If you follow this site, I’m sure you’ve seen comments referencing the SP78 Department of Statistics, located on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. There is actually a Department of Statistics at NU, but any connection to my Statis Pro 1978 Replay season is strictly in the demented minds of my friend Steve P and I; we happened upon the location during our Chicago-Milwaukee baseball trip back in 1993, and immediately converted it into an SP78 information center.
I mention this because, over the past few months, I could’ve used a Department of Statistics of my own, whether they were based out of Northwestern, or North Dakota, or even North Korea; getting caught up on both my at-home statistics and the stats and pages for this blog site has become quite the workload, to say the least. I spend nearly every waking hour dealing with these chores, so you, the Statis Pro 1978 Replay fanatic, won’t jump ship and form an allegiance with that guy running the over-hyped Stratego blog.
Just so everyone is aware of what I’m up against, here are a few of the tasks and projects I’ve been slaving over for what seems like forever. And yes, that’s my purple Northwestern Wildcats cup on the table below, surrounded by notes, player stats, scoresheets, and the dreaded blue Z-play chart:
Last year, after having completed the gargantuan task of re-calculating all the game stats from the April scoresheets, which I’d originally kept track of with pencil and paper during the early years of SP78 (and as I discovered, made dozens upon dozens of mistakes), it was now time to jump into the equally gargantuan task of the May scoresheets. I started with Game #277 back in February, and didn’t reach the final sheet, Game #643, until September: seven months to input 366 games. Fortunately, I had a computer at my disposal this time around. Unfortunately, I still have June to deal with.
Wins and Losses and Saves
Needing a system where I could easily check pitcher won-lost numbers and reliever save totals (and keep them consistent), I’ve gone back and added a table to each team’s laptop stat page, for each month, where I can now keep those numbers and totals in-check. The problem being, of course, is that I have to go back and actually re-check them, scoresheet by scoresheet, and type them into the tables. Right now I’m on working on the Dodgers totals for April, my fifth team of 26…with May, June, and July still on the docket.
The Brainiacs at Avalon Hill
Recently, in the midst of all this stat work, I had to check on a situation involving catcher interference; it was then I discovered that a batter involved in interference is not charged an at-bat! There is no mention of this on the Z-play chart, so back I went, tracking down every catcher interference since Opening Day. Thankfully, there weren’t many (just 14 instances), so it didn’t take me long to make the adjustments.
I can’t really blame Avalon Hill for leaving that vague piece of information out, but that doesn’t mean they walk away unscathed. Take a look at this Z-play entry: Batter on two strike pitch swings at obvious wild pitch. Pitcher gets strikeout, but batter is safe at first. Error on pitcher and runners advance one base. Well, guess what I found out 34 years after the fact? According to the MLB rule book, it’s not an error charged to the pitcher, but a wild pitch! The same holds true with another Z, this one involving the catcher: again, not an error, but a passed ball. Eventually I found forty instances, April through July, where I had to change the scoring on a team’s stat page from an E to a WP or PB, as well as on that of the individual scoresheets (and trust me, that one took a lot of actual pencil and eraser work). I also had to go back and fix forty freaking linescores as well. Thanks again, AH!
It’s right there in the rule book: any player caught with an illegal bat shall be declared out, ejected from the game, and subject to additional penalties…namely, suspensions. Do you think the entry on the Z-play chart mentions anything about ejections? Noooooope. Do you think Avalon Hill cares how much trouble they’ve cause me for not mentioning that on the Z-play chart? Noooooope. I knew about the suspension aspect as far back as 1992, when I penalized O’s infielder Billy Smith three days for his well-documented tainted bat incident, but the ejection part? Not at all. For some players, I’ll be able to retro-eject them, but others will sadly have their indiscretions erased from existence entirely.
I don’t have daily NL and AL standings archived on the blog site, but I’ve typed them up for personal reference since the season started, and now that I’m finding the occasional mistake with pitcher won-lost numbers, I’m also having to return to the standings and make those adjustments there as well. Plus, I’ve never included pitcher saves in the linescores; now that I do, I have to go back and add that entry to every linescore on every standings page. As of right now, I’m only midway through May.
SB / CS
For years I’ve wanted to keep track of which base stealers (with a steal rating of A, B, C, D, or E) have stolen or were caught stealing at which base; now that I’ve created that table, I have to go back—once again scoresheet by scoresheet—and figure out who stole what, and input those results into every team page, for every month. For those of who might want to check them out, I’ve added these tables to the team stat pages on the blog site.
Cheez-Its in the Outfield
So if you’ve been wondering why I don’t post articles and recaps and TWISP Notes as often as I probably should be, well, there’s your answer…for now, anyway. Someday I’ll get caught up on all of this oppressive stat work, and once I do, I promise I’ll be posting on a more consistent basis, and getting back to playing more games. Because seriously, who wouldn’t want to play more games when there’s a full bowl of Cheez-Its in the outfield?