Jeter error

What they’re saying about Jeter’s Gold Glove


I haven’t seen an award decision that had such uniformity of negative opinion about it since Jethro Tull beat Metallica for Best Heavy Metal Performance Grammy in 1988. Or maybe it was Taste of Honey beating Elvis Costello for Best New Artist in 1978.  To be honest, we should probably rename the Gold Glove the Fielding Grammy Award:

  • Moshe Mandel, TYU: “Jeter’s selection, on the other hand, is a travesty. He was likely one of the 2 or 3 worst shortstops in the AL this season. The metrics, scouts, and most fans agree that he is mediocre at best, and atrocious at worst. He won because of his reputation as a hitter, which is incredibly silly but quite unsurprising. As a Yankee fan, I wish we could just forget it ever happened.”
  • David Brown, Big League Stew: “The worst shortstop in the league won a Gold Glove at the most important defensive position on the field. How does this happen?”
  • Rob Neyer: “Nobody who really follows baseball believes that Jeter is an outstanding defensive player. The Yankees, who see him every day, don’t believe that. The writers who cover the Yankees every day don’t believe that. Frankly, I’m not sure the managers and the coaches who actually voted for Jeter believe that.”
  • Matthew Leach, “Gold Gloves are like Supreme Court appointments: They’re hard to get, but once you have them, they’re for life.”
  • John Harper, New York Daily News: “If you watched the ALCS even casually it wasn’t hard to see that Derek Jeter looked closer to 46 than 36 compared to Elvis Andrus as a shortstop . . . it’s obvious he didn’t deserve the Gold Glove he was awarded Tuesday.” [note: if even the tabloids aren’t drinking the Jeter Kool Aid anymore, no one is].
  • Grant at McCovey Chronicles: “The Gold Gloves are ridiculous. They’re the subjective opinions of people who would rather use astrology charts than defensive stats to judge players they watched for seven to 18 games this year.” [note: that doesn’t stop Grant from wishing hard for Andres Torres to win the GG today. Such is the nature of this maddening but never-to-be-gone award. I think it’s because the name is so great].

Me? I’m still reeling. Say what you want about the BBWAA, but at least the guys who vote on those awards usually defend their choices and have some arguably rational basis for them. The players and coaches who gave Jeter his fifth — fifth! — Gold Glove won’t and can’t do the same. They don’t watch Jeter play every day because they’re busy with their own games. The people who do watch him play every day — Yankees beat writers and fans — almost all agree that he didn’t deserve the award.

Just remember that the next time an ex-ballplayer or manager gets a job as a cable network talking head based on his alleged expertise.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.