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Jeter Takes Shortstop Golden Glove Award: Calm Down, Critics
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The winners for the American League Gold Glove awards were announced, and for the second consecutive year Jeter claimed the Shortstop honor. The other members of the symbolic infield included Varitek, Teixeira, Orlando Hudson from Toronto, and Eric Chavez, with Krazy Kenny Rogers somehow stealing the pitchers award. The outfield awards went to Ichiro, Vernon Wells (strangely, the second player from Toronto recognized by Rawlings), and my future Yankee favorite Torii Hunter.

Cynics generally don’t put much stock in awards like the Gold Glove or Silver Slugger, and for the most part, I agree. They are ‘fluff’ awards, the winners voted for by managers and coaches. While the voters certainly take stats and numbers into consideration, the awards are not necessarily given to the players with the highest fielding percentage or lowest number of errors. Even Jeter, who I love, probably was not the best shortstop numbers-wise this year. Not to say that he wasn’t good - - his fifteen errors and .979 fielding percentage surely qualify him for a hearty “thank you” and a pat on the back, perhaps a six pack of Budweiser Select, I’m just not sure that they make the grade for such a grand award.

This is the part where I disagree with myself. Personally, I like that the managers and coaches take things like leadership and effort into account. Numbers can be deceiving sometimes; any pitcher who has had their ERA inflated due to the Colorado air can attest to that. The subjectivity of errors irks me as well; there are plays where errors are charged when perhaps it was an impossible play, and on the other side of the coin, there are plays when perhaps the scorekeepers are taking a home field advantage into account and allow a play to be called a hit rather than dock an infielder with an error. Statistics are certainly a valuable tool in getting an overall look at a player’s value, but I don’t believe that they paint the whole picture. It is also tricky to boil some characteristics down to numbers - - clutch hitting, poor base running, fielders choice plays, etc.

So settle down, baseball cynics. While I don’t believe that these awards are the end-all way to judge a player, I think that generally they reflect a group of the best all-around players. Never forget what makes baseball so different than football or basketball: in football and basketball, you’re watching people rack up numbers and yards and points and free throws….in baseball, we’re watching people play a sport and interact with their teammates.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, November 01, 2005  
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About Me: Just your average 26 year old Yankees lovin' gal from the SD.
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