The following article was part of Baseball Prospectus’ April Fool’s Day content for 2004.
Sabermetrics has grappled with this issue for the past two decades, trying to discover whether clutch hitting existed, who the clutch hitters were if they did exist, and how much effect they had on the game. Most studies focused on situations that could be defined by objective criteria that related to the subjective impression of being “clutch”–batting with runners in scoring position, and batting in the late innings of close games being the two most common examples. However, in thinking about this recently, I realized that we had been approaching this in entirely the wrong way. Defining clutch in terms of a particular characteristic in a point in time fails to capture the common understanding of the term–delivering when it means the most to your team. Without having the larger context of the game in which to evaluate clutchness, any attempt to measure it is doomed to failure. So, what larger context applies in this situation? Clearly, the outcome of the game is paramount.
In a paradigm shift that will drop jaws around the league, the Blue Jays have eliminated all amateur scouting positions within the organization. Instead, for the past few weeks, they’ve relied on prospective draftees to conduct scouting assessments of themselves. Yes, you read that correctly. The Blue Jays, in their unquenchable search for the grail of minimized labor costs, will rely on the player to scout himself.
In the wake of Commissioner Selig’s latest declaration that the 36-year-old Oakland Coliseum “cannot produce enough revenue for [the Athletics] to be competitive,” more attention should be paid to another perennial contender in a similar plight. If recent trends continue, the New York Yankees will soon need a new ballpark to remain competitive.
2005’s Overseas Opener to feature Tigers, Blue Jays
New York (API) — The Office of the Commissioner today announced that MLB’s successful ”Overseas Opener” program will continue next year, with the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays playing a three-game series in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The Tigers and Jays will also play exhibition games against two teams from the fledgling Sierra Leone United League, the BHP Miners, and the DeBeers Ham Fighters. …
For the last decade, pitchers have not feared elbow surgery as they once did. Advances in surgical techniques and rehabilitation have made what was once a career-threatening condition a routine procedure with a predictable outcome. Return from Tommy John surgery has been reduced from two years in the late ’70s to a mere nine-to-12 months today.
The same cannot be said for shoulder injuries. Instead of surgical repair, the best techniques have been those of prevention. Dr. Frank Jobe’s “Throwers Ten” program has led to a reduction in the number of rotator cuff injuries at all levels of baseball, but at the same time, there has been an explosion of a new type of injury–the labrum tear.