Following up on our discussion of professionalism (in which Jonathan Chait argued that “the definition of a professional career track” requires pay differentials and the chance to get fired, and I argued the opposite, that a lot of people go into professional careers specifically because of the job security), Austin Frakt pointed me to this description of professionalism from Go master Toshiro Kageyama.
This in turn reminds me of a remark of Bill James when he explained lack of surprise that clutch hitting does not show up in the data. He wrote that the underlying idea of clutch hitting is that a player will play particuarly well in an important situation where the game or the season is on the line. But, James pointed out, these guys are pros, and the true sign of a professional is that he can always stay concentrated.
This argument applies particuarly for hitting, maybe less so for pitching, where a pitcher can’t necessarily throw his hardest for 100 pitches in a game.