Friday, November 5, 2010

They The Zombies

  • A world of oppression...and the leader of the resistance:

Far be it from me to anoint myself as the leader of anything; such a thing has to grow organically. Much like evolution of the human (such as it is) from the primordial muck, these occurrences just "happen"; there's no conscious plan; no intent; no step-by-step blueprint of how things are going to go. Attempts to force fate inevitably result in fate pushing back in a Twilight Zone-style irony of be careful what you wish for.

Depending on one's point-of-view and focus, anything can be equated into that which piques their interest. That too can be twisted beyond all recognition and repair.

Having finished reading We The Living, by Ayn Rand, a novel about the resulting horrors of the communist takeover of Russia in the 1920s, I can't help but see a parallel between the attempts by stat zombies to overtake baseball with their self-described and appropriately named "revolution".

Is the attempt at an age of enlightenment well-meaning? Can an ironclad series of rules work in a floating concept? And are those that are promoting such a baseline code of conduct truly doing so with the stated goals in mind?

In some cases, yes, they're well-meaning; the rules could work if they were adhered to in a mindless and non-individualistic fashion; and the stated goals are real while being transient and destructive to the human mind and spirit.

Not to get too high-concept here (it's the caffeine), but I've repeatedly stated that Moneyball is a farce; that studying statistics does not a baseball expert make; that the way in which certain factions attempt to promote themselves and their agenda is transparent if you know what to look for.

Because of the corruption inherent with power and human nature to do what is in their own self-interests, those that truly believe in the stat zombie way are doomed to be swallowed up by the predatory nature of ends justifying means.

It's unavoidable.

And this is not to absolve those on the opposite end of the spectrum who are just as clueless and outright clumsy in their attempts to mask their own ends in their written statements disguised as "opinions" or rumors planted by the invisible "sources" which, many times, don't exist.

It can't work.

This subjugation of the individual mind for----as Moneyball tries to preach----"objective analysis" won't ever replace the intuitive nature of people who simply feel; know; understand. It's not a matter of plugging in numbers and it's not because of the human element (a concept Moneyball tries to, and fails, to account for as a means of inclusion); it's about knowing.

Knowing what you're seeing.

Knowing what you're saying.

Knowing what you're doing.

This so-called revolution is dying because the stat based theory of building, finding and creating cannot work. It's not even presented as individualism in a finite concept; it's "do it this way or you're an antiquated moron who doesn't get it".

I get it.

Much like the mechanics of pitching and hitting; the deviation in individuals cannot be accounted for. What would've happened to Tim Lincecum had his father not been so steadfast in his son's carefully honed and unique mechanics not being altered? Had Mel Ott been forced to change his leg-lifting hitting style; if George Brett hadn't come into contact with Charlie Lau; if Roy Halladay hadn't had his motion torn apart and rebuilt by Mel Queen....I could go on and on.

There's such a thing as individualism.

It still exists and no matter how much those who haven't the ability nor the courage to be themselves try to kill it, it won't ever die. It can't be strangled by the masses; the desire to belong; the need for companionship. There will always be someone to fight back against the monolith; the group; the collective.

Their revolution only exists because they say it exists; regardless of how many times they assert that they're "winning", it doesn't make it so. The sad fact is that many go along with the herd because it's easier to do what one's told and not come to a decision on their own. There's no responsibility in the group dynamic; just follow along and you'll be okay; you'll survive. You may not get exactly what you want, but nor will you endure the pain of failure. The mystical "they" will lead you to wherever and the individual will never be at fault.

One feeds into the other. The world of rotisserie sports gains sustenance from the "facts" in the numbers; playing the percentages makes all explainable; boiling humans down to their statistical parts keeps salaries in line because of cold valuation; it goes on and on.

But it doesn't crush the human mind and the need to be free.

No one wants to take a stand for fear of being referred to as radical. They parse; they self-protect; they find the safe nuzzle of the like-minded and "help" each other.

I had a long blast ready for those on prominent platforms who suggest acolytes and fellow believers deserve credit for their "kinda-sorta" prediction that the Giants were going to be good this year. They get credit for the declarations, but it's only due to them saying a "maybe" or "if this, then that".

Rob Neyer quoted Craig Wright in this posting, lauding Wright's "liking" the Giants in March.

It's more "he's my friend" self-indulgent pablum from Neyer; but that's not the point. Did Wright "pick" the Giants? It looked to me that Wright said they might be good. Judge yourself from the clipping provided in the posting:

But what I don't understand is why everyone seems to discount the chances of the San Francisco Giants. Sports Illustrated has them third; ESPN Magazine has them 4th and gives them only a 3% chance to win the division. None of the 12 experts at Baseball Prospectus picked the Giants, and overall they also have them in 4th place behind Arizona. I personally think that's nuts.

My feeling is that this is really a three-team race, and that with just a small break here and there the Giants could top the Dodgers, who are my favorite. Look at all the opportunities that point toward improvement for San Francisco ...


The Giants won 88 games in 2009 with a pretty crummy lineup, and I count five likely upgrades and no significant downgrades on offense. And it could be six offensive upgrades when top catching prospect Buster Posey comes up later in the year.

Yes. Well. I actually physically picked the Giants to make the playoffs!!!

That's neither here nor there. I also picked the Mets, Angels, White Sox (to win the World Series) and Dodgers, so take that for what it's worth.

The point is that no one says anything based on what they think; it's always some statistically based formula or the aforementioned "if".

Then they compound matters by resisting getting into a back-and-forth with me for whatever reason. "He's psychotic;" "You can't talk to him;" "He doesn't listen;" "I'm not feeding a troll;" "Blah, blah, blah."

Take it as it is and see what you want.

And I'm not saying you should believe everything I say either. I'm saying I don't care. Like what I have to say or don't, Here it is. It's not based on some arbitrary set of tenets with a safety net of excuses protecting me.

I go at 1000 mph. The zombies and holdout old-schoolers cling to their lifeline and seek solace with their own for safety's sake.

It's the logical conclusion.

It's reality.

It's objective analysis.

  • Movin' and groovin' (Part I):

Let's take a look at some of the stuff that went on yesterday.

Setting the Jeter positions:

The Yankees are suggesting that they have a budget and are running the team as a business; the Derek Jeter people are putting it out there that Jeter's value goes beyond simple on-field performance; Yankee fans are being braced for the possibility that the sides won't come to an agreement and Jeter might leave.

It's ludicrous.

I've said it before and will say it again----in the pure business sense and on the field there's no choice but for the Yankees and Jeter to come together and hammer out an agreement.

One, where's Jeter going?

What team would come anywhere close to matching the Yankees offer for him even if they decided to play serious hardball and keep the dollars and years to a reasonable minimum? If Joe Torre still managed the Dodgers, then maybe he could end up there. The Tigers? I guess there's some allure in playing in his hometown despite the fact that he lives, breathes and is idolized in New York. The Cardinals? The Padres? Can you really envision Derek Jeter wearing a uniform other than that of the Yankees?

As for the team, they don't have an in-house replacement ready to go; I suppose they could shift Alex Rodriguez back to shortstop and sign an Adrian Beltre or trade for a Mark Reynolds to play third base; but are they going to go down that road? Over a few dollars and years? And deal with the fallout of the savaging club would endure while simultaneously creating an irreparable rift that may never be repaired? Are they willing to have one of their iconic players estranged from them forever?

Jeter and his people people are far more calculating and skilled with propaganda than they've ever been acknowledged as being. A breakdown would be a disaster for both sides.

Jeter's going nowhere.

The saber rattling is a negotiation ploy from both ends to save face and either raise or subtract the dollars/years of the contract. It behooves both the team and Jeter to get this done as quickly and painlessly as possible----and they will.

Why does Michael Bay keep making bad movies? Why do the Royals keep acquiring bad baseball players?

If you saw Team America, World Police you know what I'm talking about.

In the puppet movie made by the creators of South Park, there's a song entitled "The End Of An Act" or it could, alternatively, have been called, "Why Does Michael Bay Keep Making Bad Movies?"

It's a legitimate question.

But what I want to know is why the Kansas City Royals keep acquiring bad baseball players?

In case you missed the earth-shattering and unexplainable news (in a "how did Kevin Costner ever become a movie star?" context), the Royals claimed Joaquin Arias off waivers from the Mets.

Aside from the facts that Arias can't hit; isn't a great fielder; and doesn't steal bases, I can see why they'd want him.

All kidding aside, if the Royals want to spend $20,000 on the obvious, they can give it to me and I'll provide a yay or nay on the moves they make. (It would've been a nay on Arias; and I say this as a Mets fan whose club benefited from the Royals claiming him; I cannot betray my principles; it's my curse.)

A sad realization:

Troy Renck of the Denver Post said on Twitter that he expects the Rockies to contact Blue Jays free agent closer Kevin Gregg about a contract.

Initially, I shook my head. Gregg is not a good closer; he walks too many people and allows too many homers----something that will be exacerbated in Colorado. Then the reality hit me that Gregg is, in fact, better than the current Rockies closer Huston Street.

Street isn't "bad" on the surface, but he's entirely untrustworthy in a big game. He's signed long-term and presumably, the Rockies would either be looking at Gregg to replace Street if they try to trade him; or for Gregg to be a set-up man, something I doubt he'd be inclined to do if he has an offer to close somewhere.

I don't know who'd take Street's contract (guaranteed $15.3 million through 2012), but the Rockies would be in the same position with Gregg as they will be with Street, so what's the difference aside from saving a few bucks? Nothing.

A different kind of reality:

The Red Sox exercised David Ortiz's $12.5 million option for 2011 and, according to this ESPN article and GM Theo Epstein, Ortiz was "cool with it".

And his choice as opposed to being "cool with it" was what?

What precisely was Ortiz going to do about it? Was he going to start a press war with the Red Sox about it? Was he going to hold out? Did he have any options?


I find any and all threats hysterical, especially from those who are in a position to be threatening no one. Ortiz is "cool with it" because Ortiz has to be "cool with it" since being uncool with it would've resulted in the Red Sox saying, "Yeah? So? Leave if you don't like it."

  • Viewer Mail 11.5.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Sparky Anderson:

I always thought Sparky Anderson did get a lot of recognition as a great manager, but I thought you gave him a nice tribute with this post. Very sad to read about his decline.

Perhaps a more applicable way of putting it was Sparky deserved more credit for his success. It's almost chalked up to the greatness of the Reds personnel that Sparky was along for the ride; but another manager might not have been "Captain Hook" as Sparky was.

Another manager might've acquiesced to the prevailing strategies at the time and pushed his starters towards 300 innings regularly. Jack Billingham presumably could've handled the workload, but the oft-injured Gary Nolan and Don Gullett couldn't. Sparky knew what he was doing.

The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger (Brooklyn Capo) writes RE Sparky Anderson:

You no doubt know he past away today after your posting. Rest well Sparky. You were one of the best of all time.

Walt Terrell was a damn solid pitcher. He was part of the turn around in Shea. Too bad he couldn't stick around for the championship. I always felt bad for Ed Lynch in that respect also.

I saw he'd died later in the day. I didn't realize he was going to go that quickly when I wrote it.

People still disrespect Sparky. That obnoxious and overrated Bill James years ago supposedly said he cost his teams 20 wins a year; I don't buy it, but whatever; at least James (unlike his "children" of the stat zombie culture) takes a stand and says stuff----idiotic and intentionally contrary though they may be at times.

I remember being livid that the Mets traded Terrell. I was thinking, "What do they need another 3rd baseman for?" They had Ray Knight and Hubie Brooks already. Then we learned why a couple of days later when Brooks was part of the package to get Gary Carter. I'd say it worked out pretty well.

I was on with Sal at the Sportsfan Buzz on Monday talking about the World Series; free agency (Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, et al). You can listen directly here; or download it from I-Tunes on Sal's site here.


Jeff said...

The most interesting thing to me this offseason is the Jeter drama. Does Cashman really believe that he's gonna play hardball with a living legend?


Meanwhile, passing this out to the Zombie Annihilation Army (aka ZAA).

Joe said...

I don't know that AROD could even handle short at this point. Seems like his range would be sub-par now. We always suggest that Youkilis could move back to third too, but really that is only known by scouts that see these two play a lot. It is tough to move to a tougher position in your 30's, and this applies to Rodriguez even more so, as he is in his mid-30's, and would be moving to SS, rather than 3rd.

She-Fan said...

I agree that Jeter's not going anywhere. But I also think there will be drama in the sense they won't have a deal quickly or without some bruised feelings. He's not getting the years he may want. Not.

Gabriel said...

Anthopoulos (finally I learned to write his last name properly!) made some out-of-the-box moves yesterday. I think Miguel Olivo is the Jay with the shortest tenure ever. I think Gregg pitched much better than I thought he would at the beginning of the season, however Anthopoulos thought he was a little expensive. The draft picks are nice, but upgrades to the lineup would be nice too.