The Baseball Scholar’s Digest: April 2013 Edition


In which the author scours The Literature for the most current and stimulating academic work on America’s pastime.

Predictors of Fielding Performance in Professional Baseball Players
GT Mangine, JR Hoffman, J Vazquez, N Pichardo, MS Fragala, JR Stout – International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2013

“The ultimate zone rating extrapolation (UZR/150) rates fielding performance by runs saved or cost within a zone of responsibility, in comparison to the league average (150 games) for a position. Spring training anthropometric and performance measures have been previously related to hitting performance, however their relationships with fielding performance measures are unknown. PURPOSE: Examine the relationship between anthropometric and performance measurements on fielding performance in professional baseball players.”

Baseball: A Poor Substitute for Football – More Evidence of Sports Gambling as Consumption
RJ Paul, AP Weinbach – Journal of Sports Economics, 2013

“Due to the use of sports wagering market data as a laboratory to test the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, sports bettors have been assumed to behave as investors. With the rejection of the balanced book hypothesis and the persistent support of market efficiency, the notion of the sports bettor as investor should be in doubt. Using betting volume data from online sportsbooks, bettors are shown to substitute out of baseball betting into football betting when the season starts. The authors argue that these findings are consistent with consumer behavior, but inconsistent with the notion of bettors as investors.”

Quantitative analysis of kinematics and kinetics of catchers throwing to second base
H Plummer, GD Oliver – Journal of sports sciences, 2013

“The catcher has the most demanding position in the games of baseball and softball with no regulations on how many throws they make during game. It was the purpose of this study to describe the kinematics and kinetics of the throwing motion in catchers when throwing down to second base. It was hypothesised that younger and older catchers would display significantly different throwing kinematics and kinetics. Thirty-eight baseball and softball catchers volunteered to participate. Twenty participants were considered younger (aged 9–14, 10.95 ± 1.76 years, 151.11 ± 15.64 cm, 47.94 ± 18.84 kg) and 18 were deemed the older group (aged 15–23, 18.11 ± 2.61 years, 170.91 ± 8.67 cm, 74.88 ± 10.74 kg). Participants received a pitch and completed five accurate throws to second base in full catching gear. The average ball speed of the older catchers was 21 ± 3.58 meters per second (47 ± 8.02 mph) while the younger catchers averaged 17.2 ± 4.0 meters per second (38.6 ± 8.96 mph). Older catchers had greater shoulder elevation at ball release and significantly greater shoulder external rotation at foot contact and shoulder maximum external rotation than younger catchers. It is clear that chronological age plays a role in the throwing mechanics observed in catchers throwing down to second base, however the effects of these differences are not fully understood (i.e., skeletal maturity, experience, strength).”

Thinking the Unthinkable Imagining an “Un-American,” Girl-friendly, Women-and Trans-Inclusive Alternative for Baseball
A Travers – Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 2013

“The purpose of this article is twofold: to capture the injustice inherent in the gendered bifurcation of baseball and softball via the prism of critical feminist sport studies; and to begin to imagine a girl-friendly/women-and trans-inclusive future for baseball that is less fertile for cooptation into post-911 United States security state discourses. In this article I link the “unthinkability” of the occupational segregation of baseball in North America to the dominance of the ideology of the two sex system and European disasporic morality. To illustrate the extent of this occupational segregation via the gendered bifurcation of baseball and softball, I draw on feminist sport studies to examine the exemplars or “texts” of three Canadian brother/sister baseball softball duos: Jason Bay and Lauren Bay Regula; Brett and Danielle Lawrie; and Mathew and Katie Reyes.”

Skill-specific changes in somatosensory-evoked potentials and reaction times in baseball players
K Yamashiro, D Sato, H Onishi, T Yoshida, Y Horiuchi, S Nakazawa, A Maruyama – Experimental Brain Research, 2013

“Athletic training is known to induce neuroplastic alterations in specific somatosensory circuits, which are reflected by changes in short-latency somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs). The aim of this study is to clarify whether specific training in athletes affects the long-latency SEPs related to information processing of stimulation. The long-latency SEPs P100 and N140 were recorded at midline cortical electrode positions (Fz, Cz, and Pz) in response to stimulation of the index finger of the dominant hand in fifteen baseball players (baseball group) and in fifteen athletes in sports such as swimming, track and field events, and soccer (sports group) that do not require fine somatosensory discrimination or motor control of the hand. The long-latency SEPs were measured under a passive condition (no response required) and a reaction time (RT) condition in which subjects were instructed to rapidly push a button in response to stimulus presentation. The peak P100 and peak N140 latencies and RT were significantly shorter in the baseball group than the sports group. Moreover, there were significant positive correlations between RT and both the peak P100 and the peak N140 latencies. Specific athletic training regimens that involve the hand may induce neuroplastic alterations in the cortical hand representation areas playing a vital role in rapid sensory processing and initiation of motor responses.”

Breaking Bat
IC Aguilar, D Kagan – The Physics Teacher, 2013

“The sight of a broken bat in Major League Baseball can produce anything from a humorous dribbler in the infield to a frightening pointed projectile headed for the stands. Bats usually break at the weakest point, typically in the handle. Breaking happens because the wood gets bent beyond the breaking point due to the wave sent down the bat created by the collision with the ball.1 The kind of wood that is used plays a role in the manner in which the bat breaks—-its “failure mode.” We report on a simple experiment to compare the breaking strength and failure modes of ash and maple dowels. The results illustrate some of the features of breaking bats under game conditions.”

How times have changed: racial discrimination in the market for sports memorabilia (baseball cards)
LJ Van Scyoc, NJ Burnett – Applied Economics Letters, 2013

“Since the early days of racial integration in baseball, the issue of fan prejudice has been in question. Evidence of fan reaction to an individual players’ race, however, has been nearly impossible to distinguish through means such as game attendance or ticket revenue. Looking at baseball card valuation, however, allows us to parse out effects of race from other variables that contribute to a card’s value. We use the Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition to explore an original data set consisting of all single-player, nonpitcher baseball cards issued in 1969 and 2 years of pricing data on those cards (1981 and 2008) to find evidence of a reduction in discriminatory preferences among card collectors.”

Don’t Swing! You Will Walk to the First Base: Spot Fixing in the Korean Professional Baseball League
J Ki, Y Kim – Social Studies Research Network, Working Papers Series, 2013

“The study is about spot fixing in baseball game where a pitcher issues the first base on balls of the game (first-BB fixings, hereinafter) directed by gambling brokers in an attempt to make profit by betting accordingly on illegal gambling sites. After the Korean prosecutors charged two starting pitchers for their involvement in spot-fixing during the 2011 season in the Korean professional baseball league, baseball fans began to wonder whether there were more players involved and whether such criminal activities were widespread in the league. This empirical study attempts to answer those questions. In specific, the study addresses three issues:

Issue 1 – Statistical evidences of the two corrupt pitchers (DD and DDD regressions)
Issue 2 – How about other pitchers? Check the BB tendency in the second inning of the suspected pitchers.
Issue 3 – Comparison between Korean Pitchers (treatment group) and Foreign Ones (control group)”

What Is Right With Scully Estimates of a Player’s Marginal Revenue Product
JC Bradbury – Journal of Sports Economics, 2013

“Krautmann contends that Scully’s method for estimating the marginal revenue products of baseball players using team revenues is flawed. Krautmann suggests an alternate method that uses free-agent salaries to impute players’ revenue contributions. The Scully method has its weaknesses; however, its flaws are not as serious as Krautmann claims. Though Krautmann’s free market returns method offers a useful approach for estimating players’ marginal revenue products, it suffers from deficiencies that the Scully method avoids; thus, it is not necessarily superior to revenue-based estimates.”

Rethinking a delayed choice quantum eraser experiment: A simple baseball model
JH Boyd – Physics Essays, 2013

“In a double slit experiment, you can see an interference fringe pattern or you can know which slit the photon came through, but not both. There are two diametrically opposite theories about why this happens. One is complementarity. The other is the proposal made in this article. An experiment, published in 2000 [Y.-H. Kim et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 8, 1 (2000)] allegedly supports the idea of complementarity. With different starting assumptions, we arrive at opposite conclusions: complementarity is irrelevant to this experiment. Our assumptions come from the Theory of Elementary Waves. Waves are assumed to travel in the opposite direction: from the detector to the laser. All wave interference is located at the laser. All decisions of importance are located at the laser, not at the detectors. The “decisions” concern which of several elementary rays a photon chooses to follow (this is a probabilistic decision). If a photon is emitted in response to one such impinging ray, all wave interference is then complete. The photon will follow backwards that ray alone, with a probability of one, back to the pair of detectors from which that ray originated. Based on these assumptions, the experiment has nothing to do with complementarity. There is also no delayed choice and no quantum eraser. Conclusion: complementarity is not the only way to understand this experiment.”

Laparoscopic-Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy with Bipolar Coagulation Cutting Forceps (Enseal® Trio Device) Versus Suture Technique Vaginally: A Comparative Analysis
K O’Keeffe, K Fuchs – Journal of Gynecologic Surgery, 2013

“… The posterior cuff was then baseball stitched with 0-Vicryl. … A purse-string suture of 0-Vicryl was used to close the peritoneum, followed by a 0-Vicryl interlocking baseball stitch to close the vaginal mucosa. All patients received prophylactic antibiotics 1 hour prior to surgery. …”

Testing the Effects of Social Norms and Behavioral Privacy on Hand Washing: A Field Experiment
MK Lapinski, EK Maloney, M Braz, HC Shulman – Human Communication Research, 2013

“… In the heterogeneous group condition, four of these men were wearing backward baseball caps from the university at which the study was conducted and one person was wearing a backward baseball cap from a rival university. … ”

Our Lady of China Marian Devotion and the Jesuits
J Clarke – Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits, 2013

“… He argued that once cops and baseball players begin to look like kids, you know you’ve arrived. …he’s just stopped us for doing seventy in a fifty-five-mile zone with an expired license. Baseball players have no age anymore, thanks to a creative use of chemicals. … ”

Osteochondral autograft transplantation for malunited intra-articular fracture of the proximal interphalangeal joint: a case report
N Yamagami, S Yamamoto, Y Tsujimoto, Y Uchio – Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, 2013

“A 14-year-old boy was injured at the right middle finger by a baseball impact and underwent conservative treatment. At 5 months after the injury, he complained of continuing pain and restricted ROM. Plain X-ray and CT images showed a bony defect in the articular surface of the PIP joint of the right middle finger. He was diagnosed with malunited intra-articular fracture of the PIP joint and underwent surgical treatment. First, through a palmar incision, a columnar-shaped drill hole was made at the recipient site of osteochondral defect. Then a cylindrical osteochondral plug, 4.5 mm in diameter, harvested from the knee, was inserted into the recipient hole and press-fitted. One year after surgery, the patient has neither pain nor ROM limitation of the finger and the knee joint. MRI showed smooth articular surface of the PIP joint.”

The Babe/Baby Factor
B Barnett – Routledge Handbook of Sport Communication, 2013

“Amanda McCarthy, wearing an open shirt and bathing suit, appeared standing behind her husband baseball player Brandon McCarthy, identified only as ‘this model.'”

MFAHF Al Hakim, MH Hartono, EPPPP Purwono – Journal of Physical Education, Sport, Health and Recreation, 2013

“From the observations in the Elementary School 3 Magelang Secang showed that learning baseball Elementary School fifth grade students encountered some of the following: (1) Equipment and facilities used in accordance with the standard-sized baseball in general. (2) Field baseball game was placed on the football field for the school wide insufficient to play baseball. (3) Found some students complained of feeling sick daughter and a fear of throwing the ball when playing baseball. (4) found some students tend to be less active women, they are learning at a baseball game was quickly bored and just sitting on the edge of the field.”

Arguments about deletion: how experience improves the acceptability of arguments in ad-hoc online task groups
J Schneider, K Samp, A Passant, S Decker – Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, 2013

“… Figure 1 shows the beginning of a debate about baseball player Heath Totten. Six messages are shown: the nomination (1 message), a bolded ‘Keep’ vote (1 message), with three replies indented below it (3 messages), and a second bolded ‘Keep … “

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‘Twas was not a finer heathen than the one who runeth over with water when Jose Fernandez chastised Tony Cingrani for his blasphemous trumpeting.


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