Red Sox 5, Angels 4

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Yesterday was my second southern California baseball game of this trip and it was a better experience than Friday night’s game from the weather to our seats to my level of interest of the teams on the field to the excitement of the game itself. The only downfall was that the Anaheim Angels don’t seem to want to sell you postcards of their stadium, which I was planning on sending to my Grandpa. However, they were selling a Rod Carew autographed baseball and if I were feeling a little richer, my dad would be getting an awesome birthday present this year.
For Anand’s first infield experience, we sat in the very back row of the highest tier, right behind home plate. Despite the elevation, even he agreed that the view was better. And in my on-going quest to educate him about baseball, I even had him score the bottom of the first and the top of the second while I ate one of the turkey sandwiches we had smuggled in. He did, however, have a (legitimate) gripe with the notion of “slugging percentage,” because, strictly speaking, it’s not a percentage.
Speaking of slugging percentage, Mike Napoli of the Angels currently has such a “percentage” of 2. In yesterday’s game he had four plate appearances resulting in two homeruns, a double, and a walk. He would easily be the player of the game were it not for Jason Bay, who also had a pair of homeruns, but unlike Napoli, managed to hit one with a runner on base. After Bay’s second homer in the top of the ninth, we went to the bottom of the inning with the Sox up 5-3 and the stadium in a frenzy while the Rally Monkey did her thing to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” up on the jumbotron. (As an aside, that is the weirdest and yet most amusing stadium mascot I have seen yet.)
My favorite ex-Twin Torii Hunter led off the last half inning with a solo shot to right, bringing the Angels to within one and the crowd to its feet — both the many Red Sox fans in attendance and the loyal locals. Chants of “Let’s go Angels” meshed with “Let’s go Red Sox” to form a hybrid that, at one point, began to sound like “Let’s go Rangers.”
Morales followed up with a double to right. Rivera bounced out for the first out. Mike Napoli, the most dangerous batter in the game, came to the plate and worked a full count before drawing a walk. Erick Aybar struck out for the second out of the inning followed by another walk to Chone (pronounced Shawn) Figgins to load the bases.
Howie Kendrick, almost certainly set up to be the last batter of the game, came to the plate and quickly drew two strikes. We all rose to our feet cheering wildly as the pitch came and… foul ball. Followed by another foul ball… and another, and another, and another, and another, and another. Seven foul balls in total. Finally, with the tension at its peak, Papelbon pitched and Kendrick finally sent the ball forward… right to Rocco Baldelli’s glove.
And just like that, it was over. The Red Sox had won, the energy in the stadium quickly deflated, and we headed back to San Diego.

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4 responses »

  1. Slugging percentage is technically not a percentage because it has a maximum value of four. Since percentage means essentially “per hundred”, you’d have to divide the current calculation by 4 to gain a “percentage”. Also, note that slugging percentage doesn’t count walks, only hits. That is, total bases divided by at bats.
    Stealing from wikipedia,
    “For example, in 1920, Babe Ruth played his first season for the New York Yankees. In 458 at bats, Ruth had 172 hits, comprising 73 singles, 36 doubles, 9 triples, and 54 home runs, which brings the total base count to 73 + (36 2) + (9 3) + (54 4) = 388. His total number of bases (388) divided by his total at-bats (458) is .847, his slugging percentage for the season.”
    When you divide that result by four, you get ~.212. Or to state it another way, Babe Ruth got almost a single every time he came to bat.
    I suspect this has reduced something of meaning to something meaningless. But generally speaking, that’s what slugging percentage does.

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