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#1
Old 05-11-2006, 10:14 AM
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When is stealing legal (baseball)?

I've been through the MLB rules and the only real mention of base stealing is in the scorekeeping section, indicating when to score the base as a steal vs. an error, etc.

It seems to me that you have to have a live ball for a steal to be legal, i.e., you can't steal if a batted ball lands foul. But I couldn't find that anywhere in the rules.

Did I just miss it somewhere? Or is it implied as a consequence of other rules, like the definition of live & dead ball?
#2
Old 05-11-2006, 10:51 AM
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This covers it:

[quote]5.02
After the umpire calls "Play" the ball is alive and in play and remains alive and in play until for legal cause, or at the umpire's call of "Time" suspending play, the ball becomes dead. While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runs may be scored, except that runners may advance one or more bases as the result of acts which occurred while the ball was alive (such as, but not limited to a balk, an overthrow, interference, or a home run or other fair ball hit out of the playing field). Should a ball come partially apart in a game, it is in play until the play is completed. (italics added)[/quote[
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#3
Old 05-11-2006, 11:07 AM
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To answer the OP, a steal is the taking of an extra base by a baserunner who was already safely on a base. Of course, this has to occur when the ball is not dead and not due to a defensive mistake (such as a wild pitch, passed ball, balk, or the pitcher throwing the ball away on a pickoff attempt). A hitter will never be given credit for a steal. Now there is a situation when a player will not be given credit for a steal even when he takes a base while the ball is alive and there was no defensive mistake, and that's defensive indifference. When the defense ignores a baserunner and just lets him take an extra base (such as in the 9th inning when the run represented by the base runner is inconsequential to the outcome), the runner is not going get credit for a steal.
#4
Old 05-11-2006, 03:12 PM
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I was familiar with the section that [b]RealityChuck[/i] quoted, but it only says what you can't do when the ball is dead, which includes running bases.

It seems that stealing is allowed only by the lack of a rule prohibiting it. I don't mean that it's a loophole because it is clearly acknowledged. I just don't see anywhere that stealing is explicitly allowed. Such as,

"At any time when the ball is live, a baserunner who has legal title to a base may advance at his peril to the next base if the next base is unoccupied."
#5
Old 05-11-2006, 03:13 PM
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BTW nivlac provides good factual information but it is related to scoring a steal and not any rule that allows a steal.
#6
Old 05-11-2006, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nivlac
To answer the OP, a steal is the taking of an extra base by a baserunner who was already safely on a base. Of course, this has to occur when the ball is not dead and not due to a defensive mistake (such as a wild pitch, passed ball, balk, or the pitcher throwing the ball away on a pickoff attempt). A hitter will never be given credit for a steal. Now there is a situation when a player will not be given credit for a steal even when he takes a base while the ball is alive and there was no defensive mistake, and that's defensive indifference. When the defense ignores a baserunner and just lets him take an extra base (such as in the 9th inning when the run represented by the base runner is inconsequential to the outcome), the runner is not going get credit for a steal.
This whole "defensive indifference" thing always pisses me off. If I, a base runner, take the initiative to steal a base, I should get credit. So the defense doesn't want to risk throwing the ball away, that's their choice.

Seems like the defense wants it both ways; they can ignore me and I don't get credit for stealing. But suppose I trip three quarters of the way and they decide to tag me; all of a sudden it's considered a stolen base attempt and I'm out?
That's shit. If they are willfully ignoring me; they should declare that, and I should be able to stroll over to the next bag un molested. Like that'll ever be a rule.

Therefore, if I "risk" then I deserve "reward" for successful risk taking.
Risk == running, not knowing if the defense is ignoring me.
Reward == making to the next base and getting credit for taking it!
#7
Old 05-11-2006, 04:42 PM
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Basically the issue is when and where can you be or not be tagged out. You can be tagged out when you've wandered too far off first base and such. If you are standing on a base (and there's not a 2nd runner in the mix), you can't be tagged out. You also can't be tagged out when time is called, etc.

A "steal" is just terminology that describes going from one base to another under certain circumstances. (And mainly scoring terminology at that.)

Similarly, I suspect "single", "double" and "triple" are generally undefined in the rules either. (The "ground rule double" is in fact up to the discretion of the umpire in awarding number of bases. 2 is not hard coded.)

So the OP is not all that far off from asking "when can you hit a double?"
#8
Old 05-11-2006, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg
Similarly, I suspect "single", "double" and "triple" are generally undefined in the rules either. (The "ground rule double" is in fact up to the discretion of the umpire in awarding number of bases. 2 is not hard coded.)

So the OP is not all that far off from asking "when can you hit a double?"
The fan interference ruling that is often called a ground rule double is not "hard coded" as two bases but the ball bouncing into the stands is -- as is a fair ball being deflected into the stands in foul territory. Not that it applies to any major league parks, but I believe that balls hit into the stands at insuffient distance are also doubles.
#9
Old 05-11-2006, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BwanaBob
Therefore, if I "risk" then I deserve "reward" for successful risk taking.
Risk == running, not knowing if the defense is ignoring me.
Reward == making to the next base and getting credit for taking it!
Defensive indifference is not used merely because the catcher does not throw the ball. I've only ever seen it invoked when the first baseman is not holding the runner on base (and second base is unoccupied) When this is happening, you as the runner know it.
#10
Old 05-11-2006, 08:40 PM
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Stolen bases have been around a long time in baseball. Basically, guys on base tried to see if they could take one somehow.

Baseball has always encouraged running around.
#11
Old 05-12-2006, 03:16 AM
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The defensive indifference rule is meant to cover the case where the defense doesn't care whether a runner advances. For example, suppose the game is tied in the ninth inning and there are runners on first and third with no outs. The runner on first can almost walk to second - the defense doesn't care in this case whether he advances because the winning run is on third.

As for when a stolen base is legal: a baserunner can try to advance at the risk of being put out any time the ball is live. This is implied (not stated explicitly) by rule 7.01:

"A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out."

It is called a stolen base when a runner advances without the aid of a hit, putout, error, forceout, fielder's choice, passed ball, wild pitch or balk (rule 10.08). This list eliminates everything except advancing on a normal pitch that isn't hit. In other words, stolen bases are a subset of all base advances. That's why there's no special rule to allow them - so far as the most of the rulebook is concerned, there's no difference between stealing a base and taking an extra base in any other way.
#12
Old 05-12-2006, 03:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman
The defensive indifference rule is meant to cover the case where the defense doesn't care whether a runner advances. For example, suppose the game is tied in the ninth inning and there are runners on first and third with no outs. The runner on first can almost walk to second - the defense doesn't care in this case whether he advances because the winning run is on third.
I think in this case, the defense would really want to get the guy out. Not because they care if he's on first or second, but because one more out is good.

Or are you suggesting the catcher would want to hold on to the ball, in order to prevent the guy on third from running in while the ball is making a trip to second and back?
#13
Old 05-12-2006, 06:33 AM
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1. You've answered your own question, CookingwithGas. There is no rule that "permits" stealing, as there does not need to be such a rule. There is a rule, of course, that prohibits stealing PREVIOUS bases.

2. Taber, the defensive indifference rule is essentially a subjective call designed to not give runners "credit" for stolen bases in situations where the defense outs up no opposition at all. (It's similar to the rule that reaching base on an error counts as an out towards the hitter's stats, rather than a hit. Which is stupid, since it means hitting statistics are in fact all wrong.) Generally speaking this situation happens in a ninth inning situation where the runner does not represent a tying or winning run. Obviously a defensive team would always LIKE to get the guy out but in such a situation they may choose to not even have the first baseman hold the runner (which would allow the fist basemen to play back, thereby making an additional base hit less likely.)

3. I know this it nitpicky, but it drives me crazy. A ball that bounces into the stands fair is not a "Ground rule double," it's an automatic double. A "Ground rule" anything is a call that is made based on some unique condition of the park.

4. ftg, singles, doubles, triples etc. are in fact specifically mentioned in Rule 10.
#14
Old 05-12-2006, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman
The defensive indifference rule is meant to cover the case where the defense doesn't care whether a runner advances. For example, suppose the game is tied in the ninth inning and there are runners on first and third with no outs. The runner on first can almost walk to second - the defense doesn't care in this case whether he advances because the winning run is on third.
This is maybe not the best example for defensive indifference. In this case, there is some value to the defense in keeping the runner on first: if the current batter strikes out or (short) flies out, then having kept the runner on first keeps a double-play possibility open (which gets the defense safely out of the inning). Admittedly, the defense has to balance the gain in holding the runner against the risk of a poor throw to second allowing the runner on third to score, but it's not a completely clear-cut case either way.

A better example would be the same situation but with two outs (and the bottom of the ninth). Now the runner on first doesn't matter at all: either the runner from third scores, immediately winning the game, or the third out is made at first base.
#15
Old 05-12-2006, 12:17 PM
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In the 19th century, players taking extra bases on hits would be credited with stolen bases. If you went from first to third on a single, that would be a stolen base. That's one reason why 19th century stolen base totals are so high.
#16
Old 05-12-2006, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
...It's similar to the rule that reaching base on an error counts as an out towards the hitter's stats, rather than a hit. Which is stupid, since it means hitting statistics are in fact all wrong.
Can you expand on this comment? We're both apparently baseball aficionados, so I'd respect your thinking on this point. For me, I think it's completely correct to not give credit for a hit when a batter reaches base on an error. If a batter would've been out except for a defensive error like a muffed grounder or dropped pop-up, why should he be given credit for a hit? It should count against his batting average by having an at-bat with no hit recorded. Yes, the batter did hit the ball with his bat, but he didn't get a basehit. Of course, I don't always agree with the official scorer when a play is ruled as an error or a hit, but that's not the point.
#17
Old 05-12-2006, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nivlac
Can you expand on this comment? We're both apparently baseball aficionados, so I'd respect your thinking on this point. For me, I think it's completely correct to not give credit for a hit when a batter reaches base on an error. If a batter would've been out except for a defensive error like a muffed grounder or dropped pop-up, why should he be given credit for a hit? It should count against his batting average by having an at-bat with no hit recorded. Yes, the batter did hit the ball with his bat, but he didn't get a basehit. Of course, I don't always agree with the official scorer when a play is ruled as an error or a hit, but that's not the point.
I don't mean to speak for RickJay, but in some cases the batter's speed in running to first will cause a fielder to rush and make the error.

It's debatable whether or not this should be credited to the batter somehow, but I've read some analyses at Baseball Prospectus defending the sacrifice bunt as a viable strategy (against the Moneyball types who think it's a waste of an out) based on the higher chance of errors. If the propensity for error is a selling point for that, there should be some credit given to a batter that can create more defensive errors.
#18
Old 05-12-2006, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJJ*
... I've read some analyses at Baseball Prospectus defending the sacrifice bunt as a viable strategy (against the Moneyball types who think it's a waste of an out) based on the higher chance of errors. If the propensity for error is a selling point for that, there should be some credit given to a batter that can create more defensive errors.
In the sac bunt (or fly) scenario, the batter isn't given an 0-fer, it's just not counted as an official AB. Same with walks and HBPs. I don't think I could be persuaded to give a batter any credit for fiedling errors, but I definitely could be convinced not to count it as an official AB. This would help alleviate penalties for situations you describe where speedy batters force defenses into mistakes and it also wouldn't penalize batters for dubious scoring decisions.
#19
Old 05-12-2006, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nivlac
Can you expand on this comment? We're both apparently baseball aficionados, so I'd respect your thinking on this point. For me, I think it's completely correct to not give credit for a hit when a batter reaches base on an error.
The basic problem with this scoring convention is that now all batting statistics are quite literally wrong. There are more outs in the sum total of batting statistics than have actually been recorded.

If during the course of a game a team has 9 hits, 4 walks, and reaches base twice on errors, the current scoring convention will say that in the course of a nine inning game that team actually made 29 outs, and therefore has a batting average of .310. But in fact, that team DIDN'T make 29 outs, they made 27 outs. Couting errors as outs that didn't happen penalizes the batter for an out that never happened, making batters as a group appear worse than they are and assigning more out to a league's batters than are credited to the pitchers (since pitchers get credit for innings pitches - e.g. outs - only for outs that actually happen.) Outs being the currency of baseball, and the denominator of a LOT of stats, it's just silly to base those numbers on outs that never happened.

Quote:
If a batter would've been out except for a defensive error like a muffed grounder or dropped pop-up, why should he be given credit for a hit?
Because he hit the ball and he got on base. The difference between a player who gets a clean base hit and one who hits the ball and gets on base when Russ Adams heaves the ball wide of the first baseman (typically, once a frickin' game) is purely subjective, and along the margins of that subjective call you get some pretty questionable calls. But in terms of the result, the result is the same; batter hits ball, batter reaches base. No out was recorded, so the batter should not be recorded as having made an out.

If you're really opposed to the idea of giving a batter a base hit when a fielder makes a mistake, fine - but it should not be counted as a nonexistent out. Make it a separate category of getting on base, like being hit-by-pitch, as per Ass For A Hat's suggestion.

Now, having said that, I'm talking major leagues and high level ball. In Little League or your local softball league, errors absolutely SHOULD be counted as hits, because

1. Errors are very common, so if you could all those as phony outs your stats will be completely at odds with reality, and

2. The skill disparity between hitters in being able to reach base on account of fielder miscues is huge, whereas in the majors it's not really that great, and is statistically meaningful only in the gap between the players who're worst at it and the player who're best.
#20
Old 05-12-2006, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
The basic problem with this scoring convention is that now all batting statistics are quite literally wrong. There are more outs in the sum total of batting statistics than have actually been recorded.

If during the course of a game a team has 9 hits, 4 walks, and reaches base twice on errors, the current scoring convention will say that in the course of a nine inning game that team actually made 29 outs, and therefore has a batting average of .310. But in fact, that team DIDN'T make 29 outs, they made 27 outs. Couting errors as outs that didn't happen penalizes the batter for an out that never happened, making batters as a group appear worse than they are and assigning more out to a league's batters than are credited to the pitchers (since pitchers get credit for innings pitches - e.g. outs - only for outs that actually happen.) Outs being the currency of baseball, and the denominator of a LOT of stats, it's just silly to base those numbers on outs that never happened.


Because he hit the ball and he got on base. The difference between a player who gets a clean base hit and one who hits the ball and gets on base when Russ Adams heaves the ball wide of the first baseman (typically, once a frickin' game) is purely subjective, and along the margins of that subjective call you get some pretty questionable calls. But in terms of the result, the result is the same; batter hits ball, batter reaches base. No out was recorded, so the batter should not be recorded as having made an out.
But batters are not recorded as making outs. At bats are recorded and hits are recorded. Outs are recorded only for pitchers through inning pitched.

Your calculation makes no sense. If your team had "9 hits, 4 walks, and reaches base twice on errors," how are you determining they made 29 outs? Because 42 batters came to bat and 42 - 9 - 4 = 29? But you can't do this. What if 27 batters singled and were caught stealing base? Would you conclude the team made 27 - 27 = 0 outs? Double plays will also affect your calculation.
#21
Old 05-12-2006, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Couting errors as outs that didn't happen penalizes the batter for an out that never happened, making batters as a group appear worse than they are and assigning more out to a league's batters than are credited to the pitchers (since pitchers get credit for innings pitches - e.g. outs - only for outs that actually happen.) Outs being the currency of baseball, and the denominator of a LOT of stats, it's just silly to base those numbers on outs that never happened.
This same logic could be applied to the calculation for pitcher's ERA; would you say that pitchers as a group appear better than they are because fewer runs are assigned to a league's pitchers than are credited to batters/baserunners? Insisting that they be balanced--along with the number of "outs" recorded by pitchers and batters--seems fastidious.

Most fans who favor the statistical approach abhor batting average as a measure of performance, but usually this is because it doesn't account for walks, which in the modern game are considered something the batter earns in his turn at bat. On-base percentage and it's Frankenstein cousin OPS are considered better batter-performance measures, and both of these count a reach-by-error as an 0-fer (charged time at bat, no hit).

I agree it would be interesting to see the percentage of times a player reaches base on an error (if only to see if there is any statistical trend favoring certain batters); if anyone knows of any numbers for this on-line, please point them out.
#22
Old 05-13-2006, 01:57 AM
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Retrosheet keeps track of "ROE" (reached on error).

Here is a link to a study about who reaches on errors most often
http://retrosheet.org/Research/RuaneT/error_art.htm

Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates led all NL hitters in times reaching first on an error at 13.
Jason Kendall of Oakland led in the AL at 16.
#23
Old 05-13-2006, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
The basic problem with this scoring convention is that now all batting statistics are quite literally wrong. There are more outs in the sum total of batting statistics than have actually been recorded.

If during the course of a game a team has 9 hits, 4 walks, and reaches base twice on errors, the current scoring convention will say that in the course of a nine inning game that team actually made 29 outs, and therefore has a batting average of .310. But in fact, that team DIDN'T make 29 outs, they made 27 outs. Couting errors as outs that didn't happen penalizes the batter for an out that never happened, making batters as a group appear worse than they are and assigning more out to a league's batters than are credited to the pitchers (since pitchers get credit for innings pitches - e.g. outs - only for outs that actually happen.) Outs being the currency of baseball, and the denominator of a LOT of stats, it's just silly to base those numbers on outs that never happened.


Because he hit the ball and he got on base. The difference between a player who gets a clean base hit and one who hits the ball and gets on base when Russ Adams heaves the ball wide of the first baseman (typically, once a frickin' game) is purely subjective, and along the margins of that subjective call you get some pretty questionable calls. But in terms of the result, the result is the same; batter hits ball, batter reaches base. No out was recorded, so the batter should not be recorded as having made an out.

If you're really opposed to the idea of giving a batter a base hit when a fielder makes a mistake, fine - but it should not be counted as a nonexistent out. Make it a separate category of getting on base, like being hit-by-pitch, as per Ass For A Hat's suggestion.
Thanks for the reply, but we have to disagree on this point. I think you're confusing "outs" with "official at-bats". When a player gets on base via an error, there is no out charged to anyone. The player gets charged an official AB with no hit credited. That's correct. A hitter's batting average is a measure of his ability to reach base by getting a basehit and not based on the number of outs his at-bat caused, although that might be an interesting stat for someone who hits into a lot of DPs.
#24
Old 05-13-2006, 12:15 PM
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Many sabermetricians and other analysts have concluded that the concept of an error is flawed:
  • Several different types of defensive mistakes are lumped together as errors. It's not even necessary that a runner advance - a dropped foul fly ball can be an error, even if the batter strikes out on the next pitch. Seeing an error in a box score doesn't tell you what happened.
  • Not all defensive miscues are errors. A catchable fly ball that drops between two outfielders is usually not called an error, for example.
  • A fielder who muffs a batted ball is charged with an error, but a fielder who doesn't even get to a batted ball is not, even though the effect is usually the same (the batter gets on base).
  • Errors are subjective - what constitutes "normal effort" is a matter of opinion. Some official scorers tend to favor the home team in their rulings.
  • Earned run average sometimes doesn't reflect the quality of a pitcher's efforts. For example, if there's an error on a play that would have been the third out in an inning, none of the runs the pitcher allows for the rest of the inning are counted as earned. A pitcher can allow six runs after the inning "should have been" over and they won't count against his ERA.

Given all of this, I believe that the creation of errors as a statistical category in the nineteenth century was a mistake. Baseball stats would be more meaningful if errors were not counted.
#25
Old 05-13-2006, 02:02 PM
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Errors made sense in the 19th century. What doesn't make sense is that they are still counted. In the 19th Century, lots of players kept their jobs because of their "glove" (although they weren't wearing gloves).
#26
Old 05-13-2006, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJJ
This same logic could be applied to the calculation for pitcher's ERA; would you say that pitchers as a group appear better than they are because fewer runs are assigned to a league's pitchers than are credited to batters/baserunners? Insisting that they be balanced--along with the number of "outs" recorded by pitchers and batters--seems fastidious.
WEll, first of all, ERA IS flawed in this regard; pitchers are not credited with as many runs as they really should be. Fortunately, though, not many runs are unearned.

But I'm not talking about the necessity of balance, I am talking about fact. If Ichiro Suzuki comes up four times and gets one hit and reaches base on errors three times, the box score now says he made an out three times. And he didn't. It's just stupid to count as outs at bats that were not outs. It's every bit as stupid as counting home runs as singles or strikeouts as walks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy
But batters are not recorded as making outs. At bats are recorded and hits are recorded. Outs are recorded only for pitchers through inning pitched.
If a player goes 1-for-4, he is being recorded as having made three outs. That's what calculates your batting average, sluggling percentage, etc.

Except, with errors being counted as outs, it's possible to go 1-for-4 when in fact you made no outs at all.

Quote:
Your calculation makes no sense. If your team had "9 hits, 4 walks, and reaches base twice on errors," how are you determining they made 29 outs?
I'm not; that's the way it's actually done.

Quote:
Because 42 batters came to bat and 42 - 9 - 4 = 29? But you can't do this. What if 27 batters singled and were caught stealing base? Would you conclude the team made 27 - 27 = 0 outs? Double plays will also affect your calculation.
But caught stealing and GIDPs are assigned to individual batters, so those can be factored in to your better batting metrics. And you're not actually counting an out that never happened.

BobT and Jeff make the central point, which is that it made sense in the past to count errors separately, since there was once a time - and not just the 19th century, but just in the early 20th century - when players made immense numbers of errors by today's standards. In 1955 the error rate was 50% higher than today; in 1930, it was twice as high; in 1905, almost three times higher, and it was not uncommon for players at some key positions to make fifty errors or more a year.

Today the difference between different fielders in fielding percentage is really not that great, with some weird outliers like Randy Johnson or Kevin Reimer.
#27
Old 05-13-2006, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
But caught stealing and GIDPs are assigned to individual batters, so those can be factored in to your better batting metrics. And you're not actually counting an out that never happened.
True enough, but not all double plays are assigned to batters only force or reverse force double plays are recorded to batters. Double plays like runners caught off base after afly are not. And quite a few outs ar eactually recorded on hits. First batter doubles, second batter singles and first batter is throw out trying to score, runner advancing to second. Nex batter singles another runner is thrown out at the plate. Fourth batter strikes out. There we have an innig with four at bats three hits, no caught stealing, no double plays. Things still don't add up the way you want.

So you tell me well they're recorded as outfielder assists? No not really suppose the catcher drops the ball making a tag. We can have outfileder assists and no outs. It still won't add up.
#28
Old 05-13-2006, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy
True enough, but not all double plays are assigned to batters only force or reverse force double plays are recorded to batters. Double plays like runners caught off base after afly are not. And quite a few outs ar eactually recorded on hits. First batter doubles, second batter singles and first batter is throw out trying to score, runner advancing to second. Nex batter singles another runner is thrown out at the plate. Fourth batter strikes out. There we have an innig with four at bats three hits, no caught stealing, no double plays. Things still don't add up the way you want.
Trust me, you're preaching to the converted. I realize things like baserunning errors are hard to divine from boxscores. I don't think the key issue is being sufficiently emphasized here.

If Jim steps up to the plate and hits the ball and gets on base, it is stupid to pretend that he went 0-for-1 just because Tom muffed the ball. This isn't like missing baserunner errors. It's literally counting hits as outs. It's stupid. There is NO other scoring convention anything like this.

Imagine if the official scorer had the discretion to take hits away from batters if he thought the pitch was really, really bad. Most hits he credits, sure, but if the pitcher throws a really awful meatball, a hanging curveball right down the pipe, he calls it a "Pitching Miscue" and the player is treated as if he had actually hit into an out. Wouldn't that be stupid? Well, that's what we do with fielding.





So you tell me well they're recorded as outfielder assists? No not really suppose the catcher drops the ball making a tag. We can have outfileder assists and no outs. It still won't add up.[/QUOTE]
#29
Old 05-13-2006, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
WEll, first of all, ERA IS flawed in this regard; pitchers are not credited with as many runs as they really should be. Fortunately, though, not many runs are unearned.
We're verging into GD territory, but certainly the percentage of runs that are unearned is comparable to the percentage of batters who reach base on error (since at least one error is required to produce an unearned run). Why is it fortunately low enough that that stat can be used to compute ERA, but batting average is "quite literally wrong" and the discrepancy is "stupid"

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
But I'm not talking about the necessity of balance, I am talking about fact. If Ichiro Suzuki comes up four times and gets one hit and reaches base on errors three times, the box score now says he made an out three times. And he didn't. It's just stupid to count as outs at bats that were not outs.
What if Ichiro drives a ball to the gap with a runner on first, nets a double, but the runner is thrown out at the plate? Ichiro is credited with a hit (as he should be), but an out was made as part of his turn at bat. Would you argue this should instead be scored as a fielder's choice? That would seem to be the flip side of your argument that "outs not be recorded to batters who reach on an error"; should outs be recorded on hits where an out is caused by another player's bad baserunning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
It's every bit as stupid as counting home runs as singles or strikeouts as walks.
Suppose a batter hits a single but the fielder's inept play (e.g. throwing his glove at the ball, a three-base error) leads to the batter scoring. The consequence of your argument seems to support crediting the batter with a HR in this case.

When the catcher drops a 3rd strike, the batter can run to first and will be safe if he reaches first before he can be thrown out. The catcher is credited with an error in this case, and the batter gets a time at bat (strikeout). If, as you state, reaching on an error (ROE) should be counted as a hit to the batter, one would think in this case the batter should be credited with either a hit or a walk.

In these examples, it is the counting of a ROE as a hit that makes a single a HR and a strikeout a walk. It would be tactless for me to ask again which method is really the stupid one, so I wont.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Today the difference between different fielders in fielding percentage is really not that great, with some weird outliers like Randy Johnson or Kevin Reimer.
I agree; counting errors with regard to evaluating a fielder made sense in the age when errors were more common, and that is an age which is long past. But that's not what we're talking about here; we're talking about considering the effect of fielding on batting average. Errors may indeed be "low enough" that counting them as hits won't change the stats that much, but I'd like (1) proof that that's ture, and, (2) a more compelling reason than "it creates an out that doesn't really exist".
#30
Old 05-14-2006, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
...
If a player goes 1-for-4, he is being recorded as having made three outs. That's what calculates your batting average, sluggling percentage, etc. ...
This is absolutely incorrect. If a player goes 1-for-4, it means that he got one hit in 4 official at-bats. It is recorded in the box score as 4 ABs and 1 hit. An at-bat represents the number of opportunities for the player to get a hit. He was successful 1 out of 4 attempts, and his BA is .250. Like I said before, you're confusing outs with ABs. In the course of a game, there is no reason why the number of ABs have to match the number of outs in a game. As CJJ* has pointed out, if you are going to consider the number of outs that occurs as a consequence of a player's at-bat, then you're going to be really screwed by double plays or runners getting thrown out on the bases. Outs are outs, and at-bats are at-bats.
#31
Old 05-14-2006, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJJ*
We're verging into GD territory, but certainly the percentage of runs that are unearned is comparable to the percentage of batters who reach base on error (since at least one error is required to produce an unearned run). Why is it fortunately low enough that that stat can be used to compute ERA, but batting average is "quite literally wrong" and the discrepancy is "stupid"
The methodology for computing ERA is wrong, too. I never said it wasn't; it's just fortunate that the breaks tend to even out across pitchers (except, in some cases, for relief pitchers.) Nonetheless, I'd prefer to see it fixed.

For that matter, the manner in which wins and losses are assigned is dumb, too. The way they came up with scoring ball games in the 19th century is not the way we have to keep on doing it.

Quote:
What if Ichiro drives a ball to the gap with a runner on first, nets a double, but the runner is thrown out at the plate? Ichiro is credited with a hit (as he should be), but an out was made as part of his turn at bat. Would you argue this should instead be scored as a fielder's choice?
It's not a fielder's choice, though; an FC is assigned when a fielder chooses to retire a runner instead of the batter. In this case the runner is out on a subsequent play, not because the fielder chose to retire Runner A instead of Suzuki. In any event, the boxscore is still correct insofar as it credit Suzuki with a double. He really did hit a double, and the runner safely advanced two bases. The runner then chose to advance an extra base and got nailed, but that is correctly judged as being an extension of the play on which Suzuki doubled, not a result of the double. I'd be happy if they started counting baserunning errors, by the way.

Quote:
That would seem to be the flip side of your argument that "outs not be recorded to batters who reach on an error"; should outs be recorded on hits where an out is caused by another player's bad baserunning?
Now, consider what you've said here, and how you phrased it.

Here's what the REAL equivalent play to the error rule would be. Suppose Aaron Hill hits a ground ball into the hole, and the shortstop has to leave his feet to get it. Hill is safe at first by a mile, but the runner at first, Bengie Molina, the slowest man in baseball - you really have to see him run to believe it - is so slow getting to second that the shortstop has time to recover and force him out at second, whereas any other man in pro baseball would have been safe. Or suppose he just falls down or something. The scorer THEN says, "Well, that's just bad baserunning, so Hill gets a hit anyway."

Or suppose It's Tampa Bay and Aubrey Huff hits the ground ball into the hole. The shortstop WOULD have gotten the runner at second easy, except the runner was Joey Gathright, and he beats the throw because he runs like the wind. The scorer says "Well, everyone's safe, but Huff wouldn't have gotten the hit if Gathright was or normal speed. So I'm going to call that an out anyway."

Those would be the equivalent of the error scoring rule.

Quote:
Suppose a batter hits a single but the fielder's inept play (e.g. throwing his glove at the ball, a three-base error) leads to the batter scoring. The consequence of your argument seems to support crediting the batter with a HR in this case.
Do you get three bases after the single? Jeez, I need to remember that, I would have sent the batter to third.

No, I don't think you need to call this a home run. The problem with the error scoring rule is not that the batter's not getting enough credit, it's that it creates outs in the batter's record where none exist.

Quote:
When the catcher drops a 3rd strike, the batter can run to first and will be safe if he reaches first before he can be thrown out. The catcher is credited with an error in this case, and the batter gets a time at bat (strikeout). If, as you state, reaching on an error (ROE) should be counted as a hit to the batter, one would think in this case the batter should be credited with either a hit or a walk.
No, he shouldn't, because he did not hit the ball safely, nor did he walk. It should be a separate scoring category.
#32
Old 05-14-2006, 12:47 PM
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Wins and losses for pitchers are a holdover from the 19th century too. When pitchers threw complete games almost all the time, it wasn't in dispute much.

In the first part of the 20th century, pitchers having winning streaks became really big deals. Smokey Joe Wood met Walter Johnson in a game in 1912 (IIRC) in a game where Wood had the chance to break the record then held by Johnson. The Red Sox won the game and Wood got the record (which has since been broken a few times). Johnson's win streak was broken earlier in the year when he came into relieve with runners on base and let them score and his team (Washington) lost. Under today's rules, Johnson wouldn't have received a loss.
#33
Old 05-14-2006, 02:02 PM
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The number of at bats has nothing to do with the number of outs recorded. For example if a player walks, that's not an at bat. If the next batter hits into a double play, there are two outs. Should the batter be seen as being 0 for 2 for that at bat because he was responsible for two outs? If you walked five times in a game and were erased by a double play or caught stealing every time, you have zero at bats, you're not 0 for 5. Unless you believe you should count a walk as a hit, then Barry Bonds could have hit .500 when he was intentionally walked all those times.
#34
Old 05-14-2006, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1dog
The number of at bats has nothing to do with the number of outs recorded. For example if a player walks, that's not an at bat. If the next batter hits into a double play, there are two outs. Should the batter be seen as being 0 for 2 for that at bat because he was responsible for two outs? If you walked five times in a game and were erased by a double play or caught stealing every time, you have zero at bats, you're not 0 for 5. Unless you believe you should count a walk as a hit, then Barry Bonds could have hit .500 when he was intentionally walked all those times.
Walks are correctly worked into OBP, though. On the other hand, if you reach base on an error, your OBP goes down, as if you had not reached base.
#35
Old 05-14-2006, 05:14 PM
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Next thing you know, you'll be telling me a quarterback who went 10 out of 20 with five interceptions should be 15 out of 20 because those five passes were caught.
#36
Old 05-14-2006, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJJ*
Suppose a batter hits a single but the fielder's inept play (e.g. throwing his glove at the ball, a three-base error) leads to the batter scoring. The consequence of your argument seems to support crediting the batter with a HR in this case.

When the catcher drops a 3rd strike, the batter can run to first and will be safe if he reaches first before he can be thrown out. The catcher is credited with an error in this case, and the batter gets a time at bat (strikeout). If, as you state, reaching on an error (ROE) should be counted as a hit to the batter, one would think in this case the batter should be credited with either a hit or a walk.
Just two minor points. Throwing your glove at a batted ball and *hitting it* gives an award of three bases -- not a single plus three bases. The ball is alive and the batter can try to score. If a fielder throws his glove at a ball that would have gone into the stands for a home run, then it's a four base award.

If a catcher misses a third strike and the batter reaches first base, it is not an error, but a passed ball. Or it could be a wild pitch.
#37
Old 05-15-2006, 03:05 AM
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If a fielder throws his glove at a batted ball and hits it, it is scored as a triple. Unless the batter makes it all the away around, in which case it's a home run.

I finally saw that play happen in a Dodgers-DBacks game last year. Duaner Sanchez, the Dodgers reliever, did it on a ball hit back through the box by Luis Terrero.
#38
Old 05-15-2006, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy
Just two minor points. Throwing your glove at a batted ball and *hitting it* gives an award of three bases -- not a single plus three bases. The ball is alive and the batter can try to score. If a fielder throws his glove at a ball that would have gone into the stands for a home run, then it's a four base award.

If a catcher misses a third strike and the batter reaches first base, it is not an error, but a passed ball. Or it could be a wild pitch.
Pertinent MLB rule 7.05:

Quote:
Each runner including the batter runner may, without liability to be put out, advance_ (a) To home base...if a fair ball which, in the umpire's judgment, would have gone out of the playing field in flight, is deflected by the act of a fielder in throwing his glove, cap, or any article of his apparel; (b) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril.
I too interpret this to mean that, even on a stand-up double to the gap, if a fielder throws his glove at and hits the ball, the hitter can only go to 3rd base unmolested. If, for example, the ball is deflected such that another fielder quickly retrieves the ball, the batter can be thrown out at the plate if he attempts to score.

Later in Rule 7.05, there is this note about how bases are awarded on wild throws: "(g)...If all runners, including the batter runner, have advanced at least one base when an infielder makes a wild throw on the first play after the pitch, the award (two bases) shall be governed by the position of the runners when the wild throw was made." A later example shows that this includes the batter; if he's reached 1st base, he can advance unmolested to 3rd (provided this does not force a preceding runner to advance more than two bases). I have no idea why this same scenario shouldn't apply to illegal fielding plays (i.e. thrown gloves) made after the batter passes 1st base, but it doesn't, so I happily stand corrected.

Regarding passed ball vs. error on catcher for dropped third strike, a passed ball is charged to the catcher (not an error), but that is a distinction without a difference for the purposes of determining batting average. From the batter's perspective, it is the same as reaching on an error.

Perhaps I've been misinterpreting the argument as "because the batter reaches bases, even on an error, this should be considered a hit." I think what is really being contended is whether or not reached-on-error should count as an AB. Calling it a hit doesn't make much sense to me, but I'm beginning to see some value in dropping it as an AB.

If we take as a given that a batter cannot influence fielding mistakes (an arguable fact), laying aside these ABs gives a poorer measure of the batter's ability. BA and OBP are compared between batters as individuals, and they lose some comparative power if a batter can benefit from hitting against more fielding-poor teams, (again, assuming there is no effort on the batter's part to cause the error).

This clearly was much more of a concern in the age where fielding errors were more common (meaning the difference in the number of reached-on-errors between batters was much higher). But with the number of errors so much lower in the modern game, perhaps the previously-miniscule influence of the batter-runner on fielding (i.e. Juan Pierre's speed to first causes errors because fielder rushes a throw) has some measurable significance (propensity for error does seem to matter in justifying use of the sac. bunt). I'd be interested in some analysis which proved the point that it could be a better measure of batting ability.
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