With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is time to prepare for that awful inlaw who wants to disrupt the meal by talking politics. Or worse – drunk, mean Uncle Ernie who wants to loudly discuss Omar Vizquel’s Hall of Fame chances. Before you resort to smashing Uncle Ernie’s head into a sweet potato pie and effectively ruining Thanksgiving, here are some deflections that might save the holidays:
When Uncle Ernie makes his opening argument, ask him why the Indians gave up the fewest manufactured runs in 2017 with just 90. The next closet team was the Dodgers with 102. What was going on, Uncle Ernie, what was going on? If he counters with, “Well, Young ‘en, the Indians were ahead by s large often so often, that the other team didn’t result to small ball”, you counter with the Indians were in approximately the same amount of blow outs as the league average, so what gives? That might send Uncle Ernie back to his awful, cheap Canadian whisky, or he might reply, “Team Manufactured Runs are highly dependent on Team Strikeouts, and the Indians led the Majors in that category. WTF is wrong with you?”
At that point, your posterior is going to be back up against the cranberry sauce, and your kid is going to be looking at you like you are some sort of loser because Uncle Ernie is beating your ass in a stats fight, so it is time to drop the pertinent HOF stats before your weird Aunt Ester tries to slip your wife the tongue. Go directly to WAR and state, “Look, Vizquel only earned 45.3 WAR over his career, despite it lasting forever and a day. The average HOF SS earned 66.7 WAR, so your precious Vizquel isn’t even close. Jimmy Rollins and Miguel Tejada has more career WAR than that. Hell, Tony Fernandez, who blew the 1997 World Series, had about as much career WAR as Vizquel. When Uncle Ernie starts bitching about WAR and whether or not it is context driven, you remind him that it is the year 2017, and he can go find Bill James on Twitter if he wants to argue that shit, but it is time to move forward to the future. If he says anything about using Win Shares for fun, you tell him the great Colin Wyers said, “There is nothing fun about Win Shares. Win Shares are like “The King In Yellow”—to read the text is to touch the heart of madness and to take it into yourself. Win Shares leave scars.” That should shut up Uncle Ernie and his Win Shares.
Uncle Ernie will probably come back at you with “Oh yeah, well Vizquel has more WAR that Maranville, Jennings.Tinker, and Rizzuto”, so you should answer with “Do you really want to die on that hill with those old timers because even they had much better peaks that Vizquel and his seven year WAR of 26.7? Hell, Jhonny Peralta’s peak was better than that.”
Uncle Ermie will probably at some point try to drop in Vizquel’s 2877 career hits as if they mean something, and you say, “Big fucking deal, the dude had a career OPS+ of 82, which sucks balls.” Uncle Ernie will be getting mad now, and start with the greatest AL defense SS bullshit, and that is when you tell him the only good narrative Vizquel has is that Jose Mesa hit him all those times because Vizquel broke the player code in his autobiography, which might have been the very worst baseball book ever written. Tell him Cleveland didn’t air too many out of town games back then, especially NL games, so just how the fuck would he know what a all time great defensive shortstop looked like, especially since he was still fawning over Bernie Kosar and Frank Minnefield at the time.
He will say something like “Vizquel was the AL version of Ozzie Smith”, and when you crush him with laughter and the difference in their Defensive WAR (43.4 to 28.4), he is going to say something about Astroturf because people in Cleveland never really understood Astroturf always stayed green. You will know then that this is coming to a close, so you allow him a chance to save face by saying Jim Thome should be a lock. He will either respond gratefully, or say that Jim Thome struck out looking too much to be a Hall of Famer. At that point, no court in the world will convict you for bludgeoning him with a drumstick, and the family can get on with the business of living and shopping for gifts.