— The Official Scorer is the least official, most bogus job in sports. No other sport has such a blatant human hand pushing its statistics in whatever direction it wants it to go. Is your superstar in the running for a Gold Glove? He would have to throw the ball into the upper deck to get an error charged. Batting title? No errors for the opposing team; that was a tough hop. Base hit. Have a hitting streak on the line? We’ll go back to yesterday’s boxscore and change some things around to maintain it. (If Chase Utley hadn’t lost the streak the next day, I’d have filed a personal protest with the league.)
I think it compromises the integrity of the game and its history. A .300 hitter should be a .300 hitter (it means less if it’s easier to do). A hitting streak should be real. There shouldn’t be such a thing as “home cooking.” And we shouldn’t be so afraid to charge errors. (Jim Caple recently wrote about this, here).
I’ve been saying for a while that the Official Scorer should be part of the umpiring crew, an independent and impartial arbiter of scoring. It should be a fifth umpire; either dedicated to the scoring booth, or who rotates with the rest of the crew, don’t matter. Just not employed by the home team.
— For all the crap Jason Giambi takes for the steroids (fully deserved, and one of the first things I ever posted about), and all the praise heaped on David Ortiz for his “clutch hitting,” why isn’t more made of the fact that Ortiz is clearly on the juice? Look at this pictre from 1997:
You couldn’t fit Ortiz in that frame anymore (and not just because he changed his name from David Arias), you’d need a wide angle lens. And yet, we talk about him in such glowing terms. He’s a cheater, just like the rest.
And I’ll tell you what I think makes it worse: Giambi took steroids, became a huge star, got a huge contract from the Yankees, stole a ton of money, and is only now starting to get back into the groove; got his swing back, found his favorite injection spot (though, I would really like the .320 hitting Giambi better) but is still not worth $16 million/year. Meanwhile, Ortiz was nothing before he came to the Sox. Nothing. In his last three seasons in Minnesota, he averaged .265/16/65. That was good enough to get him a middle-of-the-pack contract from the Red Sox (during the same offseason as Giambi got his) worth about $6 million/year. What he’s done with the Red Sox since then has been legendary, and worth millions more. Theo Epstein gets so much credit for being such a genius for signing him when nobody else wanted him. That’s because nobody else knew he had a bag full of needles ready to go, and a 50-HR physique just dying to get out. Sure, payroll matters, but when you have the best hitter in baseball for $6 million (and only because he cheated to become the best player after you signed him) then it’s much easier to keep payroll down. It’d be a lot harder to keep Ortiz and Manny together if they were both making $20 million per.
— SWEEP!! Yankees Rule!!