1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

"Losing pitcher"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, May 3, 2009.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I received an e-mail tonight from a reader who was bothered to one of my stringers referring to a player in a high school softball game as "the losing pitcher."
    The reader was not the pitcher's parent, though I'd be willing to bet the pitcher's parent may have gotten that reader to send the e-mail because she thought it would have more credibility coming from a third party.
    Rather than getting into an e-mail pissing contest, I let the reader know she could call me.
    Should the reader call does this sound like a good explanation: "The term 'losing pitcher' is a stat in the game and not a pejorative. I trust my writers' judgement about what facts to include in their work. If a reader concludes that the player in question is a bad pitcher, it's unfortunate, but that was not what was said in the story."
  2. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Please tell her that the term "losing pitcher" is very clearly defined in the rules of softball (Rule 12.7):<blockquote><b>Sec. 7. PITCHER CHARGED WITH A LOSS.</b>
    A pitcher shall be charged with a loss, regardless of the number of innings he has pitched, if he is replaced when his team is behind in the score and his team thereafter fails to tie the score, or gain the lead.</blockquote>If she gets argumentative, point out that she can download the rules from the Internet. Thank her for her time and for returning your call.
  3. tagline

    tagline Member

    I think you could stop there.
  4. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Given the mindset at hand ... nope. "Well, how can that be an official statistic?!?"

    I've had this conversation. The only way to shut them down is to tell them where they can find it in the rulebook.
  5. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Holy goodness. Are some people really that thick?
  6. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    I agree that losing pitcher is the proper stat.

    However, I think there needs to be some caution when pointing out the losing pitcher, especially in roundups. Often times the pitcher on a softball team is the best player, especially if the team is horrible. If you have a team that goes 2-18 or whatever, and the only noteworth statistic worth pointing out from the losing team is the losing pitcher, such as "Jane Doe walked eight in a losing effort for Bumblefuck" or plainly "Jane Doe took the loss for Bumblefuck." Call me a wuss, but I think you need some sensitivity there. Poor kid is having her name in the paper every day in a somewhat negative way (in a losing effort, took the loss, etc.), when chances are she's the only good thing the team has going for it and more often than not was not the reason the team loss. I actually had a softball player ask me one time why she was always the one "blamed" for the loss. I explained the reasoning behind it, that she wasn't being blamed for the loss.

    But the more I thought about it, you can just name that Jane Doe struck out seven and walked three in five innings for Bumblefuck without saying she was charged with the loss, or picked up the loss, or did so in a losing effort and not lose anything from the roundup or story.

    Just my two cents. Not saying that losing pitcher is wrong. Not at all.
  7. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Yep, just go by the rulebook. No need to discuss it much further. "No offense to the pitcher, but that's what he's called in the rulebook, maam."
  8. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Quote verse and letter, and she can have no problem with you. Unless she's dense. And then she's dense.
  9. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    No. There's a winning pitcher and a losing pitcher. It's a stat; it's not about self-esteem. A variation of the advice my parents and coaches always told in me: If you're not happy about your performance, do something about it.

    If the girl is the best player on a 2-18 softball team, not only does she probably know it, she should try to do a little more next time.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Hate to tell you this, Billy, but using the term "losing effort" is a lot worse than saying someone was the losing pitcher.
    "Losing effort" should never be used as far as I'm concerned because it implies the team/player didn't make enough of an effort to win when in fact, they probably did give their best effort but just weren't good enough.
  11. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    The e-mail included the obligatory "this is not the pros."
    That's true, but it's not t-ball, either.
    For whatever it's worth, the kids on a varsity team in a sport like softball are the best athletes in the community. They started playing the game several years before they got to high school and were good enough to stay with it and earn a spot on a varsity team while their less athletically gifted peers were weeded out.
  12. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Honestly ... you'd have been better off just deleting the e-mail.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page