The baseball analytics revolution has helped us answer many questions that might have seemed unknowable before. We can now measure not only a pitcher's velocity but also the exact horizontal and vertical break on his pitches, the precise coordinates of his arm slot, and dozens of other variables. We can calculate the worth of catchers who excel at framing pitches. We can even take the sum of a player's contributions and find a reasonable estimate of his overall value.
Lovely pursuits, all. But mere trivialities next to the most pressing baseball question the world has ever had to face: If Mr. Burns had to re-staff the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team with a lineup full of present-day players, who should he choose?
Baseball is a complicated game, the results of one day, one month, even one season subject to slumps and streaks, injuries and recoveries, players controlling their own destiny and players having their fate decided by a bad hop or a bad call. With the Boston Red Sox on the brink of a lost season, we now have a nuanced explanation for their woes, one that considers all the complexities of a 162-game season and elucidates all that's gone wrong at Fenway Park in 2012.
Here are the most compelling matchups, stories, and personalities in Major League Baseball for the coming weekend.
The extended All-Star break is officially the worst development in American sports. What am I supposed to do with my life? Actually go outside? No thanks. The only time I want to go outside is if there's an outdoor TV showing baseball. And even then, why not bring the TV inside where there are chips? Baseball players are selfish and should be forced to play tripleheaders for the rest of the season.