March 9, 2004
The 2004 DiSars
One of the many cool things about this gig is knowing that you've introduced concepts that are going to be around for a very long time. For people like Michael Wolverton, Clay Davenport and Keith Woolner, it has to be greatly rewarding to have invented metrics that likely will be used by not just the next generation of baseball fans, but the ones to follow them. To create something both useful and enduring is one way to leave a mark, however small, on the world.
Me? I'm no SuperGenius (man, I miss Calvin) like those guys. To the extent that I've brought anything into the baseball world, it's the second-best BP thing to ever be named after a mediocre middle infielder.
I'm talking about The DiSar Awards, now five years old and still honoring the best and brightest in the field of swinging at everything. The awards are named in tribute to former Angels shortstop Gary DiSarcina, who once remarked that he wanted to go an entire season without walking, and who finished his career with 154 free passes in 12 years and 3,744 at-bats.
The awards go to the player in each league who accumulates the most at-bats in each season without drawing a walk. Intentional walks do count, and have eliminated some players as late as May. Pitchers are ineligible for the award, as they tend to be hacktastic as a class and don't keep their jobs based on their plate discipline.
Since 2000, the following players have taken home the Golden Crutch:
Year American League National League ---------------------------------------------- 2003 Jose Molina Rainer Olmedo 2002 Carl Crawford Shawon Dunston 2001 Alfonso Soriano Marquis Grissom 2000 Jacque Jones Shawon DunstonJose Molina continued the AL's trend of younger, or at least inexperienced, players sweeping the awards. Rainer Olmedo's come-from-behind victory--he didn't reach the majors until May--snapped the hold that some legendary veteran hackers had on the title in the NL.
Each year, I ask the readership to predict the DiSar Award winners in each league, with the promise of some BP-related prize (book, Premium subscription, tattoo) for whoever nails both. In four years, no one has done so, so I'm changing the rules. Anyone who gets both leagues' DiSar winners will get a year added to their Premium subscription. But if no one does so, I'll choose two entries from among the people who picked at least one of the winners and award them a subscription, based on which entries amused me the most.
Hey, I've got 14 hours' of flights and a train trip coming up in the next three weeks. I need something to fill that time other than bemoaning the fact that coach seats actually recline and picking tray table out of my teeth.
Oh, one last thing. To whichever mid-level exec in Bristol greenlighted ESPN's decision to televise a bunch of exhibition games: very nice. I know it was hard to blow out a couple dozen airings of the 2003 World Series of Poker, which doesn't get nearly enough airtime on your network, but you made the right decision. Do it again next year.