A Hughmetric Season 8 Preview

A Hughmetric Season 8 Preview

No one denies the impact of the Sabermetrics revolution on LowBall. Now that all the teams (Loggers and Lagers) have access to the same metrics and same strategies, General Managers are scrambling to find that next advantage. Luckily for them, I, celebrated (and published) wiffle journalist, Hugh S. Wifflerton, spent many long evenings this winter with my abacus and slide rule to devise the next level of metrics, the Hughmetrics.

Instead of the traditional long winded season preview that no one reads, I am introducing a few of these metrics today in a slightly shorter winded piece that no one will read. Enjoy and enjoy wiffle.

Metric One: The "That Guy Just Stared Me Out (TGJSMO)" Metric

Listen people, I know you love your batting averages and your WHIP, but this is the single most important metric in LowBall. While technically speaking the team with more runs typically is the victor, I think we can all agree that the team with the nastiest collective snarl is the real winner. Really, it is just simple science. I developed a computer model to calculate TGJSMO so massive that it shut down Facebook for an hour in late February (you are welcome). Based solely on the quantifiable results of this massive model, here's the top two snarls in LowBall.

TGJSMO Runner-Up: El Guapo - .312

These top two were so close that a light nudge of the slide rule could have changed everything. The reigning LowBaller of the Year is known as the most diabolical stare down in the league. Both from the mound and the plate, there are times when it appears that he is in his own world. The trick is that he brings the opposition along into this potentially fabricated reality where he runs the show. A player that wished to remain anonymous told me the following,

So I am up to bat against El Guapo and he is intently shaking off signs from the catcher. I kept thinking, there isn't a catcher in wiffle, is there? Then it looks like things are escalating between Guap and the catcher as he is not getting the sign he wants. I am thinking, man four gin and tonics by the 4th may have been one too many. I was snapped back to reality as the ball zipped by for a strike. That guy is either a genius or insane, either way I was out.


TGJSMO Champion: Black Cloud - .316

It is rumored that the Black Cloud invented the staredown in 1853 when he was facing Doc Weatherton in a lively game of rounders in southeast South Carolina. My research shows that there was indeed no wiffle in 1853, so it is possible that Cloud would have stooped to rounders. I cannot find any other reason why this rumor would be untrue.

In today's league the Opaque Water Vapor has a stare so fierce that the league quietly added a rule in 2011 requiring anyone whose nickname starts with a Black and ends with a Cloud to wear dark sunglasses regardless of the weather. Chief LowBall Scout George McNeilly relayed this classic Cloud example to me,

It was near the beginning of Season V, I think Wiffmorial, but I cannot be sure. The Cloud was on the mound, remember this was the height of his pitching ability, and he is just blistering batters, leaving them in a heap aside the batter's box. All of sudden, he spots the Beerman and just starts staring, like he was trying to burn a hole through the Beerman's paper hat with his eyes. I mean, this servant of liquid refreshment was visibly trembling. This lasts for what seems like forever until finally the Beerman just gives the Cloud a bottle of vodka. He actually STARED liquor out of the Beerman, unreal.

Metric Two: The "Sumofabitch, That Should Have Been A Hit (STSHBAH)" Metric

There are great defensive plays and then there are the soul crushing thievery that STSHBAH measures. Sure having a foul ball snagged by a diving hot boxer sucks, but when a batter taps a pitch into the hole and is expecting a two bagger only to hang an out on the board, that is a game changer. Entire games have been swung by one miraculous catch. I burned through a set of AAA Duracells in my TI-85 graphing calculator to determine to the top two STSHBAH guys in the league.

STSHBAH Runner-Up: Bento Box 1.002

Now you may be inclined to question the validity of my calculations when a guy that plays 20% of the time is in second, but remember I only attend 17% of the games and I am only coherent for 43% of those. Riddle me that.

A couple years back at Wiffsolstice, I was in the LowBall box arguing with the Commissioner about the whole Beerman controversy. Finally, he just concedes and says "fine, can I buy you a beer and we will be done with this?" BAM, that is the homerun of journalism, a free beer. The bartender pours out my tasty reward and starts to slide it to me. Out of nowhere, Bento grabs the beer, cigarette dangling from mouth, and slams it down before disappearing into the night. That guy is so good, he robbed a journalistic homerun.

STSHBAH Champion: Rory Mon - 1.284

I was at wiffle scramble last year, milling around the bar area looking for floaters to supplement my expense account, when the crowd of thousands went silent. I looked up to see Rory Mon cross three fields of play to make a spectacular catch. It was like nothing I had ever witnessed, especially since there were only two fields being played on. That is kind of athlete Rory Mon is, he makes unbelievable things happen in the field and leaves the batter crushed, but he is always very polite about it.

Metric Three: The "Made You Pay (MYP)" Metric

Every pitcher in LowBall, even the great Plastic Surgeon, has to take a pitch off here and there. The grind of the 5 game season spread over 6 months is just too much to expect anyone to throw full pop on every pitch. MYP measures how often a batter coaxes the relaxed meat out of a pitcher and how often he sends that gift into the cheap lawn chairs. I borrowed J-Mac's contractor grade tape measure and came up with an intricate vector based algorithm to determine the two top MYP LowBallers.

MYP Runner-Up: Chin Music - .732

When you see Chin Music swing a bat, it elicits the calming vision of a frontiersman gently swinging a sickle knocking the heads off gophers on a warm prairie day. He just has such an effortless swing that pitchers are lulled into packaging up choice cuts of meat for his dining pleasure. Chin Music's high MYP actually goes up in the post season (you know, that one game) and is a big reason for his league leading Wifftober win percentage.

MYP Champion: Lonichiro - .795

I was as shocked as you to find the final computation pointing to Lonichiro as the league leader in MYP. There is no question that the LowBaller's LowBaller has the juice to rile up Bill McKibben over the export of petroleum out of Vermont. It is shocking to find that pitchers serve him up fresh meat at this point in his storied career. I spoke with the Black Cloud on this point

Here's the thing, I am convinced that Loncihiro wears disguises. Now I cannot be sure because I have often coaxed bottles of Vodka out of the Beerman, but I think there was a time he hit against me with Groucho Marx glasses on. That is really the only reasonable explanation.