Patrick Reusse must have paid extra to live under a bridge that had internet access. Most bridges don't, you see. And he's a troll. Get it? I've just made a joke more clever than any of the dozen or so Reusse attempts in his Turkeys of the Year column.
It starts with some inexplicable shots on the federal stimulus package (as best as I can determine, Reusse is mocking the stimulus), which makes about as much sense as Paul Krugman ragging on Denard Span. Less, actually, because if Krugman went that route, he'd have numbers to back his insults up. Seriously, read this fucking thing, and see if the first four or five paragraphs make any sort of sense to you (keeping in mind that Reusse is going with the Not At All Hackneyed premise that there is a Turkey Committee, and he's just reporting the results).
Reusse doesn't care for your "numbers" or "statistics", though. He makes that painfully clear, with his first Turkey of the year--pretty good baseball writer (for the Star Trib, no less) Joe Christensen. What about Christensen has drawn Reusse's ire? I quote directly, "[Christensen is] the Twin Cities' leading advocate for OPS, a make-believe number that Bill James acolytes have embraced. How often must we say this, Joe? Runs scored and RBI mean something; OPS doesn't."
And right there, with that piece of blithely announced arrogance, Reusse demonstrates his worthlessness. OPS isn't complicated or tricky to understand, and is hardly a made up stat. To quickly explain--lots of writers, throughout the years, have noted that baseball is fundamentally an individual contest in the midst of a team sport--it comes down to pitcher vs hitter. There is team defense, to be sure, and yes, even team offense, but at the end of the day, when you are evaluating a hitter, you should try to remove elements the hitter doesn't have in his control. What stats does Reusse invoke? Stats that are fundamentally tied to things outside a hitter's control! I could, in theory, hit 100 triples, but because I'm followed up by Nick Punto and and Patrick Reusse, I score exactly 0 runs. And Reusse's "stats that mean something" wouldn't give a shit about my 0 runs scored off of those 100 triples.
OPS is simple as can be--it combines two stats that show a player's ability to get on base, and to hit. OPS actually stands for On-base Plus Slugging. It's couldn't be simpler. And it is hardly "made-up". It combines two stats that have been around forever, and just says, "OK, you are good at getting walks, and you are good at getting doubles, and because we are evaluating you, and not the guys who hit ahead or behind you, we're not going to worry about your RBI or Runs Scored".
It is hardly a stat that leads to completely alternative models of great offensive players. Top 3 players in OPS of all time? Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. This crazy system threatens all of baseball, with such topsy-turvy selections!
Reusse also targets the following: A University of Minnesota RB for not finishing a TD run, a Woman's Volleyball player for quitting, the President of a small technical college in the Twin Cities, Francisco Liriano*, and assorted others (at the end, he finally got to some folks who deserve it, but I'm going to make you read the column to see who those folks were.).
Patrick Reusse, you are a stupid fat fuck. You are not quite yet at Tom Powers Levels, but you are awfully close.
*brilliant piece of self-editing in the Liriano discussion. Reusse "paraphrases" Dean Wormer from Animal House--"thick, disorganized and stubborn is no way to go through life, son." Of course, the actual quote is, "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." Even someone as unself-aware as Reusse knew that his success, which is basically predicated on being fat, drunk, and stupid blew that line out of the water from the get-go. Kudos to Reusse for not using it.