Friday, June 3, 2011

Quick thoughts on O'Sullivan, Billy Butler and the hit & run, why my temper is still a problem at 62, and happy news of a new second grade teacher

Sean O'Sullivan is right. The major leagues are
no place to work out a new delivery or a new pitch. Omaha or N.W. Arkansas would be much more appropriate.

With a good friend and maybe 2,000 fans I watched Wednesday's afternoon game at the stadium. We were praying -- out loud -- in the bottom of the ninth the brain trust would let Billy Butler swing away, rather than strapping him with a hit & run request or, worse, a sacrifice bunt.

They didn't, and it paid off.

But we were left with sabermagician questions for which I'm sure somebody has a rational, unemotional answer. How often is hit & run profitable? When, and in what circumstances?

Butler had previously been tied in knots by a hit & run request. Anybody in the park could see it was an attempt to prevent Butler from hitting into another doubleplay. Of course, it caused him to hit directly into a doubleplay.

For god's sake just let the big boy hit the ball.

I played lousy myself last night. It's crazy to do this at 62, but, well... I figured out why. I let my temper drive me rather than my legs and hips. I don't like being pushed around and I let the young man who did it know, but I couldn't leave it there. And I paid the price. In addition, I hit one to the fence in BP and another to the fence in my first at bat and I think I just got enamored with the fence rather than that elusive spot about an eighth of an inch below center on the ball.

If you know what I mean.

Then, as I was settling in to sleep, setting the alarm on my cell phone, I noticed a text message. My daughter is the new second grade teacher at the elementary school in her town! Immediately I could hear this conversation:

Erik: Who you got this year?
Willie: Mrs. Morton.
Erik: Lucky.

--Loffllin -- almost too proud to be healthy...

Photograph courtesy the Kansas City Star. Could not find a credit line for this wonderful image anywhere on the page. My guess is John Sleezer.

1 comment:

  1. Rational, sure, unemotional, eh...probably not.

    The hit & run is a failed experiment in baseball strategy much like the slide-step for a pitcher. Why? Because your lessening the abilities (by forcing them into a position or act that is out of their norm and decreasing their athletic ability) of the person that can do the most damage to the opponent while that act is occurring - the pitcher for the slide-step, the batter for the hit & run.

    The runner, or the 90 feet he could advance, is the value on offense. It never will be. The value on offense is the guy at the plate with the bat in his hand, because it's only with the bat (except extreme circumstances)that a run can score.