Re: Philly fans appreciate Jr. Why don't we? (Warning: Rant)
Sigh. Another post suggesting that if you use stats, particularly new ones, you must not appreciate the game, and that if you criticize a player's performance, you must not appreciate his career.
Perhaps we sometimes get too focused on the argument de jour, but don't for a second think that because I can explain VORP and use phrases like random variation that I don't appreciate Junior and don't appreciate the game on the field.
Griffey is one of the top 100 players of all time, arguably top 50. He was a joy to watch in the field in the early part of his career and his swing remains a thing of beauty. He's always been a gracious person and by all accounts a great family man. However, he is not a great player anymore, his defense in RF is among the worst in baseball, and he has contributed to the Reds struggles in 2008. Believe it or not, it is possible for us to recognize all of these things at the same time.
I think what often gets lost on message boards is that people enjoy the game in many ways and that this is reflected in the way in which we talk about it. For some people, there is no differentiation between the objective and the personal. Players are what they do. Griffey was a great player, is a great player, and always will be a great player. Suggesting less would diminish the way in which they appreciate him. I can understand the perspective of the fan who just wants to enjoy the game on the field, to appreciate the accomplishments, and celebrate the athletic achievement.
But there are also fans who want to enjoy the game behind the game. For me, the joy of baseball isn't limited to what happens between the white lines. I enjoy the business problems of the sport. I enjoy the particulars of roster management, lineup order, and player valuation. I also love the game between the lines. I love watching Jose Reyes run at will. I love watching Ichiro throw darts from the outfield. I love watching Albert Pujols have his way at the plate. I love watching Adam Dunn launch a fastball in to orbit. It all counts.
What I think happens sometimes is that people take other people's comments through their own lens and don't appreciate the other person's perspective. This happens both ways of course. I talk VORP or OPS, asserting that Junior doesn't belong batting #3 and it offends your better judgement. You ignore Griffey's OPS, focusing on what he means to you and the game, and assert that he's not "the problem", offending my better judgement.
The reality is that both of us have a right to our perspective. We all have the right to enjoy the game in the way we choose. Having torn up your hamstring doesn't make you more of a fan. It doesn't give you extra weight. You're one person, I'm one person. As for ORG as a separated board, it's there for reason that you illustrate quite clearly. As we struggle as a community to enjoy the Reds both together and in our own ways, one thing that undeniably detracts from this end is name calling and ad hominem attacks. Phrases like "VORP, BABIP, and BLOWBALLS" and "best impersonation of whiny little b*tches" add nothing to the conversation. They merely stir things up and offend people. Permission to post on ORG is predicated on essentially one thing, respect. We're all going to have different views. We're all going to appreciate players, the Reds, and game in different ways. But if we can't do it in a civil manner, the whole thing comes crashing down.
I understand your frustration, CTT. But after 35 years as a fan, it's time to recognize that your way of being a fan isn't superior to anyone else's. This sort of community can't work unless we all can keep that perspective, myself included.
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.