Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Boz Loves The Waffle House

There was a time, say about 1984, that Tom Boswell was undoubtedly the best baseball writer in the country. If you pick up one of his old books, it's filled with cutting-edge observation and wonderful prose. He's still got the prose down, but his analysis? Yeesh. He loves stats, but he's also smart enough to manipulate them for his arguments (instead of forming arguments based on what the stats tell him). And he frequently changes his mind. There's nothing wrong with that. Being hard-headed certainly isn't admirable. But he comes out so forcefully in certain directions, when he changes his mind a few weeks later, he loses all credibility as an analyst, even if he wraps it all up in some pretty phrases.

Today's column is no exception. I know that writers don't write their own headlines, but today's is a humdinger: "Nats' Starting Pitching Could Be a Real Problem." Contrast that with the lede from February 22 (2 weeks ago!!?):
The surprise of camp so far is the growing realization that the mocked Washington rotation will be better than it was last year. In fact, the case for a better rotation in '07 is so obvious after a real analysis that it's actually closer to a promise than a prediction.

Now to be fair, most of Boz' column isn't about the pitching so much as how the team's struggles are going to impact leadership. But it's working from the basic assumption that the pitching is going to suck, which is far from the impression he had two weeks ago. I guess his out would be that he didn't say that this year's staff would be good, just that it wouldn't suck as much as Armas/Ortiz et al. But he wrapped it in so many hyperbolic adjectives and phrases, that you were left with the impression that the 07 rotation was going equal that of the '74 Orioles.

Let's Compare. New Boz. Old Boz

[T]heir starting rotation will probably ensure them a summer of biblical drubbings.

In fact, the case for a better rotation in '07 is so obvious after a real analysis that it's actually closer to a promise than a prediction.

[S]o many have looked so bad that, by process of elimination, the Nats may be forced to rush pitchers who should be in Class AAA

Think of it as a carousel. ... With two consecutive quality starts at Class AA Harrisburg and no felony arrests, you could be No. 3 man on the staff by next Thursday.

What if all of these guys were out of a job because they couldn't do the job? That hasn't been proved yet.

In fact, the case for a better rotation in '07 is so obvious after a real analysis that it's actually closer to a promise than a prediction. (That's so good, I had to use it twice!)

Seldom has a franchise needed a few decent pitchers -- just two or three, really -- to identify themselves.

[I]t hardly matters whom Washington sends to the mound in the first inning this year. As long as their arms are healthy enough to lift their morning coffee and they remember to cover first base, they'll be better than Tony Armas, Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Pedro Astacio were last year.

Teh Nats are teh bestest team ever!1!!11 I love tehm lol!11

Teh Nats are teh bestest team ever!1!!11 I love tehm lol!11

OK, so I made the last two up. Sorta.

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