Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Tuesdays With Thommy
Since I always want to see my drunken bleacher antics caught on camera, I taped the game on FOX and watched a little bit of it later that night. The game was announced by Thom Brenneman and Steve Lyons, perhaps the worst baseball broadcasting tandem in recent memory. Lyons is an idiot paid to be an idiot, which I guess makes him tolerable, but Brenneman is just unlistenable and may be my least favorite announcer out there, which is really saying something. In every broadcast it usually only takes Thom like two seconds to go off on a ridiculous sermon or tangent, and he sure didn't disappont on Saturday.
In the second inning, Thom began to criticize...yes, criticize...the ChiSox offense for relying too much on the home run. Now, it is possible, I guess, that an offense can be too home run-reliant, like if there aren't enough players with high OBPs supporting the power or something, like the Cubs of the past couple years. Of course, the Sox are currently second in the AL in runs scored, so whatever they're doing, it must be working. Ripping on the AL's second-best offense for hitting "too many home runs" seems rather nitpicky, or maybe just outright stupid.
Anyway, apparently to support Thom's point, FOX then put up a graphic showing the five ML teams with the highest percentage of their runs scored on home runs, with the White Sox second behind the Reds. Thom then said, with his usual self-important bravado, and I quote, "interestingly, all these teams are in serious danger of missing the playoffs."
Yes, and interestingly, Thom, you're a complete idiot. I can also throw out completely arbitrary statistics all day long and declare them the reason a team sucks, too, but that would make me a bad announcer, wouldn't it? Now, a reasonable person would probably say 1)the White Sox's troubles have nothing to do with home runs or offense, but are instead due to a pitching staff that has struggled all season, or 2)what troubles? The Sox are a terrific team stuck in an amazing division in a stacked league. They're probably going to miss the playoffs with 90-95 wins. Most years, they roll to the playoffs behind their sick offensive attack.
Sadly, the moronicism (is that a word? no? eh, I like it) didn't end there. Thom then compared the Sox lineup to that of the Twins. I could immediately see where this was going. The Twins currently lead the Sox in the division, but keep in mind that the Sox have outscored them by like 70 runs. The Twins have quirky guys like Jason Tyner who bunt and sacrifice and steal bases and do all those small things that purists fawn over, so they must have a better lineup, right, since they don't rely on the big, bad home run ball? Am I right, Thommy? The response:
"(The Twins) may not score more, but they have more ways to score."
Ugh. Apparently Thommy is too dumb to realize that this sentence is like one big contradiction. "Now, this team has scored more runs, but that team has more "ways" to score, so they're better, even though they haven't scored as many runs, which would make them...not better?...I, uh...ah...error...PC load letter...ahhhhhhhh!!!!!" (Brenneman explodes in a cacophony of shredded risque photos of Steve Finley).
It seems to me that if Team A has scored a shitload more runs than Team B, that is pretty much a gigantic freaking indicator that Team A has more ways to score. The Sox don't bunt or sacrifice, they just hammer you to death. Again, a reasonable person could tell you that the Twins are second in the AL in team ERA, and have the best starting pitcher on the planet at their disposal, and that is why they are ahead of the White Sox. Their offense, while not as good as Chicago's, as Thom would have you believe, ain't too shabby, either (6th in the AL). Chicago's pitching? Not so good; it's 8th in the AL. There's your difference in standings, not because the Sox throw out some Neanderthalish method of bashing while the Twins dazzle with their labyrinthine offensive scheme.
Seriously, what is it about announcers these days that prevents them from recognizing what makes good teams good and bad teams bad? In 2005, the White Sox won the title behind an awesome pitching staff and an offense that blew. How did this get misconstrued as meaning the Sox won because they had a "smart" offense? This year, their offense is studly and their pitching is struggling, but now they're going to miss the playoffs because they hit too many home runs. My head hurts. Honestly, I'm not the only one who hates Brenneman, am I?
Also, in the middle of Thom's lesson in baseball, Steve Lyons threw out the old "sometimes you can't sit around and wait for the three-run homer" line, which is the kind of tired, half-cooked analysis I thought we had gotten past as a society long ago. Apparently I was wrong.
----The Giants got punked again today in Colorado, effectively putting their playoff chances at nil. Two things I'll be doing for the rest of the season:
1)Figure out how this team is going to be competitive in 2007. Who should we keep? Who should we drop? (Hint: Pedro) What young guys can make a difference? What holes can the Giants fill cheaply, and what holes should they spend money on?
2) Root for the Dodgers to crash and burn like never before. Root for them to miss the playoffs and then mock them all winter long. I have tickets for the final series at Mays Field and I want those games to mean something, dammit! 1982 redux. Screw you, Ned Coletti, if that is your real name. Tonight's 10-6 Dodger loss to Pittsburgh was a good start.