Deadballers: Ducky and High Pockets Present…

Passionately undeveloped opinions on the state of baseball, the shifting landscape of stats and analysis, and the opiate power of El Pato tomato sauce

Opining Expertly

“It’s the element… I’m telling ya, they let those kids run wild up there. Well, maybe it serves ’em right.”*

So it turns out I jumped the gun a bit, because ESPN stretched out the last 100 player announcement over a 4 day event rather than a two day reveal. It’s cool, though, because any point I was going to make about this process being preposterous gets amplified with any hung jury fauxdrama. Somebody should have been waiving flags at the courtroom steps. And rather than bury the lead, I’ll just let you know that the EXPERTS agree that Miguel Cabrera is the greatest that ever was or ever will be. 

I understand that ESPN is an absolute mockery of journalism, even in the mock-worthy realm of sports journalism. I understand that revenue is generated by page clicks, so it’s an excellent strategy to just create more pages within a story and break those pages up by days in order to generate more views. I can even begrudgingly accept that, in order to get any real kind of news or journalism out of ESPN baseball coverage, you have to be willing to get waxed to the tune of a 40$/year premium. That’s what hurts the most, because I could almost justify paying 40 bucks a year for Keith Law and Buster Olney work. I just can’t justify any of that money going to their bosses. Someone over there needs to be willing to take the crab out of crab soup.+

Was that the point of this post? I may just be pissed that I can’t honestly think of a reason to visit the ESPN website anymore, a website that has been a staple of my fan-hood, maybe a staple of my existence, for at least the last decade. Maybe the walls have been slowly coming down for me for longer than I would like to admit. Before I let this get too far down the rabbit hole and write that sports never were important in my life, that the distraction is just a cynical cash grab preying on our Sartrean fears of non-existence or existence in absurdity, that they might as well be serving baseball analysis with high fructose corn syrup and caffeine…

Where was I? Oh yeah… How can you put a reliever in the top 20??? Cabrera more valuable than Trout??? I see the bros as ESPN still love them some RBIs. Idiots. All of us. Idiots!

Opening day tomorrow. Try not to think about it too hard.

+From Season 5 of The Wire. Just watch the fucking Wire already. Jesus, how are we still friends?

*From 12 Angry Men, at least as best as I can remember the film. Watch that first, then go watch The Wire.

ESPNs top 500 baseball players

I’m jumping the gun on this because there are still 100 players left to reveal over 2 super exciting days, but ESPN has “compiled an expert panel of 34 to rate on a scale of 0-100 how each player will perform in 2013.” Hopefully they greatly altered the qualifications for “expert” after 2012’s Punxsutawney Phil display. Y’all can expect some deeper comments after the complete list is posted, because so far it’s really a hoot. Did you know Kevin Youkilis is 172 players worse than he was last year? It’s right there in the numbers. Numbers don’t lie. “Players” is an official statistical number. You can’t pull a number out of your ass!

It also includes links to player twitter handles when applicable, so you know that’s unbiased. It’s gold, I tells ya.

On the bright side, I guess I can stop reading the 2013 Prospectus. 34 experts! Holy Cow! That’s, like, a lot of experts! No way BP has that kind of staff. Also, they don’t have Kruk throwing in his two cents, so it’s basically 560 wasted pages of paper. Shame on your eco-terrorism, BP.

disclaimer: Buy baseball prospectus. You will learn a lot of cool math. Do not trust Jon Kruk for anything in your life. I think even joking about it makes me liable for future lawsuits. Jon Kruk is a braying manatee of a moron. Though that might be giving a bad name to braying, morons and manatees. 

Fantasy Camp

I will be participating in three fantasy baseball leagues this year. Two have cash rewards, one (now active in one form or another for about 11 years) is purely pride and bragging rights among friends. They feature three different formats (one points, one roto, one head-to-head), all three have variant scoring categories. Two are auction drafts with keepers,  one is a serpentine draft without keepers. I have developed 3 pretty extensive spreadsheets to accommodate the various philosophies I have to take into each of the formats. Each spreadsheet has conditional formatting, frozen rows, and references the other 2 spreadsheets. I have never used any of these spreadsheet functions for any other purpose.

I guess my point is that if I had put 1/3rd of the effort into school that I have put into any given fantasy baseball season, I probably would be a Nobel laureate by now. At least a TED fellow. But, as a surgeon I shadowed once said, “If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle.”

Happy drafting, everyone.

Life and other things

Hey there.

Quite a bit has happened in the respective personal, non-pseudonym’d lives of your two favorite bloggers. High Pockets just welcomed his first born son into The League. Nolan Cy Musial Ty Honus was born leading all rookies with a .310/.388/.490 triple slash. The scouts really like the cut of his jaw. He’s got some interesting thoughts on the limitations of UZR and whether or not we get ahead of ourselves when we start forecasting free agent marginal wins/$. Good stuff. Not real polished yet, but that should come around with a class in linear equations, bladder control and the passing of his teething phase. Congrats to all involved. Sorry you’ll never sleep again, HP. MLB.tv archives games right around midnight, I think.

I purchased Baseball Prospectus for the first time, which is embarrassing but at least now rectified. I’ve gotten through the projections for Aardvark, A in the Atlanta organization. Might take a few days to complete. I also got engaged, so if everyone could keep this blog on the hush-hush for a little while longer that would be outstanding. Finally, I recently found out that my extended family all reads the blog. So to uncle Biscuit Pants, Three Finger, Aunt Yogi, grandma and grandpa; thanks for the kind words. And I promise to keep writing these totally useless jams. It was great to hear you laughing at my terrible puns.

So anyway: Let it be resolved that I, Duckfurd Q. Medwick, will post at least once a week, no more than 10-12 dick and fart jokes per paragraph. Twitter feed should light up a bit more as well, @deadballers for those of you accommodating of short quips.

Happy time-passing!

Miami

I have several things I want to write about: The Braves/D’Backs situations, upcoming thoughts on Spring Training, and the new BALCO situation… but instead I stumbled across The Marlins payroll obligations courtesy of the indispensable Cot’s Baseball Contracts :
Miami has 5.5 million dollars committed to the 2014 roster. That would be 4M to pay Heath Bell in Phoenix, and 1.5 M for catcher Jeff Mathis.

Ha.

At least the public financing of Loria’s aquarium will only cost the county like one and a quarter billion dollars. Or 250x the team’s 2014 payroll obligations.

Loria. Fuck that guy.

RIP Earl Weaver

Legendary Orioles coach Earl Weaver passed away last night. The last year he managed was the year I was born, so he was a little before my time. That doesn’t mean he still can’t influence the game, both the way it’s played and thought about. He’ll be remembered, especially in Baltimore, for 4 AL pennants and one World Series title in 1970 as well as nearly 1500 wins in 17 seasons.

I will always remember him for the link below, as it most likely started my love of baseball of my realization of how deep the history of the game really is. Thanks for the memories, Coach Weaver, you will be missed.

Earl Weaver Baseball (1987)

Hallowed Grounds

I’ve been trying to, hypothetically, imagine how I would react if, hypothetically, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (NAMBLA) submitted their ballots and, hypothetically, only one or two of the balloted players hypothetically reached the arbitrary threshold for enshrinement. I had 11 names I would have voted for: Bonds, Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Allan Trammell, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. I have gut feelings about Kenny Lofton and Fred McGriff but acknowledge that they don’t meet the threshold in any objective way, but damn I had fun watching them. I could probably be talked into Larry Walker and Rafael Palmeiro. So to only have 1 or 2 from this ballot would have been a testament to the ego and selfishness of these few hundred inadequate professionals, allegedly the best craftsman in a dying industry.

It was a very hypothetically snarky column I would have written, and one that I’m glad I didn’t have to write. Rather, the electorate just kind of pooped all over themselves and unveiled a tally that included 5 blank ballots, at least 2 protest ballots where only Jack Morris was chosen (it should be noted that nobody is obligated to publish their ballot, so the available anonymity might’a had something to do with the foolishness), and a terrifically imaginative ballot with accompanying column penned by Jon “Taintsniffer” Heyman that included the line “Saints over Taints” in his actual, honest-to-Heysoos printed and published work. I shan’t link it. I already know too many search queries involving ‘taint’ are going to land at this website.

Fortunately, it seems like several hundred writers, BBWAA and otherwise, have penned pieces of measured disgrace in the last day. Our own High Pockets penned a piece that captures the appropriate sadness that so many of us feel for the museum and its unclear future.

As alluded to in HP’s post, I had originally planned to start piecing together my own virtual museum. Which, or course, will never happen. Good golly, that would be a lot of work. Instead, I would encourage everyone to read Joe Posnanski’s take on a “Golden 100” type of Hall that would allow for the museum to act as, well, more of a museum than an intellectually dishonest and inconsistent sanctuary. Rightly or wrongly, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will probably not be considered Hall of Famers any time soon. Indisputably, Clemens and Bonds are the two greatest players I have watched in my couple decades of active fandom. Pos’s hall of fame would allow for their appropriate recognition. But I might start trying to put some prose together. This could be a baby step.

The 5 best retired offensive players that I have seen as a fan (since maybe 1992ish): Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell, Chipper Jones, and Frank Thomas. ARod and Pujols will become number 2 and 3 (in some order) upon their retirement. Jeter could, if you can believe it, challenge the top 5 depending on how he closes out his career.

The 5 best retired pitchers that I have witnessed as a fan: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and either Curt Schilling or Mike Mussina, though I lean towards Curt as I was a teenager during the purple and teal DBacks era. At this point only Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia have any real shot of cracking this top 5, Verlander if he keeps on keepin’ on.

Better days, everyone. Like next month, when they start throwin’ it and catchin’ it again.

Hall Pass

Growing up my family used to take long vacations in our giant Ford van across the country. We mostly saw national parks and various historic places, stepping out onto American battlefields or into state capitols after riding 10 hours or more. We always made sure to find nearby pro stadiums to at least see from the outside or take a tour. I distinctly remember walking through Old Busch Stadium in St. Louis before a night game; we couldn’t stay for the game. I remember going to Coors Field and whatever AT&T Park used to be called then, right after they opened. Baseball was my family’s life. It still is, though it’s less taking the kids to practice, more watching games on TV.

One summer we left the Texas heat for the northeast, visiting family friends in Indiana before journeying to upstate New York and Cooperstown. Cooperstown is not full of great memories, not just because we lost the family camera in a restaurant there and it never showed up again. Someone out there has about a 15 year old Canon camera with film of our trip; we’d still like it back, please. Anyways, Cooperstown was not that awe-inducing for a 12 year old. I’d heard of a few of the bigger names obviously — Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, etc. — but for everyone player I’d heard of there were probably 10 I had no clue who they were. Add in the owners, umpires, broadcasters, and everything else and it’s easy to see how the Hall of Fame just doesn’t do it for a pre-teen kid. My favorite part? The Louisville Slugger bat making demo, just down the street if I remember correctly. Reading bronze plaques of people you’ve never heard of doesn’t really do it for most kids, I imagine.

Today the BBWAA announced that this years class of Hall of Fame inductees will include no living players. After the selection of years recently where it seems like they’re just letting anybody in, suddenly no one is good enough. Not in terms of baseball, mind you. No, no one is a good enough person to deserve to be inducted. Barry Bonds, the most prolific home run hitter of all time and (to borrow a phrase from FJM) notorious dog-puncher*, just rubbed too many writers the wrong way when he used steroids. Disregard the fact that the writers most likely knew he was doing it. Roger Clemens dominated hitters for about two decades, but taking winstrol in the ass is too much a black stain on his previously awesome demeanor for the flawless writers to overlook. God knows what Tim Raines has to do to get elected to the Hall. He should find out what Jack Morris did to get so much support.

I’m not going to go over every candidate. The steroid-linked (rightfully or not) candidates have issues that some people will never be able to get past. Focusing on them means others fall by the wayside. Kenny Lofton fell off the damn ballot because he only got 18 votes. Maybe he’s not Hall of Fame caliber, but he deserves a little more consideration than 18 votes. David Wells got one year on the ballot with a better WHIP and ERA+ than Jack Morris. Their vote percentages: 0.9 and 67.7, respectively. Bye-bye, David, guess writers didn’t like those storylines you gave them. Fred McGriff’s career 134 OPS+? An abysmal 20.7% of the vote, after 23.9% last year. The Crime Dog needs big support soon. None of these guys, plus the what should be sure things like Biggio, Bagwell, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Piazza, Raines, and others should have to put up with the idiocy of so many of the writers. I’m worried about Greg freaking Maddux making it in next year for chrissakes.

The point of all this is the Hall of Fame has never really been about the fans. Throwing some plaques and pictures up and saying “These guys were the best according to the writers” just isn’t doing it for me anymore. The players I remember being amazed at growing up apparently aren’t good enough or weren’t nice enough or simply played in the wrong era for the people in charge. I’m tired of it. An awful lot of us know who’s good enough to be in the Hall of Fame, regardless of what 569 ballot casting people who may not really cover baseball think. If I walked through Cooperstown this year, I imagine I’d be enthralled about as much as I was when I was 12.

It’s funny, we never use the actual name this site started as in our heads because it’s pretty stupid. Deadballers worked because we liked the nicknames of two players who played near the Deadball era. But our emails contain the real name we started as: the MBWAA. The Mothers Basement Writing Association of America. And just like the real BBWAA, we’re going to start voting for our own hall of fame. Ducky is in the process of writing up the initial points now, but if you want to join in on the fun, please do. We’re going to try and recognize the people (ALL of the people) who were awesome to baseball; playing it, coaching it, umping it, broadcasting it, whatever. The Baseball Hall of Fame should be about recognizing achievement in a very fun game, not holding grudges or bias or being a snooty prick against someone for any reason, legitimate or not. Let’s have some damned fun.

High Pockets

PS- Aaron Sele got a vote? WTF?

Cyber Monday News

It’s Cyber Monday, which means some cool things are on sale. But more than likely it’s stuff that you already have or could get at a hardware store for $4. Case in point: this level on Amazon. It really looks like a steal for $7.96, but today only there’s a coupon for an additional $2.50 off. That’s $5.46! Winner!

A few key features:

  • True Blue Vial, superior accuracy, durability, visibility, made in USA

It’s blue. So cool. Superior accuracy? It’s a level, you line up bubbles. Made in the USA makes me really want it though.

  • Heavy-duty extruded aluminum frame

Heavy-duty, so I can totally go to town on this level and it won’t break. That’s American quality right there.

  • Strong-holding magnetic edge

Well at least it’s strong holding. Weak-holding would kinda defeat the purpose.

  • Advanced concentric molding guarantees perfectly formed vials

That sounds cool, so it must be.

  • Vials read plumb, level and 45 degrees

The same as every level ever made.

Let’s go to the reviews!

From Michelle,
4 out of 5 stars, titled “Works fine”
“Not much to say. I have no complaints. It works fine. Serves my needs. It is small, but that’s no issue for me.”

Feel the enthusiasm!

From cody181,
5 out of 5 stars, titled “great level”
“I bought this item because I really like the blue color water levels and because it is magnetic and looks nice.”

Cody knows what he wants and he got it. Of course, he searched Amazon for a level, so he might be a shut in and wants all the levels, but that’s ok. I’m not here to judge (yes I am).

From MortemCaine,
4 out of 5 stars, titled “Stronger than it looks”
“While the description says it’s aluminum, it’s obvious that it’s more plastic than anything, but apparently that doesn’t matter. I’ve dropped this thing from the top of scissor lifts (I’ll tell you why shortly) countless time, as had my co-worker who has the same level, and both are still fully intact, fully operational.

Why 4 stars? The magnet. While in my field (sheet metal) I would really like it to have magnets on both side I can see how some people wouldn’t, however, the magnet that they did put on it could have been a little more magnetically attractive. It’s like the magnet rolls you get at arts and craft stores for making crappy fridge magnets. Hence the reason the level keeps falling off the duct those times when you’re leveling the bottom over the side of the lift. And to make things worse (for me, don’t know about other trades that don’t work with metal as much) it’s just strong enough to grab the little steel shaving, making it even harder for the already weak magnet to grab the metal (a different co-worker has one that’ll fly outta your hand before you even get to the metal)”

Wow, that was way more than I was expecting. You’ve really made me think about my level needs, MortemCaine, and for that I thank you.

 

From Adre5484,
5 out of 5 stars, titled “GREAT!!!!”
“GREAT PRODUCT!!! WORKS WELL FOR ALMOST ANY JOB EASY TO SITS ON SURFACES WELL AND STANDS WELL. THEY SHOULD MAKE A BIGGER VERSION OF THIS LEVEL.”

Have I got some exciting news for you, Adre5484: http://www.amazon.com/Empire-e81-12-12-Inch-Magnetic-Level/dp/B0007A2A0Q/ref=pd_cp_hi_1

God, I love this country.

In baseball news, Evan Longoria got paid again today (6 year extension, 100 million Washingtons), so he could buy 18,315,018 levels (before taxes and shipping). Well done, Evan.

The AL MVP hubbub and a certain article

High Pockets went all FJM on the most egregious article posted today regarding the MVP. All comments by High Pockets unless otherwise noted. I think I have less to say because part of me is hoping Mitch reveals how ironic and sarcastic he was being in a column tomorrow morning.
-Ducky

http://www.freep.com/article/20121116/COL01/311160108/detroit-tigers-miguel-cabrera-mvp-award?odyssey=nav%7Chead

The eyes have it.

This is gobsmackingly bad. The eyes have what? That Cabrera played really good baseball? So did Mike Trout. I’m pretty sure my eyes saw that several times this year. Also, trying to jam in a reference to the phrase “the ayes have it”, like the vote for MVP is decided based off yes-no questions, is stupid. It’s a ballot. They didn’t go around the room of all the baseball writers asking if every player in the league was the MVP.

In a battle of computer analysis versus people who still watch baseball as, you know, a sport, what we saw with our Detroit vision was what most voters saw as well:

Baseball is not a sport, baseball is a collection of rational arguments joined by a formal language of instructions. /*end robotic-voiced nonsense

Ducky: My Thinkpad doesn’t have enough memory to store spreadsheets beyond 2015, so that is when I will start watching baseball again, everything up to that point having already been determined. Congratulations again to the 2015 Montreal Cubs on their repeat World Series victory!!!

Miguel Cabrera is the Most Valuable Player in the American League this year.

Subjective. Well, not anymore regarding the award. But as for who was the most valuable player (note the lowercase) in the AL this year, it’s subjective.

Ducky: Miguel Cabrera was paid 42x the salary of Mike Trout this year, so he damn well better have been valuable.

“It means a lot,” he told reporters over the phone from Miami. “I’m very thankful. … I thought it was gonna be very close.”
So did everyone. But the debate ended Thursday night when the results were announced, with Cabrera earning 22 of the 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. It reinforced what Tigers fans have been saying all season: This guy is a monster.

Cabrera is a legit monster. At 29 years old he’s got 321 home runs (500 to 600 career home run possibility), a career .951 OPS, 1800+ hits, tons of ribbies, etc.

Oh, and you damn well know the debate over this hasn’t ended. It’s not going to end in my lifetime most likely.

It also answered the kind of frenzied cyberspace argument that never shadowed baseball 20 years ago but may never stop shadowing it now.

Wait, you just said it ended the debate, but now the argument is going to shadow the game forever. Are you trolling me?

Ducky: Like I said, this might all be an elaborate joke on the gullible stat-nerdocracy. If so, this is A+ level nerd baiting.

Statistics geeks insisted Cabrera was less worthy than Angels rookie centerfielder Mike Trout. Not because Trout’s traditional baseball numbers were better. They weren’t. Cabrera had more home runs (44), more runs batted in (139) and a better batting average (.330) than Trout and everyone else in the American League.

0.004 points of average in Cabrera’s favor (by the way, he didn’t win OBP crown; he was 4th), one home run, and 11 eleven RBIs. That’s the margin we’re just handing MVPs away on. Also, you mean traditional statistics, not traditional numbers. A traditional number would be…CLXIII, I guess.

Ducky: I’m surprised he’s willing to acknowledge that 0 is a number. Or that 0.330 is anything but idolatrous witchcraft. Keep it traditional, Mitch.

It gave him the sport’s first Triple Crown in 45 years.

Hooray for history. I’ll admit it’s cool to have a Triple Crown in my lifetime. It’s less cool that most of the stats involved aren’t that reliable for indicating value, but I guess that’s the point of what I’m writing.

But Trout excelled in the kind of numbers that a few years ago weren’t even considered, mostly because A) They were impossible to measure,

Yes, steals are oh so hard to count.

and B) Nobody gave a hoot.

“Nobody” is a trick term. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Today, every stat matters. There is no end to the appetite for categories — from OBP to OPS to WAR. I mean, OMG!

LOL.

Ducky: A baseball writer who admits to dismissing on base percentage as silly or, worse, not knowing what OBP stands for should be exiled from planet Earth.

The number of triples hit while wearing a certain-colored underwear is probably being measured as we speak.

If the hitting prowess of Giambi’s slumpbusting days is news-worthy, he’s probably right about this one.

So in areas such as “how many Cabrera home runs would have gone out in Angel Stadium of Anaheim” or “batting average when leading off an inning” or “Win Probability Added,” Trout had the edge. At least this is what we were told.
I mean, did you do the math? I didn’t. I like to actually see the sun once in a while.

It’s kind of funny that I’m actually writing this in a basement right now, but come on, we’re not sure we can trust math again?

Plus he has intangibles

And Mike Trout is as tangible as a cold fish. See what I did there?

Besides, if you live in Detroit, you didn’t need a slide rule. This was an easy choice.

So many points to make. Slide rules have been out of use for decades. Pocket calculators were around the in 70s. My father, an engineer, has a collection of slide rules; myself, with an engineering degree, does not know how to use them. Let the math jokes go.

Also, of course this was an easy choice if you live in Detroit. You’re biased! I’m a Rangers fan and thought they were the best team in the league last year. You know what that makes me? A huge homer! (Seriously, they were though…shut up, the last two weeks of the season never happened.)

People here watched Cabrera, 29, tower above the game in 2012. Day after day, game after game, he was a Herculean force. Valuable? What other word was there? How many late-inning heroics? How many clutch hits? And he only missed one game all year.

Yes, how dare Mike Trout not be called to the majors by his idiot manager for something like 3 weeks. The gall of that guy.

“During the season, a lot of guys tell me I’m gonna be the MVP,” Cabrera said, laughing. “But they said the same thing to Trout.”

Yes, it’s true, Trout is faster,

An important, some would say valuable skill.

Trout is a better defensive player,

Same as above.

Trout is a leadoff hitter,

Not sure how that’s relevant, but ok if you’re just giving points away.

and Trout edged Cabrera in several of those made-for-Microsoft categories.

I assume you’re referencing spreadsheets, as Microsoft doesn’t actually do baseball statistics. Yes, Trout was statistically better at some of those statistics created by statisticians and meant to help us better understand baseball. Statistics.

But if you are going to go molten deep into intangibles, why stop at things like “which guy hit more homers into the power alleys?” (A real statistic, I am sorry to say.)

Why are you sorry? You didn’t make the statistic.

Ducky: Molten deep. Trying to make this sexual, can’t quite do it. The thought of someone going molten deep on Mitch Albom…

Why not also consider such intangibles as locker-room presence? Teammates love playing around — and around with — Miggy. He helps the room.

Mike Trout routinely set fires in Chris Iannetta’s locker. (Possibly not true).

How about his effect on pitchers? Nobody wanted the embarrassment of him slamming a pitch over the wall.

Why would you be embarrassed to give up a home run to Miggy? You know who should be embarrassed? Any pitcher who gave up a home run to Mike Hampton.

Ducky: You know what’s embarrassing?

The amount of effort pitchers expended on Cabrera or the guy batting ahead of him surely took its toll and affected the pitches other batters saw. Why not find a way to measure that? (Don’t worry. I’m sure someone is working on it as we speak.)

I’m thinking of sending you a book on the how statistics work.

Ducky: I assure you that this phenomenon has been studied and debunked, but thanks for the encouragement. We nerds appreciate it. I was getting ready to give up on SABRmetrics based on the overall tenor of this column so far, but no longer.

What about the debilitating power of a three-run homer?

What in the Sam Hill is debilitating power? Is Cabrera debilitated? Is it like a power spike when he hits three run homeruns, but only three run homeruns?

How many opposing teams slumped after Cabrera muscled one out? How about team confidence? You heard everyone from Prince Fielder to Justin Verlander speak in awed tones about being on the same team as Cabrera. Doesn’t that embolden teammates and bring out their best?

Torii Hunter thought Mike Trout was kind of a douche. That’s why he signed with Detroit. Correlation, mon ami.

How about the value of a guy who could shift from first to third base — as Cabrera did this past season — to make room for Fielder? Ask manager Jim Leyland how valuable that is.

I’m fairly certain Mike Trout could play any position on the field. Or outfield in AAA if you don’t want the young whippersnapper to get uppity too soon, right Sosh?

How about the fact that Cabrera’s team made the playoffs and Trout’s did not? (“Yes,” countered Team Trout, “but the Angels actually won more games.”)

Umm, yes, I will counter with that. Also, the division in which the Angels played was considerably better. Thanks for the help.

How about the fact that Cabrera played the whole season while Trout started his in the minors? (“Yes,” said the Trout Shouters, “but the Angels won a greater percentage with Trout than Detroit did with Cabrera.”)

Again, let’s punish Trout for something he had no control over. Also, love the name Trout Shouters. What a mental image that makes.

How about this? How about that? The fact is, voters are not instructed to give more credence to any one category than another. Twenty-eight sportswriters, two from each AL city, decide, in their own minds, what is “valuable” and who displayed it the most.
They chose Cabrera.
By an overwhelming majority.

Yes they did, and Cabrera was deserving. But those of us in Troutsylvania think he was not the most deserving.

In the end, memories were more powerful than microchips.

False. Memories fade, data on a microchip can be stored indefinitely.

A rival for the future


This is still going? Good Lord.

Ducky: And apparently will still be going IN THE FUTURE.

Which, by the way, speaks to a larger issue about baseball. It is simply being saturated with situational statistics. What other sport keeps coming up with new categories to watch the same game?

All of them? Have you seen a soccer chalkboard? It’s like looking at a plate of spaghetti.

A box score now reads like an annual report. And this WAR statistic — which measures the number of wins a player gives his team versus a replacement player of minor league/bench talent (honestly, who comes up with this stuff?)

Statisticians, math enthusiasts, people who generally know what they are doing.

— is another way of declaring, “Nerds win!”

We need to slow down the shoveling of raw data into the “what can we come up with next?” machine. It is actually creating a divide between those who like to watch the game of baseball and those who want to reduce it to binary code.

It’s true, if I could replace real baseball with nothing but endless simulations of Super Baseball 2020, I would.

To that end, Cabrera’s winning was actually a bell ring for the old school. There is also an element of tradition here. The last three Triple Crown winners were also voted as MVP.

Arbitrary end point alert!

Ducky: 4 of the previous 5 before this arbitrary end point did not win the MVP. I did, naturally. Not that totally tangible pillow soft war veteran Ted Williams or noted momentum killing un-clutch playoff choke artist Lou Gehrig.

“I think they can use both,” Cabrera said when asked about computer stats versus old-time performance. “In the end, it’s gonna be the same. You gotta play baseball.”
Indeed.

I enjoy how in all of this, Miguel Cabrera is the most reasonable person in the room. You go, Miggy.

Ducky: Can’t wait to see how fat he looks next year.

This was a nice moment for the Tigers — and a small consolation prize for owner Mike Ilitch and president Dave Dombrowski, who, like Cabrera, would have traded a World Series ring for any postseason award. But the Tigers now have back-to-back MVPs (Verlander last year), which speaks pretty well for their ability to develop and sign talent.

Yeah, you sign those checks and teach those youngsters, Detroit.

It’s also nice that Cabrera has seemingly made a turn for the better with his off-field behavior.

I think we all welcome an improvement in this.

And none of this diminishes the season Trout gave the Los Angeles Angels — and baseball history. Rarely has a rookie so dominated on so many levels.

Just statistical levels, though, right?

It is scary to think that Trout, only 21, will get better. And if he improves even incrementally, who is going to beat him for MVP in years to come?
But for today, for this season, anyhow, Cabrera gets the nod. In a season of fits and starts, he was a reliable Tiger, a consistent source of power, and a shadow that fell on opposing pitchers even before he reached the batter’s box.

A little odd with that last sentence, but I’m feeling the denouement.

He was the meat in the stew that became the American League champions,

WTF?

and while it is possible to argue the other way, it’s undeniable to argue this one.
“Hopefully every year it can be a battle like that,” Cabrera said.
This year, what you saw is what he got.
MVP.
The eyes have it.

Ugh.

Ducky: Gross.