In Defense of Steve Phillips and Joe Morgan
Please accept my most sincere apologies for the title of this post, and understand that I have made these two my favorite punching bags in my years of watching Baseball Tonight, an absolutely atrocious program shoved down our throats by the good people at ESPN.
The two mentioned actually bring some sense into the fray, for the first time ever.
Now, tonight's 7 PM show featured discussion of the All-Star selections, something I was looking forward to while seething about the obvious ignorance of John Maine's great season. John Maine is tied for third in the NL in VORP among pitchers. Cole Hamels is nineteenth. Somehow he made it. Hamels ranks behind El Duque, by the way.
Regardez, s'il vous plait: Maine isn't even in the final five left for voting. His stats: 9-4, 2.74 ERA.
The final five:
SP Brandon Webb: 8-5, 3.05 ERA,
SP Roy Oswalt: 7-5, 3.42 ERA.
SP Carlos Zambrano: 9-6, 4.20 ERA.
SP Tom Gorzelanny: 8-4, 3.05 ERA.
SP Chris Young: 8-3, 2.14 ERA.
and, just for kicks,
SP Cole Hamels: 9-4, 3.87 ERA.
This is absolutely disgusting. I try to avoid putting too much stock into these things, but Maine outpitched all of the above but Young as measured by ERA, and he won more (or as many) than all. This is grotesque. Fire Selig.
P.S.: Zambrano's ERA is 4.20. Look at that. Oliver Perez would sooner deserve a spot.
Instead, the idiots on tonight's panel (Eric Young, Steve Phillips, and John Kruk) decided to debate why Jose Reyes made the All-Star team instead of Jimmy Rollins, who sucks, by the way.
Reyes OPS+: 131
Rollins OPS+: 116
Reyes WARP: 4.5
Rollins WARP: 3.9
Listen to our good friends at BT:
KRUK: "You don't go to the All-Star Game to watch a guy [Reyes] hit singles and run. That doesn't happen. Hit a home run."
KARL RAVECH: "You know that's ridiculous."
STEVE PHILLIPS: "Thank you."
RAVECH: You don't want to see Reyes run? Steal?
KRUK: He's not going to. It's the All-Star Game. [ED NOTE: There were two stolen bases from the NL in last year's ASG, and Reyes wasn't even playing.] And Jimmy Rollins can't steal a base?
YOUNG: I like Jose Reyes. I think he's one of the most exciting players in the game, but when we think about performance, who should be the all-star shortstop for the National League, no doubt about it, it should be Jimmy Rollins. Look at the numbers!
PHILLIPS: Come on!
YOUNG: His power, his slugging percentage, it's over .500! Take out the average and the stolen bases. What do you have?
PHILLIPS: You have on-base percentage. There's a 60-point difference between the two.
PHILLIPS: You're playing this game to win! Here's the thing, Jose Reyes has 25 more stolen bases than Rollins, which means those singles become doubles. Jimmy Rollins slugs? When you look at Jose Reyes's OPS, it's better than Jimmy Rollins'! He puts himself in position to score more runs than Jimmy Rollins! Runs scored come from the people behind you in the lineup! He's the most exciting player in the major leagues. And 2.5 million of my closest friends agree.
YOUNG: The Mets' lineup is not good?
PHILLIPS: The Mets' lineup with Beltran and Delgado behind him struggled this year compared to Howard and Utley.
YOUNG: They've been tearin' it up [ED NOTE: No, they haven't. They suck.] How about Ryan Howard earlier this season?
PHILLIPS: I'll trade you right now, Jose Reyes for Jimmy Rollins, you'd take Reyes.
KRUK: We're talking about an All-Star Game!
YOUNG: Not about trades! [ED NOTE: So cute. They're finishing eachother's poorly-thought out arguments.]
PHILLIPS: Okay, who would you say gives that team a better chance to win that game?
KRUK and YOUNG (in unison): Jimmy Rollins! [ED NOTE: According to the Hardball Times, Reyes has four more win shares this season than Rollins. Just thought I'd point that out.]
PHILLIPS (incredulous, once again): It's not even close. Jose Reyes does everything.
KRUK (interjecting): You wanna throw situations out, let's throw this one out: bases loaded, 2-run game, bottom of the ninth inning, who do you want hitting? Jimmy Rollins or Jose Reyes?
PHILLIPS: I'll take Reyes. Absolutely. He does everything, he doesn't strike out.
KRUK: Then you'll lose. [ED NOTE: Rollins is 0-for-5 on the season with bases loaded. Reyes is 4-for-12.]
YOUNG (changing the topic and making no sense): You also have to think about the opponents' batting averages against those guys. It's not going to be a piece of cake for him to get on base and steal. [ED NOTE: So is it going to be easy for Rollins? I don't understand... they would face the same pitchers.] You got Pudge behind the plate. Pudge shuts down.
RAVECH (trying to save Young and Kruk from their stupidity): There are people in Milwaukee saying, why are you even having this discussion? Where's J.J. Hardy? People in Florida, the few that actually watch the Marlins, saying where's Hanley Ramirez?
PHILLIPS: Hardy's 2nd best, Ramirez's 3rd best, Renteria's fourth best, and Rollins is 5th. [ED NOTE: By WARP (which takes defense into account), your top NL Shortstops: Reyes, Renteria, Rollins, Ramirez, Hardy.]
YOUNG: I can't believe you're saying that.
KRUK: That's why, as a GM, you're here with us.
(later in the show, another exchange with JOE MORGAN)
RAVECH: You were listening to that discussion we had, about Reyes and Rollins, and you were a speed guy. Who would you have selected, Reyes or Rollins, given that choice?
MORGAN: Well, you know what, I'd flip a coin, either one that comes up, I'd be happy with. [ED NOTE: If you read Fire Joe Morgan, this must sound familiar.] But if you forced me to make a choice, I'd have to take Reyes. I think Reyes is the most exciting player in the game right now. [ED NOTE: He also leads all NL Shortstops in WARP!] I think Jimmy Rollins is exciting; he's a great player, a great clutch hitter. I just think that that's a real snub not to have him on the all star team. But I would have to take Reyes.
RAVECH: [blah, blah] Some have compared Jose Reyes to you in your prime.
MORGAN: I didn't get that. (having some audio issues)
RAVECH: I just complimented you.
MORGAN: Well, that's high praise, because I think he's an exciting player.
One final ED NOTE: If Rollins is so bothered about being left off the roster, he might want to ask Tony La Russa why he took Aaron Rowand as a manager's selection. I don't think he's very good. Or why he took Albert Pujols, who has not been Albert-ly this season (SLG down by nearly 140 pts. compared to last year).
I'll be back tomorrow with something coherent which hopefully can spear Aaron Heilman. Stay tuned.
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