Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again. Today is going to be a short post about “The Importance of Walks”.
The Importance of Walks?
I don’t technically mean like “taking a walk” around the park or your neighborhood. What I mean refers to baseball originally, but can be expanded upon to include more of life in general.
I know it doesn’t make sense right now, but give me a few minutes. So yesterday the Dodgers played the Blue Jays. If you don’t know, I’m a Dodgers fan and they’ve been pretty strong this year. Unfortunately, for the Blue Jays, they aren’t a very strong team this year. However, their new rookies Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Bo Bichette, are doing pretty well. They are the sons of two prior major league baseball players, Vladimir Guerrero and Dante Bichette. I think the Blue Jays will be a pretty good team next year.
As was expected, the Dodgers won the game by a pretty wide margin of 16-3. They, as a team, hit 5 home runs. Clayton Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff, but pitched 6 innings and gave up 3 runs. The bullpen didn’t give up any runs. This is all well and good. However, today we aren’t talking about the importance of home runs or pitching.
Today I want to concentrate on walks, which I find to be incredibly underrated by people in general. Unfortunately, walks aren’t very exciting. The pitcher throws 4 balls and the batter gets to walk to first base. It doesn’t change their batting average or slugging percentage. It only affect their on-base percentage (OBP) and their on base + slugging (OPS).
Wait, people talk about OPS all the time.
Yes, they do.
It’s probably an overused metric to be honest. However, it’s the best way to roll two different characteristics of a player into one. How is their power (slugging) and plate discipline (obp). In general, a 1.000 OPS is pretty darn good so it’s a useful metric. That said, I still think OBP is very important by itself. However, these new metrics make “number of walks” decrease in importance. In fact, the better metric is probably walk percentage (BB%).
Anyways, yesterday Max Muncy hit a home run, which he often does. I believe that was his 32nd of this season. I think there is a high likelihood he beats last season’s 35 and maybe he even hits 40 this season, which would be awesome.
However, I want to call to attention something else that happened yesterday. Max Muncy came to the plate 4 times and hit 1 home run.
The other three times? He walked.
A walk by itself isn’t important. However, on 2 of those walks he came in to score. That was good for 3 Runs.
In a game like yesterday where they won 16-3, things like that don’t matter. However, in the post-season in October, and in the World Series, things like that matter. In a closer game, those walks are worth a lot more and could be the difference between a win and a loss.
I just wanted to reiterate the importance of walks. However, it’s not just baseball, it has importance in daily life. Sometimes you aren’t going to be able to hit a home run, sometimes you’ll have to settle for a walk. For some, that may feel like a let down, like you didn’t do anything…
However, I ‘m here to remind you: Any progress is still progress.
There are much better ways of saying this of course. I think the most popular one is this quote:
I need to remind myself sometimes that progress isn’t always a home run… sometimes it’s just a walk. However, progress is still progress, and with enough walks you can get eventually a run.
Just ask the Dodgers, who got 5 walks in a walk off win the other day.
Sometimes you may feel like your progress has stalled in whatever.
However, sometimes progress isn’t a home run, maybe it’s “just a walk”.
Home runs are fun… but walks can win games just the same.
Don’t underestimate the importance of any step forward.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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