Thursday, May 1, 2008

Question of the Week

Bob Bridgewater NJ
Subj: I Meant To Do That
Why is it that when a batter hits a cheap grounder that just happens to roll between two infielders the announcer will usually comment on the batter's ability in executing this "hit"? Am I wrong in thinking that this is merely luck?

Not at all, Bob. However, I do think you’re undervaluing the importance of luck in baseball. After all, the difference between a player hitting .230 or .300 is usually just a matter of 25 or so “lucky” hits finding their way through the infield or blooping into center. That’s why former Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez once observed, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” It’s also why so many Major Leaguers try to control their luck through the practice of elaborate superstitions. Craig Biggio, for instance, tries to improve his performance by never washing his helmet, Wade Boggs hoped to raise his average by eating chicken before every single game and former Mets reliever Turk Wendell made a habit of chewing licorice and brushing his teeth between every inning he pitched. What makes these otherwise sane men slaves to these odd routines? It’s luck, and in baseball, it’s everything.