ts pair Koepka and Patrick Reed together r

#1 von riluowanying123 , 13.09.2018 12:50

?Were here again. Every year or every time we get into a description of all-time greatness in the infield, we end up with two seemingly unimpeachable assertions. Lou Gehrig was and remains the greatest first baseman ever. And Honus Wagner was and remains the greatest shortstop ever.That isnt to say these havent been evaluated at length. Even if you can look past the legend of the Iron Horse, the games played streak, the martyrdom of his tragic death and the luckiest man alive speech, or the stable counterpoint he provided to the equally legendary Babe Ruth during the first half of his career, its just flat-out hard to top Gehrigs statistical legacy: .340/.447/.632, 493 homers, two MVPs and six titles, essentially crammed into just 14 years as a full-time player.Similarly, Wagner is especially problematic as targets go. If not for Bill James writing about Wagner over the years, he might be more famous for the value of his baseball card than the value of his performance. (That might still be true.) So when you have one of the co-founders of sabermetrics basically say 30 years ago, Conversation over, well, thats good enough for most people. Its tough to be you, Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith or Derek Jeter. And while Alex Rodriguez might have the numbers, narrowing the gap with 118.3 WAR to Wagners 131.0, these days the guy probably gets discounted for PEDs or time spent at the hot corner.By WAR, it looked as if Albert Pujols would catch Gehrig because of the cruising altitude he established as a Cardinal. But now Pujols is at 99.8 WAR and slowing down as an Angel, and the Iron Horse is still way out in front with 112.4. Beating Gehrig by counting stats doesnt help much: Pujols already has more hits and homers and will ultimately pass him in RBIs in another couple of seasons.For exercises like this, I doubt it matters. The numbers that support Wagner and Gehrig deserve deeper consideration if were really going to try to be fair to the present.With Wagner, youre talking about a very different game in the dead ball era, a period before you can even claim all of the best white talent in North America belonged to and played MLB-brand baseball. That game is recognizable, but different, more defense-dependent at a time when the talent pool drawn from a significantly smaller population of Americans and white immigrants.With Gehrig, you need to get into the unchanging problem of massive competitive imbalance, a product of small leagues with multiple non-competitive franchises. Lets take 1934, one of Gehrigs best seasons, as an example.Same as ever, there are just seven opposing teams. Four of them wind up with losing records, and another finishes at .500, so the Yankees have only two serious opponents. (They lose out to the Tigers.) So who was Gehrig hitting against? Not the best pitching staff in the league, because that belonged to the Yankees. Four of the top 12 ERA qualifiers were his teammates, and he doesnt have to face them. Facing the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia As and Washington Senators -- the losing half of the league -- Gehrig hits an incredible .376/.500/.831 in 88 of 154 games. Against the two winning teams, the ones with pitching, he slugs .462.Thats the 30s for you in a nutshell: a statistical slaughter with half the league populated by patsies and without African American and Latino players who were shut out because of their race. Now you tell me: Which pitchers are going away if the game were integrated to include black and Latin talent? Not Lou Gehrigs teammates, but a whole lot of the people Gehrig feasted on suddenly go away.The Gehrig and Wagner arguments boil down to this: Via WAR or OPS+ or your own understanding of all of the numbers we have, you have faith in our measuring their relative extraordinary superiority over their peers in smaller leagues with deliberate personnel limitations and an uneven distribution of talent. You can have that faith, and it relies on a lot of data for support -- at the same time that you turn a blind eye to whats going on in the game that creates that data. Of course, you could make the same kind of case for Randy Bass in Japan if you wanted to. Or a professional softball player moonlighting in your beer league. But why those dont work is because we dont take it on faith that those leagues are as competitive as MLB. As David Schoenfield points out, nobody would take seriously a proposition that George Mikan is still the NBAs greatest center.The question there is why we dont do that with baseball as well. But instead, while keeping Gehrig and Wagner on the perches, we play this game of make-believe with the math, that somehow this one game has historic yardsticks and standards that we should venerate to try to make an apples-to-apples comparisons of the greats from the past to the greats we see now. Were really working with apples and passion fruit.When you consider the challenges, logistical and competitive, the year-round demand on the players, the information going into the staying at the highest level, we might just want to get out of trying to force the comparisons. We know about Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter what we could never know about Gehrig or Wagner: what they could do against the best competition on the planet in the most competitive era in the games history. Lets credit them for that. 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Thats about all he can do right now, so hes trying not to think about when he might be able to play again for the Los Angeles Lakers. SPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Every two years, as the Ryder Cup nears, American golf fans go through a miserable cycle.We talk ourselves into believing this time our team will to rise to the occasion, that well have good chemistry, that our captain will put together a coherent strategy, that our stars will shine and our role players will contribute.Every two years, we get humiliated. Its deflating and depressing.Sure, weve won Ryder Cups twice in the past 20 years (in 1999 and 2008), but thats out of 10 chances. The Europeans always seem to have better chemistry, their captain is always outfoxing our captain, and their players play loose and fearless. Its no coincidence. They are better at team golf than we are. We now have two decades of evidence to back it up.You know how we can change that this time?We can start by putting Brooks Koepka on the team.We dont need a task force to figure this out. Captain Davis Love III should get on the phone Monday with the 26-year-old Koepka and tell him to take off as much time as he needs to let his ankle heal. Tell him there will be a spot waiting for him at the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, whether he has enough qualifying points or not.Dont even make him sweat it. Because what Koepka did in the PGA Championship, finishing T-4 with an ankle so swollen and painful he could barely walk earlier in the week, was nothing short of inspiring.On Tuesday, we all tried to talk him out of playing, Koepkas caddie Richard Elliott said. He was nearly in tears on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he decided to give it another nine holes. We found different strap for him, and he was able to kind of grit it out on Thursday. On Friday, he got some momentum going. I think the pain kind of caught up to him in the end, but it was all guts. He worked his ass off in rehab. It was unbelievable.If the rain hadnt forced most of the leaders to play 36 holes on Sunday, its possible Koepka might have made a run at Jimmy Walker and Jason Day. He was right there after three rounds, 2 shots off the lead. But over the last nine holes, he could barely push off his right leg. He was spent. Elliott said the pain finally caught up to Koepka, and he still managed to birdie two of the last four holes to shoot 70.To go from barely hitting balls on Saturday to finishing top five, Ill take that, Koepka said. Im kind of numb right now. It hurts, dude. I dont even feel my foot.Koepka, who grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, is a golfer by profession, but he looks more like a football player. You could sneak him into a Miami Dolphins locker room and no one would blink. And if you want to know the truth, he approaches golf with a similar mentality: aggressive and fearless.Last year at the Open Championship at St. Andrews, when rules officials from the Royal & Ancient were insisting players continue on during the third round even though the wind was whipping in excess of 35 mph, Koepka stood his ground and got into a heated discussion with the official on the seventh green.According to someone who witnessed the exchange, the official, a Scotsman, became annoyed when Koepka admonished him and failed to address him by his proper title.dddddddddddd am a sir, the rules official allegedly said. And you will refer to me as such when addressing me. I dont give a f--- who you are, Koepka responded. Im not playing until my ball stops oscillating. We could use that kind of mentality in the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine this September. If that sounds boorish and ungentlemanly, ask yourself this: How have our previous strategies worked out? How much fun is it watching European players soak themselves in champagne every two years, while our team is reduced to shanking our captain in a media conference?Day might be the most talented golfer on the planet, and he is a nice guy whom everyone admires. But every week, he lets us know when hes not playing at 100 percent. Its a cold, a muscle tweak, the flu, or any one of a dozen other maladies.Koepka played the entire week of a major with an ankle that looked like a turnip, and he downplayed his agony at every turn. (He said the injury occurred right after the U.S. Open in June, when he rolled it taking an awkward step.)Maybe it isnt fair to Day to contrast them, but you have to admire Koepkas toughness because other players did. It wasnt until it was over that he explained he thought there was a 70 percent chance he was going to withdraw.We went from me just trying to move my foot like I was drawing the alphabet to putting a band on it, to eventually trying to balance on one foot, Koepka said. Its stupid, but thats what it took.Koepka should have been on the United States Presidents Cup team that went to South Korea in 2015. He was the 12th-ranked player in the world at the time, ranked higher than seven other Americans who did make the team, but he didnt have enough FedEx Cup points to automatically qualify, meaning he needed Jay Hass to add him as a captains pick.Haas instead picked his son Bill, Mickelson and J.B. Holmes when Jim Furyk was injured. It wasnt a travesty -- the U.S. hung on to win -- but it wasnt exactly forward thinking as we try to improve the state of team golf in America.In all likelihood, Koepka secured a spot on the squad this week. Because the PGA Championship was worth double Ryder Cup points, Koepka moved into fifth place in the rankings, up from ninth. But only the top eight players automatically qualify after the Barlcays.Before his injury forced him to withdraw from the WBC Bridgestone and miss the Open Championship, he was ranked third and cruising. But miss a few weeks, and you can tumble down the ranking fast.Koepka said hed already spoken to Love about his ankle and expected to have another conversation next week. For now, hes slated to play in the Travelers Championship next week in Connecticut.I wont need a pick, Koepka said.Thats exactly the mentality we need if were going to have any chance to avoid another shellacking at the hands of the Europeans. Lets pair Koepka and Patrick Reed together right now, ask them to set the tone, and see what happens. 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