When Elias-like stats go too far...

>> Wednesday

I haven't been keeping very good track of sports lately, and I've spent even less time watching ESPN than I'd like. However, I put on the TV for a few minutes tonight to catch some Baseball Tonight on the original ESPN and other highlights on ESPN-News during the commercials.

And I was totally annoyed within five minutes.

Honestly, I do not exaggerate. Within five minutes, these ESPN networks referenced four -- yes, four -- Elias Sports Bureau-like stats. Moreover, they tried to interpret these stats with comments like, "Well, look at the company that Cliff Lee is in."

Here are the stats that were so important to mention and so noteworthy as to further interpret:
1. The Yankees-Indians game was the first time that two 5-0 pitchers playing for sub-.500 teams matched up. Who cares?
2. Joey Votto was only the 4th first baseman of all time to hit 3 HR's in a single game while under the age of 26. Moreover, he was the only first baseman to accomplish that feat while also stealing a base in the game. Of course, the commentators made a big deal out of it because only Pujols, McCovey, and Frank Robinson had done it too. Obviously, Joey Votto is headed toward the Hall of Fame. Indisputable.
3. Cliff Lee is one of only a handful of pitchers in X number of years to start the season 6-0 and with a sub-1.00 ERA. Again, big deal. Some guys have started seasons well in the past. However, these "some guys" included Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez. Now all of the sudden, Cliff Lee is the ace of the next decade (which he actually may be, I don't know).
4. Finally, tonight somebody had 5 hits in a game including a walk-off game winner. Did you know only 4 players have accomplished that feat in the past two seasons? Really, I'm not kidding! Fortunately, the elite company in this category included Mark DeRosa, so nobody spent a whole lot of time talking about how great these players were. Nonetheless, this stat, with the others, was just totally annoying.

By the way, if you hadn't heard, I'm the first resident of my apartment under the age of 27 to ever have stayed up until 3 AM and then practiced with a rock'n'roll band the following day. I'm serious... no one else has done it. That feat puts me in some pretty elite company, eh?


Vinnie 9:53 AM  

Another great factoid from Tuesday night: Dice K became the first Red Sox pitcher since Oil Can Boyd in 1985 to walk eight batters in a game that he won. God bless you, ESPN.

Patrick 10:06 AM  

Actually of all the pitchers that started the season 6-0, with that low of an ERA in the Divisional Era all won the Cy Young that year. That was actually a pretty good stat I thought.

From what I remember (I am just going off the top of my head), Fernando Vanezuela won it in 81, Clemens I think in 91, Pedro in 97, and Johnson in 2000.

Iain 10:26 AM  

This seems like more of a knock on baseball's stat overload. While ESPN is partially to blame, baseball has always been the sport of excessive meaningless stats. Many of these stats are recorded because super fans like to compare players from different eras. So stop going to baseball prospectus and looking up who was walked 3 times and had a home run while only having 2 strikes in one game, and watch Weeds.

Vinnie 1:01 PM  

I wouldn't lump Baseball Prospectus in as a guilty party. Their analysis is really the antithesis of the silly trivia aspect of baseball stats.

But... I got your point anyway, and now I'm just nitpicking.

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