04 July 2004

As so often happens...

I seem to have alienated certain readers because of my status as an active Yankees fan. I have always maintained that I am primarily a fan of Baseball... I have visited Cooperstown, on what my husband and I still consider one of our most romantic trips ever (I was awed and teary-eyed; definitely schedule six hours at least to tour the hall of fame. What an awesome place.) and I go to every Cape league game I can, encouraging the sport's future stars, and the preservation of a great tradition of high quality baseball on small, accessible, fog-shrouded fields on Cape Cod. In short, I love this game.

And no, I can't throw the ball to save my life.

So, given that I spend a fairly large percentage of my time watching baseball, reading about baseball, arguing about baseball, and occassionally dancing around the house in my underwear in uncontained glee at Yankee victories, I suppose it was inevitable that I come up with...

My Very Own Theory.

It's nothing groundbreaking, like sabermetrics, or beane-ball, or whatever. But I would like to check it out statistically nonetheless, and if possible, test it scientifically.

here it is.

ya know how a pitcher is about to get the last guy out of the inning? He's got at least an 0-2 count, maybe as much as a 3-2 count. This usually happens near the end of the game, or at least during a late rally by the opposing team.

Everyone in the stadium gets to their feet and cheers for that last strike (Matt says this phenomenon dates directly back to the pitching performances of Ron Guidry, the great starting pitcher for the Yankees in the late seventies/early eighties).

But it never happens on that pitch. When the crowd gets to its feet and cheers for the strike out, the next pitch is almost always down and in the dirt, outside, or whatever. But not a strike. Unless the guy swings at it. Which he hardly ever does.

So this raises some questions:

1. Does the pitcher simply get over excited by the crowd fervor, causing him to overthrow the next pitch?

2. If so, would it help (in home games) for the crowd to be all nonchalant about the 0-2 (or whatever-2) pitch, so as not to jinx the strike-out pitch?

3. Are hitters aware of this jinx, and therefore hold off on swinging at the "ovation pitch," knowing it will probably be a ball?

I want the Elias sports people on this, now.

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