01 June 2011

Cup of jO's: Billy Beane and Home Plate Collisions

Editor Note: We have made a decision to do away with the morning wraps as about every single publication known to man already does this and our version does not really improve upon them significantly.  Instead, we are going to run a daily to be known as Cup of jO's.  This is basically a morning feature where we give a short commentary on a pertinent topic.

Billy Beane is often characterized as a great monolithic figure.  He is thought by many to be a tragic genius and others as a tireless blowhard.  To me, Lewis' cartoonish characterization of him in Moneyball focused my attention on how statistics apply to the game.  I began challenging my traditional views as well as any new approaches.  I think a lot of baseball is about the approach and very little is about monitoring the approach.  You often here throwaway statements, such as the draft is a crapshoot or that you cannot predict injuries and aging.  Baseball is not an arena where absolutes should be applied.  It is not an arena where there is nothing to be learned.  As such, the grand image of Beane (as opposed to the real person) is something I look up toward.  Sometimes the real Beane matches that legendary figure.

This was write in the San Jose Mercury News:
"You've got to give the runner an avenue to the plate," Beane said in a phone interview Tuesday. "A guy of Kurt's size, to plant himself in front of the plate is not a good idea. Kurt's a good athlete, and he needs to use that athleticism instead of becoming a human wall."

I would add to this that there is no many of any size who can be a human wall to someone who is barrelling down to the plate at full speed and launching with his shoulder.  This is particularly true of a 200 lb weight like Scott Cousins crashing at a speed above 15 miles per hour and at a point focused between Buster Posey's head and shoulder.  People are told to wear seatbelts due to injuries resulting from crashes involving less momentum.  Somehow we expect an unprotected catcher to protect the plate.  It is an antiquated idea and something that should be acted on by the league.  However, in a vacuum of leadership, individuals are required to insist upon those changes.  Billy Beane is insisting on change within his own organization.

That is impressive.  I hope Andy MacPhail recognizes this and directs the organizations to teach Matt Wieters how to protect himself while catching.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Matt Wieters protects himself by being a 6-5, 220 truck.