Posted by: Peter | September 8, 2009

Productive Outs

In general, I’m pretty tolerant of the repetitive and cliche quality of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven’s TV commentary.  I shrug at the dopey homerism; I put up with “circle me Bert”; I don’t even mind the way Bert thinks everything is either an “inside-out swing” or an “uppercut swing”. Despite it all, I find them sort of blandly reassuring, so I tune in to them even though my mlb.tv subscription gives me the option of watching the opposing team’s broadcast.

But I really, really hate the idea of “productive outs”. In tonight’s game, with Denard Span at second, Dick and Bert kept yammering on about how Orlando Cabrera just needed to hit the ball to the right side to advance Span to third. When he did exactly that, they congratulated him on a “productive out”.

Now I suppose there are different ways one could define “productive”. But according to the Fangraphs win expectancies, Cabrera’s out increased the Blue Jays’ chance of winning, from 44.2% to 45.7%. It’s hard for me to envision a definition of “productive” that’s consistent with “making your team more likely to lose”.

Of course, Orlando Cabrera sucks, so maybe advancing the runner is the most we can reasonably expect from him in that situation. But that brings up the larger question of why the @#$% is Ron Gardenhire batting him second again!? Gleeman just made that point today, so I won’t belabor it, but sheesh.

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