The Key to Success in Baseball

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Amid all the passion and drama of this baseball playoff season, I have discerned a foolproof method of success for any baseball team - youth, amateur, or professional.

In physics (and, for that matter, road construction and crowd dynamics), one idea that has always fascinated me is the "capacity limiter." Traffic is nearly stopped entering a tunnel because of the bottleneck, but it flows perfectly as soon as the tunnel is reached. Or, water drips through a funnel, but it flows evenly once it's through the spout. The point is that the efficiency of the "capacity limiter" directly affects the efficiency of the overall process, and widening the capacity at that limit point will instantly expand the success/speed/efficiency of the process.

The capacity limited in baseball is consistent pitching. Not exceptional pitching, and certainly not incredible speed. Just good, simple control. And consistency.

If you look critically at all negative occurences in baseball (for the team in the field), they all result from inconsistent pitching. Bad control results in a walk - another batter on base. Or, bad control leaves the ball in a location where the batter can hit it effectively. Conversely, good control can force the batter to hit a ground ball or a fly ball (both easily fieldable), or directly strike out the batter.

Of course, all pitchers have good days and bad days. Even the most flashy and exceptional pitchers have days without control. Even in the World Series, pitchers for the two best teams in baseball have displayed horrendous control.

So, here's my solution: Starting in Little League and high school, and continuing through college and the minor leagues, pitchers should be trained for consistency. It's not too much to expect, either. Athletes like Tiger Woods, Muhammed Ali, and even Aaron Mandel demonstrated consistent performance throughout their career, especially in the face of pressure. In his heyday, Mariano Rivera never allowed a single runner to reach first base - his control was that consistent. In an age when pitchers are encouraged to pitch faster, sharper, and more creatively, the entire sport would benefit from a focus on simple control and consistency.

Granted, it's extremely hard to hit a baseball, especially one professionally pitched. But most games are lost because the pitcher made it easy for the hitter. Control is the easy solution to elevate the game's competitive level.  

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I can't wait until the next game and see how this is going to pan out.

Extremely hard to fathom that the NY Yankess are not travelling to the World Series. As a Red Sox fan, if my team isn't going, any other team is better than the Yankees.