Intelligent Beings Pile on Gold Gloves

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golden-toilet.jpgAs anyone not named Rafael Palmeiro knows, the Gold Glove awards are an utter joke. Everybody knows this, and everybody complains about it. Rob took umbrage with Michael Young's selection , Geoff Baker took shots at the entire sham, the Drunk Jays Fans went apoplectic over Nate McLouth's award and so on and so forth. Everybody hates it, everyone knows it's a joke. Hopefully nobody takes it too seriously.

As an unapologetic fielding nerd and saber-dabbler, this drives me mad. I really, really want to take it seriously. I want them to matter like I ignorantly thought they did in the pre-intertube days. Sure, there are Silk Gloves and Fielding Bibles, but what beats an actual golden glove?

There is one reason we can't take the Gold Gloves seriously: they are voted on by the coaches and managers in each league. That's right, 75 ex-ballplayers and professional seed chewers decide who gets a faux-prestigious award. How many cumulative minutes do we think went into the league-wide voting? 15 minutes? Maybe 20. The current wave of incredible metrics and systems grow out of the tall foreheads pouring over game footage and formulating the most objective way to assess the skills of defensive players.

How many National League bullpen coaches considered Albert Pujols excellent +20 plus/minus rating or his superior by 150 points revised zone rating before deciding to follow their gut and vote for Adrian Gonzalez? Nate McClouth rated as the WORST defensive center fielder in baseball, yet he now owns a gaudy statuette. If he doesn't make two key plays during the All Star game, does he even get a single vote?

So here you go, these are the Walkoff Walk Gilded Leather Awards, named after a comment by our very own Honeynut Ichiros. Your panel is me, Lloyd the Barber and nobody else. I watch plenty of baseball, I look at reams of stats. But I'm no robot, I've got a heart, too. I am gladly swept away by the artistry of...fuck it, make with the listicle!

National League
  1. Albert Pujols - 1B
  2. Chase Utley - 2B
  3. Jimmy Rollins - SS
  4. Blake DeWitt - 3B
  5. Chris Young - OF
  6. Carlos Beltran - OF
  7. Randy Winn - OF
  8. Yadier Molina - C
  9. Greg Maddux - P
American League
  1. Lyle Overbay - 1B
  2. Mark Ellis - 2B
  3. Mike Aviles - SS
  4. Scott Rolen/Adrian Beltre - 3B
  5. Carl Crawford - OF
  6. Carlos Gomez - OF
  7. Nick Markakis - OF
  8. Kurt Suzuki - C
  9. Kenny Rogers - P
Chase Utley lost out for both the Silk and Gold Glove awards, despite making an whopping 30 extra plays over Brandon Phillips. His heads up play during the World Series likely won him the Gold Glove next year, so Chutley don't despair. Randy Winn gets credit for playing right field in vast and windy Phone Bill Park, despite his noodle arm. Blake DeWitt lead the NL in +/- in limited time at third base, and he doesn't play for the Mets so he gets my vote. Turns out Greg Maddux actually is that awesome.

Lyle Overbay may seem like a homer pick, due in large part to his being a huge homer pick. Overbay gets the nod over Pena for having a much higher RZR, starting so many more wonderful 3-6-3 double plays, and making Alex Rodriguez feel shame. Mark Teixeira is penalized for playing only 400+ innings in the American League and the mind-blowing riches he will receive in the next few weeks. The AL didn't have a standout shortstop in 2008 so Mike Aviles' +15 is good enough to earn him gilded leather. Scott Rolen and Adrian Beltre will have to share the award for the deepest position in either league. Nick Markakis' strong arm shoves him into contention over the rangy but flaccid Franklin Gutierrez and the credibility-crushing gazelle Alex Rios. Kurt Suzuki is one of the finer defensive catchers in baseball, matching an excellent wild pitch + passed ball rate with a strong caught stealing percentage. The goopy crap on The Gambler's glove apparently helps him be a great fielder, even as an old man.

Carefully calculated amounts of Coca Cola to the glorious Hardball Times and Bill James Online for the free sortable stats.

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Ellis AND Bazooki? You make me so happy.

The A's had the third best team +/- in baseball, it wasn't by accident.

Sorry, I meant the American League.

You forgot to award Grady Sizemore his sexy points. His all american good looks should clinch the award for him.

This is beyond phenomenal. Great work.

As an aside, where is the Honeynut Ichiros tag?

Randy Winn couldn't throw ME out if I was trying to score on a bloop single from second while riding a broken Segway.

Same goes for Mauer.

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