No-hitter analysis: a study in contrasts

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On the one hand you have Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann notes that there have been a lot of no-hitters and perfect games thrown in recent years. About which he says “something is wrong with this picture,” which he characterizes as “historical anomalies”  that represent a “severe skewing of the sport,” for which he credits “bizarre statistical thunderstorms” and, maybe, some mildly sinister steroid/no steroids hoodoo.  He ultimately claims that, as a result of all of this strangeness, we shouldn’t get too excited about Matt Cain’s accomplishments.

On the other hand you have Jay Jaffe.

Jaffe looks at the same seeming explosion in no-hitters and, rather than consider them anomalous and unnatural, looks at four factors which explain why they are happening more often than they used to, noting that the number of games played a year have almost doubled, how batting average is down, strikeouts are up and defense is better. Jaffe doesn’t presume to tell us what to think about the no-hitters, but he gives us actual tools to consider them intelligently.

In any event, this is a decent life lesson. When trying to understand a given phenomenon, listen more closely to the people who actually think about it and listen less closely to the people who just want to throw up their hands and squawk about it as if the problem is more scary than interesting.

World Series Umpires Announced

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Major League Baseball just announced the umpires for the World Series.

The crew chief will be Gerry Davis. Davis was worked 136 career Postseason games, which are the most of any umpire in Major League Baseball history. This is his sixth World Series overall and third time as crew chief.

Joining Davis will be Phil Cuzzi, Laz Diaz, Dan Iassogna, Bill Miller, Paul Nauert and Mark Wegner. Wegner will serve as the replay official for Games One and Two, after which he will join the on-field crew as the left field umpire for Game Three. Cuzzi will be the Replay Official from Game Three through the conclusion of the World Series. Cuzzi will not be a field umpire for any of the games.

The breakdown: