Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It's good to know that Richard Griffin is making sure the Jays blogosphere is ready for next season.

The Toronto Star baseball columnist is the equivalent that assistant football coach in Dazed and Confused telling Pink, Donny and Benny, "Guys, don't go soft on me over the summer, layin' around the pool, chasin' the muff around." Griffin evidently wants all the compilers of the various Jays blogs to abstain from any and all activities that would get in the way of our world-class backbiting and carving-up of his unique genius in 2008. Apparently, the commitment forms got lost in the mail.

How else to explain this gem in Griffin's retrospective the other day about MVP voting?

"Should it be given to the best player in the league or to the player who was most indispensable to his team, no matter where that club finished?

"... A perfect example of a year when the two processes could not be separated was the 1979 NL MVP voting. A couple of first basemen split the prize, Willie Stargell of the Pirates and Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals. Stargell clearly had the best offensive numbers, but Hernandez shared the award because of his defensive contributions and clutch hitting for a team that finished third in the NL East." (Emphasis mine.)
Oh, please. Even someone who was two years old in 1979 can debunk that without breaking a mental sweat. Pray tell, how did Willie Stargell clearly have "the best offensive numbers" over Keith Hernandez in the summer of '79?

Runs created/game
Hernandez: 8.6 (in a fairly historical average setting)
Stargell: 6.8 (in a somewhat better hitter's park, Three Rivers Stadium)

On-base-plus-slugging (OPS)
Hernandez: .930
Stargell: .904, but in 218 fewer plate appearances

Percentage of team's runs accounted for:
Hernandez: 29% (210 of 731)
Stargell: 14% (110 of 775)
It's not even necessary to go into the true alt.nerd.obsessive territory such as adjusted batting runs (Hernandez had twice as many as Stargell, 47.4 to 21.9). There's no need to quote Bill James, who called Stargell being co-MVP the worst award selection of the 1970s.*

No amount of leadership that Stargell provide to the We Are Family Pirates could bridge the gap in numbers between him and Hernandez, who did prove his own leadership chops later on. Griffin must have written that just to raise the ire of baseball nerds, to make sure that they were paying attention, or weren't too distracted by the whopper Marty York spun the other day about Roger Clemens joining the Jays. (Sure.)

It has to be that. One wouldn't want to think that if Griffin could be that far off the mark with a matter of simple statistical fact that any stugots could look up, how bad could he get it wrong about the stuff that only he as a journalist is privy to? The mind reels.

So either Griffin was testing people or he's just that incompetent. Or maybe he spent way too much time with Bill (Spaceman) Lee during the summer of '79 and it permanently scrambled his circuits. There's always that. Anyway, yours truly, much like Randy (Pink) Floyd, I might play ball when it comes to Griffin-bashing next season, but there is no way I'm signing that commitment form (wads it up, throws it general direction of Richard Griffin).

Oh, and good luck getting Drunk Jays Fans to sign off "no sex after 12."

MVP vote a fascinating exercise (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star, Nov. 11)

(* The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, p. 282.)

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