Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hey! That's a Bad Buster Olney!

You may have seen my response to an earlier Buster Olney article already, but he has a response to the many emails he has received as a result of that particular idiotic piece.

Adjusted OPS+ is a useful number. And if this your be-all, end-all statistic, keep in mind that:

  • Mark McGwire and Frank Thomas rank higher than Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Joe DiMaggio.
  • Jim Thome ranks higher than A-Rod and Gary Sheffield.
  • Lance Berkman ranks higher than Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Brian Giles ranks higher than George Brett, Al Kaline, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew and Roberto Clemente.
  • Adam Dunn ranks higher than Eddie Murray.

He forgets to add that Jim Rice is tied with Ryan Klesko and Ellis Burks.

And if you think that Adjusted OPS+ is a set of numbers that generally creates a level statistical playing field for all of the eras of baseball, then you'd have to ignore the following. Of the top 63 players all time in OPS+, there are:

  • Nineteen players who performed the bulk of their careers in the years leading up to 1920.
  • Eight players who performed the bulk of their careers in the years from 1920-1939.
  • Seventeen players who have performed the bulk of their careers from 1990-2007.
  • And a total of 17 players from the 50-year period of 1940-89.

First of all, why 63? Is it because if you used say, the top 100, it would create a level statistical playing field? Or is it because 63 is such a nice round number? Also, he forgets the most important thing about OPS+. 9 of the Top 11 are white!!!! OPS+ is a racist stat!!! Did you know that there is only one Jew in the top 21!? With all the Jews in the history of baseball, there is only one in the top 21!?!?!?

It's not a perfect statistic. There aren't any perfect statistics.

True. But it is a hell of a lot closer to perfect than homers or RBI or hits, or ANY OTHER COUNTING STAT.

While I'd generally agree that to focus on building a Hall of Famer's credentials around a single year of MVP voting might be dubious, the numbers cited in Friday's column accounts for hundreds of votes from every AL city over more than a decade. A lot of writers who watched Rice play daily, at the time he was on the field -- rather than through the time-machine prism of Adjusted OPS+ -- thought he was pretty damn good.

So one year of MVP voting has no bearing on a player's ability, but many years is? Okay, I can see your reasoning here. You're saying that a lot of MVP votes over a period of time means he was good for a while, but then you remember that people like Buster Olney get to vote for MVP, and then you realize how meaningless it is. Buster is right about one thing. Jim Rice was a pretty damn good player. That's it. Pretty damn good. Not Hall of Fame good.

Look, I've never met Jim Rice, didn't grow up a Red Sox fan, don't think he is one of the very elite players of all time. I understand why someone wouldn't vote for him (but don't agree). But to portray his career as entirely unworthy of Hall of Fame consideration is silly.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. "...don't think he is one of the very elite players of all time." WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?! Then why do you want him in the hall. You just admitted that you think he was simply a good player. Then why did you vote for him?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Does he not realize how stupid that is? Also, nobody said he is unworthy of consideration. If he was unworthy for consideration, you wouldn't write seven articles about him every day, Buster. If he was unworthy for consideration, he wouldn't be on the ballot.

Buster, please just take a few days off to save us from your idiocy.