FIRE JOE MORGAN: Dumbest Man of the Last Fifty Years?

FIRE JOE MORGAN

Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Monday, September 26, 2005

 

Dumbest Man of the Last Fifty Years?

Bruce Jenkins is vying for the title. Hat tip to about twenty different readers for this article, ironically titled "Stupid comments are up."

Keep in mind, in this column, Jenkins is taking others to task for their stupid comments. And now I'm calling him out for his stupid comments on those supposedly stupid comments. Still with me?

Didn't think so. Here we go:

"Interesting team. They've got one guy leading the league in WHIP and another in VORP."

For heaven's sake, speak English. This is the new cool trend in baseball, quoting esoteric statistics as if they've been part of the game's fabric for 50 years. Go ahead, disappear into a basement somewhere and play around with numbers. Be sure to remember HEEP, SKANK and VLZSKS, while you're at it. We'll be out in the sun, discussing a little thing we like to call "runs batted in."

Jorge Cantu has more RBI than Derrek Lee. If that's the statistic you want to hitch your wagon to, enjoy.

Also, since he's pretty much calling everyone who cites statistics nerds, I did a search for "Bruce Jenkins" on baseballreference.com.

The results? "Found 0 hits for your search."

Bruce Jenkins: never a professional baseball player.

"These old white-haired scouts are kidding themselves. I can tell everything I need to know from a detailed set of numbers."

Hopelessly wrong. Numbers won't tell you if a hitter becomes especially tough after a pitch under his chin, if a slow baserunner steals third on the sheer logic of the situation, if a guy has about three vodkas too many after a bad game, or if a pitcher walks off the mound, exuding command, instead of running off like a scared jackrabbit. Check the stats, absolutely, but look at the face. Inspect the body language. See if your prospect acts the part, or if he just might be a mirage.

I don't care if a pitcher calmly walks off the mound or transforms into a giant hovercraft and levitates back to the dugout. I just want him to have a good WHIP. Yes, "WHIP."

Look at the face? Have you seen Julian Tavarez's face? Any face scout worth his salt wouldn't have let him within a hundred yards of a baseball diamond.

"Forget batting average. That's irrelevant."

Right, like a player's eyesight is irrelevant. Team batting average can be highly misleading, because it doesn't deal with specifics. But no matter how modern-day statisticians try to downplay traditional numbers, there's a volume of meaning in .178, .230, .289 and .337, at least when based over a long period of time. That's a wonderful little taste of truth.

Adam Dunn's career batting average is .249. Shea Hillenbrand's career batting average is .289. One of these players is extremely valuable.

"I'd get him out of there right now. I know he's pitching a one-hitter, but he's thrown 105 pitches."

Take a cue from Leo Mazzone, the Braves' pitching coach, and watch the game, not the numbers. Without question, certain pitchers need to be protected, but in the decade of the '90s, there were remarkable pitch counts by David Cone (166), Clemens (165, 164 and 159), Randy Johnson (157, 159 and two at 160) and Curt Schilling (148 in his 1993 World Series shutout for the Phillies). Earlier this season, Livan Hernandez had a 150-pitch start for Washington. Combined long-term damage: None.

So according to Bruce Jenkins, it's worth taking the risk of permanently harming your young pitchers to get that extra inning or two in because Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Roger Clemens are still going strong. How are you supposed to know if your young stud is one of those guys or one of the fragile Cubs guys?

Eh, just throw 'em out there for 150 pitches.

There's a lot more here, but I'm too angry to type without destroying this keyboard.





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posted by Junior  # 6:49 PM
Comments:
This is the most amazing article we've ever attacked. I just chimed in with analysis of the rest. We might need to rename the blog. I'm serious.
 
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