Baseball, Horse Racing and Mass Shootings

Okay, what does baseball, horse racing and mass shootings have in common?

The answer is simple – illogical knee jerk reactions to one individual.

Let’s start with Major League Baseball. This year is the 50th anniversary (1968) of the best pitching performance in baseball history. Bob Gibson, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who finished the season with a 24-10 record. He pitched 304.2 innings in 34 games. He pitched 15 complete games, 4 of which went extra innings and 13 games were shutouts. While that all sounds pretty impressive to many baseball fans, the really impressive stat from that year was his season earned run average (ERA) of only 1.12. For those not familiar with baseball, this means that for the entire season, Gibson only allowed 1.12 earned runs per every 9 innings he pitched. This is still the major league record for the lowest season ERA in history.

However, because of Gibson’s skill, baseball league officials decided to lower the height of the pitcher’s mound from 15 inches to only 10 inches, where it remains today. They determined that the height of the mound somehow gave Gibson an unfair advantage. They didn’t consider the fact that every other pitcher also pitched from the same height mound but none came close to Gibson’s performance that year.

In horse racing, there was a race horse by the name of Phar Lap. I highly recommend you see the movie about this famous horse. Phar Lap was foaled in New Zealand and raced in Australia and eventually America in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Phar Lap was an exceptional horse that won race after race. He had a career record of 37 wins in 51 races. At one spell, he had won 32 of 35 races. It was later discovered that Phar Lap had a larger than normal heart, which pumped more oxygenated blood to his muscles, allowing him to run faster and longer.

Because of his exceptional speed and stamina, race officials continued to add more and more weights to Phar Lap’s saddle in an attempt to handicap him. At one point, Phar Lap was racing and carrying 150 pounds compared to other horses carrying around 120-126 pounds which includes jockey and saddle.

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Even though some will dispute the claim, others say that handicapping race horses changed due to the illogical knee jerk reactions caused by one horse – Phar Lap.

Now turn to mass shootings and Nikolas Cruz. He was a troubled youth who had his share of problems, behavioral and legal. Yet, at 19 years of age, he legally purchased a gun that a few months later, he used to shoot and kill 17 and injure another dozen or so.

Cruz’s action has caused many to take a typical illogical and poorly thought out reaction of wanting to raise the age for purchasing a firearm. Some counties have passed gun control laws raising the legal age for gun purchases. Companies including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart also changed company policy, raising the age for selling a gun to the general public.

Their illogical knee jerk reaction impacts tens of thousands of innocent law-abiding citizens. A point made by many involves members of the US military. They are old enough to be armed and risk their lives in defending our country and serving our nation, but if they are not 21, they are being denied the right to buy a gun to defend themselves, their homes or their families.

Knee jerk reactions often have long-term consequences that affect so many others who did nothing wrong. Gun control activists pushing an age limit of 21 either fail to understand the broad consequences of their actions or they choose to ignore the long-term implications of their knee jerk reactions.


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