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January 18, 2012

Changing Speeds

The Hall of Famously Weak Arguments, Part I

by Ken Funck

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In the wake of this year’s Hall of Fame voting season, and to help remove the bad taste left by some of the mind-numbingly bad arguments I’ve heard and read over the last few weeks for or against various HOF candidates, I thought it might be fun to open my very own Hall of Famously Bad Baseball Arguments. To do this, I need your help. I am hereby nominating you for membership in the BBWAA—Baseball Weak Argument Arbiters—and empowering you to nominate and vote for the baseball arguments that you find the most irritating and least convincing.

Below you will find the first seven nominees for enshrinement, gleaned from my own list of pet peeves and from a whip-round on our internal BP mailing list. Each entry includes a description of when the argument is most commonly heard, why I find it unconvincing, and (to be fair) an attempt to highlight situations where the argument could actually be correct. Early next week we’ll publish the final eight nominees, and we’ll post information on how you can vote for up to 10 of the 15 nominees, with the top five vote-getters earning enshrinement as the Hall’s foundational class. I have a tentative list of what the next eight nominees may be, but please feel free to nominate your own favorites in the comments section below, or e-mail them to me, and I may very well include them.

Starting with what I consider the Babe Ruth of unconvincing arguments, here are the first seven:

1.       “Yeah, but still.”

When it’s heard: During the brief interval after you spend ten minutes articulating a cogent, well-supported, and almost certainly correct thesis in opposition to a popular baseball belief, and before passersby are amazed to see you ram your own head completely through a ballpark support column in response to your friend saying “Yeah, but still… Willy Taveras is a much better candidate to lead off than some slow guy with a .400 OBP, no matter what you say.”

Why it’s weak: It’s not an argument; it’s merely abdicating the responsibility to cite any shred of evidence to support a position, as if that is somehow the same thing. It also assumes that all opinions should carry equal weight, regardless of the foundation on which they’re built—which is patently untrue.

When it might be correct: In response to an unfocused, poorly-supported, and almost certainly incorrect argument—though I personally have never heard it used that way.

2.      “Slow players who draw walks merely clog up the bases.”

When it’s heard: In response to a non-baseball-man describing the critical importance of on-base percentage to scoring runs, especially during Dusty Baker press conferences or FOX Sports production meetings.

Why it’s weak: I don’t really need to explain this, do I? It completely misunderstands the comparative value of avoiding an out versus gaining an extra base, which is akin to the difference between the value of magically waking up in London in 1975 and having a ticket to see Bob Marley at the Lyceum during one of the shows recorded for the Live! album, and the value of upgrading that ticket to an aisle seat.

When it might be correct: Ummm… I guess if the game implements a system that disallows runs scored by players who don’t travel at some arbitrary minimum velocity during a scoring play, it might increase run expectancy in some situations for a slow player to make an out rather than reach base.

3.      “I’m against instant replay because it removes the human element from the game.”

When it’s heard: Shortly after some unfortunate umpire makes an obviously wrong call in a big situation, and there’s a hue and cry to expand replay.

Why it’s weak: Ask yourself this: How many incorrect calls make up the optimal dosage of “the human element”? The more umpires you have on the field, the more likely it is that one of them is going to be in a good position to make a given call. Over the years, MLB has expanded from one to four umpires manning the field during regular-season games and adds two more for the postseason. Do the playoffs suffer from this dearth of “the human element”? Or do they instead benefit from a reduced chance for an embarrassing mistake? There may be valid arguments against expanded replay, but this one is clearly the “yeah, but still” position.

When it might be correct: Times and places where game results don’t affect the possible gain or loss of millions of dollars—but that’s not Major League Baseball.

4.      “Home runs are rally killers.”

When it’s heard: Most frequently after a team that’s a few runs behind in the middle innings hits a leadoff home run. Occasionally, the voices in a broadcaster’s head will seize the microphone and argue that a walk or a single would be better in that situation since it would be more likely to unsettle the pitcher, leading to more runs.

Why it’s weak: It’s basically arguing thata bird in the hand is worth less than a bird in the bush, let alone two, because that one bird is going to completely freak the bush out. This presupposes the existence of a species of bush that can be completely freaked out by a bird, which seems unlikely given that bushes and birds interact almost as frequently as pitchers and base runners. Moreover, both mathematics and the Run Expectancy Matrix are beyond reproach.

When it might be correct:

IF (Pitcher is uncomfortable when pitching from the stretch OR is uncomfortable when the bases feel cluttered)

AND (Run Expectancy facing uncomfortable pitcher with the current number of outs and a runner on first IS GREATER THAN (1 + Run Expectancy facing comfortable pitcher with the bases empty))

AND (You’re certain the opposing manager will leave the uncomfortable pitcher in long enough to achieve much of that Run Expectancy)

THEN (Walk IS GREATER THAN Home Run)

ELSE (Home Run IS GREATER THAN Walk).

While there might be a condition where that’s all true, your ability to know it’s true at the time is approximately nil. When I was an IT developer, we would have dismissed coding for that condition as “elegance creep.”

5.      “He wasn’t the most dominant player (on his team/at his position) during his era.”

When it’s heard: When discussing theHall-worthiness of a player who had contemporaries or teammates to whom he was viewed as inferior. Recent examples include Tim Raines (Rickey Henderson), Edgar Martinez (A-Rod, Big Unit, Junior), and Ron Santo (Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, and Billy Williams).

Why it’s weak: Talent is not distributed evenly across teams or eras, so it’s unfair to punish a player for the random misfortune of being, say, the second-greatest leadoff man in history whose career happened to coincide with the greatest leadoff man in history, or being teammates with three other players whose nicknames will live on decades after they retire. This particular argument grates on me, since I’m convinced it helped keep the more-than-deserving Santo out of the Hall until after his death. There are far better arguments for or against a player’s candidacy.

When it might be correct: Three occasions come to mind—never, never, and never.

6.      “You can’t know how good he was unless you saw him play.”

When it’s heard: Whenever a famous retired player with good counting stats but bad rate stats is dissed by propeller-heads with spreadsheets, you’ll hear a few sportswriters trot this one out.

Why it’s weak: While it’s true that statistics can be made to lie, they’re freakin’ sodium pentathol when compared to even a mountain of anecdotal evidence. Saying you had to have watched a given player on a day-to-day basis to appropriately judge his value is ageist, condescending, and disregards the fact that the opinion being voiced was likely formed in an echo chamber. You’ll usually hear this as an argument of last resort, advanced to help explain why Hall of Fame voters should overlook some deep statistical flaw in a player’s case. Recent examples include Andre Dawson’s low OBP (since he was acting like a slugger, not a table-setter) or the league-average ERA of Jack Morris (since he was pitching to the score). Which begs the fatal question, why did so many other great sluggers manage higher OBPs, and so many other great starters post lower ERAs?

When it might be correct: If you share Kevin Goldstein’s opinion that the Hall of Fame is a place for the famous, not necessarily the best, this argument works fine. The characteristics of players who actually help teams win tend to be less easy to observe than the characteristics that make them famous. Every hitter makes lots of outs, so it takes a lot of “seeing” to notice the difference between a player with a .320 OBP and a .370 OBP, compared to noticing the difference between 10 home runs and 40 home runs. If you want to base your opinion of a player on how good you thought he was while you watched him, that’s fine; just don’t try to argue that you’re certain he was more valuable than another player, because there’s no way you can be sure of that just from observing.

7.      “Money buys championships.”

When it’s heard: Whenever the Yankees are competitive—or, to put it another way, always.

Why it’s weak: It’s incomplete. Money in and of itself doesn’t buy championships, though having money to spend is definitely better than not having money to spend. The problem with this argument is that it overlooks the fact that money is less of a factor than smarts, or perhaps even luck, in determining who wins a championship. It’s virtually impossible for an ignorant, poorly-run organization to win the World Series, while it’s definitely possible for an intelligent, low-revenue team to win one. Add the modifier “well-spent” to the beginning of that sentence, and you’ll be much nearer the truth.

When it might be correct: If you’re talking about Arnold Rothstein’s money.

I’ll be back again next week with the rest of the ballot.

Ken Funck is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ken's other articles. You can contact Ken by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who,  Replay In Baseball

59 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Dodger300

“You can’t know how good he was unless you saw him play.”

Which is usually uttered by armchair baseball fans, who only saw a player two or three times a season on Saturday's "Game of the Week," back when it was the only game in town.

Jan 18, 2012 04:24 AM
rating: 10
 
ScottyB

While definately dumb, “Slow players who draw walks merely clog up the bases”, has a *very small* kernel of truth. Leading off Jorge Posada, who had a great OBP and was an awful baserunner, is suboptimal, as he doesn't go 1st to 3rd or 1st to ome very well.

Jan 18, 2012 05:02 AM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

Depends what your alternatives are. If you have The Yankees lineup, sure. If your idea of a lead off player is a speedy out-maker, then not so much.

Jan 18, 2012 05:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

I've wondered about this in the context of the 1980s Cardinals as well. They had no power to speak of, yet scored a lot of runs in their best season by exploiting the running game in a way that has rarely been seen before or since. Would that have worked as well with a high-OBP slow guy at the front of the lineup?

In today's game, with the de-emphasis on speed and the belief (well demonstrated through experience) that OBP is life, it's absurd to talk about "clogging the bases" with walks. That doesn't mean it was always so.

Jan 18, 2012 06:41 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

FWIW, the Cardinals from '82-'89 (I arbitrarily choice McGee's debut season to start) had the following ranks in OBP in the NL: 1,2,8,1,12 (last), 1,8,1. So, it wasn't *all* in the baserunning. :>

I think for Ken's point #4 semi-combined with the base-clogging point, the best argument I've heard in favor of it isn't that it's really that homers are "bad", but that it reduces the chances to hit-and-run. And if you have batters who can execute the hit-and-run well, it can turn a fairly low run expectancy situation into a passably good one, say: very good pitcher on the mound (making it a good playoff strategy, as those guys crop up in playoffs a lot), pitcher's park (hey, Cardinals), less than two outs (of course), runner being held on first base (opening a hole). Obviously, the H-n-R isn't typically a Sabr-friendly strategy, as you're essentially giving up the chance to walk, but if you have pedestrian hitters who nonetheless have good bat control - like Tommy Herr (.262 TAv, career) - in your lineup, and you can turn them into useful cogs by having them hit grounders-on-demand - even against good pitchers - that's something.

Jan 18, 2012 21:34 PM
 
BurrRutledge

1, 2, 3, 5, 6. I withhold voting on 4 & 7 til I see what other options are on the ballot next week. I'm not familiar with 4 as a commonly held belief, and money does buy its way out of mistakes.

1 is dismissive. Imagine the defense attorney after the prosecution has nailed it's case on Law and Order, "Yeah, your honor, but still..."

2 is one of the classic blunders right up there with Sicilians & death.

3. Human element is meant to be the players' performance, not the first base umpire blowing the call on a Perfect Game.

5. He wasn't the most dominant sports writer of his era, so he doesn't get a vote.

6. You can't know how good he was until 20 years have pAst since his prime/memorable moment. The passing of time brings more clarity unfettered by wistful nostalgia, right? No? Yeah, but still.

Jan 18, 2012 05:03 AM
rating: 2
 
gdragon1977

"If you share Kevin Goldstein’s opinion that the Hall of Fame is a place for the famous"
-------

I have always interpreted the "fame" as what you get for being inducted to the Hall, not as the standard for induction. Of course I don't have a vote anyway, but neither does KG ;-)

Jan 18, 2012 05:08 AM
rating: 1
 
BillJohnson

Agreed, and it's a very important distinction. If the Hall confers fame upon the deserving, you get a totally different membership than if it rewards fame for those who have already achieved that fame, warranted or not. In the latter case, guys like Jack Morris have a legitimate case for membership.

Personally, I much prefer the former definition; fame is a fleeting thing, and the function of the Hall should be to conserve it for the deserving, so that future generations can understand how great a player was. But it is not axiomatic that that is the goal of the Hall, and sportswriters for decades have given that second definition at least a head-nod. Does anyone know what the Hall's own charter has to say on the matter?

Jan 18, 2012 06:35 AM
rating: 0
 
PaddyE

On my first visit to the Hall I was struck more than anything by the fact that it is much more of a history museum than a catalog of the best players. My second visit decades later did nothing but solidify this perception of the Hall as first and foremost a history museum.

If you view the Hall as a catalog of the best players, then the argument that being elected to the Hall confers fame is valid, but if you view it as a history museum, then their fame during their playing years is an important factor in whether they belong there or not. Not the only factor by any means, but an essential and critical one.

Conserving what the game was in an era and who were the best-regarded players of that time in fact helps illuminate the changing perceptions of player quality. If you've lived through the radically changing perceptions of player value over the last few decades, you also know that perceptions of a player's value can be as fleeting as fame.

imo the Hall can best serve future generations of baseball fans by continuing to first and foremost be a history museum for the game, and use its catalog of "the best" players to illuminate that history, including changing definitions of player value. We don't need it to be a strict statistical ranking; we have plenty of far more powerful tools available for that.

Jan 18, 2012 12:43 PM
rating: 2
 
Isaac Lin

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum indeed comprises a museum on the history of baseball, a research library, and the Hall of Fame gallery. The first two do an excellent job of cataloging the sport and its well-known players; it isn't necessary for the Hall of Fame gallery to depict the game's popular players, rather than its best.

Jan 18, 2012 19:28 PM
rating: 4
 
PaddyE

Fair enough. But can you guarantee that the criteria used to determine "the best" today will still be considered valid in a few decades, let alone 100 years from now? You can't of course, whereas I can confidently guarantee you that they will be different.

So ultimately you still end up with a time-slice perspective of "the best," but one with a distorting 5-20 year delay effect (at a minimum). Personally I'd rather have a selection that is at least tied to what was valued when the players were playing--and logically was thus what they were trying to achieve--rather than one based on criteria the players never knew existed.

Jan 19, 2012 11:19 AM
rating: 0
 
eliyahu

You had me til the "money doesn't buy championships" mistake. Of course it does. Not with 100% certainty, obviously, but all else equal, money does buy championships.

Jan 18, 2012 06:15 AM
rating: 0
 
stevemillburg

You could make the "all else being equal" argument about almost anything. All else being equal, a strategically placed pebble in the path of a ground ball that otherwise would be a double play wins championships. So, as the 1960 World Series conclusively proved, pebbles win championships.
But all else is never equal. Mr. Funck's argument is that other factors, such as intelligence and luck, win more championships than money. Given that the New York Yankees have not won the past 30 or 40 World Series in a row, his position is demonstrably correct.

Jan 18, 2012 07:25 AM
rating: 9
 
flakes98

Pebbles may have taken the lead with the 1960 title; but, as the Giants' 2010 title (due, of course, to the deft hitting-coachery of Hensley Meulens) proves, all else being equal: Pebbles and Bam-Bam are destined to be equal.

May 01, 2012 20:43 PM
rating: 0
 
TADontAsk

I personally can't stand the "This player led the league in [category] during [random decade]" argument.

Jan 18, 2012 06:50 AM
rating: 5
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Winner! The 'arbitary endpoints' argument has to be included. TADontAsk supplied the best comment received before noon on a Wednesday.

Jan 18, 2012 10:15 AM
rating: 6
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

But but but ... how can I argue that Mark Grace was the best player of the nineties if I can't point out he had more hits than any other player?

This one (or at least a category that includes this one) is already tentatively slated for the ballot.

Jan 18, 2012 10:26 AM
 
bwilhoite

And more doubles!

Jan 18, 2012 12:39 PM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

It's unfortunate that you've gotten this so wrong. Yeah, you've made a lot of arguments, but still....

Writers who cite fancy-dan stats like OBP merely clog the internet.

Reviewing past performance by writers removes their ability to show the human element of the game. When Bill Plaschke said that only six MLB teams even had a chance to get into the playoffs, we could get all technical and county or we could accept the human condition, as held by Plaschke, players... everyone but Ken Funck.

And let's face it - Ken's not the most dominant sportswriter of his era. When you've got Jay Mariotti, Plaschke, and Bill Conlin around, Ken can't compete, so he relies on soul-killing assertions like "Home runs are basically always good," when it's well known that even a triple will do.

A lot of people look at Mike Barnicle and Ron Borges and criticize their work as "empty" or "plagiarized" or "not actually factually correct." But you didn't watch them write their columns, so you just don't know.

Finally, look at all of these other writers, who are getting paid much more than Ken Funck. It's a capitalist system; the people that do the best earn the most. Ken's not earning, so it's time to just start burning his material.

Jan 18, 2012 07:47 AM
rating: 22
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

With all due respect to TADontAsk and Randy Brown, THIS gets my vote for best comment to be received before noon on a Wednesday.

I completely agree with your sentiments, jr. Luckily, since so little of my material appears in published form, it's rather difficult to burn.

Jan 18, 2012 10:30 AM
 
jrmayne

Maybe we can have you erased under SOPA. Your articles sometimes talk about Pirates.

Jan 18, 2012 15:55 PM
rating: 13
 
cfinberg

Dammit, you missed the noon deadline for the BCTBRBNOAW award! I'm going to get Molly Katchpole to petition Baseball Prospectus for a ballot recount due to widespread allegations of temporal fraud.


Jan 19, 2012 23:51 PM
rating: 0
 
AirSteve01

On item 5, there are thousands upon thousands of times this is an appropriate statement. One is, "Felix Fermin was not the most dominant player (on his team / at his position) during his era."

Jan 18, 2012 08:55 AM
rating: 2
 
cooldude

"Pitchers feared him."

Jan 18, 2012 08:59 AM
rating: 2
 
sykojohnny
(225)

Yeah, but still...

Jan 18, 2012 09:01 AM
rating: 0
 
jalee121

Love this topic. The argument that drives me insane when discussing players like Jim Rice for the Hall of Fame, opponents point out her terribly low OBP for a hall worthy player. Without fail I always get back "Yeah but OBP wasn't valued as much." Although I agree it was not a valued statistic like today, the argument that OBP wasn't valued basically says "players didn't know outs were bad" which is insane.

Jan 18, 2012 10:17 AM
rating: 3
 
JasonC23
(97)

I add to this the other common comeback, "If Jim Rice had known OBP was going to be so valued, he would have taken more walks." Because it's that simple--you just decide to do something, and it happens! Yay!

(My actual favorite version of this will be trotted out before too many more years pass--"If Ichiro had wanted to hit 30 homers, he would have.")

Jan 18, 2012 11:29 AM
rating: 4
 
pmcfadden

Right - this one always drives me crazy. That's like saying, "well, if he'd known that hits were going to be so important, he would have gotten more hits!!!" Which: no one would say. (I hope. Maybe Plaschke? Hmm.)

Jan 18, 2012 14:04 PM
rating: 0
 
jerrykenny

It's been trotted out many times already. Just not in reference to the HOF.

Jan 18, 2012 19:09 PM
rating: 0
 
WaldoInSC

If I'd known that exhibiting even an iota of athletic ability would have aided me in achieving my goal of being a millionaire, I would have done it.

Jan 18, 2012 19:30 PM
rating: -1
 
enelson

I nominate: He knows how to win. Also, if we're going beyond HOF: I've never even heard of this guy. Also, we didn't finish in first, it must be our star's fault, even though he was good.

Jan 18, 2012 10:17 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

"Knows how to win" is also already tentatively slated for the ballot.

Jan 18, 2012 10:32 AM
 
Jestak

How can we leave out "he did all the little things that didn't show up in the box score."

Jan 18, 2012 10:20 AM
rating: 2
 
ScottyB

Plenty of important things don't show up in the traditional newspaper boxscore. (They are now included in better databases, however)

Jan 18, 2012 12:07 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt

"Using steroids is cheating."

I'm sorry, but capital-C Cheating is stealing signs, bribing players or umpires, resorting to kidnapping or violence, or trading with Bill Bavasi or Ned Colletti.

Lower case-c cheating is getting away with not touching third on a sac fly, not touching the bag when turning two, and pitchers convincing the home plate ump to call strikes in the zone they work in.

Using steroids is getting an unfair advantage. You can't say I used steroids to hit a home run in the seventh inning last night.

Jan 18, 2012 12:38 PM
rating: 0
 
PaddyE

I agree with you on steroids, but stealing signs is small-c cheating--if they're in view and I can decode them, then that's your failure, not mine.

Jan 18, 2012 12:46 PM
rating: 4
 
Matt

I think if you do what the Blue Jays were alleged to do, that is certainly big-c Cheating. I think if you make a deliberate attempt to decode the signs and relay them to your team, maybe its small beans, but it is such a willful act against the competitive spirit of the game.. yeah I think its pretty shameful.

Jan 18, 2012 14:36 PM
rating: 0
 
TADontAsk

It depends on how you're stealing the sign. If the other team's 3rd base coach has been touching his belt to tell the hitter to bunt all series long, and you notice it, I wouldn't consider that cheating. But if you have someone with binoculars and a walkie talkie... well yes, that is cheating.

Jan 18, 2012 12:48 PM
rating: 1
 
buddons42

Hey, the Blue Jays don't cheat! You can't prove that!

Jan 18, 2012 12:55 PM
rating: 0
 
rcrary

thank you! I hate when people refer to players who used (or are suspected of having used) PEDs as "cheaters" (or "juicers"); it's always bothered me, but it's difficult to explain why without sounding like an apologist

Jan 19, 2012 07:08 AM
rating: 1
 
msloftus

"He plays the game the right way" has always gotten under my skin. As if there is a group of players playing baseball incorrectly.

Jan 18, 2012 13:07 PM
rating: 3
 
TADontAsk

Actually, growing up, I'm pretty sure I was a part of that group.

Jan 18, 2012 13:09 PM
rating: 7
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

There's a technical term for that group: Chicago Cubs.

Jan 18, 2012 13:35 PM
 
jerrykenny

Funny - I thought it was New York Mets.

Jan 18, 2012 19:11 PM
rating: 1
 
trueblue33

Hey, at least the Cubs don't have slow players who clog up the bases with walks! Or fast players who clog up the bases with walks...or shortstops who pay attention to the field...or hitters.

Jan 19, 2012 15:29 PM
rating: 1
 
Brian Oakchunas

This was the funniest baseball article I've read since "The Good Face."

Ooh, I have a 'when it might be correct' for #2: An extra inning game in which all the bench players have been used. A baserunner is booking it up the first base line and has a massive heart attack just as he's about to reach first base. He falls to the ground, hand first and comes to a dead stop just as his hand reaches first base. The manager, having no substitutions available, has to leave him there...eh, heh, you see where I'm going with this?

Jan 18, 2012 13:11 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

Now that's some outside the box thinking! Yeah, if he's completely immobile and can't even start crawling towards second base in the hopes that he gets tagged out, maybe all he can do is lay there, and everyone who tries to pass him gets called out. That Dusty, he's always thinkin'.

Jan 18, 2012 13:43 PM
 
Brian Oakchunas

Actually, though, yeah, I was with you right up until #7. It should be replaced or at least followed by "Money Doesn't Matter"--especially when uttered by Yankee fans who are all for their team's spending and accuse other teams of not spending enough.

Other suggestions:

"Yeah, but he's good at hitting with guys on base."
"He's good in the clutch."
"He must be a good player because he sure looked good when he played against (insert speaker's favorite team) last year."
"ERA can get inflated by one bad game...which is why I look at a pitcher's wins."

Jan 18, 2012 13:25 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

That's a good point -- absolutes at BOTH ends of that argument are wrong, and "money doesn't matter" actually bothers me more.

Jan 18, 2012 13:47 PM
 
Brian Oakchunas

The more I think about it, almost every Yankees fan I know says, "Money doesn't matter," and yet I have never heard any of them suggest the Yanks should cut payroll. Such hypocrisy!

Jan 18, 2012 14:45 PM
rating: 2
 
koopbri

I guess I'm the old-timer here because I remember that the Yankees have not always been competitive and they have not always outspent everyone by a wide margin. "Usually" and "recently" do not equal "always". Hey, maybe that's the basis for some other dumb arguments ...

Jan 18, 2012 15:06 PM
rating: 0
 
Tythelip

I'm against instant replay in baseball because it makes the games longer, and no use of the device in any sport has demonstrated that people are any better at making a judgement on a close play viewed over and over again in slow motion than they are at full speed during the flow of the game. In short, it doesn't work!

Jan 18, 2012 15:30 PM
rating: -2
 
IvanGrushenko

Then why is Joyce Denkinger famous?

Jan 18, 2012 22:23 PM
rating: 1
 
APer930

Possibly one of my favorite BP articles ever. Reminds me of all those years reading FireJoeMorgan.com and all the stupid arguments they ripped aprt there. Man I miss them, thanks BP for not retiring.

Jan 18, 2012 20:45 PM
rating: 0
 
rcrary

Regarding #4, I disagree with "when it's heard". It seems to me we hear of a HR killing a rally not when it's a leadoff homer (in which case, there as yet has been no rally), but when a team way behind has gotten a few guys on, possibly even scored a run or two, and then someone hits a homer, clearing the bases.... it's the clearing the bases that is seen as killing the rally. (And, I have to admit, there have been times when it's *felt* to me like a bigger rally got killed in this way, but I'd never argue it seriously.)

Jan 19, 2012 07:12 AM
rating: 2
 
Ben Solow

Agree completely. The most infuriating part of the "that HR just killed the rally" claim is when someone hits a 3-run bomb turning a few runners on base into the entire PURPOSE of the rally.

Besides, we all know that the only thing that kills a rally with 100% effectiveness is The Wave.

Jan 19, 2012 12:25 PM
rating: 0
 
rcrary

and yet these same people will tell you RBI are more important than OBP

Jan 19, 2012 13:24 PM
rating: 3
 
BrewersTT

"Yeah, but still" has a close relative that's a pet peeve of mine: "I'm just sayin'", when it is used as an actual argument, in which case it means "Don't hold me to any kind of logical standard". This was one of my in-laws, God rest her soul, favorite rhetorical weapon.

Jan 19, 2012 11:45 AM
rating: 1
 
jtwalsh

How about a weak arguement from BP's sole eligible HOF voter on why he did not vote for the 2nd best lead off hitter of all time (Tim Raines), after voting for him last year:

"I was a firm believer when I started voting in 1998 that once you determined in your mind whether a player was a Hall of Famer, your opinion could never change. But time has given me more perspective on baseball and life in general, and part of that perspective involves realizing that none of us lives in a vacuum. Thus, I've changed my mind on some players over the years.

Call if waffling, if you must. I call it being open-minded by continually reevaluating and rethinking my position."

Jan 19, 2012 12:58 PM
rating: 2
 
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