August 9, 2002
Somewhere there is a village missing its idiot
There are some stupid people in this world. There are some really stupid people in this world. There are some people that I would go so far as to call complete morons. When those people say something idiotic, you can live with it because, well, they are morons, they have an excuse.
Then there is Phil Rogers.
I don't really know what to make of Phil (or Mr. Rogers if you like).
I would assume that Phil Rogers has a functional brain of some sort.
After all, he presumably graduated from some college or university and managed to get a job at a national newspaper.
And some how he then managed to get a job at ESPN.com, writing really idiotic baseball columns for people like myself to pick on.
This week's column is a real winner.
In it, Rogers attempts to make the case for John Smoltz for National League MVP.
First let me give you a few quotes...
Here is Phil Rogers talking about relievers and the MVP:
"It never sounds like a great idea to give a Most Valuable Player Award to a relief pitcher. Perhaps that's why it hasn't happened since 1950 in the National League, which hasn't honored any pitcher as its MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968. But it's time for the writers who will vote on the NL MVP to reexamine the relative value provided by an ultra-dependable stopper versus a starting pitcher or a run-producing hitter. John Smoltz and Eric Gagne are very much in the MVP mix as teams head into the season's final turn."
But why Phil? Why is it all of a sudden time to start thinking more about giving the MVP to relievers? Rogers doesn't really say why this is something that should happen, other than because it hasn't happened all that much previous to this year. Heck, the MVP hasn't been given to a pinch hitter or the bullpen catcher ever, let alone in a while, so why not start to reexamine giving the MVP to them?
I'll tell you why, because the MVP should go to the Most Valuable Player in the league, not some guy who plays a position that hasn't had an MVP for a while.
"There is no clear-cut frontrunner at this point, creating the possibility that it could wind up as split as the American League was in 1999, when seven players received first-place votes."
What are you, new here?
Are you unfamiliar with the Giants' Left Fielder? His name is Barry. You should introduce yourself to him.
After that, you might wanna take a look at his stats. Not too shabby.
He is on pace to have best On-base % OF ALL-TIME! Oh, and he is also on pace to have only the 4th season with a .800+ Slugging% OF ALL-TIME!
Wanna know who the other 3 were? Babe Ruth in 1920. Babe Ruth in 1921. AND BARRY BONDS LAST SEASON!
Okay, enough with Phil's generalities, here is what he said specifically about John Smoltz:
"Pitching is the reason Atlanta is on track to lead the majors with 106 wins, and nobody -- including Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux -- has been more responsible than Smoltz. His 39 saves have been the anchor for a staff that had a 2.92 ERA through Wednesday. That's the lowest for any team since the 1988 Mets. He's ahead of Bobby Thigpen's record 57-save pace from 1990."
Let me get this straight Phil, cause I really do want to understand.
John Smoltz, who has 3.94 ERA this season, is the most responsible for the Braves' team ERA being 2.92?
Actually, I would say that John Smoltz and his 3.94 ERA are most responsible for Braves team ERA NOT being about 2.80.
The guy has an ERA a run higher than the rest of the team, how in the world can he be the most responsible for the team's ERA being so low?!
Funny thing about the guys you say Smoltz is more responsible for the low team ERA than, Maddux and Glavine. They both have ERAs below the team ERA!
So do FIVE OTHER GUYS IN THE SAME BULLPEN AS SMOLTZ! Chris Hammond, Mike Remlinger, Darren Holmes, Kevin Gryboski and Kerry Ligtenberg are all relief pitchers, just like Smoltz. But unlike Smoltz, they all have ERAs that are less than the team ERA.
In fact, among guys who have pitched more than 10 innings for the Braves this season, THERE IS ONLY ONE GUY ON THE ENTIRE BRAVES TEAM THAT HAS A HIGHER ERA THAN JOHN SMOLTZ.
Phil goes on to say...
"That 4.01 ERA ain't very purdy, to put it the way a Braves' fan might. It's also misleading, however. Those following closely will remember the outing in the first week when Smoltz took one for the team, allowing eight runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Mets. The impressive part was he came back to work a scoreless inning the next night and earned his first save two nights later. Take away the eight-run inning and his ERA would drop to 3.16."
As idiotic as that logic is (after all, that Mets game did actually count as a real game in the standings) even if you take it away and give Smoltz the new, lower 3.16 ERA, it is still higher than the entire team's ERA! And there are still 8 guys on the team with better ERAs, including 3 that have pitched twice as many innings as Smoltz.
"He's the best choice at the moment. An MVP Award would look nice next to the Cy Young he won in 1996."
The NL Cy Young award would look good in between my Mario Mendoza bobble-head doll and my autographed picture of Kurt Bevacque too, can I have it?
Unlike Smoltz, I don't have an ERA that is almost 40% higher than my entire team's ERA.
There seems to be a need for sportswriters, espcially those voting for things like the MVP, to latch onto a specific type of player or a specific position and pump it up as something special.
One season it might be a Japanese outfielder who hits for a real good average, is real fast and...oh my god, how cool...uses only his first name! That outfielder doesn't drive in very many runs, but hey, who cares about that...he "sets the table" and that's the important thing.
Another season (or seasons) it might be a a Texas outfielder that drives in a ton of runs. He isn't fast like that Japanese guy and he doesn't really get on base all that much, so he doesn't "set the table," but hey, he is a "clutch hitter" knocking in those runs and that's the important thing.
Another season it might be a Texas catcher who hits for a high average and...oh my god...steals a few bases. He doesn't get on base a lot, so he isn't "setting the table" and he was only 3rd ON HIS OWN TEAM in driving in runs, so he wasn't really a "clutch hitter" knocking in those runs. But hey, he is a catcher with some stolen bases and he controls the running game and is "great with the pitching staff" (that happened to finish 11th in the league in ERA) and that's the important thing.
And this season it is apparently (at least to Phil Rogers) an Atlanta reliever. He doesn't pitch a lot of innings, so he isn't that "staff ace" and "horse" you always hear about and his ERA is actually pretty high, way higher than the rest OF HIS OWN TEAM, so he isn't really that dominating "stopper" that you always read about. But hey, he has a lot of saves for a good team and...oh my god...he used to be a starting pitcher!
Guess what Phil, a closer won the MVP in 1992, thats 10 years ago. I think we can go more than 10 years without a closer winning an MVP award. I am not sure how, but some how we can manage.
Oh and since then you've had your chance to vote for a pitcher for MVP. His name was Pedro and it was all the way back "In the year 2000..." Compared to his league he had the GREATEST ERA OF ALL-TIME. Oh, and he pitched about 3 times as many innings as Mr. Smoltz will this season.
Phil, the village called, they said they don't want you back.