Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Keeping track of stats

Hello all:
As I sat at home this morning, wondering what I would blog about today, I got a call from a good friend of mine, Joe Reardon.
Besides being one of my closest friends, Joe is the finest softball coach/teacher I've ever met. We talked about statistics, and more specifically how one coach could call something a hit and another one would call it an error.
When it comes to keeping stats, Joe and I are definitely old school, where a hit is a hit when it's a hit. A lot of coaches, however, don't necessarily see things that way, choosing to give his or her player the benefit of the doubt, so to speak.
The story that best describes that is many years ago getting a call from an area coach. In giving me the details about the game, the coach described a home run the coach's player was credited for. To paraphrase, the coach said it was a ground ball that went through the shortstop's legs, under the leftfielder's glove and past the centerfielder, who tried to barehand the ball as it was slowing down.
When I informed this coach that really it sounded like the person reached home on three errors than a home run, the coach's response was, "well, in our book it's a home run."
It's interesting that in the last several years since we've been taking complete boxscores at the Freeman, there have been times when both coaches will actually provide a boxscore. For our local teams, the home teams are required to call in league games, but when local teams go on the road to play an out-of-area team, really the local team is supposed to call as well.
On those occasions when we get boxscores from both teams, it's interesting to compare the two. As my friend Joe said, it's like getting two different games.
I bring this up because -- with the high school baseball and softball seasons winding down -- it won't be long before our All-Star teams appear. As mentioned in this space before, being a small newspaper with a lot of area teams, we don't get the opportunity to cover a lot of games.
We rely on stats from our area coaches when picking our teams, and inevitably, we'll get the call from a coach or a parent arguing the validity of the stats from this baseball player or that softball player.
If we question one coach's stats, than we have to question them all. And that's impossibility.
So, understand, the process is not perfect. You try to do the best with the information that's provided.
Have a great day everyone, and, as always, take care and God bless.

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