<
>

Do the writers hate Colorado?

9/9/2010

The latest from ye olde sack o' mail:

    I don't understand how a hitter in CO can be penalized for home/road splits and pitchers are not given an advantage. I understand they are not in the A.L. East but stats have to be taken with a grain of salt based on bias in the media. Cargo could lead in every offensive/devensive category and still not be the MVP. Please just state the obvious bias that sports writers have against CO.

    - Chad (Chula Vista, Cal.)

When you say "penalized" I'm not sure what you mean, Chad. The number (1) of Rockies who have won an MVP Award is his higher than the number (0) of Rockies who have obviously deserved to win an MVP Award. Larry Walker was fantastic in 1997 when he took the honors, but was he more fantastic than Mike Piazza and Barry Bonds and Craig Biggio? It's not at all clear that he was.

I do think Troy Tulowitzki was robbed of the Rookie of the Year Award in 2007. It was an incredibly close vote, and at least one voter -- enough to swing the result, in the event -- probably did hold Coors Field against Tulowitzki.

So I would say the Rockies are batting .500 when it comes to awards, hardly enough evidence to gain an indictment for bias against our nation's sportswriters. Let alone a conviction.

I think the writers have actually gotten this one mostly right, over the years. When the Rockies played in Mile High Stadium, the writers appropriately discounted, heavily, some of the crazier hitting stats compiled by slugging Rockies (well, with the exception of Dante Bichette in 1995, who finished a strong second in MVP balloting but wasn't one of the five best players in the league).

When the Rockies moved into Coors Field, the writers continued to appropriately discount, heavily, their hitters' statistics. And I think the writers did begin to discount the Rockies' statistics less heavily when the humidor was installed and the numbers came down some. Now, instead of Coors Field being one of the greatest hitter's parks in the game's history, it's merely a great hitter's park relative to the other current ballparks. And I think the writers recognize this.

You don't offer any specific example of a Rockies pitcher who's "not given an advantage," but I'll assume you're thinking about Ubaldo Jimenez, as he's the first Rockies pitcher in a while who's deserved a great deal of attention. But you must remember that when Jimenez was 15-1 at the All-Star break, with a 2.27 ERA, he was generally considered a lock for the Cy Young Award. If the balloting had happened then ... Well, I might not have voted for him. But most of the real voters would have.

Since then, though, Jimenez has gone 3-5 with a 3.98 ERA. Even if you give him credit for pitching in Coors Field, his ERA is just the seventh best in the league. His strikeout rate is 10th best. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is ... well, let's just say it's nothing particularly special. Jimenez is having a fantastic season. If he finishes strong, he might deserve to be strongly considered for the Cy Young Award, along with Roy Halladay. But at this point, there's simply no real evidence that Jimenez is getting less credit than he deserves.

Chad, accusing sportswriters of bias won't get you anywhere. Sure, some of that goes on. It's not hard to spot, individually. Especially when awards season arrives in November. As a group, though, writers are biased much less against places (Colorado, Kansas City, etc.) and people than against ideas (there's more to baseball than wins and RBI, steroids are just the latest drug of choice, etc.). Always have been.

My friend, you probably should look somewhere else to explain the things you find so irksome.