Baseball 101

One of the biggest reasons that baseball might not appeal to everyone can be a misunderstanding of all the different terms used in baseball. To the casual fan and the playoff fans who only watch in September, October, and November not understanding all the different statistics can be overwhelming. This morning I will do my best to explain some of them.
What do some of the most often statistics really mean, and how can they be understood? I’ll explain a few of them  to anyone who cares to read and learn. The biggest question my friends ask me is what is WHIP and how does that figure into a games?. Simply put WHIP stands for Walks plus Hits per Inning. Take out the first P word and you have WHI, so what does the final P stand for? Per game. Make sense, maybe not. Basically WHIP really means how many walks and hits does a pitchers allow every game? Walks can be just as damaging as hits, a runner is on base. Sure batters are often walked for possible double plays, or sometimes a hitter is swinging a hot bat. Think Barry Bonds and his intentional walks, or Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves after the All-Star break in 2016. Pitchers want to keep their ERA as low as possible, a nice set up for ERA.
ERA is much easier to understand hopefully. ERA means Earn Runs Average. The higher an ERA the more runs a pitcher allows in a game. This statistic is usually one that most baseball insiders look for when trying to judge a pitcher’s performance. On average,  how many runs does a hitter allow? This one can get confusing. An earned run can be a walked batter, or a hit allowed. If a pitcher allows a grand slam home run, for sure one run will affect his ERA. However if there were fielding errors that allowed the runners on base, then the errors affect the team and not necessarily the pitcher. This happened in the World Series in game 7. The Cleveland Indians short stop had a fielding error that allowed a Chicago Cubs runner to reach first base. That runner at first then stole 2nd base. He later scored on a base hit. The Starting Pitcher’s ERA was not affected even though the Cubs lead 1-0. The run scored but it was the fielding error that allowed the run to be scored. This is where the game may confuse people. Last one for today is BBWAA awards.
BBWAA awards on the MLB Network finalist where announced yesterday November 7, 2016. BaseBall Writers Association Awards. Calling the awards the BBWAA awards may seem redundant but before judgement is passed, what is your PIN Number? Personal Information Number number, working in banking for far to long helped make this arguement possible. The BBWAA awards are giving to the American Leage and National League players and coaches voted by the  writers who are in the BBWAA. I’m a writer, but I am not in the BBWAA, that is an exclusive club which I am not a member of. When I lived in Augusta, Georgia I was not a member of the Master’s Golf club either. Oh well life does go on. The BBWAA awards are voted on before the play off start so some of the players who are up for the awards didn’t even play in the postseason, take for instance Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. He is up for the Most Valuable Player of the American League. 
Hopefully this may give you a better understanding of baseball and some of the terms people can obsess about. Later on in the offseason I’ll tackle the issue of teams and General Managers who have used statistics to helped their teams win divisions, pendants, and even World Series. Theo Epstein used these numbers in Boston and Chicago. Billy Beane of the Oakland Althletics uses these numbers. He helped in the use of these numbers to beat other baseball team. Think of the term  Sabermetrics. Everyone enjoy the off season. Let’s talk more baseball and the off season won’t seem as long. 

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