Saturday, October 04, 2003

I wrote in the Trib last year that is one of the best baseball blogs there is for both hard-core number crunching and good writing--an all-too-rare combination. Look at how he breaks down one seemingly simple sequence in the Twins' opening win against the Yankees. Some call it geekiness; I call it being aware of the game's complexity in order to enjoy in on a deeper level than beer-drenched bachannalia.

Let's review how Cristian Guzman scored the first run of the game:
- He reached 1st base on an infield ground ball because second baseman Alfonzo Soriano was playing Guzy too deep.
- Guzman made it to 3rd base because he was running on the 3-2 pitch that Stewart hit. He was running because Gardenhire trusts Stewart not to strike out on a full count. It was a full count because the Yankees had been defending the hit-and-run with calls like a pitchout.
- Guzman also made it to 3rd base because the third baseman made it clear to the umpire that he had missed the tag the first time.
- Guzman scored on a short fly ball to center field that never scores a run - unless the runner is as fast as Guzman, the center fielder is as limited as Bernie Williams, and the coaching staff recognizes all that and sends him.

One could write a whole column on the decision by Guzman to try and get to third, whether it was crazy, where the umpire was set up on the play, and Boone's "tag". And don't even get me started on that hit-and-run at-bat.

That's what being a baseball geek is. It isn't just about crunching numbers, though it helps not to be afraid of them. It's about studying the game, and learning more, and enjoying the game that much more because you understand exactly how crazy Guzman's decision was. full post

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