It is no secret that runs are not being scored at the same rate as they were in the late nineties. The causes of this have been discussed at length in many places. However, Dan Ennis has found that there may be a causal relationship between his coital relations and runs scored in Major League Baseball.
I’m convinced it is me.
Deride this claim as you will, but the phenomenon is real and measurable. There is and has been for decades a direct correlation between major league baseball’s run-scoring environment and my personal carnal success – scoring, not to put too fine a point on it. The parallels are so striking that it would not be unreasonable to presume that the two realms are somehow connected on a plane where sabermetrics and biology meet.
Lest you call me narcissistic, be assured that the first time I noticed this phenomenon I presumed that MLB scoring was the cause and my own scoring was the effect. It was the late 1990s. I was in my twenties and I attributed to the home runs of that era an aphrodisiac effect. The skeptical young lady I repeatedly accompanied to Fenway during the steroid era seemed particularly pliant when the runs came early and often.
As this is a family website, I will not describe in detail the mutual tumescence that occurred on August 2, 1996; I took the nymph to a Red Sox-Twins slugfest. The Sox won 11-10. When Reggie Jefferson went deep in the bottom of the ninth my lady trembled. What followed is best left in the boudoir, but I assure you that never was a woman pleasured after a Hod Eller shutout. I came away convinced that, to use the phrase of the time, “chicks dig the long ball.”
This could be dismissed as coincidence, but the extensive notes and film-based photographic record I kept of that era confirms that my personal scoring was tightly correlated to run production in baseball. In one 48 hour period in 1998, two days of baseball priapism, the Red Sox scored 30 runs, beating Montreal 15-0 and the White Sox 15-2. As Nomar is my witness, I was in no way responsible for the sybaritic pummeling inflicted upon my paramour during and between those thundering victories. The Sox, it seemed, were overflowing with productive energy, and I served and an adjunct, an outlet, an avatar. They scored, I scored.
Over at Fox Sports, Russell Carleton notes the wonderful power years of 1998-2001, and the sad decline since:
Using a spreadsheet I’ve been keeping since junior prom, I’ve calculated a personal “Copula Rate” for the same era:
A gentleman is discreet, but for the sake of science I must report that during the MLB scoring binge at the turn of the century my own scoring binge occurred. Mock if you will, but in 2000 I averaged almost one successful liaison per month. I created a special graphic to capture the undeniable parallels. The black line is the MLB home run rate, 1998-2014. The blue line is my own scoring rate, same years. The relationship is clear:
As the great ones piled up the homers in that era, my own big innings piled up in vibrating sympathy, and I’m a bit abashed to admit to pumping away with one eye on Sportscenter, Dan Patrick’s appreciation for Sammy Sosa mingling with the approving sighs of my intended. Blame the cream, blame the clear; we enjoyed that era. I was not the only one.
As I entered my thirties, my love life became erratic, just as the MLB scoring rate destabilized. In 2000 (the year, remember, that I made a love connection nearly a dozen times – a number I find astounding in retrospect, and one I would not blame you, reader, for doubting) MLB teams averaged 10.28 runs per game. By 2002 that number had dropped a full run, to 9.24. It bounced up and down for the rest of that decade, and I fondly recall 2006, when the scoring rate recovered to 9.71 runs per game, and I was able – not coincidentally – to entice a certain pixie to mambo nearly twice in one week before philosophical differences tore us apart.
But when the long decline began – 9.3 runs per game – 8.8 in 2010 – 8.3 in 2013 – I confess that I had doubts about the causal implications. Baseball’s braintrust sought reasons for the lack of scoring, and I wondered – horrified – if I had gotten the phenomenon backward. Perhaps MLB’s scoring rate was a function of my carnal success, not vice versa. I’d entered my forties, and so much had changed since the late 90s. My stock of Lewinsky jokes, flannel shirts, and CK One no longer beguiled. Lonely evenings were attended by increased shutouts. When MLB pitchers threw eight no-hitters in 2014, I concluded that it was attributable to my particularly dry spell.
In that arid 2014 season, suspecting that the demoralizing frequency of the “pitcher’s duel” was my fault, I felt the pressure building. Never a clutch performer, I approached every romantic opportunity like late-career Mike Napoli – I pressed, I flailed, I failed. With each strikeout, I trudged back to the gloomy dugout of the heart, having let all of baseball down. I can’t explain the physics (or metaphysics) of this twofold crisis, but I feel – no, I know – that I am the secret cause of baseball’s limp bats. I’m not getting much to hit anymore. Neither are my heroes.
Forget shifts, strike zones and steroids. It is, as the poet said, all about sex, baby. I can only pledge to keep trying, to keep taking weak but earnest swings even as it becomes clearer and clearer that I’m out of my league. I owe it to you, reader, to baseball, and to myself to try to score a few more times. I’ve been meaning to check out this Ashley Madison thing. If it works, we’ll all be welcoming back the deep ball.