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.
Houston is a storied franchise. – Harold Reynolds
— Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 6, 2013
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.
Bo is probably the most impressive human to play the game of baseball. – Bill Ripken — Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 5, 2013
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.
He shuts down the running game. There’s no stat to show that. – Greg Amsinger — Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 4, 2013
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.
When you’re bunting, you know you’re seeing the ball pretty good. – Harold Reynolds
— Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 5, 2013
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?
“Scherzer is good because he was taught by Verlander.” – Mitch Williams
— Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 11, 2013
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?
They’ve got grit. They play 27 outs every night. – Larry Bowa — Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) May 31, 2013
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.
If you watch the Astros every night, you see that they get after you every night. They may not win, but they get after you. – Sean Casey — Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) May 30, 2013
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.
Puig is literally just finishing his first sip of that cup of coffee. – Matt Vasgersian
— Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 6, 2013
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 don’t know statistics, but it seems like he’s scored the most runs this year.” – Harold Reynolds.— Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) June 8, 2013
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.
I’m being straight up honest. I have no idea what run differential is. – Harold Reynolds
— Heard on MLB Tonight (@HeardOnMLBT) May 23, 2013
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.”