A highlight from Effectively Wild Episode 1781: Hidden Balls Trick

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But how are you? Quite well. How are you? Well, I didn't get inducted into the Hall of Fame. But I am otherwise, well. Yeah, it seems like everyone was all of a sudden 6 new inductees, headlined by buck O'Neil and Minnie mignot. Okay, not everyone. There were some deserving candidates who were left on the outside still looking in. It was generally, I guess, good news. We're still some frustrations. And it was kind of nice to have some Hall of Fame news that was largely not about the character class. Not that we can't have character class discussions, but it was a refreshing change just to talk about good characters in some cases and players just judged on their merits as players. And we will actually devote most of our next episode to that. So didn't want to give it short shrift, we will have a guest on to talk to us about all of the new Hall of Famers, but we did want to spend this episode catching up on some pretty big news from last week, which was maybe a little lost in the shuffle amid the beginning of the lockout, a report by Bradford William Davis, based on research by doctor Meredith wills about the fact that there were multiple baseballs in useless season. Okay, multiple models of baseballs. Everyone knew that they were multiple baseballs used last year. But two different types of baseballs were used in major league games and MLP came out and admitted it. And according to Bradford's reporting seemingly, no one else was aware of this. So it caused a bit of a stir, and we will be talking to both of them in just a moment. The only thing I wanted to say before we bring them on, we got a lot of responses to our discussion last time about the proper way to pluralize hit by pitch. This is how we're going to get through the lockout, just talking about how you make hit by pitch plural. So art discussion, which was in response to a listener email mostly centered on whether it should be hits by pitch or hit by pitches and a lot of people wrote in to propose alternative methods. Some people sided with one or the other, one popular suggestion was to pluralize both and go with hits by pitches. So listener Ben among many others said, I think it sort of works because both the hitting of the batter and the number of pitches are plural, the batter gets hit multiple times and hit by multiple pitches. Also, it avoids the implication that the batter was hit by multiple pitches within the same at bat and by pitches makes it sound less like the total number of hits a better gut in different categories of pitch. So hits by pitches was a somewhat popular suggestion. I don't know that I would prefer that to hits by pitch, but a bunch of people apparently preferred it. Yes, people seem to enjoy that one. There were a number of folks who suggested that we revert to hit batsman and I can appreciate that if it were a stat that we largely cared about within the context of pitchers, but I think that it kind of puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable as it were. When it comes to hitters because they are not hitting pats when they are. They are themselves the batsmen. So there's that. And maybe we would make it gender neutral too. I think, cricket, I believe recently switched from Batman to batters. So we could go with hit betters, but yes, it's still has that issue that mentioned there. Yes, and I think we had another suggestion times hit by pitch. Yeah, I meant to mention that last time because I mentioned that I will try to write around it by pitches or hits by pitch wherever I can and sometimes I might say plunking or something like that. But often I will write or say times hit by pitch. And I do kind of like that. So you just say so and so blocked a 50 times and struck out a hundred times and had 15 times hit by pitch, something like that might work because as people pointed out in this context hit isn't a now and exactly it's like a past participle verb and so you throw the extra noun in there that you can pluralize and have it be times hit by pitch. It's an extra word and I guess it kind of disrupts the acronym. Hit by pitch is still in there, but really it's like BP. So it's problematic either way. We got people suggesting bases on hit by pitch so that it would be parallel with bases on balls or maybe beans or beans or something instead of plunking, which I don't really like because to me being is intentional. Right. And also maybe specifically in the head. That is the bean that bean is referring to. I know it's become a bit broader, maybe, but to me that's not necessarily an accidental hit by pitch in the butt. That's not a beanie really. So I guess we should note that saber has a style guide a baseball style guy that some publications adhere to mostly use it at fan graphs we mostly and then we diverge 'cause of course we do. Right. And saber advises that HBP is acceptable and that the pearl is HBP so not H's BP, but that also they hyphenate hit by pitch. So they just go hit hyphen by hyphen pitch, and then the plural is hyphenated also. So it's just hit hyphen by hyphen pitches. I don't love the hyphenation there, although it does sort of resolve the pluralization issue because if it's like one word, if it's hit by pitch, it's just a discrete unit, then you can just say hit by pitches and it's all hyphenated and that sort of simplifies the pluralization problem maybe. But I don't love hyphenating it in all cases. Ben. Can I admit to something? Sure. And this is going to offend any number of our listeners, but perhaps most especially my predecessor at fan graphs should he be listening. Carson sis Julie. I think we over hyphenate. Like as a culture, you know? We have a fixation on a high phonations and look, sometimes you need to hyphenate in order to have clarity. I think that as an editor, my prevailing philosophy around style guides and grammar rules and writing in general is that one of the things you should price more than anything is clarity, because you're asking a reader to spend some time with you, and you want them to understand what you're trying to say. And I think that sometimes, especially in the advanced stack context, we, as a collective, don't do as well with that as we could, I think that we are in general much stronger on that score than we used to be, both because our readers are have a better baseline understanding of advanced stats and because I think that clarity rather than cleverness is sort of something that we strive for, but also we sure think that people struggle to understand things if they're not hyphenated from here to kingdom come. I think we could hyphenate a lot less and everyone would just be fine. They just would be fine, Ben. Yeah. I mean, I'm an Oxford comma man. Me too. So when people say, yeah, we don't need the comma. We'll understand it. I know there's some ambiguous cases, but I prefer having that comma. And there are cases where people will under high at times, but really, just in general, as an editor, this may not be the most relatable topic that we have ever considered on this podcast, but it can be very mystifying the choices that writers and their writers I read and I'm very familiar with their hyphenation foibles. Not at fangraphs, of course. But there are people who will hyphenate years old like at the end of saying like so and so was 50 years old. If you say it's a 50 year old person, then you hyphenate. If you're just saying so and so is 50 years old, you don't have to hyphenate. And then I always think, well, should I tell them no, there's no possible way I could say, hey, just in case you were wondering, I noticed that you have this odd hyphenation foible.

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