Tuesday, November 23, 2010

(The Press Hates) Days Like These

Usually, around this time of year, baseball's award season, you'll find articles here or there and sometimes everywhere expressing outrage or some minor form of vitriol towards their fellow writers for voting so incorrectly for [fill in the award]. Sometimes the postseason and even last few weeks of the regular season will take up space in the sports pages.

Who among us can forget Allen Barra's hilarious, Swiftian parody of those singing the praises of Jeter and begging that he should be MVP of the AL despite being statistically outweighed by his fellow players. Deadspin even wrote a response, obviously not getting the joke.

A dissenting voice can be good for clear thinking, but Phil Rogers, of the Chicago Tribune wondered out loud how much of Felix Hernandez's Cy Young was the result of "Bullying on the Internet" is something else entirely.

Is that what they call clear-headed thinking today? "Bullying." Yes, King Felix only managed a 13 - 12 record, but he also led the AL in IP and ERA while finishing 2nd in K's (by one strikeout, btw) to Jarred Weaver. Yes, the games are about winning, but when your offense bottoms out in virtually every major offensive category and is 2nd in strikeouts, why should the pitcher be blamed for not winning more? Where is the critique of CC Sabbathia, who only managed to win 61% of his starts despite having the Yankees leading the AL in runs?

Statistics are like a picture mosaic, and if you focus on one image, you're going to miss the bigger picture.

In 1989, Oakland A's pitcher Storm Davis went 19 - 7 despite posting an ERA 15% higher than the league average. The Kansas City Royals gave him a large contract, insisting that they didn't care about ERA, but about pitchers who could win games.

Rob Neyer pointed out that's like a CEO saying they don't care if the company makes money as long as the stock price goes up. Funny that some writers (and players) still think that.

I hesitate to even call it a minor controversy, but I'm sure the BCS will offer plenty for sports reporters to get up in arms about. As well it should.

No comments: