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Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Hey Man, It's A Heyman Mailbag Mailbag.

You readers can't get enough Jon Heyman, the man who promises to commit seppuku if he hears the word VORP again (I'm paraphrasing). Hold on to your brains, here. I'm about to quote from e-mails we've gotten about Heyman's responses to e-mails he's gotten.

Matt points out more VORPage:

Still using wins to judge a pitcher? I thought we'd moved out of the Dark Ages. Beckett has received almost 7 runs per game of support, whereas guys like Haren ( 5.44), Santana (5.24), and Bedard (4.60) have all received considerably less. Or are they supposed to will their teams to play better with their magical clutchness and playing of the game the right way like Beckett does? Also, VORP (one of those spooky, newfangled computer stats) has Kelvim Escobar first, followed by Santana, Bedard and Haren. Beckett is a distant seventh.
--Rob, Southington, Conn.

There goes that VORP again. When the standings are determined by VORP, I think I will take it more seriously. But as you know, they still go by wins and losses. Like I said, I am an admirer of Bedard's. I had him second. Why don't you send your insults to Jim Leyland, who didn't even pick him for the All-Star team?

So Heyman will only use statistics that determine the standings. Of course you realize this eliminates at-bats, hits, walks, strikeouts, stolen bases, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, Batting Average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Not that Heyman would use those last two anyway, because, you know, 'on-base percentage?' That could mean anything! Now, win-percentage. Theres a stat I could get behind. Or lose percentage. Another great stat. Why don't these stat geeks program their computers to do that? Huh!?! I gotta sit down...

And from Kevin:

You missed a tasty nugget in Heyman's mailbag. First he says, in re: the AL MVP:

However, I only wanted to mention players I thought had a chance to win the awards. In this rare case, I think only Alex Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez realistically can win, with A-Rod's chances about 95 percent now. In the unlikely event the Yankees and Tigers fall completely out of the race or A-Rod (who incidentally has been terrific in the field and on the basepaths) gets hurt, I might have to re-evaluate. In that case, I'd put Ichiro and Vladimir Guerrero at the top of the next tier.

OK. Ichiro. Fine. But then, in the very next question, re: the AL ROY...

In your list of AL Rookie of the Year candidates you neglected two other Red Sox rookies: Dustin Pedroia and Hideki Okajima. Yes, Dice-K was the big name at the beginning of the season but others are out there also.
-- Henry, Homestead, Fla.

I'd still have to go with a front-line starter over a singles-hitting second baseman and a setup man. Matsuzaka had all the expectations and pressure on him, and he delivered in such a way that hardly anyone is questioning the team's financial outlay for him. Pedroia has been superb in his role, and Okajima even better. But I am afraid they are handicapped by their roles.

So....Ichiro, as a singles hitter, is a possible candidate for AL MVP, but Pedroia, a singles hitter, isn't a possible candidate for AL ROY? Huh?

Good point, Kevin. I very much enjoy that both of these reader e-mails include bewildered "Huh?"s as ultimately, the only reasonable response. Heyman has simply rendered some people dumbfounded.

Some numbers: Ichiro has 192 hits on the year, with 30 of them being the extra base variety. Pedroia checks in with 128 hits and 35 XBH. Even though Ichiro's batting an absurd .353, he's only outslugging Pedroia .439 to .438.

Ichiro is a terror on the basepaths and by all accounts a phenomenal fielder. But he is decidedly a singles hitter.

Also, getting back to VORP -- isn't a tiny part of Heyman's grooveless, reptilian brain* flickering just the slightest in response to the fact that a growing percentage of e-mails he receives at his job as a baseball writer refer to some newer baseball statistics? Shouldn't that mean anything to him?

*Brain may actually be human


posted by Junior  # 6:24 PM
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