Leyland on the lineup change:”It certainly can’t hurt. We’re going to take a shot…A little something to churn up the butter a little bit.”
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 16, 2013
Here’s why the Orioles are so dangerous: If they once again vastly outperform their run differential and win an inordinate amount of 1-run games, in the AL East, BAL will win 100.
Here’s why the Royals are so dangerous: If James Shields pitches a complete game shutout in every single one of his starts, in the AL Central, KC will win 100.
I’m sort of at a loss as to where to go next with this piece. I’m overwhelmed with inspiration. The opportunities are almost endless. I could go super over the top and enthusiastic, use some Caps Lock and exclamation points and ha ha ha my way through the throw. I could try faux-profundity, whip out the thesaurus and turn this thing into a metaphor for human frailty. I could write a poem, because this GIF is poetry. Since I’ve already established that I can’t decide (how fortunate for me), and because I’m lazy (indeed), I’ll leave the interpretation of Delmon’s throw to the reader. This throw is whatever you want it to be, it’s a gift from baseball to you, the loyal and deserving fanatic. Cherish it. Hold on to it and don’t let it go. Predicting baseball is a fool’s errand, it’s folly, but there is no substitute for the satisfaction of being right.
It turns out that Neil is not wrong, and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to baseball. Either Detroit will win the World Series or San Francisco will win the World Series. Neil Young did not predict that San Diego would win the World Series, so I believe we should accept his expertise and adjust our lives accordingly. Not only is Neil Young a very prolific and talented musician, he is also a baseball expert. This should only strengthen our admiration of the man. Take this very important and critical knowledge with you and share it with friends and loved ones.
Back about 45 years ago when I decided to start this blog, I thought I’d be this awesome stats guy. I’d like, totally use WAR and wRC+ and LD% or whatever and tell people who was good at baseball and who wasn’t. I’d analyze trades by dollar-per-win and illuminate the ignorant masses as to how a baseball team is properly run.
It turns out that shit is really hard. And complicated! The more I learn and know about advanced metrics, the more I realize how large the gap is between my feeble brain and the minds of the smart people who can actually write those types of articles well and with regularity. It’s sort of like just about everything I’ve tried to be good at/know about in life. Smart enough to be better than average, smart enough to know I’ll never reach the top. The good news is that the Internet can’t get enough smart baseball analysis, something I’ve decided I have no interest in attempting. My wife was telling me last night about how I’m a pessimist. What does she know?
All this is to say that the joke’s on me, because I wrote a blog post that uses some statistics. They’re pretty easy ones, and I probably abused the hell out of them, but the words have been written and the post has been published so there’s no looking back now. When in doubt, just write whatever you want and pray you’re not 100% wrong.
Well, that didn’t take long.
This guy, Tom Gage, voted Jose Valverde second on his Cy Young Ballot. In what should come as no surprise to anyone, Tom Gage is a beat writer who covers the Detroit Tigers. Beautiful. On any given day, I can fall on one of two sides when it comes to this kind of thing. On one side, I’ll be so full up with righteous anger that I’ll spend a solid hour or two online, berating my friends with this information. I’ll rail against the petty and indignant ignorance of silly old men who think they’re upholding some preposterous ideal of the soul of baseball by continuing to bury their heads in the sand, ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence that proves the way they think about the game is simply and plainly wrong. Or I’ll just call them biased homers with no journalistic integrity. I’ll type really fast and use capital letters, and then I’ll come home and start yelling about it in the general direction of my wife. She’ll listen for a few minutes and then tune me out until I get tired enough to stop. On the other side, I’ll look at the picture of the offending party, in this case, a cute little Twitter profile picture of ol’ Tom Gage hanging out on some beach, and I’ll just see somebody’s grandfather. Somebody’s ignorant, stupid old adorable grandfather who has spent his life covering the sport that he loved as a boy, who can’t help but root passionately for the team that he covers and who simply just doesn’t know any better. The game has passed him by and he hasn’t quite realized it yet. It’s sad, really, and on this day, I mostly just feel sad for Tom Gage. Or uninspired. Or indifferent. Let the cute old guy just enjoy his fucking beach.
Here’s what he had to say about Jose Valverde’s Cy Young credentials, “Wasn’t afraid to put another Tiger second. In the American League, his 49-for-49 in saves was the second-best pitching accomplishment of the season.” I really am feeling docile this evening, but there’s a decent sprinkling of curmudgeonly nonsense in there threatening to get my blood going. He wasn’t afraid to put another Tiger second. He’s not blinded by his own ignorant favoritism, he’s a goddamn hero, not afraid to stick his neck out there and make the tough decisions. And the Saves. An infallible statistic. When one is making such a bold proclamation, the Save alone is strong enough to take over the entire discussion and make ones case. 49-for-49? Well I guess there’s no sense in arguing against that, is there?
I could spend some more time explaining what we already know. That this vote by Tom Gage is objectively complete and total bullshit. That Jose Valverde really isn’t that good. That relievers, even good ones, are substantially less valuable than elite starting pitchers. That the Save is an antiquated and ridiculous measure of a pitchers value. That Tom Gage is just voting for a guy who gave him some good quotes this season and who did an amusing dance at the end of games. But, what would really be the point? This Cy Young was completely dominated by Justin Verlander, rendering this intellectually dishonest and ignorant vote completely insignificant aside from what it illustrates about Tom Gage’s brain (alliteration, fools). Tommy Gage is just a cute old grandpa on the beach somewhere. It’s not his fault someone was stupid enough to give him one of the only 28 AL Cy Young votes.
I root for the Seattle Mariners and have done so all of my life. As such, I guess I’m supposed to dislike the Texas Rangers. They’re division rivals, competing directly with the M’s for wins. If the Rangers make the post-season, it more likely than not means the Mariners didn’t. The better they do in the post-season, the more money they make, the more money they make, the more they can spend on really good players who will then dominate the Mariners for years and years to come. There are a lot of really good reasons why I shouldn’t want the team to succeed. And yet, in this particular season, against these particular Detroit Tigers, I can’t seem to muster up any hate for the Texas Rangers. I actually wouldn’t mind if they won this evening, or tomorrow night, and advanced to the World Series. It’s weird. Also terrible. Weird and terrible.