Saturday, June 16, 2007

Baseball Geekdom

A couple of years ago I heard about Sons of Sam Horn, a Boston Red Sox fan website. Initially, I would occasionally check it out to read the "game threads" -- real-time message exchanges between viewers that played out as a game progressed. It was great, for example, in the winter of 2004-05 to go back and read the game threads from Boston's improbable comeback in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

This year I've gotten into the habit of following the game thread during each game. The folks who post to the game thread are fairly knowledgeable, and fairly funny, so it is like watching the game with a group of humorous, savvy fans. I've definitely improved my baseball knowledge by following along with the threads.

SoSH limits its membership as a quality control measure. Becoming a member requires that you be "noticed" for your baseball acumen on the special lurker-friendly section of the site. So I don't post to the thread myself. However, anyone can lurk on the game threads, or any of the other myriad topics, and the level of obsession is impressive.

For example, there has been much frustration concerning the poor batting so far of centerfielder Coco Crisp. In the past few days, however, Crisp has been doing much better: he is 4 for 9 with two walks and no strikeouts.

SoSH member "Marbleheader" quotes from
Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp put in some extra work before the game with hitting coach Dave Magadan. The center fielder has been looking to eliminate unnecessary "movement" from his stance and stand taller in the batter's box, Francona said.
And then Marbleheader quotes another SoSHer's request:
It was mentioned that Magadan is trying to get him to "stand up" more in his stance. It looks noticable to me. Does anyone have the ability to post a split screen shot of Coco's older stance vs. one from the last couple days?
Marbleheader obliges, providing a handy side-by-side visual comparison of screen captures from a May game next to Saturday's game against the Giants. He even took the trouble to try to get two images at roughly the same point in the pitcher's delivery:

And yes indeed, it does appear that Crisp is standing up straighter.

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