What the fuck do you mean they haven’t even ASKED already?!!?!???
In a confusing bit of reporting, buried beyond the paywall in the latest from Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider Olney), we’re told that “Boston’s search for a new manager will begin in earnest in the next few days, and it will start with the Red Sox seeking permission to speak with John Farrell.” Then, not five bullet points later, we’re similarly told that “the Red Sox could reach out to the Toronto Blue Jays about Farrell as soon as today, and then we’ll find out how much Toronto wants to keep him.”
Whichever the case, it sounds like we might– just maybe!– finally, possibly, fucking mercifully be nearing an end to all the ridiculous speculation which– you may notice from the Boston Media Round-Up vibe of our latest Afternoon Snack– seems to be entirely fucking driven by those in /ˈbɔstən/.
Which is kind of a shame, in spite of the fact that it would be real fucking nice to get this all over with one way or the other (even though there’s maybe less urgency due to Terry Francona being off the market), because it means we’ll start to see the slow tapering of articles exhibiting the kind of bleary-eyed hilarious madness that we saw published over the weekend in Charlottetown, PEI’s The Guardian.
“Jays should fire Farrell, hire Vizquel” reads the title, and… I mean… it’s… it’s just… wow.
And I say that fully acknowledging that I haven’t been a fan, at all, of what I’ve seen from John Farrell, tactically. Yet there are clear reasons it makes complete and total sense to not lose our fucking minds about him, the atmosphere of the clubhouse he ran, and whatever mistakes were or supposedly weren’t corrected over the course of the year.
It makes for a nice, easy narrative to ask asinine rhetorical questions like, “Where have the Toronto baseball writers been all summer when time after time the Blue Jays more resembled a poorly run amateur senior team than a major league club?”
And shit, it sure as fuck fucking feels like that was totally the case to those of us who sat watching over the last ten weeks of the season, during which the club’s margin for error was especially thin, wherein every mistake seemed monumental in the course of its particular game, and in which repeated mistakes we’d seen mount, through the prism of this heavy, oppressively negative scrutiny, punched us in the gut twice as hard as they would have had the atmosphere surrounding the club and its fans been anything close to the positive end of the ledger.
No, it doesn’t feel like the way the Jays played down the stretch ought to be excusable in any way, but here’s a novel fucking concept: let’s maybe take a look at a few of the baserunning statistics put up by this “poorly run amateur senior team” and see how close to fucking reality our gut feelings really are, shall we?
Baseball Reference has a whole host of sortable team baserunning stats that are available to any asshole with a computer– like yours truly! I wonder what they say?
Well… the picture may not exactly be entirely rosy, but seeing the way the Jays stack up relative to their peers might make someone who’d previously shit out a gut-level opinion think twice about whether they may or may not be a fucking useless lazy blowhard.
The Major League average successful stolen base rate for 2012 was 74%. The Blue Jays stole bases successfully at an above-average 75% clip, tied for thirteenth with four other teams, two of whom (Washington and San Francisco) made the playoffs, with Tampa being another, and two more playoff teams (Cincinnati and Atlanta) being just ahead at 76%.
The Jays had the eighth-most stolen bases, and the twelfth-most caught stealings.
On average, each team had runners picked of 20 times over the course of 2012, and the Jays were below that, with 19. Sixteen Major League teams had more runners picked off than the “poorly run amateur senior team” Jays.
I will grant that the Jays made the second most outs on the bases of any team in the Majors with 65– seven behind the Angels, and one ahead of three teams, and ten above the league average– but they also were second in the percentage of extra bases taken– meaning, the percentage of times a runner advanced more than one base on a single, or more than two bases on a double, when possible.
Also, thought it’s at least as much a reflection of what hitters did with runners on base as it is of how a team functioned on the basepaths alone, we see that when it comes to the percentage of baserunners eventually scoring, league average in 2012 was 30%, and the Jays were slightly above. Texas led the way in this stat at 33%, with five teams tied at 32%, followed by the Jays and four other clubs, with 31% of their baserunners coming in to score.
None of these are be-all, end-all stats, of course, but what I think the numbers show, despite what I cannot deny often looked brutal, is that the Jays’ adventures on the basepaths this year were not in any way, shape, or form outside of the realm of the totally fucking normal. There is nothing whatsoever that suggests that the club was any worse than anybody else.
As much as anyone wants to spew nonsense like the notion that “Farrell may have talked with the players, but I doubt it was about base running because the same individuals (Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus, Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose) have made the same boneheaded mistakes since April,” or pretend that “maybe he’s a poor teacher and the players are slow learners,” as though we’re talking about damn little leaguers who don’t know any better, and not players who’ve played the game their whole fucking lives and maybe struggle sometimes to adapt to the pace of the Majors, it just doesn’t hold water.
So… “where have the Toronto baseball writers been all summer when time after time the Blue Jays more resembled a poorly run amateur senior team than a major league club?”
Maybe noticing, as right as it may feel to say so, they kinda haven’t been.
Of course, when these arguments are coming from someone who ridiculously suggests that Farrell has Carlos Villanueva and JA Happ “so confused they’ll likely not be back,” it’s hard to take very seriously.
Thing it, it’s not just him. It’s so very much not just him. And, as much as anything else, that’s why, as soon as these days of having nothing to talk about but John Farrell fucking end, one way or the other, the damn better.