Friday, November 16, 2012

Old Time Baseball

This is on display at SB Nation right now. While the sarcasm is heavy handed, it almost doesn't feel like sarcasm since the Sabermetric stat geeks have had their superiority complex about Mike Trout and the MVP race on full, heightened display before the end of the regular season.

Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for the rest of us normal people, Old Time Baseball won today.

The Sabermetrics geeks were preparing for this day, and before Miguel Cabrera was awarded the AL MVP, they used their mystical powers of WAR to dig back in time and find all of the worst MVPs ever according to their own statistics that are just oh so correct.  They all know the WAR statistics are right because it gives their useless fantasy teams victories in their useless fantasy leagues.  The geeks think they're so correct that they prepared cute, sort of tongue-in-cheek headlines telling the rest of us unenlightened baseball fans to, ahem, "fuck off an die" when Miguel Cabrera dared to win MVP.  Since, you know, we're all such fucking assholes for daring to think that Miggy had an MVP-caliber season. 

Well now.  Hey Grant, and the rest of your Sabermetric ilk -- it's time for you to answer some questions. 

First and foremost: If defense is so important, then how come the teams who played against each other in the World Series were ranked 12th and 27th out of 30 in team defense this year?  By the way, the team with the 27th worst defensive stats in 2012 won the World Series.

And let's get to specifics about your holy grail of Sabermetrics: Wins Above Replacement.  Who the fuck governs the calculation of this stat, anyway?  God almighty?  Did Jesus rise on the third day simply to dictate which baseball players are responsible for more wins?  It sure seems like that's what you think.

There are so many examples to cite, since baseball has so many players, but let's stick to two great players: Alex Gordon and David Ortiz.

In the 2012 season, Alex Gordon was given a WAR rating of 6.2 -- meaning that he alone was responsible for adding 6.2 wins to his team's win/loss record, according to Sabermetrics.  His offensive WAR was 3.8, and his defensive WAR was 1.8.

First off, 3.8 + 1.8 does not equal 6.2, it equals 5.6; so I'm not sure where the extra .8 of WAR comes from.  Secondly, Gordon was so spectacular at shagging fly balls in left field that his WAR rating for this is 1.8?

David Ortiz, a DH who succumbed to an ankle injury this past season, had a WAR rating of 2.9 for his abbreviated season.  In real world terms, that means Papi's 23 homers and 60 RBIs were worth 2.9 wins compared to Gordon's 1.8 defensive WAR for patrolling the outfield.

So hitting bombs and driving in fucking runs, in the eyes of our Sabermetrics overlords, is somehow only worth .9 more WAR than shagging flies in the outfield. 

How does this even make sense?

To add insult to injury, Papi's defensive WAR rating is -1.0 (his offensive WAR was 3.1, so how Ortiz received a 2.9 WAR with 3.1 - 1.0 offensive/defensive WAR is beyond me).  He played seven games at first in 2012, didn't make an error, and I don't remember him flopping around the bag, either.  Ortiz may not have great range, but I remember him making a decent play on a ground ball hit down the line off Beckett in the Phillies series -- it would have been a double if Papi didn't snag it.  Maybe it wasn't a gold glove caliber play, but Beckett recognized Papi's effort on the play by waiting up for Papi and tapping gloves with him before heading to the dugout between innings.  

Papi isn't a gold glove first baseman, but he's not that bad, either.  He didn't make a single error in the 7 games he played at first.  But with a defensive WAR of -1.0, over 162 games WAR dictates that he would have cost the Red Sox 23 games.

Really?  Flawless defense at first, showing decent range, would have cost the Sox 23 games?  I'm not buying it, that's bullshit.

The Sabermetrics geeks can jerkoff all they want to Mike Trout's WAR rating and how much better it is than Cabrera's, but you know what?  None of those geeks can look at their precious statistics and answer why it was that Cabrera turned it up a notch in the last couple months of the season, hitting .344 with 54 RBIs and placing his teammates on his back into the playoffs while Trout's Angels were beat by the Oakland fucking A's.  

Mike Trout only hit .286 in the same stretch, and for all the geeks who claim that batting average no longer matters, here's an Old Time Baseball lesson: A PLAYER MUST PLACE THEIR FUCKING BAT ON THE FUCKING BALL TO CREATE FUCKING RUNS.  FUCKING DUH.  WHERE'S YOUR GODDAMN FUCKING SABERMETRIC STAT FOR THAT? HUH? 

The fact -- carved in stone, dyed in wool fact -- is that Miguel Cabrera created more runs when it counted.  This shouldn't discount from the fact that Mike Trout had a historic season for a rookie, and no sane baseball fan would say "I can't build a team around Trout" with his age and his monstrous talent.  But, as far is the Most Valuable Player award is concerned, Miguel Cabrera heated up during the final two months of the season and carried his team into the playoffs while AL pitchers caught up with Mike Trout, and his .392 batting average in July was brought down over 100 points to .286 in August and Sept/Oct.  

If Trout had played at his superior June/July levels for the remainder of the season, the Angels would have made the playoffs and there would be no question about his MVP status.

But the Angels stayed home.  The Tigers advanced because Miggy took it up a notch.  The Tigers went to the World Series despite having shitty defense from their sluggers, and they were beat by a Giants team with worse defense whose offense clobbered the shit out of them.

This ain't fantasy baseball, this is reality.  And it's about time that Sabermetrics geeks were knocked off their high horse and asked to address baseball reality, because unfortunately for them, none of their special statistics reflect this reality.  

So, in short, they are wrong.  Old Time Baseball wins yet again.  And until the Cult of Sabermetrics accept and address reality, they can feel free to get fucked.  Because, objectively speaking, they've all been proven wrong and they have some explaining to do. 

Suck it. 

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