Monday, October 1, 2007

Michael Ventre Is The Worst Writer We Make Fun of

Don't believe me? Exactly one of his articles I've read has not shown up here. Exactly one was just acceptable enough for me to not completely tear apart. Now, let's hear him talk about grit, hustle Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

They don’t have A-Rod. They don’t have Big Papi.

No. They have Vladimir Guerrero, a stupid, Spanish-speaking moron with a .311 EqA who is awful at baseball.

In the estimation of many, they don’t have much, or at least, they don’t have enough.

6th in baseball in runs scored. Lackey. K-Rod. Vlad. A little thing called Kelvim. Who says this team doesn't have enough?

Many onlookers don’t quite know what to make of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They peruse their lineup and wonder how such a team can maintain their membership in the American League, let alone qualify for the postseason.

Then the onlookers actually do some fucking research (a concept foreign to you, Ventre) and realize that the Angels have a .345 team OBP, good enough for 3rd in the AL.

The Angels consist of low-key manager Mike Scioscia, a bashful superstar who speaks little English in Vladimir Guerrero, a veteran slugger who is even quieter than Guerrero in Garret Anderson, and a bunch of fellows unknown in most households.

Yes, slugger Garret Anderson. 16 HR. .272 EqA. Slugger. Garret Anderson. I guess Ventre didn't quite expel all of his man-juice all over Garret Anderson when he got 10 RBI in a game.

With an unorthodox assemblage comes unorthodox ways. The Angels don’t do things flamboyantly.

Are "unorthodox" and "flamboyant" antonyms now? (that's just a different word for "opposites", Mikey)

They’re rarely the opening story on “SportsCenter” or even “Baseball Tonight.”

Well sound the alarm. This must mean the world thinks they suck! Same with the Indians, Padres, Phillies, and Rockies! Stupid non-firsties!

And even though they have had spirited in-division rivalries with Seattle, Oakland and Texas over the years, such clashes generate a mere fraction of the attention that is received whenever the Yankees and Red Sox tangle.

I'm not saying that this is wrong, but everyone knows why this is true. Nobody except complete idiots think that the Angels aren't a good team for the reason that they aren't constantly in the national limelight.

The Angels thrive primarily because of their outstanding pitching, led by the three starters set to trod the bump in the division series — John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Jered Weaver.

No. This is false beyond reason. This is living proof that Michael Ventre has never seen a page of statistics in his life. The Angels have the 11th best ERA in baseball. This is not outstanding. Can anyone refute that? Above-average, yes, but not outstanding. They have scored the 6th most runs in baseball. Their offense is better than their pitching. How can someone argue that the Angels are thriving primarily because of outstanding pitching?????

But the Angels have to score runs, they don’t have many big sticks to do so — they ranked 12th in the AL in dingers this season — so what turns out to be special about them is their ability to act as scavengers, collecting runs by whatever aggressive means possible.

5th in OBP, 6th in runs. Correlation? I think so. But go ahead and attribute it to their scraptacular ability to manufacture runs.

The Angels like to run. Their mantra is to take the extra base. They knock base hits and keep a constant flow of runners zooming around the base paths. They have the personnel to play that way, a lineup that includes Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera, Gary Matthews, Jr. and rookie Reggie Willits.

Fuck. I want to make fun of this so bad, but I just can't. Like I mean it's all's not why they're scoring runs or anything, but it's true.

They’ll swipe bags whenever they seen an opportunity, too. Figgins led the team in steals with 41, followed by Willits with 27, Cabrera with 20 and Matthews with 18. The Angels ranked third in the majors in thefts with 139, behind the Mets and Orioles. Of course, only one of those three clubs managed to abscond with a playoff berth.

Which makes an argument for how irrelevant the stolen base is in the long run. It can have a significant impact on an individual game, but getting caught stealing wipes out the expected run value of roughly three stolen bases. That's the whole reason that SBs don't mean all that much unless you have a guy who steals at an absurd success rate.

It’s a little odd to think that Scioscia would preside over this bunch. He had an illustrious career as a catcher, and as such, was more of a tank than a hot rod. In 13 major league seasons, all with the Dodgers, Scioscia amassed a grand total of 29 steals.

Gotcha. It's completely unrealistic for Scioscia to think steals are useful because he was slow. I mean, even though he was a catcher, and the stolen base is something a catcher needs to be thinking about all the time when the other team's guys are on base, I think you have a great point here. Simply awesome. Also notable: Billy Beane was the first MLB executive to understand the true (high) value of a walk, and he was terrible at walking as a player! 11 BB in 309 AB! This should, theoretically, make it impossible for him to think walking is good!

No, this is less of a tribute to Scioscia’s personality than it is to his intellect. He happens to be managing a club that is in a mid-major market — yes, it’s Southern California, but no, it’s not really Los Angeles — and as a result, owner Arte Moreno and general manager Bill Stoneman have opted to keep the payroll low and rely on the kids.

I told you last time. The Angels have the 5th highest payroll in baseball! They pay their players $109M! This is not a mid-major market. This is a major market. They have the 5th highest attendance in baseball. How many more ways can I say this? Only the Red Sox and Yankees spew significantly more money at the players than these Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. You, Michael Ventre, are grossly stupid and completely fucking ignorant.

Guerrero injured his elbow and might be used as a designated hitter against the Red Sox — since he may not have the throwing power to handle right field — and Scioscia knows Guerrero is more comfortable at the plate when he’s playing the outfield than he is as a DH.

Vladimir Guerrero, last 3 years, as DH: .318/.372/.536
Vladimir Guerrero, last 3 years, overall: .328/.389/.572

I'm not convinced that's true. I'd attribute such a small difference to something called slight varaince over 233 ABs.

Figgins was slowed in the month of September by a wrist injury.

I bet it's as dramatic as the last one.

Chone Figgins, 2007 season: .330/.393/.432
Chone Figgins, 2007 September: .302/.390/.413

Granted, he's been worse/not playing in the past week, but word choice there is Ventre's, not mine.

But the Angels have to hustle to get even. The Red Sox merely have to hope for a sudden clap of thunder from one of their longball specialists.

Pitching, hitting, and defense are nice, but no, the key to the Angels winning this series is hustle.

Despite all the comparative stats and past performances, the Angels are hoping that battling pays dividends, that taking the game to the opposition in small flurries instead of waiting around for a haymaker will prove beneficial.

And then they can point and laugh at the Red Sox who are just "waiting for the 3-run homer". That's all the Red Sox do to score runs, anyway. I mean, don't even look up that the Red Sox are 4th in MLB in runs scored despite being 18th in HR. No, that's totally fine. Publish it. I don't care.

Actually I do. It bothers me. I don't like you.

Hey, it’s worked so far. Why tamper?

And that's the end. Look Ventre, you have done a great job of attributing the Angels success to the wrong thing in pretty much every feasible way. Let's recap, you think:

Angels pitching > Angels offense
Importance of Angels hustling, running, stealing > Importance of Angels getting on base

You're a fucking joke, Ventre. You're a worse writer than Mariotti. There. I said it.

(I still hate Jay more)

(and Jay Mohr)

(I just earned myself an awful, awful play on words label for this post)


Chris Hart said...

Another terrible article by this guy, well done pnoles.... but I have to comment about this. I'm not totally anti-stat, I think they can be very useful and tell you a bunch of interesting things about the game and players. I just hate when pro-stat people use this line of reasoning -- Take stat "X", If stat "X" agrees with my opinion I will highlight it and yell about how obvious it is that I'm right, If stat "X" doesn't agree with my opinion then I can attribute it to "variance" or "sample size" or "he'll come back down to earth" or some other excuse. It can't work both ways.

PS -- Your (stat-geeks in general)computer predicted 100% accurate super machine sure as hell didn't predict these Rockies, did it? Oh baby.

pnoles said...

Haha...nope, they didn't, and by the end of that 13-inning game, I was pulling hard for them.

I see what you're saying about the small sample size copout thing. I was obviously hoping to see he was statistically wrong.

My main problem is that historically, what position you are playing on the field has historically had little to no correlation with performance at the plate. I mean think about it. Is the quality of your hitting negatively affected by not standing around in RF every half-inning? They seem pretty independent to me, and stats across the league bear that out.

The 10 point discrepancy in batting average for Vlad, first off, is fluky....over 233 ABs, that's like 2 or 3 lucky hits. I think most people can agree that it doesn't mean that Vlad is worse as a DH.

The 17 point discrepancy in OBP is largely due to the BA discrepancy.

The 36 point discrepancy in SLG is a little more pronounced, as only 10 of those points (for sure) are from BA, but are we really to assume that Vlad has a loss of slugging power when he plays RF?

Another thing to keep in mind, stat geeks yelling about "stat X" usually pick a "stat X" that aren't as subject to luck as things like batting average.

But having explained myself, I definitely see where you're coming from. It probably would have been smarter of me to leave out Vlad's stats and just comment about how little a position affects one's hitting ability.

Dwayne said...

Mr. Ventre,
I read part of your article that had posted on their website on Sept.
30th titled "No clear cut No. 1" and I see that you STILL cannot come to terms with the BCS Championship.(and it's format) The BCS, you know the one that
awards THE (one and only) National Championship Trophy for the winner of THE
(one and only) National Championship game. The reason I'm pointing out these facts to you is because you made a rather narrow-minded comment in your article.
You said, when speaking about LSU's 03 National Championship, "the BCS side of
the crown". Newsflash Mr. Ventre, THAT'S THE ONLY ONE! There is no other side,
PERIOD! We live in the BCS world now, and have for many years, like it or not.
(btw I'm for playoffs) That's what the USC president voted for, as did all of
the other college presidents from BCS eligible teams. The quicker you come to
terms with the current system, the better off you'll be.

Dwayne Granier
Walker, Louisiana