Posted by Steve
… Because I just heard absolute nonsense spewed from the mouths of baseball announcers.
I just caught about an inning and a half of a White Sox Spring Training game. It was only about 20 minutes’ worth, yet these are all the completely wrong things I heard the White Sox announcers say (paraphrasing):
Hawk Harrelson: Aubrey Huff is a great seventh, eighth and ninth inning hitter.
Aubrey Huff career OPS: .812
Aubrey Huff career OPS in 7th, 8th, 9th inning: .762
Steve Stone: Juan Pierre can flat-out hit.
Nobody needs to see the numbers to know how wrong that is, but what the hell: Juan Pierre has a career .720 OPS.
The more absurd one, Stone’s claim that Juan Pierre can “flat-out hit,” is actually more forgivable in my eyes. Stone cited Pierre’s batting average (.301 career) when he made this claim. While the stat he’s using to evaluate is archaic and ineffective, at least he’s justifying his claim.
Hawk, on the other hand… That one is just pure gold. It’s the classic “say whatever the hell you want because people will just believe it” move. Hawk probably remembers a home run or two that Aubrey Huff hit off the White Sox late in games the last few seasons, which led him to make an outrageous stretch and say Huff is a great 7th, 8th, and 9th inning hitter. Call me a dork if you want, but I immediately went to my computer praying the numbers would prove him wrong, because I just knew he was saying that just to say it. Sure enough.
If there’s one thing I took away from my internship last year, it’s that this type of thing happens EVERYWHERE. I got to hear every team’s broadcast. Hawk is one of the absolute worst, but baseball announcers everywhere make incorrect claims like this regularly. It even happens on the national stage–in fact, probably even more. Just listen to Tim McCarver sometime. It’s astonishing.
Hawk said a few other things that had me shaking my head. First, I didn’t catch which player he was talking about, but he described someone as “definitely overachieving the last couple years.” I wonder how long until that guy can convince Hawk that he’s not actually overachieving and is just good?
Then, he was talking about the White Sox starting rotation. “This might be the most competitive staff we’ve seen here. I’m not talking about the best stuff, but these guys are gonna compete.”
What? No. You cannot just say something completely unfounded like that without even explaining why you think they’re so “competitive.” What does that even mean? Are they going to try harder than other pitching staffs? Does this mean they will get good results? Tell me what you mean.
That sounds an awful lot like one of my most hated descriptions of a team: “They’re never gonna quit.” You mean professional athletes who are paid to play baseball at the highest level aren’t going to stop trying? They aren’t going to throw down their gloves and storm off the field? Impressive!
They say the last week or so of Spring Training is a final tune up, and I have to agree. My incompetence radar is in tune and primed for a long season. Let’ get this party started.