More fun with Jim Street

Dave · December 3, 2004 at 2:56 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, I’m not trying to be mean here, but doesn’t Jim Street have some kind of responsibility to his boss to make sure that he writes things that aren’t so factually incorrect that they can be refuted in about 45 seconds?

In response to a question about moving the fences in, Street answers:

If Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove want to have the fences moved in, it would be considered, but no such request has been made. The Mariners have enjoyed tremendous success at Safeco Field since the facility opened midway through the 1999 season and actually have hit better at home than on the road (emphasis mine). The club hit 71 home runs at home last season and 65 on the road, while opposing teams hit 108 home runs at Safeco. So, why move the fences in and make it easier for opponents to hit home runs?

Mariners, 2004:
Home: .255/.322/.385, 3.81 runs per game
Road: .284/.339/.407, 4.81 runs per game

Mariners, 2003:
Home: .264/.342/.398, 4.86 runs per game
Road: .278/.346/.422, 4.95 runs per game

Mariners, 2002:
Home: .264/.346/.397, 4.54 runs per game
Road: .285/.354/.440, 5.50 runs per game

In each of the past three seasons, the Mariners have posted a higher batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and number of runs scored per game on the road. Yes, they hit 6 more home runs at Safeco last year, but over the three year period of 2002-2004, the team hit nineteen more homers on the road. Not only is six home runs over 6,000 at-bats statistically insignificant, it was a statistical fluke.

The sad part, honestly, is that Street obviously looked up the home/road splits in order to publish the home run numbers. That he could look at these numbers, then publically state that the Mariners hit better at home than on the road just baffles the mind.


31 Responses to “More fun with Jim Street”

  1. eponymous coward on December 3rd, 2004 3:03 pm

    Don’t forget that Willie Bloomquist is “a valuable member of the team”, according to Street.

    Hmm, I smell hack.

  2. PositivePaul on December 3rd, 2004 3:09 pm

    The scariest thing that Street points out, though, is that (when you do the math) the M’s opponents have hit 50% more HRs than the M’s IN THEIR OWN FRICKIN’ PARK!!! THAT doesn’t sound like a very successful team building strategy does it? Either we’ve got the wrong type of pitchers or we have the wrong type of hitters. Or, quite frankly, it could be both.


  3. Evan on December 3rd, 2004 3:21 pm

    At this point, I think we need retractable outfield walls that grow or shrink depending who’s batting.

    You know, like the supposed Twin-friendly ventilation system in the HHH… 😉

  4. ChrisK on December 3rd, 2004 3:33 pm

    I’m gouging my eyes out trying to get through Street’s article. I’m not sure which comment is more incredible: Street’s argument of “why move the fences in and make it easier for opponents to hit home runs?”; or the reader who asked why the M’s aren’t going after Randy Johnson. Just amazing.

  5. Todd on December 3rd, 2004 3:44 pm

    Give Street a little credit. He did dismiss the notion of acquiring Mike Piazza as a C/1b/DH.

  6. Brent Overman on December 3rd, 2004 3:56 pm

    Yeah, and the Mariners have Nomar’s brother Michael in the minor league system, however.

  7. Sweezo on December 3rd, 2004 4:37 pm

    #6: I love that quote about Michael Garciaparra. Some guy asks if we could get Nomar and he makes it sounds like the fan shouldn’t worry about Nomar because we have his brother in our minor league system. Next year, if someone asks about acquiring Nomar, maybe Street will write about Michael’s new job flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

  8. tvwxman on December 3rd, 2004 4:56 pm

    I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I would wager that:

    Street (or more likely his editor) came up with the idea that moving in the fences wouldn’t help — without even bothering to look up the stats beforehand. Then, he was able to pick anc choose stats to justify his position. As a former journalist who has been guilty of writing the story before you track it down, I’ll tell you that it happens a lot more than you’d believe.

  9. Ryan on December 3rd, 2004 4:57 pm

    Jim is of the old-guard. The blog world (for the most part) is of the new-guard. I suspect the current batch of writers (Finnigan and Street, namely) will be slowly and methodically destroyed by the new guard of writers armed with fact and interpreted data. The sooner this happens, the better.

    I almost feel sorry for those guys. They just don’t have a clue.

  10. paul on December 3rd, 2004 5:03 pm

    The surest way to not be agitated by Streetian ignorance and to ensure that Street and Finnigan and their ilk go away is…not to read their stuff. Just say no to bad journalism.

  11. Evan on December 3rd, 2004 5:06 pm

    I enjoy sending Street hard questions.

  12. ChrisK on December 3rd, 2004 5:13 pm

    I hear you, Paul. But Street is almost irresistably bad. And his “readers” are even worse. Just a comic tragedy.

  13. Tim on December 3rd, 2004 5:17 pm

    I suppose I’ll get flamed for saying this, but I think you guys need to think twice before you publish this kind of “I can’t believe how dumb this guy is” post. I know you’re aiming to be watchdogs over the press and team management, but I think the tone you’ve chosen undermines your credibility and the potential influence of this site by allowing people who might otherwise be open to your message to dismiss you as sanctimonious and mean-spirited. Correct the record, move on.

  14. Basebliman on December 3rd, 2004 5:25 pm

    I’m a relatively new reader of the M’s blogosphere and it’s nice to know there are people like me out there who love baseball, analyze it, and write/read about it. I used to think Street was a credible guy who was just flooded with real stupid questions, but when I asked him what I thought was a reasonable question (M’s signing Beltre and making a trade to get Huff from Tampa), he completely ignores it and puts up Piazza, Big Unit, and Ben Davis for DH asinine questions! It appears that other people that post here have asked him some tough questions as well. As soon as I read the Michael Garciaparra quip, I actually laughed out loud! I will never take Jim Street seriously ever again. Too bad his first name isn’t Bill, so his initials could be B.S. Thanks to you guys at USS Mariner for opening my eyes to great research and top notch reporting. You are now the first place I will look for my Mariners fix.

  15. Mox Mox on December 3rd, 2004 5:28 pm

    I have a theory about many of these beat writers. They get so many inane questions that they lose respect for their readers. This lack of respect results in writing that is lazy and has very little actual thought put into it. You will never see those guys mention things such as VORP, because they know if is way over the heads of the vast majority of their readers. My advice is to take it for what it is, and come here to get meaningful analysis from Dave, Derek & Jason.

  16. George on December 3rd, 2004 5:32 pm

    I second Tim’s post. Also lets not assume that new is always better. Yes some facts were ignored or selectively edited in this case. But when you assume your way, the new way, is the right way you are heading down the path of arrogance and setting yourself up for a fall. In the end you may find like so many other things there isn’t a one way that is best. Sometimes one style will be right somtimes another and a bunch of times it will be neither as both will raise good but perhaps opposing points.

  17. peter on December 3rd, 2004 5:32 pm

    No its not a fluke that they hit more home runs at home. The very attuned Mariner management carefully selects hitters whose power zone fits in with Safeco[i hate that word, no wonder the team is cursed]

  18. Evan on December 3rd, 2004 5:38 pm

    But in this case, George, Street was demonstrably wrong. There’s no credible way to measure their performance and conclude that the M’s hit better at home than they did on the road.

  19. George on December 3rd, 2004 5:47 pm

    I never disputed that. I seconded Tim’s post that the lets look at how dumb this guy is not helpful in terms of credibility. I then cautioned about arrogance. If the glasses you view things is your way is the way then inherently everything else looks dumb. When posts start classifing writers as new way and old way and boy the old way stinks you begin to head down that path. My post was more of caution than disputing any facts.

  20. Ryan on December 3rd, 2004 6:09 pm


    Your point is well taken. There is a way to go about combatting ignorance and it’s not to point and laugh. That said, Street has become such a joke that it’s difficult not to look at the guy with scorn. After all, he gets paid to write his drivel while the people who do responsible research are sitting out in the cold.

    When Pocket Lint and Street are off the books and replaced by writers capable of the type of research the blogosphere employs, I’ll be very happy. Until then, writers with the ostensible duty to provide objective, fact-based analysis and coverage of the Mariners are nothing more than corporate shills and should be treated as such. I find no fault in Dave’s story nor the subsequent comments.

  21. ChrisK on December 3rd, 2004 6:33 pm

    I would have to agree with Ryan. It’s true that the point and laugh comments are not necessarily constructive, but I believe Street and Finnigan tend to put themselves into a separate category that almost goes beyond rational critique. Some of their statements are just so weakly supported (M’s hit better at home), factually inaccurate (Finny’s budget math), or simply outrageous (using Cirillo as a cautionary tale against Vlad) that they need to be called out for it. True, the comments may go over the top and I will keep that in mind before I post. But P-Lint and Street (not to mention the readers whose questions they post) almost invite ridicule at times, especially considering their status as ‘credible’ sources of baseball information to the masses.

  22. eponymous coward on December 3rd, 2004 6:43 pm

    Look, Street was pulling facts out of his ass and/or eating up team spin, like it or not. He’s PAID TO BE A JOURNALIST. Damn right it ought to be held up to ridicule when this happens, just like Dan Rather or Judith Miller (notable examples from the non-baseball world).

  23. barok on December 3rd, 2004 7:00 pm

    All these “Look at this idiot HAHAHA” is not really intellectually refreshing.

  24. MoxMox on December 3rd, 2004 9:00 pm

    I disagree with calling them journalists. They are sports writers. Big difference.

  25. Dave on December 3rd, 2004 9:09 pm


    I hope this didn’t come across as a “I can’t believe how dumb Jim Street is” post. If it did, I wrote it poorly, as that wasn’t my intent.

    I also hope we’re not really viewed as a “watchdog over the press and team management”. That would be about the last thing we had in mind when we started this little shindig.

  26. Alex on December 3rd, 2004 9:58 pm

    The way you have to look at is this. If you’re looking to upgrade parts in your computer and you’re possess a high technical aptitude (ok, you’re a geek), what would you do? Would you run out to the nearest CompUSA or Circuit City and ask their opinion/advice on how to upgrade your hardware? Or, would you go to a smaller, speciality computer hardware store to solicit an opinion?

    Jim Street = CompUSA/Circuit City
    USS Mariner = Speciality computer hardware store

    Point being, Street’s work is good for general public’s consumption is nothing more. This site (and blogs like it) are for the “geeks”. 🙂

  27. DMZ on December 3rd, 2004 10:02 pm

    I like to think our appeal is wider than that. I’ve tried to work hard to make even the more technical stuff I’ve written accessible.

  28. Alex on December 3rd, 2004 10:04 pm

    DMZ, I definitely didn’t mean that as a slam on the blog. I really enjoy this site quite a bit. I check it out a couple of times per day. You guys all do great work. I thought that I was pretty well-versed on baseball before visiting USSM, but I realized that there is much that I have yet to learn. I honestly did not know what VORP was before logging on here, for example. 🙂 Thanks for putting out high quality information and keep up the good work!

  29. msb on December 4th, 2004 11:16 am

    hey, c’mon, Jim is all the way down in Tucson– it’s hard to look stuff up when you are that far away….

  30. Ryan on December 4th, 2004 1:21 pm


    Street is in Tucson? I’m in Tucson. Maybe he and I can get together for a little chat to discuss his research methods…

  31. roger tang on December 6th, 2004 12:17 pm

    Um, calling out Street and Finnegan for their poor analysis is NOT the same as “hey, see what idiots Street and Finnegan are”, right?