I saw almost none of the Warriors/Mavericks game on Thursday, really; maybe a quarter and a half or so. That means I can’t really offer any sort of in-depth analysis of what
A lot of the discussion about this series has focused on two basic things. One was the
In the first game of the series (won by the Warriors, putting the basketball world on notice),
This whole idea of self-confidence got me wondering about some baseball; specifically, our old friend the Clutch Hitter. If such a thing exists, I would guess that the ability to hit in the clutch is closely linked to a healthy self-esteem. This sort of thing gets taken for granted in basketball all the time; in fact, the other night after Robert Horry had drilled a late three-pointer to push the Spurs past Denver in their first round series, Big Shot Bob said something to the effect of “Hey, it’s just basketball—I know my family will still love me, my friends will still be there, no matter what happens. So I just play ball.” Seems plausible enough.
If self-confidence plays such a role in basketball, why not in baseball? There are a few possibilities, as I see it. Maybe basketball players are full of it, and the issue is non-existent. Maybe our sabermetric disbelief in the clutch hitter is flawed. Maybe baseball has some kind of selection bias that basketball does not, filtering out those that would be affected by the self-confidence issue in the first place. Maybe basketball is somehow inherently different, allowing for more emotion to come out in the play. I have no answer for this in the slightest; if I had to guess, I’d say it’s a combination of all of these factors, and probably many more. But I’d love to hear what you think about it.
John Sharkey tries to bring the runner in from third at firstname.lastname@example.org.