Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bert vs. Nightcrawlers

The plural "s" is getting really damned technical; Blyleven will eat exactly plural (see: two) live nightcrawlers before Saturday's Twins-Mariners game. Apparently, this stunt has something to do with Parkinson's disease. I've gotta hand it to the folks at the Parkinson Association of Minnesota: calling the fundraiser "Bert vs. Nightcrawlers" was a stroke of genius, although I was picturing a whole bucket of nightcrawlers rather than simply two. In my mind, Blyleven had signed up for the Fear Factor version of my old elementary school walk-a-thons; he would have spent the last several weeks walking from door to door collecting pledges for each nightcrawler that he ate, setting himself up for a glorious return to each doorstep on Sunday with tidings of nightcrawly domination (tidings with precise pricetags, no less). He probably would have won a shitty Walkman knock-off for being the top nightcrawler eater at the game.


Alternatively, I would have been even more excited about "Bert vs. Nightcrawler."

In preparation for Blyleven's impending insecticide, I whipped up a couple historical WAR graphs in an attempt to weigh the relative value of Bert Blyleven vs. two nightcrawlers. Although I have historical WAR data for Blyleven, I had to extrapolate for the nightcrawlers, which proved difficult. First, there are two of them, and second, it is unlikely that either can swing a bat. But then again, neither can most backup catchers, so I fudged the data and assumed that two nightcrawlers, taken together, would perform at replacement level. This is probably a generous assumption, but as you can see, Blyleven still has the obvious edge:

The situation doesn't look any less grim for the nightcrawlers if we switch to a career-path plot:

The data doesn't lie: those nightcrawlers are going to get their shit fucked up.

No word yet on whether Blyleven will be credited with a pair of wins after vanquishing his diminuative opponents this weekend. If Commissioner Bud Selig approves of the move, Blyleven's career record will improve to a still largely misleading 289-250, making him look slightly more appealing to Hall of Fame voters who realize that wins are the only pitching statistic that matter, no matter how convincingly Rich Lederer (among others) may argue to the contrary, and putting Blyleven only 11 nightcrawlers shy of Cooperstown.

1 comment:

  1. This is misleading. Logic would dictate that if we give a win to Blyleven for each nightcrawler he eats we have to give him a loss for each nightcrawler he doesn't eat, making his record something like 289-1,000,250.

    Of course that is faulty as well since Blyleven didn't attempt to eat every nightcrawler and fail; he will be 2 for 2 (presumably) in attempted eaten nightcrawlers. I think the fair thing to do would be to give him two saves and call it a day since that stat is so confusing as it is.

    In addition: BAMF!