As much as I’m learning to love figuring out stats and how they apply to the past, present, and future of baseball, it’s also fun to remind myself that things can go a little too far. For instance, knowing a hitter’s OPS or SLG can be invaluable in calculating his worth, but what about his batting average on Wednesday night games (WNG)? Or, how about the number of home runs a player scores against a curly-haired pitcher (PCH)?
For this post, I decided to pick on Andres Torres because a) he plays, hits, and scores often, b) he’s not a free agent and is therefore still listed on the Giants’ website, and c) he’s one of my favorite players. Then I picked four absurd scenarios that I could look up statistics for–specifically, batting average, hits, and runs. If you ever have a couple free hours and are really feeling those offseason blues, this can be a fun way to pass time and sharpen your understanding and appreciation for baseball and its wealth of numbers.
#1. Odd vs. even numbered days in the month of June (JOE)
In June, all the off days fell on odd-numbered days, so there are three more even-numbered games in the following numbers. To break it up even further, most of the games played were Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while the fewest games played were on Thursdays.
#2. Promotional giveaway days (GDP)
Promotional giveaways in 2010 ranged from hats and scarves to bobbleheads and wearable blankets. Although I didn’t try to compare Torres’s numbers on giveaway days vs. the rest of the season, I found that he hit the most on night when rally scarves, skateboard decks, and baseball cards were given away, and flopped when batting helmets, calendars, and flip video coupons were offered. Who can really blame him though? I mean, if coupons draw a big crowd, then they are obviously easily impressed to begin with.
Giveaway games: 43
#3. Weekend games against teams with red uniforms (WAR)
I came up with the idea for this stat because not only does it sound ridiculous, but the information needed is pretty easy to find. The teams with red uniforms were limited to those who featured the color more prominently in their attire, as opposed to those who just had some trim around their hats. Torres had the most amount of combined hits and runs during games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the fewest against the Washington Nationals.
#4. Fridays vs. Mondays (FNM)
This was my favorite statistic to calculate, because I wanted to see if Monday blues affected players’ performances. Of course, there’s no way these numbers can tell us that (at least not with the limited information available), but it’s fun to try. Come to find out, a lot of off days are on Mondays, perhaps for this very reason. In 2010, there were a total of 26 Friday games and only 16 Monday games for the Giants.
Statistics is a fundamental part of baseball–the part that tells us why a player is worth signing, where his career is headed in the future, and just how great the greats of baseball actually were. But it can also be used to bring out the geeky side of fans, to expose the sport as fun and classic and just a little silly at times.