Baseball is back.

The boys of summer have returned, and a new baseball season is upon us.  Baseball season is a favorite of mine for many reasons.  Baseball is a game that young and old can play and enjoy in various forms.  Baseball signals the return of summer’s warmth, tailgate parties with friends, and cold beer and brats.  Baseball offers a chance to see a hometown hero knock in the game-winning run or strike out an opposition batter to end the game.  The baseball season also affords fans many opportunities to follow their team on road trips.  I will be taking one of those trips to Pittsburgh later this summer.

Here’s another great thing about baseball: the stats. As an accountant, I’m a “numbers guy” by nature and few sports can match baseball in terms of statistics kept.  While most fans are familiar the traditional ones (such as batting average, RBI, ERA and errors) many now also look at newer stats like on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

There are two somewhat lesser understood statistics that I like to pay particular attention to when watching a game. WHIP is a pitching statistic, which averages the number of walks and hits per innings pitched. A pitcher with a lower WHIP would be more effective because fewer runners are getting on base, which means fewer runners have a chance to score.  OPS is a statistic which measures a batter’s on-base percentage plus his slugging percentage.  As you’d expect, slugging percentage is an indication of a hitter’s power.  It is calculated by dividing the number of total bases by the number of at bats.  A high OPS means a batter not only gets on base a lot, but is also very powerful.  Pretty relevant stat, eh?

Even if you’re not a numbers guy, baseball has something for everyone.  Put on your favorite team’s gear, grab the sunblock and head out to the ballpark.  I’ll see you there!