Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'm not saying Jayson Stark is wrong, just not right

Jayson Stark. Smart dude, good writer. 

Over at his most recent installment of "That's Debatable," wherein he debates things that "are debatable," he talks about Griffey Jr. and Manny Ramirez, who are at or near milestones of 600 and 500 home runs, respectively.

It's close as to whose better, so props to Stark for taking a stand. But slops to his logic. 

Griffey suffered a million injuries and could have somewhere between 800 and 900 homers, which is insane. I also have basic researching skills and can look things up, so I know Manny has played less than Griffey. Let's see where this goes.

You can certainly argue Ramirez was a more complete hitter than Griffey (.312 average to Griffey's .289, .408 on-base percentage to Griffey's .373, .591 slugging percentage to Griffey's .550). And it's impossible to dispute that Manny has had the steadier career

All very convincing. Let me add some more, seeing as I know the outcome of the article (spoiler alert: it's not Manny).

Seasons: Griffey - 20 Manny - 16
OPS+: Griffey - 139 Manny - 154
Silver Slugger awards: Grif - 7 Man Ram - 9
All Star games: G - 13 M - 11
MVP finishes: Griffey - 19, 9, 17, 5, 2, 4, 1, 4, 10 Manny - 12, 6, 3, 6, 9, 9, 6, 3, 4, 18

All very close. Except seasons. And OPS+. 

Manny still has a few more seasons in him, and could, mayyyyybe, get to 600. For some reason this four season gap is never mentioned. 

Well, let's start with some basic mathematics. Last time I checked, 600 was a lot bigger number than 500. 

One hundred bigger, actually. Which is a whopping 2.5 of Manny's 162 game average of 41 homers. Did I mention Manny is four seasons behind Griffey?

And 20 is bigger than 16. 

Manny was the 24th name in the ever-swelling 500-Homer Club. 

I assume this is steroids-era dig. Why oh why are players who achieve certain landmarks (which are arbitrary, by the way) later than those before them, penalized? In 50 years, when Albert Pujols III joins the other 40 members of the 500 home run club, is it any less important than say, Jimmie Foxx? 

There are going to be more and more awesome players of the game of baseball as the years go on. More and more are going to hit 500 home runs. It's just the way things work. Players aren't going to suddenly stop hitting home runs for long periods of time. 

Griffey will be joining only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa in the 600-Homer Club. Big difference.

Big diff. 40% of those guys probably used steroids. As opposed to 41%* in the 500 home run club. 

Yes, joining a group of five is cooler than a group of 24. But Manny could join that group when he's done. For the one hundredth time: Griffey has played longer. Manny, less so.

But of course, Griffey also has a few other attributes. Like 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, a unanimous MVP award, three Players Choice awards, a spot on the All-Century Team and another spot on the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team. Among other things.

Griffey was absolutely a better defender. But Gold Gloves are silly, they're given to whoever won it the previous year and I doubt the committee (if one exists) uses any metrics beyond "fielding %" and "plays that made me scream 'WEB GEM!'"

Unanimous MVP is pretty rad, a spot on the all-century team is essentially meaningless, as it had no criteria and I have no idea what the hell a players choice award is. If it's anything like the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, then it's awesome.

And "among other things" is straight-up lazy.

With all apologies to the Manny Being Manny Fan Club, I deduct points for all those jogs to first base, week-long midseason vacations and inability to fit spring training into our man Manny's busy schedule.

Ugh. Double ugh. Triple ugh. These have nothing to do with Manny's ability to play baseball. 

I deduct points from Griffey for being on the Mariners, having a kickass baseball video game and playing with his dad.

Plus, I guess I missed the news about those 10 Gold Glove trophies Manny secretly won.

Ohhhhhhh snap. Epic burn. 

After he picks Griffey, Stark opens it up for comments. Some of which are not completely moronic.

Dave (Colorado Springs): We always talk a lot in Major League Baseball about stats and comparing one to another to determine greatness, when in the end, the only thing that matters is winning. ... How many championship teams has Griffey been on again?

Jayson Stark: You know, you make a valid point. But I'm always hesitant to make judgments about any player based on how many rings he might wear. If we're going to use that standard, then I guess Luis Sojo was a greater player than Griffey. So I'm fine with factoring in championships, but I'm not so fine with using them as any firm barometer.

But how many gloves of gold they wear, I am totally down with.

*made up figure

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