FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. It is not a balk if the pitcher steps off the rubber and fakes the throw. Once a pitcher has stepped off the rubber as his first move, he basically can do anything he wants, and the runner may as well go back to the bag since as long as the pitcher is off the rubber, no pitch can occur and so there’s no point in taking a lead. It is only when the pitcher steps towards the base with his foot still on the rubber that he is required to throw.

    That comment Jeff made about the banality of the majority of what we watch and the ensuing conversation just made me aware that I derive some pleasure out of the arbitrary complexity of the balk rule. I think that’s why I like baseball more than any other sport. I think in most other sports, there’s action and there’s the nothingness between the action. In baseball, there’s action, albeit less frequently than in other sports, but then there is beautiful and complex inaction, where nothing is moving and yet there’s so much going on. Baseball is like an iceberg; 90% of the action goes on under the surface.

    Comment by Bip — October 2, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  2. I agree. Back when I used to argue with people who said “baseball is boring” I’d always respond “You think that because you don’t understand pitching.” Pitch sequencing, the capabilities of the batter at the plate vs the repertoire of the pitcher, the game state (bases occupied and outs recorded) all are feeding into what the pitcher is about to do, and what the batter might (or might not) think the pitcher is about to do, and if you’re paying attention the whole thing can be pretty riveting. But only if you have some idea about that kind of thing, because otherwise it just looks like two guys standing there waiting for something to happen.

    Comment by joser — October 2, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  3. 3:35 Three and a half minutes is longer than the maximum time allowed between innings, by quite a lot. It’s longer than your typical pop song. We went over three and a half minutes before we heard a word from Jeff Sullivan. I was wondering it he was even there, or had gone off to, I don’t know, make lunch or climb a volcano or something.

    Comment by joser — October 2, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  4. That said, as someone who followed the M’s from their birth through the 80s, missed out on the 90s, and only returned for the 21st century: some baseball, particularly that played by bad teams late in the season, just defies interest.

    But I think Jeff’s “inverse relationship between team success and blog quality” is really just another example of the Anna Karenina Principle

    Comment by joser — October 2, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

  5. Carson and Jeff are a great pairing on a podcast. I very much liked the segment on small talk.

    Comment by AustinRHL — October 2, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

  6. In case anyone was pondering Kell’s as one northwest Portland option, might I highly suggest The Silver Dollar just down the street as a betterer northwest Portland option.

    Comment by Matthias — October 8, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

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