The closer in baseball and tearing down the false idols of the work world


How many closers do you have in your life?

You know what I mean. The habits, tendencies and behaviours that we continue to plod ahead with not because they are smart or efficient or a good use of resources but simply because that’s how they’ve always been done.

Why do I call them closers? It comes from one of the longest-standing inefficiencies in one of the greatest sports in the world: The closer, in baseball.

The closer is, in the scale of baseball’s long and storied history, a relatively recent invention. But to those who grew up watching in the 1990s, you’d think it was as fundamental to the game as the seams on the baseball or the fact that the pitcher’s mound is exactly sixty feet six inches to home plate windows explorer 11 download kostenlos.

The closer first came to prominence in the 1970s as a response to the shortening outings from starting pitchers. Where once starting pitchers could be relied on to get all 27 outs teams needed to finish a typical nine-inning game, they now started coming out early. Teams became wary of injury as pitchers started throwing harder and tiring out more.

Enter the closer.

In the beginning the closer’s job was self-evident: To take the ball from the starter and close out the game. They would enter late, usually in the seventh-inning, and get the outs needed to finish the win.

By the late 20th century, the closer had become very specialized herunterladen. Rather than pitching several innings, they would now pitch one: The ninth. Rather than entering the game in all sorts of situations, they would now enter it in one: When their team was winning, by three or more runs. Rather than facing the other team’s entire line-up, they would now (ideally) only face a portion of it: The three batters that happened to come up to the bat when they entered the game.

The closer became a celebrity in his own right. Relief pitchers such as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman joined home-run hitting sluggers such as Mark McGwire and Trevor Hoffman in the pantheon of famous baseball players windows update wil niet download. Certain players were said to have the “closer mentality,” a set of vague and indefinable qualities that supposedly helped them thrive amidst the stress of closing games. To suggest otherwise was blasphemy. The closer closes games. Why? Because he’s the closer.

The myth of the closer kept growing – until the sabermetrics revolution blew up everything.

There are many tenets to sabermetrics, but the most important one was pretty straightforward. Replace the “eye test” and “that’s the way it’s always been” with data-driven decisions pc spiele kostenlos downloaden ohne internet.

Sabermetrics tore down many false idols of the baseball universe. That a walk was next to useless; that the location of a batted ball in the field of play was anything other than random; that runs batted in was an effective measure of a hitter’s effectiveness.

It also helped destroy the myth of the closer as an effective means of managing a baseball game.

The closer’s importance has long been tied to the gravity that teams attach to the ninth inning when they have a lead. This situation, the theory goes, is when you most need three outs. Your team has worked hard to get to the ninth inning with a lead. It’s time to bring on your best relief pitcher to – you guessed it – close it out email herunterladen gmail.

On a certain level, it makes sense. Coming close to your ultimate goal and then coughing up a lead because Bill who was just called up from the Toledo Mud Hens can’t throw a slider can be devastating to team morale. It also is the situation with the most “leverage”, a fancy baseball term which really just means importance. The ninth inning of a game in which you have a one-, two- or three-run lead would be a far more valuable use for your best pitcher than the ninth inning of a game where you’re leading or trailing by 10 runs. Those games, barring some unforeseen miracle/disaster, have basically been decided. Why waste your best asset on a losing cause?

The problem, of course, is that a lot has to happen for your team to get to the ninth inning with a lead youtube converter mp4 download kostenlos chip. Most teams’ starters only go five or six or (if you’re lucky) seven innings. That means, once the starter hits the showers, you’re going to have match up your bullpen pitchers to 12, nine or six outs.

Bullpen pitchers are usually in the bullpen for a reason: They’re not good enough to be starters. That means that, to get those 12 outs, you’re going to have to throw out some sub-par pitchers. Which brings us to the crux of the issue with the closer: What good is saving your best pitcher if, by the time you get to the ninth, you don’t have a lead anymore tv now broadcasts? What if you let your worst pitchers cough up a lead while your best pitcher tapped his foot in the bullpen?

Because here’s the thing: When viewed in a strict logical light, there is no difference between the ninth inning and the sixth inning. They both consist of three outs – outs you will need to get if you want to win the game.

What’s more, treating the ninth inning as sacrosanct fails to account for the quality of opponent you’re facing. Because teams go up the batting order and then start over again, they have no control over which players come to the plate in the ninth inning of a game that they are trailing Music from youtube legal. It could be the meat of the order, or it could be the bottom. Would it not make more sense to send your best pitcher out there when the other team’s best hitters bat in the seventh (or eighth)?

Viewed in the cold and dispassionate light of logic, the importance of the closer started to break down. Smart teams saw the value that other teams placed in a pitcher having the “closer mentality” and started to trade them away for prices that were far and away above what they would have been if they pitched in any other inning. They started to experiment with bringing their “closer” into games earlier.

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team took, by professional baseball standards, a major leap forward this past year when it started using their best relief pitcher, Andrew Miller, in the middle of games during the postseason herunterladen. He would come in, stomp on the other team’s will to live and then depart – better setting up his team for a potential win.

But the closer is far from dead. For many (in fact, most) MLB teams the idea of getting rid of the closer would be like replacing the players’ bats with breadsticks. The closer closes because he’s the closer.

Buck Showalter scaled the towering heights of ineptitude in this past year’s American League Wild Card game. His Baltimore Orioles had the league’s best relief pitcher (and one of the league’s best pitchers, period) but didn’t bring him into the game Watch netflix movies download offline. They lost to the Toronto Blue Jays with their best pitcher stewing in the bullpen.

How many of your best pitchers are you leaving in the bullpen?

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