Saturday, December 15, 2012

2 comments Mitch Albom Goes Back to Junior High and Uses Bullying Tactics to Celebrate Miguel Cabrera's AL MVP

Mitch Albom is very happy that Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP. He can't simply be happy, because that wouldn't be enough of a bullying tactic, so Mitch has to write an entire column about how new age statistics are stupid. He sees this AL MVP as a win for society over Sabermetrics and does the usual act of calling Sabermetricians names as he taunts them and celebrates his "win" like the immature jerk-off he clearly intends to be. Again, I find it interesting how these old-school columnists resort to bullying tactics when criticizing advanced statistics. They don't have a core argument against advanced statistics because they would have to have knowledge about advanced statistics to create a core argument, so Mitch (like many other old schools writers) resorts to bullying tactics of name-calling and the journalistic equivalent of wedgies. It's all very mature.

In a battle of computer analysis versus people who still watch baseball as, you know, a sport,

In this very column Mitch Albom states about Mike Trout,

Rarely has a rookie so dominated on so many levels. It is scary to think that Trout, only 21, will get better. And if he improves even incrementally, who is going to beat him for MVP in years to come?

So I would love for Mitch Albom to explain why those who backed Mike Trout for AL MVP don't watch baseball as, you know, a sport, when evaluating Trout's performance, but Mitch Albom can see Trout's greatness because he looks at baseball as, you know, a sport and that's how he knows Trout is going to be a great player. So stat geeks aren't looking at baseball as a sport when recognizing Trout's greatness, but Mitch Albom is able to appreciate Trout's greatness in the context that baseball is a sport. If Trout's 2012 season can be judged by those who watch him play, isn't it possible those who supported Trout watched him play and thought he deserved the AL MVP? Probably not, because Mitch Albom thinks everyone else is stupid compared to him.

what we saw with our Detroit vision was what most voters saw as well:

Miguel Cabrera is the Most Valuable Player in the American League this year.

I have written a couple of posts saying I would vote for Mike Trout. I still probably would, but it doesn't break my heart that Miguel Cabrera won. I don't speak for everyone, but I think most Sabermetricians aren't up in arms over this result. That's the difference in the two groups. The anti-stats crowd writes columns using bullying tactics to say how stupid advanced statistics are, while the stats crowd understands the criteria that was used and respectfully disagrees and moves on with life.

Maybe that's just my perception of the difference.

But the debate ended Thursday night when the results were announced, with Cabrera earning 22 of the 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"How dare they give this award to Miguel Cabrera! Those old school writers are old, useless assholes who don't know how to hand out meaningless awards. I hope someone kicks their cane from under them or they fall down the stairs at their nursing home." -Something no Sabermetrician says.

It reinforced what Tigers fans have been saying all season: This guy is a monster.

Arguing or debating with these old school writers is like debating a 12 year old girl about how great One Direction is compared to another band. Both groups of people don't pay attention to any of your salient points because they are too emotionally tied up in their own position on the issue.

Pretty much anyone who watches baseball could agree that Miguel Cabrera has been a monster this year. I'm not sure this was a part of the AL MVP debate since Mike Trout was a monster in his own way.

It also answered the kind of frenzied cyberspace argument that never shadowed baseball 20 years ago but may never stop shadowing it now.

Progress is such a bad thing! First, things start changing and the next thing you know there is progress and then things aren't staying the same. Mitch doesn't have time for all of this change.

Mitch shouldn't concern himself with all this change because in 20 more years he won't have to worry about debates shadowing baseball. See at that point he probably would consider himself lucky to be one of the five people we would meet in heaven. Actually, if heaven is full of Sabermetricians then Mitch will probably request he go to Hell. The Sabermetricians would fuck heaven all up by creating statistics to get a true measure of an angel's wings.

Statistics geeks insisted Cabrera was less worthy than Angels rookie centerfielder Mike Trout. Not because Trout's traditional baseball numbers were better.

But these statistics geeks (bullying alert) were using criteria like, "How well does Mike Trout field the ball," and WAR. I would like someone to ask Mitch Albom his feelings on the defensive differences between Trout and Cabrera and how they affected his decision-making when he chose Cabrera to be the AL MVP. I'm guessing rather than answer the question with an intelligent statement, Albom would ignore the question and instead go about writing a book about a magical baseball that helps to turn a little league team's season around.

They weren't. Cabrera had more home runs (44), more runs batted in (139) and a better batting average (.330) than Trout and everyone else in the American League. It gave him the sport's first Triple Crown in 45 years.

Therein lies seemingly the only argument for Cabrera's MVP candidacy, much like the stats crowd "WAR" argument seems to be the core of their pro-Trout candidacy.

But Trout excelled in the kind of numbers that weren't even considered a few years ago, mostly because A) They were impossible to measure,

But now, because of new technology (math) it is possible (and was possible then) to measure these kind of numbers.

and B) Nobody gave a hoot.

Nobody gave a hoot mostly because they didn't know there were different ways to calculate a player's performance. Indicating a person doesn't give a hoot about something because they lack knowledge on that subject is stupid. This is like saying in the 1910's nobody cared to go to the moon. Nobody cared because the technology to do so wasn't available. People could have cared, they just didn't know it was possible.

Today, every stat matters.

Even the minority stats, the girl stats and the stats that sneak over the protractor and illegally make their way into baseball. Every stat counts now, even if they aren't legally allowed to be in the country or these stats weren't born from traditional statistics.

There is no end to the appetite for categories -- from OBP to OPS to WAR. I mean, OMG!

Mitch Albom: Text Master General.

The number of triples hit while wearing a certain-colored underwear is probably being measured as we speak.

Probably is Mitch, probably is.

So in areas such as "how many Cabrera home runs would have gone out in Angel Stadium of Anaheim"

You mean otherwise known as a fair way to compare two players on a level playing field? Yeah, who the fuck wants that?

I hit 144 home runs during the Summer of 1992 (true story, and yes, I counted), so Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and Barry Bonds can all kiss my ass because I am the true home run champ. Who cares these home runs were hit in my friend's backyard against fellow 6th graders? Comparables don't matter. I am a better hitter than Miguel Cabrera.

or "batting average when leading off an inning" or "Win Probability Added," Trout had the edge. At least this is what we were told.

And really, what does it have to do with baseball if a batter has a high batting average leading off an inning? That's a completely irrelevant statistic. Now a player's batting average overall, that is a very relevant statistic and the player with the highest batting average overall should be named MVP and Speaker of the House. But batting average leading off an inning? That only leads to runs, which leads to RBI's, which is a statistic that Mitch Albom bases Cabrera's AL MVP candidacy on.

So in Mitch Albom's mind, batting average overall is an incredibly important statistic, but any subset of batting average (like batting average after the 7th inning or batting average leading off an inning) is very pointless and should go to Hell.

I mean, did you do the math? I didn't.

If you didn't do the math, then how the hell can you criticize those who believe "Win Probability Added" or "batting average when leading off an inning"? It shows an awful lot of ignorance. Of course, Mitch Albom also likes to write stories while including statements that aren't true. So Mitch likes to play loose with facts, so it doesn't surprise me he feels free to make criticisms without completely understanding what he is criticizing.

I like to actually see the sun once in a while.

Mitch Album, beach bum. 

Mitch Albom does like to see the sun once in while, at least when he has the opportunity to pull his head from up his ass.

Besides, if you live in Detroit, you didn't need a slide rule.

Nobody needs a slide rule anymore.

People here watched Cabrera, 29, tower above the game in 2012. Day after day, game after game, he was a Herculean force. Valuable? What other word was there? How many late-inning heroics? How many clutch hits?

I don't know Mitch, because I don't have my slide rule handy.

Yes, it's true, Trout is faster, Trout is a better defensive player, Trout is a leadoff hitter, and Trout edged Cabrera in several of those made-for-Microsoft categories.

How behind the times is Mitch Albom? He refers to statistics as "made-for-Microsoft categories." He probably uses as his web browser and has kept the free 1000 minutes of Internet discs that AOL used to send out, just in case.

In Mitch's mind, Microsoft is currently the gold standard for technology right now. He's going to be very disappointed to hear Tupac is dead and Lisa Loeb is no longer a relevant artist.

But if you are going to go molten deep into intangibles, why stop at things like "which guy hit more homers into the power alleys?" (A real statistic, I am sorry to say.)

Again, this is like talking to a 12 year old girl about One Direction. Mitch is too emotional to realize what he is writing is pure drivel. Which guy hit more home runs into the power alleys isn't an intangible statistic. It can be measured. Mitch needs to go look up the definition of "intangible" and stop being a mental midget.

Why not also consider such intangibles as locker-room presence? 

Because the very fucking definition of intangibles encompasses that you can't measure them. Hence, they are intangible. Did Mitch graduate junior high? Maybe that's why he likes to bully the advanced statistics crowd because 8th grade was the very peak of his scholastic career and he managed to get a job writing because some editor somewhere thought he had a pretty mouth.

How about his effect on pitchers? Nobody wanted the embarrassment of him slamming a pitch over the wall. The amount of effort pitchers expended on Cabrera or the guy batting ahead of him surely took its toll and affected the pitches other batters saw. Why not find a way to measure that? (Don't worry. I'm sure someone is working on it as we speak.)

And Mitch will be quick to dismiss this statistic he wants to create about how much energy pitchers expended on Cabrera because they are "Microsoft statistics."

What about the debilitating power of a three-run homer? How many opposing teams slumped after Cabrera muscled one out?

How many times Mike Trout led off the inning by getting on-base is a useless statistic only those who don't watch the game would use, while how sad a Miguel Cabrera home run made Chris Sale is very important to know. Because Mitch Albom is all about the eyes and what you can tell from watching the game. You can't tell if a player got on-base by watching the game, but you can see how sad Chris Sale has become after a Miguel Cabrera home run.

You heard everyone from Prince Fielder to Justin Verlander speak in awed tones about being on the same team as Cabrera. Doesn't that embolden teammates and bring out their best?

Doesn't Mike Trout bring out the best in his teammates? Isn't the MVP an individual award?

How about the value of a guy who could shift from first to third base -- as Cabrera did this past season -- to make room for Fielder? Ask manager Jim Leyland how valuable that is.

Ah yes, it is the "he changed positions" argument for how valuable Miguel Cabrera was this year. Always a persuasive argument since it moves the MVP from an individual award to a team-based award because it takes other player's performance into account. 

How about the fact that Cabrera's team made the playoffs and Trout's did not? ("Yes," countered Team Trout, "but the Angels actually won more games.")

Which is an incredibly salient point that Mitch Albom has no counter-argument for.

How about the fact that Cabrera played the whole season while Trout started his in the minors? ("Yes," said the Trout Shouters, "but the Angels won a greater percentage with Trout than Detroit did with Cabrera.")

Yet another really important point. I'm not sure Mitch Albom knows how to write a persuasive paper. You aren't supposed to write the opposing sides arguments and then not refute or counter them at all. The point of arguing on behalf of Miguel Cabrera is to show the fallacy in the other side's argument without accusing them of living indoors 12 months of the year and using a slide rule. It's really bad writing to state the other side's opinion as if your own admitting of their position immediately negates their position as a relevant one.

How about this? How about that?

How about service industry workers just do their job and stop asking Mitch questions in an effort to get his order correct? Mitch is too busy stepping on kittens and punching babies for screaming too loudly to worry about you and your stupid need to get his order correct asshole service industry worker.

Twenty-eight sportswriters, two from each AL city, decide, in their own minds, what is "valuable" and who displayed it the most.

They chose Cabrera.

By an overwhelming majority.


Bill Plaschke.

Sentence fragments.

Do they deserve their own paragraph?

In the end, memories were more powerful than microchips.

So Mitch thinks Mike Trout is a robot? Is that my takeaway here?

Which, by the way, speaks to a larger issue about baseball. It is simply being saturated with situational statistics.

Much like Mitch's adult diapers become saturated if he drinks too much coffee in the morning. See, I can be a bully too!

What other sport keeps coming up with new categories to watch the same game?

I can't think of any major sports that do this, other than nearly every single major sport.

And this WAR statistic -- which measures the number of wins a player gives his team versus a replacement player of minor league/bench talent (honestly, who comes up with this stuff?) -- is another way of declaring, "Nerds win!"

Wet willy time for all you 6th graders!

Saying "Nerds win" is another way of saying, "I'm old and refuse to adapt to new circumstances, yet beyond rational belief I still consider myself to be at the top of my profession."

It is actually creating a divide between those who like to watch the game of baseball and those who want to reduce it to binary code.

This divide is mostly being caused by writers like Mitch Albom who absolutely refuse to consider advanced statistics and use bullying terms in an effort to make it seem like a person who likes advanced statistics is a nerd or lives with his/her parent. So yes, there is a divide being created by people just like Mitch Albom.

"I think they can use both," Cabrera said when asked about computer stats versus old-time performance. "In the end, it's gonna be the same. You gotta play baseball."

(Mike Trout sits sadly in a corner thinking he was playing water polo all year instead of baseball)

But the Tigers now have back-to-back MVPs (Verlander last year), which speaks pretty well for their ability to develop and sign talent.

Sign for talent or trade for talent...little things like details really don't matter to Mitch. What matters is that anyone who likes WAR is a nerd and probably has sex with his mom.

And none of this diminishes the season Trout gave the Los Angeles Angels -- and baseball history. Rarely has a rookie so dominated on so many levels. It is scary to think that Trout, only 21, will get better. And if he improves even incrementally, who is going to beat him for MVP in years to come?

Well, for starters anyone who wins the Triple Crown or if Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder have something nice to say about another candidate, then Mike Trout won't win the MVP. As long as Mike Trout leads the American League in certain traditional statistical categories, the MVP is his for the taking.

He was the meat in the stew that became the American League champions, and while it is possible to argue the other way, it's undeniable to argue this one.

I'm not sure this makes sense to me. It's possible to argue Trout should win the AL MVP, but it's undeniable to argue Cabrera should win the AL MVP? If it is possible to argue Mike Trout should win, then it isn't undeniable Cabrera should win.

This year, what you saw is what he got.


The eyes have it.

As long as those eyes were viewing Miguel Cabrera hitting home runs and driving in players. Because if those eyes were watching Mike Trout play great defense, steal bases or generally play well, then those eyes don't mean shit to Mitch Albom. It's all about what happened on the field...well, plus how much Cabrera's teammates like how much Cabrera scared the opposing how Cabrera switched positions.

I like how Mitch Albom uses "the eyes have it" and then bases some of Cabrera's MVP candidacy on intangibles. It's a special person who can hate advanced statistics because they are "made-up," but somehow claims to be able to measure intangibles. Seems to me like the person arguing in favor of intangibles is the loser who is making statistics up.


Eric C said...

You know, the "traditional" baseball people have pushed the value of defense. Brooks Robinson won the MVP when he had an outlier season offensively, because he was THE MAN defensively. Ozzie Smith, Pee Wee Reese, Luis Aparicio, Rabbit Maranville, Bill Mazeroski, and Red Schoendienst all elected to the Hall of Fame because they were great defensively, so it is obvious the "traditionalists" appreciate the beauty of a solid defensive player. Perhaps center field isn't viewed as important as middle infield?

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, I guess so. That is a very good point. I tried (but did not state it as well) to make a point like that a few weeks ago in discussing Trout. There are a handful of guys in the Hall of Fame based mostly on their defensive prowess, but now the "Trout for MVP" movement used defense as part of the reasoning for him winning the award, and defense isn't as important.

Centerfield clearly isn't an important position I guess.