Numb from the numbing numbers

Would somebody please just let me watch and/or listen to the World Series without being bombarded with these never-ending analytics?

First of all, it’s tough enough being in the middle of the DirecTV-KMSS brouhaha and being forced to get a crash course in YouTube TV. But I can make that happen.

What I can’t make happen is being un-barraged with numbers I simply don’t care about.

During the playoffs, I was listening on the radio and every pitch – every … single … pitch – was accompanied by how hard it was thrown. “There’s a 97-mile-an-hour fastball! Low and outside curveball at 83 in for a strike!”

My mind can visualize what a low and outside pitch looks like. It has no idea the difference between 97 and 92. And doesn’t care.

That would be bad enough, but the end result of all of this is that the information is now available and the commentators feel an obligation to use it. “He ran 47.3 feet to catch that fly ball!” So if he ran 42.9 feet, I would be less impressed?

If it’s a great catch, it’s a great catch.

Did you ever wonder how far Willie Mays ran in the ’54 World Series to make that famous over-the-shoulder catch? Neither did I.

I don’t know a bad launch angle from a good launch angle. An exit velocity of 100 miles per hour sounds good, but just about anything that goes 100 miles per hour seems impressive to me.

I’m reminded of when Hall of Famer Greg Maddux pitched and was making batters look silly throwing at 88 mph. They asked him about that and the difference in throwing 94 and he basically said, “If you get hit by a bus going 88 miles an hour, does it hurt any less than one going 94?”

But just when I thought it couldn’t get any more out of hand, there was this from Game 4 Wednesday night. On the made-for-TV advertising screens behind home plate, we were informed as to the average spin rate of the Phillies’ and Astros’ pitchers in the postseason.

There’s a famous saying that there are “lies, damn lies and statistics.” We need to add one more to that list – worthless statistics. We have a new leader in the clubhouse for that one.

What is not a worthless statistic is pitching a no-hitter, which about half of the city of Houston accounted for Wednesday night to even the series at 2-2. Go ahead and put the “combined no-hitter” up there with things to not like about baseball these days.

I’ve waited my entire life to see a no-hitter pitched in the World Series – I wasn’t even a gleam in my father’s eye in 1956 when Don Larsen pitched the perfect game – and this is what I get?

Had starting pitcher Cristian Javier stayed around to try to join Larsen, I would have been on the edge of my YouTube TV-watching seat. But this is Baseball 2022, where the motto is “We Don’t Care What You Want Because Analytics Rule!” Instead, the no-hitter had all the excitement of folding your socks.

I’m not sure I can even name the other three pitchers involved in the combined no-hitter. For that matter, I’m not sure Cristian Javier can name them.

But you can damn sure find out what their combined spin rate was. 

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