offseason

In baseball, when a batter puts a ball in play (in specific situations) that results in a player scoring a run, the batter is awarded a “Run Batted In” or “Runs Batted In” if more than one run is scored. Of course, the situation makes a difference- for instance, if the batter grounded into a double play resulting in the run scoring or if the batter puts the ball in play in which the fielder(s) commit and error or errors on the play, the batter does not get credit. However, if the batter hits a deep fly ball which allows the runner(s) to tag up and score, the batter gets credit. I don’t know why, but the concept of the “Runs Batted In” is starting to bother me.

First of all, I think those situations in which the batter puts the ball in play which results in a runner or runners scoring should deserve equal credit to the situations when a batter puts the ball in play which results in a run scored that do not get credit. I guess I should mention the situation in which the bases are loaded and the batter receives a base-on-balls- meaning he did not put the ball into play- and because of the automatic force at all bases, the runner from 3rd scores and the batter receives a “Run Batted In”. How can the guy who didn’t even swing the bat get credit for “batting a run in” when the guy who puts the ball in play- albeit to start a double play- can’t get credit for a “run batted in”? It’s like baseball isn’t about hitting if you can get a run batted in without using your bat.

Secondly, this kind of stat- when coupled with the fact that you can improve it without using your bat- seems largely dependent on the base reaching ability of the players who bat in front of you. A player can hit the ball with power to all fields, glide across the base paths with ease but if none of the players who bat in front of them reach base, then this player will have less “runs batted in” and be seen as a lesser player compared to a player with comparable skills but players who bat in front of him that reach base. That, to me, seems like an inherently flawed statistic.

Thricely, when people talk about “runs batted in” they rarely say the whole phrase “runs batted in”, they usually shorten the phrase into the acronym “RBI”. That’s fine. But when it comes to pluralizing “RBI” it comes out “RBIs”, which doesn’t make any sense. “RBIs” translates into “run batted ins”, which certainly resembles the English language but falls short of the mark. If acronymized, “runs batted in” should really be refered “RsBI” (phonetically: ars bee eye) which I think has the remarkable distinction of sounding both cool and smart.

Base hits are a good measure of a batter’s skill. So are stolen bases. But “runs batted in” is too flawed to be taken into consideration in my opinion.

Good lord, the baseball offseason lasts a long time.

-Springfield, IL

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One Comment on “offseason”


  1. ah yes, but so does the season. and i think we can all agree that the NBA playoff season is an entirely too long season of its own.

    also, Thricely = totally freaking awesome


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