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Good essay by Gladwell. Worth the read.
One-third of current MLB pitchers have had Tommy John surgery. Of the about 360 who started the season, 124 share the all-too-familiar triangular scar. How surprising is this number? It stunned me! In recent talks with baseball officials, none guessed more than the one-in-nine number I had often seen quoted over the last decade (and quoted myself). Worse, none of us had any idea when this change had happened or noticed the acceleration. With the help of research assistants, I arrived at the number 124 by going through current rosters and searching news reports for each pitcher, looking to see if he had had Tommy John. The players are listed in this PDF, along with the year of their most recent surgery (players with italicized years have had more than one elbow reconstruction). For a different look at all the names, check out the illustration below.
Weak sauce, SugarBear. These lenses take the place of that kind of eyesight.
I remember in the Nineties, Bernie Williams had the LASIC.
... comment by Gladwell -- a trollish overreach.
One day early in the 1982 season he experienced a strange twinge in his right elbow and found himself unable to pitch normally. His arm hurt every time he tried to throw, forcing him to go on the disabled list. The team doctor could find nothing wrong, so Murata decided that he would "pitch through the pain," in the argot of the Japanese baseball player.
Every day he would go out and throw a ball against a concrete wall in his neighborhood. Pain shot through his arm with every pitch, but he continued to throw, hoping to make the pain disappear by this exercise of sheer will.
His wife told him that his arm needed rest. So did Leron Lee, his teammate from the U.S. But Murata would not listen. He was a purebred Hiroshiman, and Hiroshimans were known for their special brand of perseverance. So he continued to throw until his arm ached so badly that he could not raise it above his shoulder.
Murata tried everything to heal his injured elbow: acupuncture, electric shock, massage. One fan, a Japanese-American living in Los Angeles, wrote him a letter about the miraculous comeback made by Tommy John, who is still pitching for the Yankees at age 45. After John ruptured a ligament in his left elbow in 1974, orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe of Los Angeles replaced the damaged ligament with a tendon from his right forearm. After a year of therapy, John was able to come back and is now competing in his 14th season since the injury.
Murata's wife, Yoshiko, read the letter and said, "Maybe this is your chance," Murata blanched. He didn't even want to think about that possibility. In Japan it was said that once you underwent surgery on your pitching arm, you were finished. [emphasis added]
For $800 more you could have had x-ray vision and the ability to project laser heat? And you didn't spend the $800 bucks?!
Dude, I spent the 800 bucks. Just don't tell my wife.
Why do so many of the world’s best distance runners come from Kenya and Ethiopia? The answer, Epstein explains, begins with weight. A runner needs not just to be skinny but—more specifically—to have skinny calves and ankles, because every extra pound carried on your extremities costs more than a pound carried on your torso. That’s why shaving even a few ounces off a pair of running shoes can have a significant effect.
Doesn't this indicate that there's a potential competitive advantage in testing prospects' eyesight?
IOW, if you take the principle that people with great eyesight have an advantage in MLB, and you have two prospects with equal numbers, wouldn't you expect the one with better vision to be the better bet moving forward?
I'd be shocked if many teams were not giving eye tests to prospects and amateurs.
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