Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hot Piece of Chass

My, oh my, how the time flies. Sorry for the horrific slack job over the last few weeks, people. Discovering the tv show Dexter will do that to you. But much like my favorite prime time serial killer, I'm back to slice up whatever shitty sportswriting that has transpired. What better place to start than with the notorious, multiple-offender Murray Chass? This guy is pissed off that people have the nerve to have an opinion about the stuff he writes on his site published on the world wide web. Let's find out why.

There is nothing in sports that creates the controversy and the debate provoked by voting for the Hall of Fame. More than a week after the results of the latest voting were announced, I was still getting e-mail about the results. Everyone is an expert, fans and bloggers alike. They all know better than the people who actually vote in the election, and they eagerly tell us so.

Kinda comes with the territory, Chassy. Don't consistently post articles on a website (it's not a blog!) and not expect people to comment on what you're saying. If it bothers you so much perhaps you should be posting these articles in a word document, not the internet.

A reader of this site told me in an e-mail that my ballot, which I disclosed before the results were announced, “contains votes for players I do not believe deserve to be in the Hall of Fame and you failed to vote for players who clearly deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Sounds like an intelligent guy--not to mention very level-headed. I would have thrown a few more adjectives in there. I mean, the guy did vote for Jack Morris over Bert Blyleven.

“Clearly deserve” in whose judgment? His, of course. Does that make him right and me wrong? Of course not. Am I right? Yes. Why? Because my opinion counts and his doesn’t. My ballot was one of the 539 counted in the election. He did not have a vote. Therefore, his opinion is worthless as far as the election is concerned.

That's right, everyone. Murray Chass's opinion is correct because he has a vote... So, theoretically, if I had a vote and I voted for Jose Vizcaino (he signed my hat when I was little, ought to be worth a decent amount if he's in the Hall of Fame, right?!), none of the 6 billion other people in the world who do not have a vote could be allowed--nor hold the right-- to criticize, question, or belittle my status as a BBWAA member.

If President Barack Obama decides tomorrow that he wants to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to all Americans, he is right in doing so because he has been placed in that position and all decisions he makes are absent of error.

Makes sense.

That’s the real problem self-proclaimed experts have. They want to be the ones voting, but they don’t have that privilege. It’s their own fault. They chose the wrong profession. Accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers and salesmen don’t get to vote for the Hall of Fame. Baseball writers do.

I don't think it's so much that they/we want to be the ones voting, it's just that they/we would like it if those incredibly intelligent, righteous, god-like experts already put in the prestigious position of power took more than three hours before the deadline to think about their decision. Is that really too much to ask? They/we don't think so.

When I started out in life, I wanted to be a baseball writer, not so that I could vote for the Hall of Fame. I didn’t know anything about voting then, but it is something that came with the territory.

Awesome. I hope you know that by writing this article you have made it impossible for yourself to ever bitch about any other profession ever again. All of us "self-proclaimed experts" are gonna be on the lookout for when you slip up. Consider yourself warned, sir.

Actually, I don’t believe baseball writers should be voting for the Hall of Fame, though I don’t know of a more qualified group, which is why the Hall maintains its association with the Baseball Writers Association.

You didn't trick anybody here, Chassy. You basically just said that you think baseball writers absolutely should be voting for the Hall of Fame because they are superior beings, and hence the most qualified.

"I don't believe that Albert Pujols should have won the NL MVP last year, though I don't know a more qualified player, which is undoubtedly why he won."

Most of the Hall arguments today seem to be statistics-centered. I get the idea that the stats zealots would draw up charts based on their new-fangled numbers and decide on the basis of the numbers who should be in the Hall of Fame. No thinking necessary.

Dare to dream, right? I have a feeling that you'll do your best to see that such dreams never come to fruition though. I'm curious, what are people supposed to be looking at in terms of qualification for induction? Dominance? Intimidation? How greatly they "stood out among the rest"? None of these things can be accurately determined without the use of statistics, whether you're using Chassy-endorsed stats such as Wins, Losses, and ERA, or more valuable and current statistics such as FIP, WAR, and VORP.

The point is if nobody ever looked at stats the Hall of Fame would be full of guys like Juan Pierre and Bo Jackson... and Derek Jeter would be considered the best defensive shorstop of all time.

Blyleven’s statistics have endeared him to the stats zealots. One of their big numbers is his strikeouts. He had a lot of them, 3,701. Tommy John, who otherwise had similar career statistics to Blyleven’s, struck out 2,245.

Not really sure why Tommy John is all of the sudden thrown into the mix. But okay, I'll play along. Bert Blyleven has the 13th highest Career WAR among pitchers all time (Baseball Projection). He's ahead of pitchers such as Christy Mathewson, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, and Steve Carlton. Yes, he had 3,701 career strikeouts (5th all time). He also finished in the top seven in K/9 fourteen times, had 60 career shutouts (9th all time), and put up an awesome 3.19 career FIP. That FIP is better than Greg Maddux, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Dennis Eckersley, Jim Palmer, and a few thousand other current and former MLB pitchers.

Tommy John is 43rd all time in WAR (Jack Morris was 139th, just fyi) and had a 3.38 career FIP (Morris had a 3.94 career FIP... maybe your argument should have been for him instead of Morris. Granted, Blyleven is still significantly better, but it'd had been less embarrassing for an esteemed, heavenly sportswriter such as yourself to make an argument for John rather than for a player who--had he not pitched one great world series game in 1991--you would not be endorsing so damn persistently).

I think strikeouts get far too much attention and emphasis.

Other than inducing a double-play groundball, there's almost nothing more beneficial for a pitcher and his team. Striking a hitter out reduces the chances of the other team scoring during that at bat by quite a large margin. Let's face it, strikeouts are sexy.

Strikeouts are sexy.

You're sexy.

John, however, was a sinkerball pitcher and got more outs on batted balls and fared just as well as Blyleven. John had a career 288-231 record with a 3.34 earned run average. Blyleven’s record was 287-250 and his e.r.a. 3.31. John retired 57 percent of the batters he faced, Blyleven, with all his strikeouts, 59 percent. Yet in the eyes of the stats zealots, the voters were justified for not electing John but not for rejecting Blyleven.

Do they teach math at the University of Pittsburgh? Hold on, let me check... Interesting. Turns out they do. Yet somehow Mr. Murray here managed to calculate something as simple as Opponents On-Base Percentage COMPLETELY WRONG. If John and Blyleven retired 57 and 59 percent of the batters they faced, then their respective OPP OBP totals would be approximately .430 and .410. That is bad. Perhaps Chass should have spent less time sipping a cola beverage by the jukebox in the diner and more time in the classroom!


The arguments will go on incessantly, and the conclusions will be I’m right, you’re wrong. Or is it you’re right, I’m wrong?

The latter...... jackass.


Rook said...

I'm pretty behind on this article apparently. To see other, better critiques of Chass's sassiness, you can check these out:

Baseball Analysts

NBC Sports

FJM (Fire Jay Mariotti)

The Big Lead

Goose said...

I still continue to find it odd how some treat ERA (why Chass keeps on typing "e.r.a", I'm not sure. I guess that has to be right because he said so), RBI, and wins escape the realm of mere stats.

Grif said...

The arrogance here is astounding. I'm pretty sure Chass is a professional troll.

Kind of like Skip Bayless but without ever having heard someone say he's nice in the real world.