05/04/2004: The Baseball Widow might agree
at least in part with Aaron Gleeman's assessment of Baseball Tonight in The Hardball Times: You can't spell unwatchable without ESPN (no direct link; scroll down to the end of the page).
This passage from Gleeman's article caught my eye since Sunday evening I had Baseball Tonight on for background noise while waiting for the ESPN Sunday night game to start:
The show is almost literally unwatchable. I no longer watch it regularly and when I do buzz by it while channel surfing, I become disgusted with what I'm watching within 30 seconds. It's unbelievable how far the quality of the show has fallen.Personally, I just about fell out of my chair in stunned disbelief when Reynolds asked, "... what's this OPS?" Gleeman didn't give Chris Berman's "answer" to that one, which, frankly, I'm blocking from my consciousness because it was pretty asinine. Gleeman continues:
Yesterday, for instance, I buzzed by Baseball Tonight at about 6:15, before Sunday Night Baseball, and caught Chris Berman, John Kruk and Harold Reynolds in the middle of a discussion about on-base percentage.
John Kruk said, with a straight face, "I played with Frank Thomas and he used to take hittable pitches all the time. Sure he'd end up walking, but he could have been driving runs in."
I'll leave that statement up there pretty much without comment, except to say that John Kruk "played with" Frank Thomas for exactly one season, 1995. Thomas hit .308/.454/.606 and was in the top five in the AL in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, home runs, RBIs, walks and OPS+.
A few moments after Kruk said that, Chris Berman chimed in with the following: "All this stuff about on-base percentage...just give me batting average and runs scored."
To which Harold Reynolds replied, "I agree...and what's this OPS?!"
And to think, these are the people being paid to provide the public with interesting, informative baseball analysis. I'm not saying I need Bill James, Rob Neyer and Joe Sheehan hosting shows on ESPN, but can we perhaps include some relevant information that has come into the world of baseball in the last 20 years?The dumbing down of America is bad enough. But the dumbing down of baseball analysis? Good Lord deliver us!!
I guess not. Talking about on-base percentage and -- GASP! -- OPS might cut down on the amount of nicknames Chris Berman can breathlessly work into the game highlights or the amount of cliches Kruk and Reynolds can say when giving their "insight" into the sport. And lord knows it would take time away from monologues by Reynolds and Kruk that start with the words, "When I was playing..." and "I don't know what's going on in today's game..."
Len on 05.04.04 @ 10:00 AM CST