Jim Kaat’s Bizarro Land of Aging Pitchers

I don’t know how else to say it, but Jim Kaat should just shut the f*ck up about how “Pedro is a better pitcher now than when he had all the firepower”. Pedro Martinez was always a crafty, intelligent pitcher who had the ability to blow guys away but oftentimes got guys out with majorly clever pitching patterns and not gas. But he is simply NOT better now than he was in his most dominant season. He’s the SAME EXACT PITCHER WITH LESS “STUFF”, hence his higher ERA, lower strikeout total, higher home run total, lesser win total. If his numbers were close to what they have been, Kaat would have a reasonable case, but they simply aren’t, and he’s flat-out wrong. I have seen a lot of Pedro, far more than Kaat, I presume, and he’s misguided. Worse, his argument is the kind of knee-jerk idiocy that smart-ass broadcasters (like Kaat and McCarver) throw out there to make us think they have an inner knowledge that us fans don’t, that they know something special. It’s insulting.

So, ENOUGH already with this cop-out of an analysis. If he says it again I am going to hunt him down and tape his mouth shut, once and for all. And then I am going after Stirling.

5 comments… add one

  • How dare you lump Kitty in with the likes of McCarver. Kitty is cool.

    JCL (YF) September 24, 2004, 11:27 pm
  • Disagree with him all you want, but this comment is unnecessarily insulting. We’re BIG fans of Kitty. That doesn’t mean we agree with everything he says (indeed, we covered the very point raised by SF last week, after Pedro’s last outing against the Yanks.) But he’s no idiot and he doesn’t “suck.” Spare us the bile.

    YF September 24, 2004, 11:39 pm
  • Come on, YF. The post title was just an attention-getter (it worked, apparently). As for Kaat’s performance, which is what this is all about, I am tired of his veiled arrogance – is it possible for an announcer to NOT condescend to the listener by saying things that have no basis in what we’re watching, but which imply that he has “inside knowledge”? Kaat, along with the likes of Joe Morgan, Tim McCarver, and a host of other local announcers around the majors (I have the MLB package on cable, so I see way too much of other announcers) seem to fall into this trap of an “I know more-ism”, even if what they are saying makes no sense, or can’t be backed up with empirical data. Tonight was no exception, and if you weren’t so biased to love Jim Kaat you’d hear it too. Your retort is a kind of all-encompassing non-substantive defense of Kaat the man that doesn’t get to the meat of my gripe: Kaat’s and other former player’s “I know more than you even if I won’t tell you why” tendencies.
    Morgan is the king – listening to him broadcast a game is like being talked to as a second grader – Kaat’s got nothing on him. But he’s not immune, and it gets tiresome. Kaat is able to do the same condescending thing and get away with it because he is smooth, because he’s so genial. But he still does it, and as a seasoned baseball fan it’s insulting.
    I am biased, so take this with that in mind, but if you listen to Jerry Remy, the former Sox second basemen, do color analysis on NESN games you’ll hear a former player who is incapable of condescension. Maybe it’s because he’s no borderline hall-of-famer, or maybe it’s because he has an unconventionally ugly broadcasting voice and therefore couldn’t get away with such blather, but he does it right, and one never feels, even if one disagrees with him or learns something new, that their experience of the game is somehow flawed or missing something. McCarver, Morgan (especially Morgan!),and Kaat (tonight) do that on occasion; they make one feel not educated by their comment, but rather simply in need of education. They are two different things.
    This probably belongs in a discussion, a longer and more thorough analysis of what we like about our announcers and our color analysts, but Kaat, to me, is a fine example of a bright, seemingly genial guy who thinks too much of his own experience, and often disregards plain fact in the face of his own expertise.

    SF September 25, 2004, 3:18 am
  • > I don’t know how else to say it, but Jim Kaat should > just shut the f*ck up about how “Pedro is a better
    > pitcher now than when he had all the firepower”.
    I think you are missing Kaat’s point. Not that Pedro is a more dominant pitcher, he certainly isn’t, but that he is a more complete pitcher as he needs to do things other than just through exceptional heat. Pedro always was a good pitcher in that sense, but he is more so now that he can’t dominate the batters with his speed.

    bronxborn September 25, 2004, 4:17 pm
  • No, Bronxborn, my point is that what you are saying (which is exactly what Kaat is implying) is completely wrong. Pedro is not more complete: he was ALWAYS complete, a true mix of a brainy pitcher with a fireballer. Now he’s just a complete pitcher with worse stuff. How anyone, especially a professional analyst, can claim this is beyond me.

    SF September 26, 2004, 8:50 am

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