10 July 2007

A Bullpen of Davids

In his book An Army of Davids, Instapundit blogger and podcaster Professor Glenn Reynolds suggested that technology could empower the common man to effect broad changes in the world around himself. Legions of rotisserie/fantasy league baseball players believe that they can manage big-leaguers. Put the two concepts together and you might just have something.

Felix Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners' phenom, has responded to pitching criticism from the outstanding U.S.S. Mariner blog with notable results. As reported by the Deadspin blog:
The blog U.S.S. Mariner wrote an open letter to Seattle Mariners pitching coach Rafael Chavez [sic], wherein he mentions how Felix Hernandez throws way too many fastballs, a chronic condition known as Farnsworth Syndrome. Well, Chavez [sic] showed the actual letter/report to Hernandez, who heeded the advice. And it worked.

Rather than establish his fastball by throwing it a ton, Hernandez mixed in a few breaking balls against the Oakland A's en route to an eight-inning, two-hit, zero-run effort. The A's [sic] won 4-0.

In response, the U.S.S. Mariner bloggers were somewhat more modest than I would probably have been:
Now, correlation is not causation. Maybe the A’s hitters just aren’t very good, and maybe Felix is just bound to dominate line-ups like this because his stuff is off the charts.

But you know, I love seeing Felix trying something new. Its extremely encouraging that he took some information made available to him and made adjustments to improve his approach.

That Chaves was able to use the the open letter from the blog to help drive home a point he’d already been making, well, that’s just the cherry on top. But Felix deserves all the credit in the world for this. He and Chaves did the work, and they’re the ones who tossed a shutout at the A’s today. We just get to enjoy the fruits of Good Felix.

As a blogger, I'm pleased at this public acknowledgement of the knowledge on regular display in the blogosphere; as a Mariners fan, I'm just happy that something worked for the M's. With a three-games winning streak heading into the All-Star break and only a narrow margin between them and the division lead, I'm looking forward to the second half for the first time in a few years.

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