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Friday, August 24, 2007

Of Doubles and Saves

I love baseball, so I'm always hapy to learn something new. I just discovered that what I, and every sports announcer I've ever heard, have always called a ground-rule double really isn't. The batted ball hits the field then bounces over the fence is an AUTOMATIC double. But there ARE ground rule doubles, such as when the ball gets stuck in the ivy at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field or in the roof of the Minnesota Twins' Metrodome.

The ball bouncing over the fence used to be a home run prior to 1930. This begs the question: Did Babe Ruth hit any home runs that bounced over the fence before the 1930 double rule came into effect? The answer, from every source I checked is NO. In fact, if the fair/foul rules that are in effect now were in effect then, he might have had 10% MORE homers.
You might have heard about that 30-3 Texas Rangers win over the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday. The 30 runs is the most by one team since 1897. There were several intriguing aspects of that game. One is the running time of the game, which was 3 hours, 21 minutes; not a short game, but the 2-1 Tampa Bay win over the Boston Red Sox that night was 3 hours, 6 minutes; 23 players were left on base. And the 11-8 Cleveland win over Detroit that day was 3:38.

The other thing I had forgotten about is the pitchers' "save" rule. Usually, a pitcher gets a save when the game is on the line, but in that game, a Texas pitcher got a save with an 11-run lead. How so?

The save rule:
(1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; AND
(2) He is not the winning pitcher; AND
(3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
(a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; OR
(b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces); OR
(c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings.

Situation 3c applied here, as the pitcher threw three shutout innings.
Riding the bike is relatively safe.
Coming next week, several long pieces I hope I finish in time.


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