I'm really sorry about this, but I was re-reading old posts on this (delightful) compendium of insanity, and I came across this sequence from a previous Joe Morgan chat:Sean (Washington DC): Joe, you mention "intangibles" Do you think that most players understand and believe in them (such things as clubhouse chemistry, baseball IQ, etc. because I do and I think a lot of fans do but there seem to be quite a few analysts and reporters who think they are overrated. What's your take?Joe Morgan: Well, Sean, I agree with YOU. Those intangibles ARE important. To hear people downplay them, means to me that they don't understand them. The computer age that we are in does not look for intangibles or reward them or recognize them. It's a definite plus when a guy brings more than a batting average to the table. Derek Jeter is the best example that you can get of a guy that helps you win championships with his intangibles. I've played the game for a long time and I've been an analyst and I know just how important those intangibles are. I couldn't agree with you more
Now, look. I don't want to beat a dead horse. But everyone who is stupid talks all the time about how undervalued "intangibles" are, and how there are guys who do things that "don't show up in the box scores" and all that stuff, and they argue, these idiots, that these "intangibles" are just as valuable to a team as actual baseball skills, and that no one rewards these people for their "intangibles."
But the thought just hit me: first of all, contrary to what Joe says here, EVERYBODY recognizes Derek Jeter's intangibles. People can't fucking shut up about Derek Jeter's intangibles. Ironically, there are dozens of sportscasters and -writers who talk incessantly about how nobody talks about Derek Jeter's intangibles. This, then, nullifies one part of Joe's "point." And second, in re: Joe saying that nobody rewards Derek Jeter's intangibles: Derek Jeter makes $18 million a year. Think about that. A guy who is, by any measure, a less-than-average shortstop, and who every year has like an .825 OPS or whatever (I don't have the energy to look it up) makes more than Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn, and Vlad Guererro, and even Pujols, and a whole lot of guys who are flat-out better players. So, what is he being paid for, if not "intangibles?"
In fact, if you decide to be crazy and take the approach that "intangibles" are a quantifiable aspect of baseball, like OPS or RC27 or anything else, then you would have to say that "intangibles" are among the most *over-appreciated" and *over-valued* of all skills. Because Derek Jeter is wildly overpaid, and everyone who is insane agrees that Derek Jeter does the most "intangible" things to help his team win.
And there are other guys, who don't make nearly as much money, but who are nonetheless overpaid, seemingly because they provide their team with intangibles. Jason Varitek is the best catcher in baseball right now, but will he be when he is 37? Because he'll be making like $10 million when he's 37, and a big part of the reason is his "intangibles."
It seems to me that if you want to make a lot of money as a baseball player, you should stop working out and taking extra BP and stuff, and work on your intangibles.
And also, since it's late and I am riled up, let me add the oft-made point that if Derek Jeter played for the Tigers, and had put up the exact same numbers and said and done the exact same things on and off the field, no one in the fucking world would ever have mentioned his name and the word "intangible" in the same sentence. And if Carlos Guillen had patrolled SS in the Bronx from 1996-2000, Joe Morgan would lie awake at night screaming at the ceiling that nobody recognizes how many intangibles he brings to the table.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank everybody here at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Preaching to the Converted.
Labels: derek jeter, intangibles, joe morgan