Triumph! Mark Buehrle has won his 2nd Gold Glove as of today, an honor that was only bestowed upon today, on November 9th, despite the fact that every knew they were going to give him the damn thing after he flung a baseball through his legs on Opening Day. It would feel so much better for Sox fans everywhere, if the managers of Major League Baseball didn't do everything possible to de-legitimize the award this year...just like they do every year.
With no regular DH getting mysteriously being given a fielding award, the most
dubious honoree this year becomes Derek Jeter receiving his fifth Gold
Glove award despite recording his 10th negative UZR year in his past 12
seasons. While Derek managed to limit his mistakes on his way leading
the league in fielding percentage at the position, and he had that one
play where he flipped it to Posada on a broken relay throw 9
years ago that was
ssssooooo good that it merited 3000 replays during the rest of the playoffs while Joe Buck softly wept, one can't help but look at replays of Alexei running 4
country miles to his right to field grounders in the hole and whipping them
across the field, and wonder whether his Pacific Ocean-sized range possibly should have
played a bigger factor in the decision.
Or perhaps you didn't watch baseball all year long because your hang
gliding trip in the Gulf of Mexico coincided with hurricane season and
you've been marooned at sea for the balance of the calendar year, and
you tried to determine who was the best AL shortstop by searching the
rankings of fieldingbible.com and UZR, saw that Alexei Ramirez was the
top shortstop in the league in both, leading you to jump to a bunch of apparently
This is all a lot of yelling about something that was a lock to happen.
The process of determining the Gold Glove has been out of step with
defensive metrics besides field percentage for so long that the fact
that mainstream media reports are actually acknowledging Ramirez' snubbing
registers as quite the improvement.
It's not an award that apparently draws deep hours of contemplation from its voters, the managers. While the determination process of some awards seem to beg the question of if there's any other sport where the disconnect between statisticians, mainstream writers, and coaching personnel is so comically vast, this one just seems to be based on exposure, name recognition, and highlights.
If I try hard, and cut off just the right amount of oxygen to my brain, I can convince myself that Mark Buehrle won his 2nd Gold Glove because of his brilliant pickoff move, and the excellent defensive position he puts himself in after every throw, but deep down I know it was all because of that friggin' play.
*As an addendum, if a wacky conspiracy is revealed to show that Jerry Reinsdorf used his sway to ensure that Alexei didn't win the Gold Glove so that he couldn't use it as negotiating chip for his contract next year, then this is all fine by me. Even if it means that Reinsdorf would be a frighteningly evil genius.
It bears mentioning, that if you're just the don't-stop-till-you-get-enough-content-on-Alexei's-snubbing type, that Jim at SoxMachine wrote about this today, as did J.J. Stankevitz at White Sox Examiner....they are very, very good writers, and J.J. explores the Minka Kelly factor...which I was foolish to ignore.