If Cliff Floyd’s breakdown wasn’t mind blowing enough for you, “Ball Four” author and Big League Chew inventor Jim Bouton (above) tackles the increasingly complex world of what we like to call “American Football” in today’s Seattle Times (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).
It’s embarrassing, as a former baseball player, to have to explain how to win a football game, but somebody’s got to do it. So, here’s my advice: Try to Score the Most Points.
I know this is contrary to basic football strategy ” reinforced over the years by TV analysts (ex-coaches and old quarterbacks) ” which is: Establish the Running Game, Get Good Field Position, Eat Up the Clock.
Football logic dictates that you Establish the Running Game to Set Up the Pass. (Why a team can’t Establish the Pass to set up the Running Game is a closely guarded secret.) The other reason to Establish the Running Game is to Eat Up the Clock. Eating Up the Clock is good. Unless you discover, later in the game, that the clock you ate was your own.
But never mind. The main thing is while you’re Eating Up Clock, you’re piling up Time of Possession so important to the TV guys.
Their thinking is that if the other team doesn’t have the ball, they can’t score. Beautiful. Of course, if you’re not scoring either, there’s no advantage.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop them from believing that marching 60 yards in 10 minutes before giving up the ball is better than turning it over in two minutes. Tip to football experts: No matter how quickly (or how often) you turn over the ball, each team gets it the same number of times!
7 thoughts on “Bouton’s SBXL Analysis”
Nice. The attitude that Bouton is mocking is the same attitude that Mike Leach is trying to overcome with his wide-open offense at Texas Tech (which was well-covered by Michael Lewis in a thorough NYT profile in December.
I was sorry to see Tech come up short against Alabama in this yearâ€™s Cotton Bowl, not because I give a damn about the Red Raiders, but because Iâ€™d just love to see his philosophy continue to spread throughout the game. It could have a profound impact and would make it much more dynamic and entertaining.
Not only was Lewis’ Leach profile pretty interesting, but I’d like to watch Joe Morgan get sick of answering questions about it.
sorry but each point bouton tries to make can be easily refuted. his oversimplified explanations leave a lot to be desired and i feel for whomever he has to “explain how to win a football game”. they’re sure to get a raw deal.
I’d gladly give to an organization dedicated to promoting Moneyball references solely for the purpose of annoying Joe Morgan.
And, kt–you might want to dial up the Sarcasm Sens-O-Tron a little, OK? Gotta be careful on the Internets.
not sure what you mean ed, nothing from me was directed towards you. but if you think bouton’s article was fully in jest, well, i suppose that’s one possible interpretation.
any sort of contentious back-and-forth in the comments section that doesn’t involve Huckapoo, Jason Starr or Pukey The Clown would be a momentous step in the right direction for CSTB.
Nothing personal, kt, I’m not trying to give you a hard time. But given that Bouton’s Ball Four is a satirical classic that shocked the Lords of Baseball when it was published in ’69, and given that he’s speaking at the national SABR convention later this year (at least according to the Seattle Times), I think it’s fair to assume that the man loves tweaking the conventional wisdom. The CW that he employs throughout the article is clearly meant to be sarcastic, and I’m sure he’s enjoying having some fun at the expense of the conservative football coaching establishment, just as he’s done throughout his career in MLB. Again, nothing personal, man. I just thought his piece was funny as hell.
And Gerard: Huckapoo! Huckapoo! Huckapoo!