Statistics are a huge part of baseball. They count everything. And I do mean everything. For a hitter, they count number of hits (H), walks (BB), runs scored (R), runs batted in (RBI), and the keep track of a player’s batting average (AVG) on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG). For an in-depth tutorial in Baseball Stats 101 from Baseball Almanac.
If you didn’t know what the numbers mean, you would think that a batting average of .333 was horrible when looked at as a straight percentage. But knowing that Babe Ruth never hit more than .393 and no player has hit over .400 since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.
Statistics are one way of measuring success. But the player with the highest overall batting average might not be the league MVP, although in 2012 Buster Posey led the National League in BA with .336 and he was named NL MVP.
As a writer, I’ve been sucked into checking my Amazon ranking. At first it was just exciting to have an Amazon ranking. Then a couple of days after my book came out, my ranking was pretty good (not top 100, but not a bad start). But then my numbers went down, and back up, and then waaaaay down.
While it’s a handy little chart, I have no idea how it translates into actual sales. And like in baseball, I shouldn’t get too excited or too worried about any one spot on the chart. Angel Pagan is no longer hitting .461 and Hunter Pence has brought his average up to .253. Buster Posey won’t stay a .238 hitter. I’m not worried about any of those guys, they’ll come through many times over the season.
And I’m hoping the numbers will become less important than the fact that many people are enjoying Better Than Perfect and looking forward to more of the series. The majority of the reviews have been very positive 3, 4, and 5 stars. I’ve had a couple of less favorable reviews and even a DNF (did not finish, the worst). I’m trying to stay positive, stay focused, and keep working on the next book. I don’t plan on being a one hit wonder (like David Huff, the relief pitcher who is batting a thousand- he got one hit in his only at bat this year).
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