Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
A few months ago, a brilliant xkcd comic inspired a challenge within the science world: explain a complex scientific topic using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language. My first thought was, of course, "Why not try this with baseball?". Using the Up-Goer Five Editor, I attempted to tell the story of last year's AL MVP race. Here is the result:
Every year, people that write about hit-ball decide who they think was the best hit-ball player. Sometimes it's easy to decide because there is one player that is better than every other player and everyone knows it. Last year was not one of those times. There was one player that was better than every other player, but many people were confused about this. Many people thought that a different player was better than every other player, even though he was not.
People thought that this player was better than every other player because he beat every other player in Three Numbers: times getting a hit for every time he had a chance to get a hit, times hitting the ball over the wall, and times getting another player to touch the last bag. For many years, these Three Numbers have been very important to people that watch hit-ball, so people really like when someone leads everyone in all three.
But even though this player was very good, there was another player that was even better. This second player was just as good as the first player at hitting the ball and making runs for his team, but he also did other things much better than the first player. He was very good at running to catch balls in the outer field, and he even stopped a ball from going over the wall more than once. He was also very fast, so he went to other bags before the player hitting could even hit the ball. These things made the other team have less runs, and made his team have more runs.
Many people didn't think that catching a lot of balls in the outer field and taking many bags in the inner field made the second player a better player than the first player. After all, the team of the first player went to the important rounds of hit-ball and the team of the second player did not. Also, the first player played in almost all the games during the year, but the second player didn't play games in the first month. Finally, the first player was best in the Three Numbers I used before, and no player had been the best in the Three Numbers for four tens and five years. People that used the Good Numbers and didn’t care about the Three Numbers didn’t like these reasons because their Good Numbers said that the second player was better, and their eyes agreed with the Good Numbers.
These two groups yelled at each other about which player was best. This yelling happened a lot on Flying Animal Noise because people like to yell at each other about all things on Flying Animal Noise. Many people that get paid to write about hit-ball also yelled, and this was bad for the people that liked the second player, because these writing people usually like the first player, and they were the ones deciding which player should get the Best Player present.
In the end, the player who was the best in the Three Numbers got the Best Player present. It’s sad that the other player didn't get a present for being the actual best player, but the fact that there was so much yelling about it shows that people are getting better at thinking about hit-ball. In later years, maybe those that write about hit-ball will get better at saying who is the best player, as well as who should go to the Hall of Great Hit-Ball People. Those of us that like to use the Good Numbers, like me, will be very happy if that happens.