Which league is better? The AL or NL?
Here are some interesting stats as of Sunday August 20th 2006 that may shed some light on the subject.
BEST TEAM ERAs (below 4.34)
AL Detroit’s ERA is 3.67 best in AL and in MLB
NL Mets ERA is 4.08, best in NL and second in MLB
NL Colorado’s ERA is 4.10
NL San Diego’s ERA is 4.11
AL Oakland As ERA is 4.12
AL LA Angels ERA is 4.15
AL Minnesota Twins ERA is 4.19
NL LA Dodgers ERA is 4.26
NL Houston’s ERA is 4.27
NL Giants’ ERA is 4.29
AL Yankees ERA is 4.35
6 NL teams in the top 11
5 AL teams in the top 11
Batting Average (players above .322)
AL Mauer Minn .360
NL F. Sanchez Pitts. 351
AL D. Jeter NNY .338
NL Mi Cabrera Fl .334
NL Albert Pujols St L .330
AL Tejada Bal .329
AL De Rosa Tex .328
NL Holliday Colo .327
NL C. Jones Atlanta .327
NL N. Garciaparra LAD .326
AL M. Ramirez Bos .325
AL G. Dye Chi WS .324
NL C. Utley, Phil .323
AL I. Suzuki Seattle .323
AL 7 batters in the top 14
NL 7 batters in the top 14
Team Home Runs (above 152)
AL Chi WS 180
NL Cinci 178
NL Atlanta 165
AL Toronto 164
NL Phila 163
AL Boston 160
NL Mets 156
AL Cleve 154
AL 4 teams in top 8
NL 4 teams in top 8
Team Runs; The 600 Clubs (teams above 600 runs)
AL Chi WS 684
AL Boston 673
AL NY Yanks 672
AL Cleve 655
AL Texas 648
NL Mets 634 (best in NL)
NL Phils 634
AL Toronto 628
NL Atlanta 627
AL Detroit 619
NL LA Dodg 606
NL Arizona 604
Of the clubs over 600 in runs scored, 7 are AL teams, 5 are NL.
The NL and AL are matched in most “leaders” categories except in runs scored, where the AL has an edge, although the Mets are doing their part, and in ERA where the NL has a slight edge.
THE AMAZINE VIRTUAL HALL OF FAME: THE GLAVCopyright © 2006 Evan Pritchard
Calculating GLAVine Points for Great Years in Pitching History
The word GLAV stands for Games x Logarithmic Average = Value. The use of this stat is to calculate the actual value of a given starter to his team, combining quality and quantity into one number for comparison’s sake. It is also designed to be a tribute to Tom Glavine, a long-innings starter with a low ERA (in other words, a high IPR)
Here is the formula for calculating GLAVine points; innings pitched divided by earned runs = IPR (innings per run). Innings pitched divided by 9 = G or 9 inning games. IPR x G = GLAVine points. 100 Glavine Points for a season is One Glav, and earns you an entry into the AMAZINE You Gotta Believe It or Not Virtual Hall of Fame. (see previous article of August 21st) Here is our Starting Pitcher’s Virtual Hall of Fame list. If you know of a major league starting pitcher in history who broke 100 Glavine Points in a season, let us know, and we’ll add him to the list.
IPR means “Innings Per Run”
G means “9 innings” or game
BY CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
1891 423.7 innings 134 earned runs; 3.16 IPR x 47 G = 148.52
1892 453 innings 97 earned runs; 4.67 IPR x 50 G = 233.50
1893 422.7 innings 158 earned runs; 2.67 IPR x 47 G = 125.49
1901 371.3 innings 67 earned runs; 5.54 IPR x 41 G = 227.14
1903 341.7 innings 79 earned runs; 4.32 IPR x 38 G = 164.16
1905 320.7 innings 65 earned runs; 4.93 IPR x 35.6 G = 175.50
1907 343.3 innings 76 earned runs; 4.52 IPR x 38 G = 171.76
1908 299 innings 42 earned runs; 7.12 IPR x 33 G = 234.96
1901 336 innings 90 earned runs; 3.73 IPR x 37.3 G = 139.13
1903 336.3 innings 92 earned runs; 3.65 IPR x 37.3 G = 136.15
1904 367.7 innings 83 earned runs; 4.43 IPR x 40.85 G = 180.94
1905 338.7 innings 48 earned runs; 7.06 IPR x 37. G = 265.456 (his all time best!)
1909 275.3 innings 35 earned runs; 7.86 IPR x 30.59 G = 240.44 (his second best!)
1910 318.3 innings 67 earned runs; 4.75 IPR x 35.37 G = 168.01
1911 307 innings 68 earned runs; 4.51 IPR x 34.11 G = 153.84
1910 370 innings 56 earned runs; 6.61 IPR x 41.1 G = 271.67 (perhaps the best ever!)
1911 322.3 innings 68 earned runs; 4.73 IPR x 35.81 G = 169.38
1912 369 innings 57 earned runs; 6.47 IPR x 41 G = 265.27
1913 346 innings 44 earned runs; 7.86 IPR x 38.44 G = 139.3
1914 371.7 innings 71 earned runs;5.23 IPR x 41.3 G = 215.99
1915 336.7 innings 58 earned runs; 5.80 IPR x 37.41 G = 216.98
1916 369.7 innings 78 earned runs; 4.74 IPR x 41.07 G = 194.67
1917 326 innings 80 earned runs; 4.07 IPR x 36.22 G = 147.42
1918 326 innings 46 earned runs; 7.08 IPR x 36.22 G = 256.44
1919 290.3 innings 48 earned runs; .05 IPR x 32.26 G = 195.17
Chief Charles Bender
1913 237 innings 58 earned runs 4.08 IPR x 26.3G=107.3
1914 179 innings 45 earned runs 3.98 IPR x 19.9G = 79.2
1915 178 innings 79 earned runs 2.25 IPR x 19.8 G = 44.5
1917 113 innings 21 earned runs 5.38 IPR x 12.6 G= 67.8
1916 324 innings 63 earned runs 5.14 IPR x 36 G = 185.0
1917 326 innings 73 earned runs 4.47 IPR x 36.2 G = 161.9
Lifetime 1221 innings 309 earned runs 3.95 IPR x 135.7 G = 536 (over 5 years = 1.07 GLAVs average)
1931 248 innings 73 earned runs 3.40 IPR x 27.6 G = 93.8
1933 308.3 innings 57 earned runs 5.41 IPR x 34.3 G = 185.6
1934 313 innings 80 earned runs 3.91 IPR x 34.8 G – 136.1
1935 302.3 innings 110 earned runs 2.75 IPR x 33.6 G = 92.4
1936 304 innings 78 earned runs 3.90 IPR x 33.8 G = 131.8
1934 311.7 innings 92 earned runs 3.39 IPR x 35.6 G = 122.5
1935 325.3 innings 110 earned runs 2.95 IPR x 36.1 G = 106.5
1936 315 innings 111 earned runs 2.84 IPR x 35 G = 99.4
1940 320.3 innings 93 earned runs 3.44 IPR x 35.6 G = 122.5
1941 343 innings 120 earned runs 2.86 IPR x 38.1 G = 109.0
1946 371.3 innings 90 earned runs 4.13 IPR x 41.3 = 170.57
1947 299 innings 89 earned runs 3.36 IPR x 33.2G = 111.6
1949 302.3 inings 103 earned runs 2.93 IPR x 33.6 G = 98.4
1951 310.7 innings 103 earned runs 3.02 IPR x 34.5 G = 104.2
1956 281.3 innings 87 earned runs 3.23 IPR x 31.3 G =101.1
1955 253.7 innings 74 earned runs 3.43 IPR x 24.5 G = 96.7
1956 225.7 innings 62 earned runs 3.64 IPR x 25.1 G = 91.4
1961 283 innings 101 earned runs 2.80 IPR x31.4 G = 87.9
1962 257.7 innings 83 earned runs 3.10 IPR x 28.6 G = 88.1
1963 269.3 innings 82 earned runs 3.28 IPR x 29.9 G = 98.1
Year 1965 220.3 innings 64 earned runs 3.44 IPR x 24.5 G = 84.3
Year 1967 235 innings 99 earned runs 2.37 IPR x 26.1 G = 61.9
Year 1968 336 innings 73 earned runs 4.60 IPR x 37.3 G = 171.6
Year 1969 325 innings 101 earned runs 3.22 IPR x 36.1 G = 116.2
Year 1971 216.7 innings 103 earned runs 2.10 IPR x 24.1 G = 50.6
1972 284 innings 72 earned runs 3.94 IPR x 31.6 G = 124.5
1973 326 innings 104 earned runs 3.13 IPR x 36.2 G = 113.3
1974 332.7 innings 107 earned runs 3.11 IPR x 37 G = 115.1
1977 299 innings 92 earned runs 3.25 IPR x 33.2 G = 107.9
1972 346.3 innings 76 earned runs 4.56 IPR x 38.5 G= 175.6
1973 293.3 innings 127 earned runs 2.31 IPR x 32.6 G = 75.3
1974 291 innings 104 earned runs 2.80 x 32.3 G = 90.4
1980 304 innings 79 earned runs 3.85 IPR x 33.8 G = 130.1
1981 295.7 innings 102 earned runs 2.90 IPR x 32.9 G = 95.4
1981 192.3 innings 53 earned runs 3.63 IPR x 28.2 = 102.4
1982 285 innings 91 earned runs 3.13 IPR x 31.7 G = 99.2
1984 261 innings 88 earned runs 2.97 IPR x 29 G = 86.13
1985 272.3 innings 74 earned runs 3.68 IPR x 30.3 G = 111.5
1985 239.7 innings 54 earned runs 4.44 IPR x 26.6 = 118.1
1986 231.3 innings 99 earned runs 2.34 IPR x 25.7 G = 60.1
1987 264.7 innings 90 earned runs 2.94 IPR x 29.4 G = 86.4
1988 267 innings 67 earned runs 3.99 IPR x 29.7 G = 118.5
1989 256.7 innings 66 earned runs 3.89 IPR x 28.5 G = 110.9
1986 254 innings 70 earned runs 3.63 IPR x 28.2 G = 102.4
1987 281.7 inings 93 earned runs 3.03 IPR x 31.3 G = 94.8
1988 264 innings 86 earned runs 3.07 IPR x 29.3 G = 128.9
1990 228.3 innings 49 earned runs 4.66 IPR x 25.4 G = 103.2
1991 271.3 innings 79 earned runs 3.43 IPR x 30.1 G = 103.2
1992 246.7 innings 66 earned runs 3.74 IPR x 27.4 G = 102.5
1997 264 inings 60 earned runs (Toronto) 4.40 IPR x 29.3 G = 128.9
1998 234.7 innings 69 earned runs (Toronto) 3.40 IPR x 26.1 G = 88.74
1999 271.7 innings 75 earned runs 3.62 IPR x 30.1 G = 109.0
2000 248.7 innings 73 earned runs 3.41 IPR x 27.6 G = 94.1
2001 249.7 innings 69 earned runs 3.62 IPR x 27.7 G = 100.3
2002 260 innings 67 earned runs 3.88 IPR x 28.9 G = 112.1
2004 245.7 innings 71 earned runs 3.46 IPR x 26.1 G = 128.9
1997 241.3 innings 51 earned runs 4.73 IPR x 26.8 G = 126.8
1999 213.3 innings 49 earned runs 4.35 IPR x 23.7 G = 103.1
2000 217 innings 42 earned runs 5.17 IPR x 24.1 G = 124.6
The GLAV: A New ‘Starter” Statistic and a Tribute to the Injured Mets Pitcher Tom GlavineTeams value starters who can “burn up innings” and maintain a low ERA.
Now, a stat to measure that ability, exclusively from AMAZINE
Copyright © 2006 by Evan Pritchard
Which is worth more to a team, a starter who turns in a 3.00 ERA over 60 innings, or one who turns in a 4.00 ERA over 90 innings? Well, every team wants a pitcher with a low ERA, but given the limited number of pitchers that a team can carry on its roster, a starter (or middle reliever) who can “burn up” a lot of innings is of greater value than one who can only pitch a few innings, relative to the ERA. (Closers are a special case, they usually just pitch one inning a game and focus mainly on ERA and of course, saves). The key word is “relative.” How much ERA quality can be lost in exchange for inning volume?
Some pitchers give you both, and are rare as hen’s teeth.
Tom Glavine maintained a 2.47 ERA over 229.3 innings for the Braves in 1998. Those numbers are part of the reason he is bound for the Hall of Fame, but there is no statistic yet to capture its true significance. He finished that year with a 20-6 record. “Twenty game winner” is a rough benchmark way of expressing low ERA over time, but it is extremely imprecise. This year so far he has pitched 160.3 innings with a 3.92 ERA and has already won 12.
It is impossible to mathematically combine the value of a low ERA with the value of a high volume of innings because the numbers go in opposite directions. Multiply a low ERA with a high number of innings and you get statistical mud. A guy who gives you 90 innings of 3.0 is a much more valuable player than one that gives you 27 innings of 10.0 even though both give up 30 runs. Multiplying the two numbers in each set will give you 270, but that doesn’t reflect their real value. In fact, there is no way to combine ERA, where lower is better, with innings pitched, where higher is better.
By the way, ERAs are logarithmical, not arithmetic, because it is twice as hard to maintain a 1.00 ERA as it is a 2.0 ERA even though the difference is one run. By contrast it is twice as hard to maintain a 3.0 as it is a 6.0 ERA even though the difference is 3 runs. And a 6.0 is twice as hard to maintain as a 12.0 ERA, but the difference is 6 runs.
This becomes clearer when you reverse an ERA by calculating the number of innings the pitcher pitches per earned run scored rather than the other way around. This gives you a logarithmic spread in the opposite direction:
.50 ERA = 18 innings per run
1.0 ERA = 9 innings per run
1.5 ERA = 6 innings per run
2.0 ERA= 4.5 innings per run
2.5 ERA=3.6 innings per run
3.0 ERA=3.0 innings per run
3.5 ERA=2.57 innings per run
4.0 ERA= 2.25 innings per run
4.5 ERA=2.0 innings per run
5.0 ERA= 1.80 innings per run
5.5 ERA=1.63 innings per run
6.0 ERA=1.5 innings per run
6.5 ERA=1.38 innings per run
7.0 ERA- 1.28 innings per run
7.5 ERA=1.2 innings per run
8.0 ERA =1.125 innings per run
8.5 ERA=1.05 innings per run
9.0 ERA= 1 inning per run
I call this stat IPR “Innings Per Run,” or the “Logarithmic Average.”
To reverse Glavine’s 3.92 ERA you take the 160.3 innings pitched divided by 70 earned runs, and you get 2.29 innings per earned run. The more innings per run the better. 160.3 innings represents 17.81 nine inning (complete) games, but pitched over various days throughout the year. This is the volume. The more games the better. To calculate the true value (V) of that player to the team, multiply the IPR (innings per run) times the GP (9 inning games played) and you get 40.785 “Games x Logarithmic Average = Value or GLAVine Points.” Remember that this number is the product of a logarithmic series (IPR) times an arithmetical series (innings.) It strongly favors those with unusually low ERAs/ high IPR, as this is a difficult thing to maintain.
You will find that this figure compares favorably with other major league pitchers right now, for the 2006 season. His recent injury will not have a great affect on his GLAV stats. Most pitchers miss at least two starts during the season.
At about 122 Met games, Glavine’s season was briefly interrupted due to a blood clot in his arm. He has 26 starts so far this year. That equals an average of 6.16 innings per start. This also means he has given up only 2.69 earned runs per start. These are excellent figures. If you multiply his starts times his IPR, 26 x 2.29, you get 59.54 “Starter Points.” He is on a pace to get 77.9 “starter points” this year.
Lifetime, to date, Glavine has pitched 4,112 innings and has given up 1,582 earned runs for a lifetime 3.46 ERA. That is 2.60 innings per run. 4,112 innings is the equivalent of 457 games. 457 (GP) x 2.6 (IPR) = 1188.2 GLAVine Points. Over 19 seasons, (combining two abbreviated seasons) this represents an average of 62.5 GLAVine points per season, lifetime.
The ideal season for a starter would be 300 innings (33.3 complete games or the equivalent; in fact only Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and a few other old timers ever passed that mark) at a 3.00 IPR (which coincidentally equals 3.00 ERA) This, or the equivalent, with less innings but higher IPR would equal 100 GLAVine Points. This “ideal season” (“S”) I will express as 1 GLAVS. 62.5 Glavine Points is therefore .625 GLAVS.
In Glavine’s best year, 1998, he gave up 63 earned runs in 229 innings (25.4 games). This represents 3.63 IPR x 25.4 G = 92.2 GLAVine Points in a single season, or .922 GLAVS.
This is very close to the perfect season for a starter. And very few pitchers have ever had as many “near perfect” seasons as Tom Glavine, hence the tribute stat. Roger Clemens, Warren Spahn, (Glavine’s alter ego), Randy Johnson in his early years, Chief Charles Bender, and Christy Mathewson all flirted with reaching 1 GLAVS in a season on a consistent basis, and several pitchers have broken the GLAV barrier for one or two seasons, Oral Hirscheizer and Fernando Valenzuela for example.
Tom G is headed for a slightly smaller figure this year, with 40 games left to play. In his remaining eight starts, he would probalby earn 18.32 starter points, (assuming he pitched his own average) and by the same reckoning, in his remaining 50 innings, (5.5 nine inning games) he would earn 2.29 x 5.5 = 12.6 more GLAVine Points during that time. Add that to the 40.785 GLAVine Points he already has and you get 53.4 for the year. This can be expressed as .534 GLAVS.
Tom Glavine’s current season total of 40.78 points or .408 GLAVS, compares well with other pitchers on the Mets. In fact he leads the Mets in GLAVine points.
Steve Traschel has pitched 135.1 innings and has given up 72 earned runs. That’s 1.88 innings per earned run. Multiply that times 15 games and you get 28.2 GLAVine Points.
Pedro Martinez has pitched 122.0 innings and has given up 52 earned runs. That’s 1.87 Innings Per Run x 13.55 games = 25.25 GLAVine Points.
Orlando Hernandez has pitched 131.0 innings this year and has also given up 77 earned runs. That’s 1.70 Innings Per Run, x 14.55 games = 24.73 GLAVine Points.
Comparisons With Players of Other National League Teams
Glavine has pitched 160.3 innings and given up 70 runs. That is a 2.29 innings per run x 17.8 games = 40.76 GLAVine Points. Compare that to:
Brandon Webb of Arizona has pitched 178.3 innings this year so far, and has given up 58 earned runs. This is 3.07 Innings Per Run x 19.81 games = 60.8 GLAVine points.
Jason Schmidt of San Francisco has pitched 172.3 innings this year so far and has given up 58 earned runs. This is 2.97 Innings Per Run x 19.14 games = 56.84 GLAVine Points.
Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals has pitched 168.3 innings this year so far and has given up 57 earned runs. That is 2.95 innings per run x 18.7 games = 55.16 GLAVine Points.
Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs has pitched 177.3 innings this year so far and has given up 66 earned runs. That is 2.68 RPI x 19.7 G = 52.8 GLAVine Points.
Bronson Arroyo of Cincinnati has pitched 177.3 innings this year so far and has given up 68 earned runs. That is 2.60 RPI x 19.7 G =51.22 GLAVine Points.
Roy Oswalt of the Astros has pitched 164.0 innings and has given up 59 earned runs. That is 2.78 innings per run x 18.22 games =50.65 GLAVine Points.
John Smoltz of Atlanta has pitched 174.0 innings this year so far and has given up 70 earned runs. That is 2.48 IPR x 19.3 G = 47.86 GLAVine Points.
J. Francis of Colorado has pitched 159.2 innings giving up only 60 earned runs. That is 2.67 innings per run x 17.7 games = 47.25 GLAVine Points.
Dontrelle Willis of the Marlins has pitched 172.3 innings this year so far and has given up 78 earned runs. That is 2.2 innings per run x 19.14 games = 42.11 GLAVine Points.
Glavine has pitched 160.3 innings and given up 70 runs. That is a 2.29 innings per run x 17.8 games = 40.76 GlAVine Points.
Your comments are welcome. In any case, today we see that few pitchers will ever reach 1 GLAV in a single season, however most past Hall of Fame pitchers had one or two seasons where their stats exceeded 1 GLAV.
And in answer to the question at the start of this article, a pitcher with a 3.0 over 60 innings will have 20 GLAVine Points (3.0 IPR x 6.66 Games = 20 GLAVine Points.) whereas a pitcher with a 4.0 ERA over 90 innings will have 22.5 GLAVine Points (2.25 IPR x 10 Games = 22.5 GLAVine Points) Because the volume of innings is so much greater with the second pitcher, he just edges out the first one with a lower ERA.
The HWA Index, another Intangible Statistic from AMAZINE
Carlos Delgado hit home runs number 27 and 28 yesterday to help the Mets defeat the Phils 7-2. The 440 foot homer in the 3rd inning was said to have an intangible quality that experts and players struggled to put into words. That home run was not unusually long, but according to Billy Wagner, it was hit with more “authority” than most home runs. (“There’s been further homers at Citizens Bank Park but not with that much authority.” ) This leads us to speculate as to the criteria for reckoning degrees of “authority” in a home run, and so we created the “Hit With Authority” (HWA) index as a way of ranking this most intangible quality and making it a tangible stastic that can be tabulated. We welcome all sports broadcasters to use this criteria in future broadcasts. Please refer back to this chart for future articles about Met home runs that score highly on the “Hit With Authority” index, as we will not be explaining it to you guys over and over again.
The HWA “HIT WITH AUTHORITY” INDEX.
5. Any ball that is hit with the degree of authority that Babe Ruth achieved in his “called shot” homer at Wrigley Field in 1932 is worth 5 points. That was hit with “total determination,” the highest mark of HWA.
4. Any ball that is hit with the same degree of authority that Mike Piazza employed in hitting the grand slam at Shea that put the Mets ahead of the Braves in 2000 will be worth four “HWA” points. This “frozen rope” was hit “with a vengeance,” a high degree of “authority.” That was not long in time or distance, but made it over the left field fence at Shea without a change in altitude. He spanked that baby. Delgado’s 440 foot homer ranks a 4.5 in HWA terms.
3. Any ball hit with the degree of authority comparable to Roger Maris’ 61st homer in 1961 into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium will score a 3. That was hit with “certainty,” a moderately impressive degree of authority.
2. Any ball hit with the degree of authority of Bill Mazeroski’s walk off homer later that same year for the Pirates will score a 2 in the HWA category. That was hit with “an ineffable quality of inner strength,” a measurable degree of authority.
1. And any ball hit with no authority whatsoever that gets picked up by the wind and goes over the fence to everyone’s surprise, like Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard Round the World”, Bucky Dent’s “Green Monster Fluke” or Bob Lemon’s “Chinese” Home Run, will be worth 1 point on the HWA index.
Friday, August 18th, 2006: The Mets usually back up Traschel with seven runs, but this time they only gave him six, but Traschel had one of his best outings, and only gave up three in eight innings. Three is less than six, and that adds up to yet another Mets victory. Billy Wagner got the save, throwing 97 mile an hour heat to retire the Rockies in the ninth. He now is tied for the league lead in saves. The Mets home record improved to 36-22 the best in the NL.
Trax is now 17-7 in the “team record” department, one of the better “TR”s in the NL. TR’s are a magical stat referring to the outcome of the game long after the starter has taken his shower, one which the starting pitcher has no rational control over but which will cause him to gain or lose tens of millions of dollars over the course of a career. I will nickname achievement in this well-known stat the “Lucky Shower” Award. He and Glavine (19-9, but with a much lower ERA) are tied in the running for this important award.
To date this week, the Mets are behind 17 to 32 in the runs margin index stats, but have won 2 and lost 3. If they win Saturday by a score of 15 to 0, they will even out both the W/L and RMI for the week. This is not likely. I believe this will be the first week they will lose to opponents in the RMI area. If they win (by any score) hey would then have a 74-48 record, 26 above .500. You win some you lose 26 less and you’re okay.
Thursday, August 17th, 2006: John Maine pitched a great game, giving up two earned runs in 6 innings, which is about his earned run average, which is now 2.68. He is now 3 and 3 on the year. Reyes stole his 50th base, only the second Met to have two consecutive years with 50 or more steals, tied with Mookie Wilson. The Mets scored 7 with help from two Carlos “Sleeping Giant” Delgado homers, and the final score was 7-2. The Mets finished the day with a 72-48 record, returning them to the .600 club after two days in the (.599 or less)dog house.
The Delgado homers were not unusually long, but according to Billy Wagner, they were hit with more “authority” than most home runs. (“There’s been further homers at Citizens Bank Park but not with that much authority.” This leads us to speculate as to the criteria for reckoning degrees of “authority” in a home run, and so we created the “Hit With Authority” (HWA) index as a way of ranking this most intangible statistic and making it tangible.
The HWA “HIT WITH AUTHORITY” INDEX (listed separately under HWA)
5. Any ball that is hit with the degree of authority that Babe Ruth achieved in his “called shot” homer at Wrigley Field in 1932 is worth 5 points. That was hit with “total determination,” the highest mark of HWA.
4. Any ball that is hit with the same degree of authority that Mike Piazza employed in hitting the grand slam at Shea that put the Mets ahead of the Braves in 2000 will be worth four “HWA” points. This “frozen rope” was hit “with a vengeance,” a high degree of “authority.” That was not long in time or distance, but made it over the left field fence at Shea without a change in altitude. He spanked that baby.
3. Any ball hit with the degree of authority comparable to Roger Maris’ 61st homer in 1961 into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium will score a 3. That was hit with “certainty,” a moderately high degree of authority.
2. Any ball hit with the degree of authority of Bill Mazeroski’s walk off homer later that same year for the Pirates will score a 2 in the HWA category. That was hit with “an ineffable quality of inner strength,” a measurable degree of authority.
1. And any ball hit with no authority whatsoever that gets picked up by the wind and goes over the fence to everyone’s surprise, like Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard Round the World”, Bucky Dent’s “Green Monster Fluke” or Bob Lemon’s “Chinese” Home Run, will be worth 1 point on the HWA index. Please refer back to this chart for future articles about Met home runs that score highly on the “Hit With Authority” index, as we will not be explaining it to you guys over and over again.
Wednesday, August 16th, 2006: The Mets have won 19 of the games that Glavine has started, one of the highest “team record” TR marks for a starting pitcher. (19-6). He is in the running with Traschel for the coveted “Lucky Shower Award,” for best outcomes of games he starts regardless of real contribution. Today he went for number 20 but the Mets ended up losing 3-0 to the Phils at a packed stadium in Philadelphia, a new attendance record for the new stadium. Glavine started with a 3.92 ERA which didn’t change much. At the beginning of the game, the Mets were .602, (still in the 600 club,) 7 and 3 in their last 10. They had a home record of 35 and 22, and were 36-25 on the road. This loss brought their road record to 36-26. Their away record was second best only to the AL’s Tigers, whose away record was 41-22. Their home record was 35-22, good enough for jazz and the National League’s best home record, (the Dodgers were 38-25) but bested by Minnesota (41-18) Detroit (37-19) Red Sox (38-19) the Yankees (39-21) White Sox (40-22) and Toronto (38-24) of the American League teams.
Golden Possum Update: The Kansas City Royals lead the AL race for the “Golden Possum Award” for “the team that really dies on the road,” with a 16-45 win loss record as a visiting team. But the Road Kill Kings of baseball are the Pittsburgh Pirates, who lead all of baseball in the “stinks on the road” statistic, with an away record of 14-45. They are a shoe-in for the “MLB Golden Possum Award” of 2006.
Tuesday, August 17th, 2006: In spite of an amazing THREE home runs by Jose Reyes (he obviously saw my “Fearsome Foursome” article and decided he had a shot at becoming the fourth “slugger” in the Mets lineup as I suggested) in the first, third and 8th inning, knocking in all 4 ribbies, and raised his average to .299, but the Mets folded like lawn furniture after Labor Day, and lost to the Phillies 11 to 4, striking out 10 times plus making 17 other outs of dubious distinction. They were kept to 7 hits. Rollins of the “Brotherly Love Bunnies” went 3 for 3 plus 2 walks and reached base in all five plate appearances.
Monday, August 16th, 2006: This was a rough day for Mets, a Very Long Engagement, as far as Mets pitching was concerned, as Pedro Martinez had one terrible inning then injured himself in the leg, much like the French soldiers in World War One who gladly injured themselves to face medical discharge rather than face the continued shelling by German tanks. Pedro got a pardon from Willie Randolph (and put on the Disabled Vet List) and did not have to play any more. In one inning Pedro saw 6 runs, 4 hits, one walk, one hit batter, one balk and one strike out. Then Darren Oliver came in as reinforcement and was blasted for 7 more runs. The final score was Germans 13, French zed, with 14 direct hits. It was the worst bloodbath of the year for the Mets freedom fighters. (Milledge went 2 for 3.)
METS WIN INCREDIBLY BORING GAME IN DCAugust 13th, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Evan Pritchard
The Mets played their first boring game of the season, and out-somnambulated Frank Robinson’s last place Nats in an Olympic Sleeping Contest 3-1 today. The highlights of the afternoon were a foot race of giant Presidential puppets, won by right-hander Abe Lincoln, and a solo home run by Michael Tucker, his first Met homer, even though he is old enough to run for President himself. Although both pitchers, Tony Armas and Steve Traschel, had matching no-hitters going into the third inning, it was more a glorified golden sombrero festival rather than a bonafide pitcher’s duel.
It was more uneventful than an Egyptian Spelling Bee, more boring even than watching the Kansas City Royals take batting practice; less thrilling than a hot dog eating contest between vegetarians; less compelling than a Mardi Gras in a nudist colony; less suspenseful than a celebrity knitting contest; and uglier than a bathing suit issue of AARP Magazine. It was more of a snore than a boxing match between two pacifists.
In fact, it was like watching grass grow in the desert, and except for the bottom of the ninth, during Wagner’s shaky attempt to close the door, I was about as nervous as a short tailed cat in a room full of peg leg benches. On the other hand, it was one of Traschel’s more positively exciting outings, in that he actually kept runners from scoring, which was good since the 7 runs for Trax tradition has died out.
One highlight of the game was when a Philly player ran on a fly ball thinking there were two outs, and there weren’t, and then there were, and then there were three, and he was it. Again, it was like Merkle’s Boner in 1908, when Fred Merkle left the field prematurely and caused the Gianst to lose against the Cubs.
Delgado ended the day with an uncharacteristically thrilling knee-slide in foul territory to catch a popup and the Mets won their 71st game of the season against only 45 losses, second only to the Tigers in fewest losses, and second in most wins to the Tigers as well. It was the 116th game of the Mets’ year, leaving 46 games to play. Judging by today, they need some script development.
Tucker, who is 35 years old, was playing at AAA for most of the year after being dropped by the Nationals. Sounds like some timely sour grapes by Tucker, who is glad he was dropped by the last place team in the east only to play for the first place one and then beat them in the series.
Wagner was shaky after getting two outs quickly, giving up a hit and a walk. In all the Mets only got 4 hits behind Traschel, who is usually more run-lucky.
Traschel’s 5.03 ERA went down to 4.85. At this rate, by the end of the year, he’ll have an ERA in the mid threes, which means he can be a post game starter. The Mets runs were due mainly to fundamental errors by the Nats. I’m very glad the Mets won, and although it was a close game, I would have preferred something a little more wild and crazy. But that’s just me.
METS LEAD MAJORS IN SCORING EFFICIENCY AVERAGE
A Stat Is Born
Here is a new stat for you, the Scoring Efficiency Average. The best thing about this stat is that the Mets are the best in the majors in this category, better than the Yankees, who are also very very good at it. It just shows how good your team is at turning hits into runs. In the long run, it means leaving less men on base, while getting more walks, stolen bases, and sac flies and bunts and converting them to numbers on the scoreboard.
As of August 12th, the Mets have a modest total of 1061 hits, and from that have produced an amazing total of 608 runs. That means that they get a run per every 1.75 hits, which is their “scoring efficiency.” Another way to express this is that they get .573 runs per every hit. This is an exceptional ratio.
The Tigers have made 1114 hits but only 594 runs. This means they get a run every 1.875 hits, or expressed the other way, .533 runs per hit, much less than the Mets.
Philadelphia has 1046 hits and has scored 589 runs. They get a run every 1.775 hits, or expressed the other way, every hit produces .563 runs, much closer to the Mets’ mark.
Atlanta has 1075 hits with 588 runs, for a 1.83 efficiency average, a run every 1.828 hits, or .547 runs per hit.
The Yankees have 1099 hits and 621 runs for a 1.77 efficiency average, .565 runs per hit, about ten percentage points lower than the Mets.
Los Angeles leads the NL in hits with 1122, but have scored only 584 runs, for an 1.92 average, or .521 runs per hit, more than 50 points lower than the Mets.
The White Sox have 620 runs and 1147 hits, for a 1.85 average, or .540 runs per hit.
Here is a breakdown of the standings of these selected teams, ranked by SEA: These are percentages expressed the same as batting averages, in three digits following a decimal.
Mets …… .573 runs per hit
Phillies ….. .563
White Sox ..540
Sort of gives you a whole new perspective on the “best in baseball” question, doesn’t it?
Here are some articles that didn’t get finished in time to be posted on the day after the game. Sorry!!!
CAN THE METS COMPETE AGAINST THE AMERICAN LEAGUE?
We’re Number Two and We Feel Like It
August 12th, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Evan Pritchard
METS MIGHT COME UP SHORT AGAINST TIGERS
The Mets dominate the National League in a number of important categories, such as wining games, but the question that is on everyone’s dry and bitten lips is, “Can the Mets compete against the AL?” The answer is yes, unless you’re talking about the not so cuddly Detroit Tigers. That’s a different animal, as they say.
The AL dominates the NL in both offensive and defensive categories, and the top five teams in the AL are better statistically than all NL teams EXCEPT the Mets, who are playing like an AL team this year. There are a handful of categories where the Mets lead the Majors, but more categories where the Mets would lead the Majors excluding the “Also Amazin’ Tigers.”
The Mets team pitching ERA, 3.99, is clearly better than any other team in the NL, and would be the best in the AL as well, except that the Tigers now have a 3.69 ERA, which kind of ruins it. The Mets staff has given up the least earned runs in the NL, with 461, but the Tigers have given up only 422. Nyeh nyeh nyeh!
The Mets have a 70 and 45 record, and a .609 winning average, and would have the most wins and the least losses of any team in the majors if it were not for the Tigers, who have 76 wins and 40 losses. Who do these guys think they are?
ATLANTA BRAVES GETTING EVEN
In just these last few weeks, the Braves have passed the Mets in homers. Although the Mets’ 147 homers recently led the NL, the Braves now have 156 to the Mets 148. In fact both are behind Cincinatti who now has 166.
The Mets have scored an NL leading 608 runs with an NL leading 581 RBIs. The Braves now have 1075 hits versus the Mets 1061. Chipper Jones’ batting .333 batting average beats all Mets’ averages including LoDuca’s. Andrew Jones’ 99 RBIs now pushes Beltran’s 97 back to number three in the NL, behind Ryan Howard of Philadelphia, who has 102.
Perhaps you remember that Sunday game at Shea against the Houston Astros where Aaron Heilman made a play that will go down in baseball history along with Merkle’s Boner (Giants/Cubs 1908, 19 year old Fred Merkle left the field prematurely and caused the Giants to lose the big game) as one of the most inexplicably dumb plays to ever have occurred. The ball off the bat went back to Heilman who made a very snazzy play in picking up the ball. Then as he was running towards Delgado who was standing at first, Heilman stopped running and refused to throw the ball as well. The runner went unchallenged to first as Houston’s ponies scored like race horses. The PA should have played the hot top ten country song “What Was I Thinking?” Just days before the trade deadline, and facing Roy Oswalt, the Stros’ starting pitcher whom the Mets were mightily interested in, some might conjecture that Heilman was angry about some trade rumors he had heard about himself, and that LoDuca had placed 3 to 1 odds on Heilman and Solare going to the Astros for Oswalt.
I happen to know that Heilman is deeply interested in philosophy, (as I am by the way–no criticism there) and when you’re a philosopher you just never know when those deep thoughts are going to grab you. Perhaps the significance of the relationship between Pythagoras and Socrates (via Parmenades of course) and THEREFORE PLATO just hit him. YES! Its all interconnected! The ENTIRE Greek tradition of ethics arose out of face to face debate and discussion, but also out of an interest in numbers and the golden mean. In FACT, hey Plato was an ATHLETE, a wrestler, which means that there’s a competitive, strategic aspect to ethical living, and therefore a relationship between BASEBALL and LIFE, and what our purpose in life is EPISTOMOLOGIALLY SPEAKING!!! THAT’S IT!!! EUREKA!
I was at the game and managed to capture his thoughts using a special photographic technique, and here it is!
RED SOX HEALTH ALERT:The AMAZINE Survival Guide to Talking To People From Boston
August 11th, 2006
The Red Sox just lost three in a row to the lowly Kansas City Royals, a part of a general skid over the month of August so far, with five losses in a row, making them fall three games behind in a tight pennant race with the New York Yankees and one game behind the White Sox in the wild card race. They are two and seven since Veritek went on the DL. For younger fans, this might not seem that significant, but older ones know this brings up serious chronic health issues for those conversing with old-time Red Sox fans. This health warning is no less serious than those Mad Cow Disease Warnings we heard a few years back.
Ever since 1949 when the Red Sox tied the Yankees for the pennant only to lose the season-ending tie breaker, the word “choke” has been “fightin’ words” for people from the greater Boston area. To “choke” is to perform poorly under pressure, such as defensively in late innings, or offensively with men in scoring position, especially in important games.” It became a traumatic issue for the Red Sox fans in the last half of the twentieth century, and remains as a dormant hot button today.
Originally used by the fans themselves shouting at the “choking” Red Sox players back in 1949, it soon became a taunt to infuriate all Red Sox fans. During the 1950s the forbidden word was accompanied by or replaced by a straightened right index finger wiggled up and down over the adam’s apple. During the ‘60s the preferred gesture was to pinch the adam’s apple, with the thumb of the right hand pressing against the right side of the adam’s apple and the right index finger pressing the left side of said adam’s apple. Upon squeezing this part of the throat, one would make a grimace or stick out the tongue, and this was the equivalent of saying the taboo word. A third sign is with both hands clutching the entire area of the larynx.
If you used these hand signals in a game of charades, most educated players would yell out “Boston Red Sox?” and would probably be right. But it is no game. Any variation on this gesture or any variation on the word “choke” or “choker” or “choking” spoken to a Red Sox fan would be the equivalent of an insult to his or her family honor, requiring the Red Sox fan to choke the person initiating the subject of conversation….or worse. This came to a climax after the Bucky Dent homer in 1978. A number of Yankee fans have been killed in recent years while visiting Fenway Park, and although we can’t know the exact course of conversation, we can be sure the word “choke” accidentally slipped out from the visiting fan’s mouth, probably a few seconds before the homicide occurred. Don’t let this be you.
When Juan Rivera amd Karim Garcia of the Yankees got into a fight with the Red Sox bullpen, the word was probably used, perhaps in the Spanish form, “estrangular,” but since the fights of the year 2003, things have quieted down. In recent seasons, amid great success by the Red Sox teams on the field, this term fell into disuse, and you seldom saw “Red Sox Choking Alerts.” Now with these three disastrous games against the Royals, the chances of accidentally getting into a choking contest with a Red Sox fan are more acute. In order to protect our uninformed and unwary readers from unnecessary death or dismemberment, we are issuing the following health warning for the time being, at least until our neighbors to the north begin winning again.
HEALTH WARNING! NINE TIPS FOR KEEPING OUT OF TROUBLE THIS SUMMER WHILE TRAVELING IN THE GREATER BOSTON AREA, OR ANYWHERE THAT RED SOX FANS ARE LIKELY TO SWARM
1. If approaching a Red Sox fan, wearing a Red Sox jersey or cap, do not suddenly feign choking, or use any of the two or three international hand signs for “The Red Sox are Choking,” as described above. This can be easily avoided, unless you suddenly find yourself actually choking. In this case, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT touch your throat, just bear with it and pretend like nothing is wrong. Purple looks good with your blue and orange Mets outfit.
2. If you are dining in the Boston area and suddenly get a piece of meat stuck in your throat, do NOT say “I’m choking.” Instead, throw yourself on the floor, roll around and write on a piece of paper, “I need a Heimlich maneuver,” or “I’m having trouble swallowing.”
3. If you run into a fisherman sitting by a stream wearing a Red Sox hat, do NOT say, “Hey, buddy, catching any Hog CHOKERS today?” This will be interpreted as an invitation to having a rod and reel shoved down your throat.
4. If you are in the Boston region and see a man trying to start a lawn mower while listening to a Red Sox game on the radio, do NOT say, “Who’s winning? Say, having trouble starting that engine? Why not adjust the CHOKE!” Instead, say, “I’m no expert on internal combustion, but perhaps you should adjust the air intake mechanism. By the way, are the Bosox winning yet?”
5. If you are shopping in Fanuel Hall for veggies and you see an attendant wearing a Red Sox hat, do NOT say, “Excuse me, could you direct me to the CHOKES?” (A common slang term for artichokes) At very least you will be removed swiftly by armed security guards. At worst, you may be removed from Fanuel Hall by unarmed undertakers.
6. If you are at a Wampanoag powwow, and you see a Native American in regalia, also wearing a Red Sox hat or shirt, obviously a member of the Red Sox Nation, and wearing the traditional Hair Bone “Choker” collar, do not comment on the choker. Do not say, “Oh, I see you’re a Red Sox fan. What a great big CHOKER!” Better to say, “Nice regalia, including the throat ornament. Say, are you a brother of the beloved Knights of the Scarlet Hose?”
7. If you are in a pet store in Boston and the attendant is wearing a Red Sox shirt, do not say, “Hi, how bout those Sox? Got CHOKERS?” Do not say, “Do you have any good CHOKER chains?” Better to say, “I am looking for something to help me discipline my dog while I’m walking him. By the way, how ‘bout that David Ortiz? Let’s go Papi!”
8. If you are in a boutique, buying a gift for your girlfriend, and the checkout girl is a Red Sox fan, do NOT say, “I’m looking for something fashionable for my girlfriend. Say, the Red Sox are really tanking, aren’t they? Do you have any CHOKERS?” Or, “Can I take a look at that GREAT BIG BUNCH OF CHOKERS on the wall behind the counter?” She might choke you. Better to say, “I’m looking for something to adorn my girlfriend’s neck, some silky black accessory, something to make her look more attractive. Say, isn’t that the venerable Red Sox on the radio? What a great looking bunch of guys!”
9. If you are walking down a dark alley and meet a gang of large muscular men wearing Boston Red Sox hats coming toward you, do NOT say, “You guys looking for Bucky Dent? Just choking, I mean joking. What did I say? Don’t look at me like I’m Bill Buckner. You guys thirsty? Maybe we could all go out for a couple of ice cold CHOKES, I mean Coca Colas!” That might be the last bright idea you ever have. Better to catch Mad Cow Disease than to taunt a Red Sox fan when the team is experiencing late inning difficulties. Forewarned is forearmed.This has been a national health alert from AMAZINE.
Below is an actual photograph of some rabid Red Sox fans swarming over a hapless New York baseball fan who accidentally said the word “CHOKE” while discussing locomotive train engine maintenance in a recent conversation in Boston Common.
WHY I HAD TO DO THAT TO BILL BUCKNER
Why is it that all the great upsets in sports history involve someone named Bill? (or William) Is it a conspiracy? Were all those games fixed, and the name just a signal to alert potential gamblers and investors?
There was Bill Mazeroski’s home run in 61; Bill Terry’s pitch; Willie (Bill) Mays upset home run off of Whitey Ford in the 1959 All Star game; Billy Pierce Willie (Bill) McCovey and Willie (Bill) Mays combined to upset the Dodgers in the 1962 playoff tiebreaker; Billy Martin in the famous 1983 Pine Tar Bat game; Willie (Bill) Stargell’s two run homer in the seventh game of the 1979 World Series versus Baltimore; and Willie (Bill) Randolph’s error in the 1980 All Star Game. It does begin to make a pattern.
But of all the great “Bill” upsets none were as spectacular as the famous Bill Buckner ground ball.
THE FAMOUS BUCKNER GROUND BALL…….AND WHY THE SOX WERE NOT REALLY CHOKING
It was the 1986 World Series and my die-hard Red Sox fan sister’s team was playing my beloved New York Mets in the possibly decisive sixth game of the World Series. The Sox were ahead in the series 3 to 2, and needed one more victory. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and somebody had the brilliant idea—“Hey, Evan. Why don’t you and your sister watch the game together! Won’t that be fun!”
I said, “Oh, I guess so..” I knew there was only one TV. That one TV was to be like a life raft grabbed by two drowning sailors from opposing navies.
We watched the first several innings in polite stony silence together. As time went on, we slowly moved our chairs farther and farther apart. I said, diplomatically, I thought, trying to break the ice, “The Red Sox are a worthy team. I hope the best team wins.”
Oooh boy, that started her off.
“Well that sure as **** ain’t gonna be no Mets!”
“What dost thou mean, oh Sister?”
“You’re a traitor. How dare you become a Mets fan? You have Red Sox blood. There’s Red Sox blood on both sides of your family. Once a Red Sox fan, always a Red Sox fan. You can’t leave, can’t betray the Red Sox! Its part of your cultural identity.”
“Yes,” I said. They are still like brothers to me, oh loyal and devoted sister. And yet I have fallen in love with yon Mets, and have attended their games at Shea and cannot rootest against them now! Forgive me, sister.” I knelt before her, hands clasped. She kicked me in the head and said, “Siddown!”
She answered, “The Sox are the team of destiny, they shall be victorious! The team of Jimmy Fox, Tris Speaker, Pie Trainor, Babe Ruth-before he betrayed us as you have and defected to the enemy. What have the Mets ever done?”
“Won a World Series in the last 70 years?”
“Ouch! Your Uncle Bob moved to New York and he never betrayed our Red Sox, not even at Yankee Stadium! The day he was beat up by Yankee fans was a great day for this family. And once you return to the one true baseball team, you too will follow in his footsteps!”
I answered, “He did so of his own free will, oh beloved sibling. Just as I cheer on the Mets of my own free will now!”
“We all maintained our baseball faith, Evan, through thick and thin, and only you, you WAVERED. You went there, to that place of baseball inequity, and got dazzled by the bright lights at Shea, the adequate seating, the reasonable foul lines, the electric scoreboard, the modern facilities. All window dressing! Fenway is the one true ballpark.
Yes, in fact, she was right. The Bucky Dent home run had broken my Bosox Spirit in 1978. (Cut to scene of young Evan at Fenway Park, the Dent ball soars over the green wall, I go into a coma, fans next to me slap me to wake me up.)
I realized then, as Bucky’s ball disappeared over the horizon, there was a whole world out there beyond that Green Wall in left field, beyond Landsdowne Street. I was young and impetuous then. I’m sorry now, but its too late to reverse the sins of the past seasons. I watched the Mets and enjoyed it!
We tried to keep from attacking one another as the game progressed, trying to act as adults. It didn’t help when I accidentally spilled Juicy Juice on her lap.
“I’m sorry, I meant no disrespect to your team.”
“Mets are losers! They’re STUPID!”
“Oh, now you are getting me mad. You can say what you like about me, but leave the Mets out of this!”
”Oh no I WON’T! They’re icky and stupid and yucky, and they stink! They couldn’t play their way out of a paper bag.”
”But they are playing their third World Series in twenty years. The last time you won a Series was in 1918.”
”Dumb luck. They’re crappy. Look at those goofy New Age outfits. Not classy like the Knights of the Scarlet hose wear.”
Roger Clemens was pitching impeccably for the Sox, and left with a 3-2 lead in the seventh. All they needed was six outs to clinch the Series. I tried to watch my tongue.
Calvin Schiraldi came in for the Sox, and in the eighth I cheered on the Mets, and they scored a run to tie it, three all. My sister gave me a dirty look. “You did that!”
It went tie into the tenth. I said, “Maybe this will go to seven games after all! That means one more day in a wonderful season!” Dave Henderson was at the plate for the Sox. She said, “One more day? I’ll show you, you little creep. Here, watch this!” She did boogie woogie with her fingers and Henderson blasted a home run, followed by more hits to put the Red Sox up by two. Schiraldi retired the first two Mets in the bottom of the tenth, as Lynn blasted heebeejeebees at the TV set with each pitch. I had to admit, she had a good technique.
Now it was five to three, Red Sox were ahead. My dear sister said, “The Mets stink the Mets stink. One more out and your little Mets are finished and the precious ring will be ours! Precious! We like being World Champions, don’t we? Yes!” She was beginning to remind me of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, her favorite book.
I said, “Oh great powers of Shea, bring us victory!” Just then Gary Carter singled and Kevin Mitchell singled as well. She said, “Stop that!” Ray Knight got two strikes on him.
“Just one more! One more strike!” she growled in the bottom of her voice. I shouted “NO!”
But Ray Knight hit the next pitch to center field, scoring Carter and moving Mitchell to third. Now it was up to Mookie Wilson, facing new pitcher Bob Stanley.
Wilson went to 2 and 2 and began fouling off pitches. “One more strike, you losers, that’s all you have,” my sister cackled.
Stanley threw a wild pitch, and the tying run ran home for the Mets. “How did you do that?” She threw a pillow at me. I ducked.
The Mets didn’t have much bench left, and I was afraid that if they didn’t win it here and now, they’d lose in the next inning. She said, “Mookie, you fool. Hit me a weak, pathetic little ground ball to our All Star first baseman. Let’s end this pathetic inning!”
Mookie Wilson hit Stanley’s tenth pitch, and it was a slow roller down the first base line. I saw him hit the weak grounder and my life as a Met fan flashed before my eyes. The world seemed to turn upsidedown in slow motion. Oh—o-o-o-No-o-o!
I said to myself, “No, I can’t let this family rivalry affect the lives of thousands of innocent people. I must do something!”
I leaped ten feet in the air, spun around, then landed on bent knees with my right finger pointing to the TV screen like Sammy Kaye at the end of a Vaudeville number. I shouted, “MISS!!” and glanced at my sibling. Still in slow motion, I turned to the set.
Bill Buckner heard me, looked up at the TV screen and said, “You want me to do what?” Even in slow motion, his little aside to me was so fast you could hardly see it. The ball skittered between his legs. Ray Knight sprinted home with the winning run. Mets won! We’d go to the seventh game after all.
“Sorry, ” I said, “Crime doesn’t pay!”
She plopped the bowl of popcorn over my head and ran out of the room crying.
That’s my version of the story. My beloved sister has another, startlingly different version of the story.
And if you believe this story, let me tell you how I willed Bill Mazeroski to hit his walk-off home run against the Yankees from my bassinet in 1961.
In fact, my sis and I did watch the sixth game of the series together. That part really happened. For some reason she didn’t want to share the experience of the seventh game with me. The Mets won easily. Lynn now lives deep within Red Sox territory in an undisclosed location.