A few days ago, Ned Yost told the official site this:
"I'm going to play Melky until he gets 201, I'm not stopping at 200," Yost said. "I want 201."
I love the idea that it's the stats geeks online that have bastardized the game, that it's the bloggers and tweeters who have some slanted vision of the game, who have misplaced priorities and expectations. Not quite.
Rather than caring about a) winning or b) playing other players, Ned Yost wants Melky Cabrera to get 200 hits. Why? Because 70 years ago people cared about getting 200 hits, even though hits are a pretty meaningless counting stat that obscure more information than they convey and that, well, 200 is just a nice round number. Yay!
I thought the pursuit of individual stats was anathema to all true sporting men, something that no true winning team cared about? Obviously, that's just more old-school doublespeak. We hate the pursuit of individual accomplishments, until we don't.
Earlier this summer, when Royals' telecasts were dominated by shots and interviews of parents, sisters, girlfriends, grandparents, high school friends, people they talked to in the airport, I felt like the whole production was Little League.
The TV crew isn't alone.
And why do we care about Melky Cabrera getting 200 hits? Are the Royals trying to make him more expensive in arb? Was promising to give him the CF job and essentially saving his career not good enough?
Quite frankly, the Royals don't owe Melky Cabrera unlimited playing time to pursue a meaningless personal accomplishment that is neither relevant or even historically interesting.