Bud Selig: we don’t need replay. Just look at our attendance!

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Bud Selig spoke with the media this afternoon. John Shea reposted one of the Commissioner’s answers about expanding instant replay:

People in our sport don’t want any more. Given our attendance and everything we’re doing, we’re in the right place with instant replay.

We’ve heard Selig erroneously claim that no one wants instant replay a million times — of course people in the game want it or else they wouldn’t have included an explicit provision about it in the latest collective bargaining agreement — but this new twist is too much. Attendance shows that people are fine with instant replay? Really? As if increased attendance has anything to do with it?

It’s nonsensical, as there is no relation — or at least there should be no relation — between the public’s willingness to purchase tickets and the Commissioner’s decision to make technical improvements to the game. As a response to the specific question and as a piece of logic. it’s simply incoherent.

And now that I think about it, it’s less about an answer that makes no sense as much as it is an answer that gives away Selig’s hand: no single innovation that baseball truly takes seriously is about improving the game. It’s all about the bottom line. “Who cares if we can improve the product? People are still buying tickets!”

It’s a horribly complacent position to take.  But hey, as long as a problem in the game doesn’t hurt revenue, who cares? As long as an improvement doesn’t increase revenue, why bother?  That’s what Selig is saying here.  Find me an example in American business history where such thinking didn’t lead an industry to ruin.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.