Gold Glove Gaffes
by Josh Burkholder – “SportStance” Columnist
After the season concludes every year, Major League Baseball hands out awards to who they think is the best defensive player at each position in each league. They are fittingly called “Gold Gloves.” They use criteria from games throughout the season, such as number of errors, fielding percentage, and total putouts. This method is all well and good, but I think that they should also take into consideration the context of the game and the difficulty the plays are that the players are able to make. I mean, one person can have fewer errors than the other, but they may have had a lot more easy balls to field hit to them. Also, speaking of errors, some players play more games than others, giving them more chances to make a mistake. This year, I believe that the officials did not take enough parts of the game into consideration when selecting these awards, and some players were horribly snubbed out of their rightful Gold Glove.
First off, I believe the battle for the center field Gold Glove in the American league was a three way battle. In my opinion, Mike Trout of the LA Angels, Austin Jackson of the Detroit Tigers, and Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles were likely candidates. That is also the order that I myself would rank them. Somehow, though, the voters decided to give the award to Adam Jones. This is definitely the biggest snub, as people across the baseball world have been talking about it ever since the announcement. Here are a few reasons why: Jones had four times as many errors as Trout and Jackson. Now I know that I said before that other things need to be taken into consideration in regards to errors, but four times more is quite substantial. Also, Trout and Jackson had better fielding percentages than Jones. And then the biggest fact: Trout was credited with saving almost 11 more runs than the average player at his position, while Jones was below the average. That seems like a pretty important statistic to me. Answer me this, how does it make any sense at all the Jones deserved this award?
There was also a snub that I kind of take personally. Brendan Ryan of the Seattle Mariners was inexplicably beaten out of the American League shortstop Gold Glove by J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles. This summer, I watched Ryan play multiple times on TV as well as in person. There is absolutely no way that any shortstop could be better. Sure, Hardy had more putouts, but he also had many more chances. Ryan was credited with 27 defensive runs saved, nine more than Hardy. The way it looks to me, the officials who chose the awards decided to look at the complete statistics of the players, including hitting. I agree with them that J.J. Hardy is hands-down a better hitter than Ryan. But, this is not an offensive award, so I do not understand how Hardy deserved this more than Ryan.
In sports across the nation, there is this little thing called East Coast bias. I believe that it was the main factor in these snubs. It happens every year in every sport. People on the East Coast think that us westerners are so far away that nothing we do matters. Trout and Ryan both play for West Coast teams, while Hardy and Jones play for the same team on the East Coast. Feel free to disagree with me, but in my opinion the facts are all there to support this bias, and I would love to go further in depth about it sometime to anyone who wants to talk.