K?

Welcome back!  Today, I’ll dive right in and answer a question posed by one of my friends.  We were watching the Giants game together on Wednesday afternoon right before heading off to meet Brandon Crawford (HEEEEEEEEEE!!).  She noticed someone hanging a large K on the wall in right field at AT&T Park and asked me what the K meant.  In baseball scoring, K stands for strikeout.  Every time a pitcher gets a strikeout, fans will flip over a K on the wall to keep track of the number of strikeouts pitched during a game.  On a side note, if you are at a game where the Giants pitchers get a total of 13 or more Ks, you can get free sausages!

Once while I was at a game last season, I noticed that some of these Ks were hung backwards.  A nearby fellow fan had been discussing baseball with one of his friends, and I thought he might be knowledgeable enough to know why.  So I got up the nerve and asked him.  He told me that the backwards K represents a strikeout where the third strike was a strike called by the umpire, not a swinging strike.  A regular “K” represents a strikeout where on the third strike, the batter swung and missed.  And thus a nice gentleman increased my understanding of baseball.  Take home lesson – if you have questions, ASK!

I’ve also wondered why a strikeout is represented with a K instead of an S.  K??  Knockout?  Knucklehead?  I was listening to KNBR the other day on Female Friday (on Fridays, woman are encouraged to call in with sports questions they have), and someone posed this same question.  The answer:   In 1874, when Henry Chadwick came up with his system for keeping track of the events in a baseball game, he had to find a unique letter to represent all of the possible outcomes of an at bat.  He chose K for strike out because it is the last letter of “struck” as in “struck out”.  S actually stands for sacrifice (this is when a batter hits the ball and advances 1 or more runners on base but ends up getting out himself).  So now you know.  Next time, I’ll go into more detail on the baseball scoring system.

And now, drumroll please!  I have the results of my first 2 spit counts!  The results were pretty surprising.  I watched the Giants vs. Brewers games on July 22nd and 23rd and recorded the number of televised spits.  Here are the outcomes:

July 22nd

Giants:

–         Keppinger 7 (new guy spits a lot!)

–         Sandoval 7

–         Huff 4

–         Cain 3

–         Torres 1

–         Rowand 1

Brewers:

–         Marcum 11 (!!!!)

–         Lucroy 4

–         Weeks 3

–         Counsell 1

–         Axford 1

–         Sedar (3rd base coach) 1

Misc.:

–         Umpire 2

Game Spit Master General = Marcum at 11 spits

Keppinger and Sandoval tied at 7 for the Giants

That’s a total of 46 spits during a 2.5 hour game.  That’s almost 1 spit every 3 minutes!  YUCK!  I really wasn’t expecting such a high number.

July 23rd

Giants:

–         Vogelsong 6

–         Huff 5

–         Sandoval 3

–         Keppinger 1

–         Stewart 1

–         Affeldt 1

–         Torres 1

Brewers:

–         Braun 3

–         Loe 2

–         Fielder 1

–         McGehee 1

–         Hawkins 1

–         Kotsay 1

–         Weeks 1

Misc.:

–     Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Vogelsong at 6

The total was significantly lower this time and the game was longer:  29 spits in 3 hours, almost 1 spit every 6 minutes (better than last game, but still disgusting).

Already I am noticing some trends.  Pitchers spit a lot.  But they are also on camera more so I’m not sure they are spitting any more than other position players.  I also noticed that Vogelsong spat more as the game went on.  Spitting is not limited to guys that chew tobacco – both Spit Master Generals were not chewing tobacco.  Umpires and coaches also get in on the action (don’t think they really have an excuse as they are not exerting themselves that much physically, but that’s just my opinion).  I also wondered if catchers would spit through their mask or if the mask would keep the saliva in their mouths.  I have not observed a catcher spit through a mask yet, but I did observe Chris Stewart lift up his mask to spit.  It is also interesting that the Spit Master General each time was the winning pitcher.  I’ll have to see if this trend continues.  And not all players spit, so at least that was somewhat comforting.

Aside from the spit counts, I have some other observations about Saturday’s Giants game.  Ron Wotus, the Giants’ bench coach, was ejected from the game for yelling at the home plate umpire.  I had never seen anyone besides a player or a manager get ejected from a game.  Has anyone else?  Just wondering.  Also, apparently some fans were heckling Nyjer Morgan, the Brewers’ centerfielder.  It’s typical for fans to heckle the outfielders of the opposing team.  After making a great catch, he made some gestures and yelled back at fans.  The announcers were saying that he could actually be fined by the league for doing this.  I was unaware of this, but think it’s a great policy.  What do you think?  And are there other things that the league can fine you for?  If you know, please educate me.

Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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4 comments

  1. Halle

    Regarding all those spitters. We are a household of sunflower seed eaters and so my question is…are these spitters getting rid of their seed shells and not just excessive saliva??? 😉

    • giantsfancarm

      Thanks for the comment, Halle! It’s so nice to know that people are actually reading this. You ask a great question, and I will address it in my next blog. Take care.

  2. jasejall

    I think you can get fined if you do not wear the right apparel in baseball. Such as the whole thing with BRian Wilson’s shoes and how they were too orange and distracting to hitters.

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