Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jeez Louise, Rob Neyer: LET IT GO

I wasn't suggesting that Pierzynski should have been, or should be, punished. I'm arguing that there should be a mechanism to punish players for doing what Pierzynski did. It would be tough for the umpires on the field to levy this punishment, because a player probably wouldn't lie unless he was 95-percent sure the umpires couldn't catch him. What I'm suggesting is a post facto punishment, in the form of a suspension.

Yes, this would require someone at Major League Baseball to watch the replay in super-slow motion, again and again, and determine not only exactly what happened on the field, but also the player's intent.

That's really hard!

And they do it all the time. Every few weeks, a pitcher is suspended for a few games because someone in New York determines the pitcher was trying to throw a pitch at a batter's head. Is it always fair? No. Sometimes the guy in New York gets it wrong. But the judgment's been made that an occasional injustice is a price worth paying if it means fewer hitters getting knocked into the hospital with cranial trauma.

Holy awful logic batman! Do I really even need to comment about all the ways this is ridiculous?

Let it go, Rob Neyer, and get back to writing exceptional baseball articles.


Elliot said...

I bet Neyer had to use spell check on AJ Pierzynski's name. Fucking cheater oughtta be suspended.

Larry B said...

No "Holy _____, Batman!" jokes please.

Biggus Rickus said...

Okay, the beaning thing is a bad comparison, but I'm with Neyer that flopping should be illegal. And if someone is caught, some kind of punishment should be incurred. At least, I think that's his point.

Dylan Murphy said...

If the umpire is dumb enough to fall for it, then A.J. should get first base and a pat on the back. Not a suspension.

Chris W said...

Larry B, first you take me to task for Eva(n) Longoria jokes and now Holy ___ Batman?

It's like I don't even know you.

Chris W said...


I'm not saying it shouldn't be illegal. But my two points are:

1.) It's not illegal and until it is he is not a cheater

2.) That beaning comparison is terrible

Biggus Rickus said...

Agreed. He made his point terribly, which is pretty rare for Neyer.

WV: "dingnern," which should be some kind of insult or replacement swear or something. Or maybe the Word Verification program is a "Bottle Rocket" fan.

Cornelius Talmidge said...

I feel like we just need to back up a bit. Neyer's claim that the replays "were clear" that it missed him is false. I watched the play live and thought it hit him. Then I watched the first replay (not shown in this youtube) and thought it absolutely hit him. Then I watched this reply (the one in the youtube), and I wasn't sure, because they pause it right at the moment it is hitting or would be hitting his foot, so you can't tell if there is any misdirection. When they replayed it immediately before that, they didn't pause it, and it looked to me like the ball misdirected slightly as it passed his foot. Regardless, it is very, very difficult to tell if it graized his toe or not. As far as I'm concerned, this whole conversation should be hypothetical. Claiming that someone did something dishonest to win is a pretty serious accusation to make without some ironclad evidence, and there is nothing ironclad about this.

Chris W said...

Yeah--I didn't see the play in question (damn out of market games) but I was operating under the assumption that even if AJ did "flop" that to call him a cheater and compare it to pitchers headhunting was still ridiculous.

El Gaucho said...

You guys are missing the point. Neyer is not comparing headhunting to what AJ did. He's merely saying that those are instances where generally there is no punishment in the actual game (other then generally warnings to the benches, or extremely rarely an ejection), and then the play is reviewed after the fact and punishment is levied.

I'm not saying it was the best example, but I am saying that interpreting this as if he were directly comparing the two acts themselves is pretty poor reading comprehension.

Chris W said...

Right, he's not literally comparing it, but it's a juxtapositional distortion in the argument. In other words he's "not saying but he's saying." If he didn't believe the two were equitable then he wouldn't have compared the two.

Look at the last three sentences of the excerpted section in my post.

Rob is making the argument there that "maybe it's not always fair to suspend pitchers because we suspect that they are headhunting but "THE JUDGMENT'S BEEN MADE THAT AN OCCASIONAL INJUSTICE IS A PRICE WORTH PAYING IF IT MEANS FEWER HITTERS GETTING KNOCKED INTO THE HOSPITAL WITH CRANIAL TRAUMA" (emphasis mine)

Look--the fundamental purpose of that comparison is for Neyer to appeal to the reader's sense of consequence for letting this "crime" continue as a necessary reason to facilitate "injustice" in occasionally improperly enforcing the law.

That is the entire purpose of his example and it's an utter abortion.

Let's transliterate, as it were, his argument substituting "flopping" for "headhunting" as you argue is the sole purpose of Neyer's argument--i.e. to compare how we view a subjective rule's enaction:

Every few weeks, a hitter is suspended for a few games because someone in New York determines the hitter was trying to pretend he was hit by a pitch. Is it always fair? No. Sometimes the guy in New York gets it wrong. But the judgment's been made that an occasional injustice is a price worth paying if it means fewer umpires are fooled by a flopping hitter.

See how impotent that argument is? Thus his example is completely and utterly fallacious at best, deceptive at worst. Sorry, El Gaucho, I don't feel your defense of Neyer's logic here holds any water

Chris W said...

Let me just put it more succinctly because I feel the argument got away from me:

Rob is arguing that it's okay that we have injustice for HBP because fewer serious injuries is a worthy tradeoff for a few injustices. That has absolutely nothing to do with flopping so it's pointless to mention it.

Elliot said...

I think the greater point is that Neyer is trying to say that flopping an HBP is equatable to throwing a 95 MPH fastball at a player's face. It's not. You can try to rationalize them as being similar, and superficially they are similar, but it's like saying a speeding ticket and vehicular homicide deserve the same punishment.

It would be the height of stupidity to suspend a player for going to first when the ball didn't actually hit him. This may be shocking to some, close your ears if you're sensibilities can't handle this, but AJ Pierzynski isn't the first player to have done this and gone unpunished. In fact, most of the time they just go to first and nobody cares. But, in this case, it's early in the season and ESPN decided to replay it a ton.

IMO, Pierzynski, um... I mean, hypothetical player in hypothetical scenario, is no more likely to be suspended than Matt Holliday was for not actually touching home plate in the '07 play-in game.

Baseball isn't a robotic, precise thing. It's dependent on human error, and is largely determined by the umpire's subjectivity.

If we're going to start suspending players for going to first when they didn't really get hit, we should probably start suspending every shortstop who gets the neighborhood call on a 4-6-3 double play too.

El Gaucho said...

Chris I agree with you that the two are not remotely equitable. Naturally flopping is not as dangerous an issue as headhunting.

I will agree to disagree with your assessment that because it's the example Neyer uses that he's trying to equate them, and I'll leave it at that. I personally feel it was the example he used because it's the one that happens most often in terms of player suspensions for on field issues.

Angelo said...

wait wait wait. Agree to disagree? What kind of blog is this?

Adam said...

If it were any other player this issue would not have even been brought up.