Sunday, April 20, 2008

better not to try than to try, fail, and be criticized

Dave Sheinin raises an interesting topic - the idea that a four-man pitching rotation in baseball might be better than the current five-pitcher standard. The idea isn't new - until the late 1970s it was the standard.

Since then, various baseball analysts have studied the question and found that pitchers are as or even more effective in a four-man rotation than in a five-pitcher setup - and that they are no more prone to injury. (This sounds counter-intuitive but isn't - injuries result more from throwing too many pitches in a given game, rather than from coming back on three days rest instead of four.)

So why don't more baseball teams try this - since as Earl Weaver said, it's easier to find four good starting pitchers than five? Because if you do something that is not the norm and it doesn't work, people automatically assume that the new thing is flawed, and that you are an idiot for trying it.

And that's applicable outside of baseball and the world of sports, too. Easier to stick with the comfortable routine than to risk being innovative for fear of it not working and being tagged an idiot.