"Time of first pitch"

We all know baseball is pretty much all about stats. Hell, those of us old enough to remember Strat-O-Matic know that once you have stats, you dont even need the players. And for the most part, I can see the utility in almost all of the numbers - both the “root” numbers (ERA, RBIs, Batting Average, etc.) and the ever-increasing legion of “derived” stats (WHIP, OPS, GPA, and ol’ MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O).

But why the HELL do they bother with “time of first pitch”? Its in the box scores, they announce it over the PA at the park, and if you listen to the game on the radio the announcers always note it with breathless reverence “for those keeping score at home”*.

So … I turn it over to the great sporting minds and baseball sachems that frequent the SDMBs. Why bother with this incredibly useless bit of trivia?

*NOTE: If you ever wondered who those sad souls were who “kept score at home”, well, I was one of them. Religiously.

So you know how long the game lasts. If you don’t know when it started, that’s impossible to suss out.

Also, neither ERA or batting average are “root” stats, since they’re derived from other stats (IP, earned runs, hits and at-bats).

Good point about the stats. My “root” stats are more like “traditional” stats. You are correct as to what the base numbers actaully are.

That said, the elapsed time of the game (“T”) is indeed listed in every box score, right after the attendance. You dont need the TOFP to suss that out :slight_smile:

Well, you don’t need it in the box score, but you certainly need it to “keep track at home” if you’re listening over the radio. And box scores are just a reprinting of what would result from keeping track at home, which would have time of first pitch on it (so you can keep track of the length of the game).

Moved to the Game Room.

General Questions Moderator

:confused: How can you “suss out” the length of the game without knowing the start and the end time?

I mean, yeah, obviously, you can just read it out of the box score instead of calculating it yourself. But the whole point of “keeping score at home” is to have your own record of what happened.

FWIW, most parks don’t announce this over the PA system, and when I hear radio announcers do it, it’s usually because of a sponsor tie-in: “Tonight’s first pitch was at 7:10. The first pitch was brought to you by Connor and Sons, the first word in Chicagoland house painting.”

I would have thought somebody scoring at home could simply note the start time themselves if they cared, without needing a radio or television commentator to tell it to them. Or is it considered presumptuous to assume the scorer has access to a clock?

(If they for some reason miss the first part of the game, then knowing the start time is probably the least of their worries as far as their scorecard goes…)

My WAG: Perhaps the time of first pitch is used by stat geeks to determine if the game is considered a day game or a night game?

For example, I went to the Chicago Cubs vs Arizona Diamondbacks last month. The game was scheduled to start at 1:30. Due to a very long rain delay, the game didn’t actually start until around 5.

You could do that, certainly . . . but your clock might not agree with the official scorer’s clock. The time announced by the scorer to the press box, and sometimes passed on to the fans via broadcasters and/or the stadium public address, is the official start time. Likewise you could make your own judgment about hits and errors and so forth, but people want to hear the official decisions from the scorers.

FWIW, I keep score for games when I’m at the park, and I don’t give a rip about the start time.

You gave the answer yourself at the beginning of your OP: “We all know baseball is pretty much all about stats.”

That’s the beginning and end of it. I think. There’s no *reason *to track it; there’s no *reason *we need to know how long the game lasted. But it’s a ‘statistic’, and therefore it needs to be known. Best not to overthink it…

To me the main utility in it is to give me more fuel for the fire of my pet peeve on starting times vs. first pitch for games that are hijacked for national telecast. Especially on ESPN. An 8:05pm start time isn’t bad enough for the home fans, no, the first pitch has been thrown as late as 8:17pm because of all the pre-game yakking (the bigger/more important the game, the more time they need to yak about it).