Filed under: baseball, Baseball History, Steroids, The Mitchell Report | Tags: Mitchell Report
My God, I’m posting again! I ultimately scrapped my pythag-record study because people throughout the sabermetric community beat me to the punch (particularly pizza cutter over at mvn.com–I highly suggest checking out his sabermetric studies and posts, they’re really quite illuminating!).
As we all know, former Senator Mitchell finally released his report on the usage of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, and I have to admit, I am very, very unimpressed. I’m going to copy and paste a post I made on a message board, since I think it sums up my initial feelings quite well, and I should have a more detailed reaction next week, after I’ve had time to read the report cover-to-cover (and I escape the shadow of my coming finals):
Personally, I think the accusations and allegations of steroid users was ultimately the weakest aspect of the report, both from an investigative standpoint and from an effectiveness standpoint. Especially since this is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is everyone named in the report given equal documentation/corroborative evidence beyond hearsay and testimonial reports. Granted, there’s only so much one can expect from a report without subpoena power, but I think that’s precisely why that should have been an under-emphasized facet of the report. Either you should go all out, or not at all–and personally, I don’t think the costs of such an investigation match the positive results they’d produce.
We can talk all day about how the sexiness of names arouses interest in the report, but a lot of that interest is completely useless if it isn’t made into a positive force: that is to say, people throughout baseball (and ultimately, in the entire sports world, since there are sports that have as bad, if not worse, PED problems than baseball), at all levels and in all capacities, should put some serious effort into changing the culture of the sport in order to prevent such a thing from happening again.
I would imagine that, itself, would be incentive enough to try cleaning up the sport, and that public interest wouldn’t act as an additional motivator. But ultimately, I don’t think public interest even works that way–and if this turns out to be the firing gun that begins another round of fighting between ownership and the union (because, let’s be honest, the union probably isn’t all-too-thrilled with the allegations/accusations the report levies at individual players), then you’ve severely handicapped your ability to strengthen baseball’s anti-PED culture/policies.
It’s pretty sad that one of the first knee-jerk reactions that have been observed, both from the media and fans, was “who was named?”, rather than focusing on the positive aspects of the report, such as the descriptive “why and how did this happen in the first place?” and the prescriptive “what should baseball do about this moving forward, to prevent it from happening again?”
In the second respect, at least, I think Mitchell makes some pretty good points. Therefore, although my first impression of the report–and I’ll admit I did more skimming than reading throughout most of it, so that impression is likely to change–is rather critical, I think the report has the potential for some good. I did more reading than skimming when it came to Mitchell’s suggestions for the future, and I liked more than less of what was there.
I do fear that this report will drive a greater wedge between the owners and the union, which I think would be devastating for baseball moving forward, especially since both sides have been able to work so much better together these last few years (relative other periods of baseball history).
~The Fallen Phoenix
Filed under: Awards, Baseball History, Baseball Statistics, Mindless Twits, New York Yankees | Tags: A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Bobby Abreu, Carlos Pena, jorge posada, Magglio Ordonez, Mike Lowell, Tigers, VORP, Yankees
The punchline here is that they didn’t screw up. The AL MVP was Alex Rodriguez, and he more than deserve it. In fact, he deserved to win unanimously. Did he? No. Why? Because the sportswriters out of Detroit are major homers.
The Detroit Tigers were several games out of a playoff spot. The Yankees barely scraped a playoff spot. In fact, considering how much A-Rod contributed, had he not been on the Yankees in 2007, replaced by an average third baseman, the Yankees would not have made the playoffs. That’s a lot of value that he provides.
There is no excuse for not voting for A-Rod. He did it all – excellent defense; consistent performance; excellent hitting out of an important defensive position, hitting in the clutch. Magglio had a great year; in a typical year he should have won. But A-Rod did not have a typical year; in fact, A-Rod had a historical year. There is a very legitimate argument that A-Rod had won of the ten greatest seasons of all time in 2007, and even an argument that, after Barry Bonds’ 2001 season, it is the second most valuable season by a hitter of all time. A year as historically amazing as A-Rod’s is just a class above Magglio’s year.
There were some other interesting things to note about MVP voting. Mike Lowell… fifth? I’m sorry, but that’s just silly. According to VORP, there were fifteen more valuable hitters in the AL than Lowell. That’s a lot of people.
Jorge Posada ended up sixth behind Lowell. Despite the fact that Posada had the fourth highest VORP in the AL. I mean, catchers who can post and OPS+ of 154 with average defense just grow on trees, right?
In addition, Carlos Pena’s voting sadly disappointed me. The fifth most valuable VORP-adjusted hitter in the AL got ninth place in voting.
Also surprising was Bobby Abreu receiving a seventh place vote. In perhaps his worst season ever, where he barely scrape a 114 OPS+.
Hopefully, the writers will learn. But until then, they make good blog fodder.
Marc Ecko, the guy who bought Barry’s 756th homer, wants you to vote for what he does to it. Go ahead and vote! You’ll be helping to make a part of baseball history.
In addition to this post, I added a widget on our sidebar which we will take off once the voting ends. Cheers!
Well… Err.. I’ve been busy, you see, with work… and vacation… somewhat contradictory, but true. But now I’m back, though I’ll have to be a bit less active than I used to be.