Intervention; it’s my new favorite TV show on A&E. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, go to the website and watch an episode, but for the sake of today’s intervention and the spirit of saving time, here’s how they describe the show:
“The Intervention Television series profiles people whose dependence on drugs and alcohol or other compulsive behavior has brought them to a point of personal crisis and estranged them from their friends and loved ones. Each Intervention episode ends with a surprise intervention that is staged by the family and friends of the alcohol of drug addict, and which is conducted by one of four Intervention specialists.”
Each episode begins with the addict introducing him or herself in front of the camera, spelling his or her name, and telling the audience what his or her addiction is. So let’s roll the tape of today’s special episode…
“My name is Tim…T-I-M. And I’m addicted to crack-cocaine.”
This is Tim’s story.Tim Marchman is a 29-year-old author and journalist who covers baseball for The New York Sun. Yesterday, he published an article comparing Mets’ starters Johnny Maine and Oliver Perez, and began the article by saying that Maine is “the Mets’ no. 3 starter,” while Ollie is “the no. 4 starter.” This is clearly up for debate, since the two pitchers are the same age, and had identical records last season.
As I had done last week, Tim noted the eerie similarities between Maine and Ollie’s 2007 campaigns, but followed up by highlighting two “main differences” between them — one being their contract-statuses, and “the other difference is that for all their similarity, Maine is a better pitcher.” Ohhhh no he di-iiint! Girl, did you hear what that boy just said!?
After nearly passing out from this blasphemous statement, I regained my composure and read on. Marchman went on to write,
“Last year, for instance, while Perez’s sparkling ERA placed him 9th in the league, Maine was clearly the better pitcher, mostly because he didn’t give up huge numbers of unearned runs…Stamina is another contrast between the two. Maine made three more starts and pitched 14 more innings, but that’s just part of the story. The significant difference was in their performance on five days’ rest, when Maine’s RA was 3.80 and Perez’s was 4.90. In his career, Maine’s RA on five days’ rest is 3.86, against Perez’s 4.14.”
Let’s stop for a minute and analyze this ridiculousness. Marchman’s completely disregarding earned run average (clearly the most indicative stat of a pitcher’s performance), and instead choosing to use “run average,” which doesn’t factor in the brutal defense that took place behind Ollie in 2007, costing him runs that were completely out of his control. Real smart, buddy. (I’m sorry, I’ll stop antagonizing the addict. It’s not helpful to any of the parties involved, and we’re here today because we love Tim, and we want to see him get better.)
Tim isn’t done yet. He goes on to say, “Maine is likely to do better than Perez this year. Using a simple Marcel projection, which weights the last three years’ statistics and regresses them to the league average, Maine projects for a 3.98 ERA, and Perez a 4.56. Part of this is Perez’s poor performance with Pittsburgh in 2005 and 2006, and part of it is that unlike Maine he’s been historically wild.”
OK, we all know about Ollie’s past control-issues, but to use this “simple Marcel projection” based on the last three years is just plain stupid. Not only does Maine have 16 fewer big-league starts than Ollie since 2005, but last season was Maine’s first full year in a starting-rotation! Not to mention it’s unfair to compare Ollie pre and post-Rick Pete. And one more thing — this notion that Maine throws strikes and Ollie’s wild is completely unfounded; Maine walked 75 batters last season, just four fewer than Ollie!
Like all addicts, Tim can never get enough. He goes on to say, “Essentially, Perez wasn’t quite as good as he looked last year, and his record doesn’t quite support the idea that he’s even as good as he was last year. Maine, meanwhile, was about as good as he looked last year, and has been so for some time. There’s a clear, meaningful distinction between them — Perez is a solid no. 3 starter with an upside well past that, and a good chance of reaching it; while Maine is a no. 2 starter who just needs to add some innings.”
Jesus. This is an addict, folks, who is clearly in denial, and completely out-of-control. Perez isn’t even as good as he was last year? His 15-10 record was a joke — he should have had at least 10 wins by the All-Star break (if not for horrible defense behind him), and his 8 wins after the break should have given him 18 on the season, so I think it’s safe to say that he’s better than last year’s record indicates. And Maine was “about as good as he looked last year, and has been so for some time.” I’ll agree with the first part of that — he’s about as good as his 5.53 post-All-Star break ERA. Everyone knows he pitched wayyyy over his head the first half (2.71 ERA), and that he’s not a sub-3 ERA pitcher. Then Marchman says Maine has been this good “for some time.” WTF are you talking about, the guy was a freakin’ rookie in 2006!!! Oh yeah, I think it’s also worth mentioning that Maine’s second-half ERA was a full run-and-a-half higher than Ollie’s…but earned runs don’t matter, I almost forgot.
Tim’s relapse yesterday really shouldn’t surprise us. Anyone following Tim over the last year would have seen signs of his addiction appearing as early as four months ago, right after the Mets’ September collapse, when Tim wrote about how Johan Santana wasn’t the antidote to cure the bullpen’s ails of 2007:
“Johan Santana made 33 starts this year and pitched 219 innings. Jorge Sosa’s final nine starts and all those made by Chan Ho Park, Dave Williams, Phil Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Brian Lawrence, and Jason Vargas add up to 33 starts in total, during which the Mets got 170.2 innings from their starters. If Santana had replaced all those crummy starts, the Mets’ innings averaged per start would have risen [from 5.8] all the way to 6.1. That amounts to an inning every three days. The reason they would have been better off with Santana isn’t that he rests the bullpen, it’s that he’s about eleventy-bajillion times better than Brian Lawrence.”
For a guy who claims to be so smart and sabermetrics-oriented, it amazes me that he’d make such an ignorant conclusion about the impact Santana would have on the Mets’ bullpen. Common sense shows that it wasn’t necessarily the number of innings pitched by Mets’ relievers last year that wore them down, it was the number of consecutive days on which they were used (and warmed up) by our stupid manager. Willie was bringing in Heilman, Feliciano, Schoeneworst, Mota, and Sosa like, five out of every six days down the stretch, and when he didn’t bring them in, how often did we see them warming up? Sometimes he’d get guys throwing on multiple occasions during a single game, and then still not use them; they didn’t get any credit for pitching an inning, and they suffered unnecessary fatigue. Johan Santana will undoubtedly be among the league-leaders in complete games this year, and those days-off the entire `pen receives will be invaluable. It’s ridiculous to analyze this value in terms of averages — “an inning every three days” — as Tim did in his piece above.
Tim’s addiction progressed as the off-season went on, something that’s quite ordinary when an addict becomes bored with his life. With no baseball to watch in December, Tim sat down with Flushing University columnist Matt “The Stat” Himelfarb, and when he asked Tim if there’s anyone in particular still on the market that he thinks the Mets should make a big push for, Tim responded, “Barry Bonds. He’s still the best hitter in baseball and his court case doesn’t start until the end of the year.”
Yeah, Tim, brilliant idea — let’s bring in a juiced, 43-year-old, injury-prone, clubhouse-cancer, who’s knees are fucked, will cost $10-15 mil for the year and be lucky to play 100 games. That’s some stellar outfield-defense with Bonds and Moises at the corners; we may as well bring back Todd Hundley and Jeromy Burnitz as late-inning defensive-replacements while we’re at it.
Alas, it’s now time for the nerveracking, and often extremely emotional part of the show: “The Intervention.”
The addict’s family and friends gather in a room and wait for the addict to enter so that they can tell the person how much they love him or her, and beg the addict to get sober and accept treatment. Now, in every addict’s life, there’s usually an “enabler” — someone who may have the best intentions and wants nothing but the best for the addict, but nevertheless continues to aid and foster the addiction. Drug-rehabs.org describes an enabler as “an individual who assists/allows another person to continue in their unproductive/unhealthy/addictive behavior, whether actively or passively,” and notes that the enabler “has just as many problems mentally and emotionally as the drug addict. The bottom line is they both need help.” In Tim’s case, his wife is one of his enablers.
This became abundantly clear last Friday in Tim’s article about Pedro’s participation in the infamous cockfight, as he wrote, “Mrs. Marchman, who had intended to buy a Martinez shirt to replace my 3-year-old’s too-small Jose Reyes shirt, is now going to buy a Keith Hernandez shirt.” Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.
Tim admits to this egregious stunt, and then proceeds to suggest that Tony La Russa’s drunk-driving episode last spring is more reprehensible than Pedro’s cockfighting in the Dominican Republic. I completely agree with this, and anyone who reads this site knows that I think La Russa’s a complete and total jackass, but the ignorance and hypocrisy of Tim and his wife is astounding! They won’t get their son a Pedro jersey (which he says they were planning on doing) because of Pedro’s recently questionable behavior, but instead they’ll buy him the jersey of the publicly sexist, allegedly womanizing, admitted cocaine-user? That makes about as much sense as the bullshit Roger Clemens is going to be spewing in front of the world on Capitol Hill this morning.
Tim, please accept this wonderful gift of treatment that we are offering you today. It’s a chance to redeem yourself, and regain control of your life again. We know that underneath this ignorant, hypocritical writer lies a kind, sincere, knowledgeable man.
Will you go to treatment today?
Find out what happens to Tim next Monday at 9/8 central, on an all-new episode of “Intervention.”