Monday, August 6, 2007

it pisses me off when people want to praise someone's milestone by saying no one will ever reach it again

from a article by jack wilkinson re: tom glavine and his pursuit of 300 wins. i'm being a little nitpicky, because the quotes i'm about to complain about are just that; off-the-cuff quotes given by guys that didn't exactly think deep and hard about what they were about to say before they said it. but i don't care. it makes me mad. how can people say these kinds of things? really? you can be 100% sure that even if major league baseball is around for another 100 or 200 years, this feat will never again be accomplished? and if you don't literally mean what you say in a situation like this, don't say it at all. because it comes off as being very literal, at least to a-holes with blogs like me.

As for Glavine's renewed pursuit of his 300th victory Sunday evening in Wrigley Field, before a capacity crowd and national TV audience, Schuerholz deemed it, "A great accomplishment. It might be the last in modern-day baseball."

"Ever. Tommy will be the last 300-game winner ever," insisted Glavine's old manager, Bobby Cox. "If Randy Johnson doesn't make a comeback, I don't think anybody will do that."

based on what? being 100% sure, or at least reasonably sure, that jake peavy/c.c. sabbathia/johan santana/cole hamels/some kid who hasn't even been born yet won't be able to average 15 wins for 20+ seasons? i mean, don't be me wrong, it's a incredibly tough thing to do. but it's not like it's completely inconceivable. it just bothers me when people, rather than complimenting someone like glavine in a normal way, decide to talk about how awesome he is by boldly predicting the unpredictable.

same concept from a more general angle:

Pete Van Wieren, a Braves broadcaster since 1976 and one of the most learned men in the game, said, "Tommy is the last of a breed. He had a misson his whole career. He never missed a start. Never complained. Just went out there every fifth day. When you're putting a team together, you want a guy like that on your side."

yes. the last of a breed. no major league pitcher will ever have those characteristics again. it's funny- if you just take out the first sentence of the quote, it's reasonably insightful and still very complimentary. but van wieren had to throw that "he is totally un-recreatable" thing in there just because... i don't know why. because even though it makes no sense and is completely unsubstantiated, people feel the need to say stuff like this when their friends/teammates/guys on the team they follow do great things. boggles my mind.

i will admit, in some cases, this kind of statement is more justified than in others. for example, i doubt anyone will ever touch the number of complete games guys used to throw back in the deadball era. the game just isn't managed the way it was back then anymore. and sometimes, a rule change might make a record unreachable. unless they raise the pitcher's mound back to where it was when he was playing, i'm not sure anyone will ever touch bob gibson's 1.12 ERA from 1968. but i don't think too many people will argue with me when i say this is not one of those situations.

look, the point is: when someone accomplishes something and a journalist asks you about said feat, you want to praise them. good! that's a polite, professional, and just a general feel-good-ish thing to do. but it's very easy to do so without claiming you know exactly what's going to happen in the unforseeable future. please, interview subjects of america, try to stay away from that.

also: a funny, stupid side quote from the same article:

"It's all about pitching," Clint Hurdle said of reaching 300. "And Glavine can pitch. He's flat-out pitched for a long time."

great point, clint. it IS all about pitching. as opposed to being about hitting, or playing shortstop, or making your free throws, or reading the cover 2 properly. i know he was probably referring to the always-overanalyzed "throwing vs. pitching" distinction. but seriously... coooooooome ooooonnnnnn.


pnoles said...

I just can't believe that Bobby Cox, one of the greatest managers in the game, a guy that supposedly knows a lot of things about baseball, doesn't think that there will be another guy to hit 300 wins. That's just ridiculous.

I personally think that of the pitchers you listed, Santana and Peavy have the best shot at it. Sabathia's weight might be a problem if he's going for a long, successful career.

Hamels has the stuff to do it, but has been very injury-prone (2006 was the first year he pitched a full season, as he's broken his arm and hand before and has a bulging disk in his back)

Here's another thought, though the fact that it took him to age 24 to start games consistently hurts him, maybe Dan Haren? He has 47 with almost 2 full months do go in his 3rd full season as a starter.

Chris W said...


pnoles said...

haha yeah...I totally forgot about Buehrle. Buster Olney was talking about this on the Mike and Mike show, and he thinks no one will ever do it again, but listed Buehrle and Sabathia as the top possibilities. 290 pound guys like Sabathia don't project to have long careers staying above-average the entire way though.

I like Buehrle as a candidate because his stuff doesn't rely on power (something that declines with age). He's already pretty much living on guile. I wonder if he'll be a Jamie Moyer type in 10 years.