June 13, 2011

Go With Your Gut

I am a “perception is reality” type guy.  I’d like to think it’s because I’m not too incredibly dumb.  If it looks like a duck and quack like a duck, etc, etc, etc…  So the conundrum I find myself in with being a baseball fan is that “perception people” are always muted by “numbers people”.  These are the silly SABR-metric people that if the numbers don’t prove it out, it can’t be true.  If I say Martin Prado is an MVP candidate, they simply scoff.  I can just hear them say, “You do realize that when you take OPS in day games West of the Mississippi against right-handers in the month of June…Prado is only 1-5?  Whereas Chase Utley is 3-5.  You’re stupid, short and fat and you know nothing about baseball.  We’re personally going to have George Will and Bob Costas come to your house and kick the crap out of you and then cover you dead carcass in old 2006 AL WHIP spreadsheet calculations”.   It can be intimidating.  I bet George Will can kill a man 4 different ways with his bow tie.  I also hate the “small sample size” people.  While YES, there are some things that need to play out (see the Red Sox and Rays W-L in April), some things are just so obvious that it’s painful to hear people speak otherwise.  If we took the small sample sizes in life and were proactive before they got out of hand, we wouldn’t have children with “Justin Beiber” haircuts or kids with confusing names like Kody, McKenna or Jayden.   We’ve ALL been to the wedding where in secure locations you and your friends take odds on how long the marriage will last.  You see it from a mile away.  And if some people can be blinded by love, some people CAN be blinded by numbers and make them say what they want. 
I had a little league coach tell us, “statistics are for losers”.  I grew up with that tenant and it’s true.  Outside of the score, no other stat matters.  It’s when you’re NOT winning that you look at the details.  And those can be tricky to figure out.  Sure, Player A has a better OBP than Player B.  But everything from where they hit in the lineup to what they had for breakfast plays into those numbers.  When you tell a SABR-matrician you love your mother, I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted you to put a % to it.  “So, do you love her 95%?  And is that just holidays?  Or 3 days after a visit?  When do you feel it’s below 67%?  That could mean you actually resent her.”   I like to take the “Hall of Fame” approach to sports.  In life, your very first thought on a topic is usually the correct one.  If I ask you…Chipper Jones, Hall of Famer?  If you said YES, than guess what?  He’s most likely a HOF guy.  So while numbers serve as a way for nerds to confuse and tire us attractive and witty folks, they don’t take the place of what we KNOW in our soul to be true.  So here are some things that ARE true.  I have no stats to back them up, because I don’t need them.  Death, taxes and my thoughts.
1.)     Venters needs to replace Kimbrel – this one is KILLING me.  I don’t want to hear all the Kimbrel stats or that taking him out of that role will kill his confidence.  My boss may yell at me 5 times a day.  I still need to do my job.  And having those confrontations kill my confidence is not an option, because it’s my JOB.  Pitching is his.  So if he can’t get over being replaced for a game or two, why would we think he can handle the pressure of MLB playoffs?  You know who Kimbrel reminds me of, Mike Gonzales.  He could be great OR he could be REAL bad.  Every Gonzo save was a rollercoaster ride.  Kimbrel is the same way.
2.)    McLouth doesn’t need to take Shafer’s spot when he’s healthy – this may be TOTAL perception on my part.  Is it just me, or do you guys get excited when Schafer reaches base?  He makes things happen and he’s generating opportunities to score runs.  McLouth generates opportunities for me to throw the remote at my TV.
3.)    McCann is the best catcher in MLB – if Mac played on the Yankees, Phillies, Sox or Mets…he’d be a headliner.  But since he plays for the Braves and the media hates professional sports in the south, he gets beat in All Star voting by Buster (more like Busta) Posey (until Posey got hurt).  Maybe we should ask Brian McCann to change his first name to Critter or Zippy.  That would totally capture the ear of the national press.
4.)    Eric Hinske is the Braves’ team MVP – please don’t misunderstand.  Prado, JJ, Mac and even Chipper have been great in production.  But don’t you feel that something good is about to happen when “El Whappo” (Three Amigos reference) is at the plate?  I just get the sense that he and David Ross mean SO much to the current Braves team.  So maybe he’s more of a VIP…Very IMPORTANT Player.
5.)    George Sherrill isn’t all that bad – sure, he looks like your drunk uncle.   And his body is sculpted by the “David Wells Strength and Fitness” DVD (it’s a 30 day conditioning program that includes McNuggets and Old Milwaukee).  But I think he’s done an ok job.  And Linebrink hasn’t been too bad either.
6.)    Fredi needs to stop “tipping his cap” – dude, seriously.  Stop it with that phrase.  I don’t want you to tip your cap to anyone.  Instead, find a way to shove that cap down the opponent’s throat.  I get it.  It’s a long season.  But show a little passion, Fred.  I think he needs to get tossed from a game and REALLY fly off the handle.  I’d love it and I think Braves fans would love the passion.  I don’t care if it’s contrived or not.  Oprah is totally contrived and she had half the country loving her.
So please take things at face value and go with your gut.  When it says you’re hungry…eat.  When it tells you you’re tired…go to bed.  And when it tells you the Braves might just go all the way…keep those thoughts going.
If you want more of my shenanigans during the week, follow me on Twitter @yourdailyvinnie.  Thanks!



5 Responses to “Go With Your Gut”

  1. 1
    Nate Says:

    Great stuff, Vinnie. Ross and Hinske are the glue of this team. It’s strange that 2 bench players would be so important, but they just are. I think Ross and Mac also deserve a lot of credit for the success of Braves’ pitching this year. Schafer is just better than Nate. Again, great, funny read. The “David Wells Strength and Fitness” comment was spectacular.

  2. 2
    Vinnie Says:

    Thanks, Nate! Yea, my boy Wells loves to get a good workout on. And by ‘good’ I mean delicious and by ‘workout’ I mean pizza.

  3. 3
    Russell Says:

    I’m going with my gut and unsubscribing from this feed.

  4. 4
    Steve Says:

    Russell – thanks for stopping by!

    Vinnie – I second Nate’s comment. The “David Wells Strength and Fitness” line was inspired.

  5. 5
    Vinnie Says:

    Rusty…I’m sorry…Russell. By all means, please unsubscribe. I now know when LeBron said some people could go back to their miserable lives to whom he was referring.

Leave a Reply