The Individual Team Sport

I’ve got a confession that may come as a shock to some of you loyal Frappers out there:  Since the founding of The Sports Frappe, the BiCoastal Bias has been blogging without the help of cable television, including ESPN and all other local sports networks.  Up until an hour ago, my roommates and I had been just too cheap to sack out for the full cable package.  With the baseball races heating up and the installation of the new NFL season, it was just too much pressure and we buckled, culminating in the installation of a small black box sitting above our TV.  

You may feel betrayed, with thoughts like, “The one person’s opinion I held above all others doesn’t even rank sports television above his cheese-pizza-by-the-slice addiction,” and you have ever reason to react this way; but at this point I’m just going to keep writing in the hopes that you’ll have forgiven me by the end of this blog.  It’s quite possible that two weeks from now, you’ll decide that my rants and ravings were much more original before my thinking was tainted by Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.

But all of this is just setup to my main point.  You see, I was watching “1st and 10” this afternoon, just after the cable guy left.  This show involves a few dudes sitting around arguing about various sports topics, pretty much like every other show on ESPN in the afternoon.  At one point, the hosts of the show held a discussion about who was pivotal to the Cowboys’ dynasty between Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin.  I’ve grown weary of these types of discussions.  I brought it up at our most recent Sports Frappe production meeting, (we have them daily, after all) and we decided that as an organization, we’re not going to participate in these types of “Who is the best individual,” arguments, at least not until we have to decide how to cast our AL MVP vote.  Isn’t the point that Aikman, Smith, and Irvin got together and dominated their team sport for a few years?

There’s been a Bill James led trend in baseball to emphasize stats like OPS and de-emphasize the old classics like batting average, RBI, and runs scored; all in an effort to rank players without the bias of how good or bad the teams they played on were.  I find this shockingly naïve.  The ultimate goal of a batter is to propel his team to score more runs than the other.  So shouldn’t run production be the ultimate measure of a batter?  Of course this is dependent on the rest of his team; it’s a team sport – you’ll never find an adequate stat that won’t reflect that fact.  It should be a crime to even try to disassociate a player’s production from his team, unless you’re an agent trying to sign your player to a big free agent contract, then it should just be frowned upon.  Now of course there are good players on bad teams, and in that case, their stats should reflect the fact that they are the main offensive/defensive force on a crummy team.  

I’m going to sign off now, because Jim Rome is about to discuss how great David Ortiz would have been if he was batting behind Lou Gherig for the Colorado Rockies, and I need a slice of pizza first.

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5 thoughts on “The Individual Team Sport

  1. I hate 1st and 10. Woody Paige really needs to keep his useless opinions to himself. He’s a goof ball who tends to know nothing about what he is talking about. If you want comedy, tune into Around the Horn and watch as Woody Paige is put on the spot with a subject he didn’t prepare for. I’ve never heard so many generalities combined with metaphors in all my life.

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  2. that’s right, all of it. you should check out the cheap seats with the sklar brothers. from reading this blog, it reminds me of there show

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  3. Now that is a refreshing commentary. With the exception of tennis or golf the TEAM still makes the player great. One example is out on the West Coast this last week, Chone Figgins stole 50 bases and scored 100 runs in one season. Knowing how he did it, he goes to each of the players that hit behind him (which there have been many) and thanked them for making it possible for him to accomplish this new Angel record.The question is:Does the team make the excellent player: or, Does the player make the team excellent?

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  4. oh peaceful and wrong coastal –the fact that you watch ‘romey’ worries me, for you are an excellent comunicator – your points are salient and thought provoking – don’t let afternoon espn dull those senses – stick with cartoon network or the pbs cartoons to kill an afternoon!

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