ESPN Watch: Loss of Perspective

I caught the 7AM replay of the December 14 SportsCenter. It's hard to know if the commentators are actually getting stupider themselves, or if ESPN is deliberately searching out dumber and dumber contributors. Steve Phillips analyzed the most recent White Sox trade and concluded that the White Sox rotation was now "One of the best ever." Best ever? Even though I'm writing this at 8:30 in the morning, I feel like I need a stiff drink before responding to that point.

So a rotation of John Garland, Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia are among the best ever even though ...

  • Not one of those pitchers won 20 games.

  • 13 of Buehrle's 16 wins came by one run.

  • Freddy Garcia has had only one season with and ERA below 3.8

  • Contreras and Garcia were tied for first in Wild Pitches in the majors. Contreras was also tied for the lead last season.

  • The Sock highest on the K list was Contreras, at # 34, right behind Jeff Weaver.

  • Vazquez was rated as almost exactly average (99 ERA+) last season

Thank god that the producers at ESPN haven't completely lost their minds and showed us a few teams in the last two decades that have had dominant starters. The A's in '89 and '90 were mentioned, as well as the Braves from about '91 to '96. I'm sure that any real baseball historian could come up with a slew of other teams, and I'll admit I'm partial to the 2002 A's. If you've got any favorites that I clearly don't know about, drop us some comments and let us know. We're a bit weak on our baseball history.

Still, I think we can all agree that Phillips was either engaging in self-satire at such an involved level that it was impossible to distinguish form sincerity, or that he simply doesn't know very much about baseball. I'll admit I lost a lot of respect for him a few weeks ago when he admitted to knowing of rampant steroid use in the Mets minor league system in the ESPN 15-page expose. It's clear that a lot of people knew, coaches, players and trainers, but you would think that as a journalist he would have considered it his duty to have brought this information to light earlier.

Is the Sox rotation one of the best ever? The answer is no. Are they the best in the majors? Very likely. The Cubs are hampered by injury, the Astro's will likely lose Clemens, and the Marlins sold everyone but Dontrelle. But isn't calling them the best rotation in the majors enough? Do we have to go to ridiculous lengths to praise them, making ourselves look foolish in the process? They've been a media darling most of the last nine months, but I'll let them throw a few pitches before bronzing them.

1 comment :

adenzeno said...

Off the top of my head-
A's 1972-1974-Hunter, Blue and Holtzman
Mets 1969-1971 Seaver Koosman Gentry Ryan
Mets 1972-1977 Seaver Koosman Matlack
Orioles 1969-1972 Palmer Cuellar McNally add Dobson in 71-4 20 game winners in 71
Dodgers-1960-66-Koufax drysdale, add osteen and sutton in there at some point
Phillips is an Idiot, obviously