Statistics - 6/21/05
My roommate Noah and I saw a stat during the Cincinnati Reds' game Sunday that went something like the following:

Ken Griffey Jr. has hit homeruns on two consecutive Father's Days. Last Father's Day, he also had his 2,041st hit, the same number of hits his father, Ken Griffey Sr., finished his career with.

I appreciate the Father's Day shout-out as much as the next person, and the two consecutive homeruns on the Dad's day is an interesting stat, but does anyone else think they're reaching a bit for the 2,041 hits statistic? I think I could say with a reasonable degree of confidence that neither Ken Griffey Jr. nor his father were aware of this factoid, nor would they care if you told them. They would probably just look confused.

This is but the latest example of the fact that pro sports these days keep stats on everything. During my brief sojourn working for a baseball scouting company, we'd routinely generate stats like

Darren Erstad is .232 on curveballs low and outside, but .203 on curveballs low and in, when the wind is blowing out.

or

Pedro Martinez has a 0.82 ERA against left-handed spray hitters when he throws a fastball for a strike on the first pitch, unless the sun is in the batter's eyes.

or

Torii Hunter bats .314 on second-pitch changeups in even-numbered innings on Tuesdays against right-handed junkball pitchers whose last names start with the letter "M".

Will this ever stop? Statistically, no, because as a math afficianado I know that the number of things you can do with numbers is, literally and figuratively, infinite. I guess we'll just have to keep amusing ourselves by mocking overinvolved and useless statistics, such as

6.7 statistics are generated per pitch per team during April night games for American League teams in the Central Time Zone, unless someone in the home team's general owner's family is a statistician, in which case this number is higher.


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