One Game and the Idiocy It Spawned

The Washington Nationals lost on Opening Day for the first time since 2011 and boy did people sure have opinions on that.

The Nationals have played one game so far and here’s a nearly complete list of things one can conclude from that game:

The Nationals are currently 0-1

Max Scherzer currently has eight strikeouts

Bryce Harper currently has one home run

Ian Desmond currently has two errors

That hasn’t stopped people from drawing far more dire conclusions though, so let’s take a look at what the lunatics are saying.

It took exactly one inning for the hot takes to come pouring in as the Nationals stranded Michael Taylor and Yunel Escobar to start the game. Plenty of words have been spilled on the sheer randomness and close standard deviation of batting average with runners in scoring position among teams, how the Nats were third in the NL in runs scored last season despite supposed RISP woes and how it’s more important to have more RISP situations than how a team does in them. So we won’t repeat those here, but the most annoying part of tweets like this is the horrible misunderstanding of the basic tenets of baseball: score runs good, give up runs bad. Over a large sample how a team does those two things is fairly irrelevant, as long as they do it. Being concerned with how a team performs with runners in scoring position, especially in the first inning of the first game, is distracting oneself with meaningless bullshit.

The next hot take came right after a Little League error on a routine pop up led to two Mets runs. With Dan Uggla firmly planted underneath the lazy fly ball, shortstop Ian Desmond made a bad misjudgment of where the ball was and called him off, before having the ball glance off his glove. Nothing in that situation was Uggla’s fault, he correctly moved out of the way when Desmond, who as shortstop gets priority on all calls, called him off. If he hadn’t we would likely be talking about the horrific collision between the two middle infielders. Now is it possible that with Danny Espinosa in the game instead, who Desmond has played countless innings with, Desmond would feel more comfortable in not calling him off? Sure. But that isn’t likely or even probable and Paulsen here presents it as a certainty. He turned a bad mistake by Desmond into a referendum on how Uggla sucks and Matt Williams was dumb for starting him, which is absurd.

The mistake by Desmond led to the heretofore unheard of Desmond haters to come crawling out of the woodwork to bemoan how the star shortstop is worthless and strikes out too much. I would respond to such ludicrous statements, but Tom Boswell did my work for me with one of the top three best things I’ve ever read.

That was not the end of the hot takes though as resident columnist and radio moron Thom Loverro just had to weigh in with his special brand of stupid. I mean honestly, who still uses “my column” in a non-sarcastic manner anymore? To anyone who watched the game yesterday it would be immediately obvious why such a statement is ludicrous. Scherzer was excellent in his Nats debut; he had 5.2 shutout, no-hit innings on his way to a dominant start. To suggest that Scherzer should be some superhuman talent who only allows hits when they won’t lead to runs is insane. And the implication throughout the piece that the Nationals are somehow now doomed because of Scherzer’s supposed failure is no better.

That wasn’t it for Loverro though, as he also had this gem on his radio show:

Remember earlier when I mentioned the basic tenets of baseball: score runs good, give up runs bad? This is another example of someone completely missing that point for the distractions of meaningless bullshit. To suggest that Harper intentionally only hit a home run when it was a solo shot is a gross overestimation of the talents of ball players. There isn’t some magic home run switch that they can turn on and off at will. Harper hits home runs when he gets a pitch and drives it into the stands, if runners are on base when he does, great, if not, that’s still a run; remember: score runs good, give up runs bad.

Speaking of implications of the Nationals being doomed, Jayson Stark began the process of backtracking quickly from picking the Nats as his World Series champion just a few days ago. Somehow the Nationals losing one game is all the evidence he needs to declare that the Nats are not a great team. The straddling is a particularly odious brand of journalism coming from pundits who feel that they must always be right in their predictions about a game that is so unpredictable, so they put in stakes on both sides. No reasonable person would expect a pundit to be correct 100 percent of the time, just see my opinions on Denard Span and Tanner Roark early last season, and it would be better for the baseball public if pundits would realize that.

The stupidity wasn’t reserved for just the Nationals though, apparently one game into the season the Mets have already turned the tide in the National League East. I don’t think the tides change that fast in disaster movies. I suppose the Mets and their fans can be forgiven for optimistically hoping that they can pull a surprise, the last time they came close to the playoffs was 2008’s historic collapse. But to suggest that one game clearly shows that the Mets, not the Nationals are now the favorites in the division is laughable.

I’m fine with arguments and disagreements in sports, as I said nobody is right 100 percent of the time. But those arguments still need to rooted in fact, such as my and Allan from The Nats Archive’s discussions on how much additional value should be assigned to fan favorites and good clubhouse guys. We disagree, but we’re still both coming from reasonable positions. That’s not present in the takes laid out above, they are fundamentally wrong and in some cases aggressively so.

However, the most disappointing part of this whole ordeal is that all of these people, besides the random commenter in the Boswell chat, are professional sports writers. Perhaps we should create an aptitude test before allowing people to become professional sports writers, because far too many take that job for granted and spend their time with self-important bloviating that attempts to take all the fun out of sports. Getting to cover sports for a living is a dream job for many and a privilege that is afforded to few and perhaps it is time we start taking that privilege away from some.


Capitol Dugout Top Stories

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It took exactly one inning for the hot takes to come pouring in as the Nationals stranded Michael Taylor and Yunel Escobar to start the game. Plenty of words have been spilled on the sheer randomness and close standard deviation of batting average with runners in scoring position among teams, how the Nats were third in the NL in runs scored last season despite supposed RISP woes and how it’s more important to have more RISP situations than how a team does in them. So we won’t repeat those here, but the most annoying part of tweets like this is the horrible misunderstanding of the basic tenets of baseball: score runs good, give up runs bad. Over a large sample how a team does those two things is fairly irrelevant, as long as they do it. Being concerned with how a team performs with runners in scoring position, especially in the first inning of the first game, is distracting oneself with meaningless bullshit.

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As I said earlier: I'd play %%MATCH_0%% every day at 2B until %%MATCH_1%% gets back. Teams that catch the ball win. Defense matters.

— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) April 6, 2015
\r\n\r\n\r\n

The next hot take came right after a Little League error on a routine pop up led to two Mets runs. With Dan Uggla firmly planted underneath the lazy fly ball, shortstop Ian Desmond made a bad misjudgment of where the ball was and called him off, before having the ball glance off his glove. Nothing in that situation was Uggla’s fault, he correctly moved out of the way when Desmond, who as shortstop gets priority on all calls, called him off. If he hadn’t we would likely be talking about the horrific collision between the two middle infielders. Now is it possible that with Danny Espinosa in the game instead, who Desmond has played countless innings with, Desmond would feel more comfortable in not calling him off? Sure. But that isn’t likely or even probable and Paulsen here presents it as a certainty. He turned a bad mistake by Desmond into a referendum on how Uggla sucks and Matt Williams was dumb for starting him, which is absurd.

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The mistake by Desmond led to the heretofore unheard of Desmond haters to come crawling out of the woodwork to bemoan how the star shortstop is worthless and strikes out too much. I would respond to such ludicrous statements, but Tom Boswell did my work for me with one of the top three best things I’ve ever read.

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Is there a Pulitzer for chat answers? pic.twitter.com/l6d34BJ91c

— James O'Hara (@nextyeardc) April 7, 2015
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RT: In #Nationals debut, Max Scherzer was out pitched by 41-yr-old %%MATCH_9%%. That can't happen. My column http://t.co/G6cmPWtz64

— thom loverro (@thomloverro) April 7, 2015
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That was not the end of the hot takes though as resident columnist and radio moron Thom Loverro just had to weigh in with his special brand of stupid. I mean honestly, who still uses “my column” in a non-sarcastic manner anymore? To anyone who watched the game yesterday it would be immediately obvious why such a statement is ludicrous. Scherzer was excellent in his Nats debut; he had 5.2 shutout, no-hit innings on his way to a dominant start. To suggest that Scherzer should be some superhuman talent who only allows hits when they won’t lead to runs is insane. And the implication throughout the piece that the Nationals are somehow now doomed because of Scherzer’s supposed failure is no better.

\r\n\r\n

That wasn’t it for Loverro though, as he also had this gem on his radio show:

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THOM seems to make light of Harper's home run, "but it was a lead off home run, which is harmless." #THOMSTAKES

— Sportsyackontap (@sportsyack) April 7, 2015
\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

Remember earlier when I mentioned the basic tenets of baseball: score runs good, give up runs bad? This is another example of someone completely missing that point for the distractions of meaningless bullshit. To suggest that Harper intentionally only hit a home run when it was a solo shot is a gross overestimation of the talents of ball players. There isn’t some magic home run switch that they can turn on and off at will. Harper hits home runs when he gets a pitch and drives it into the stands, if runners are on base when he does, great, if not, that’s still a run; remember: score runs good, give up runs bad.

\r\n\r\n

Stark straddles the line throughout his article with stuff like this. Overreact or preach patience. Don’t try both. pic.twitter.com/Q7WuG4ktIb

— Citizens of Natstown (@CitsofNatstown) April 7, 2015
\r\n\r\n\r\n

Speaking of implications of the Nationals being doomed, Jayson Stark began the process of backtracking quickly from picking the Nats as his World Series champion just a few days ago. Somehow the Nationals losing one game is all the evidence he needs to declare that the Nats are not a great team. The straddling is a particularly odious brand of journalism coming from pundits who feel that they must always be right in their predictions about a game that is so unpredictable, so they put in stakes on both sides. No reasonable person would expect a pundit to be correct 100 percent of the time, just see my opinions on Denard Span and Tanner Roark early last season, and it would be better for the baseball public if pundits would realize that.

\r\n\r\n

Yesterday’s gritty win could be the tide turning & an early example of this team’s character: http://t.co/RNCbAakkGJ pic.twitter.com/8dcn4uNQIQ

— %%MATCH_12%% (@Mets) April 7, 2015
\r\n\r\n\r\n

The stupidity wasn’t reserved for just the Nationals though, apparently one game into the season the Mets have already turned the tide in the National League East. I don’t think the tides change that fast in disaster movies. I suppose the Mets and their fans can be forgiven for optimistically hoping that they can pull a surprise, the last time they came close to the playoffs was 2008’s historic collapse. But to suggest that one game clearly shows that the Mets, not the Nationals are now the favorites in the division is laughable.

\r\n\r\n

I’m fine with arguments and disagreements in sports, as I said nobody is right 100 percent of the time. But those arguments still need to rooted in fact, such as my and Allan from The Nats Archive’s discussions on how much additional value should be assigned to fan favorites and good clubhouse guys. We disagree, but we’re still both coming from reasonable positions. That’s not present in the takes laid out above, they are fundamentally wrong and in some cases aggressively so.

\r\n\r\n

However, the most disappointing part of this whole ordeal is that all of these people, besides the random commenter in the Boswell chat, are professional sports writers. Perhaps we should create an aptitude test before allowing people to become professional sports writers, because far too many take that job for granted and spend their time with self-important bloviating that attempts to take all the fun out of sports. Getting to cover sports for a living is a dream job for many and a privilege that is afforded to few and perhaps it is time we start taking that privilege away from some.

","mobileBody":"

The Nationals have played one game so far and here’s a nearly complete list of things one can conclude from that game:

The Nationals are currently 0-1

Max Scherzer currently has eight strikeouts

Bryce Harper currently has one home run

Ian Desmond currently has two errors

That hasn’t stopped people from drawing far more dire conclusions though, so let’s take a look at what the lunatics are saying.

Whoa!!! Same old story with runners in scoring position. The #Nats had runners on first and second and no outs, but couldn't score. #MLB

— William Ladson (@washingnats) April 6, 2015

It took exactly one inning for the hot takes to come pouring in as the Nationals stranded Michael Taylor and Yunel Escobar to start the game. Plenty of words have been spilled on the sheer randomness and close standard deviation of batting average with runners in scoring position among teams, how the Nats were third in the NL in runs scored last season despite supposed RISP woes and how it’s more important to have more RISP situations than how a team does in them. So we won’t repeat those here, but the most annoying part of tweets like this is the horrible misunderstanding of the basic tenets of baseball: score runs good, give up runs bad. Over a large sample how a team does those two things is fairly irrelevant, as long as they do it. Being concerned with how a team performs with runners in scoring position, especially in the first inning of the first game, is distracting oneself with meaningless bullshit.

As I said earlier: I'd play %%MATCH_0%% every day at 2B until %%MATCH_1%% gets back. Teams that catch the ball win. Defense matters.

— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) April 6, 2015

The next hot take came right after a Little League error on a routine pop up led to two Mets runs. With Dan Uggla firmly planted underneath the lazy fly ball, shortstop Ian Desmond made a bad misjudgment of where the ball was and called him off, before having the ball glance off his glove. Nothing in that situation was Uggla’s fault, he correctly moved out of the way when Desmond, who as shortstop gets priority on all calls, called him off. If he hadn’t we would likely be talking about the horrific collision between the two middle infielders. Now is it possible that with Danny Espinosa in the game instead, who Desmond has played countless innings with, Desmond would feel more comfortable in not calling him off? Sure. But that isn’t likely or even probable and Paulsen here presents it as a certainty. He turned a bad mistake by Desmond into a referendum on how Uggla sucks and Matt Williams was dumb for starting him, which is absurd.

The mistake by Desmond led to the heretofore unheard of Desmond haters to come crawling out of the woodwork to bemoan how the star shortstop is worthless and strikes out too much. I would respond to such ludicrous statements, but Tom Boswell did my work for me with one of the top three best things I’ve ever read.

Is there a Pulitzer for chat answers? pic.twitter.com/l6d34BJ91c

— James O'Hara (@nextyeardc) April 7, 2015

RT: In #Nationals debut, Max Scherzer was out pitched by 41-yr-old %%MATCH_9%%. That can't happen. My column http://t.co/G6cmPWtz64

— thom loverro (@thomloverro) April 7, 2015

That was not the end of the hot takes though as resident columnist and radio moron Thom Loverro just had to weigh in with his special brand of stupid. I mean honestly, who still uses “my column” in a non-sarcastic manner anymore? To anyone who watched the game yesterday it would be immediately obvious why such a statement is ludicrous. Scherzer was excellent in his Nats debut; he had 5.2 shutout, no-hit innings on his way to a dominant start. To suggest that Scherzer should be some superhuman talent who only allows hits when they won’t lead to runs is insane. And the implication throughout the piece that the Nationals are somehow now doomed because of Scherzer’s supposed failure is no better.

That wasn’t it for Loverro though, as he also had this gem on his radio show:

THOM seems to make light of Harper's home run, "but it was a lead off home run, which is harmless." #THOMSTAKES

— Sportsyackontap (@sportsyack) April 7, 2015

Remember earlier when I mentioned the basic tenets of baseball: score runs good, give up runs bad? This is another example of someone completely missing that point for the distractions of meaningless bullshit. To suggest that Harper intentionally only hit a home run when it was a solo shot is a gross overestimation of the talents of ball players. There isn’t some magic home run switch that they can turn on and off at will. Harper hits home runs when he gets a pitch and drives it into the stands, if runners are on base when he does, great, if not, that’s still a run; remember: score runs good, give up runs bad.

Stark straddles the line throughout his article with stuff like this. Overreact or preach patience. Don’t try both. pic.twitter.com/Q7WuG4ktIb

— Citizens of Natstown (@CitsofNatstown) April 7, 2015

Speaking of implications of the Nationals being doomed, Jayson Stark began the process of backtracking quickly from picking the Nats as his World Series champion just a few days ago. Somehow the Nationals losing one game is all the evidence he needs to declare that the Nats are not a great team. The straddling is a particularly odious brand of journalism coming from pundits who feel that they must always be right in their predictions about a game that is so unpredictable, so they put in stakes on both sides. No reasonable person would expect a pundit to be correct 100 percent of the time, just see my opinions on Denard Span and Tanner Roark early last season, and it would be better for the baseball public if pundits would realize that.

Yesterday’s gritty win could be the tide turning & an early example of this team’s character: http://t.co/RNCbAakkGJ pic.twitter.com/8dcn4uNQIQ

— %%MATCH_12%% (@Mets) April 7, 2015

The stupidity wasn’t reserved for just the Nationals though, apparently one game into the season the Mets have already turned the tide in the National League East. I don’t think the tides change that fast in disaster movies. I suppose the Mets and their fans can be forgiven for optimistically hoping that they can pull a surprise, the last time they came close to the playoffs was 2008’s historic collapse. But to suggest that one game clearly shows that the Mets, not the Nationals are now the favorites in the division is laughable.

I’m fine with arguments and disagreements in sports, as I said nobody is right 100 percent of the time. But those arguments still need to rooted in fact, such as my and Allan from The Nats Archive’s discussions on how much additional value should be assigned to fan favorites and good clubhouse guys. We disagree, but we’re still both coming from reasonable positions. That’s not present in the takes laid out above, they are fundamentally wrong and in some cases aggressively so.

However, the most disappointing part of this whole ordeal is that all of these people, besides the random commenter in the Boswell chat, are professional sports writers. Perhaps we should create an aptitude test before allowing people to become professional sports writers, because far too many take that job for granted and spend their time with self-important bloviating that attempts to take all the fun out of sports. Getting to cover sports for a living is a dream job for many and a privilege that is afforded to few and perhaps it is time we start taking that privilege away from some.

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