NPF: FREQUENCY

Whenever I'm required to proffer reasons that baseball is compelling ("It's fuckin' boring" is frequently given as a comprehensive explanation among those who dislike it) I am going to rely on the following statistical anecdote to keep me on the moral high ground. After reading these two facts in relatively rapid succession, the comparison between the two was striking.

Since the approximate "modern" era of Major League Baseball began in 1901, fifteen human beings have thrown perfect games (out of ~150,000 games played) and twenty-six human beings have orbited the moon. For males who lived in the 20th century, the odds of orbiting the goddamn moon were about 40% greater than the odds of throwing a perfect game.

One of the most irritating games I have ever seen, Mark Buerhle's no-no (a rare feat in its own right) against the Rangers in 2007, gets even more irritating when I see stats like this. He allowed a single baserunner, a walk on an exceptionally questionable 3-2 pitch to Sammy Sosa that umpire Eric Cooper decided was outside. But while calls for instant replay will inevitably make some aspects of the game better, baseball will always contain a human element that adds to its appeal.

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7 Responses to “NPF: FREQUENCY”

  1. Matthew Says:

    You know, if you're going to talk about frequency, I can tell you that only five people (men and women) have won a calendar-year Grand Slam. That's tennis, by the way. Also, that's 300% more exciting than your silly 15-people who have thrown perfect games. Maybe 600% if you double it because both genders are involved.

    Still, nobody cares about tennis. Except me! Wimbledon starts next week, and I'm fucking thrilled!

  2. Ed Says:

    True, but to accept your comparison we would be jumping from single events to collective events. I could point out combined feats in baseball that are as rare as a tennis GS (like winning the batting Triple Crown – only a few times in the modern era).

    A better comparison to a perfect game, which is a single event, would be, oh, I don't know, playing an entire match without committing a single fault. Something like that. Comparing single games/matches to season-long events is difficult.

  3. Rob Says:

    This may qualify as one of the worst arguments ever at ginandtacos. These statistics might be interesting, but in no way can we logically conclude "therefore, baseball is compelling". It may be that some single event such as 18 different stars aligning perfectly is a once in 15 billion year occurance… But nobody will give a damn – because it's fuckin' boring. Honestly, I don't care if pitching a perfect game is something that only happens once every millenium – it's still a bunch of sweaty jerk-offs swinging a lopsided stick while developing mouth cancer.
    BTW, I really do like ginandtacos. I'm not attacking you personally – I just feel compelled to fight the good fight against logical fallacies.

  4. Ed Says:

    Well, it's not intended to be an argument that definitively proves anything. We're talking about a matter of taste and interest. It's subjective. If you don't like baseball, there's nothing I can do to "prove" to you that you're wrong and it's compelling.

    If one is inclined to enjoy the game, this is the kind of thing that emphasizes how compelling it can be. If you tried to tell me that baseball is stupid and boring, I might try sharing an example of why it's compelling. If that doesn't persuade you, so be it. We're not talking about the shape of the earth or the temperature at which water boils.

  5. J. Dryden Says:

    You can't explain a joke into being funny and you can't talk someone into enjoying sports. Either someone gets it or s/he doesn't. (I don't, but I come from a remarkably brainy and huge family in which I stand alone in this.)

  6. Dale Murphy's Biggest Fan Says:

    Having grown up a diehard baseball fan, I am the first one to admit that I want to be a fan now. However, the fact that Major League Baseball still enjoys anti-trust exemption, the fact that Bud Selig couldn't say "conflict of interest" if you moved his lips for him, the fact that Selig hasn't been indicted, the fact that Pete Rose is banned from baseball whilst Barry Bonds is not, and the fact that George W. Bush made his personal fortune from baseball all contribute to the fact that I have not been a fan since the late 1990's.
    While many have made the argument that the game is essentially the same, the principles of sportsmanship and fair play have been fed to the pigs at this point in favor of gamesmanship and foul play.
    I say: Fuck Major League Baseball.
    I say: It's only cheating if you're cheating.
    I say: Major League Baseball has gone the way of most of the rest of the things that managed to have at least some air of integrity in this nation founded on half-truths and pipe dreams.
    In other words, it's all about the Benjamins. What the fuck is the point of playing if anyone is cheating and the people who are supposed to enforce the rules pointedly look the other way to taint or otherwise make irrelevant real accomplishments? And don't give me that shit about Gaylord Perry, either.
    Sigh…I'll stick with the NFL and Ultimate Fighting at this point. The one makes no bones about the fact that so many players are merely thugs in uniform, and the other one just astounds me with the punishment they already take, let alone the punishment Selig and all the other suckers-of-Satan's cock who've ruined America's former past-time for me and thousands of other formerly lifelong fans have coming. I'm seriously, what would they do to punish Ultimate Fighters that'd be so much worse than that to which they already subject each other?

  7. Samantha Says:

    My grill is smoldering hot, and I'm waiting rather impatiently to cook some meat…