Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Friday, July 29, 2005



As if there were any doubt whatsoever, David Schoenfield proves once and for all he is an idiot.

Yesterday, he left Pedro Martinez off his list of the 20 current players he thinks are most likely to get into the Hall of Fame. I'll be honest. Today, I really, genuinely expected some sort of retraction. An embarrassed apology. A heartfelt mea culpa.

I got something better. Today, he went through Hall candidates #21-40 -- players he decided were all less deserving than the top 20. Before you read the first sentence of this next entry, keep in mind he included Miguel Cabrera on the first list at number 12.

21. Pedro Martinez
Only five starting pitchers in the Hall have fewer wins than Pedro's 194: Dizzy Dean (150), Addie Joss (160), Sandy Koufax (165), Lefty Gomez (189) and Rube Waddell (193).

>> He's 33 years old! He's 33 years old. How can I make this more clear? He's not dead. He's 33 years old. His career is not over. He's not stuck on 194 wins.

How about this? Only zero left fielders in the Hall have fewer RsBI than Miguel Cabrera's 249. Only zero left fielders in the Hall have fewer runs scored than Cabrera's 212. Only zero left fielders in the Hall have fewer steals than Cabrera's 6.

Every starting pitcher in the Hall has at least 100 complete games. Pedro has 44.

>> Every left fielder in the Hall is over 50 years old. In fact, Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett has been dead for over 50 years! Miguel Cabrera is 22 years old.

This is a ridiculous charge. It's a different era. Starting pitchers are used differently. John Smoltz, who Schoenfield inexplicably selected as his #5 choice, has 50 complete games, and he's 38. Tom Glavine, Schoenfield's lock at #4, has 53 at age 39.

Pedro should have been the third highest pitcher on the list, behind only Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux.

The crazy thing is, Schoenfield's presumably seen this chart. It's a list of the Career Leaders in Adjusted ERA+. Take a look at it. The reason I think he's at least glanced at it is because he cuts and pastes from the chart of Career Leaders in Adjusted OPS+ to make a case for Gary Sheffield. Plus, he writes himself that "[Pedro] has three of the top 15 seasons ever for adjusted ERA (ERA compared to the league average)".

Now look at the Career ERA+ chart again. Notice whose name is at the top? Did you notice that Pedro's lead over Walter Johnson is as large as the lead Tom Glavine has over the average starting pitcher?

It's mind-boggling.

Also, players sharing the borderline 21-40 list with Pedro include Omar Vizquel, Joe Mauer, and Hank Blalock. Yet he makes sure to say that the following players are, as he puts it, OUT: Rich Harden, Mark Teixeira, and Scott Rolen.

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posted by Junior  # 12:58 PM
Another comedic gem from Schoenfield:

"[Schilling] gets the nod when a couple of controversial ballots from Florida push him over the top."

And why was this irrelevant F-U inserted as a swipe at Red Sox fans:

OUT: David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Bill Mueller, Mark Bellhorn

That's it. No commentary or explanation.

If you are already projecting Joe Mauer (who, as far as I can tell, has underwhelmed in his ever-so-brief, injury-plagued tenure in the big leagues) as a Hall-of-Famer, you have to at least consider Varitek as a legitimate candidate. Instead, he believes it would be humorous to include him in a group including three decent but average fan favorites as a snide attack at overzealous Red Sox fanboys. As for Ortiz, he's good, but I would never presume to do something as foolish as predict a Hall of Fame career from someone who is only 29.

Have you seen the catchers in the Hall of Fame? Their numbers are, to be kind, solid.
Jason (NY): I thought the Bellhorn joke was VERY funny. And Ortiz didn't need explaining (even though as a Yankee fan he's the one Red Sox player I can't dislike but do definitely fear)

SportsNation David Schoenfield: Thanks, Jason. At least I have one smart reader out there. :-)

I want to qualify my last comment by saying that, of that group, Varitek should be considered a candidate ONLY IF you are projecting Joe Mauer as one. As it stands right now, Varitek would have to have the longevity of a Greg Myers (possible for a switch-hitting catcher) with only a tapered dropoff in offensive production. As it stands today, Varitek is nowhere near the Hall.
I hate this kind of reasoning:

"Gary Sheffield ranks 7th in OPS+ among HOF outfielders elected since 1970"

Could you possibly include a few more qualifiers in that statistic?

The fact is, Gary Sheffield has had a pretty decent career, and there will be a debate about his inclusion into the hall. But instead of looking at his OPS+ Versus Righthanded Virgos In Night Games In Which Kelly LeBrock Is In Attendance (OPS+VRHVINGIWKLBIIA), let's look at the bigger picture, say, all-time career OPS+.

He's tied for 43rd. Pretty good, but tied with Edgar Martinez (not on this list), Lance Berkman (not on this list), Jim Thome (OUT according to Schoenfield), Jason Giambi, and a bunch of old timey dudes I've never heard of.

The fact is, unless he snaps, murders an umpire and throws a grenade into the stands, Sheffield will probably finish his career with 500+ HR, 2600 hits, and a career OPS of around .900. Which means he's probably going to the Hall.

But let's take it easy with the "He's one of the best 30 hitters who has ever lived."

Let's face it. Your Yankee pinstripes are showing, Schoenfield, and even you know that if the Boss hadn't fucked up and signed this guy, you'd be calling him another Albert Belle (4 career OPS+ points behind Sheffield).
Oops. I meant Sheffield is tied with Edgar Martinez and TRAILS Berkman, Giambi, and Thome.
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