Deep Thoughts Courtesy of MLB Tonight

Good news: You don't even need to understand baseball to get paid to talk about it!


One of my favorite new follows on Twitter has been the Heard on MLB Tonight account. It’s a pretty basic idea but a thoroughly enjoyable one. They watch The MLB Network’s MLB Tonight studio show and tweet (some of) the stupid stuff they say. It could seriously turn into a full-time job. I have no idea how Brian Kenny tolerates these guys on a regular basis.

If you scroll through their timeline you will see that a lot of the quotes are focused on “sabermetricians” which, as the MLB Tonight analysts use it, may be better described as anyone who has ever looked at a baseball statistic in their life. I’m not saying that they need to talk about xFIP and BABIP on the air every night, but they really should work on saying things that are accurate and/or show the slightest bit of insight into the game. You know, something that goes a bit deeper than grit and the will to win.

As you will see this list is filled with Harold Reynolds quotes, because he has succeeded in elevating ignorance to an art form. It’s not only that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, at this point he’s just flaunting it.

Let’s kick it off with this recent Reynolds remark.

Admittedly, “storied” is a hard concept to quantify, but if I was identifying storied MLB franchises I would probably have to list a minimum of 25 before I made my way to the Houston Astros. When I recall the illustrious history of the Astros, I think of Carlos Beltran hitting home runs, Brad Lidge giving them up, and the ugliest uniforms in the history of mankind. I guess those are stories, and the Astros are a franchise.

Did I miss it when anything other than humans played the game of baseball? Was there an Air Bud Baseball movie? Someone please check with Billy to see who the most impressive Golden Retriever to play the game of baseball was.

Wait, you’re telling me that we can’t quantify how many bases are stolen against a pitcher per inning pitched or what the caught stealing percentage is when a particular guy is on the mound?

It’s stuff like this that truly baffles me. He could have just said “He shuts down the running game” and left it as a statement of opinion not backed up by fact. But instead he has to take it a step further and try to take a shot at people who understand and use statistics. It’s not enough to just be ignorant, he has to brag about how ignorant he is.

Wait, what? If you are seeing the ball so well (yes, it’s well not good, Harold, but we have bigger fish to fry here) then why don’t you just approach the at bat trying to get a hit or walk?

So what you’re telling me is that if I spent enough time with Justin Verlander, that I too could be 9-0 with a 3.19 ERA and 0.87 WHIP? Call me crazy, but I think that there might be a few other factors playing into Scherzer’s success this season. If Mitch Williams is right, I think that JV has an incredible career as a pitching coach ahead of him. In fact, shouldn’t Jim Leyland have Verlander spending more time with Rick Porcello and Phil Coke right now?

Did Bowa finally quantify what exactly this grit thing is that we keep hearing about? It just means that you stay on the field until the game is actually over? I feel like a lot of players do this. Well, unless the game goes into extra innings, in which case they may play 30 or more outs that night. That would be a Michael Young level of grit right there.

First of all, does anyone actually watch the Astros every night? If I had a family member that played for them I would constantly be coming up with reasons why I missed yesterday’s game, and I love baseball. I am going to venture a guess that the list of people who watch the Astros every night is limited to those that: are paid by the Astros, paid to watch the Astros, and a very select number of Houston-area masochists who are desperately waiting for the college football season to kick off.

But once we get by that, what exactly does getting after someone entail, Sean? (And listen, I love The Mayor. This hurts me more than it hurts you, Sean.) Do you mean they let the other team score runs and then they follow after them for 9 innings until the end of the game? If that’s what you meant, then I agree. Those gritty Astros, they play 27 outs every night!

We may need to add some extra columns to baseball standings, let’s make them look like hockey standings. Wins, Losses, and Getting After You. Sure, the Astros may only be 22 and 44 but they have Gotten After You 58 times so far this season.

One of my (extremely important) crusades in life is to try and help people understand what exactly the word “literally” means. So please, let me help you out.  Your jaw didn’t “literally” hit the floor. You didn’t “literally die of embarrassment” or you wouldn’t be the one telling the story. One time, I startled a lady at work and she said “I just literally crapped my pants.” I replied, “You either have no idea what the word literally means or that is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard.”

So, Matt, unless Yasel is sitting back in the clubhouse holding a cup of Starbucks, you sir, fail to grasp the concept of “literally.”

I can’t. I just can’t.

Runs scored is a really basic statistic. It takes less than a minute to look up on almost any baseball-related site. Is the problem, perhaps, that Harold and the guys don’t have a computer with internet access? I used my fancy, new-fangled computer to find out that Carlos Gonzalez and Joey Votto have scored the most runs this year. So what it “seems” like is really pretty inconsequential.

And the cake has been taken. It’s gone and Harold Reynolds took it. I could teach Run Differential to an 8-year-old in under 2 minutes, I guarantee it.

“Ok Mikey, how many runs have the Red Sox scored this season?”


“And how many runs have they allowed their opponents to score?


“And what’s 351 minus 273?”


“Congratulations Mikey, you now understand Run Differential. Go be a mediocre player in the major leagues for a few years and you will be over qualified to be an analyst on the MLB Network.”

Categories: Boston Red Sox Brad Lidge Carlos Beltran Detroit Tigers Houston Astros Joey Votto Michael Young MLB Phil Coke Rick Porcello Sean Casey Yasel Puig

I'm a native Mainer and life-long Red Sox fan living among way too many Yankees fans in New York. I spent most of my childhood convinced that Spike Owen was going to be awesome, sooner or later. The last time I punched a wall was October 16, 2003. My bucket list included personally thanking a Red Sox player for 2004, something I was finally able to check off when I met Trot Nixon. Follow @JK7_

17 Responses to “Deep Thoughts Courtesy of MLB Tonight” Subscribe

  1. Chip Buck June 13, 2013 at 9:27 AM #

    I'm still waiting for them to add a feature called TWTW that's dedicated to glorifying scrappy players on consistently shitty teams. I'm convinced the MLB network is nothing more than a social experiment where scientists surround Brian Kenny with 17 Forrest Gump's.

    • Jack Keller June 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM #

      Brian Kenny has got to wonder if he is on an extended episode of Punk'd…or some kind of Truman Show deal where everyone is in on it but him.

  2. Nick June 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM #

    I think you're acting a bit simple in a couple of these. Sure, they are some of the most asinine broadcasters on television, but you're overreacting to the point of absurdity. Talking about air bud misrepresents Bill Ripkens point, which may have been pretty stupid, but it wasn't as stupid as your rebuttal. And if you're ad big of a baseball fan as you say you are, you have to realize that cup of coffee is an expression itself not to be taken literally, so by saying he's "literally" doing some expression which itself is not meant to be taken literally, he's not misusing it. You used it add an excuse to set up the overplayed literal vs. Figurative argument. Yes, what he said, even after the concessions I have it is still a pretty stupid phrase from a rhetorical standpoint, but still. You can't fight stupid with stupid.

    • Chip Buck June 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM #

      Wow, dude. Jack's snark is completely lost on you. And no, the literal/figurative argument isn't overplayed. There are a ton of morons out there who don't know the difference. Claiming that he used it as an expression doesn't cut it. You're advocating ignorance.

    • Jack Keller June 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM #

      Glad to have you as a reader, Nick.

      • Chip Buck June 13, 2013 at 1:05 PM #

        What Nick didn't tell you is that his last name is Cafardo. That's why he's so offended by you poking fun at nonsense.

        • Jack Keller June 13, 2013 at 1:15 PM #

          Chip, FTW. Game, set, and match.

    • Lyndsay June 13, 2013 at 8:53 PM #

      "Yes. What is this thing you humans call "humor"? Is it related to grit and the will to win? Because I don't have any sense of it." – Nick

  3. ZAGK June 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM #

    It's just not worth the agony of watching those clowns…record QuickPitch and watch it the next morning, much better.

    • Jack Keller June 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM #

      Absolutely — I spend the night watching actual games on as opposed to these clowns trying to talk about those games. The only way I would actually watch MLB Tonight is if someone put a gun to my head and told me it was that or Sportscenter.

  4. Lyndsay June 13, 2013 at 8:44 PM #

    That is both hilarious and disturbing. Did I miss in the pre-season projections the 2013 Houston Astros being picked to win the World Series? Because from the hyperbole waxed on the Astros, if I knew nothing about the game of baseball and just followed their tweets, as a betting man I would probably pick the Astros. Because they stay on the field until the last out. They don't forfeit! A team like that is definitely going all the way! (because their opponent would have forfeited so they'd win by default!)

  5. Lyndsay June 13, 2013 at 8:47 PM #

    This should be a regular column. There's too much unintentional comedy here. Although, it pains me that these guys get paid SO MUCH to know SO LITTLE about baseball. Seriously, guys, you're getting paid for this, aren't you? Maybe wanna, I don't know, look at some stats before you show up?

    • Jack Keller June 14, 2013 at 7:03 PM #

      Thanks Lyndsay! If they keep producing so much quality material I really may have to make this a regular/semi-regular thing.

      Thanks for reading…AND having a sense of humor!

  6. Lyndsay June 13, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

    Can I add another pet-peeve to the overused broadcaster phrases that really mean nothing, besides grit and the will to win? "This guy plays the game the right way". Uhh….someone wanna tell me what 'the right way' is exactly? Is there a right way and a wrong way? Does it have anything to do with "hustle" (another hated word). How do you know some guy is playing the right way? Or playing it "righter" than the guy next to him. Just once, I want someone to give this a proper definition besides "has never been on a PED list" or "dirties his uniform every night".

  7. Hunter Golden June 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM #

    MLB Network is an incredible exercise in perpetual redundancy…

  8. Lyndsay June 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM #

    They might as well have my mom do MLB tonight coverage, and she still asks me if "the handsome one with the beard who reminds me of your father" (Johnny Damon) still plays for the Red Sox.

  9. JiminNC June 16, 2013 at 8:34 AM #

    Most of these are great, and Reynolds is amazing, but you booted the ball on "27 outs." Obviously he means "they play hard for 27 outs," which is not something every team can do every day. For example, you can imagine a guy who has a column with a lot of great points, but also one or two clunkers. That could be called "not playing 27 outs." Figuratively.