Another offseason has passed; a new season has begun... and Bill Simmons still knows nothing about baseball

>> Friday

And I'm still bitching about the fact that Bill Simmons doesn't know about baseball. From the Sports Guy's mailbag column (few days old... just noticed it):

Q: Your stubborn insistence on writing basketball nonsense for months on end reminds me of when Pearl Jam made albums like "Binaural" to purposely drive fans away. The baseball season just started and have we been treated to an SG column about it? No! I'd even read a Red Sox column or a Tom Brady column just because it's not a basketball column. You do realize the baseball season started right?-- Danny G., Kansas City, Mo.

Danny G.--This is the exact opposite of what you should be telling him. It's awful, awful advice. You are encouraging him to do something he's very bad at in lieu of what he's good at. I would say Bill Simmons writing about baseball is more like when Liz Phair strayed from the biting, satirical tone and raw instrumental style that characterized her masterpiece "Exile in Guyville" to take on the sound of a boy-crazed female pop star. Or like when... No--one analogy is already one too many.

(Also, I think making an obscure music, film, or porn reference is a requisite/guarantee for an email to be included in a Simmons mailbag column.)

Anyway, the point of this post was to point out this paragraph:

Todd Jones, Troy Percival, Huston Street, Joe Borowski, George Sherrill and C.J. Wilson make up 40 percent of the league's closers. Would you ask any of those six guys to help you fix a flat tire, much less save a baseball game? I didn't think so.

Huston Street has compiled WHIPs of 1.01, 1.09, and 0.94 in his first three years at the ages of 21, 22, and 23 respectively. I am utterly clueless as to why he'd be included on this list. Also, George Sherrill may have been a one-year wonder, but he did put up a 0.99 WHIP and 56 Ks in 45.2 IP last year. Not too shabby.

And then this:

The AL has three monster lineups (New York, Boston and Detroit), two other very good lineups (Cleveland and Anaheim) and one lineup with a chance to become very good (Tampa Bay), as well as an inordinate amount of good hitters who seem like they're poised for a gargantuan year either because it's a contract year, they worked out all winter, they're coming back from an off-season and/or they're ready to make the proverbial leap: Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, Billy Butler, Delmon Young, Carl Crawford, Alex Gordon, Vernon Wells, Nick Markakis, Josh Hamilton, Robbie Cano, B.J. Upton, Justin Morneau, Howie Kendrick, Travis Hafner ... for God's sake, the list doesn't end, and if the first three guys on that list have career years, their three offenses are going to be insanely, abnormally good.

First off all, I don't think even I've ever written a sentence so long and convoluted. And I write some really long and convoluted sentences.

Second, Bobby Abreu is 34 years old. Manny Ramirez will soon turn 36. If either of them--particularly Manny--has a career year, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams should probably write a book about him.

The moral is: The balance in the AL may lean toward offense this year. But it just shows how easily a bad analyst can exaggerate this gap by using such sound criteria as "could maybe have a career year" or "can/cannot be trusted to change a flat tire" and then lumps together a bunch of names. Don't make that same mistake, kids. Listen to your Uncle Vinnie.

Next time I'll tell you boys all about the time I got punched in the nose by Dick Pole. (Here's a hint: It had to do with his name.)


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