Out of left field

Out of left field is an occasional post about matters that may not need 1,000 words of analysis, but I feel should be mentioned.  So, in no particular order…

Often I start to share someone else’s material as a starting discussion point for this blog or for my Facebook page, but sometimes the original author’s premise is so nonsensical and amateurish I don’t want to spread their influence.  I find it’s better to just ignore, in some cases.  So without getting into specifics about the sources, let me tell you…

The Yankees are a very good team. A VERY good team.

Anyone who tells you differently has a marginal understanding of how baseball seasons work.  There is no such thing as a hot or cold team, there’s no such thing about going into the postseason on a high note or with momentum.  Every team – EVERY team – goes through stretches where they don’t play well, sometimes long ones.  The 1998 Yankees were 15-17 over a stretch of 32 games over August and September of that season.  Full stop.

Along those same lines, I’ve learned a lot in the past year and a half about baseball fans and media.  Not that I’m an expert by any means but this blog has afforded me the pleasure of reading many other writers material, having in-person discussions with some experts and other fans, text exchanges with other fans, social media exchanges with other fans and writers, and on and on.  And if there’s one thing that most – the overwhelming majority – of fans and media do not understand is that the order in which games are won and lost and the order in which runs are scored DOES NOT MATTER.  April counts as much as September.  The first inning counts as much as the 9th.  There is no such thing as a hot or cold team or player.  Hot and cold is a construct formed by those who are too intellectually lazy to actually look into the issue and want to give their ex-jock 10-second hot take.

Don’t worry about the Yankees, part 28:  Aaron Judge will be in the lineup soon.  And for those who tell you that the Yankees haven’t missed him because they scored 5.2 runs per game with him and 5 without him and it’s the pitching that’s a problem, consider…

Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luke Voit have all stepped up pretty big at times in Judge’s absence.  So (all together now…) if Judge had been in the lineup, they would have exceeded the 5.2 they had been scoring with him previously and would have been able to cover the increase in runs allowed a little – a few games maybe.

Fix baseball.

I’ve also come to completely ignore anything where the premise is how to fix baseball or what’s wrong with baseball.  Baseball’s revenues have increased somewhere between 100% and 200% since the turn of the century.  There is nothing to fix.

But what set me off this time was an article and much follow up discussion about how new statistics are killing baseball for those who grew up on batting average, home runs and RBIs.  Furthermore, the premise went, sabermetrics are turning off younger fans.

[SighsReaches for bourbon…]

One hundred years ago, there were very smart people who said that batting average was a dumb stat and that HR and RBI didn’t tell you too much about player performance.  And yet 100 years later, every time a batter steps in the box we’re shown his average, HR, and RBI.

One.  Hundred.  Years.  Later.  As much as it pains me to say it, those stats aren’t going anywhere.

Furthermore, most postseason games end after 11:30pm, often later, and most baseball fans rarely get to see the Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Nolan Arenado, and the As.

But tell me more about how the kids are turned off by xFIP and wRC+…

Dellin Betances

…is the second best relief pitcher in Yankee history.   Yes, he is.  Please remember this the next time you boo him.  That is all.


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