Monday, June 12, 2006

World Cup Viewers Guide

With Team USA in action today in the FIFA World Cup, it seems fair to take a quick look at the sport the rest of the world finds so intriguing. But, since Gatorade for some reason feels the need to run advertisements featuring Team USA Soccer with "Take me out to the ballgame" playing in the background, it is obvious that the only way to discuss the World Cup is by somehow linking it to baseball.
Craig Biggio had been hit by a pitch 9 times on days when FIFA World Cup games were being played. 5 of those plunks came during the opening round. 2 on the day of a quarterfinals game. Biggio has also been plunked on the day of the third place game in each of the last 2 World Cups. 7 of the 9 plunks came during the 1998 World Cup, and 2 during the 2002 edition, but Biggio was not plunked on the same day as any of the matches during the 1994 or 1990 FIFA World Cups.
Brian McBride is the only US player who has scored a World Cup goal on a day when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch, but 41 players from 19 other countries have done so. 9 of those players, including McBride and England's David Beckham, are playing in the 2006 tournament. Croatian striker Davor SĀŠuker and Argentinian Gabriel Batistuta have both scored 3 goals on days when Biggio was hit by a pitch, but Batistuta scored all three of his in one game while Suker scored goals on three different days when Biggio was plunked. However, neither of them are participating this year. Among those who are playing in 2006, Sweden's Henrik Larsson leads the way with 2 goals on days when Biggio has been plunked.
2 players have scored on their own goal in World Cup matches on days when Biggio was plunked.

The Netherlands has scored the most goals on days when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch, with 8 in two games. On June 20, 1998, the Netherlands beat South Korea 5-0, while Biggio was plunked by Rick Krivda of the Reds. The 5 goal performance was matched only by Argentina, who beat Jamaica 5-0 on June 21, 1998 - the same day Pete Harnisch plunked Craig Biggio. South Korea has given up the most goals on dates of Biggio plunkings, with 8.

Here are the total team standings on days when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch:
South Korea002

Teams in bold are playing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but Yugoslavia is down to just Serbia & Montenegro.

Only 1 of the 8 pitchers who plunked Biggio on a day of a World Cup match was born outside the United States. Lance Painter was born in England and plunked Biggio on July 11, 1998, but England had been eliminated and did not play that day.


At 6/12/2006 10:26:00 PM, Anonymous DM said...

There is a famous (if meaningless) correlation between the number of Republicans in Congress and the number of sunspots visible on the sun's surface. I wonder if sunspots cause Biggio plunks.

At 6/12/2006 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous DM said...

Ooooh, I have just noticed a cosmically significant fact. Biggio, number two on the all-time plunk list, has 277 plunks. Meanwhile, Nolan Ryan is number two on the all time wild pitch list, having thrown (you guessed it) 277 of them.

I think this means that Biggio should retire now.


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