A month ago I wrote about Marlon Byrd and two-out RBIs. He’d written on his blog that he couldn’t explain his special ability to drive in runs with two down, but he described his approach at the plate in those situations, which was interesting to read about.
At the time he wrote, Byrd had 13 RBIs, 11 of them with two outs. At the time I wrote, he had 15 RBIs, 12 of them with two outs. There certainly must have been some magic going on there, right?
Like I said last month, no. Byrd’s prodigious two-out RBI total was just statistical noise. He’d flipped five coins, gotten tails four times, then tried to explain what made him so good at flipping tails. It was silly.
It’s nothing, of course, for some ballplayer to misinterpret his own numbers, especially since doing so might help him on the field. If Marlon Byrd believes in his heart that he has magical two-out RBI skills, the confidence might help him do a little better in that situation. Who knows. Or cares. It’s fun to have ballplayers writing blogs.
What’s annoying is when, for want of a better term, the media, the people who are supposed to describe and analyze the game for us, lazily fall into this kind of silly thinking, which happens approximately most of the time. As detailed in my post last month, my fascination with the two-out RBI was sparked years ago by ESPN lazily flashing a team two-out RBI statistic to further a story line that the then-Anaheim Angels were scrappy.
Byrd now has 27 RBIs, 13 of them with two outs. So since my post, he’s driven in 12 runs, and one of them has come with two outs.
What’s going on here? Gosh, I wish I knew, but oddly, Byrd has not posted anything to try to explain his sudden inability to drive in runs with two outs!