Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Why I read blogs

It is said that people read blogs because people, in this day and age yearn to read something that shares their biases. A good example of this is the plethora of political blogs out there, convervatives flock to conservatives blogs and liberals likewise to liberal blogs. People from both sides of the political spectrum, turn to blogs when they tire of "liberal media bias" or how the MSM isn't tough on this current adminstration.

The same goes for us sports fans.

I tire of the incessant anti-A's bias in the local sports media. I rarely read the sports columnists in the Chronicle, the Mercury or the Tribine because they don't offer any intelligent discourse on the state of sports in the Bay Area. Case in point, Monty Poole of the Oakland Tribune/ANG Newspapers. Today he wrote a column called, "Drive to 75 wins rages in Bay ball." It's about the recent lack of excellence in Bay Area baseball. It's an undeniable fact that both the A's and the Giants have had a pretty horrible season right now, but just look he asseses the current situation:
ON THE LEFT SIDE of the Bay, the Giants are swept at home over the weekend and slink out of town with their bats between their legs, losers of 14 of their last 16 games.

On the right side of the Bay, the A's, winners of one in a row, return home from a 2-4 road trip, maintaining their 21-day grip on last place in the AL West.
(empahsis, mine)
I know sometimes writers can try their hand at snarkiness but one forgets context. Despite their "one game winning streak" the A's are at a much more respectable six and five for the month of June after a disastrous May where they went seven and twenty.
Dan Haren leads the A's with four wins, which puts him on a pace for 11. With about 20 losses.

Brett Tomko leads the Giants with five, which puts him on a pace for 14. With about 23 losses.

The nominal aces? Well, A's left-hander Barry Zito's nabbed his third win on Sunday, one day after San Francisco's Jason Schmidt failed to get his fourth. Both are mired in mind-numbing, arm-torching seasons and seem to be averaging about 40 pitches per batter.
Another pet peeve of mine is when columnists pull out the win-loss statistic when evaluating pitchers. Win-loss is an overrated stat and is no indicator of a pitcher's actual performance. Even without resorting to using fancy sabermetric stats, one can use ERA as a more reliable indicator of a pitcher's performance.
Furthermore, the Giants' situation is more urgent. It's a team built for now, which is bound to tear at general manager Brian Sabean's patience. Because his pitching can't be expected to improve with experience, we can't assume Sabean won't trade for a quality veteran arm, even if it means sacrificing a valuable prospect.

The A's? Well, they're built for some other year, some other time and maybe some other place. General manager Billy Beane is smart enough to know it would require a roster overhaul to contend and he's too patient and poor to generate that.

Billy is more likely to ride it out. If 75 comes, it comes.
OK I get the message, the A's suck and so does the Giants. I'm not some deluded pollyanna who is hoping and praying for another 20 game win streak to propel the A's to a playoff berth. But how come every time a columnist decides to ravage the A's they always dangle the "well the owners can just move the franchise" carrot? It's old and the there's no real basis for these claims, it's all rumor and speculation. I thought you guys were here to report the facts.
As for the fan, well, consider 2005 a test. How much bad ball can you tolerate? The best that can be said of local baseball is that fewer than seven weeks remain before the local NFL teams open training camp.
I can swear using a countdown to NFL training camps when the local baseball teams suck is in the sports columnists bag of tricks. Unfortunately, you can't use that trick, both Bay Area pro football franchises probably suck worse than the baseball teams.

College football isn't much more hope either since Stanford has been sliding to a Cal-like futility in the past few years due to a football-inept AD. The resurgent Golden Bears of California has lost most of their starters from last year, including star QB Aaron Rodgers to the NFL draft, it's going to be a "retooling" year for Cal next year though the program will remain strong as long as Tedford's there. Did I forget anybody? Oh yeah, San Jose State, but it doesn't matter since they're probably going to lose their D-IA football program in the near future, and besides, they suck, real bad.

I know, you can tell me to chill, but the A's get this treatment even when things were going good. People would still bitch about the payroll, or complain about the lack of small ball or say the Coliseum's a craphole while they gush poetic on the Giants and their shiny new ballpark.

Maybe I should chill, because for the first time since the Giants got their new yard has media been savaging the Giants as much as they do the A's.

So in a nutshell, I enjoy reading A's blogs because the people who write them are just like me, A's fans. If there's any bias in the writing, it's pro-A's not anti-A's.

Boy, did I ramble on this one. Whew, I feel much better now.


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