I almost became a Statistical Scold this afternoon.
You know what I am talking about – those assholes who inundate you with numbers to prove a point, the ones who cannot handle when you critique their numbers, the ones who claim to follow the great Bill James but do not share James’ primary traits of being inquisitively open-minded and rarely rigid.
All of their postings are for one purpose only – for you to tell them they are right. Do anything else and you will be scolded for not simply basking in their brilliance. If you disagree with them, you are scoffed at. If you point out the flaws in their methodology, you get a truckload of rationalizations. If you point out where they were wrong, you get more mumbo jumbo about “luck” and “crapshoots” then last month’s doomsaying astrologer explaining how we all survived that lunar eclipse.
Well, the Frankie-bashing was getting to be a bit much. I was going to scold you all, I was going to prove to you all that Troy Percival was just as dramatic and stress-inducing a closer as Frankie and then I was going to call all you Frankiebashers bandwagoneers for not having the memory of a true fan such as myself. But I am not a Statistical Scold; if the point I set out to prove is incorrect I don’t fuss with any other way to prove it – I can accept that my premise is wrong. You cannot tattoo the “EgoTiger” mark of close-minded, imperious arrogance on my forehead.
Well, bottom line, my memory is for shit – Percival’s drama factor (which I determined by using the player’s annual WHIP stat) was lower for almost every year of his career as an Angel than Frankie’s and to make things worse for my assumption, Percy was Frankie’s age when he became closer, that is, Frankie is worse now than Percy was when Troy was 6 years older than K-Rod is now.
Francisco Rodriguez is still a great closer, but he is slightly declining each season – from imperviously stellar to garden variety great. If the miniscule decline is a sign of inevitability, this offseason will be time for a laurel and hearty handshake to our new ex-closer. If there is a mechanical flaw to be perceived and fixed, let’s make the best bid next winter to re-up with Frankietime.
But, for now and the foreseeable future, Francisco Rodriguez is not the Angels best closer ever. Troy Percival was and is and you are not a bandwagoneer for jeering anyone’s stress-inducing 9th innings.