18 April, 2007

understanding baseball analysts

or, any other sports analyst, for that matter. hell, this likely applies to political analysis too. or any sort of news coverage, come to think of it.

anyway, since i no longer live in-market for my favorite ballclub, i find myself watching baseball tonight (unless i manage to listen to the game online), to catch the results and highlights. last night, the "go-to-commercial" teaser spoke of daisuke "imploding" against toronto. this caused me concern. i don't like to hear of sox pitchers imploding, even figuratively. the recap comes on, the analysts discuss how daisuke (i should note here that i think the nickname he's been saddled with in the us, "Dice-K", is fucking stupid. his japanese nic, "Kaibutsu" [means "monster"], is much cooler) fell apart in the 4th inning, due to frustration at some calls that went unfavorably.

now, he did walk in a run in that inning. in fact, all of toronto's runs were scored that inning. but here's the thing: they only scored two runs. comparatively, yes, that was a bad inning. and the sox did lose (2-1, final score). but objectively, not all that bad. certainly not warranting the implications of catastrophe. here's his line for the game:

6.0 3 2 2 3 10 0
in fact, his stats for the season so far are nearly identical to johan santana, except for w/l and daisuke having a better ERA.

what is most irritating about this sort of coverage (other than getting me riled up at 12:30 in the morning) is this. had the sox won, even by 1 run, these same analysts would have described his pitching in the 4th as "getting out of a tough jam". probably those exact words too. i suppose the doomsday intonations were designed to keep me tuned in, but i was gonna wait for the sox recap anyway. so instead, it just irked me.

in other news, my sympathies to my philadephia readers. the phillies are currently worse than the nats. i'm sorry.


sydbristow said...

yeah, it's an expectations game, isn't it? our colour guy here this year is Alan Ashby, a catcher with us back in the day. they asked him if he saw any pitch he hadn't seen before. first of all, he complimented him on his game. he noted that the jays couldn't lay off his high fastball, the implication being that it wasn't *looking* high as it came out of his hand. so, a tricky/difficult pitch for sure. but what's going to happen when batters learn to lay off that pitch, then it becomes an umpire thing, is he going to get the call or not?

bottom line, ashby liked his stuff, agreed with you that he pitched well, but had a bit of a warning re second time around, sort of thing ..

twiffer said...

yeah, everyone is good the first time around. daisuke has a lot of good pitches though, so that will help.

but, first time around...just like changing leagues. gives you a boost.

Claude Scales said...

One baseball commentator I like now is Tim Marchman, of the New York Sun. I think you might agree with his argument here.

twiffer said...

yes claude, i do. i most heartily agree.