Thursday, August 16, 2012

Let's Talk About Kyle Scott Of's Half-Assed Blogging

I probably should not be writing this.  Kyle Scott is an attention whore who thrives on pageviews, and this is giving him attention and a pageview as I need to reference the post in order to write this piece.  But no matter, thousands of people flock to his site everyday.  My one pageview that I use to eviscerate him here won't be the difference in his life.   But I do hope some perspective readers stumble upon this before stumbling upon him, and avoid him all together.  That's probably a bit of an idealistic approach to things, but if the ideal becomes reality, it will be worth it.

So with that being said, here is an FJM-style takedown of one of the worst independent bloggers in Philadelphia with a large following that I can't even begin to explain.

The focus of Kyle Scott's piece is Jimmy Rollins.  You can read it at this link, although I'll be blockquoting everything here.  I won't embed the video, but what happened on the play was Rollins hit a routine groundball, Jose Reyes struggled to field it, Rollins slowly jogged to first, and Reyes threw Rollins out.

Kyle Scott titles his post "Let's Talk about Jimmy Rollins' Half-Assed Effort Yesterday (Video and Twitter Reactions, Too)".

He starts the post off,
Yeah, let’s.

To be honest, I didn’t see it live yesterday when Jimmy Rollins grounded out weakly to Jose Reyes in the sixth inning of the Phillies-Marlins game. I used to use this whole work for yourself thing as an excuse to watch day games. But not anymore. I’d rather spend the time writing a blog post or creating an invoice. You know, trying to make money or something.
Kyle Scott starts off by telling the story of his day. I don't know why this is relevant. At least when I rambled in my opening paragraph, I made sure it was tangibly related to what I was talking about.

But no matter. Crossing Broad is an independent blog, after all, and I suppose he can write about what he wants. I'll call him stupid for writing it, but he is under no obligation to talk about anything in specific.
Anyway, I imagine most of you have joined me on this boat. Part of the reason is because the Phillies are very bad this year and, after watching five straight years (hell, 10) of highly-competitive baseball, seeing this slop product is a real letdown. The other part is that most of the Phillies look like they don’t give a shit. Players who were once young and hungry, that usually played a brand of baseball worth emulating, have now gone the way of so many high-paid athletes before them-- through the motions.
I will agree that 2012 has been a bit of a disappointment for the Phillies, although I would argue that they are not "very bad," and that the results have not always matched up with the product the Phillies have put out there. Since the All-Star break, the Phillies have held steady, playing above .500 baseball, even after trading Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, both of whom are overall positive contributors to any baseball team.

Which is kind of weird, because you would have no idea from Kyle Scott's description the above was true.  Perhaps I am getting a bit off-track, but last season the Phillies won a franchise best 102 games.  I am no psychologist, but I can assure you teams who win 102 games are not going through the motions.  And I can also assure you that between seasons, a team does not collectively go through that kind of mental switch.  There are tangible explanations as to why the 2012 Phillies are currently below .500, that they just don't care about winning anymore is not it.
Enter J-Roll™.

My Dad has always loved Rollins. Loved his speed. Loved his defense. Loved the fact that he often stepped up when the lights were brightest. I’ve fought my Dad on this point, citing the fact that Rollins often has a misguided approach at the plate, is stubborn, often too outspoken and, even after being benched a few years back for not running out a groundball, still gives less than 100% effort on his treks to first base. We’ll disagree on those points for the rest of time... but at least I now have a new card to play.
There is liking Jimmy Rollins for the right reasons and liking Jimmy Rollins for the wrong reasons.  The first two reasons are good reasons to like Jimmy Rollins.  I don't have 40-yard dash times on him, but Rollins does appear fast and speed, when used properly*, is an undervalued skill in baseball. Defense is much more quantifiable in baseball, and by all accounts, Jimmy Rollins is one of the strongest defensive shortstops in baseball.

*When not used properly, you end up like Juan Pierre pre-2012.

But there is also liking Jimmy Rollins for the wrong reasons, and stepping up "when the lights are brightest" is one of them.  It has been repeatedly shown that no players can consistently perform in the clutch.  It makes for a fine narrative and it gives sports writers something to write about it, but in reality, it has been shown that players do not elevate their game more or less in the clutch on a consistent basis.  For example, David Freese is a good baseball player, but give him another AB in the World Series, and his chance of not reaching base is still 1.000 minus Freese's on-base percentage, or 64.2%.  The opposite is true of someone like B.J. Upton, who has an unfair reputation of being "unclutch."

Kyle Scott claims this incident gives him a new card to play, well, we will just see about that.
As most of you are aware by now, in the sixth inning yesterday, Rollins grounded to Reyes (who was playing back and not in great position to make a play on a speedy runner) and lazily jogged (even that might be too strong a term) down to first.
It is important to keep in mind that Kyle Scott is framing all of this in a debate about Jimmy Rollins and is using this as an example to use when he is debating Rollins with his father.

I will get to Kyle's disturbing terminology in a moment, but first, let's talk about "lazily jogging" during routine groundballs.

Which would you rather?

a). Jimmy Rollins jog on a routine groundball, the defender bobble it but still throw Rollins out at first by half a step. In this situation, it is assumed that Jimmy Rollins would be safe running full speed.


b). Jimmy Rollins run full speed on a routine groundball, the defender play it perfectly, throw Jimmy out at first, and Jimmy strains or ruptures his hamstring on a routine play, thus causing the Phillies to be without the 11th best offensive shortstop in baseball this season  and one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball who is being paid below market value this season?*

*Jimmy is being paid $11M this season and has put up 3.1 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs, this year.  Market value for one win above replacement is $4.7M, so therefore, if we multiply 4.7 million dollars times 3.1 WAR, we find that Jimmy Rollins has been worth $14.57M this season TO THIS POINT.  In other words, Jimmy Rollins has already given the Phillies more production this season than he is being paid for this season, and there is still a month and a half of baseball to go)

The choice is yours, but the risk/reward analysis here is quite simple. You are much better off conceding the extremely high chance of an out as opposed to creating an unnecessary risk of running out a routine groundball only to injury yourself and hurt the team on the extremely slim chance the defender flubs the routine groundball.  If it's going to be a hit, then yes, you should run, but on a routine groundball like this was, it absolutely is not worth it to run out the groundball.  In short what I am saying is, Jimmy Rollins is not lazy.  Jimmy Rollins is intelligent.

Let's talk about lazy, though, and the characterizations of lazy players.  Why is it that some people characterize lazy players?

Why do some people completely lambaste Jimmy Rollins for not running out a groundball, calling him lazy, all the while not even mentioning this.  I don't know about you guys, but when I see someone hit an inside-the-park home run, I don't think of the hitter as lazy.  That's because like I mentioned above, Jimmy is intelligent. He knows when to run full speed, and he knows when to jog it out.

But maybe Kyle Scott is someone who just hates laziness.  Sure it's misguided like I explained above, but some people are just go-getters and don't want to see anyone slack off at anything.  That must be it... (h/t to @meechone for the find)
It wasn’t all perfect little pony for [Cliff] Lee, however. In the fourth inning, he blatantly failed to run out a ground ball hit to second baseman Brandon Phillips.

I gotta rip him here. If that were anyone else, especially Jimmy Rollins or Cole Hamels, the sky would be falling right now. He’s got to run that out... but I can’t be too mad. I just can’t. It's like when a kid lies about stealing from the cookie jar. Even though you have to discipline him, you can’t help but laugh at his cute little story. That’s Lee. I found myself watching that over and over again last night, and by the time I was done, he had me convinced that running would have just wasted some time. Whatever.
When Jimmy Rollins does not run out a groundball, he is a lazy. When Cliff Lee does not run out a groundball, he is totes adorbs.  There is a word in the English dictionary for this.  That word is "racism."

And while I eagerly anticipate people who defend Kyle Scott saying "he included Hamels in there as well," I ask you this.  If there were a black pitcher on the Phillies who put up the exact same numbers as Cliff Lee, and he jogged to first on a routine groundball, would Kyle Scott have called it a "cute little story?"

Noted-racist Kyle Scott ends this post with 19 tweets*, all of which are blindly stupid, have racial undertones to them, or some combination of the two.

*not an exaggeration

If Kyle Scott does not see this, I don't care.  If he never sees this, I don't care.  My audience is not Kyle Scott.  If I wanted to tell him off, I would send him a direct line of communication.  If he does stumble upon this and wants to discuss it, I will be happy to discuss it in any forum.  Like I said above, my reason for doing this is to illustrate what kind of ignorant racist Kyle Scott is and to implore you that if you are reading this, stay away from Crossing Broad.  Don't give Kyle Scott pageviews.  Don't give him any satisfaction at all.  If you ignore him, maybe, just maybe, his relevancy will begin to suffer.  Someone like him who panders to the lowest common denominator, is noted for plagiarizing, and who ignores logic, rationality, and research in favor of irrationality, hypocrisy, and racism, should not have relevancy.  Unfortunately, Crossing Broad received a CBS Philly award for best sports blog in 2011.

I weep for humanity.

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