“It’s a lot easier to analyze than, say, football, which has so many moving parts,” he said. “You aren’t overwhelmed.”
Still, baseball is not always simple. Thornley dissected the scoring rules of baseball and asked head-scratching questions of his audience. For example, if a reliever replaced a starting pitcher with a runner on first, and then that runner was called out after being struck by a batted ball, and the batter was granted first base, then whose earned run average would be affected if this new runner scored?
Answer: The new runner is the reliever’s responsibility, not the starter’s, since the batter reached first on a play that was scored a single, not a force out.
On it went like this, for hours at a time, in a handful of hotel ballrooms.
“We could have done four more days,” Appleman said.
Next year’s convention is tentatively set for Pittsburgh, an announcement that came as some relief to attendees who were not entirely happy about having to take the No. 7 train to Citi Field for a Mets game on Friday night. The comfortable confines of a hotel lobby or a friendly ballpark grandstand are apparently more to their liking than the unknowns of New York City mass transit.
Appleman was asked if he would classify himself, and this whole SABR bunch, as a society of nerds.
“Yes, but we try to say it in a friendly, smiley way,” he replied.