June 27, 2019

SABR 49, San Diego

I am going to be in San Diego for the next few days, attending the 2019 convention of the Society for American Baseball Research. I will be back on Sunday afternoon. ... Here are four presentations I am looking forward to hearing:
Friday, June 28

"The Evolution of the Rules" by Richard Hershberger

Baseball emerged in the mid-19th century from an informal schoolyard game, adapted for organized adult play. This set off a cycle of innovation as clubs sought competitive edges, changing how the game was played. Some of these changes were judged undesirable, and the rules adjusted. The new rules often created an unanticipated problem requiring more rule changes. This cycle lasted for a half century, with the rules finally stabilizing around the turn of the 20th century. Hershberger [the author of the just-published Strike Four: The Evolution of Baseball] describes the overall arc of the evolution in the later 19th century. He identifies the most common conditions that were judged to be problems requiring solutions — pace of play; scoring being higher or lower than is thought desirable; and the umpire being in an untenable position. These are themes that run through baseball history, and are still true today.

"The Baseball Encyclopedia 50th Anniversary Panel"
David S. Neft, David W. Smith, Sean Forman, John Thorn

Moderator: John Thorn (MLB's Official Historian and author of Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game)
Panel: David S. Neft (Director of Research for Information Concepts Incorporated, which produced The Baseball Encyclopedia, published in 1969)
David W. Smith (President and founder of Retrosheet, which offers free distribution of play-by-play accounts of major-league games)
Sean Forman (President of Sports Reference, LLC, which includes Baseball Reference)

Saturday, June 29

"Time Between Pitches: Cause of Long Games?" by David W. Smith

The average Major League game has taken over three hours each season since 2011. In 2018, Smith showed that a major cause of longer game times since 1988 (when pitch data became available) has been an increase in the number of pitches per game. Since the increase in pitch number explained much more of the increased time than any other factor, Smith digs deeper, considering the effect of each different type of pitch result on the time it took for the next one to be delivered. He examines the precise timing of every pitch thrown in the 2018 season to dissect the patterns more carefully, and will also quantify and discuss other factors along with the differences between individual pitchers.

"How Many Runs Did Ty Cobb Score in His Major-League Career?" by Herm Krabbenhoft
Depending on which record book or internet website one consults, the number of runs the Georgia Peach scored is 2244, 2245, 2246 or 2243. Krabbenhoft asks the question, which one of these four numbers is correct? Or, are they all wrong? He describes how, by reviewing contemporaneous game accounts from numerous daily newspapers in Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as at least one newspaper from the city of the opposing team, he was able to reach an independently agreed conclusion. For nearly 80 years Ty Cobb had the Major League record for most runs scored, lifetime; and he still holds the AL record. This presentation provides insight into how one solves a long-standing mystery about one of the most important records in MLB history.
I also have a ticket to Friday night's Cardinals/Padres game. Petco Park will be (unless there is a rare rainout, which would be only the fourth since 2004) my 23th major league ball park (see the new tab above).


allan said...

CHB: "The star-powered Sox are an unparalleled commercial entity and are set to take their show on the road to London for a couple of days. They are off to Great Britain, where they will play two games against the Yankees in a land where no one knows anything about baseball."

Dan should feel right at home.

FenFan said...

Jealous! Have fun!

Dan should feel right at home.

Maybe he should move there?

laura k said...

I also have a ticket to Friday night's Cardinals/Padres game. Petco Park will be (unless there is a rare rainout, which would be only the fourth since 2004) my 23th major league ball park (see the new tab above).

This is the subject of much laughter (A's) and teeth-grinding (mine). Allan will now be one up on me on the number of parks we have each been to. For the longest time, I was one up on him -- old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Then A went to Yankee Stadium III with one of our nieces, which made us even. AND NOW THIS.

This is extra annoying because I was IN ATLANTA WITH A TICKET TO A HOME GAME, while covering the 1996 Paralympics. I was insanely busy and couldn't go to the game. If only...!

There is pretty much no chance I'll go to a new park without Allan at any point in the future. Which means he will be one up on me FOREVER.

FOREVER!! Do you hear me? FOREVER!

laura k said...

Also, British baseball fans say FU CHB.

laura k said...

"The Baseball Encyclopedia 50th Anniversary Panel"
David S. Neft, David W. Smith, Sean Forman, John Thorn

Please note that this is why I insisted Allan go to this convention.

It's OK to spend money on yourself and your passions.

allan said...

Hey, no spilling secrets...

Yep, and that Atlanta park is long-gone.
If we are in SD in the future and go to a game, we'll be tied again. (Though I may not allow us to do so!!)
I wonder if we could figure out how many minor league parks we have been to? I may be leading in that, too, because of a game in Jackson, Mississippi.

allan said...

STL - 000 100 000 - 1 9 0
SDP - 000 002 01x - 3 7 0

St. Louis had a ton of activity on the bases in the first six innings, and scored only one run, knocked in by the pitcher. They had 10 LOB, the Pods had only 3. San Diego pitchers also threw 73 more pitches (170-97!)
The Cards also challenged FOUR of Vic Carapazza's calls at first base, including in three straight innings. Three of the four calls were reversed (in STL's favour).
Tatis Jr and Hosmer went B2B in the B6.
Padres left fielder Josh Naylor's hometown? Mississauga, Ontario!!!
It was a perfect summer night. High 60s, a few wispy clouds in the sky, no wind. And a seat 19 rows behind the first base dugout, towards the end closest to the plate.