FIRE JOE MORGAN: John Kruk fails to research his claims


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Saturday, June 18, 2005


John Kruk fails to research his claims

John Kruk wants all you guys to know that he's bored of all the talk about Red Sox and Yankees in his latest column, the apparent point of which is to equate mediocrity with being "under the radar." Unfortunately, other things that tend to bore John Kruk are accuracy and research. He begins:

East Coast fans don't hear about certain players because they don't play for an East Coast team.
How big do you think a guy like Albert Pujols would be if he was playing for either of those clubs and putting up those numbers? Jim Edmonds plays a sick center field, hits 30-40 homers every year and drives in 100 runs, but he's not on the East Coast so you don't hear about him. If he did play on the East Coast, they'd be getting his plaque ready for the Hall of Fame.

It's a nice day, and Kevin Millar's hitting again, so I will charitably chalk this up to hyperbole. To suggest that Albert Pujols is underrated by any knowledgable baseball fan is of course crazy, but Jim Edmonds probably should get more due. Anyway, he moves on to talk about how no one is talking about the D'Backs chances of finishing atop the NL West.

So far most of the talk out of the NL West has been of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants if Barry Bonds comes back.

So he conveniently tosses out every other team in the divison, provided that team is playing over .400 baseball. A strong rhetorical technique to help illustrate a dubious point.

People better watch this D-Backs team because it is pretty good. Right now their bullpen is horrible, but if the D-Backs get a reliever, they'll be right there in the middle of the race.

At the time of publication, the D'Backs were second in the division, 1.5 behind the Pads, 1 game over the Dodgers, and 5.5 over the Giants. Here's hoping they land that reliever and claw their way back into the middle of that race.

The D-Backs are legit and are going to be in this for the long haul once they get their offense going.

Arizona has outscored every team in their division. Every one. In fact, they are fourth in the league in runs scored, behind only the Phils, Cards and Reds. An improved offense is not the solution. Only the Rockies and Reds have given up more runs in the NL. If only you had stuck to your guns, JK. It gets interesting:

I've heard some people ask how Kirk Gibson won the MVP in 1988 when he only hit .290 and drove in 76 runs, but he made that Dodgers team win.

This basically sums up the John Kruk-as-baseball-analyst experience. Doing JK's actual job as a recreational pursuit, I discovered that the leading hitter in the NL that year, Tony Gwynn, hit .313. The two top HR hitters that year were Strawberry with a robust 39 and Glenn Davis with 30, compared to Gibson's 25, and the league leader in RsBI, Will Clark, had 109. 1988, it turns out, was an incredibly anemic year offensively, perhaps resulting from some unexplained factor compensating for the relatively nuclear scoring outburst occurring the previous season. I cannot back any of that up, so I leave it to speculation. But what I can say is that Gibby's only credible competition for MVP that year came from Strawberry, who finished 36 points behind Gibson. Darryl had a great year, batting .269-39-101 for a 100-win team. Unfortunately, he was probably hurt by the fact that his vote was split with Kevin McReynolds, who had a similarly impressive year, and also by the fact that, as those who were fans in the 1980s can attest, Darryl was most certainly a black baseball player. Again, speculation, but isn't this a better answer than "he made that Dodgers team win?"

If the D-Backs win the NL West, some people better start talking about Counsell for MVP because he's going to be the reason they win.

Bad reasoning, but Counsell just might be their MVP. Or maybe it's Troy Glaus. All I do know is that this reminded me of Kruk naming Chone Figgins his 2004 AL MVP basically because he played 8 positions for Anaheim, all with moderate aptitude. On to more "unfairly ignored" teams:

The only team in the AL East that you could say is flying under the radar is the Toronto Blue Jays. They are so young – with guys like Aaron Hill (23), Alex Rios (24), Russ Adams (24) and Gustavo Chacin (24) – that I'm not sure how good they are, and I just don't know how long they are going to last in the division race with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox playing better.

I love any paragraph by a baseball analyst that includes both "I'm not sure" and "I don't know." At least some candor from JK. He then takes this opportunity in a column stating his aversion to the prevalent discussion of east coast teams like the Yankees to address why the Yankees are playing better recently. Turns out they were playing the Pirates, and JK felt like taking the lay-up.

Players Under the Radar

This is getting long, so I'll sum up by saying he talks about three average players who are seldom talked about because they are mediocre.

posted by Coach  # 5:06 PM
"by the fact that, as those who were fans in the 1980s can attest, Darryl was most certainly a black baseball player."

As a 1980's era fan I've got to call you out a little here. I agree Kruk is an idiot, but I get a little touchy when race gets inserted into places it probably doesn't need to. Why was race an issue in the MVP voting of the 1980's?

Yes, he was black, as were the 1985, 1987,1989,1990-1993 National League MVPS's and the 1984,1987, and 1990 AL MVP's; and Joe Morgan, George Foster, Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, Don Baylor, Jim Rice, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Dick Allen and Vida Blue all won in the even more racist 1970's and going back to the '60's you've got McCovey, Gibson, Cepeda, Clemente, Mays, Frank Robinson, and Maury Wills.
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