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Naughty By Nurture- From a Derailed Thread

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8 hours ago, Otter said:

Exactly right.  The best hitter I ever faced in college was Chris Widger.  He was an absolute beast, I couldn't get him out no matter what I threw.  He was just on a different level than most other players.  And the funny thing is many posters probably remember him as a journeyman backup catcher in the majors; a catch and throw guy who couldn't hit.  What this showed me is the incredible jump in talent level every level you move up.  You have to be stud in High School to play D1 college ball.  You have to be a stud in college to get drafted.  You have to be a stud in the low minors to move up the high minors.  You have to be stud in the high minors to get called up to the majors, and you have to be stud to stick in the majors.

There are only 800 that are good enough. Or 0.0000099999 percent of living humans if you are checking your odds. 

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4 minutes ago, weams said:

There are only 800 that are good enough. Or 0.0000099999 percent of living humans if you are checking your odds. 

Dude. You are using the wrong denominator. There’s like 500,000 Chinese guys that could play that have never touched a baseball. The NBA, NFL, and many professional soccer leagues are full of people who could play professional baseball. You drive by construction sites every week with guys who could play. Guys in the Dominican Republic don’t have special baseball playing genes. They don’t have anything else to do, it’s a tiny island easy to scout, and now there’s the historical oddity of baseball history in play. The potential to be an elite athlete is actually way more common than most people think. Relatively rare, but not infinitely small as you continue to imply. Predators and then human warfare and the like provided some serious selection pressure. We are literally built to throw rocks and swing sticks. 

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Just now, Ohfan67 said:

Dude. You are using the wrong denominator. There’s like 500,000 Chinese guys that could play that have never touched a baseball. The NBA, NFL, and many professional soccer leagues are full of people who could play professional baseball. You drive by construction sites every week with guys who could play. Guys in the Dominican Republic don’t have special baseball playing genes. They don’t have anything else to do, it’s a tiny island easy to scout, and now there’s the historical oddity of baseball history in play. The potential to be an elite athlete is actually way more common than most people think. Relatively rare, but not infinitely small as you continue to imply. Predators and then human warfare and the like provided some serious selection pressure. We are literally built to throw rocks and swing sticks. 

Nope. They could all play if they wanted to. 

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1 minute ago, Ohfan67 said:

Dude. You are using the wrong denominator. There’s like 500,000 Chinese guys that could play that have never touched a baseball. The NBA, NFL, and many professional soccer leagues are full of people who could play professional baseball. You drive by construction sites every week with guys who could play. Guys in the Dominican Republic don’t have special baseball playing genes. They don’t have anything else to do, it’s a tiny island easy to scout, and now there’s the historical oddity of baseball history in play. The potential to be an elite athlete is actually way more common than most people think. Relatively rare, but not infinitely small as you continue to imply. Predators and then human warfare and the like provided some serious selection pressure. We are literally built to throw rocks and swing sticks. 

I so totally disagree with every word of your post. It is the hardest thing to do in sport. Jordan couldn't even do it. 

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2 minutes ago, Ohfan67 said:

Dude. You are using the wrong denominator. There’s like 500,000 Chinese guys that could play that have never touched a baseball. The NBA, NFL, and many professional soccer leagues are full of people who could play professional baseball. You drive by construction sites every week with guys who could play. Guys in the Dominican Republic don’t have special baseball playing genes. They don’t have anything else to do, it’s a tiny island easy to scout, and now there’s the historical oddity of baseball history in play. The potential to be an elite athlete is actually way more common than most people think. Relatively rare, but not infinitely small as you continue to imply. Predators and then human warfare and the like provided some serious selection pressure. We are literally built to throw rocks and swing sticks. 

Guys in the Dominican Republic can take steroid from age 9. It's harder, though not impossible, to do that here. 

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21 minutes ago, weams said:

There are only 800 that are good enough. Or 0.0000099999 percent of living humans if you are checking your odds. 

And yes, too many of those denominators are too old to play anymore. 

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3 minutes ago, weams said:

Guys in the Dominican Republic can take steroid from age 9. It's harder, though not impossible, to do that here. 

Nice. Denigrate every player from the DR. 

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9 minutes ago, weams said:

I so totally disagree with every word of your post. It is the hardest thing to do in sport. Jordan couldn't even do it. 

Ha!  You are pretty funny. Do you actually think that there aren’t athletes in say Germany or Nigeria that have the physical gifts to play baseball? In China? Do you think every person in the USA with the physical gifts to play actually played baseball? As far as being the hardest thing in sport, clearly something like running as fast as Usain Bolt is rarer than the ability to hit a baseball. 

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52 minutes ago, Ohfan67 said:

Ha!  You are pretty funny. Do you actually think that there aren’t athletes in say Germany or Nigeria that have the physical gifts to play baseball? In China? Do you think every person in the USA with the physical gifts to play actually played baseball? As far as being the hardest thing in sport, clearly something like running as fast as Usain Bolt is rarer than the ability to hit a baseball. 

Of course if pure athleticism was the key than Bubba Starling wouldn't have been non-tendered.

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1 hour ago, Ohfan67 said:

Ha!  You are pretty funny. Do you actually think that there aren’t athletes in say Germany or Nigeria that have the physical gifts to play baseball? In China? Do you think every person in the USA with the physical gifts to play actually played baseball? As far as being the hardest thing in sport, clearly something like running as fast as Usain Bolt is rarer than the ability to hit a baseball. 

Respectfully disagree.  The reason hitting a baseball is considered so difficult is that it isn't only about raw athleticism.  It's about athleticism, wrist strength, hand/eye coordination, exceptional eyesight, the ability to make incredibly quick decisions, and a ton of practice and experience.  Your example of comparing Usain Bolt to hitting a baseball is comparing apples to oranges.  Running is a skill that many people can do well, but you picked the best person in the world for your comparison. In order to be a fair comparison, we could ask how many people could hit a baseball like Ted Williams?

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19 minutes ago, Otter said:

Respectfully disagree.  The reason hitting a baseball is considered so difficult is that it isn't only about raw athleticism.  It's about athleticism, wrist strength, hand/eye coordination, exceptional eyesight, the ability to make incredibly quick decisions, and a ton of practice and experience.  Your example of comparing Usain Bolt to hitting a baseball is comparing apples to oranges.  Running is a skill that many people can do well, but you picked the best person in the world for your comparison. In order to be a fair comparison, we could ask how many people could hit a baseball like Ted Williams?

I agree that my Usain Bolt comparison was probably not proper. But, do you really think that only 800 of the almost 4 billion dudes on Earth have the physical attributes to play pro baseball? The percentage of US boys who even attempt to play baseball in a meaningful way is lower than it has been in probably 120 or more years. That's ultimately why they scout Venezuela and the like. Only a tiny, tiny fraction of the population is sampled. About 100 guys from the DR played in the bigs in 2018. The male population of the DR is about 7 million (that's all ages). It is simple math and biology. 

 

Playing pro basketball is one example of a professional sport that is far more exclusive than pro baseball. There are fewer people who do it at one time and the physical attributes required to do it are far rarer (the average height in the NBA is 6'7"). 

The majority of pro baseball players are amazing athletes. Some college baseball players are amazing athletes. But you guys are seriously underestimating how amazing humans are. 

 

BTW, I apologize to Frobby and you guys for the tangent. This is a neat thread with a ton of fun stories. I just get sick of hearing the 800 rarest humans anecdote. It is so biologically ignorant that I find it childish nonsense. 

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15 minutes ago, Otter said:

Yeah, I do agree that there are obviously more people out there (and especially in countries that don't play baseball) who potentially have the physical and mental abilities to play at a high level.  But you could say that about any sport, or occupation for that matter.  It doesn't change the fact that hitting a baseball is still probably the most difficult task in any sport.

That is my basic point. My comment was in direct response to Weams continued statement regarding 800 rare human beings. Weams, whom I admire and respect, posts this about 52 times a month and it drives me crazy every time. ;) Love ya Weams. I'm a biologist, and partially an evolutionary biologist, so I'm coming at this form a very different worldview. It just irritates me. :)

The hitting the baseball is the most difficult task in any sport is definitely an opinion as far as I can tell. I don't think there are physiological or functional morphology studies to back that up, but I haven't really looked to be honest. The field of sports medicine and anthropological biology related to things like running and throwing has really expanded and pertinent research may be out there. I personally found hitting a golf ball much harder than hitting a baseball, for example. Of course I did both as an amateur and an inexperienced amateur at that (especially in golf), but making a golf ball go even close to where I want it to go is mind boggling to me. 

 

There are some really fun studies of baseball related tasks in the scientific literature, by the way. There were some really fun studies of how humans track line drive balls while running published about 15 or 20 years ago, as one example. 

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4 hours ago, Ohfan67 said:

 

BTW, I apologize to Frobby and you guys for the tangent. This is a neat thread with a ton of fun stories. I just get sick of hearing the 800 rarest humans anecdote. It is so biologically ignorant that I find it childish nonsense. 

I think I could find other children who are more than convinced of it. But you be you.

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6 hours ago, Ohfan67 said:

Nice. Denigrate every player from the DR. 

I was simply stating what you already know, there are many reasons why Dominicans excel and some folks cheat to be among the best 800. But you know that. And you do have some points in your nurture vs. nature argument. But there is a very serious drop off from the best 1000 or so humans at the sport of baseball. And hitting a baseball is that drop off.  It's too hard. It's practically impossible. 

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