Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bite-Size Morsels

I'm back from my wanderings, and should have a full-size post up shortly. In the meantime, enjoy the most succinct exegesis of hitting progression in modern baseball, thanks to Baseball Think Factory poster Morty Causa:

Everything in the current game wrt to hitting goes back to Babe Ruth and Ted Willaims. Williams is the philosophy-king of baseball hitting, and Ruth its "natural" genius. Ruth the precursor started it with hitting tons of home runs. Pitchers then had to be more careful. They couldn't let up. They had to be careful what they threw, how they threw it., and where they threw it. Ruth instinctively knew the way to counteract that was to make them even more careful by being patient. Williams took it from there and formed and articulated the philosphy. To be successful, the hitter has to get his pitch. To get his pitch he has to be patient. That means the hitter doesn't just swing at any damn thing the pitcher throws. He has to be selective. The hitter has to know the pitcher's repertoire. He waits on a certain pitch until the count forbids it. This tends to force the pitcher to throw a hitter a hittable pitch more than he otherwise would, although, of course, he, the pitcher, is still more successful than the hitter is. The ineluctable result of all this is that there will be more sort of an evolutionary arms race between the pitcher and the hitter.

Boom. The last century of baseball's core evolution in a paragraph.

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