By In Stuff

The New Gold Gloves

So here’s some good news … at least as far as this blog is concerned: The Gold Gloves are going all advanced metrics on us. For years and years now, the Gold Gloves have been the grumpy-old-man, get-off-my-lawn, in-my-day-we-would-walk-uphill-both-ways, they-call-this-music-it-all-sounds-the-same, how-do-you-program-this-VCR, I-can-tell-great-defense-with-my-eyes award, and it led to some pretty spectacular fiascos.

Here are just three:

— In 1999, Rafael Palmeiro won the Gold Glove even though he only played 28 games at first base all year … and 128 games at DH. Lee Stevens, who actually played regularly at first base for Texas that year, must have been some combination of Wes Parker, Vic Power, Keith Hernandez and Thor (Editor’s note: he was not. Lee Stevens was not a good defensive first baseman).

— In 2008, Michael Young won the Gold Glove for shortstops though nobody had ever really thought of him as a particularly good defender and though the defensive numbers available depicted him as not a particularly good defender. During the offseason, the Rangers announced they were moving Young to third base.

— In 1965, Joe Torre won a Gold Glove for his defense as a catcher. He was a first baseman within four years, then a third baseman, and many say that the reason he was not voted into the Hall of Fame despite some pretty stellar offensive numbers was because of his liabilities defensively as a catcher.

Then there’s the whole Derek Jeter saga …

There are many other weird choices — Nick Markakis? Joe Pepitone? Bobby Abreu? — that just kind of stick out, choices that make you look at their defensive numbers, flawed as those numbers might be, and ask: How did they happen? Players who excel at one particular thing — throwing in particular — tend to win Gold Gloves, even if the rest of their game is unexceptional. Then, of course, there are the players who develop great defensive reputations and are still winning Gold Gloves five years after they have have become grandparents. The most blatant of these was Bernie Williams, who was a good center fielder when he was young but basically stopped being one the day he started getting Gold Glove awards. He won four Gold Gloves in a row, more absurd by the year, and one of my favorite tidbits is that Hal Richman, who invented Strat-o-Matic, was early to realize: Bernie’s not a good defensive outfielder. Richman slapped a pretty poor defensive rating on Bernie’s card and waited for everyone else to catch up.

The issue at the heart of the Gold Gloves, I think, has always been the issue of seeing. Let me give you an example. The other day, I mentioned — in passing — that one thing you might consider in the Trout-Cabrera discussion is that Trout plays in a devastating ballpark for hitters while Cabrera plays in a good ballpark for hitters (though not a good ballpark for home runs). Since then, I’ve heard from many, many people who are OUTRAGED that I would call Comerica Park a good hitters park. They know, absolutely know, that Comerica is a pitcher’s park. They know it because of the dimensions. They know it because of the history as a pitchers park. They know it because of what they see.

Comerica Park has a multi-year ballpark factor of 105 — with 100 being exactly neutral and everything over 100 favoring hitters. That’s not a one year thing — it has been a slight-to-moderate hitters park for three seasons now. This year, Miguel Cabrera is hitting .385 at home, .339 on the road (last year, his average was only slightly better at home, but he slugged 150 points higher at Comerica). But we’re not talking about Cabrera alone here. The Tigers’ team as a whole is hitting 30 points higher and slugging 30 points higher at home. Opposing hitters are slugging higher at Comerica then they are in their own home parks, and hitting for exactly the same average. It was roughly the same the last two years. Comerica IS a hitters park, minus-the-home runs. Maybe it just has a good hitting background. Maybe it is just a place hitters feel comfortable. Maybe it will shift. But, the numbers tell you: At this moment in our history, Comerica Park IS A GOOD HITTERS” PARK.

And Angel Stadium has a multiyear ballpark factor of 93, like always, it’s a hitters’ dungeon.

But, that’s not what the eyes see. So it goes with Gold Gloves. The Gold Gloves are voted on by managers and coaches and through the years have been given to the ballplayers who LOOKED like they were playing good defense. Often the optics matched what is measurable. Ozzie Smith looked like the most amazing defensive shortstop. The numbers say he was the most amazing defensive shortstop. Stats point to Brooks Robinson being every bit as good as his aura. Most of the defensive greats — Johnny Bench, Bill Mazeroski, Frank White, Willie Mays, Omar Vizquel on and on — have great defensive numbers in addition to their rather obvious visual charms.

But sometimes the optics don’t match the numbers. And then what? Dave Winfield won seven Gold Gloves. Most of the defensive numbers I’ve seen suggest that he was a a subpar fielder in the years he was winning them. Was Robbie Alomar one of the greatest defensive second baseman who ever lived as was his reputation, or was he a good but not necessarily legendary second baseman that his numbers portray? Many of us have written countless words about Derek Jeter’s defense because the contrast is so fascinating — there are numbers that say he’s a TERRIBLE shortstop, like historically bad, and there are five Gold Gloves that say he was the best American League defensive shortstop of his era.

Truth is: I don’t know the answer to these conflicts. And, to be honest, I’m not sure there is a single answer — things are just more complicated than that.

I had a great conversation with Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre about Torii Hunter — Ryan had watched Hunter from the start of his great career and basically said there was something WRONG with the numbers if they did not calculate Torii Hunter as the best outfielder around (Hunter’s numbers were superior but variable until he turned 30 or so, at which point they dropped markedly). My response was that maybe there is something WRONG with the eyes because they tend to be nostalgic and because they tend to lock in on one thing, and one great Torii Hunter play sticks in the memory the way three bloopers that drop beyond his reach do not.

But I now wonder if the truth, as it often does, falls in the middle. There are things the eye sees that the numbers miss. And there are things in the numbers that the eye cannot possibly follow. What I like so much about the new Gold Gloves voting is that it will use advanced stats AND the eyes of some of the shrewdest people in the game.

Will that provide the right answer? I think that’s a loaded question. I don’t think there always is a RIGHT answer. I want a sensible answer. I want a good answer. I want an answer that stands up to history.

The Gold Gloves might be the most meaningful award in baseball because they define players in a way that MVP and Cy Young and Rookie of the Year do not. Those are awards that celebrate great seasons. But the Gold Glove DETERMINES great seasons. If someone wins a Gold Glove, people say: He must be a great defensive player. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been true. It’s good to see Rawlings and SABR team up to make it more true.

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59 Responses to The New Gold Gloves

  1. clashfan says:

    I’ve often thought that many of Greg Maddux’s Gold Gloves were from inertia on the part of voters.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Then you never watched him. He was more athletic than you might think. He was a master at jumping up and snagging balls chopped over the mound. He was always in perfect fielding position and caught everything…. he was quick off the mound on bunts too. Now, maybe late in his career, he lost a step and kept winning awards. I don’t know. But up until at least age 35 he was really good.

    • Dinky says:

      I completely agree. Except late in his career, when his fast muscle twitch slowed because of aging, he was great at snagging things, pouncing on things, and was always in the perfect position. He was also darned good at holding runners on. Often the most important part of fielding as pitcher is to end in a position so your glove is useful for the biggest range possible, which for some line drives might only be a few inches. You could make young pitchers just watch how Maddux finished his delivery and those with any brains would get better. Maddux may have gotten more out of his very substantial ability than any other player I’ve ever seen.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Maddux was not good at holding runners. He didn’t really care a lot about that. The current batter was more important to him. He was slow to the plate, rarely threw over to firstbase & teams knew it. They stole a lot against him. It was probably the biggest weakness in his game.

  2. B Zman says:

    Has anyone thought about how Comerica Park would rate without Miggy ? After all , park effects are rated by traditional stats, and Miggy is king of traditional stats (think triple crown and absurd Foxx like numbers this year).

    • FranT says:

      Joe also pointed out how opposing hitters fare better in Detroit than in their own home parks.

    • Rob Smith says:

      It’s a data point…. but you have to admit that it’s totally at odds with what you see when you watch a game at Comerica. I can get my arms around Angels Stadium being a pitchers park. I had season tickets there for years, and the heavy ocean air at night just kills flyballs that look like HRs off the bat (Albert and Josh apparently didn’t get the memo). There is also a lot of foul territory. (BTW: ditto for Dodger Stadium… and Petco is right across the street from the ocean with huge dimensions on top of it). I have to admit I haven’t seen a ton of games at Comerica…. and obviously the dimensions are big (though shortened from original size). So, I have no idea what makes Comerica a hitters park. Small foul territory? A consistent wind blowing out (like in Texas). What is it that makes it a hitters park? Joe didn’t answer that question and that’s the thing that tough to wrap our minds around.

    • DJM says:

      Most ballparks with larger dimensions increase overall hits, especially extra-base hits, even if they suppress home runs. There are also other external factors in play as well: one of the reasons San Diego is such a pitcher’s park even considering the dimensions is the humid air rolling in off of the Pacific at night.

      So without specifically looking, I would assume a combination of increased total hits and doubles and triples, along with weather and other factors, are involved in Detroit.

  3. FranT says:

    Highlight shows like SportsCenter also play a huge role in how people determine defensive “greatness.” How many times have you seen a clip of a Jeter jump-throw or a Torii Hunter home run robbery? And those highlights endure in people’s minds for years.

    • Rob Smith says:

      The Yankees are on TV a lot. I saw a lot of Jeter taking two slow steps towards a ball up the middle then diving (falling) short of the ball. I don’t honestly know how people miss that stuff. Maybe it’s the aura around the guy…. or the fact that he does give his best and ALWAYS dives for balls (that he doesn’t actually come up with).

    • John Shuler says:

      Yes! Or the ‘amazing’ Jim Edmonds taking a Family Circus route to a ball he misread, but then recovering in time to make an overhead catch that need not have been anywhere near so difficult?

  4. Unknown says:

    I hate to quibble, but Hal Richman gave Bernie Williams the best possible defensive rating in 1997 and 1998 (a “1” in CF), and then gave Williams a “2” (still pretty good) in 1999 and 2000 (and in 2001, after Williams stopped winning awards). In 2002 and 2003, Williams got a 3 (average on a scale of 1 to 5).

    Williams didn’t get a “pretty poor” rating in CF until 2004.

    Sorry, my inner geek just couldn’t resist.

  5. Yeah, great, but does everything have to always go back to whining about Mike Trout?

    • BobDD says:

      What’s wrong with mentioning Trout? If Cabrera and Trout are the two most dominant hitters in AL today, then you’d expect them to get mentioned the most in articles about hitting. It surely sounds to me that you are the one doing the whining.

    • Sid says:

      Yeah, great, but does everything have to always go back to whining about whining about Mike Trout?

    • Rob Smith says:

      To me, where this debate might really become interesting is 20+ years from now when Trout is up for the HOF. Now if he continues to hit .330 with 25 HRs, 30 Steals and great defense, there won’t be much of a debate. But what if the second half of his career starts to look more like .285 with 16 HRs, and he hangs on for a few extra years where he hits .260? Well, he’ll end up with say 350 HRs and maybe a lifetime average of .298. That’s Dick Allen territory (who’s not in). And the one thing he needs to get him over the hump is an MVP (which Allen incidentally has…. but Allen not being in the HOF is a travesty… another story). So, then Joe writes a column saying Trout really deserved MVPs his first two years, but was overshadowed by Miguel Cabrera and the outdated statistical measures they used at the time. The average reader doesn’t remember back that far & basically says “so what? He didn’t win. He’s not a HOFer.” OK, maybe it’s a long shot…. but maybe not.

    • BobDD says:


      quick, which wine goes best with trout?

      does any trout I catch and eat have necessarily negative defensive WAR? A shortened career at the least.

    • Dinky says:

      Mike Trout reminds me of young Barry Bonds. I expect he’ll wind up with similar stats if Bonds had retried after 1999.

    • John Shuler says:

      BobDD –

      If you catch it yourself, then no statistics are officially recorded. Well, they ARE recorded, but in the record books they’re blackened.

  6. thisisbeth says:

    Torii Hunter broke his ankle one year in late July 2005. He did not play another game that season. He won a Gold Glove that year. I rank that up with the great fiascoes in Gold Glove voting.

  7. Alejo says:

    Dear Blogger,

    Could you please give us a description of how these stats measure, and what exactly do they measure?

    That way your case would be stronger and readers (I hope) would have a clearer picture of advanced defensive stats.


  8. map says:

    Gold Glove should be for the best fielder at each position. Cy Young should be for the best pitcher. Both of those awards should be heavily influenced by statistics. MVP is not for the best player in the league. It is for the most “valuable” and there is a bonus given for being on a winning team since it is hard to make the “valuable” argument when your team has never been in contention. A player might be incredibly “valuable” to his team – and they may have been substantially worse without him – but in terms of being most “valuable” toward the most important goal – winning a World Series – it’s tough to make that argument when a team doesn’t even sniff the playoffs. I know many of you disagree with that opinion, and that’s fine. It’s just the way I look at things.

    • map says:

      I didn’t mean to imply that statistics shouldn’t heavily influence MVP votes. Merely that the “best” statistics won’t – and probably shouldn’t – always carry the day.

    • BobDD says:

      Most valuable does not equal best = torturing the language
      MVP must be from the winning team = torturing logic

      This is where the vehement anti-Cabrera feelings build from. It’s not Cabrera’s fault, but the fault of his fans that use such infantile argument. And last year when it was used, Cabrera’s team actually had a worse record than Trout’s team did. Turning language on its head is how you can sneak your subjective feelings into the argument and pretend you’re only presenting facts. By that argument Bobby Richardson is the most valuable 2nd basemen in history; her certainly was on more pennant winners than Joe Morgan for instance.

      Of course, likewise this is where most of the anti-Trout rancor comes from – those with the stunted language skills that insist Bobby Richardson was the alltime MVP at his position. And that Moose Skowron was more valuable than Jimmie Foxx. Come on now, he had more World Series rings. If your logic is silly when applied across the board (Hector Lopez was more valuable than Ted Williams), than that logic is silly – period. Kenny Rogers was twice as valuable than Walter Johnson. So it’s the statistical conceit that all you have to do is count up WS or post seasons – my, this is easy. Torii Hunter also more valuable than Ted Williams. K.C. Jones more valuable than Michael Jordan! Dal Maxvill was more valuable than Ernie Banks, in fact Banks had no value whatsoever.

      That’s my walk on the dark side of the moon where valuable is required to mean something different than best. Is there still a crowd that claims MVP means most clutch? There must be. Pagan religions die hard.

      P.S. So we can now put the Mays-Mantle debate to bed; Mickey was more than twice as valuable than Willie (12-5 pennant winners). ‘Logic’ sure was simpler back in the horse-and-buggy days.

    • BobDD says:

      So important, it needs its own post: Bobby Richardson was more valuable than Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, Jesse Owens, or Walter Johnson (among thousands of others). Count the rings. End of argument.

      /sarc off (quick before my brain gets a cramp in its right front abdul-jabbar)

    • Scott Lucas says:

      The problem is that defensive statistics are very difficult to evaluate. Fielding percentage is not so great. If one guy has two errors in 100 chances, and another has four errors in 120 chances because he has better range, who is the better fielder? The necessary sample sizes probably cannot be compiled in a single season and are greatly subject to variables beyond the fielder’s control.

    • Scott Lucas says:

      The problem is that defensive statistics are very difficult to evaluate. Fielding percentage is not so great. If one guy has two errors in 100 chances, and another has four errors in 120 chances because he has better range, who is the better fielder? The necessary sample sizes probably cannot be compiled in a single season and are greatly subject to variables beyond the fielder’s control.

    • Ian R. says:

      The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:

      1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.

      2. Number of games played.

      3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.

      4. Former winners are eligible.

      5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.

      See rule #1 there? That defines “value” as it pertains to the MVP Award. Strength of offense and defense.

      There is nothing in the rules that indicates that the MVP must come from a playoff team, or even that being on a winning team should have any effect on the voting.

    • Ross Holden says:

      So by that logic, should the award just go to the player with the highest WAR? That would be no fun because we’d lose out in debates like this.

    • BobDD says:

      you saying it would be less fun than to automatically give it to the one with most RBI on the winningist team?

      There’s still dueling WAR, always will be debate about who is better/best

    • Theo says:

      My biggest issue has always come from the consistency and dual uses of the MVP. People have argued for the MVP to come from a winning team for a long time. Okay, that’s fine, but then there are two big issues:

      1) How do we account for the years a player on a losing team won?

      2) We can’t use the MVPs for anything else-people always bring up MVP voting in things like the Hall of Fame. If the MVP is tied to a winning team, then it becomes like RBI: a great blunt instrument in telling if a player was, overall, good or less good, but useless in trying to compare players or adequately determine how a good a player actually was.

    • Wilbur says:

      I can think of few things more ridiculous and indefensible than the notion that the MVP should not be the best player in the league. Yet you see and hear it a lot.

    • Ross Holden says:

      What if the best player is a pitcher?

    • Ross Holden says:

      My only point is that some people seem to claim to have an airtight, no room for debate way of coming up with the MVP. And I would agree that if there was an airtight way, the leader in WAR would be the best way to determine the MVP. But it just wouldn’t be much fun.

    • map says:

      BobDD: You talk about infantile arguments, then you claim that someone would think Bobby Richardson or Moose Skowron should have won something – I’m not sure what because your argument really didn’t make any sense. I never said winning was the only thing – it is a tie-breaker when you have two players that are very close in terms of the seasons they have. Making silly arguments like you did doesn’t help your cause – it just turns people off and makes you as closed minded as the people you (and I) would like to convince that more sophisticated stats are important. And no, most valuable does not necessarily mean best. Never has, and I don’t think it ever will.

    • map says:

      BobDD: You talk about infantile arguments, then you claim that someone would think Bobby Richardson or Moose Skowron should have won something – I’m not sure what because your argument really didn’t make any sense. I never said winning was the only thing – it is a tie-breaker when you have two players that are very close in terms of the seasons they have. Making silly arguments like you did doesn’t help your cause – it just turns people off and makes you as closed minded as the people you (and I) would like to convince that more sophisticated stats are important. And no, most valuable does not necessarily mean best. Never has, and I don’t think it ever will.

  9. Vidor says:

    I’ve never heard an explanation for why park factors vary from year to year. If the fences aren’t being moved in or out, what is park factor measuring? Weather? Busch Stadium has park factors ranging from 96 to 100 since it opened in 2006, despite being the exact same park in the exact same location every year. So what is that measuring? Wind patterns?

  10. jim louis says:

    Would love to know what the advanced stats of the 1988 season at 2nd base would be. Frank White had 4 errors and a .994 fielding percentage. Harold Reynolds had 18 errors and a .977 fielding percentage.

    White was 37 then, so surely Reynold’s range was greater.

    Hard to not wonder how many more HOF votes White would have gotten had he won that 1 last trophy, which would have put him 1 ahead of Bill Mazeroski.

    • invitro says:

      Here are the dWARs for *4-players in the 1988 AL from bb-ref.

      1.5 Willie Randolph
      1.3 Frank White
      1.0 Jim Gantner
      0.3 Lou Whitaker
      0.3 Harold Reynolds
      0.2 Freddie Manrique
      -0.2 Marty Barrett
      -0.3 Billy Ripken
      -0.6 Julio Franco

    • Rob Smith says:

      I knew it was dangerous to go all “Harold Reynolds” on us when discussing defensive ability.

    • KHAZAD says:

      Most of the advanced fielding wasn’t around in the ’80s, but Total Zone has White saving 10 more runs than Reynolds. White also made .44 more plays per nine innings, though the “range factor” for the two was identical. Obviously, due to the errors, White had the more accurate arm as well.

      As far as the eye test goes, I have been watching baseball for 40 years, and White was the best defensive second baseman I have seen, and certainly the most consistently good year in and year out. There have been some young defensive guys who have reminded me of him for a year, but not for a career. Even though, as Joe pointed out, the gold gloves have historically been somewhat of a joke, it still bothered me when Ryne Sandberg, a pedestrian second baseman who happened to be a good hitter and play on WGN, passed White in gold gloves.

  11. Alejo says:

    Bottom line: Miggy is having a monster season. Trout is very good, but the traditional slugger will carry the day because tradition still matters. Yeah, I know, stats and all that, but baseball, in the minds of many, is still about the two-run homer.

    And anyway, Miggy’s stats look fantastic, even (especially) compared to Trout’s.

  12. Wilbur says:

    Getting back to Gold Glove Awards, one I always wondered about was the 1958 award of an OF Gold Glove to Norm Siebern. Clearly, the voters were strictly going by position – one GG to a right fielder, one GG to a center fielder, and one GG to a left fielder – hence, Siebern for left field.

    The pool of AL left fielders was mostly comprised of slow sluggers (Ted Williams, Bob Nieman, Roy Sievers, Charlie Maxwell, Bob Cerv) but he still had to beat out Minnie Minoso and Al Smith. Minoso and Smith were both getting up in years, but it still remains a head-scratcher.

  13. Mark Daniel says:

    Here is a conundrum regarding park factor.
    Trout 2013 OPS splits: Home 1.002, Away 1.005
    Cabrera 2012 OPS splits: Home 1.142, Away 1.140

    In WAR, Trout gets points added to his score for his home games, because his home park is a pitcher’s park.
    Cabrera, meanwhile, gets points subtracted because Comerica is a hitters park. For Trout’s numbers, this makes intuitive sense because perhaps he would hit better at home if it was a better hitter’ park.
    But it makes no sense for Cabrera because his road games have an OPS just about the same as on the road. Why would you adjust Cabrera’s numbers downward, if Cabrera has proven that in a neutral environment (road games) he hits just as well at home? Is it reasonable to project that Cabrera would hit 5% worse at home even though his home park is a hitters park?

    • BobDD says:

      park factor is a league formula, not an individual one

    • Mark Daniel says:

      BobDD, I’m not sure I follow you. Park factor is specific to park, and thus it is specific to team, isn’t it? And I think the more advanced versions are specific to the type of hit, handedness of the batter, etc. But in general, it is specific to an individual inasmuch as that individual plays his home games at a hitter’s park or a pitcher’s park.

      Thus, Miguel Cabrera’s numbers get reduced when converting them to a final WAR value, because he plays his home games at a hitter’s park. I don’t think this is necessary because he hits just about as well at home as on the road this year. And the road, by definition, has a park factor of very close to 100. WAR, thus, is assuming that if Comerica was a neutral hitters park, Cabrera would hit worse at home than on the road. I see no reason for this assumption because it is completely illogical.

    • invitro says:

      You are implying that Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter should have different park factors for this season. Doesn’t this seem strange to you?

    • Mark Daniel says:

      Invitro, it does seem strange. I see that Torii Hunter seems to gain an advantage at Comerica. Cabrera does not. I just don’t think it’s fair that someone good enough to hit well at any park gets punished (statistically) because others gain an advantage from a hitters park. It’s nitpicking to the extreme, IMO, especially when WAR projects that a player would hit worse at home in the hypothetical scenario where the home park is neutral instead of hitter friendly.
      I suppose it’s much ado about nothing because in most cases the home park confers an advantage in reality. But since this yea the argument seems to be that Cabrera has the unfair advantage over Trout in the MVP race because of home park friendliness, it is a bigger deal. In truth, it doesn’t matter where Cabrera hits. It’s a shame that despite current evidence, he gets downgraded.

  14. Rob Smith says:

    MVP is crazy. One year my son led his basketball team in scoring, rebounding, assists, and was the best defensive player on the team. But, the coach did not give him the team MVP. He gave it to another player because, and obviously this is a paraphrase… not of course, what the coach actually said… when the other player decided to care, was often the difference in us winning. When he played well, we won always. When he didn’t play well, we still won sometimes (but not always), usually winning because my son was a one man gang that day & nothing the other team tried on him worked. He gave my son “Most Outstanding Player”, logic being he was the best player on the team…. but not the Most Valuable. My son was quite angry about this. I understood the coach, and I believe his heart was in the right place…. but that logic clearly made no sense at all to anyone besides himself. All it did was make my son vow to make the other player’s life a living hell in practice from then on…. to show everyone who was the MVP. I didn’t discourage that bit of self motivation. I watched some practices the next year…. he wasn’t lying. I felt a little bad for the other kid.

    • Alejo says:

      My conclusion: your son is not nice or intelligent. And if you allow his bullying then you are a expletive of a father.

      Take it to the coach man, he too big for you?

    • Rob Smith says:

      Hopefully your post is a result of your limited command of the English language or the lack of having ever played a competitive sport…. and not some sort of permanent brain injury or deeply rooted psychological issue.

      BTW: my son is, in fact, a physical player, as is the other boy. Neither has any advantage in that area. The advantage my son has is skill. If trying hard in practice and using your skill over another to show the coach that you’re better is called bullying these days, then bullying doesn’t mean anything anymore. At least not to me.

      If encouraging your son to play hard in practice is bad parenting, then yes, I’m guilty. I talk to the coach frequently btw, he’s a very good friend. I have no beef with him at all.

      Also, btw, my son and the other boy are very close friends…. except when they square off on the basketball court. Then they both battle their hardest. Nobody has a problem with it…. except you, of course.

    • Brett Alan says:

      Um, you said he set out to “make the other player’s life a living hell”. Perhaps you didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but that sounds like bullying, not just outplaying him.

      At any rate, concluding that “MVP is crazy” because of one youth league coach is, well, crazy.

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  15. Let me defend Gold Glove awards like Joe Torre’s, even though I believe the Gold Glove has too often been awarded to good hitters, or famous players, or popular players without any thought to whether they are actually skilled fielders. It’s possible, especially in an 8- or 10-team league, that one year a mediocre fielder like Torre merited the GG because that year he had no competition for the award: say four teams have a platoon at catcher, where no one starts 100 games. And say three more teams have essentially a year-long open competition for the job, where one no starts even sixty games. And say of the three remaining teams, two of them have catchers who are notoriously poor fielders—in that case, a Joe Torre, who hasn’t yet cemented his defensive reputation either way, would win it by default. But wait—Joe Torre was also a good hitter. What does that have to do with winning a GG, you ask? Good hitters don’t get pinch-hit for, and therefore stay in the field more innings than poor hitters do. So someone like Cal Ripken, who was never pinchhit for, may have a GG or two he hasn’t quite earned as a pure fielder, but he simply was a more valuable fielder by dint of staying in the lineup much more than another, better-fielding shortstop who missed many defensive innings because of his offensive shortcomings. The question is really: who is the award designed to honor? Most teams have, sitting their benches, some defensive wizard who can field rings around some starter—everyone knows this, but do we really want to honor a fielder who can’t hit well enough to play regularly?

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