It’s 2012, in case you hadn’t heard, and by now I’d think most baseball fans are well aware that a pitcher’s win-loss record is worthless. It’s simply not a reliable way of charting a pitcher’s performance. Wins, like RBI, are a function of opportunity, not ability. We know that, on the forefront of our consciousness. But then why does R.A. Dickey’s record of 11-1 give me such a sense of smug self-satisfaction? And why is Cliff Lee’s 0-4 line troubling Phillies’ fans, and more importantly, the pitcher himself?
Well, because behind the facade, our perception of baseball, like so many things, is rarely guided by the parts that help make us calm, rational, or logical. That much was made perfectly clear over the weekend when Bill Baer, who writes for ESPN and runs the Phillies blog Crashburn Alley, began re-tweeting some “phan” responses to Lee’s most recent performance. You don’t need to scroll through to figure out the message, most involved the pitcher’s name and a certain four-let