MLB Network’s Brian Kenny is an interesting person to follow on Twitter. He has a pet cause symbolized by the hashtag #KillTheWin. The intent is to show the various ways in which the pitcher win statistic is flawed. It has the double-sided benefit of educating less-stat-savvy fans and providing humor to those in the know. An example:
Perhaps motivated by Kenny, someone took the time to go on the White House website to create a petition to ban the use of the win statistic via an executive order.
The petition says:
The win is an ineffective tool in pitcher evaluation, far outliving its usefulness as pitchers no longer pitch complete games. Focusing on wins as a method of pitcher effectiveness gives a distorted and inaccurate picture:
1. Pitchers can perform well and receive a loss or no decision through lack of run support or poor team defense
2. Pitchers can perform at a subpar level and receive a win if their team has excellent offense
3. Relief pitchers can record just one out and receive credit for a win.
Eliminate the win and develop more effective statistics to measure pitcher performance.
As of this writing, it has 56 of 100,000 signatures needed by September 30. Not that anything would actually happen if it got to 100,000 anyway. But it’s a funny little gag.
A Solar Eclipse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.