For all the writing about the big three (professional) sports in the United States, I've really only ever been drawn to two - baseball and football. I will admit, for me, football is king.
I enjoy baseball, and as a Red Sox lifer, I can hold my own with the most knowledgeable of fans. But to me, football is a game in which strategy is much more important. Sure you have your pitching and hitting match-ups, fielding shifts, but if the right fielder takes a few plays off...hell, even a few innings off...during a game in which the pitcher is lighting it up, that player's mini-vacation can go largely unnoticed.
On the grid iron, if a player takes a few plays off, well, it could get the quarterback killed, it could mean a quick six, or it could mean a running back with no room to run. It will not go unnoticed.
No, the bottom line with baseball is it's an exercise in math...statistics. It's a chance for the fans and the press to wrap their minds around numbers in a sports context, in an effort to make those numbers meaningful. We look for trends, eye batting averages, pour over ERA's, and we use these numbers to argue and debate a player's worthiness. We check the pitching match-ups to see what sort of ground our team can make-up on or gain distance on a rival.
The Red Sox, based on April (16-8) and May (20-8), it can be said have experienced a slump in June (13-13, tonight's game determines whether or not the Sox have a winning record this month). In three more games, we hit the halfway mark of the season for Boston, and, based on career numbers, it can be opined that both David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are having off seasons as they are both on a pace for only 100 RBI's each.
In light of Baseball's predeliction towards the mathematic, production is gaged often in arcane ways - Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP), On Base Percentage combined with Slugging Percentage (OPS).
I present another way. Something a little less arcane, and maybe a little more accurate in regards to a player's production - Runs Scored and Runs Batted In Per Game, or as I call it; RSBIG. Yes, it does cause for a "production overlap," but it also gives a sense of how much of the scoring the player has been involved in.
This is the (regular) Red Sox line-up based on OPS -
Based on Batting Average -
Now my statistic - RSBIG
Mike Lowell ...................1.19
As much as Julio "What Mendoza Line" Lugo has struggled, offensively he has been almost as important this season to the Sox pushing runs across the plate as Manny Ramirez by either getting on base and scoring, or by knocking them in (he only has 9 fewer RBI's and has scored 7 fewer runs, in spite of batting .191 to Ramirez's .290), and in baseball, producing runs is the bottom line.