Taking issue with Wedge’s sabermetrics comments
By Jim Moore
I’ll bet if you don’t like the job he’s doing, you could come up with all kinds of reasons why Eric Wedge should be fired.
And I’m guessing a lot of them would support your case.
The Mariners’ manager fueled things this week with his derogatory comments about the role sabermetrics had in Dustin Ackley’s demise.
“It’s the new generation,” Wedge told reporters. “It’s all this sabermetrics stuff, for lack of a better term, you know what I mean? People who haven’t played since they were 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids’ heads.”
The Go 2 Guy’s wide-ranging reaction to Wedge’s comment:
Eric Wedge was way off-base when he said that sabermetrics played a role in Dustin Ackley’s offensive struggles. (AP)
Eric, I’d never tell you this to your face because those steely eyes of yours suggest to me that if I were to cross you, I wouldn’t live to type another sentence. But what were you thinking saying that? I mean, really, what were you thinking?
I have 9-year-olds who are playing baseball right now. I can’t picture them crunching numbers someday and posting stuff on U.S.S. Mariner that will somehow affect the confidence of a Mariners’ prospect in 2033.
But my 9-year-olds knew before you did that Ackley needed to be sent to Tacoma. They don’t read the sabermetrics stuff on-line. They watch the games. They see him strike out or ground out to the second baseman all the time. They wonder if you’re watching the same games they are.
Here’s something else that their dad gets a kick out of: As recently as last Friday, you said that Ackley had to figure it out at the major-league level, indicating that it wouldn’t help him to go to Tacoma. Then three days later, you turn him into a Rainier.
You also said that it was silly for me to think that a No. 2 overall draft choice should be a .300 hitter. Sorry, I thought if you were deemed to be the second-best player in the 2009 draft, I just kind of expected stardom. Silly me. My bad if I’m way off-base on that.
I’m still mad that the Mariners swept the A’s in the season-ending series in 2008, preventing them from having the worst record and getting the first pick to draft Stephen Strasburg.
Imagine that, Eric: Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Strasburg at the top of your rotation, and seamheads in Washington, D.C. would be blamed for Ackley’s struggles with the Nationals.
I understand that you were trying to defend your player, just like general manager Jack Zduriencik did when he praised Ackley’s play at second base while demoting him.
And let’s say you’re right, that the sabermetrics stuff messed with Ackley’s head. Do you really want a mentally fragile guy like that on your team long-term?
One more thing: After making those comments, why would you come back the next day and soften your stance with follow-up comments about the importance of sabermetrics, how you used them in Cleveland and still use them now?
You’ll tell me that you were asked a question about it, so you answered the question. You should have brushed the question off. You made it even worse by saying, “That’s not the reason Ackley was having issues at home plate.”
Well, what is it then? And why did you bring sabermetrics up in the first place if it weren’t having some sort of impact on Ackley?
This is a classic case of a manager having rabbit ears. Why would you go out of your way to irritate and blame seamheads? I would never want to go as deep into the game as they do, but I respect those guys, and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Athletics GM Billy Beane the king of seamheads? Look at what he does year after year.
The A’s, with a roster that isn’t that much better than the Mariners’, are 31-24 to your team’s record of 23-31, Eric.
I’m still going to support you. I think I’d like playing for you. I cut you slack because I don’t think the best manager in baseball could win consistently with the lineup you’re forced to go with night after night.
But give the seamheads a break.