Baseball season needs to start soon, because I keep making up new features while I’m waiting for game action to start. This one should be fun, though. In an earlier article, I wrote a half-cocked rumination on the prospects of improvement for Jason Jennings, as he transitions from the thin air of Denver to the soup of Houston. I compared my line of reasoning to Voodoo Economics at the time, simply meaning that my methodology was less than sound, and probably more like wishful thinking. In order to turn that into a baseball term, I co-opted Sabermetrics, and voila, Voodoo Sabermetrics were born.
I use the term to describe the methods by which we can rate the “fan favorites”. Guys who might not always rake, or dig, or climb the wall, but we love them anyway. I hit up some other baseball bloggers for a list of categories, and they obliged. They will also serve, with me, as the High Council of Voodoometrics. You throw out a player name (preferably someone who fits the categories in a positive way), and we’ll give them a score.
Your High Councillors are:
Jack Cobra from 3manlift.com
Texas Gal from Ladies…
Uncle Sunil from Hurricanes Are For Drinking
Gary Gnu from The GNUru Fantasy Sports
Sooze from Babes Love Baseball
TC from Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism
and me, from here.
Our rating categories are:
Appearance: This covers a wide range of territory. Rollie Fingers’ moustache, Dmitri Young’s blown-out afro, Bobby Kielty’s Mr. Heat Miser look, all count. If you’re nominating someone for this reason specifically, I suggest mentioning it, just in case he’s changed his look since then. Voters can award up to five points for each instance of personal pizazz.
Behavior: Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, for example. I don’t think any more needs to be said. Scale of 1-10.
Clutchness: Doing the right thing at the right time. It could mean bunting, knocking a ball in the dirt instead of letting it by, or taking kids out of a burning building. Scored on a scale of 1-10.
Atomic Mass: Suggested by Sunil as a measure of this player’s effect on chemistry. Player will be equated with an element from the periodic table (is he inert, transitional, rare and earthy?), and his score will be equivalent to that element’s atomic number.
Date Quotient: Not would you date him (see the next category for that), but would you let your daughter date him. Expressed as a completely arbitrary decimal, with 1.00 being the highest. Clean-cut Marine Cooper Brannan is on the high end of the scale, jailbird Ugueth Urbina is probably at an all-time low (.00000000000001?).
Hottness: The standard is set by the blog Ladies…, but since we have Texas Gal on our panel, we feel no lawsuit will be forthcoming. The hetero guys on our panel might not be the best judges, so they are allowed to show a picture to siginificant others, sisters, moms, old ladies on park benches, anyone who can give a qualified (or humorous) opinion. Scale of 1-10.
Scrappiness: Our guy might not have the physical tools or athleticism of the top picks, but he makes up for it with guts. And no, we’re not just applying this category to white guys. Could apply to someone who has come back from a major injury or health scare as well. Scale of 1-10.
Jollyness: I borrowed this word from Sooze. This guy is approachable and really seems to enjoy being a baseball player. He probably makes a lot of public appearances, is loved in his community, and helps out at charity functions. My role model here is Andres Gallaraga. You never saw a bigger smile at first base. Scale of 1-10.
Exposure: Even a good guy can be overexposed. See Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods for examples. Or, he might be unknown. Scale of 1-5: 1=who? 2=heard of him 3=Familiar name 4=see him on sportscenter 5=household name.
I’ll add up all of those disparate numbers and average them out to get a truly odd-looking final tally for each player. I’ve had some requests for things like “what if a guy has a hot wife?” and such. I think I’m going to let the panel decide where in the current categories that might fit, because I think we have enough to think about already.
So you see, it’s mostly arbitrary, but our liking for certain players often is pretty random. We’ll be happy to think up players to rate by ourselves, but it will be so much more meaningful if you contribute the name of a favorite player that we might not even think of. So head on down to the comment field and let us know who your fan favorite is, and we’ll commence to Run the Voodoo Down.