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How to pitch

Dec 28, 2012, 12:26 PM EDT

How to Pitch

You ever look at those little “keys to the game” graphics on baseball telecasts and note how tautologous they are?  How, essentially, they all say “to win the game, don’t lose the game,” and “try to score runs and don’t let the other team score runs,” more or less?  Analysis!

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus noticed it, and he used the advice he learned to put together a wonderful pitching tutorial. Follow these instructions, kids, and you’ll be in the bigs in no time!

Oh, and if you have trouble reading it, read the words and understand them and don’t not understand them. That’s the key!

  1. mrfloydpink - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    This reminds me of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” Based on the book’s reputation, I expected the contents to be truly brilliant. Instead, it was a bunch of stuff like, “The general who has the most men in the right place will tend to win the battle.”

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      I’m guessing that in his time a brilliant mind was required to point out the obvious. Using history as a guide many a general has failed the “obvious” test.

  2. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Reminds me of some of my favorite quotes from the late Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner.

    “Solo homers usually come with no one on base.”
    “There’s a lot of heredity in that family.”
    “All of his saves have come in relief appearances.”
    “The reason the Mets have played so well at Shea this year is they have the best home record in baseball.”

    • hughhansen - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      Don’t kill off Kiner, he still works a handful of games a year (normally only a couple innings).

      Kiner has some great malaprops, but he also had decent analysis for a long time.

  3. natslady - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Funniest thing I’ve read in a long time!!! Read it three times and I was still laughing.

    Wait—none of these “scouts” are Hall-of-Fame voters, right?

  4. chacochicken - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Those thoughtful telecast graphics have always helped me better understand the game. That and all the negative reinforcement from my father. “No, I don’t think an 8 year old girl can make that throw, Dad!”

  5. paperlions - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    “Look at my watch.” Damn, that was funny.

    • natslady - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      I liked “don’t bother unless you plan on getting run support,” and “go to the league to get rescheduled if you have to face good hitters,” and, “wait, Jared is right-handed…” So many gems there!

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        Cliff Lee could have used that run support advice last season…

  6. franklb - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub. I take ‘em one game at a time.

  7. cur68 - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Among the many things baseball has taught me is how to state the obvious and make it sound profound as hell. Very useful in academia.

    • paperlions - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      I have observed the same thing. It seems to happen because 1) people love confirmation of things they already know, and 2) most people in academia are too polite to say “well, duh” out loud.

      • cur68 - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        All going well, I shall be presenting some of my research findings at The Western Perinatal Research Meeting in February. I live in fear of the of . . .

        “well, duh” out loud

      • historiophiliac - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        I want to know what this imaginary place where academics are polite is. What I’ve experienced is pretty much Kissinger’s version.

      • cur68 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        Much like in baseball blogs, in academia you’ll find the noisy obnoxious few drown out the polite many. For instance some utter cretin who is clearly bored, and should be getting on with some of the work he’s being paid to do, but isn’t because everyone else is on vacation, is over on the Matsui post making outlandish claims about Canadian military superiority and maple syrup. Everyone knows the Canadian Military is a peace keeping force and is about as likely to repel an American invasion as I am of advancing my favour with Jessica Alba (damn restraining orders!). However if you went by the traffic on the Matsui post you’d swear there was a vigorous and hard wrangled debate about Hideki’s HOF chances. See? Its not that lots of them are not polite its that one or two were raised barns and act like it.

      • indaburg - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        My first thought when I saw the Hideki post had over 80 comments was: Cur’s arguing about damn pie again. I wasn’t too far off. Pie = War of 1812. Both are overrated.

      • cur68 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        There is no argument. Cake > pie. War of 1812 has more grit than pie. These are facts.

      • derklempner - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        There is no argument. Cake > pie.

        As long as you remember that pi > cake > pie.

      • cur68 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        I’m taking my daughter to see “Life of Pi” this evening. I’ll get back to you on that one.

      • chacochicken - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        Depends on the field, I think. Medical is just so big you can’t really develop an arch-enemy. Now, archaeology is another matter. There are these two guys who always seem to give me grief. Ever know anyone who can just make any question sound condescending?

      • paperlions - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        In my experience, academics are polite in public….now….when it comes to reviews or ripping something as soon as they are safely out of earshot…yeah, that’s pretty common. I guess….for my general field (ecology) there are a lot of smart people….and no matter how smart you think you are…at some point, you have your ass handed to you…after that…nearly everyone is more polite than they were before, realizing that if you are a jerk or confrontational in public, you are asking for usually polite people to find ways to hand your ass to you in public.

        Most everyone realizes that criticism of research is not personal (even though many people take it personally, at first), most people strive to ensure that their criticism is not presented in a personal manner (thus the lack of “well duh”s during talks/seminars.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM

        Your zoo sounds nice, paperlions. I assure you, history does not work the same way. Our field centers around competing interpretations — you want to set yourself up as THE authority on whatever your little niche is and squabbles between experts are par for the course.

      • paperlions - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM

        Well, pretty much everything is data driven….so, even though there may be competing interpretations or extant data, people realize that at some point data likely will exist that may prove them wrong….so nearly everyone hedges and does not over-reach on their interpretation or you’ll get slapped down if the data isn’t sufficient to distinguish between competing hypotheses….being data driven is a huge plus compared to historical stuff….I would guess.

    • nbjays - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      Just remember Rule #1, Cur…. “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!”

      • cur68 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        I always get it the wrong way around. Having discovered, thanks to Mythbusters, that one can indeed shine shit, I keep trying to dazzle them with bullshit and, failing that, can barely baffle them with brilliance. It works much better the way you have it.

  8. kirkvanhouten - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I remain convinced that in 73 years of televised baseball broadcasts, there has been, collectively, no more than 2 hours of substantive analysis that actually made the viewer a more informed baseball player.

  9. historiophiliac - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Ok, I read the words and understood them, but I did not understand that. Have a nice day.

    • indaburg - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      It’s the Tao of McCarver.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        I can’t imagine McCarver being the way of anything.

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