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Imagining that Hitting A Baseball is not the Hardest Thing in Sport

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My grandfather was a boxer in the 30’s.  Always said the hardest thing to do was keep your eyes open when you were getting punched in the face.

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21 hours ago, Frobby said:

Players routinely make contact with a pitch 77% of the times they swing, and hit safely in 25% of their at bats.    

I’d say it’s harder to score a goal in hockey.    Fewer than 10% of all shots on goal score, and that’s not counting the shots that go wide or high or are blocked.    You’re on skates, the puck is coming from a million different directions, there’s a goalie taking up much of the goal, and there’s other people hitting you, putting themselves between you and the net, and poking at the puck with their sticks.   

Let’s not even talk about scoring a goal in soccer.    In MLS teams score fewer than 2 a game on average.   Even getting a shot on goal off in incredibly difficult.   Teams average like 5 shots on goal in a 90-minute game, in which the players are continuously running.  

Frobby, I just want to say that I am disappointed and very fearful that 2018 has done irreversible damage.  Hockey???

Now, I am all for friendly and philosophical debate.  For fun.  Were just talking here.  Ted Williams says hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in sports.  He's in the HOF, he was in WWII, He worked for Sears&Roebuck.  But ok, FrobbyORR, Hockey.  Your so smart Frobby, I think if you want to get into a statistical analysis here you disprove your own point.

To wit:

Your baseline winner is hockey because fewer than 10% of all shots on goal result in a score.  I am not really a hockey fan so I will simply take your word for the statement as fact.  IF we assume then that 10% of all shots on goal result in a score...then we should also accept as fact that 25% of at bats result in the batter hitting and reaching safely.

If these two statements are true you have proven Ted Williams correct that the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball.  I don't want to do a magic trick, but lets remember that 25% of at bats result in hits.  The problem is you refer to at bats.  Hitting a baseball is so difficult it requires multiple chances per statistical "chance".  If we assume that the average hitter sees 4 pitches an at bat, and the said at bats then result in the same number of hits, well then it is safe to say that the result on average success rate of an at bat (25%) is inflated and the actual success rate of hitters is now 6.25%.  6.25% is a lower success rate than 10%.  

Now I know, you actually said fewer than 10%.  I didn't look it up.  I am scientifically reasoning that if it was fewer than 6.25%, you would have said:  "Fewer than 7% of all shots on goal score.  I did the same thing saying at least 4 pitches.  But in fairness my very careful calculation uses exactly 4 pitches seen for all at bats that result in hits 25% of the time.  Of course Hockey does not present a gift of shots...you have to create them and take them.  And of course, baseball allows an opponent to stand 60ft 6 inches away.  I think however, that you have sold the game of baseball short.  It is the hardest thing to do in sports competition.

I am obviously ruling out track and field, and the like.  Otherwise, I would say running the Mile and a half at Churchill Downs is the most difficult thing.  

 

Hockey....Hockey!!!

Frobby said Hockey!

But seriously...you may be right.  I may be crazy.

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Isn't the saying inevitably qualified with a statement like "it's the hardest thing that's regularly done in a major sport"?  Otherwise you can come up with all kinds of much harder things, even in baseball.  Is hitting a baseball harder than catching one that's clearing the RF fence by 10'?  Is it harder than pole vaulting over 20'?  Is it harder than long jumping 29'?  Is it harder than bicycling in a goal on a soccer pitch during a game from 45 yards out?  Is it harder than coming down with a hail mary catch at the end of a football game, or hitting a 65 yard field goal?  Is it harder than skiing unassisted across Antarctica?

Obviously if there are hundreds of people who can regularly do this, it's not the hardest thing in sports.  Arguably it's the hardest thing that's accomplished a couple dozen times a game in major team sports.

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10 hours ago, weams said:

I can score a goal on skates. I cannot hit an MLB fastball.  Or compete Ironman. 

Even some of the 800 can't either 

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39 minutes ago, Cy Bundy said:

I can hit a 95mph fastball thrown from a bit behind 2nd base.

 

 

LOL but can you bunt it the other way and then hustle down the line?  

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23 minutes ago, bobmc said:

LOL but can you bunt it the other way and then hustle down the line?  

The only time I hustle is when compelled by the voice of Van McCoy.

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23 hours ago, weams said:

 

Obviously hitting a baseball isn't the hardest thing in sports.  How about climbing K2 without oxygen?  Really I am not sure why people say this all the time.  

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4 minutes ago, atomic said:

Obviously hitting a baseball isn't the hardest thing in sports.  How about climbing K2 without oxygen?  Really I am not sure why people say this all the time.  

It’s the hardest thing in sports if you don’t count other sports. I think you’re being too literal. 

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On 2/3/2019 at 10:17 AM, Frobby said:

Players routinely make contact with a pitch 77% of the times they swing, and hit safely in 25% of their at bats.    

I’d say it’s harder to score a goal in hockey.    Fewer than 10% of all shots on goal score, and that’s not counting the shots that go wide or high or are blocked.    You’re on skates, the puck is coming from a million different directions, there’s a goalie taking up much of the goal, and there’s other people hitting you, putting themselves between you and the net, and poking at the puck with their sticks.   

Let’s not even talk about scoring a goal in soccer.    In MLS teams score fewer than 2 a game on average.   Even getting a shot on goal off in incredibly difficult.   Teams average like 5 shots on goal in a 90-minute game, in which the players are continuously running.  

Sorry buddy, but that's a goofy analogy if you as me. Scoring a goal is equivalent to hitting a home run. What's the percentage of hitting a home run per pitch?

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1 hour ago, Cy Bundy said:

The only time I hustle is when compelled by the voice of Van McCoy.

What if @Frobby offered to throw his cape over a puddle that your wife was daring to cross?  Could that be cause for a "Disco Inferno"?

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1 hour ago, atomic said:

Really I am not sure why people say this all the time.  

I'm sure you can figure it out.  Nobody thinks through everything all the time, otherwise there wouldn't be nearly so many clichés.  People probably think through things the least when it confirms their previously formed opinions such as "my favorite sport is best".  I'd guess almost no one who isn't a baseball fan says hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in sports.  This is certainly a very North American-centric cliché.

Also, Ted Williams is famous for saying this, and Ted grew up and played baseball in the US prior to the advent of most other high-level team sports.  In 1940 football was relatively niche and primitive, basketball even moreso, soccer was an ocean away, NHL hockey was played in half a dozen northern/Canadian cities... Ted's viewpoint might be different with exposure to all of the different things we see today.

And, it's a statement without an objective answer so you could argue anything.  Is hitting a baseball harder than completing a pass into double coverage with a 300-lb lineman blowing you up?  I don't know, and there's no one objective way to determine that.

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3 hours ago, Tony-OH said:

Sorry buddy, but that's a goofy analogy if you as me. Scoring a goal is equivalent to hitting a home run. What's the percentage of hitting a home run per pitch?

As I said in another post, I don’t think scoring a goal is analogous to hitting a home run.   But I’ll agree it’s not necessarily analogous to getting a hit.  

Nobody said, “hitting a home run is the most difficult thing to do in sports.”     They’d have a better case if they said that.    They said, “hitting a baseball.”   Like I said, hitters hit the ball 77% of the times they swing.    It’s not that hard.    Hitting it fair is harder.   Hitting it safely is harder than that.   Hitting a home run is harder than that.   

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Hitting a golf ball is harder. Yes it's stationary but in baseball you can spray the ball 90 degrees and it's good. In golf you have to hit it farther and only about 2 or 3 degrees or you're in trouble, losing the tourney or a foursome bet.

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1 hour ago, scOtt said:

Hitting a golf ball is harder. Yes it's stationary but in baseball you can spray the ball 90 degrees and it's good. In golf you have to hit it farther and only about 2 or 3 degrees or you're in trouble, losing the tourney or a foursome bet.

That is what got me to give up golf.  When even pros miss 6 foot putts what chance do I have?  Too frustrating of a game for me.  Although I do like there are places to buy beer along the way.

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