Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Monday, January 21, 2008

Come In Out of the Raines

Dayn Perry at Chicago Sports Weekly touches on a theme I noted here:

Despite the protestations of mainstream writers to the contrary, they have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea that a hitter can be valuable without flashing a light-tower stroke. These scribes will whine that fans and the league have made a fetish out of the home run, but then cast more ballots for the inferior Jim Rice than they do for Raines. All too often, we’re subjected to generational spats over whether the Moneyball approach to offense (i.e., waiting for your pitch and hitting it out of the park when you see it) is better than the traditionalist’s beloved “small ball” game (bunts, hit-and-run, stealing bases, being aggressive at the plate). We know that the former leads to more runs, but it’s odd that the shrillest advocates of the latter would abandon Raines, who played the small-ball way better than almost anyone else. Somehow, though, they’ve turned their backs on him.

So, apparently, power matters to the writers except when they’re grouchy over the fact that bloggers/Web-based writers/stat geeks/kids on their lawns happen to like power.

Got it? It all raises the possibility that they don’t believe their own words. The truth is that Raines is a Hall-of-Fame caliber player regardless of how you think the game should be played. That he’s been so inexcusably dismissed by the writers speaks to the flawed nature of the process. Fans, however, are free to recognize Raines as one of the greats regardless of whether or not he ever gets the Cooperstown imprimatur.

As for the writers, we’ll leave them with their rank inconsistencies and their extra-large helpings of cognitive dissonance.

Sounds about right...

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