Friday, March 28, 2008

A completely self-centered look at baseball history

On August 11, 1980, the Red Sox's Rick Burleson stepped into the batters' box in Tiger Stadium against Jack Morris. He singled to center to spark a first-inning rally. The Tigers eventually came back to win.

Last September 29, the Rangers' Jason Botts grounded out to pitcher Sean Green to end a Mariner win over Texas.

In between and including those games, I have been to 212 major league ballgames.

A good chunk of those--130 of them, 102 at Safeco Field--have been in Seattle, watching my beloved Mariners.

And now, every single statistic from those games (which I carefully scored starting in 1982, and which, in any event, has boxes and play-by-play for) is in a beautiful Microsoft Access Database.

16,113 plate appearances.
3,793 hits, 428 of them home runs.
2,643 strikeouts.

Now, the fun part.

What ballplayers perform better in my presence? What ballplayers do I have a negative effect on?

To be fair, we have to divide this question into three different groups: those who I've seen sparingly, those who I've seen from time to time, and teams I've regularly seen: Mariners and 1995 Rockies.

In the first category, there are two players I have seen homer in their only at-bat in my presence: Richie Hebner (in the aforementioned 8/11/80 debut game) and Roberto Petagine (for the Mariners against Francisco Rodriguez on 4/3/06...but alas, the M's still lost). That's a career OPS of 5.000, and you can't do better than that.

For the bad end, we'll turn to pitchers. Mac Suzuki was a terrible Mariner, and I saw him implode in the last game I saw in the Kingdome. He gave up 6 earned runs in a third of an inning. ERA? Hmmm...carry the seven...162.00. Among those who couldn't get an out in my presence are two who gave up three runs without retiring a batter. Ricky Bottalico blew a save in a great game in 2000--a walk, a walk, and a walk-off homer. And some Ranger named J.D. Smart gave up three singles without retiring a batter in 2001. All three went on to score. They share the honor of being the Doc Hamann of my baseball viewing career...most batters seen without getting an out.

As for middling guys, Preston Wilson is 8-for-10 with a home run and a double when I'm in the park...two four-hit games! He also leads all comers with a 2.000 OPS, nosing out Derek Bell, who I saw go 10-for-15 over three games as a visitor in Denver's hitter-friendly conditions. Third place, notably, is Carlos Delgado...notable because he pulled it off with a higher sample size, 10 games at 5 stadiums. He goes 12-30 with 7 home runs for a gaudy OPS of 1.768.

Among pitchers, C.C. Sabathia has three solid wins in my presence, as does Mike Mussina. Roger Clemens has two...shame I can't look back on that memory untainted.

Worst? I saw Miguel Olivo play 12 games as a Mariner. He was the centerpiece of the Freddy Garcia trade, and was supposed to solve our problems at that position. He went 1-for-27 in my presence,--a batting average of .037. (He wasn't much better outside of my presence, of course.) Adam Kennedy is an astonishing 2-for-41 .049, and Ian Kinsler wins the battle for biggest hits in 13 at-bats when I'm around.

Among those with a minimum of 100 at-bats (all Mariners), Edgar Martinez, not surprisingly, leads the way. .318/.412/.570/.983 overall, including 15 home runs, many of them very memorable. He'll always be my favorite Mariner. Ichiro, whom I have seen come to the plate more than any player in my viewing career, is a disappointing .665 OPS (compare to his career .816 OPS). I'll try not to let him know I'm in the ballpark...clearly I make him nervous.

The only sub-.200 hitter in my presence with over 100 at-bats is David Bell, who is 20-for-105 with a with a putrid .246/.352/.598 line. Ew!

Among pitchers with at least 50 innings in my presence, Jarrod Washburn...whoa!...has the best ERA at 2.44. For that, he is rewarded with a 4-4 record in my presence. Geez, the M's have had lousy offenses lately...

Meanwhile, Jeff Fassero netted an ERA of 5.84 over 50 innings in the Kingdome. He managed to go 2-3 over that stretch. Geez, the M's scored a lot of runs back in the late 90s.

Has anyone actually read this far? If you have, send me a box top and I'll send you a decoder ring.

But in all seriousness, I think what we've learned is the value of channeling one's OCD into one area of life. By channeling it all into this spreadsheet, I am able to lead an otherwise healthy, normal life.


Ryan said...

Wow. Incredible dedication to stats. I can't wait for my decoder ring.

TeacherRefPoet said...


Box top first, you greedy SOB. You can't get something for nothing.

Thanks for reading it, though. Somebody understands my desire to do this. (Actually, and thankfully, my wife is fine with it too...)


Jim Anderson said...

I've kept stats on Ken Griffey Jr.


The SNES game. So I empathize.