I’m sure most (some) of you expected me to cover twitter arguments in this weeks edition as yesterday was chock full o’ them. But I’m not going to beat a dead horse. Or a TV personality. Our last twitter exchange, the one before I was blocked, should pretty much put the nail in that coffin.
What we’ll focus on instead is the incessant repeating of Vlad Guerrero’s reputation for being “the best bad ball hitter” of all time, by everyone on TV or radio that utters his name. I think it’s been worse because it’s spring training and everyone needs to talk about the acquisitions this off season, but I don’t anticipate a big drop off once the season starts. In the last week or so I’ve heard Joe Angel, Fred Manfra, Gary Thorne, Mike Flanagan, John Kruk, Karl Ravech, Jon Hart and the rest of the 30 in 30 team at MLB Network talk about it.
To be totally fair, it’s not just media personalities that do it. It’s in blogs and papers too. Everywhere. I’m not linking to them because it’s all the same shit.
My first question is; why the fascination with bad-ball hitters? To me, that’s not a good thing. I know it’s hilarious when Vlad smacks a ball that bounced in front of the plate, but that’s not what I would want my players doing. But then, how can I really argue. The dude has put up HOF numbers. I’ve never swung at a major league pitch. I’m just a dude in my moms basement…WAIT a second. Fuck. You tricked me.
Furthermore, it was cute when Vlad was mashing the fuck out of the ball indiscriminately and putting up good numbers. Now, a few years older and clearly a few pounds heavier, with numbers slowly working their way down, it isn’t as cute. I’m hoping with all my might that OPACY proves to be a good enviornment for him and he stays healthy. I guess what I’m getting at is, now, at this point, being a bad ball hitter isn’t something I’d hang my hat on. In his prime, it was fun to marvel at his lack of discernment. Now, it worries me.
My second question is who are all the other bad ball hitters? A cursory Google search found me a few articles, the first by Timmy K circa 10 years ago or so. You’ll notice in the article he doesn’t say anything about why being a bad ball hitter is a good thing other than it makes them difficult to pitch to.
The guys at Hardball Times, whom we’ve linked to before, had an award for bad ball hitting a few years ago. I couldn’t find last years or the year before so maybe they gave up on it. Great statistical breakdown, but I still don’t get why it’s cool.
I may be missing something about why it’s good to be a bad ball hitter or I may be undervaluing the positives that do come with it, but the main reason I’m writing this is that everyone won’t stop saying it. That’s the part that annoys me the most. So all you smarter baseball people (everyone) tell me why being a bad ball hitter is good and how much value it brings.
Next week, we’ll talk about another chorus line of the 2011 Orioles and I’ll actually be able to speak a little more to the stats and reasoning behind it.
Thanks for reading everyone and if you want to meet up with some of us, we are going to the opening night party with the Camden Chat crew at Pickles. I’m expecting either friendly discourse about baseball or an angry mob waiting to throw Natty Boh cans at us. Either way, we’ll be there with smiles on our faces.