Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We're surrounded by morons, and why losing Placidome isn't the end of the world

Why I continue to subject myself to sports talk radio is beyond me. I must have a masochistic streak a mile wide.

I'm listening to WXYT's Sports Inferno Bic Lighter, and find myself looking for a rusty spoon to insert into my frontal lobe. A lobotomy would end the pain I get from listening to the mentally challenged Mike Valenti. I'd stick an icepick into my eardrums instead, but pointy things are dangerous...

There were a couple of comments during a discussion about Pacidome Polanco's shoulder injury that set me off. First off, Valenti called Polanco's injury the first significant one of the season. First? Excuse me. Uh...Mike Maroth, anyone? A middle of the rotaion starting pitcher who was having a career year? Hello? McFly? I guess losing a starting pitcher is just a bump in the road, FAR from being significant.

The second statement, one that lowered my own IQ by osmosis, was in regard to the Tigers team defense. A caller brings up Lynn Henning's column in today's News stating that the Tigers' defense is the best, statistically, in all of baseball. Specifically, in the Baseball Prospectus SABR stat, "Defensive efficiency." Here's a snippet of what Henning had to say...

Detroit's defensive efficiency rating was .722, well above second-place San Diego (.715) and three teams tied for third at .708: San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees.

As BP's Rany Jazayerli wrote: "You might not be impressed with the names on paper, but on the field the Tigers have had the best defense in baseball this year, and it isn't even close."

What's was the short bus riding Valenti's response? He literally spit out, "Don't give me STATS! I trust my EYESSSS!" He then said the caller was an "Ass." Ignoring stats and name calling are the last refuge of a scoundrel, or a bad talk show host.

Forrest Gump Valenti goes on to talk about the defense of Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge and Carlos Guillen. I will admit Guillen has blown his share of chances, but he has also made some spectacular plays at short. He calls Inge "Scatter armed," even though Inge is generating Gold Glove talk. As for Maggs, let's get real. Ordonez isn't in the lineup for his, average at best, defense. He called Ordonez the "Worst right fielder in baseball." I guess the brain dead Valenti didn't see Willy Mo Pena's stellar work in Fenway Park last night.

What the helmet wearing Valenti either doesn't care about, or just ignores, is range. The Tigers have players, like a Brandon Inge, who can get to balls others can't. Players like those are going to have more errors, because logically, they'll have more chances. Would the Millen-brained Valenti prefer a Devi Cruz type? He didn't make a ton of errors, so he must have been good defensively, right? Only if every ball was hit directly at him, as the pylon-like Cruz had a range of a half-step in each direction.

Christ almighty, I can't tolerate the radio stupidity anymore... You'd think sports knowledge would be a prerequsite for getting your own show. Mike "I must be correct because I shout down callers" Valenti is "Exhibit A" refuting it.

As for Placido, watching him go down was painful for all us fans. Does the 'Domes injury hurt the Tigers' chances? A little, but not as much as some radio morons think it will. Polanco was excellent defensively, no denying it. He was a good fit in the Tigers' lineup, as he didn't K regualrly, and could put the ball in play. Those skills made him excellent with RISP. But...Polanco also had a low OBP, and hit with little power. He's not irreplaceable.

People seem to forget that Omar Infante is still only 24, and has a full season as a regular under his belt. Infante has his downside, as he's more of a free swinger than Polanco, and will not be as good defensively. On the other hand, Infante will hit for more power. Is it a downgrade? Sure, but not nearly enough to suddenly write off the Tigers.

My bigger concern is that the only infield backup is now Ramon Santiago, who hits...Well...Actually, he can't hit. You'd have to think that Dave Dombrowski is working the phones, looking for a middle infielder. I doubt he's listening to the Sports Bic Lighter.


  1. Al, take it easy. Set the radio down, nice and slow. Just set it down and kick it over to me and everything will be fine.

  2. I've been telling anyone who would listen that Polanco's injury isn't as bad as it could be. It's a crappy way to look at it, but if you had to pick one starter to lose, it might have been Polanco. I've got faith in Infante to pick up most of the slack.

    Now don't get me started on what the hell the Marlboro Man was thinking by letting Verlander continue to pitch in the sixth inning tonight. That's another story.

  3. Actually, I'm pretty sure that being thick-headed and pretty stupid is a requirement to be on talk radio.

    (no offense to anyone that actually works on talk radio!)