Thursday, November 19, 2009

The coaching carousel is now open

Coaches often get too much blame when their teams struggle, but now it's gone too far. I mean, if Dick Jauron can get fired, is no one safe? Is nothing sacred? What has he ever done to deserve the axe?

What's that? He had just one winning season in nine tries? He made it to just one playoff game and his team got crushed? He was just 60-82 in his coaching career?

Oh. I see.

By all accounts, Jauron is a great guy. But I don't think we'll see him roaming the sidelines as an NFL head coach ever again.

A win for stats other than the "win"

Kudos to the Baseball Writers Association of America for finally scrolling past the "Wins" category on their computers as they cast their ballots for the AL Cy Young Award.

Wins and losses are the most overrated statistics in baseball, so I was glad to see Zack Greinke earn the award despite having 16 wins, which tied him for the seventh-most in the league. It's hard to pile up victories when you play for the Royals (their .401 winning percentage was easily the worst ever by an AL team with a Cy Young winner), and there's nothing he could do about that. But what he could do was mow down opposing hitters, and that he did consistently.

According to ESPN, his 2.16 ERA was the lowest in the AL since Pedro Martinez in 2000, his 242 strikeouts ranked second behind Justin Verlander (who finished third in the Cy Young voting), and he allowed just 11 home runs all year.

But here's the biggest reason his win total was rightfully overlooked:
Kansas City, which tied for last place in the AL Central at 65-97, scored just 13 runs in his eight losses and 21 runs in his nine no-decisions. He failed to get a victory in six starts in which he allowed one run or none.
Sure, every pitcher gets screwed now and then. It's part of the game. But those numbers are just stupid.

And not that this is why he deserved to win, but it's a great story as well. Greinke led the AL in losses in 2005 and quit baseball for six weeks in 2006 after being diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder (the Sports Illustrated article from May of this year is definitely worth a read). For him to come back and have such a dominant year with such a terrible team is pretty impressive.

There have been years in which the BBWAA has cared about nothing but "W"s. But this year, the writers did their job and did it well.

On the other hand ...

How the hell did Bud Black get two votes for NL Manager of the Year? Jim Tracy of the Rockies rightfully won the award in a landslide, but did you see that Padres manager Bud Black was listed in the "others receiving votes" category? What the f**k? I could see him getting one vote. You know, some guy or gal clicking the wrong button by accident (assuming you vote for Manager of the Year by clicking a button). But two??

The Padres finished 75-87, 20 games out of first, 11th in the NL in wins, and they scored 131 fewer runs than their opponents, third worst in the league. How on Earth do you read all that and think, "Bud Black really came into his own this year. Really got his guys to believe in themselves. No better skipper out there than Bud Black if you ask me. To take a rag tag bunch like that and take 'em right to the precipice of greatness, just 13 games out of third place in their division ... I don't know how he does it."

Baseball Writers of America, you did a good job. But the two of you, whoever you are, you did a bad thing. BAD two Baseball Writers of America!

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