Monday, May 23, 2011

The "Yankees Are Hitting Too Many Home Runs" Rhetoric Has To Stop

(Too bad the NY baseball writers don't.)

Despite the ups and downs of the Yankee offense as a whole this season, one constant has been their power.  Since Opening Day the Yankees have been crushing home runs and they used the long ball to their advantage again over the weekend against the Mets.  The other constant that has come with the power has been the MSM's continued insistence that the Yankees hitting all these home runs is somehow a bad thing.  Brien Jackson from IIATMS has been the leading voice of reason in combating this ridiculous line of thinking, and he took to the interweb again this weekend to pick apart the idiocy of The Daily News' Filip Bondy as well as that of The Post's Kevin Kernan.  But that hasn't stopped these guys and others from continuing to bang the anti-HR drum, and I can no longer sit idly by and read this crap.  So I'll get my 2 cents in about the topic, using portions of these 2 goobers' respective columns.

First up, Bondy's attempt to create connections between other facets of the game and home runs when there are none and then failure to even try to trace a connection between high home run and run totals to wins.

"Hardly anybody ever singles in runners from second or third. Again yesterday, the Yanks managed no hits with runners in scoring position. They have only 26 stolen bases and stood second-to-last in fielding in the American League, giving up 21 unearned runs in 44 games on 32 errors."

"The Yanks have struck 70 homers and scored 118 of their 226 runs this season with longballs. Their ratio of homers to total runs scored is .310, greater than the 1961 Yanks' .290." (via The Daily News)

On the one hand, Bondy wants you to think that the Yankees' high home run total is something that should be tied to their struggles in other areas, such as hitting with RISP, stealing bases, and fielding the ball.  Anybody who understands the basic principles of baseball can tell you that home runs have nothing to do with any of these stats.  They are a completely separate animal and should be treated as such.  Not to mention the fact that the home run is a play of certainty, where the factors influencing the outcome of the play are limited and the results always work to the advantage of the team who hit the home run.

If there are runners on 3rd and 1st and the batter hits a home run, his team is getting 3 runs for sure.  All 3 guys cross the plate and there's nothing the defense or pitcher can do about it.  If the batter hits a groundball to short, there are tons of factors in play and many different outcomes that can influence how many runs are scored.  The defense could turn 2 and allow the runner from 3rd to score, they could throw home and try to cut the runner down at the plate, allowing no runs to score, or there could be an error in which no outs are recorded, 1 run scores, and the opportunity is still open for more runs.  And that's just 3 scenarios off the top of my head.  There are plenty more that could come up, but the idea that holds true in any of them is that there is uncertainty about how many runs will be scored.

Hitting home runs eliminates all of those possibilities and leads to only one outcome: runs scoring.  It's the best possible play from the offensive standpoint because your team is scoring runs without sacrificing outs.  There's a reason why HR totals are still valued and are worth more in calculating OPS, OPS+, wOBA, etc.  Because the outcome is always the same and it's always a positive for the offense.  That fact never changes and so trying to tie home runs in with other plays like advancing runners, getting hits with runners on, and stealing bases is an incredibly flawed and stupid way of thinking. 

Kernan's piece in today's Post was equally stupid, but for a different reason:

Fred Wilpon Sucks At Timing

By now we've established that the Wilpons are scummy people, sloppy owners, and just general nincompoops when it comes to being a part of the human race.  But in case you had forgotten, Fred Wilpon is here to remind you.  In his latest escapade, Fred follows up on the Mets' losing of the Subway Series over the weekend in the best way possible: by doing an interview where he bashes pretty much every player on his team.

On Jose Reyes- "He thinks he's going to get Carl Crawford money. He's had everything wrong with him. He won't get it."

On Carlos Beltran- "We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series. He's sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was."

On David Wright- "Really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."

On Ike Davis and the team in general- "Good hitter.  "Shitty team. Good hitter. ...We're snakebitten, baby."

The full story, including more discussion about the Madoff scandal, is in an article in The New Yorker, but from a baseball perspective, this is really all you need to know.  Fred Wilpon is a dope, his son is a dope, and their combined dopiness has run the Mets team into the ground.  And now that he's done that, he essentially ejects himself from the flaming wreckage and throws blame at the passengers.  Real classy, real smart business decision.  Makes Randy Levine and Hank look like geniuses.  Thank you, God, for making me smart enough to be a Yankee fan.