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The Most Ridiculous Argument in Baseball

Allow me to vent for a minute.

What's that?

You want me to discuss Zito?

Okay, fine. He looked smokin' at the Giants press conference. And that's all I have to say about that.

Anyway, I would like to point out the ridiculousness of a common sports argument; one that you would think people, over time, would gradually realize is fallacious, But no, they don't. They just keep perpetuating the myth until it takes on a life of its own, and is accepted as common fact. Players who ride the coattails of others' success are heralded as heroes, for simply being at the right place at the right time--or in this case, on the right team at the right time.

Last week, Chris Girandola forced us to created a stronger definition for 'No sir, you couldn't possibly be more wrong' with his lovely column about Scott Brosius being a Hall of Fame candidate. Yes, that Scott Brosius. You may remember him by his career numbers: OBP.323 SLG .422 AVG .257. Nope, not misprints. Those are his real numbers. I certainly hope he has enough intangibly goodness to overcome those, and be considered a legitimate candidate for the Hall. Let's see. Chris? What do you think?

Considering that since his retirement, the Yankees have reached the World Series only once, losing in six games to the Florida Marlins in 2003, it would seem logical that a strong case could be made for Brosius to fill one of the seats in the Hall of Fame.

And there you have it, folks. Brosius should be in the HOF because...<drum roll>...the Yankees haven't won since he left. Does anyone else appreciate the inherent stupidity of this argument as it relates to the sport of baseball? Yet it's used all the time. Case in point: Ask any Yankees' fan about Bernie Williams, and they will tell you that he is obviously much better than [insert any other non-Jeter player here] because he has more rings. It's a dishonest argument, one that doesn't even hold up to even the most cursory scrutiny.

Humor me. Let's pretend for a moment that Tiger Woods has retired. If this is true, I will grant you the logic of the argument that Team Tiger Woods won't win another tournament without him. I'm even willing to stretch that principle to basketball, and in some cases, even football. One player can indeed make such a difference, in that the loss of him affects an entire team's performance. But not in baseball. I cannot stress this enough. There have been MVP players on losing teams since the invention of the game--who, by themselves--are simply unable to force their teams to win baseball games. That doesn't make them any less of a quality player; it simply makes their team not good enough to win. And on the flip side, there are many, many players who are simply not great at the sport of baseball, who happen to be on a team that, as a whole, is. They will receive a ring, just like everyone else on the team, and maybe, if they are lucky enough to be covered by a writer like Chris, will be cemented in the baseball archives as being a better player than a more-talented-yet-ringless player on another team.

Shoddy journalism, that.

Yet, I'm sure he's not alone. I'm sure somewhere, someone is thinking, "Gee, if the Yankees only had Brosius playing third instead of A-rod, they would have won the World Series at least once in the last three years", which is an argument so ridiculous, I really can't even summon up much of a defense. And still, the 'rings' argument has been entered as a viable defense for Hall of Fame candidacy.

Heaven help us all.