Atlanta – There was an exciting Game 3 of the World Championships Friday night, but you might not know it because apparently baseball is in crisis.
This crisis, which was on the verge of extinction of the national pastime, if you believe the social media exaggeration, was highlighted during the match when Braves manager Brian Snitker chose to remove primary bowler Ian Anderson, despite having made five rounds without Kicks while the Braves were leading 1-0.
Anderson was “effectively wild,” said Dusty Becker, Astros manager. He wasn’t exactly running, but Anderson wasn’t even close to his peak and threw nearly as many balls as the punches. This move made sense, because Snitker was trying to win a game in an actual world championship. You succeeded, and now the brave are two victories from the championship.
“I’m just going with my hunch here,” Snicker said he told Anderson.
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Despite common sense, many pearls were caught – and Jock Pederson did not play. For many fans and observers, this was an unfortunate decision as it deprived fans of seeing some of the history of the World Championships.
This game has changed!
Why don’t you let him go for it!
Give fans something exciting!
He could only have been the second no-hitter in Fall Classic history. Obviously it could have been a combined team, and it would have had no fewer than five base racers, meaning nothing. but it should.
Here’s the thing: We care a lot about non-hitters. This is especially silly because we’ve seen many times throughout the history of baseball that someone could cast a no-batter and look bad while doing it (Hi, AJ Burnett).
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Over the past several seasons, I’ve jokingly put together a set of rules I call the Jason Rules that govern no-hitting. In order for a non-hitter to be a good hitter, the bowler or team must limit the opponent to no more than three base runners over the course of nine runs. Any more than that and these things quickly lose their luster – especially in an age when percentage is valued on a lot more than the multiplication average. Also, there were 13 – thirteen! – No hitters in 2021, including six no hitters combined. The frequency and manner made the grandmother skinny.
Had the Braves completed a harmless Friday, it would have been a fun World Championship event, which is a historical statistic. But he wasn’t going to be special in the way hitters are supposed to be. And it certainly wasn’t worth risking the world championship game at stake.
“I was all about winning today and we’ll deal tomorrow,” Sneeker told reporters.
That’s the right approach, though Snitker admitted he likely would have made a different decision even two years ago. But, again, the goal is to win the game in front of you, not to maintain a sense of tradition. Give credit to Snitker, as an old-school principal, for keeping the sentiment down.
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The fallout from the complaint was prompted mostly by old school baseball supporters, who dumped critical-thinking articles and angry tweets about how this approach ruined the game and how such things lack the kind of scenery that would grow an audience. But I would argue that regular fans watching Friday’s game didn’t even notice that the Astros didn’t score any hits. There was a lot of traffic on the bases. That the traffic came “only” by walking and hitting strikes does not imply a special throw performance.
Traffic is traffic, and if any of Anderson’s four contestants had come via an injury, there would be almost no doubt as to whether he would be cleared after five rounds and 76 throws.
This is the time when an eye exam is really important. Those who watch can tell Anderson wasn’t at his best. You might even say he was lucky to keep the Astros off the board for five rounds. It would seem unwise to push luck at the World Championships if it would result in a statistical anomaly that would have no real effect on the outcome of the series.