The Carpenter Travesty

Yesterday was a seminal day in baseball history. When it was announced that Chris Carpenter finished second in the National League Cy Young voting despite not being named on two ballots – yes, two whole ballots – the game of baseball was irreparably changed, and not for the better. It may be hard to recognize at first but, sometime soon, we’ll be looking back on this Thursday in the same way that we now look back on Opening Day 1947 or the first time Derek Jeter’s dreamy smile graced the covers of the New York tabloids. I mean, this is important stuff.

First, it must be said that Tim Lincecum absolutely deserved to win the Cy Young. That is not the travesty. With that hair, that goofy grin, and those creepy commercials, there’s no way the kid didn’t deserve it. He also had some pretty good stats. The travesty here is that Chris Carpenter, who started a whopping 28 games for the Cardinals, was considered to be only the fourth best pitcher in the National League by two voters. Two voters?! Fourth best?! Those two voters should never be allowed to watch another baseball game, assuming they even watched one to begin with. It’s a joke.

What’s worse is that these two “writers” are two of those new guys from the internets. Bill Carol writes for some place called “Baseball Protect Us” (which sounds like a cult to me), where they like to invent “statistics” in order to sound smart, and Keith Klaw is some Canadian scout who couldn’t even cut it with the Expos. I still don’t even understand how these guys have a vote.

But they do, and their irresponsible and ill-informed “votes” are going to have some long-term implications. I don’t like it. Baseball is changed, and only the likes of Bowie Kuhn or old Charlie Comiskey could change it back. And with those two departed, we’re plain S.O.L. Here’s a partial list of the changes that are going to take place over the next few years as we enter this new era. Be warned – they’re unpleasant:

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  • Past Cy Young Awards belonging to such all-time greats as Bob Welch, Mark Davis, and Jack McDowell will now be redistributed to their peers based on some convoluted, egghead formula that doesn’t even look at wins or saves. Like that’s some way to reward pitchers!
  • World Series games will be scheduled to begin before 8pm Eastern. I don’t know – I guess some stat guys’ computers told them that pitchers’ FIPs or WHIPs or DIPS or some such nonsense are better in the earlier evening, so now they have to mess with our tv schedule. What about those of us who like those two hour long pre-game shows where the ex-jocks tell us what we want to hear? Some of us actually like that, you know, and I don’t want to miss work just to get home to see them.
  • Ticket prices are going to plunge to dangerously low-levels. Which only makes sense – why would anyone want to pay to see pitchers in a world where Chris Carpenter is considered by two different people as the fourth best pitcher in baseball, instead of the second or third? Do you really want to go to a stadium for under $10?
  • This one is already happening, but it’s going to get a lot worse real soon: ballclubs, managers, and the pitchers themselves will care more about their health and “being a long-term asset” than they will about going two more innings tonight. If Sandy Koufax, Mark Fidrych, Jose Rijo, or even Mark Prior taught us anything oh-those-many-years ago, it’s that pitchers can go nine, ten, or even more innings in a game whenever their manager asks them. Heck, Carp pitched in 192 innings and threw three complete games all year. That’s what we need more of.
  • Finally, and most frighteningly, it means that this whole new breed of fan is going to spring up everywhere. This is a breed of fan that, when they watch a game, they have to think about it and try to figure it out. They go home and, instead of watching Web Gems of their left-fielder dive outstretched for a ball to his left that he originally thought was going to be to his right, they argue with their “computer friends” about what position on the field is more “valuable” and who gets on-base more. I for one do not want to sit next to a bunch of fans who can’t recognize how much better, say, Ryan Howard is than Chase Utley or Justin Morneau is over Joe Mauer.

I know not all of you believe that these terrible crimes against baseball are about to occur – and that some of you might actually agree with that Carol guy or that Klaw guy – but you just wait and see. There have been some travesties in baseball’s past – collusion, drugs, segregation – but few, if any, had the scope that this vote will have. This is a sea change, people, and you really need to be aware of it.

I think I’ll go watch my video of Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb’s record – that should wipe away some of this bad taste in my mouth.

Larry Granillo

About Larry Granillo

Larry Granillo has been writing Wezen Ball since 2008 and has dealt with such touchy topics as Charlie Brown's baseball stats and Ferris Bueller's day off. In 2010, he got the bright idea to time every home run trot in baseball; he has been missing ever since.