the very worst shortstops in the majors today. That's pointless- I could go into the Yankees farm system and find 20 guys right now to work for the league minimum who could field short 10x better than Jeter; why not move him to 3rd or left, and keep his bat without losing some runs to his awful fielding? It's more than just 10 singles a year, that's for sure. While he's right that a good bat makes up for a few gaffes in the field, it's not that simple (and Jeter's bat has been steadily declining, BADLY, for a few years now). 6. A strikeout is just another out. 8. The 27 outs of a ballgame are precious. Managers should not give them away lightly. So, so, so true. Strikeouts suck, but unless there are a ridiculous number (and only because that indicates a systemic problem; good hitters get out 60-70% of the time, but they should be putting the bat on the ball for most of those outs), K's are perfectly reasonable and safer than the swing-at-a-bad-pitch and GIDP hitter. The 27 outs thing is a great philosophy; it ties into the IBB discussion from a couple of days ago. Rather than say "I need to score X runs", you should have the philosophy "I need to get as many at-bats before 27 outs have passed". The more hitters that come to the plate before that 27th out, the more that reach base and thus the more runs that score. It's a lot like the home-run hitting derby; you are capped only by how many bad swings you take. So a defense shouldn't give away a free base-runner, and an offense shouldn't give away an out for one base. There are 4 bases for a run, and 3 outs in an inning- the math is obvious. :) 15. The odds are on the closer's side. 16. The increasing reliance on situational pitchers is counterproductive. Get this guy a coaching position! It should be an Occam's razor thing: a good pitcher is a good pitcher is a good pitcher; lefty-righty matchups have general advantages, but the advantages do not play out over an inning or less. Anyone can be good for one freakin' inning. If a pitcher is good enough to warrant X million to pitch one inning, then the smart thing is to get the guy to learn stamina, and pitch longer innings. 18. A player's character and leadership contributions are emphasized in inverse proportion to his actual contributions on the field. Bingo- "character" doesn't know how to hit a frozen rope into the gap. Second corollary: In other sports even more so, but even in baseball, this tends to be emphasized in inverse proportion to the darkness of a player's skin. Sad, but basically true. :(

posted by hincandenza at 02:23 AM on March 28, 2003

Great link. I enjoyed it immensely. There's some managers out there that need to read that.

posted by monkeyschwa at 07:47 PM on March 28, 2003

Brilliant stuff. The overuse of sac bunts and lefty-righty switches has driven me nuts for years. Thanks, grum. I'm going to keep reading this guy.

posted by languagehat at 09:49 PM on April 02, 2003

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