We only remember the most exciting plays. Diving catches, game-winning hits, high-pressure situations — these are the things that fill our memories and our imaginations. But baseball isn’t always exciting — often it’s far from it. I love baseball, but many of its events are boring. Headlines in the following morning never read, “Roy Halladay throws a two-seam fastball for a called strike to open third inning.”
Home runs are some of the most exciting events in baseball. Everyone — even the most apathetic towards baseball — can appreciate a baseball that’s hit really hard and really far. But home runs are, compared to more mundane baseball events, pretty rare. During the 2011 regular season, batters hit 4,552 homers. That’s a seems like a lot. But considering the fact that about 700,000 pitches were thrown, home runs make up less than 1% of all pitches. It seems pretty likely then that our impressions about what is important in baseball are disproportionately affected by home runs.
Not surprisingly, most homers come on pitches that are thrown down the middle: