The View From The Glass House

by on March 17, 2011 · 2 comments

COMMENT:  Great photo of Jenkins taken at the “Flat Earth Society” meeting in July.
I recently mocked a piece by Bruce Jenkins in which he suggested that the Giants might buy out the remainder of Barry Zito‘s contract.  Given the opportunity, I’d still mock the article as illogical speculation driven by a need to be first on something that makes no sense.  There may have been a source for the rumor, but that source may have been suffering from oxygen deprivation from missing a trolley or something.  Sadly, we’ll never know.  Regardless, I’ve liked some of Bruce’s other work, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt, until now…..(see the full piece here).   
It won’t be long before we get the first wave of nonsense from stat-crazed dunces claiming there’s nothing to be learned from a batting average, won-loss record or RBI total. Listen, just go back to bed, OK? Strip down to those fourth-day undies, head downstairs (to “your mother’s basement and your mother’s computer,” as Chipper Jones so aptly describes it) and churn out some more crap. For more than a century, .220 meant something. So did .278, .301, .350, an 18-4 record, or 118 RBIs. Now it all means nothing because a bunch of nonathletes are trying to reinvent the game?
Gosh, this is just an open call for a big ‘ol hug from the jaws of life.  Somebody please buy that man a shot of castor oil.  Seriously, I’ve got news for Brucy boy, and he’s going probably going to be shocked by the revelation.  He might want to sit down in his HoverChair and grab his Life Alert while someone reads this to him fresh off the fax machine, since he’s probably out of paper for his dot matrix printer.  A batting average of .220 still means something.  So does an 18-4 record and 118 RBI, although I’m not sure what exactly “RBIs” stands for, because “runs batted ins” sounds like a crappy motel chain that rents rooms by the hour, but that’s a personal issue.  None of my business.  The important thing is that the batting average of .220 can be supplemented by other statistics.  If two different players both hit .220, it’s sometimes interesting to try and quantify the differences in just how each came to arrive at that same batting average.  Maybe one excelled against LHP on natural grass during day games.  Maybe the other played especially good baseball against RHP on turf indoors at night on weekend games.  It may seem trivial, but that’s something some managers like to know.  What if both of those players are on the same team and form a platoon?  That trivial information may actually have an impact on who gets to play in a certain game.  Bah, who cares about all those geeky stats, though?  Just go with the guy who had his uniform tucked in better the previous day.  Why not pick the guy who showed up earlier for the team meeting?  After all, we don’t want such an important thing to be determined by something silly like batting splits, hitting streaks, or fly ball/ground ball tendencies.  Heck no. 
With that attitude, Felix Hernandez wouldn’t be the defending Cy Young award winner in the AL, because he couldn’t manage better than a 13-12 record on a lousy Mariners team.  Absolutely we should have penalized Felix for being dominant for a team that was 30th in practically every offensive category in MLB last season.  Great idea…..or not.  Of course, I don’t recall Bruce crying about W-L records when Lincecum picked up his 2nd Cy Young award in 2009 with a 15-7 record over Adam Wainwright (19-8).  So W-L matters until it doesn’t matter?  Gotcha.  That’s cool.  I’m sure RBI matter a lot until your hometown team doesn’t have anybody who drives in 100+, and then distribution matters more.  Of course, that will all change once Posey starts pushing the century mark in RBI, and then it will be about having a big producer in the lineup this year.  It’s official now, BJ.  I’m watching you, and I’ve got my own  basement, complete with a #ManCave.  I’m prepared.  I may dedicate a special column just to you, fella. 
“Nonathletes”?  There are plenty of professional baseball players who aren’t athletes.  Has Jenkins not seen Jonathan Broxton or Miggy Cabrera lately?  Yeah, they can throw/hit baseballs, but they couldn’t finish a Wipeout course without being airlifted somewhere.  Some bloggers actually exercise with some regularity.  *gasp*  Pot, meet kettle.  As John Kruk so eloquently put it “Lady, I’m not an athlete, I’m a baseball player.”  Do I need to submit my blood pressure numbers and good/bad/total cholesterol numbers prior to publishing this blog piece, or can it wait until after 24 hours have past?
One final thought for Bruce (in case someone takes the time to transpose this in Crayon on Big Chief notebook paper for the big lug to read), because I don’t want to overload the guy.  I don’t know which blogs you read, so I have no idea how you’ve created your misshapen and skewed perception about stat geeks and people who live in their mother’s basement.  Most stat geeks have taken appreciation of baseball to a whole new level by adding a new dimension to the old dimensions of play and raw baseball card-type numbers.  If anything, they’ve managed to do so without lessening the baseball experience by changing the pace of information exchange or overloading our brains.  It’s addition without subtraction, and that’s a good thing.  Also, I don’t know that criticizing people for living in their mother’s basement is a wonderful idea.  Considering the current economic climate in America, it seems like a lot of people would be better off if they had spent an extra year or two living at home.  Then again, I’m not the expert (that’s my wife – she’s the one with the dual degrees in international finance and biomed….oops no dunce cap for her either).
I must have missed the stat-crazed dunce part of my “Blogging for Dummies” package when I started blogging.  I’m sure I have another one around here somewhere, though.  Dunce caps are often handed out to people with planetary physics degrees who masquerade as IT infrastructure analysts for Fortune 500 companies, right?  Actually, that’s probably not true at all.    Fortunately, it did come complete with an “Idiot’s Guide to Writer’s Worth Ignoring“, and Jenkins was listed in that book twice.  Once under “Giants‘ and once under “Desperately holding on to old media“.  I sincerely regret failing to follow the guide more closely.  I’ve learned my lesson the hard way, though.  Without question, the best bloggers bring their “A” game on a regular basis, and most of them don’t even write full time.  They simply do it for the love of the game.  Why do you do it, Bruce? 
Consider my typical day:
  • Wake up, drink coffee, eat breakfast
  • See kid off to school
  • Quality time with dogs
  • Work
  • Lunch
  • Work
  • Write blog that greatly exceeds anything Bruce authors all week in terms of originality and humor but is on par with average blog produced by BBA and UCB members
  • Work with kid on homework
  • Dinner
  • Dishes
  • Violate BYU’s honor code
  • Shower
  • Chores

That’s pretty much the basics of it.  Now about that .220 average.  It’s familiar to me for some reason.  Maybe that’s because it’s approximately Bruce’s average as of late.  Step up your game, man.  You’re barely above the Mendoza line, although I’m not sure what Mendoza did in terms of OPS+. 

Remember that old proverb about people in glass houses.  Perhaps someone should remind Brucy boy about it, before he starts flinging rocks (or baseballs).  Of course, it might not matter.  He probably can’t touch 45 on the speed gun, while some of us nonathletes can probably still bring the heat around 70+.  That’s just the way it works.  Those that can’t do, teach (or coach).  Those who can’t coach, well they apparently write nonsensical and insulting articles meant to collect pageviews for the SF Chronicle.  Well done. 

TIDBIT:  I’ll give you some alternatives to Bruce’s Bay Area Botches right here, so here’s a shoutout to some other options for you. 

  • McCovey Chronicles – It’s an SB Nation site, so the quality is right there without a loss of snark. 
  • Splashing Pumpkins – My personal favorite – maybe because they offer the same kind of mix that we offer at PH8. 

MORE BITS OF TID:  If anybody knows Bruce personally and wants him to have a copy, I’ll be glad to make some papyrus and grind one out later this month. 

Like it?  Wonder why Jenkins is so fascinated with everybody else’s mom (and her basement)?  Follow gr33nazn on Twitter, and we’ll ask about this together!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Ann March 17, 2011

You’re not violating the BYU honor code if you’re married.

Just sayin.

Dennis March 17, 2011

I have earrings.

Where was your mind?

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