Thursday, October 04, 2007

You're the lunatic, Brian Sabean

9 Comments:

Blogger Grizzlie Antagonist said...

I'm not a Sabean fan, but what he said was that Molina was the team MVP, which is not the same thing as saying that he was the most talented player on the team.

The concept of being a team MVP can encompass a number of intangibles, including on-the-field leadership and clubhouse presence.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Big D said...

Fair enough, Grizzlie. My whole point is that this is the same sort of insane basis for player evaluation that the Giants have been using -- going along with the notion that "veteran poise," "on-the-field leadership" and "clubhouse presence" somehow make up for the team's utter incompetence at scoring runs.

So the argument that Molina is the MVP is part and parcel of that, along with Sabean's endless campaign to blame Bonds for his incompetence as a GM in assembling a 71-91 team.

I don't think anyone in their right mind -- escept Brian Sabean and his apologist lackies at the SF Chronicle like Bruce Jenkins -- would argue that not having Molina (and his awful OBP) would have cost the team more wins than not having Bonds (with his MLB leading OBP).

10:05 AM  
Blogger Grizzlie Antagonist said...

OBP and OPS (into which OBP is factored) are helpful statistics but somewhat overrated.

RBI's are what is crucial, especially for middle-of-the-lineup hitters.

Bonds's OBP/OPS largely consists of bases on balls and unafforded RBI opportunities.

Molina did hit well with runners on base, i.e., after Bonds was walked. This fact plus those other intangibles that I mentioned make Sabean's view (that Molina was team MVP) defensible.

I don't know what the statistics were, but it did seem to me that of the Giants relatively few high-scoring games, a disproportionate amount of them actually occurred without Bonds in the lineup -- as though the team awoke from its lethargy and stopped waiting for Bonds to do it all.

I've enjoyed watching Bonds play and feel that he should not be deprived of entry into Cooperstown since he was clearly always of Hall of Fame caliber. I've always felt that both the Bonds-haters and the diehard Bonds supporters were both too firmly set in unwieldy positions.

I'm impressed with the ability of a 43 year old man with gamey knees to hit 28 home runs and indeed the ability to heal himself to the point of staying healthy enough to be present to hit that many home runs with limited opportunity.

But I don't think that he was that much of a force in the extremely limited success that the Giants had this year and I think that it was time to make a change.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Big D said...

We're going to have to agree to disagree. People who can't support their arguments ignore the cold hard numbers and resort to shaky claims like:

-- the Giants had their high-scoring games without Bonds in the lineup

-- OBP and OPS are over-rated and

-- he wasn't "much of a force."

It's the same sort of thinking that asserts that A-Rod's a fraud, too.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Grizzlie Antagonist said...

***** the Giants had their high-scoring games without Bonds in the lineup *****


I said (speculatively) "a disproportionate amount" of such games. Don't get in the habit of misquoting me as you misquoted Sabean.

I'm sure that I can find records of the games that I have in mind. However, people who won't be moved from their own arguments by the facts will disregard those facts.

***** OBP and OPS are over-rated *****


I guess that they must be. The team with the player with the highest OBP/OPS scored the fewest runs (or close to the fewest).


*****he wasn't "much of a force."*****


Just as McGwire wasn't much of a force in 1998 in the sense that a disproportionate number of his home runs came in losing efforts for the Cardinals.

That doesn't mean that he didn't add value -- significant value -- to the Cardinals since his presence in the lineup must have been a factor in the games that the Cardinals did win.

But I know that the statistics showed that McGwire's home runs were disproportionately in games in which the Cardinals lost. I don't know if the same statistics would hold true for Bonds in 2007, but I suspect that they would or might.

The Giants record in 2007 with Bonds on the roster speaks for itself. His presence must have been a factor in a number of the games that they won, but how can he possibly be regarded as a "force" for a team that won only 71 games?

A-Rod is not a fraud, but it would probably be a mistake for the Giants to sign him -- though the temptation must be great for the marketing people in the front office to replace the present home-run king with the next one.

The rubber-chicken manufacturers and retailers in the Bay Area would continue to thrive also.

But the mid-level market teams that have enjoyed the most success in recent years did so by building teams consisting of a number of first-tier players, rather than one HOF'er whom opposing pitchers could effectively take out of the lineup.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Big D said...

Grizzlie -- One other point: You're insisting that things like OPS is over-rated and that RBIs are what matter when the facts are these --

-- Molina had more RBIs than Bonds because he was batting in back of the guy with the highest OBP in MLB.

-- Bonds' RBI total is held down by the fact that he's getting walked and that the guys in front of him aren't getting on base.

-- To argue that McGwire wasn't a force in 1998 is to miss the point. Like Bonds, he was surrounded by an incredibly crappy team.

I sounds to me like you just hate Barry.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Grizzlie Antagonist said...

<<< I (sic) sounds to me like you just hate Barry.>>>


***** I've enjoyed watching Bonds play and feel that he should not be deprived of entry into Cooperstown since he was clearly always of Hall of Fame caliber. I've always felt that both the Bonds-haters and the diehard Bonds supporters were both too firmly set in unwieldy positions.

I'm impressed with the ability of a 43 year old man with gamey knees to hit 28 home runs and indeed the ability to heal himself to the point of staying healthy enough to be present to hit that many home runs with limited opportunity.

But I don't think that he was that much of a force in the extremely limited success that the Giants had this year and I think that it was time to make a change.*****

12:55 PM  
Blogger Grizzlie Antagonist said...

**** Molina had more RBIs than Bonds because he was batting in back of the guy with the highest OBP in MLB. *****


Right. As I said, Bonds's presence in the lineup must have been a factor in a lot of the runs that the Giants did score and in a lot of the games that they did win.

But they didn't score many runs or win many games. So the formula isn't really working anymore.


***** Bonds' RBI total is held down by the fact that he's getting walked and that the guys in front of him aren't getting on base.*****


Really? No kidding! Well, cut off my legs and call me shorty!

I think you're right. I guess the formula of building an entire team around one HOF player -- when you're not budgeted for a player of like caliber to protect him --isn't working anymore, especially as that player gets older and more injury-prone and requires more rest and as his defensive skills erode.



***** To argue that McGwire wasn't a force in 1998 is to miss the point. Like Bonds, he was surrounded by an incredibly crappy team. *****


He was actually surrounded by a much better lineup than Bonds in 2007. In 1998, Ron Gant, Ray Lankford, and Brian Jordan hit 82 home runs between them, and the Cardinals were a little over .500. Yet they didn't make the playoffs. Even with a supporting cast, McGwire could only do so much.

When Bonds was -- more or less -- in his physical prime, he could simply outslug the ballpark on a regular basis. We will not get into how a 37 year old man was able to break a single-season home run record and sometimes hit home runs on pitches that shattered his bat because I know that that will just upset you.

But however he did it, Bonds was able to outslug the ballpark. And it didn't seem to matter TOO much that he was occupying a disproportionate share of the payroll because the other hitters in the lineup were improved by his presence in it.

Those days are obviously gone, however much you would like to pretend that time can stand still. We know those days are gone because the Giants no longer score very many runs. How much longer would you have Barry stay anyway? How much longer even beyond 2008?

I won't even talk about the soap-opera atmosphere created in the clubhouse by his presence because you'll just say that that's all media-manufactured smear and that Barry did nothing to create his own troubles. As I've said, both Bonds-lovers and Bonds-haters are missing a number of points and are glued into unwieldy positions.

Back to the McGwire comparison - the 1998 Cardinals did not have good pitching. The 2008 Giants certainly have more upside there.

As much as I love the 3-run homer, SBT's dimensions don't accommodate it very well. If I'd designed the ballpark myself, I would have made it more home-run-friendly.

But as it is, SBT's dimensions DO fairly well accommodate - say - Matt Cain's high-rising fastball.

When he's not striking people out, he's giving up a lot of fly balls that SBT is more likely to "hold" than are other ballparks.

A team built around young pitching and outfield speed to run those fly balls down and a lineup built around a number of speedy gap-to-gap hitters that can take advantage of SBT's dimensions to hit (and sometimes to manufacture) doubles and triples seems to be a far more realistic assessment of what the ballpark will accommodate than your own.

The Giants teams of the future will more closely resemble my blueprint than yours. I don't know if Rajai Davis will prove to be a long-term answer, but he's certainly the TYPE of player that future Giants rosters are likely to have.

You seem to want to postpone the inevitable. But I don't see any point to that myself.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Big D said...

As for postponing "the inevitable" -- Guilty as charged!

Grizzlie, I truly appreciate your taking the time to write and the thoughtful tone of your comments.

2:29 PM  

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