Never before has baseball had so many acronyms to keep track of. It's enough to give any fan a brain cramp.
When I was young and baseball suffused my summer days, I could rattle off HR, SO, BB, IP, RBI, ERA. 1B, 2B, 3B, E, and a handful of other statistical shortcuts. But nowadays, sabermetrics has spawned so many more.
Here's a few from About.com:
1 .IR: Inherited runs. The number of runners inherited by a relief pitcher that scored while the reliever was in the game.
2. ISO: A measure of the hitter's raw power---extra bases per at bat.
3. OPS: On-base plus slugging. A measurement of a batter's ability to get on base and hit for power.
4. QS: Quality start. A game in which a pitcher completes 6 innings and allows no more than 3 runs.
5. WAR: Wins above replacement player. The number of wins the player contributed above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, or pitcher would have done.
6. WHIP: Walks and hits per inning pitched. The average number of walks and hits allowed by a pitcher per inning (BB + H / IP).
This is only a sampling of the acronymic offspring of sabermetrics. As I write, some diamond quant is probably concocting new ones.
Which got me to think. Maybe I could add another to the abbreviation zoo. How about QFB? Quality foul balls. Bill James, one of the progenitors of sabermetrics says that back in early days of our national pasttime, a fellow named Roy Thomas once fouled off 22 pitches at the plate. White Sox immortal, Luke Appling, around 1936, fouled off 15 of Bob Feller's legendary fast balls. There's even a story, apocryphal though it might be, about Appling deliberately fouling off 14 pitches just to spite an owner who refused to give him extra Annie Oakleys for a game. Luis Valbuena of the Cubs has a knack at fouling pitches too. At least six would be required to earn an QFB. That number, not ordinarily reached, would absolutely be a positive contribution, even if the hitter doesn't get on base..
Why, you ask? FFF. Three good reasons: Focus, Frustration, Fatigue. The guy on the mound may lose focus and deliver one to the hitter's sweet spot. Or get frustrated enough to issue a walk. Or the effort may cause enough fatigue to break the camel's back. And with the mediocre crop of of middle and long reliefers nowadays, that's something to swing for.
Maybe another F would also result from the QFB. Freedom for an older fan to visit the men's room.
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