The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Change of perception in a digital age

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 26, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I hate knowing that Willie McGee doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. I hate having no reasonable argument for his inclusion. I hate knowing that he had an OPS above .800 only once in his career, that he never hit more than 11 home runs in a season, and that he never came particularly close to any significant statistical milestone.

In my mind, McGee had at least 3,000 hits, slugged well over .480, averaged 25 steals a season, and made sliding catches on every fly ball hit to shallow left-center field.

Baseball Reference tells me I’m wrong.

As Philip pointed out this morning, the internet has changed nearly everything about the baseball experience. It’s changed the way we evaluate players, it’s changed how much we know about players, it’s changed the way we receive — and report – information about players, and it’s changed out ability to speculate, debate and second guess every single player move during the offseason. It’s affected our perception of everyone from Don Mattingly to Robinson Cano to Slade Heathcott.

The internet is powerful, and I’m starting to get the sense that it’s not going away.

As you can probably imagine, I adored McGee when I was a kid. The Cardinals were my team in the ’80s, and because they stole a lot of bases, I assumed stealing bases was the best way to win a baseball game. It’s stealing! Getting something for free! Surely there can be no greater advantage! Now? Well, we know that logic isn’t quite accurate. I never had any doubt that Ozzie Smith was the greatest shortstop to ever play the game, that McGee should be an MVP candidate each season, and that Bob Forsch was wrapping up an unforgettable career (if you’re too young to remember him, look him up, the guy was good). I waited for each issue of Baseball Digest so that I could look up player moves and re-evaluate each team’s roster. I considered myself well informed.

Turns out, I wasn’t even well informed about the information I had!

Digital media has changed my job in too many ways to count. It’s amazing to talk to guys who covered the Yankees or Mets in the ’80s and ’90s. They say the beat is almost unrecognizable at this point. And if the distributing of information is unrecognizable, the same must be true for the gathering of information. Prospects don’t surprise people any more. Signings rarely come out of nowhere. Players are rarely underrated or overrated without a large contingent of people telling us they’re either overrated or underrated.

For those who grew up without Twitter and MLBTradeRumors, is there any part of you that misses those innocent days? I firmly believe that more information is better, but there was something nice about being absolutely confident about Willie McGee’s place in history.  


Associated Press photo



37 Responses to “Change of perception in a digital age”

  1. joeman January 26th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I’m refreshed and have a clear mind…very positive

  2. Shame Spencer January 26th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    The internet is powerful, and I’m starting to get the sense that it’s not going away.


    You’d be amazed at how many relationships begin on the internet, too, Chad! ;)

  3. mick January 26th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    sometimes it’s better to live in the past…

  4. blake January 26th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    In the Jeter interview with Reynolds he asked him about Mo and Jeter said yea I’ve been playing with Mo since I was like 18….that’s like 10 years ago….Jete is a classic

  5. tucker January 26th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Most of this board lives in the recent past, when the Yanks were a force and money was no object. Alas, Hal and the Aging Core (good band name?) pulled the plug on that fun.

  6. LordD99 January 26th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    He might not have been the HOFer you remember as a child, but he was still quite a very good player at his peak, winning an MVP with a 7+ WAR season in ’85, two batting titles and several Gold Gloves. He also some big World Series moments, if I remember correctly. Not bad for a kid the Yankees gave away for nothing.

    That’s something else the Internet tells us. George Steinbrenner hated young players and would give them away for one cent on the dollar. McGee, McGriff, Drabek, Buhner, Burke etc. Throw in the mistake of converting Dave Righetti into a reliever, and George probably left a championship or two behind in the 80s.

    So feel good about Willie. He never should have been there!

  7. joeman January 26th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    crazy how the mind works.. had Arthroscopic Knee Surgery last June schedule to go for total knee replacement( same knee) on Feb 11th (told by two surgeons that I need it), sarted with pre op workout applying ice and heat after and knee is feeling a whole lot better not as much pain..starting to get cold feet really don’t want to go thru all the rehab

  8. joeman January 26th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    my favorite Yankee teams in order


  9. LordD99 January 26th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t feel that way, Tucker. I remember the frustration of the 80s teams that clearly were never going to make the postseason, the stripping of the farm for nothing, all leading to the collapse in the early 90s.

    I think it’s funny to listen to Yankee fans moan after yet another 95-win season, another postseason appearance and making it to one of the final four.

  10. LordD99 January 26th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Joeman, I don’t know anything about knee replacement, but if it will remove the pain and restore mobility and improve quality of life long term, then sounds like a good thing.

    Good luck with it!

  11. austinmac January 26th, 2013 at 12:56 pm


    Put off surgery as long as you can. Replacements have a limited lifespan, and once is more than enough, I suspect.

  12. MTU January 26th, 2013 at 12:59 pm


    Thanks for satisfying my curiosity.

  13. J. Alfred Prufrock January 26th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Throw in the mistake of converting Dave Righetti into a reliever, and George probably left a championship or two behind in the 80s.

    That. Was a nightmare. We were indeed short a front-end starter for a real run. He was in the bullpen.

    Some things never change.

  14. Cashmoney January 26th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    American League collectively cry “No Mass!” My childhood memories of Yankees consisted of the Roid Brothers sweeping the Yankees for the entire season series of 13 games, The departure Megastar Strawberry to La La land, oh yeah, the irascible Mel Hall hitting a HR off Reardon to win a game on Memorial Day against RS. The Immortal Hawkins pitching a no hitter and lost. But then, the good time came….

  15. tomingeorgia January 26th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    My first outlook on the game came from playing it as long as the sun was up and there was no snow on the ground, and my exposure to the Yankees came in the form of going to games with my father, reading the sports pages of the Journal American and the Sporting News, and listening to and watching Mel Allen and Red Barber call the action. Even as a youngster, I just knew Johnny Mize was the real thing, and I could back it up with enough (old-style) statistics should anyone question my view. I also knew that Eddie Yost was a pain in the ass to play against.

    Now, I’m told, there is no such thing as “clutch”, that OBP is more important than batting average, and that RBIs are meaningless, but hitting with men in scoring position isn’t meaningless (sounds to me as though they result in the same thing).

    All this is fine with me, and I’m sure I’d be much more into SABR if I were a scout or a GM, but I’m not. I know enough statistics to know they are not able to predict the outcome of a single at-bat or fielding play. That’s why I’m just a fan, hoping for the best in every game the Yankees play. That has included rooting for a Phil Linz RBI or a Bucky Dent home run. Sometimes, they happened.

    So, no, the digital and statistical era hasn’t changed my feelings towards baseball. In fact, This Brave New World brings every Yankee game (or whichever game I choose to watch) to me out here in the boonies, which has added to my appreciation of it. Sorry for so much wind.

  16. jacksquat January 26th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Rivera probably should have been a starter also. He only got 10 starts in one season. Joba at least got 43 starts over 2 seasons. What a waste!

    I’m sorry the Yanks screwed things up for you Mo.

  17. Cashmoney January 26th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Tom, I think if by clutch you mean they are players who knows what to do with RISP and handles pressure better than others, I concur.

  18. Cashmoney January 26th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    best first memory, Donnie hitting a hr in 95 WC series, on par with Leyritz hitting hr of belcher in sending NYY 2-0 to Seattle. Worst, watching Griffey around the bases after black Jack Mcdowell give it up to Edgar in an abrupt end to 95 season.

  19. joeman January 26th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    LordD99 January 26th, 2013 at 12:54 pm
    Joeman, I don’t know anything about knee replacement, but if it will remove the pain and restore mobility and improve quality of life long term, then sounds like a good thing.

    Good luck with it!

    austinmac January 26th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Put off surgery as long as you can. Replacements have a limited lifespan, and once is more than enough, I suspect.

    they tell me TKR last about 20 years now any every year they come with better material to work with

  20. joeman January 26th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    if you want TKR…

  21. tomingeorgia January 26th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Very nice win by Villanova over ‘Cuse, insures a little peace around here from Mrs. Tom, a Villanova alumna and and a cheerleader way back when. At the moment, she’s singing, “V for Villanova, V for Victory!”

  22. blake January 26th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Some write ups on Yankee prospects

  23. austinmac January 26th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Joe, good luck with your knee.

    In my mind clutch means one is able to perform up to their abilities despite the pressure. It is not easy, I’m sure.

  24. austinmac January 26th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Tom, perhaps you could video your wife for your website. Does she have her pom poms?

  25. tomingeorgia January 26th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    No pom poms, but still has the sweater and the steps. She may have lost a couple of those, though.

  26. trisha - true pinstriped blue January 26th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    The ticket offer is still out there.

    I’m kind of surprised only because there are so many people on here with extremely strong opinions on what’s going wrong with the Yankees that I thought surely one of them would want to let his opinion and feelings be known to Cashman. It’s one thing to sound off on the internet, where the best your sounding off gets you is communication with others who share your interest in a topic; it’s quite another to do it in an arena where you might actually be heard in a meaningful way.

    I do hope someone takes advantage of it and uses the ticket. I don’t ever have to know who it is. All you need to do is email Chad, and Chad will email me and I’ll tell him to pass on the information on how to redeem the ticket. Easy peasy.


    Shame, I agree with you about the sense of community and feeling like you know the people, looking forward to interacting with them, etc. When we posted on the NY Times Yankee forum, we actually had a forum collage. Yours truly put it together with help. Anyone who wanted to be on it emailed a jpeg and we added them to it and put up a link. I don’t know that would be a big seller here but I’d be willing to do it if anyone was interested.


    Great day all!


  27. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com January 26th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Willie McGee will always be a part of Yankee history as half of perhaps the worst trade they ever make.

  28. J. Alfred Prufrock January 26th, 2013 at 2:30 pm


    My brother periodically runs into Sykes’ sister; he tells her seeing her brings back bad memories, LOL. They always have a chuckle when they interact.

    Of course, for many, it was no laughing matter once upon a time.

  29. bardos January 26th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    joeman, I am not sure, of course, what your knee problems are, however I suffered with some bad knees for a long time and then i was offered PRP therapy, more or less the same treatment that A-Rod and Kobe Bryant went through. It has been a game-changer for me.

  30. Ys Guy January 26th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    willie mcgee was great! i lived in missouri in the 80′s and went to many games in the whitey herzog – ozzie smith era and that was some team. even with guys like hernandez, ozzie, john tudor, vince coleman, jack clark and others around, willie mcgee was the heart and soul of those teams.

    and tommy herr was no slouch either!

  31. Ys Guy January 26th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    i was at the infamous seat-cushion night at old busch stadium. a footnote in baseball history but a very memorable night in cardinals history.

  32. DONNYBROOK January 26th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Having info\stats at your fingertips is convenient, but making an after-the-fact, spoon fed conclusion, based on these numbers, really presents No challenge. Anybody can do that, as we frequently see around here. The challenge is knowing when you are seeing a diamond in the ruff, and Not being afraid to proclaim that fact. Or seeing an already established Star at the MLB level, and predicting his Immediate decline. Eyeballin’ stats that All have access to, and reciting those numbers, is nothing short of being a mere “talking head”. It’s easy, it’s Extremely common, and it’s flat out Boring.

  33. Chip January 26th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Some Cashman stuff:

    Cashman told reporters, including’s Mark Newman, that he had conversations with the Diamondbacks about Justin Upton but Arizona was never focusing on making a deal with them. That fits in line with a report from’s Buster Olney earlier this month that indicated that several teams were anxious to get in on the talks but were struggling to get a response from GM Kevin Towers & Co.
    Cashman also said that he’s aware that he needs to strengthen the bench and find a right-handed bat for the outfield. However, he doesn’t feel as though it all has to come together by Opening Day and suggested that he could explore mid-season deals to make that happen.
    Meanwhile, the GM says the Yankees were never close to signing Scott Hairston either, despite being linked to him for a good portion of the winter, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. Cashman added that the club isn’t opposed to multi-year deals but did say that they’ll have to be careful about it. Hairston agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs earlier this week.
    General Manager Brian Cashman told ESPN 98.7′s Michael Kay there is a chance that Alex Rodriguez will miss the entire season after undergoing hip surgery, writes Andrew Marchand of “It is a very complicated surgery. Any time someone has a surgery, there is always a chance there are complications. That didn’t take place in this case. But is it possible? Sure, it is possible, but is it likely? I don’t think so,” Cashman said. If Rodriguez does have to retire at some point due to his hip issue, the Yankees are insured for most of his contract.


  34. Chip January 26th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Incidentally, speaking of RH outfielders – Jeff Baker’s off the board. He signed with Texas.

  35. austinmac January 26th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Patience, we have been told. We were told the first game isn’t tomorrow. Now, we are told wait for the trade deadline. Yeah, sure.

  36. UnKnown January 26th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    You’d be amazed at how many relationships begin on the internet, too, Chad!


    Shame – I realize that most of these comments are in jest, but they have been coming more frequent as of late (like a reference everyday). Mr. Jennings is in fact accounted for, sorry. She is a Golden Gophers beat writer for the Star Tribune. Pretty popular follow here in the Twin Cities.

    Maybe try the new guy Andy McCullough… Good Luck.

  37. Tar January 26th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Good job Phillip on the Pinch hitting post.

    I forgot all about opening the paper and checking the box scores. It has been years since i’ve done that. I use to do it everyday like clockwork. Do they still even print them?

    I also use to listen to more games on radio , as well. Now I can watch on my phone. smh Progress!

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