Posted by Steve
My dad pulled off an incredibly cruel prank on me today. Here’s how the phone conversation went:
D: So, did you hear the news about Ned Yost?
S: Did Houston actually hire him!?
S: Oh my God! That’s fantastic! I don’t believe it!
D: A five-year contract!
S: WHAT!?!? (about ready to pass out)
D: Nah, I’m just kiddin’. He did have his interview today, though.
Boy, that will sure let the wind out of your sails. Still, the fact that he’s actually being considered has me in a great mood. Can you imagine having Ned Yost in the Brewers’ division? I need to stop thinking about this to avoid getting my hopes up.
If you watch any of the playoff games on TBS, pay attention to the strike zone they’ve been showing. I guarantee there will be a minimum of ten missed ball/strike calls that were more than three inches off–in other words, not even borderline calls. More likely, it will be 15-20 or more in a game. In this technological age, how can this still be considered acceptable? These people are the very best umpires in the world, and their ineptitude is front and center for the world to see. When Phil Cuzzi can’t tell a fair ball from a foul one while standing 15 feet away, isn’t that proof that an improvement is needed?
The two main arguments against replay, or even an electronic strike zone, hold no water with me.
Adding replay would take more time and add to the length of the game. Dan told me the other day that he watched someone argue this on ESPN as highlights of Jim Leyland arguing a call played in the background. Hilarious. Managers coming out to argue doesn’t slow down the game? There’s a decent chance that adding this could actually cut down on game time when you consider that we wouldn’t need to watch mangers arguing for minutes at a time. Put an official in the press box who’s assigned to replays and can immediately look at them, and it wouldn’t even be as much of an ordeal as home run calls currently are.
Umpires and human error are part of the game. Really? Part of the game? Ask any team who gets screwed by a bad call if they think it should be part of the game. It’s been part of the game because, until recently, it was the best option available. Now, an option exists that is more efficient than human umpires, but baseball refuses to use it. As usual, the sport is behind the times. Football has had an effective replay system for years, and it’s definitely improved the game. Basketball uses instant replay. Even tennis has a challenge replay system. Yet here sit the old timers in control of baseball, resisting any sort of change from “back in the day.”
Are we really saying that having umpires and the element of human error is more important than getting calls right? Because I’ll never be convinced of that.
The Brewers writers at the Journal-Sentinel once again did their “player grades” at the end of the season, and once again I take exception to many of them. Here are the ones I disagree with the most.
Jacon Kendall: C
C? As in average? Because Jason Kendall wasn’t even close to average, particularly on offense. Comically, the writers admit that Kendall’s effectiveness at throwing out runners dropped dramatically, and that he has no power. Yet his grade is held up by things that are completely intangible, such as his “toughness, leadership, the way he calls games and the way he handles himself behind the plate.” Commence nausea. I can’t believe how much people are willing to put up with a crappy player because of this garbage.
Braden Looper: C+
Oh goodness. That’s above average. Looper was decidedly below average. He was actually bad. His FIP was the worst in the Majors among qualified starters. His strikeout rate was poor, and his home run rate was abysmal–also worst in the Majors (by far). Literally the only good thing you can say about Braden Looper is that he stayed healthy all year. Yet, even though they site his insane run support average of 8.97 runs per game, they still give him some credit for garnering 14 wins.
Rickie Weeks earns an INCOMPLETE, which I guess I understand, but then how can they give Alcides Escobar a B+? Escobar had 134 plate appearances this year, while Weeks had 162. Weeks was obviously far more productive… So how can Escobar receive a grade when Weeks did not? What did Escobar do to deserve a B+? Hit for a .701 OPS? Weeks’ .857 OPS wasn’t worth grading, though. Naturally.
Better yet, they concluded that Mat Gamel’s 148 plate appearances of .760 OPS was worth a C-. Escobar got to play regularly, while Gamel would go days at a time without an appearance. How does this add up?