Monday, March 25, 2013

8 comments So Apparently Mitch Williams Has a Blog

There are times in everyone's life when he/she/it wonders "How the hell did I miss this?" Today is one of those days for me. Mitch Williams, or "Wild Thing" as he was better known as a baseball player, has a blog where he uses the English language and a not-firm grasp on logic to talk about baseball-related topics. To Williams' credit, at least he acknowledges it is a blog (ahem, Murray Chass). Thanks to Cory (again) for sending me the links to these. I will cover two of Mitch Williams' posts today. I'll start off first with the continuous, never-ending Jack Morris-Hall of Fame discussion because there's no way anyone is tired of talking about it. Then I will delve into Mitch Williams' column about how Jon Daniels doesn't have enough baseball experience to effectively run the Rangers franchise. Daniels isn't a great GM like that "baseball guy" Andrew Friedman.

But first, Mitch talks about Schilling and Morris.

The Hall of Fame voting is coming up on us and there are a few people that I don’t quite understand what Hall induction is supposed to be based on. I hear arguments that Jack Morris should not be voted in, and I have heard arguments that Curt Schilling should be.

It's all very confusing isn't it? Both players have memorable postseason performances, so which memorable postseason performance is better? Isn't that what Jack Morris's candidacy is all about? Game 7 of the 1991 World Series?  

Let’s clear this up. Inclusion in the Hall of Fame is in recognition of an outstanding career. It is not based on Postseason performance.

Great then, it's settled. Neither player gets in the Hall of Fame

(Bengoodfella starts packing his bags and walking out of the room)

If we compare Jack Morris’ numbers to Schilling’s and we remove the Postseason — where Schilling was 11-2 and Morris was 7-4 — and we get down to the career numbers, I think you will see what I’m talking about.

I'm going to spoil the conclusion for all of you. Mitch Williams uses some deducing to tell us that Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame, while Curt Schilling should not. Before I get to this comparison more in-depth, let's go back and look at perhaps the most ironic comment I've read in reference to Jack Morris being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

It is not based on Postseason performance.

I'm not exaggerating when I make this statement. I have not read a pro-Jack Morris column where Game 7 of the 1991 World Series was not mentioned at least once. I know a pro-Jack Morris column without a mention of the 1991 World Series exists and I know this because Mitch Williams rambles his way through one right now. Still, saying the Hall of Fame is not based on postseason performance is ignoring the fact 95% of pro-Jack Morris Hall of Fame columns at some point mention his postseason record or Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Some writers (Jerry Green) seem to base Morris' induction solely on that game. So the idea Mitch Williams is excluding postseason performance when determining Morris should be in the Hall of Fame has blown my mind and I will struggle to go on.

Won/Loss: Morris 254-186, Schilling-216-146

Wins are dumb. Using wins to determine if a pitcher was any good or not is dumb. 

Career duration: Morris 18 seasons (all in the AL), Schilling 20 seasons (14 in the NL where there are only eight hitters in the lineup)

ERA: Morris 3.90, Schilling 3.35 (4.00 during six seasons in the AL)

3 things worthy of mention:

1. Mitch Williams' best years all occurred in the National League. If he is bashing the National League then he is bashing his ability as a relief pitcher.

2. A closer criticizing a starting pitcher for "only" facing eight hitters in the lineup is just too rich for me. The guy who faced 3-4 batters if he did his job correctly is the one criticizing Curt Schilling for not facing enough quality batters while playing in the National League.

3. Cory in his email to me makes this point better than I do. I can make these points myself, but he makes them pretty well. Since I'm using his email to me, I want to give his blog a shout-out too. He writes at

''ERA: Morris 3.90, Schilling 3.35 (4.00 during six seasons in the AL)''

The 2nd quotation requires more in the way of critical thought

Yes, Schilling did have a higher career ERA in the American League. Fun fact though: His first tenure in the AL (1988-1990) lasted all of 69 IP for the Orioles, where he amassed a 4.54 ERA (85 ERA+)

In his 2nd tenure (2004-2007), Schilling pitched 675 AL innings, posting a 3.95 ERA (120 ERA+) 

I also believe it is relevant to note when comparing the numbers of Morris and Schilling in the American League that Schilling only pitched in the American League during the beginning and end of his career. Schilling pitched in the American League when he was 21-23 years of age and 37-40 years of age. I would venture a guess that his career statistics in the American League would have been better had he pitched in the American League anywhere near the prime of his career. Back to the point Cory is making,

Both quotations also indicate Mitch Williams (flawed) belief that it's fair to compare the American League of the 70s and 80s to the NL of the 90s, where runs per game were almost identical.

The photo attached has Runs Per Game averages during Morris's American League career (1977-1994) and Schilling's National League Career (1991-2003)

From roughly 1993 to 2003, runs per game in the National League were either on par or exceeding the American League yearly averages of 1980 to 1991 (the meat of Morris's peak) 

So basically, Mitch Williams has no point. National League teams scored 4.56 runs per game from 1991-2003. American League teams scored 4.50 runs per game from 1977-1994. It's important to remember that Schilling pitched right in the middle of the Steroid Era. Knowing 'roided-up batters were putting up historically great numbers during the Steroid Era has to be factored in when comparing the American League from 1977-1993 and the National League from 1993-2003. So over the time Morris pitched in the American League and Schilling pitched in the National League, the National League teams actually scored more runs per game. This is what happens when a knee-jerk reaction is made without doing research.

Innings Pitched: Morris 3,824, Schilling 3,261
Complete games: Morris 175, Schilling 83
Shutouts: Morris 28, Schilling 20

These are good numbers, but I still lean towards neither player entering the Hall of Fame. Comparing Morris to Schilling and believing Morris to be the superior player doesn't mean Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame.

This all speaks to my point. The Hall of Fame is recognition of a career, not Postseason stats! Postseason stats don’t count towards MVP or the Cy Young Award.

And yet, very few pro-Jack Morris voters fail to leave out Morris's postseason record.

If the people who vote on this induction only care about Postseason performance, then Greg Maddux one of the best pitchers in the history of our game, wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer! He was just 11-14 in his Postseason career!

Great point. If we just used assumptions that pitching in the American League was more difficult because a pitcher has to face 9 hitters instead of 8 hitters a pitcher faces in the National League then the result would be what Mitch Williams has written here.

If they come up with a Postseason Hall of Fame, Curt Schilling is a first ballot Hall of Famer!

Why is Mitch Williams using exclamation points excessively? Is he is a 12 year old girl?

But until they do, he was a good pitcher, but his career is not Hall of Fame worthy.

This also happens to be the perfect rebuttal to a person who claims Jack Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

One final point on the Hall of Fame: the fact that Lee Smith has not been voted in is, in my opinion, a joke!

A joke like a "haha" joke or a joke like "why is this guy using exclamation points at the end of every sentence, he must be fucking with us" joke? 

And his career ERA — which for a closer is a stat that can be very easily inflated for the season by one bad outing — was 3.03.

A closer's ERA can also not be inflated because he often comes in the game with no runners on-base and only has to face three batters if he does his job correctly.

The telltale sign for me would be poll the players. Ask all the hitters that faced Lee, Trevor and Mo who they would have rather faced in the ninth. Trust me, Lee Arthur would be last on that list!

Thanks Mitch! I'm glad you used a poll of ex-MLB players that you never actually took to prove your point! It's very persuasive for you to make up the results of a poll and then use them to support your argument! This is analysis and very persuasive!

Most likely you know why Mitch Williams doesn't think Curt Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame? Because he doesn't like him. (Go to the 2:35 mark...and again, this was sent to me by Cory)

At least Williams is unbiased, right?

Now Mitch Williams discusses the shakeups in the Rangers front office and tells people to not tell others how to do their job. Williams goes about this by telling the Rangers front office how to do their job. 

Today we learned that the job of President of Baseball Operations with the Rangers has been taken away from Nolan Ryan and given to the team’s GM, John Daniels.

This is the problem plaguing our game.

Without knowing the next sentence, I would have no clue what "the problem" here is. It's not readily apparent. Is the problem GM's trying to have too much responsibility within an organization? Is the problem baseball "experts" like Mitch Williams who believes he is informed enough on a topic to comment on that topic, but he isn't really informed enough to spell all the names of the concerned parties correctly? John Daniels is not the Rangers GM. Jon Daniels is the Rangers GM. A small mistake, sure, but given Mitch Williams is paid to cover MLB and seems to carry a strong opinion about Jon Daniels...

I have all the respect in the world for these young front office people that come out of Harvard or Yale — or in Daniels’ case, Cornell. I respect them when they know what they are good at: business, finance, or organizational skills — those sorts of things.

The amount of idiocy that Mitch Williams is spewing right now is amazing. So being the General Manager of a MLB franchise doesn't require business, finance or organizational skills? It sounds to me like Mitch Williams isn't quite intelligent or informed enough to be making these criticisms that he is making. Being a General Manager requires business, finance and organizational skills. Anyone who doesn't believe this is true is an uninformed moron.

Also, I like how graduates from Cornell/Harvard/Yale are good at only these three things and should not look for a job that requires other attributes. Mitch Williams graduated from West Linn High School in Oregon, perhaps they are famous for learning their young ones on how to be a baseball analyst? Because otherwise, it sounds like graduates of West Linn High School should know what they are good at...and I'm not sure it is writing.

Where I tend to lose respect for them is when they decide they know how to evaluate baseball talent better than people like Nolan Ryan! When they so that, they do their players a disservice, as well as their fan base and the entire organization.

Yeah I know! It's not like Jon Daniels is the GM of a baseball team that he has helped build into a franchise capable of making back-to-back World Series or anything. What does he know, other than he was able to replenish the Rangers farm system and make them competitive again? Leave the baseball stuff to guys like Nolan Ryan (insert exclamation point here)

I can’t speculate what the problem is down in Arlington between Nolan and Daniels

Mitch Williams can't speculate but he knows the fault is on Jon Daniels. There you go, that makes sense.

I was a Ranger back when going to a game was something a fan did when there was nothing else to do that night in town. Over the last four years, they have done something I never thought would be possible, and that was take away fans from the Dallas Cowboys.

And the reason the Rangers have had such success is because they have won baseball games. Should the credit for putting a team together that won games and made the World Series go to the President/Owner of the Texas Rangers or the General Manager of the Rangers? It seems to me like Jon Daniels put this Rangers team together, so he should get at least 50% of the credit. What do I know though? I'm not a scrappy, competitive, ex-baseball player like Mitch Williams. He clearly knows what he is talking about when he is talking about John (Jon) Daniels. Daniels needs to stick to what he knows best, like business, finance, and having them organizational skills. Leave the running of the Rangers' business, dealing with the Rangers' budget, and organizing the organization to run as effectively and efficiently as possible to those who who are qualified to do such things...which obviously isn't a graduate from a Ivy League school.

Also, the Rangers haven't really taken away fans from the Dallas Cowboys. It's not an either/or situation since each team plays a different sport. Fans can cheer for both teams.

I don’t know Daniels, but the way that Michael Young was treated there was just wrong.

You mean the part where Daniels gave Young an $80 million contract extension? Boy, that was an asshole thing to do.

Young changed positions four times for the good of the team. He became an All-Star at three different positions, then demanded a trade after the signing of Adrian Beltre.

Michael Young demanded a trade nearly every time he was asked to switch positions. I have discussed it before on this blog and the bottom line is the Rangers replaced Young with a better player each time he was asked to move. There have been plenty of MLB players who have moved positions repeatedly and not made a peep, but for some reason the media insists on making Michael Young a martyr.

One thing I can say for sure is that as soon as a GM starts to think he can evaluate talent better than someone like Ryan without anywhere near the baseball background, he is giving himself too much credit.

The Rangers have been to the World Series two of the last three seasons. Jon Daniels doesn't think he can evaluate talent well, he knows he can evaluate talent well. Whether he is a better judge of talent than Nolan Ryan, who's to say, but having played baseball doesn't mean Nolan Ryan is a better judge of talent than Jon Daniels. Nolan Ryan threw a baseball well. Throwing a baseball well doesn't mean Nolan Ryan can judge talent better than Jon Daniels can judge talent.

The problem I see in Texas is that they have power arms in their rotation, and all of them are trying to become sinker ball pitchers. 

It is harder to command a sinker than it is a four-seam fastball.

I forgot about Mitch Williams credentials as a pitching coach. After not being retained as the pitching coach for an Independent League franchise early in the 2000's I know he is turning down pitching coach offers left and right. It's funny how Mitch (in just a minute) will say people who tell others how to do a job they can't do themselves are ignorant. Hopefully Mitch was looking in the mirror when he wrote this.

So if you can’t command it, it becomes a 91-MPH hit-me pitch. Trust me.

I don't trust you. You have shown through the misspelling of Jon Daniels' name and your inability to understand running a baseball team requires organizational and business skill that you have very little clue of what you are talking about. But hey, Mitch Williams throws a baseball well, so he believes that makes him qualified to do anything baseball-related. I'm really good at driving a car so that means I could own a NASCAR team, right?

I think that has to change. I think they need to let these guys who can throw 95 to 98 go out and do it, and use a sinker only in spots where it is needed.

I would remind Mitch Williams that Nolan Ryan is on record as being the guy in the Rangers organization who has had the most influence on the Rangers pitching staff. So these changes Mitch criticizes the Rangers for not making, well, he is basically criticizing his boy Nolan Ryan. Nolan Ryan is on record here, here, here, here, and here as having a great effect on the Texas Rangers pitching staff. It doesn't shock me that Mitch Williams doesn't understand he is essentially criticizing Nolan Ryan when he criticizes how the Rangers pitchers are pitching.

I also enjoy how Mitch is trying to blame Jon Daniels for the pitchers the Rangers have acquired and developed, but doesn't give Daniels credit for any of the success the Rangers have had over the past five years.

I will point to an organization that has a very smart GM: Tampa. Andrew Friedman is very smart. I believe he is smarter than any other GM out there right now, because I believe he surrounds himself with very good baseball people and trusts each of them to do their job,

Mitch Williams should not be writing any of his thoughts down. He contradicts himself, he doesn't really make sense and I get a feeling he doesn't have a firm grasp on the point he is trying to make. Let's compare the backgrounds of Jon Daniels and Andrew Friedman. One guy Mitch Williams likes because he is "very smart" and the other guy Mitch thinks needs to leave running a baseball team to baseball guys.


Jon Daniels- Cornell University
Andrew Friedman- Tulane University

Major in College

Jon Daniels- Applied Economics and Management
Andrew Friedman- Management with a Concentration in Finance

First Job out of College

Jon Daniels- Business Development for Allied Domecq (They operate wine and restaurant businesses)
Andrew Friedman- Analyst for Bear Stearns

First Baseball Job

Jon Daniels- Internship with the Rockies in 2001 and Assistant, Baseball Operations for Rangers in 2003
Andrew Friedman- Director of Baseball Development for the Rays in 2004

Now if you can tell me how based on their backgrounds Andrew Friedman is a "baseball guy" and Jon Daniels is not, then you are lying. Both guys have very similar educational and baseball backgrounds, but Mitch Williams thinks Jon Daniels can't run a team because he isn't a "baseball guy," but Williams likes Friedman and seems to accept him as a "baseball guy." In related news, Mitch Williams has no idea what he is talking about and isn't consistent with his criticism.

I don’t know about y’all that are reading this, but I don’t for a second think Friedman is making any decisions involving talent without consulting his baseball people.

Don't think for a second that Jon Daniels makes any decisions without consulting his baseball people.

In my opinion, you are only ignorant if you try and tell someone how to do their job if you aren’t qualified to do that job.

You mean sort of like how you just told the Rangers organization how they need to encourage their pitchers to throw the baseball despite having no experience despite having no experience as a pitching coach at the major league level (Williams was a pitching coach for an Independent League team for 2002 and 2003, but his contract wasn't renewed)? Or does Mitch mean like how he is calling Jon Daniels not a "baseball guy" and stating he doesn't have the knowledge necessary to do Nolan Ryan's job, despite the fact Mitch Williams has no experience as a scout or baseball executive?

This whole column is basically Mitch Williams telling Jon Daniels how to do his job and what job to stick to.

I don’t think I’m going to get to many people calling me to do their taxes or represent them in court. Just as I am not going to argue with someone who does a job that I have no clue about.

You mean like being the General Manager of an MLB team? Mitch seemed to argue with the qualifications of Jon Daniels to do Nolan Ryan's job and Mitch doesn't seem to have a clue that being an MLB GM requires business, finance and organizational skills...which are all strengths Mitch admits Jon has due to graduating college from Cornell.

If the Rangers lose Ryan, they will be headed back to where they were before he got there

I don't think the Rangers should lose Nolan Ryan, but it is incredibly premature and uninformed to state the Rangers will be a bad team if Ryan no longer has an affiliation with the Rangers organization.

Much like Mitch seems to dislike Curt Schilling and this drives his belief Schilling should not be in the Hall of Fame, Mitch doesn't like Jon Daniels not being a "baseball guy" (unlike Andrew Friedman...mind. blown.) and so he thinks Daniels can't do his job as Rangers GM without Nolan Ryan around.

I wish Mitch Williams wrote more blog entries because his blog could be a gold mine.


ivn said...

Nolan Ryan owns the Rangers. the job of President of Baseball Operations was taken away from Nolan Ryan by...Nolan Ryan.

JimA said...

How can a GM get an owner fired? What is this guy smoking? He must have heard Daniels using some of that statistical mumbo-jumbo. That would be the obvious tip-off that the guy was just an ivy league smart guy and not a baseball man.

He doesn't say Friedman is a baseball guy,but that he listens to his baseball guys.

Williams doesn't like Schilling because Schilling once made him look bad. While Williams was pitching (might have been the '93 World Series), Schilling was sitting on the bench and hid his face in a towel. Not that I can blame him.

rich said...

Career duration: Morris 18 seasons (all in the AL), Schilling 20 seasons (14 in the NL where there are only eight hitters in the lineup)

ERA: Morris 3.90, Schilling 3.35 (4.00 during six seasons in the AL)

A few points on top of what Cory said:

1) Am I supposed to give a shit that Schilling had a 4.00 ERA while in the AL? If his overall ERA is 3.35 and his AL numbers were mediocre, that just tells me how friggin' good the guy was during his NL years.

2) As Cory pointed out, Schilling started out in Baltimore, then moved to the NL, then back to the AL. So his AL ERA includes the two periods where pitchers typically aren't that great: their first few starts and their last few seasons.

His first full year in the pros were in the AL (1990 Baltimore) where he put up a 2.54 ERA... pitching in 46 innings in 35 starts. So to Mitch, being a closer means it's hard to have a good ERA, but when Schilling did well in relief in the AL, Schilling can go suck a dick.

Ultimately, Schilling went to the NL and pitched really, really well; but, hey he went back to the AL at age 37 and wasn't as effective. Shocking.

3) Even after going back to the AL as a 37 year old, his ERAs were: 3.26 (21 wins), 5.69, 3.97, 3.87.

Outside of his terrible 2005 season, I'd take those numbers out of someone who was pushing 40.

4) A quick look at Schilling's baseball-reference page, shows that Schilling did not have a career ERA of 3.35, it was 3.46. The 3.35 ERA is his average as a Phillie. So numbnuts McGillicuty (fuck him for game 6) can't even get basic information right.

I loved watching Schilling pitch and watching him win a WS with Arizona was rather satisfying. The thing about him was that he was rarely great (not many sub-3.00 ERA seasons), but he was pretty consistently above average. Out side of the 2005 season, he never stunk the joint up and so over 20 years you knew what you were getting when Schilling took the mound.

Do I think he's a Hall of Famer, probably not, but Williams writes like he pitched: like a fucking idiot.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, not to mention it isn't like this is purely a battle between Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan.

Jim, my bad. I guess I assumed too much and was thinking b/c Daniels listens to his baseball guys and knows how to run the Rays this makes him a baseball guy. I was assuming a "baseball guy" is someone who understands how to listen to baseball guys as well as someone who hates stats. I assumed too much probably.

Rich, the point Mitch Williams was trying to prove is the AL is a harder league to pitch in than the NL. Of course as Cory showed this isn't necessarily true during the time Morris/Schilling pitched.

This is what scares me about someone like Mitch Williams getting paid to talk about baseball. This isn't a debate about statistics or Sabermetrics, but Williams shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how statistics are to be used in order to compare players. Schilling pitched pretty well in the AL later in his career and comparing Schilling's AL ERA to Morris's isn't an even comparison because they pitched in the AL at different times in their career. It's just not a simple one on one comparison.

I'm excited to read more of Mitch William's writing because he seems to not understand what he wants to discuss and he also takes his vendettas out in print while not making good points.

ivn said...

re: Morris and Schilling, it came up on Rany Jazayerli's podcast a little over a month ago, and Joe Sheehan put it perfectly: "Curt Schilling is the pitcher Jack Morris supporters think Morris is."

Bengoodfella said...

That's an interesting comment. I am sure Morris supporters would disagree because Schilling doesn't have enough complete games and he didn't pitch in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series and singlehandedly win the game.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people don't realize how worthy of induction Schilling really is

-3,116 career SOs (15th all time)
-2nd best K/BB ratio of all time (4.38)
-3.46 ERA (128 ERA+)
-11-2 post-season record (2.23 ERA)
-86.1 fWAR (17th All Time)

He's an honest to goodness first ballot HOFer and I don't understand how you can be so dismissive of his candidacy in your post, Ben.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know if I was dismissive of his Hall of Fame candidacy simply because I said I wouldn't vote for him. I said I "lean towards" not voting for both Morris and Schilling. I haven't really thought about it too much to be honest. I wouldn't vote John Smoltz in either, for what that's worth.

Obviously the fact he pitched right in the middle of the Steroid Era should help his credentials. I'll have to think about it more, especially since as I pointed out he did pitch in an age where hitters were hitting a ton of home runs. At some point pitchers should be rewarded for pitching well against 'roided up batters.

You make a good point and I had not thought about it as much as I should. I don't think saying I "lean towards" not giving Schilling a vote is being dismissive though.