Mean, Mean-Spiritied, Meaningless

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Rob Neyer posted the following on Twitter yesterday about Derek Jeter:

Just to be clear about this … the issue isn’t *where* Captain Groundout bats in the lineup, but that he’s in the lineup at all.

Then, after that bit of analysis, Neyer sort of receded off into the background (much like leaving ESPN to be the lead editor—or something—on SBNation) and doesn’t provide a solution to the Yankees non-existent issue at shortstop.

So, what’s Neyer’s suggestion?

That the Yankees bench Jeter after a month?

Then what? Are they supposed to move Alex Rodriguez to shortstop and play Eric Chavez at third base? How long is Chavez going to stay healthy if he’s asked to play regularly? Statistically—what Neyer bases his interpretation on—is Chavez trustworthy after his annual disabled list forays with the Athletics over the past four years?

Or perhaps he wants the Yankees to start a controversy that manager Joe Girardi, GM Brian Cashman and the entire organization would not be able to withstand especially with all the other issues the team currently has.

Does he want them to play Eduardo Nunez?

What would he like them to do?

There’s a meanness that emanates from some stat people like Neyer and Keith Law that’s off-putting; perhaps it’s from never having played the game of baseball; perhaps it’s a bitterness that comes from writing about an activity and longing so desperately to have their way seen as correct; or maybe they’re just obnoxious jerks.

But what’s the point of such short-sighted cruelty—without a solution—based on one month for a player who has been one of the best and most consistent players in baseball since 1996 and has played clean?

If Neyer came up with an answer of what to do with Jeter and backed it up with calm, cool reasoning—even if I disagreed with it (and I would; there’s nothing the Yankees can do with Jeter apart from letting him play and hoping this is a slump and not a Wile E. Coyote like plummet off the mountain)—then fine; instead, we get this nonsense.

In a posting about the Dodgers and Jonathan Broxton, Neyer said the following:

If Jonathan Broxton was a horse, they would shoot him.

This is totally unprofessional and unfunny in my opinion. I don’t go to that level and people consider me to be a raving lunatic.; Neyer worked for Bill James and was at ESPN for a long time, therefore he’s accorded credibility. In fact, when he left ESPN, it was treated as the biggest tragedy since the Hindenburg; you’d have thought he’d died.

It grated on me because I see through the laziness and agenda in which many of these so-called baseball experts wallow. I suspect ESPN is going to survive without Neyer’s five-line postings to advance whatever it is he believes, but we’ll see.

They’d shoot Broxton?

Captain Groundout?

It turns out that Broxton is hurt with an elbow problem; he should’ve said something before, but at least there’s a physical reason he’s slumping.

Regarding Jeter, isn’t the point of stat-based theory supposed to look at the player’s career history and come to a conclusion based on a bit more than 100 at bats?

Bench Derek Jeter? Really?

I would dearly love for these writers, bolstered by their perceived untouchability stemming from being on the internet (internet muscularity and courage) to have to confront the player against whom they utter this idiocy.

It wouldn’t happen, because then they might be held accountable for that which they say, write and tweet.

Besides that, the initial statements are meaningless because it’s MAY!!! Jeter still has time to rebound; the Yankees aren’t going to bench him despite the question of why he’s in the lineup to begin with.

It’s logical to ask the question of what’s 15 years compared to one month?

What are they supposed to do after benching him?

No answer is given to the throwaway line.

Because there isn’t one.

But I guess that doesn’t really matter, does it?

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4 thoughts on “Mean, Mean-Spiritied, Meaningless

  1. “There’s a meanness that emanates from some stat people like Neyer and Keith Law that’s off-putting; perhaps it’s from never having played the game of baseball; perhaps it’s a bitterness that comes from writing about an activity and longing so desperately to have their way seen as correct; or maybe they’re just obnoxious jerks.”

    It’s a reaction to all the undeserved coverage and accolades Jeter has received over the years. He’s been a very good player, but even so, the frothy, excessive praise he receives at every turn can be very off-putting for people who don’t live inside the NY bubble.

    For example, Jeter is on the whole a subpar fielder, with a significant inability to reach ground balls hit to his left. He didn’t deserve to win even one Gold Glove – yet he has five of them on his shelf at home.

    Similarly, Jeter’s reputation as a clutch God in the postseason is largely undeserved. He’s been a good postseason hitter (.309/.377/.472)… but not nearly as good as A-Rod (.290/.396/.528), who’s routinely criticized and portrayed as a Mr. May-style postseason stiff.

    Even your post displays a few of these tendencies. Why do you assume that Jeter “has played clean”? Absence of evidence is not the same thing as evidence of absence, and yet it doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that Jeter might have used. If guys like Hank Aaron and Mike Schmidt have gone on the record as having tried to gain a chemical edge through the use of illegal substances, who’s to say that Jeter didn’t, too?

    “Regarding Jeter, isn’t the point of stat-based theory supposed to look at the player’s career history and come to a conclusion based on a bit more than 100 at bats?”

    As you may or may not be aware, Jeter’s hitting slipped badly in the second half last year. Over the last 365 days, a time period encompassing 736 PA, he’s put up a .260/.335/.334 batting line, with below-average defense. That’s not a very good performance. When you combine it with the fact that he’s 37, things don’t look good for him.

    “What are they supposed to do after benching him?”

    Hope that he retires, I would assume. That way, they wouldn’t be on the hook for the rest of his ill-advised contract extension, and could feel free to pursue someone like Reyes as a replacement.

  2. Rob Neyer is a sweet-natured and classy guy, and he certainly doesn’t stoop to broad generalizations like the ones in this article, which are dim, silly, and sad.

    Own any mirrors, Mr Lebowitz?

  3. This might have had more impact had nearly the last half of the entry not been “buy my stuff!” “It’s here and here and here!” “Want my signature??!!” “Become a fan!!”””

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