A Place Where Knowing Nothing Is Never an Obstacle to Having An Opinion

Even if you’re not a sports fan (and relax, those of you who aren’t: this isn’t really about sports) you may be aware, on some level, of the football and basketball drafts. These are major events, televised and everything, during which the professional sports teams take turns “drafting” players out of college to join their teams. Why this is permitted The Curmudgeon will never understand – a subject for another day, but shouldn’t these young men be free to choose their own employers, just like the rest of us? – but it is permitted and it’s a very big deal.

Rabid sports fans and even ordinary sports fans and those who write about and report on those sports talk about these drafts for months before they are held. The fans are so involved because with so many college football and basketball games on television they are often quite familiar with many of the young men who are available to be drafted. There are web sites devoted to the drafts, magazines devoted to the drafts, lists of the best players available in the drafts, even mock drafts in which people thought to have some expertise in such matters attempt to predict what teams will select which players. Through all of these activities, fans evaluate their favorite teams’ strengths and weaknesses, cross-index them with the young men available for hire, and spend endless hours discussing and debating whom their team should choose.

And then, when the draft is over, discussing and critiquing their teams’ selections.

A lot.

For a long time.

The baseball draft, though, is very different.

baseballIn baseball, players are drafted out of both high school and college; in fact, more are drafted directly out of high school, when they are 18 years old, than are drafted out of college. There’s no nationally televised high school baseball and very little televised college baseball, so everything the fans know about the young men is based on what they have read in newspapers and magazines and online.

Which ultimately, The Curmudgeon has observed, makes no difference in fans’ propensity for judging their favorite teams’ selections in the hours and days after a draft.

You learn this, of course, by going where you should NEVER go: to the comments section at the end of articles about the draft on various web sites.

The Curmudgeon certainly knows better – but he did it anyway. It’s sort of like that sore in your mouth that, no matter how hard you try, you absolutely cannot stop your tongue from probing.

A few weeks ago The Curmudgeon’s baseball team, his Philadelphia Phillies, had the very first choice in the entire draft ­– a distinction they earned by being the absolute worst team in baseball – and while most readers expressed hope for the future of the young man their team selected and wished him well, others were… not quite so positive.

This is a HORRIBLE pick. The lifeless Phillies need help now or by ’17 or ’18, not 2020 as experts predict. This kid is an unproven commodity, underweight and only recently developed as a “flash in the pan hitter.” For the life of me I can’t understand why the Phils didn’t pick a solid College prospect who only needs 2 years or less to make it to the bigs and produce.

 I’m not an expert on this draft, but the Reds selecting Teneessee’s 3B Nick Senzel, as the second pick would seem to have been a better pick for the lackluster hitting Phillies.

 How the Fk could this happen?

 Philly picks another dud–Boston another stud. Im moving.

 Six of the first twelve picks were pitchers and the Phillies go for a player (CF)not known for power or speed — incredible esp. on team that needs a heavy hitter for the future since this kid won’t make it to the majors for at least three years.

 I hope he works out but frankly I was shocked they went for hitting, and the wrong kind of hitting IMNSHO. nuff said.

 Another wasted pick

 Thought they’d take Kyle Lewis don’t know why not.

One question. Why did they pick the 5th best prospect in this draft.

seems really risky to take such a young kid-I would have thought a 2-3 year older college kid would make more sense.

Another high school kid who won’t pan out.  Haven’t we been down this road before?

To be fair, more people liked the choice than didn’t, but in the end, The Curmudgeon has the same observation about all of them:

They are expressing opinions about the skills of players they have never, ever seen actually play. Not a single one of the fans commenting on any of these players has ever seen ANY of them play.

And The Curmudgeon finds that absolutely amazing: these people never miss an opportunity to go out of their way to express an opinion, even about something about which they know absolutely, positively nothing.

Of course, as a blogger, The Curmudgeon could be considered guilty of the same offense.

But that hardly seems like the same thing, does it?

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