Defining the fundmentals in baseball?
August 31, 2007 2:38 PM Subscribe
I am a late-blooming Baseball fan. I grew up in New Orleans (no baseball), lived in Boston for six years, and now reside in Houston. Since baseball is religion in Boston, and since I was there to see Boston win in 2004, I have become something of a fan. Here are some questions that have bugged me since I started watching:
posted by tcv to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (35 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
1. Why do fans and the media react so hot-and-cold in April? The season is so long and when I read books about baseball's early years, or look at previous seasons, it's pretty clear that what happens early doesn't necessarily amount of much in September or even October. Still, some teams are pronounced "dead" in April that are contending now andvice-versa. Why?
2. On the surface, baseball seems very simple: Swing, hit, run, and field, catch, throw. It seems there's quite a bit more since announcers and fans seem to elude to each player doing many more things beyond standing there waiting for the ball to come to him. I know about hand-signals, though I have trouble seeing them on TV or figuring out what they mean. Beyond those things, do the players do anything else during the game?
3. Along that simple/complex theme, how much control does a manager really have? The Astros fired Phil Garner this week. The act seems to blame him for a bad season, but how can Phil Garner, for instance, force Wandy Rodriguez to throw better on the road? How can he force Clemens and Pettitte to come back? They seem like things out of his control. And then there's that whole physics thing, with the gravity and round objects reacting to one another.
4. Why does a pronounced "good team" get swept by a pronounced "bad team?" All you Sox-Yankees rivalry fans can calm down. I am not speaking of Boston's loss in New York this week. Rather I am speaking generally about, say, a team going on to win the World Series who repeatedly get swept by or lose series to so-called "basement dwellers."
5. On that note, it seems that one player does not make a team. Matsuzaka is supposed to put Boston back in October. Alex Rodriguez is supposed to make sure the Yankees can win it all. But this doesn't seem to happen often, so why so much focus on single players? Is this more a construct designed by the media? (I suppose the same thing happens in the NFL, too, what with Ricky Williams' draft year and how he was supposed to win New Orleans a Super Bowl, but I digress.)
And, finally, one fundamentals question:
6. Every once in awhile, I'll see a catcher put his body literally between home plate and a runner coming from third. Somehow the collision seems to affect whether the runner scores or not. Can someone explain this?
As the years go by, I find I grow more fond of the game for a lot of different reasons. I just want to understand it better, at least those things that go beyond the very basics.