I’m on my way to Bellewode Symposium and am taking a break from KC rush hour traffic at a Kinko’s.
A couple of small notes. First, isn’t it frustrating how you always have something great to say when you don’t have a forum? And when you do have a forum, you forget what you were going to say.
I need to figure out a way to get my ideas that I have when I’m driving or lying in bed in the middle of the night recorded. I’m like a genius then.
Anyway, a couple of irksome notes recently. I was watching this stupid ESPN show called First and 10. The premise is two sports media people debate topics. It might be interesting but it has Woody Paige and Skip Bayless, two sportswriters who know conventional wisdom but have never questioned that wisdom. They have no clue whether that wisdom is true, apocryphal, or was true and no longer is, or whatever. They just accept it without looking at it critically.
So it leads to some very stupid stuff. The question came up as to who is the greatest shortstop ever. Bayless said Alex Rodriguez. Paige ridiculed this choice because ARod now plays 3rd for the Yankees. Actually, ARod is a fine choice, not my choice, but a fine one. Paige promoted my choice, Honus Wagner. Why is this humorous to me? Well, Paige’s argument was that ARod isn’t a shortstop because he’s playing 3rd now. Huh. Umm. Apparently Paige is not aware that Honus Wagner played 3rd too. In fact, it wasn’t until Wagner’s 5th year that he began playing short a lot and it wasn’t until his 7th that Wagner starting playing short almost exclusively. All in all, Wagner played about a 3rd of his games at other positions. Most people think of Wagner as a shortstop sure, but for someone who is promoting himself as an expert to not know this? Idiotic.
Bayless’ counter-argument, was to point out that ARod has hit for more power than Honus did. Again, a supposed expert not looking into things critically. Yes, ARod has hit more homers, but Wagner would have hit a ton had baseball of his career been like baseball of ARod’s career. ARod has a career .574 slugging percentage compared to the league average during his career of .436. He’s also lead baseball in slugging once. ARod has been 32% better than the average, which is fantastic.
Wagner? .466 career slugging when .351 was average, or 33% better than average. He also lead the majors in slugging 6 times, including in 1908 when he had a .542 slugging percentage, 90 points better than the next guy at .452.
Again, Bayless, who is commonly clueless, presents himself as an expert but doesn’t do the work to justify his self-aggrandizement. He’s happy criticizing players for being too rich, too good, too this, too that, and in almost all cases better than he is.
Well, almost out of power, probably should go.