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Postby Absolutely Adequate » Wed Dec 03, 2003 3:40 pm

I think that certain players play poorly in big situations - or in certain places. I looked up Kenny Rogers, who I thought was fairly chokish, and found good stats for the regular season. The playoffs were another story. I could only find his 1996 ws stats - which were less than memorable. Because I couldn't find good playoff stats for the guy, I simply split his career into to phases - When he pitched for either NY team, and when he pitched for anyone else.

When he pitched for anyone else, the guy threw 2244.1 innings. He allowed 935 earned runs. That comes out as about 3.75 era.
When he pitched for the NY teams, he threw 400 innings even. He allowed 218 earned runs. That means about a 4.90 era.

Does it mean anything? Is 400 innings enough of a sample size? Can anybody direct me to the playoff stats?

Excuse me if this is incoherent - I'm sick with the crud and hopped up on nyquil.

I think that choke exists. Maybe clutch does too, but is much rarer -relegated to Reggie Jackson and maybe somebody like El Duque. But that's just supposition. But I do think that choke exists. I think that it's easy to get a mental block stopping you from performing in high-pressure situations. Maybe.
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Postby Erboes » Wed Dec 03, 2003 3:41 pm

I know that, Lofunzo. I was just getting a bit tired of this topic. It's like having a great idea about work after quiting time.
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Postby HOOTIE » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:07 pm

AA It's funny. When you say choker, Rogers was a guy who popped to mind. Maybe it does exist in rare circumstances. His post season stats are bad, you don't want to know them. :-o
The one thing that favors him is it's only 19 innings. The reason i thought of Rogers, was he hated playing in NY. Teammates say he would throw up just before his start. He's a guy, who really thrives out of limelight. 400 innings is way ample. It shows he was uncomfortable in NY. Now, does being uncomfortable in NY mean choke?

Don't know much about golf, except bb is a team game, and golf is only about one.
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Postby Lofunzo » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:10 pm

HOOTIE wrote:Don't know much about golf, except bb is a team game, and golf is only about one.


I agree although the Ryder and President Cups are exciting team play.
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Postby timkell » Thu Dec 04, 2003 3:23 pm

RE: Rogers, I'd say that's the best example so far. I think playing in NY is enough pressure as it is.

There are guys that can't handle the spotlight, for sure. If you're a Yankee, though, and you can handle the regular season, than you can handle the playoffs.

If you can't handle the regular season, you can't handle the payoffs. Rogers is definitely one of those guys. Weaver appears to be.

I don't think if you grant that chokers exits you have to grant clutch players exist. In one, you're saying a guy's psychological makeup can't handle pressure. In another, you're saying he plays at some sub par level all season, then he suddenly wakes up and plays better in the postseason. If I'm an owner, I'm paying this clown millions of dollars, and he sleep walks through the regular season? WTF?!?!? Give me maximum effort all the time, buddy, or you're fired.

For most guys, playing major league baseball is pressure enough, but there are guys that can't handle the spotlight. One bad playoffs doesn't make that true, but 400 innings definitely does.

Look at Billy Beane, though. He couldn't even handle minor league pressure. Lots of guys have different breaking points.
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Postby Madison » Thu Dec 04, 2003 3:51 pm

Well I guess I should chime in on this........

As a person who earns a living as an athlete (yes, bowlers are athletes), I'll say a few things about chokers/clutch.

First of all, why is someone who can perform at their best level in any situation considered "clutch"?

For those who don't know, I earn a living bowling tournaments. Now if I step up in the 10th frame and I need 3 strikes to win first and $5000, and I do it, I'm considered "clutch". Why? Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Isn't that how I earn a living?

No different for ballplayers. They are paid to perform at the highest levels, no matter what the situation. I don't believe they should be considered "clutch" for doing what they are paid to do. I also don't classify a hitter as "clutch" in the playoffs or World Series. There are professional hitters, and people who can't handle the pressure.

Now I'll be the first to admit that there are a lot of "chokers" out there. I don't particularly like the term, but there are a lot of people who just can't handle the pressure situations. The first time I ever won a $5000 tournament, the other guy "choked". He shot around 140. He's a much better bowler than that, just with the money on the line, he couldn't perform. I've seen it many, many times in my life.

So I have to admit that there is such a thing as "choke". As to "clutch", I must admit that I really don't think it's that big of a deal to be able to perform the way you are paid to perform regardless of the circumstances. I also don't understand why there is such a big deal made out of "clutch". That's what the professional ballplayers are paid to do.

Just my opinion. ;-)
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Postby DK » Thu Dec 04, 2003 3:55 pm

In a sport like baseball, both clutch and choke are equal. Think of it this way:in 2001, Luis Gonzalez was clutch. Mo Rivera choked.

For every clutch play, there is a choke play. The only time choke might apply more is due to fielding errors and baserunning mistakes. But when it's pitcher-batter, it's Clutch-Choke. One will win. The other will lose.
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Postby ramble2 » Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:34 pm

Madison wrote:For those who don't know, I earn a living bowling tournaments. Now if I step up in the 10th frame and I need 3 strikes to win first and $5000, and I do it, I'm considered "clutch". Why? Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Isn't that how I earn a living?

No different for ballplayers. They are paid to perform at the highest levels, no matter what the situation. I don't believe they should be considered "clutch" for doing what they are paid to do. I also don't classify a hitter as "clutch" in the playoffs or World Series. There are professional hitters, and people who can't handle the pressure.


Well said Madison. I've certainly never competed at the level of sports that you have, but in my athletic experience I have to agree with you completely. On the college teams I competed on, I had a reputation for being clutch (one of my nicknames, in fact, was 'clutch'). This was because on several occasions I scored the game winning goal in sudden death over-time (water polo), or swam well in a big swim meet.

Personally, I never got it. I didn't think I was doing anything different than I had done all season. I was one of the leading scorers on my team, and so expected to be able to score when the game was on the line just as much as I expected to score early in the game, or in a blowout. Likewise with my swims. I was a pretty steady performer, and usually swam well in meets. I suspect that if you ask a lot of the guys who are deemed 'clutch' that they'll say the same thing. It's not clutch, it's just what they are supposed to be doing.
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Postby Lofunzo » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:39 pm

DK wrote:In a sport like baseball, both clutch and choke are equal. Think of it this way:in 2001, Luis Gonzalez was clutch. Mo Rivera choked.

For every clutch play, there is a choke play. The only time choke might apply more is due to fielding errors and baserunning mistakes. But when it's pitcher-batter, it's Clutch-Choke. One will win. The other will lose.


I disagree. In that same game, Soriano golfed a Schilling splitter from off the plate. Did Schilling choke? No. He made a great pitch. Soriano just made a better swing. Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap.

I also disagree as to whether Rivera choked. He did what he does most of the time. When the ball is put in play, things can happen. The D-Backs made the plays and won. They had 1 hard hit ball that inning by Womack (I think) and they still scored. Again, sometimes you just tip your cap.
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Postby DK » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:42 pm

Lofunzo wrote:
DK wrote:In a sport like baseball, both clutch and choke are equal. Think of it this way:in 2001, Luis Gonzalez was clutch. Mo Rivera choked.

For every clutch play, there is a choke play. The only time choke might apply more is due to fielding errors and baserunning mistakes. But when it's pitcher-batter, it's Clutch-Choke. One will win. The other will lose.


I disagree. In that same game, Soriano golfed a Schilling splitter from off the plate. Did Schilling choke? No. He made a great pitch. Soriano just made a better swing. Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap.

I also disagree as to whether Rivera choked. He did what he does most of the time. When the ball is put in play, things can happen. The D-Backs made the plays and won. They had 1 hard hit ball that inning by Womack (I think) and they still scored. Again, sometimes you just tip your cap.


I both agree and disagree. It's true it was a great pitch; but was it good enough? Apparently not. No matter how good the pitch/swing is, if the hitter gets a hit, he wins. If the pitcher gets it past him, he wins. The game goes on, or not. It's not a choke as much as a "not-good-enough".
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