Friday, May 13

5/13/05 -- Gonzales vs. Piniero

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. People are angry and happy at the same time. People are happy that the Red Sox got their second win on a walk off homer in two days when Jason Varitek took Octavio Dotel deep. People are angry that Keith Foulke blew a three run lead in the ninth to make the comeback necessary. People are angrier still, that Foulke got a win as the reward for his failure.
This is a basic matter of equity. Jose is a big fan of Foulke, but when a reliever blows a save and picks up a win, it looks to Jose like when a CEO drives a company into the ground and then picks up a $20 million severance package or when Steve Avery gets his 18th start to pick up an extension after 17 lousy starts. It is unjust, it is larcenous, it is wrong. (Note: Jose knows it probably wasn’t 18 starts that Avery needed, he just doesn’t want to look it up because he feels strongly that any minute spent contemplating Steve Avery’s Red Sox career is also unjust, larcenous and wrong.)

So Jose has a modest proposal. From now on, any time a reliever blows a save but would, under current rules, be scheduled to pick up a win, he should not get the win. See isn’t that more just already? The way Jose sees it this would be an advancement in the annals of justice on par with the Code of Hammurabi or the appointment of Judge Wapner to the bench. (Note: Is Wapner still alive? If so, can we put him on a federal appeals court? No one could filibuster that.) But Jose’s proposal gets even better.

Instead of going to the imploding reliever, the win should be credited to Bob Stanley. Why not? Stanley raised win stealing to an art form, and this new policy would ensure that Steamer, currently stuck on 97 career wins, would reach triple digits. Of course, many “statisticians” may find the idea of giving wins to a pitcher who has been retired for 16 years objectionable. So let Jose offer a backup plan as well. Perhaps we can create a new statistic for a win recorder by a pitcher after blowing a save – we’ll call it the “stanley.” And Keith Foulke is free to pick up as many stanleys as he wants as long as the Red Sox don’t pick up an L. (Note: Or would it be stanlies? What about an abbreviation? STN?)

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