Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nils is Angry Part 1

I've seen some really ridiculous and dumb sports-related stuff over the past few weeks. I've been extremely busy though, so I haven't had a chance to vent. Instead, I've let the anger fester. I'm still busy, so I'll have to distribute my anger efficiently.

First up is this awful piece on Grantland about Barry Zito. Grantland is a project by Bill Simmons, who is better known for writing about shit that I don't care about. It usually involves some pop culture references I try to avoid (which is why I'm reading about sports) and stories about Boston sports moments that drove him and his father to tears. The Zito piece was written by Chris Jones. I don't have time for a true FJM, but let's take this thing down:

1. The beginning part that talks about Scott Boras's mainframe? How he didn't see the decline in performance? I can tell you right now that Scott Boras had no interest in how Barry Zito performed AFTER he got his huge contract. Boras was only concerned with making his client look as good as possible so he can make as much money as possible. Shut up with mainframe/battleship talk. Or save it for something that actually involves mainframes and battleships. I might want to read that.

2. The first third of the article ends with, "That binder destroyed Barry Zito." Zito got a 7 year, $126 million contract with the Giants. Jones spends some time talking about how Zito is all spiritual and weird and how signing a big money contract surely affected him. Expectations were too high, etc. This is completely wrong. Barry Zito was the essentially the same pitcher his last three years in Oakland as he was his first three in SF. Take a look:

Year FIP
2004 4.50
2005 4.34
2006 4.89

2007 4.82
2008 4.72
2009 4.31

Indeed, Zito's decline began well before his big contract. Boras did a great job marketing his client, and the Giants were dumb enough to give him a big contract. The entire premise of this story is wrong.

3. There are some gems toward the end, where Jones tries to be profound. Here are some selections:

"Except — there were things about Barry Zito that defied measure. Numbers couldn't explain everything about him. They could explain nothing about him, in fact."

Whoa, slow down there, man. I need a minute to process that. Of course numbers can't explain everything about him, but I just used them to explain some things about him (see above). And I didn't need any annoying footnotes.

"Instead, in the coming days and months and years, all that weight, all that expectation, all that godforsaken math, it pushed Barry — Barry, not Zito — off his delicate and particular balance."

Sure, blame math. I don't even know why you're blaming math. Did they make him do math problems?

And one final mega-gem:

"That's the real tragedy of Barry Zito. It's not that he was reduced to a mathematical proof in the winter of 2006. It's that in the summer of 2011, he has become one: Sometimes the sum of faith and belief and love still isn't nearly enough."

This makes no sense. It looks like a Mad Lib that asks for a noun. Let me try:

That's the real tragedy of this concluding statement. It's not that it was reduced to a mathematical proof in the winter of 2006. It's that in the summer of 2011, it has become one. Sometimes the sum of faith and belief and love still isn't nearly enough.

That was fun, but I'm still angry!

1 comment:

atarnow said...

"Those numbers meant that he would never again be consciously unconscious."