Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Associated Press vs. Modern Thought

Milton Bradley seems to be the first person affected by what may some day be referred to as The Eisenberg Jinx. The subject of the very first full length article on Eisenberg Sports due to his 31 game on base streak, Bradley went out and turned in his only baseless performance of the season. Since then, with the pressure raised by the story off of him, Bradley has begun a new streak, currently at 6 games, and has been on base in 37 of the 38 games he has played.

But none of this is why I bring up Milton today (as the only writer in America with anything nice to say about him, I feel we can be on a first-name basis). Why I bring up Milton is last night's box score line:

3 AB 2 runs 3 hits 1 RBI 2 Walks O strikeouts

Milton Bradley came to the plate last night five times, and reached base five times. This perfect performance has inspired a new award I'm going to give out daily, which from this point forward shall be known as the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, after the Oakland A's executive who may have changed the way we all think about on-base percentage. The award will be given out daily to any player who plays a full game and gets on base each time, without being thrown out on the bases. We will also give out the Voros McCracken Medal Of Honor ( named after the guy who figured out that once the ball's in play, the pitcher is no longer in control), for any pitcher who throws at least 90 pitches, allowing no homers, and having at least three times as many strikeouts as walks.

With that said, today's PDMOH goes to:

Milton Bradley of the Cleveland Indians for the previously mentioned performance!

Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies for the following stat line: 2 AB 3 runs 2 hits 3 rbi 3 walks and 0 strikeouts, with the two hits being a double and a homer!

And the VMMOH goes to:

Jon Garland of the Chicago White Sox: 8 innings 5 hits 0 runs 0 walks 6 strikeouts against the mighty Blue Jays!

Shawn Chacon of the Colorado Rockies: 8 innings 2 hits 0 runs 0 walks 6 strikeouts in Colorado!

This is where the ASSociated Press comes in. OK, that's a cheap shot. We're better than that. Let's try it again.

This is where the Associated Press comes in. I go looking at the ESPN stories that accompany their box scores, and they all turn out to be AP. Nothing wrong with that, I think, and they seem to give the pitchers their due. Garland is described in the headline as "sparkling". Chacon "baffles". Now the words "sparkling" and "baffles" sound more like words that Beckham used when he first met his Spice Girl wife, but at least they are trying to convey the importance of the performance. Which brings us to Bradley and Abreu, who, by the way, both happen to also be Swampscott Gators.

Milton is not mentioned until the very last paragraph of the AP story, and then only to say that he drove Jody Gerut home on a single. Abreu is mentioned early in the story, but that is because he hit a three-run homer. In each case the phrase "reached base safely in all plate appearances" never appears.

So its only the AP. They just do the stories for ESPN. There are other sources. Well true, there are other sources. I went on to Sporting News. AP. I went to Yahoo. AP.

I decided to stop checking other national outlets (we'll do that on other days) and go to the local newspapers. I do this through Jim Furtado's Newstand, which I'll provide a link through later today.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a story written in it by Todd Zolecki, titled "Phils Subdue the Mets with 5-Homer Eruption". Good enough, five homers are certainly the dominant thing in the game. But Abreu's performance is not mentioned outside the context of his 3-run homer.

The Cleveland Beacon Journal has a story written by Sheldon Ocker, titled "Gerut Rocks Detroit". Gerut went 3 for 5 with a homer, and through out two runners. There are 28 paragraphs in the story. In the 28th, Milton is mentioned.

"Milton Bradley singled three times, scored two runs and drove in another."

Well, Ocher got the three hits, finally, but seems to find no importance in the walks.

People, we can do something about this. The AP is a Dinosaur that will only be defeated when the environment changes around it. But Zolecki and Ocker are human beings. Human beings can grow, and adapt.

I want all of you, yes, all three of you, to email Mr. Zolecki and Mr. Ocker, and say:

On Base Percentage is the most important statistic there is in baseball! Please recognize Bobby Abreu(Zolecki) and Milton Bradley (Ocker) for his performance in yesterday's game, in which they reached base safely in every at-bat. Also, please inform the ballplayer that they have received the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor, as given by Eisenberg Sports, at http://eisenbergsports.blogspot.com.

We can change the world, people! One beat writer at a time! Just copy and paste the message, making sure to take out the names for the other email. Then email me, letting me know you did it. You can do it!

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki (Abreu) at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

Messages for Sheldon Ocker can be sent to socker@thebeaconjournal.com





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