sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The N&R’s Rob Daniels addresses information overload in baseball boxscores.

The N&R sure can’t be accused of that when it comes to baseball. In addition to the one-sentence game summaries, the paper has gone back to printing the more traditional boxscore, with only at bats, runs, hits and RBIs for hitters and innings pitched, hits, runs, earned runs, walks and strikeouts for pitchers. While I’m not inclined to study all the stats Daniels mentions in the modern boxscore, it is nice to get a daily update of batters’ averages and pitchers’ ERAs.

I thought it was interesting that Daniels highlighted the newest, albeit unofficial, baseball statistic: the “hold,” an “appearance by a middle reliever in which said middle reliever doesn’t mess up.” Daniels considers it “disturbing” that “some fantasy baseball leagues now include ‘holds’ as official stats.”

But what bothers me about the “hold” is that they are awarded to the wrong pitchers. Growing up as a kid, I regularly watched the “Game of the Week” with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek. Back then, Garagiola was calling for a hold as an official stat. But he believed holds should be awarded to middle relievers who came in after the starter was knocked out and “held” the opposing team, providing his teammates with a reasonable chance to rally.

Last night’s Dodgers-Brewers game is a perfect illustration.
Note the pitchers’ line score. The Brewers’ Derrick Turnbow was credited with a hold for his inning of shutout pitching. But in my mind, and Garagiola’s mind, the hold should have gone to the Dodgers’ Steve Schmoll. True, he gave up two hits, but neither baserunner scored. His two innings of shutout pitching held the Brewers at six runs and allowed the Dodgers’ offense to rally for eight runs against the Brewers’ bullpen for an 8-6 victory.

Something to think about.


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