Baseball On My Brain

The Three True Outcomes
November 24, 2008, 10:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Thanks to Dan Rosenheck of the New York Times for starting my Monday off with a good article.

Hall of Fame merit articles always feel like an obituary to me – they acknowledge the death of a player’s career, and almost harken back to earlier days of religion when people wondered whether someone had enough credits to get into heaven, or weather they’d be stuck in purgatory.

But the point of this isn’t the merits of Mike Mussina getting into the Hall of Fame.

Contained within Mr. Rosenheck’s article is a reference to a statistical analysis tool that I had forgotten about – the Three True Outcomes.

Quick summary – the Three True Outcomes looks at the results of an at-bat that a pitcher can truly control – a strikeout, a walk, or a home run. Everything else is dependent on defense to some extent or another, and thus hard to judge exactly how much importance the pitcher actually played in the result of the at-bat.

Take the Three True Outcomes out of baseball and apply if to daily life – how much of what occurs in your life is directly attributable to you, and how much is dependent on the defense playing behind you? Think about work today – did you issue a walk because you couldn’t find the strike zone or were afraid of serving up a good pitch? Or did you go after the hitter with craft and guile and strike him out? Or did you make a mistake pitch and watch it sail over the fence?

There is a key lesson to be learned here about how each of us approach our lives – we have the oppotunity to take more control of our lives than most of us realize, but at the same time, we are all dependent on our defense to help us out. Sometimes you make a great pitch and get a routine grounder, only to have it flubbed by the second baseman, putting the runner on and giving the offense a free out.

And while not all of us are strikeout pitchers, it pays to be aware how much you rely on other people to make you look good. If you’re one of those folks, take the time to thank your defense profusely every chance you get. Congratulate them on making great plays, don’t beat them up when they flub a ball on occasion, be ready to trade them or kick them off your team if they’re costing you runs, and realize that at the end of the day, you wouldn’t be where you are without them.

All of us have those folks playing behind us – and all of us play behind someone else, most likely behind multiple people. Remember that as well – someone may be counting on you to make a play for them.


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