Quote of the day

I see the hitter when he’s moved in the box, like when he’s moved closer to the plate or changed his stance. I see when the batter has moved his feet, and then I make my own adjustment.

~Mariano Rivera

Wikimedia Commons

This day in baseball: Picking up the pace

Mariano Rivera in set position (Wikimedia Commons)

In an effort to speed up the pace of the game, in 1955, Major League Baseball announced a new rule that required a pitcher to deliver his pitch within 20 seconds of taking a pitching position.

By today’s rules, that time limit is down to twelve seconds:

When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.


“2012 Edition: Official Baseball Rules.”  MLB.com.  Commissioner of Baseball, 2011.  Web.  Accessed 24 January 2014.  http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2012/Official_Baseball_Rules.pdf

Baseball 101: Earned Run Average

A pitcher’s Earned Run Average (or ERA) is the average number of earned runs that a pitcher gives up per nine innings pitched (as the typical game lasts nine innings).

An earned run is a run that is not scored as the result of a defensive error, such as a fielding error or a passed ball.

A pitcher’s ERA is calculated by dividing the number of earned runs he has allowed by the number of innings he has pitched, then multiplying by nine.  For example, if a pitcher is charged with 21 earned runs over the course of 90 innings pitched, his ERA would be 2.10.

(21/90) x 9 = 2.1

An ERA under 3.00 is generally considered to be excellent.  The lower a pitcher’s ERA, the better.

The lowest all-time career ERA in baseball history was 1.82, by Ed Walsh, who pitched from 1904 to 1917.  The lowest career ERA during the live-ball era (that is, post-1920), belongs to Mariano Rivera, who pitched from 1995-2013 and posted an ERA of 2.21.

Ed Walsh, 1911 (Photo source: wikimedia.org)

Rivera’s last game at Yankee Stadium

A friend and I sat talking about the music of Metallica yesterday: the brilliance of The Black Album, how we think that Master of Puppets is overrated, and so on.  When my lunch hour came around, I used the time to sit and listen to a handful of songs, including “Enter Sandman.”  By itself, “Enter Sandman” is a phenomenal song, worthy of recognition in the world of music until the end of time.  In the world of baseball, of course, it has the additional selling point of having served as the entrance song for a man who is touted as the greatest closing pitcher in Major League history, Mariano Rivera.

Rivera made his final appearance as a ballplayer just over a week ago, on Thursday 26 September 2013.  The ovation he received was tremendously emotional and moving — and well-deserved.  Few players in history receive a farewell like this one.  But, of course, few players in history have had the kind of career that he had.  Thank you for the memories, Mo.

Exit Sandman.