A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Golden Farce

John (New York, NY): Do you agree with other analysts that Derek Jeter's defense is overrated? With the number of errors he's made so far this year, it seems like everyone's jumping off the bandwagon.

SportsNation Joe Morgan: I would not put myself in that group. First off, as a middle infielder, shortstop is the most difficult position to play on the field. Any lapse of concentration or injury can throw you off. I think with Jeter, he's been losing his concentration recently, but I expect him to get out of it. Middle infield demands that you have your highest confidence at all times, so a few errors can throw you off. I won't say someone's overrated because I don't see him every day. Obviously, if he's won 3 consecutive Gold Gloves, he has to be pretty good.

Joe Morgan definitely gets the most boring chat award. The guy took one issue head on (albeit in interesting one) and was just a bore otherwise. I could have predicted just about everything he said, but this one particularly annoyed me. Let's just look at that last part again...

I think with Jeter, he's been losing his concentration recently, but I expect him to get out of it. Middle infield demands that you have your highest confidence at all times, so a few errors can throw you off.

Oh. Well, you are a Hall of Famer and you must be watching him regularly to make such an assertion.

I won't say someone's overrated because I don't see him every day. Obviously, if he's won 3 consecutive Gold Gloves, he has to be pretty good.

You appear to watch him enough to say that you think he has been losing his concentration, but Hall of Famer Joe Morgan cannot properly assess his fielding prowess? Then he uses the fact that he has three Gold Gloves to bolster some case for Jeter? The issue with the entire thing is in his second to last sentence. Most of the people voting do not watch these guys on a daily basis and cannot make a proper judgment. During my senior year of high school, it was time to vote for superlatives in the yearbook and the committee was trying to fill as many pages as possible so they included singing amongst other useless ones (even more useless than the standard ones). One major problem. Nobody actually knew who could or could not sing and since most people knew that I played guitar, I won.

Of course, it was stricken from the yearbook since it was a farce, but that is basically how I see the Gold Glove voting happening. People really do not know who is the better fielder when there is no a standout (like an Omar Vizquel) and just go with whomever they is having a nice year and say, "he's having a good year at the plate, he must be fielding well to". But even when someone was a standout and they are past their prime, they get voted in 'just because'. I actually think it is an inside joke that Greg Maddux keeps winning Gold Gloves on the mound because it is practically impossible to even pick a winner at that position. There are plenty of pitchers that field their position with aplomb and you will not find many actually getting dirty or diving, which is one way I guess they could separate themselves from the pack.

I should just check it off as being irrelevant, but as Rob Neyer pointed out, in twenty years people will not remember Jeter was actually not Gold Glove worthy in the field. They'll remember the fact that he was a great offensive player and must have been a great fielder as evidenced by his three (and counting) Gold Gloves. In a way, it mars history because there are inconsistencies and untruths being left behind. Of course you can extend that as to the reason steroids are vehemently disliked by mankind when it comes to baseball, but I cannot prove much about illegal substances and how much they have changed the game vs. just the game progressing. However, I don't need any magical eight ball to tell me Jeter is simply not a premium defender and I could tell you with certainty his glove will be part of his legacy.

Coincidently, Jerry Crasnick wrote a piece on Adam Everett being the short stop of the universe and had some comments about Jetes.

The findings, released last year in "The Fielding Bible," are a testament to Everett's skill. From 2003 through 2005, he received an aggregate rating of plus-76, compared to a minus-64 for the Yankees' Derek Jeter. Bill James examined the disparity in a 4½-page essay in Dewan's book and concluded that Jeter can't carry Everett's jock, never mind his glove, as a defender.

In the end, I guess it all bothers me because I want there to be more to the Gold Glove. I don't want Vizquel to win it until he dies just because of his reputation. I honestly do not see him enough to know if he is better than Jose Reyes, but I would certainly hope that Reyes doesn't need to have a 30/30 season to win the Gold Glove. I would hope that if Reyes was the best, he would win it. Likewise I would hope that if Everett was the best, he would win it. Right now, it seems to be a joke with some of the winners these days. Do they get it right sometimes? Of course, but sometimes the mark is missed by miles.

* * *

  • This was actually a pretty good issue to touch upon.

    Shawn in Philly: Do you really believe the lack of African-American players in the game is a "crisis"? Does it matter how many there are in the league as long as the opportunity is there? To me, the real problem is the lack of African-Americans in front office positions.

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: Of all the people I've listened to about this percentage, you have the right understanding. I cannot find it in my heart to blame MLB for the percentages. The opportunity is there. Players are making a choice to go to the NBA or the NFL. If baseball wants to try to help persuade them to go that way, that's great, but it's not baseball's fault. Football is 70 percent African-American and basketball is 80 percent African-American. All those athletes are not playing baseball. I agree fully that the problem is in the front office and in the management, but if you do not have African-American players, where are the managers going to come from? They have brought people into the front office who have graduated from Harvard, but not African-Americans who have graduated from Harvard. You have guys who get two, three chances, but a guy like Cito Gaston, Dusty Baker, Don Baylor, Lloyd McClendon, Davey Lopes, Jerry Manuel who don't get as many chances. Yet a aguy like Phil Garner, who lost in Milwaukee and Detroit, found a good team in Houston. Not to pick on him, but the opportunity isn't there. Only Frank Robinson has managed more than three different teams; Cleveland, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Washington. You have a very good understanding of what I see as the problem.

    First, it's not necessarily a problem that African-Americans are not running towards baseball by the droves. Everyone has a choice as to which sports they choose to participate in and baseball is not one that appeals to many inner city kids. It could be the lack of fields, equipment, or enough people willing to play whereas with basketball, you need one hoop and one ball. Not even a person necessarily. Though Major League Baseball has the choice to try and open the game up to inner-city kids via their RBI program, that is really not the issue according to Joe Morgan and I tend to agree with him there.

  • Reyes stealing successfully on a pitch out.....and it wasn't close.
    1st and 2nd with no outs and Valentin and Reyes turn a gorgeous double play with an especially amazing turn by Reyes to get out of the way of a sliding Rowan.
    Pat Burrel's inability to run down a Beltran RBI double that many other people could have gotten to.
    Alou going deep twice in a harsh wind that kept everyone in check.
    Alou's sliding catch to save a run to end the 6th.
    The Phillies are sitting in last with less wins the vaunted Nationals and a horrible bullpen.

    What the Philly fans saw first hand after a delusional couple months heading into the season is that the Mets are tight all around and their Phillies are not. The two teams are not in the same league.

  • Rob Neyer's latest column was chock full 'o good stuff. Very bloggy stuff and I hope he does more like this.
    • "There's a bunch of humans out here, but to Manny, he's the only human." ~ Julian Tavarez
    • He linked to this Uni Watch Blog post about the 42-a-thon on Sunday. Really awesome stuff and you have to painstakingly go through all of the pictures. Just a side note, I loved the idea of everyone wearing 42 and Randolph gets the douchebag award of the day by not letting Damion Easley wear it as well (at least that is what I heard or remembered reading or maybe even dreamed up).
    • Fascinating piece in the N.Y. Times about "fight money" in Japan, whereby players can receive nice little cash bonuses, or occasionally "stuffed animals and sets of towels." Gee, I hope nobody tells Johan Santana; we thought the Yankees' big money would be enticing.
    There were more solid tidbits and I hope he keeps putting out more bloggy type posts.

  • I'm not going back to review the multitude of news I missed, but I will say I'm sufficiently done with this rain. Between ruining what was almost a historic tailgating event for reasons I care not get into and making it a pain in the ass to get to work being all of North Jersey is flooded, I'm done. I spent too much of the day looking at The Four Seasons in Costa Rica and if it does not get nice soon (this weekend might be pretty ridiculous), I might be moving. This is baseball season and I'm ready for baseball weather.
  • Labels:


    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Didn't Bobby Abreu win a Gold Glove? Enough said.

    10:59 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yes, he was one in my mind when I was talking writing this. But a few years ago people were calling for Floyd to win it out of this fanbase which was ridiculous.

    It is just something that is treat so subjectively without regard to the improving defensive metrics out there. They need to try and overhaul the system and find a better way. I understand that is how all the awards are given, but the CY Young, MVP, etc...at least there is more to work with.

    11:07 AM

    Blogger AE said...

    gold gloves are arbitrary. as a mets fan i will be the first to say that rey ordonez, who won 3 of them, wasn't the best at shortstop. rey rey was always the type of guy who made a routine play look spectacular. he would make something look flashy when he didn't have to. that's kind of like jeter. jeter makes 1-3 flashy plays a year that makes jaws drop - which is all due to his phenomenal athletic ability - not to do with his defensive prowess. when you see the other plays he tries to make - not so great. now this doesn't mean jeter is anywhere near what ordonez was defensively but there is a valid comparison - flash gets votes. flash wins gold gloves.

    as for joe morgan - that dude sucks. during that opening game the mets had with the cardinals he said that willie randolph "brought the 1st to 3rd with him" when he was brought in to manage the mets. i for one, didn't realize that art howe was opposed to going from 1st to 3rd on a hit to right field. that must have been what got him fired. uhmmm, yeah right?

    if joe morgan could actually do his job correctly, he would have said "willie randolph is an aggressive manager who likes to have his runners take an extra base when possible". joe morgan is a terrible announcer/analyst, i'm down for the fire joe morgan campaign...

    11:31 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    AE, great point on making the routine look exciting as where a smooth fielder will make the tough plays look routine. I can see how that plays against someone, but if someone actually is head and shoulders above, you would think that top baseball minds should be able to figure that out.

    1st to 3rd!!! Willie invented that. He revolutionized the game like Russa and relievers.

    Joe Morgan is pretty bad. I don't actually hate his broadcasts and I don't know why, but I hate people who spew out standard answers when they want to stear clear of the right ones and do not want to make anyone mad. It is nice to have some honesty in the media every once in a while.

    12:22 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Neyer really makes a great point about Jeter and how people will just look at his Gold Gloves 20 years down the line and say he was a good, or even great, defensive player. It reminds me of the Bert Blyleven conundrum, where people constantly reference his Cy Young results as a reason he should not be in the HOF, yet Blyleven was roundly under-appreciated because of his lack of wins, largely due to a historic lack of run support. I am glad we understand pitching much better now than we did then.

    I enjoy Morgan and Miller's broadcasts (certainly much more than McCarver and Buck), but I think it's mostly because of Miller, he's really, really good.

    1:24 PM

    Blogger AE said...

    my big problem with miller/morgan is that they don't call the game. they tell stories and totally forget that a game is going on.

    you watch a mets telecast, ron darling will be telling a story and gary cohen will cut in, seemlessly, to call the game when something is happening. and then darling will seemlessly finish his story. there's a reason why ron darling won that emmy that sny is so proud to advertise...

    back to miller/morgan, i watched that sunday night game between the dodgers/padres on jackie robinson night at dodgers stadium. rachel robinson was telling a story about jackie and knew to pause when a ball was put in play - miller didnt know what to do - there was an awkward pause. even rachel robinson knows that the announcer calls the game around the plays...

    i will admit that when joe morgan talks about playing the game, he is good. he gives insight into how to play the game correctly. however, when he is asked his opinion on players/managers/teams, he is awful, as mike has already illustrated. johnny miller as an announcer should have been able to have identified this at an early stage in their broadcasting relationship and should have been able to get the best out of morgan. that has not been the case.

    2:39 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Danny, we understand everything more than we did....and that includes fielding. I'd like to see a more metrics oriented way for determining who wins what. I do not want to get rid of all of the human element, but it would be nice if people used all the resources at their disposal to help make an educated decision. NOt just, "hey Jeter is having a good year with the bat, let me give him the Gold Glove."

    AE, I think you hit it. I like Morgan when he speaks to the game, it's history, and the Xs and Os. As for giving ridiculously boring answers that are a blatanty pleading the fifth on any issue, it annoys me. That's why I love Keith. He'll call anyone out at any time and conversely praise someone, Mets or their opponent.

    4:19 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da PRAGUE said...

    JOe Morgan is a dumbass. He embodies everything of what is wrong with "expert analyst". I mean hell yeah, he played the game and knows alot more than any of us do but he's a hard headed fuck head who is wrong on many things that can be statistically proven. But... he has an amazing voice and I like the ESPN broadcast with him and Miller. THe SNY team is the best though...

    By the way, I absolutely LOVE the Fielding Bible. It is one of the best baseball books. It's amazing. It's full of good stuff.

    In my opinion, I don't think the problem is with the lack of African Americans in front office positions. There are many, they just aren't GM's. THere are alot of assistants and just various front office people. But the thing is, most of the guys that hold those front office positions are former players. Although I'm not sure if that's a real problem. Whatever.
    As a kid from the city, I would LOVE for not only more African American kids to play baseball but just more enthusiasm and participation in high school baseball in general.

    8:42 PM

    Anonymous sidd finch said...

    SNY announcers are really great. Ron Darling is very good, but I wonder what that announcing team would have been like if they had hired David Cone instead.

    Red Sox announcers Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy are pretty good. When Jon Miller was in Boston with Ken Coleman, that was the best radio crew ever, although I miss Gary Cohen on the radio. I hear there's some guy out in LA who is a pretty good announcer, but I don't hear him very much anymore, except when Extra Innings is free. Vin something or other.

    8:27 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I think Cone would be similar to Darling really. I think they are good at analyzing the game with an obvious strength in pitching knowledge, which is nice to have on the team. I think Cone is smoother speaker, but I guess we are just splitting hairs.

    3:55 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Is the Florida manager asleep leaving Vanden Hurk in there? Good for us...


    8:29 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Will? How the fuck are you?

    1:27 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Well, doing well...just returned to Korea from a 5 1/2 week vacation to Mexico and US. I contacted a friend of mine in Jersey...left a phone number. On the same day, the Saturday before opening day at Shea, he sent me an email. Neither one of us knew the other made contact. I checked email on Monday after the game ended...and he had invited me, had an extra ticket...I was pissed!

    I've never been to an opening day....


    2:30 AM

    Anonymous two-by-four said...

    What people remember about Jeter is 1st is offense and then on defense his ability to make that play where he goes deep into the hole between short and 3rd and makes that jump, spin throw to first about as good as I have seen anybody make it. He will also be remembered for that play in the 2001 AL Division series against Oakland when he cut off Shane Spencer’s horrible throw on the first base line and “shoveled” the ball to Posada who tagged Jeremy Giambi out. These images help him to receive Golden Gloves that he really doesn’t deserve.

    10:32 PM


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