Shoo-In vs. Shut-In

It’s Friday. That means it soon will be time for me to order out for a couple two-liter bottles of Dew and three double-cheese, double-pepperonis (I have a coupon) for a 36-hour WOW session.

In the mean time, I will read and re-read Dan Shaughnessy and feel shame… at least until I get bored, have mom nuke me a quesadilla and some poppers, and drift over to the Maxim Hot 100.

Neyer has a well-reasoned response.

10 comments… add one
  • Neyer’s response is good, to a point. But it contains the same problems much of his writing does — and, ironically, it’s a symptom from which Shaughnessy also suffers. Neither writer is willing to see any other side of this issue.
    Shaughnessy can’t fathom that anyone could consider Rice not a Hall of Famer. That’s to his detriment, since clearly plenty of people — enough to keep him out of the Hall for 15 years — have been no more than ambivalent about Rice’s candidacy.
    Neyer, meanwhile, is so sure about his belief that Rice is NOT a Hall of Famer that he has frequently fallen into the sabermetric trap of condescension and arrogance on the topic — in this case, he references two of his favorite points (Rice’s poor defense and the Fenway advantage) and calls anything that fails to mention those arguments “propaganda.” Really? What about a person who mentions those and then says those factors simply aren’t relevant to their decision making?
    The big problem I have with the way Neyer writes — and he did this during the Pedroia/Mauer column he wrote the day after the MVP was announced, nitpicking that Pedroia should have finished *second* in the voting, of all things, when most stats-minded people were just happy one of the two most deserving players actually won the award — is that he tends to belittle good players simply because he feels they have been overrated in the public eye.
    Rice was an amazing, terrific ballplayer. He may or may not be a Hall of Famer (I’ve been on both sides of this fence). Does it matter? Not really. The fact that he’s in the discussion, the fact that we keep having these debates, means he’s one of the best hitters to have played the game of baseball. All we’re debating is whether he should be enshrined with the best of the best. It seems that such debates have a way of turning sour, and some writers — Neyer included — unintentionally but effectively make great ballplayers sound like they didn’t even belong on the ballfield.
    Shaughnessy’s column is vile, ad homeneim trash that should not have seen the light of the day, and to my knowledge Neyer has never written anything that was poorly reasoned or thoughtless. But there are unintended consequences to the way Neyer — and Tom Tango and MGL and some other sabermetricians (and MGL in particular is incredibly rude to those who do not think like he does) — makes his points, and I fear that it has contributed to the growing incivility surrounding these Hall of Fame discussions.

    Paul SF December 12, 2008, 2:41 pm
  • You’re a WOW’er AG? I played on Spinebreaker for 2 years following the beta, had a level 60 Troll Hunter and quit cold turkey once I hit 60. Bought the first expansion and got to 62 before getting bored. Great game though, if you’ve got the time.

    Atheose December 12, 2008, 2:49 pm
  • I think AG was joking, Ath… You know, “bloggers live in their mom’s basements and have no lives” and all…

    Paul SF December 12, 2008, 3:10 pm
  • Paul’s right, I was partially joking. Ath, fortunately for me, I never fell into WOW. Knowing my personality, I would still likely not have emerged. HOWEVER, I have logged more hours in online games than I care to admit, including hundreds upon hundreds of hours on MUDs prior to the advent of teh interwebs’ 3d extravaganzas, and at one point I was a relatively elite Half-Life/TFC player. COD4 and Rock Band have me in their clutches right now.
    Back to the topic.. Paul raises some great points regarding Neyer’s response, and Shaughnessy’s column is indeed “vile.”

    attackgerbil December 12, 2008, 3:55 pm
  • I lost a couple of friends to WOW in college, never played it myself out of fear I’d get sucked in and fail out (like at least three people I knew).
    I don’t think Jim Rice belongs in the Hall – I’m in favor of more stringent requirements, and even his defenders generally admit he’s a borderline case with the current standards. But I think Paul’s got a good point about the level of discourse that these discussions tend to trend towards.
    I will admit that the FJM part of me tends to enjoy the rude Sabermetric posts, though – I’ve always liked a good statistical smackdown.

    Micah-SF December 12, 2008, 4:09 pm
  • I enjoy the FJM style, as well, but it’s one thing to smack down a writer for putting something stupid out into the public square. It’s another to be so caustic toward a ballplayer whose only crime was not actually being as good as other people think he was.

    Paul SF December 12, 2008, 4:37 pm
  • “It’s another to be so caustic toward a ballplayer whose only crime was not actually being as good as other people think he was.”
    I know you feel bad for Derek Jeter every time you check out a baseball think factory thread about his defense:)

    Nick-YF December 12, 2008, 4:40 pm
  • Wow! I hope that didn’t come across as too assholey. Sorry, Paul.
    Long day at work is all.

    Nick-YF December 12, 2008, 4:58 pm
  • Regardless of who’s right about the Rice question, Neyer punked CHB. (With a mere blog posting against an article. In other words, killing him with a knife at a gun fight.) The fatal blow was the word “propaganda.”
    This ain’t the hall of fear. But that’s a fun place to visit. There are Dave Kingman and Leatherface exhibits there right now, I hear. It’s somewhere in Alabama.

    Hit Dog December 12, 2008, 5:46 pm
  • I know you feel bad for Derek Jeter every time you check out a baseball think factory thread about his defense
    I shed a single chilled grapefruit, clean oakmoss and spice-scented tear, Nick.

    Paul SF December 12, 2008, 6:04 pm

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