Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some more random, underdeveloped, sci-fi-ish thoughts from the realm of imagination

Articles like this make me excited about the 2009 Cincinnati Reds. So true, so true. The one thing that really irritates me about many of today's statheads is they are quick to dismiss things like team chemistry and enthusiasm and leadership, all things they say with contempt, like they are talking about a piece of rotten fish that is smelling up the whole kitchen from its place in the bottom of the garbage can. They'll point to a few exceptions, teams who hated each other but won it all, as "proof" that chemistry doesn't matter. Often these are the words of people who've never played competitive ball - it seems like the most vocal anti-team chemistry statheads admit they were no good as players. There's nothing wrong with that. Just don't dismiss with such virulence things you don't understand, that's all I'm saying.

I'm not anti-sabermetrics at all. Au contraire, mes amis. But I also know there is more to baseball than just numbers. However, I am inclined to agree with some statheads that everything in this world is quantifiable. We just haven't figured a way to quantify intangibles yet. Human knowledge is not yet that advanced. Just imagine the exciting possibilities! Someday we could have a TCPF (Team Chemistry Performance Factor = amount of certain chemicals like pheromones that are able to mix rather than causing aggressive reactions and yadda yadda) and an LVA (Leadership Value Added) and a bunch of stats that have to do with human chemicals and biology and physiology and all that stuff that I find so fascinating but never got around to studying. It was only 30 years ago that the first human pheromones were discovered. Things these days may seem to fly by, but 30 years is nothing in the science field. When science finally discovers that there are other chemicals like pheromones that dictate who we have as friends and enemies and the like, and when we can measure those chemicals and the reactions between people, then we may be able to quantify team chemistry. I wonder where that will fit on the back of a baseball card?

Very interesting and fun to think about. I remember reading somewhere about how parents were electing to put their high school kids under the knife to have Tommy John surgery they didn't need just to put a few MPH on their fastballs to increase their chances of getting to the Majors. While that is an outrage (and should be thought of along the lines of steroids, but no, surgery is not DRUGS! so it's not morally wrong, right?), I started thinking about the possibility of other things one could do to a body to increase competitiveness. What if science develops an artificial leg that gives a human being the capability of running 20 MPH or a fake arm that throws 120 MPH? I don't watch a lot of science fiction, but it is kind of fun to imagine a sort of half robot half human player. It'd be like the Ultra League of the Nintendo game Baseball Simulator 1000 where you could throw pitches that disappeared halfway to the plate and do a rocket jump to catch a ball twenty feet in the air. I'd hate for that to happen - it'd take the beauty of the game.

I better stop. My imagination kind of takes over and I could just go on forever... ;)


River Otter said...

No doubt there's something to be said for team chemistry. I think it's also something to be particularly mindful about with a young team like the Reds (i.e., staying away from players like Milton Bradley). Hopefully this year's team will be greater than the sum of its parts. But I think too often a coach or front office will use a "commitment" to team chemistry or veteran leadership as an excuse for sticking with a crappy player.

Btw, good luck with perfecting those formulas!

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