Browsing All Posts filed under »baseball«

Soccer vs American Sports, Part 2: In praise of defense

July 15, 2010

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In Part 1 of this little series, I argued — well, asserted — that an appreciation of the individual and team defensive plays and strategies is an essential component of sports connoisseurship. As a corollary, a sport in which defense is either non-existent (say, bowling, golf, or most track-and-field events, for all intents and purposes), […]

The players like it imperfect

June 15, 2010

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Here’s a quick follow-up to the Imperfect Game controversy I followed over far too many posts, starting here. ESPN The Magazine conducted a (let us say, rather unscientific) poll of 100 major-league baseball players about their views on the umpires and the use of replay. The brief survey revealed three interesting results: 1. Despite the […]

“Perfectly unfair”

June 10, 2010

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A five-part series of posts on what we learn from a bad call in a regular-season baseball game is more than enough. There will be no Part 6. But I can’t help adding a shout-out to a terrific little column by Robert Wright in The New York Times which I discovered too late. For Wright, […]

The imperfect game, Part 5 of 5: The irrational quest to tame chance

June 10, 2010

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Are the businessmen in charge of baseball trying to manage their precarious pre-modern brand by preserving its quaintest features? Or is there a recognition by the high-priests in charge that we have to reconcile ourselves with the essential element of luck and chance that is shot through the game of baseball. Those who passionately want […]

The imperfect game, Part 4: Do umps really need to be part of the game?

June 10, 2010

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The Imperfect Game debate has revived a long-standing debate about how to treat umpires and their fallibility as “part of the game.” Everything we know about human perception and cognitive psychology informs us that umpires will  blow calls. Most of the blowable calls, including Joyce’s call last week, involve “judgments” that have to be made […]

The imperfect game, Part 3: The end-game bias

June 10, 2010

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It is significant that the perfect game was denied at the point of the last out. If the incident had happened in the 4th inning and Galarraga had gone on to pitch a one-hit complete game would anything like the same controversy have ensued? (That was a rhetorical question.) There is a pervasive, but surely […]

The imperfect game, Part 2: The paradox of changing the rules to award the perfect game

June 10, 2010

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The passionate debate shows how much we all interpret baseball players as competing against all of their baseball ancestors as much as they are against their rivals this season. The blown call made absolutely no difference to the result — that is, to the result of a relatively meaningless game in the midst of a […]