Cheektowaga, NY—Here it is. The Anti-Column. I know our faithful reader(s) is/are expecting to find a finely crafted analysis of yesterday’s Game 1 Rangers win against some team that apparently plays in Florida somewhere. I think Phil Esposito and his buddies started a club down there and I think they won a Cup in 2004 I think? But yeah-so Blueshirts up 1-0 in the 11th round of the Stanley Cup playoffs that began in February.
I’d rather talk about…male pattern baldness. Nah, I kid. As many of you know I have a Twitter account over on that Twitter thing. You can find me @aldersonfake (FakeSandyAlderson) and you can find me most days railing like a jackass ad infinitum about the serially bad Mets organization.
The real fun kicks in when one of the “recent” Met followers (Brooklyn people, for example) decides to engage me with a bunch of stats. I, like my contemporaries here at MtM like Short Matt, Grinding Ax and Angry Ward come from a time when you used your eyes to make observations. We didn’t need FIP or WHIP or xFIP or OPS+ to know how good Mike Schmidt and Graig Nettles were defensively. We saw each make great plays look routine, and if the ball was hit their way, we knew the play would be made. Same thing with great fielders of the 70s and 80s like Manny Trillo, Larry Bowa, Doug Flynn, and Butch Hobson. (ahh–gotcha there, Hobson actually sucked-but again we didn’t need Michael Baron or Peter Gammons to tell us what we were watching)
The latest and greatest example of how advanced statistical analysis (I think this is the SABR nonsense) has ruined baseball, comes in the form of Mets Designated Hitter Wilmer Flores. Yes, I’m aware the NL doesn’t use the DH, but (Real) Sandy Alderson has apparently lobbied his gap toothed lackey Manfred to allow the use of one here in New York. The problem of course is that DH is Flores’ best position, and while his bat does show promise, his ability to play Shortstop is anything but promising.
It’s not his fault. The organization decided back in 2011 that Flores was not a SS, and moved him first to 2nd base and then to 3rd and 1st base. I give you this historical perspective because there is a SABR group out there on Twitter that has recently proclaimed that Flores is the 2nd best defensive shortstop in the National League. You can’t coach height. Speed never slumps. You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with Jim. (or Slim, as Croce cites in the last chorus)
These SABR psychos have tortured the stats enough with their craziness, that they were able to create an algorithm that fires off numbers indicating that Flores is a defensive stud. My eyes tell me he’s not just a bad shortstop, but not even a shortstop at all. A team that thinks/pretends that it’s a contender must be kidding if they think they’ll sniff the postseason with a DH playing short all year. Attendance, though is up at CitiField. Buyer beware? More like buyers are suckers. They want to believe, but this ain’t 1973. We can see that Bud Harrelson is nowhere to be found.