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The Effect of Sports Science on the MLB

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by

Pete Ott

on 12 June 2014

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Transcript of The Effect of Sports Science on the MLB

Numbers from the early 1900s
2013 Numbers
Baseball Over the Years
Early 1900s VS. Today
The Effect of Sports Science on the MLB
1920
1947
1969
1961
1900
1893
1920
"Live-ball era" begins (no doctoring ball, ball is replaced when dirty instead of reused all game)
1947
stars like Ted Williams return from WWII, Jackie Robinson arrives
and begins desegregation of MLB
1961
American league extends season to 162 games
1893
mound moved from 50 feet to 60.5 feet - previously breaking balls wouldn't break, 95 mph fastball from 50 feet would give batter the same amount of decision time as a148 mph from 60 feet
1900
foul balls weren't strikes
spitballs were legal
players were allowed to leave gloves on the field between innings nobody kept track of walks, runs batted in, or earned run average
tighter wound baseball cores, along with the increased use of fitness centers and steroids brings about
the Offensive Age
1987
1900s
-
Cy Young
pitched
321 1/3
innings, threw
32
complete games, but he wasn't even close to leading the league in either
-
Rube Waddell
was the only pitcher in the National League who averaged more than four strikeouts per nine innings (K/9)
-
Herman Long
, the home run leader, hit 12 home runs that season, half as many home runs as triples leader,
Honus Wagner
, had triples (22)
-
Babe Ruth
's 54 home runs in 1920 was more than the team totals of 14 out of the 15 teams at the time
2013
-
Adam Wainwright
pitched 241 2/3 innings, threw 5 complete games, leader in both categories (many young aces are shut down at 200 innings to preserve their arms)
-
The Twins
, team with the lowest K/9, averaged over 5 K/9, MLB leading
Tigers
averaged almost 9
-
Chris Davis
, home run leader, hit 53 home runs, much higher than
Denard Span
's MLB leading 11 triples
-Average for team home run total was 114 home runs,
Marlins
in last with 95,
Orioles
in first with 212
Strike zone shrinks, five man rotation comes in,
save is invented
1969
1987
So why has the game changed?
The changes in baseball have been a result of a variety of things, like different rotations, use of bullpens, and of course, the increased understanding of the science behind the sport.
A former MLB pitcher on baseball in the 1960s:
-players had jobs in the off season, no weight training
-spring training was playing pepper, throwing batting practice, running to stay in shape
-pitch count didn't matter, only innings pitched
-Davey Johnson was first manager to use a computer to record stats in 1970

Today's sports science according to a former AAA pitcher:
-off season consists of strict weight training plan, goal is gaining muscle
-lots of analyzing pitches, charts with pitch locations, types, and speeds
-special match ups are used for pitching based on charts
-camera footage is available of everything to analyze
We can watch slo-mo videos of baseball player; who cares?
Now that we can break down what mechanics make players great, we can teach them to younger players so that instead of baseball legends only being those born to play, they can be created.
My research:
Interviews:
-
Ken MacKenzie
(former major league pitcher)
-
Ethan Merrill
(former AAA pitcher)
-
Thomas Bednark
(owner of the Barnstable Bat Co.)
-
Ciro Longbardi
(athletic trainer)
Visiting the
Baseball Hall of Fame
Reading:
-magazines
-online
-books
And of course, watching lots of baseball!
Full transcript