Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cy Young

This is a baseball post no one will really care about. But that's ok. It needs to be said.

Baseball sportswriters are incapable of writing about awards. They might as well write a two word column containing the first and last names of the person they want to win the award. For instance, take the article entitled "Arms Race" by Sports Illustrated's Stephen Canella.

He tells us right off in the byline that Clemens is in the lead. That's fine. That's what you expect, because after all, they should tell the reader who they think is currently at the forefront of the race.

But his first two paragraphs are perfect examples of the inane, polarizing drivel that plagues todays sportswriters, even good ones like Stephen Canella.

He writes,

You can tell a lot about a person by his or her preferences in choosing a Cy Young Award winner.

Are you a bottom-line kind of guy? If so, then you probably think victories are the most important criterion in judging a pitcher. The best way for a hurler to help his team is by winning. Who cares if the score is 1-0 or 12-10?

Are you a stylist, someone who enjoys watching an artist work even if the fates ultimately conspire against him? Then W's, which often have little to do with how well a pitcher pitches, is way down on your list of Cy-worthy attributes. You can probably trot out your walk ratios and your slide rule and prove that Jon Lieber deserves a vote.

Even though Canella nominates Clemens in spite of his wins, just look at the language in his second graph. "Trot our your walk ratios and your slide rule"? Right, because anyone who doesn't value wins is a bespectacled nerd sporting a pocket protector? It's a stupid example anyway.

To act the part of the bespectacled nerd, let me be the first to point out that no one in their right mind would give their vote to Jon Leiber, 1) because his ERA is 4.91 and 2) his walk ratio, a touch over 3, isn't close to Clemens or Carpenter. If you're going by walk ratio, Roy Halladay, Pedro Martinez, or Jake Peavy all receive consideration, since their K/BB ratios are well over 5.00.

So why the silly example, Stephen Canella? Is it just a red herring to satisfy the idiots that don't know what K/BB is? The ones that think Moneyball was written by Billy Beane and wins are the end all argument for a pitcher's ability? Even if it is, why do you need to write that? Is it because that's who reads Sports Illustrated these days? In that case, maybe they need to be educated.

Instead, you write this crap, and conclude that Roger Clemens will win if he goes on a hot streak and wins between 16 and 18 games. You don't conclude that if he goes on a great streak and doesn't win any games, that he still deserves to win. That possiblity goes completely unanswered, because if you're Stephen Canella, you don't want to align yourself with the people that don't value wins. Instead, you just present the 5 top pitchers in the NL. What kind of column is that?

How confusing is it that you write that you'd vote for Clemens today, but that you're "assuming Clemens will blaze down the stretch and get to 16 or 17 wins. If he does, he deserves his eighth Cy Young."

You could have done better, Stephen Canella. You could have actually taken a side.

And this is the worst of the sportswriting out there either. In fact, SI's guys, Canella, John Donovan and Tom Verducci, are three of the more decent writers out there. Anything by Hal Bodley, Joe Morgan, or Skip Bayless is pretty much guaranteed to be of the quality of dog poo. And I'm not talking about chihuahua droppings. I'm talking Rhodesian Ridgeback shit here.

Those three are pretty extreme, but even normally reliable writers seem to be going off the deep end these days.


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