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Jim Deshaies is gonna get his union card revoked

Sep 23, 2010, 8:50 AM EDT

I didn’t see it, but over at The Book blog, mgl passes along word that, during last night’s Astros game, announcer Jim Deshaies said that there are no such thing as “clutch hitters.” Rather, those who are perceived as clutch are guys who are just good hitters anyway and that clutch hitting is not some special skill that is repeatable by its alleged master craftsmen.

This has been borne out in statistical studies, so it’s not controversial on the merits. It’s rare, though, for an announcer to say such a thing, seeing how it takes away a cliche description of a player on which they can rely whenever they’re at a loss for something else to say.

  1. BC - Sep 23, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    Good for him. Tell the truth and don’t give us the same old drivel.
    PS. Nice photo, Craig.

  2. andrewlw - Sep 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Bravo!

  3. Jonny5 - Sep 23, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    Man, c’mon, I like that term!! It’s all manly and stuff. I’m still using it, that’s my final decision. Clutch hitters are real. Next you’ll try to tell me the Phillie Phanatic isn’t real. As if..

  4. Aarcraft - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    I once heard him say that Chris Johnson was probably due for a regression because of his high BABIP. I must say I was impressed.

  5. matt - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    I agree with DeShaies. I think the real skill is in not getting shrinkage when the game is on the line as opposed to coming up with some magical talent in excess of a players normal talents when the game is on the line. I do think some players fear the “money” moments and they tend to fail which makes it seem that a guy like Michael Jordan has some inner cauldron of fire that he can tap into when need be. He isnt clutch, its just that he stays just as good as he always was to begin with while lesser players get worse.

  6. Lincoln - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Wouldn’t that make the non-tapper-of-the-inner-cauldron-of-fire, in fact, less clutch?
    I mean, if you’re going to say some guys wilt under pressure when the game is on the line, you’re making a distinction between two types of players- those that perform under pressure well and those that don’t.
    Clutch and non-clutch.

  7. Jonny5 - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    My kind of thinker. Who wants to dispell the whole “Clutch” thing. It has such a cool ring to it. I do agree, some guys get the addrenaline and use it to their advantage, while other guys might just poop their pants. Clutch and poopy pants.

  8. matt - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    I guess your right Lincoln and I actually though along those same lines right after I posted, but I still think to call someone “clutch” when the heat is on is to say that they are elevating their games somehow because the heat is on, whereas I’m saying they are not elevating their games at all. They are still playing at the excellent level that they played the entire game and aren’t shrinking from the pressure moment. So maybe I’m saying that we shouldn’t refer to the guys that perform well under pressure and label them with a name. Lets instead come up with a description for the guys that play worse when the heat is on. Wow. I now have a headache. Forget I said anything……

  9. matt - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Im now going back to my normal routine of wondering what woman at my workplace is the hottest babe. Thats much easier.

  10. Lincoln - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    We can help with that, too. Throw up some pictures.
    And I think Jonny came up with a term for guys that can’t handle the pressure- Poopy Pants.
    I think someone should come up with a list of Poopy Pants Players…

  11. Jonny5 - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    That’s a good idea. I only fear some of my heros may be on that list if you look at the splits from regular season to playoff. But that’s not the accurate way to look at it. The caliber of opponent is wayyy better than the average in the playoffs. It would take a stathead of great proportions to do it the right way. I ain’t that guy. There are other questionable stats available, but I think they rely on a human to determine what is a “clutch” situation or not. Is that reliable? Maybe it is impossible to do the”right” way?

  12. Sam Lee - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    You’re really starting at square one if you believe that the existence of amateur studies, unreviewed by professionals represents some definitive finding or even a strong indicator of likelihood. The best part is for the religious proclamation to be true, a variety of accepted knowledge in other sciences has to be wrong. It doesn’t surprise me that a bunch of college kids who took some math and are elbowing their way into baseball writing would say such a thing, but how about representing NBC as something above that. You really have to get over your schoolgirl adoration of that crowd.

  13. Chipmaker - Sep 23, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    I’ve long wondered how the pundits distinguish clutch hitting from choke pitching, anyway.

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