OK, I know this will get annoying if I do it too often, but I can't
resist taking a little shot at Buck Martinez. I watched a couple of
innings of the Yankees-Orioles game on Fox Sports Net, which carries
O's games. Buck Martinez is an occasional commentator for them. When
Bobby Abreu stepped to the plate last night in the sixth inning,
Martinez lauded Abreu's ability to do "different things" to help
his team win games. Buck noted his excellent plate discipline, his
ability to lay down the sacrifice bunt and pointed out that while Abreu
doesn't steal a lot of bases, he steals them late in games, in the
eighth and ninth innings, when it matters.
Buck's got the plate discipline part right, of course. But, Abreu's sacrifice bunt Monday night, to which Buck referred, was Abreu's first since 1998. How could something Abreu didn't do for eight years be chalked up as an "ability" that he regularly brings to bear on his team's fortunes.
Many commentators, and I consider Martinez one of the more egregious in this regard, do little more than string together mindless platitudes during the course of a game. Buck likes the idea of a player who does different things, he likes Abreu (so do I), so he simply marries the two together without any idea whether the idea of the player he likes and the actuality of the player he likes bear any relationship to one another.
So, with that in mind - do you think I bought for a second that Buck had any clue what he was talking about when he asserted that Abreu does most of his stolen base damage late? Heck no. So - you guessed it - I looked at the distribution of Abreu's stolen bases this year.
First of all, Bobby's stolen 25. That's a lot, contrary to Buck's assertion. Second of all, guess how many of those 25 Abreu's stolen after the sixth inning this year? How about four. And, two of Abreu's four caught stealing have come after the sixth inning. In other words, Abreu is 21 and 2 from innings 1-6, and 4 and 2 from the seventh inning on. Does this sound like someone who does most of his base-stealing late?
It's all too-common that our so-called expert commentators throw out mindless tripe like this. And, while the particular examples may seem trivial, they suggest that these guys are often watching games in their own heads, and not what's in front of them on the field.
What can I say - It's a pet peeve.