I like playing golf. I really do. I’m not very good at it, but that’s because I have other responsibilities as a 40 year old man. My stance on guys my age and the game of golf is this. Unless you’ve been playing golf from childhood, it takes a bunch of time to be good. So if you’re “40 something” and you’re really good at golf, you’re most likely a crappy father, crappy husband, crappy employee or simply a self absorbed person (this crappiness is DOUBLE if the golf you play is Golden Tee and not real golf). You CAN’T be good at the game unless you’re out there 3 times a week…minimum. I don’t have an extra 15 hours or so to waste each week, do you? But what kills me is when I DO play, the “I don’t know my kid’s birthday but I remember what I shot at Five Fingers Golf Club last week” guy feels the need to compete against me. Why? You play ALL the time. You missed your mom’s funeral and your nephew’s first communion because you had a chance to play the exclusive “Crooked Banana Country Club” out in Whitebread, USA. You’re BETTER than me. And the big thing is we’re not comparing “apples to apples”. If a guy who runs 4 miles every day can’t out run a smoker…the runner SHOULD be pissed. I’m playing for the enjoyment of the game. You’re playing because you never competed at a high level on anything as a younger man and you’re ready to prove yourself. To whom, I have no idea. This brings me to the American League.
When people compare the American League and the National League and say the AL is demonstrably better, I giggle. What a loaded conversation! The argument that teams in the AL are SO much better than the NL is not valid. The statement that the Junior Circuit is vastly superior to the Senior Circuit is simply just not true. You’re comparing apples to oranges, or in this case, traditional baseball to church league softball. The singular mistake everyone makes with the “AL/NL” discussion is not considering this reflection:
You MUST totally wipe out any knowledge of the American League’s Designated Hitter position to evaluate the leagues fairly.
What I mean by this is simple. You can’t talk about how good Texas is if you add Michael Young…the DH Michael Young. You can’t say the Boston is better than Atlanta if you even MENTION David Ortiz…the “I STINK at 1st Base” Big Poppy. The fact that the “so-called national experts” (we’ll refer to them as SNEs from now on, or you can just call them idiots) do their “power rankings” of BOTH Nation and American leagues is kinda stupid. Let’s list just some of the DHs and then really take a step back. Consider how differently you’d think about these teams without that DH. Or the fact that the DH would be an everyday player, which we can safely assume they stink in the field or are old as hell and can’t play effectively. AND the fact that they most likely would add a utility player or bullpen pitcher with the additional spot, which would not really add anything to the “power ranking” of that team. Here’s just some of the list.
Victor Martinez – Tigers
David Ortiz – Red Sox
Billy Butler – Royals
Val Guerrero – Orioles
Johnny Damon – Rays
Hideki Matsui – Athletics
Jim Thome – $5 if you name a team he HASN’T been on this year
Jorge Posada – Yankees
And that’s just a list of players designated as DH for their teams. Not somebody like a Paul Konerko, who’s been hurt the past month. But he is STILL playing every day as the DH, not his usual position of 1st Base. Imagine what that’s like. To have a player HURT, but still able to contribute in a big way to the success of the club and how the team is PERCIEVED around baseball and with SNEs. Think of how the Braves would be thought of IF Chipper was the DH. No “days off” for the old veteran anymore. Just have him grab a bat 4 times a game and swing away. The lineup would be, most likely:
Bourn – CF
Prado – 3rd
Freeman – 1st
Uggla – 2nd
McCann – C
Chipper – DH
Heyward – RF
Constanza – LF
Gonzalez – SS
Not too shabby. And think of HOW older guys get hurt. Usually playing out in the field. I know Chipper is infamous for his “oblique swings”. But seriously, he mostly gets hurt playing the field. I’ve heard the topic come up the last couple of years with Chipper, Carlos Lee, Todd Helton, etc. Hey…do the Braves trade Chipper to an AL team and he’d just DH? He’s got value to a team in American League. NOBODY says the opposite. Hey…Jorge Posada can’t play catcher anymore. Let’s see if we can trade him to the Astros and he’ll ride the pine there, too. Jim Thome NEVER gets to 600 home runs without being a DH and not a real reliable one at that, lately.
So I know SABR people will have 16 different stats that will help the “Quasimodo Hunchback” non-stat guy understand how dumb I really am. And those stats will allow them to make them feel like they’ve made me feel foolish to make this argument. Trust me, that won’t happen. Everyone thinks I’m an idiot already. Adding you to the list is like drinking Diet Coke with your Whopper. It ain’t doing much. So whether it’s your 7 handicap or your thoughts on the Red Sox being vastly superior to the Braves…remember this. You’re comparing apples and oranges. And I’m a watermelon guy.
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