Saturday, August 14, 2010

A New Baseball Statistic - BSADW

Baseball, probably more than any other sport, is a sport of statistics. As Kevin Costner's character told Kelly Preston's character in the movie For Love of the Game, "we record everything in baseball."

Some times I'm amazed by how ultra specific some of the data are that get recorded. Things like, "number of ground balls hit on astro turf against left handed batters," or more abstractly, the "component ERA" which is an estimate of a pitcher's Earned Run Average based on the individual components of his statistical line (K, H, 2B, 3B, HR, BB, HBP). And the list goes on.

As Ken Burns said so eloquently, "It (baseball) is a haunted game in which every player is measured against the ghosts of all who have gone before."

Until now.

During last evening's resounding 12-8 defeat of the hapless Jupiter Hammerheads by the Bradenton Marauders, I came up with a new statistic that I will be recording from now on at all minor league baseball games I attend. This statistic could be recorded in major league games but the noise levels will probably preclude the collection of much data.

The new statistic is BSADW. It is the acronym for Bats Slammed Against Dugout Wall. Last night in Bradenton the Jupiter Hammerheads recorded 6 BSADWs. It was a great night.

Last evening I assisted both Kevin Mattison the center fielder, and Jeremy Syman the left fielder in their successful acquisition of 6 of the 10 strike outs Jupiter recorded during the game. For Jeremy it was particularly special because he started the evening with 98 strike outs for the year (having recorded 3 the night before) so he reached and passed the century mark tonight - the worst strike out record on the Hammerheads team this year.

In the top of the third both Kevin and Jeremy struck out swinging and on their return to the dugout, I noticed that there was a lot of yelling, and the sound of a bat hitting the wall could be heard quite clearly.

Jake Smolinski (last night I asked him if his was an Irish name) smashed his bat against the dugout wall after a 4th inning strike out. In the 7th inning Jeremy Syman recorded his hallowed 100th strike out. With two strikes on him I yelled that I would stand and applaud him if he got the K. Sure as pitch was a swinging strike and soon you could hear his bat against the dugout wall again. Kevin Mattison followed suit in the top of the 8th inning and then in the top of the ninth Jeremy Syman came through with his 101st strike out of the season. My applause for Jeremy was greeted not only with one but TWO bat smashings on the dugout wall. One of the fans seated near me said "I think that was anger."


Anyway I noticed earlier this year that there was the occasional bat smashed against the dugout wall but nothing like last night. So, in honor of this discovery and to celebrate the latest Marauders victory, I 'm now recording this new statistic. At first I will just record the number of BSADWs per inning. Maybe if I get my data recording down more scientifically I will record the number for each individual hitter.

My intuition tells me that this statistic will show up more frequently in games with relentless heckling of the opposing team. Perhaps that will be the next statistic developed for baseball - something like "percentage of time opposing team is subjected to relentless heckling" or at least along that line. It's something to think about.