Every once in a while we here at the Pinstriper like to talk amongst ourselves about the myths of baseball. So we decided why not share what we have discussed with our lovely readers?
Baseball Myths: Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Aynone who played baseball, or any other sport involving a ball, as a child always heard the same advice over and over and over. Keep your eye on the ball. Keep your eye on the ball. You were supposed to keep your eye on the ball while you were hitting, fielding, and running. Heck, you had to watch that ball while you were on the bench. It was beaten into your brain like multiplication tables. But is it even possible? At the major league level, scientists say no.
A study by Ken Fold who is a visual psychophysicist who works at the University of New Hampshire concluded that it was physically impossible for hitters to keep their eyes on the ball. When the ball is traveling at major league speeds between 90 and 100 mph players can only see the ball 5 to 6 feet in front of the plate at best. So the next time you see Johnny Damon’s head fly around in the box and his eyes start drifting towards the right field fence, don’t get so upset, he can’t do much better.
On a side note, how great would it be to have Fold’s job title at Holiday parties or around the family table? So Bobby, what do you do now? Oh I am a publicist for a small chain of grocery stores. Thats nice, what about you Ken? Visual psychophysicist. No contest.
We will be back soon with more baseball myths. Thanks for reading!
Many people yell at the TV when a base coach makes a bad decision. Some people choose to just nod their head no in a disgusted way. Personally, I sit back and look into what made them make that decision. Just before in today’s game vs. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Rob Thomson, the Yankees third-base coach, sent Mark Teixeira home on a single by Shelley Duncan. Texeira was thrown out at home on a beautiful throw by Juan Rivera. Personally, I would have done the same as Thomson in the situation.
Here is the thing with base coaches: There is no winning! If they don’t send a runner and the team doesn’t get the runner home in the end, they made the wrong decision. If they send the runner and he is thrown out, horrible decision. Fans won’t let them win. I am sure the coaches know and realize this when they get the job.
The Yankees coaches this year have been Mick Kelleher-1st base and Rob Thomson-3rd base. Last year Bobby Meachem was the third base coach, with Tony Pena at 1st. Meachem was horrible. This year Thomson and Kelleher have both done OUTSTANDING jobs. So next time they make a bad call, cut them some slack.
Many fans go crazy over the usage of “lefty-specialists” in baseball. This is how pitchers like Mike Stanton and Mike Myers stuck around baseball for so long. While they were great pitchers, they were often used to get certain left handed hitters out and then taken out of the game.
So lets look at certain pitchers in the game today and determine: Do matchups (righty vs. righty lefty vs. lefty etc) mean as much as people think they do?
.222 vs. left
.219 vs. right
Yes, the numbers are better vs. righty hitters. The Yankees do use Coke as a lefty specialist sometimes, but also use him as a set-up man.
.250 vs. left
.161 vs. right
J.P. Howell is not exactly a specialist for the Rays this year, as he has done long-relief and even some closing. Still, the numbers are startling.
.275 vs. left
.227 vs. right
Yes, Scott Downs is a closer on the DL currently, but he has been used before to get lefties out. The numbers once again show that he has an easier time when there is a so-called “mis-match.”
Now lets look at some Yankees pitchers from the right-side. Are they better against the righties or the lefties?
.242 vs. right
.207 vs. left
Aceves is a long-reliever and has been lights out against teams not named Chicago. The stats show he is doing better in mis-match situations.
.324 vs. right
.205 vs. left
Bruney has been, well, horrible this season. After a semi-strong start he has absolutely faltered out of the pen. The numbers say he has still been very good against lefties, though.
.230 vs. right
.170 vs. left
Robertson has been used mostly in the wipe-up or 7th inning roles.
Of course, however you can make the opposite argument, that lefty-specialists DO work out, if you use the right ones.
.159 vs. left
.288 vs. right
.176 vs. left
.255 vs. right
I ask you, though: Bases loaded two-outs 7th inning your team is up 1 run. Would you rather have a lefty-specialist in, or your power set-up man?