Levine: Preparing for baseball’s most extreme circumstances

From SABR member Zachary Levine at Baseball Prospectus on June 20, 2013:

Disaster experts—and really, what better analogy is there for a discussion of major league managers—often use terms like “100-year event” or “1000-year event” to discuss the limits of our preparedness.

There are some situations that are so rare that in a cost-benefit analysis it is deemed not worthwhile to disrupt routines or expend resources in order to prevent them. For example, the United States has not stationed a large military force in International Falls because while there is a non-zero chance, there is a very small chance that Canada will attack us in a ground invasion from Ontario. The parlance is more commonly used for things like floods and earthquakes.

This month in baseball has seen several situations in which managers found themselves somewhat unprepared as games progressed to 16, 18, or even 20 innings. Having talked to a couple of the managers involved, it turns out that this is no surprise.

This month’s Marlins-Mets 20-inning game, Jays-Rangers and A’s-Yankees 18-inning games, and White Sox-Mariners 16-inning game are baseball’s 100-year floods. They are situations that would take a lot of strain to prepare for, in that you’d have to pass up platoon advantages, pinch-hitting spots, and other ways of trying to win games in nine innings in order to improve your chances in the unlikely event of an umpteenth inning.

So does a manager ever go in with a plan even in the back of his mind for what happens if that night’s game goes 18 innings?

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20985

Originally published: June 20, 2013. Last Updated: June 20, 2013.