• Steve Potter

6/13/21 : Sunday Sermon

I watch Baseball so much it’s become my religion … perhaps that’s illogical but so are many things written and observed about this glorious game … here’s a few “logical” observations, in my opinion, of mine of the action to date. 👀

It’s still a human game 🤔 … despite what many observe to be a “robotic” progression with the use of automation, analytics and modern approach the game still comes down to the people and their ability to perform. In the Low A Southeast League that’s perhaps pushed more to elimination with the use of the ABS ( automated balls & strikes ) to call pitches but even there it’s only presently used for four of the six games in each weekly series. In the other two games the umpires make their own calls however the ABS is still on … that provides a valuable comparative data base for performance measurement. To me that’s the answer … rather than focusing on using the “machine” to replace the human element a scaled down and less expensive version of it could serve as a performance measurement tool that could grade and even train umpires. Those who don’t perform don’t make the cut, those who are long established but have become not as sharp are retired by performance standard. It’s a demanding job and only the best should be employed … to me the use of technology shouldn’t replace them however I don’t see a down side of using it to grade and teach. Hey the little box is already on every TV game broadcast to provision second guessing each pitch … why not use that similar technology to establish and enforce a human performance standard … just saying.

Coaching counts … it’s still cool when an old baseball observer sees something, relays it to a receptive coach who in turn reaches out to the player and works on an adjustment. It’s even cooler when the player goes out in the next game and delivers a home run and a couple of knocks. Regardless of technology it’s still a people helping people endeavor … even if technology assists. Just sayin 😎

Rules, rules, rules … to some it seems the game has never evolved or changed … of course that’s far from the truth. Baseball like everything else has evolved over the years. Many of those changes have been provisioned and occurred due to rule changes. Folks will always “discuss” changes whether for or against … that’s actually part of change itself 🧐.

The “test” rules incorporated into minor league baseball this year have certainly had some impact to date.

In A ball limitations on how many pickoff attempts ( low A ) and a forced step off to do so ( High A ) have certainly had impacts on stolen base attempts and successful swipes. There are more attempts made to date, it’s almost a given that a speedy runner is gonna take off if they reach base … but we even saw “bulky” catchers swipe bags this past week as well. Here are some numbers …

High A :

2021 to date : 1,337 stolen bases in 1,715 attempts ( 78 % success rate ) in 1,030 games ( 1.7 attempts per game average )

2019 : 3,255 stolen bases in 4,633 attempts ( 70 % success rate ) in 4,086 games ( 1.1 attempts per game average

Low A :

2021 to date : 1,368 stolen bases in 1,714 attempts ( 80 % success rate ) in 1,030 games ( 1.7 attempts per game average )

2019 : 3,461 stolen bases in 5,072 attempts ( 68 % success rate ) in 4,150 games ( 1.2 attempts per game average

In Double A there’s a new rule requirement that at least four infielders are positioned either directly in front of the infield dirt boundary or on it … here’s a look at impact on hits and runs. Basically flat on hits albeit run scoring is up.

2021 to date : 7,966 hits in 1,026 games ( 7.8 hits per game average )

2019 : 32,837 hits in 4,154 games ( 7.9 hits per game average )

2021 to date : 4,830 runs in 1,026 games ( 4.7 runs per game average )

2019 : 17,024 runs in 4,154 games ( 4.1 runs per game average )

At the major league level 2020 carryover rules such as the three batter per pitcher minimum and the placed runner in extra innings are also “discussion” items for those that follow the game. One announcer stated yesterday on the Phillies broadcast his dislike for the extra inning rule.

To me that rule introduces all of the “small ball” elements of yesteryear baseball that same clamor for. Travis Jankowski put down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the tenth inning which he beat out when the throw was high to first base. He later made a great “heads up” base-running play by tagging and going to second on a foul ball pop out thus eliminating a double play possibility which allowed placed runner Ronald Torreyes to perform his own heads up base running play in the next at bat by breaking for the plate from third on a ground ball to the third baseman and score the game winning run without the threat that a 5-4-3 DP might occur … just sayin. All the elements of exciting baseball without elongating the game into multiple extra frames and burning bullpen arms from participating in the next day’s contest 🤓. To me that’s all good.

And in each case it still comes down to performance regardless of the changes made. That’s baseball, that’s life …

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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