Defying conventional wisdom, ESPN baseball analyst and statistical expert Keith Law has named the Kansas City Royals as baseball's best team in 2009. "It's not even close; by almost all statistical standards, the Royals lapped the field in 2009."
Reaction in New York, where the Yankees had apparently won the 2009 World Series, was irate. Sports call-in shows were flooded with angry callers demanding to know how Law arrived at his decision. But at least one New York sports talk host, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Law. "When you look at KC's LAW RAT (Leveraged and Averaged Win Ratio), there's no comparison. The Royals had a LAW RAT of 19.762; the next closest was the Nationals with 17.118."
Law defended his decision by citing the numbers. "Greinke's WACKY (Win Average Coefficient per Strikeout Yield) was off the charts, the Royals' bullpen's Average Saves In Nine Innings (ASININE) led the league, and their Defensive Uncategorized Errors (DUNCE) score was first in the AL."
When an AP reporter reminded Law that the game was played on the field and not on sabremetician's spread sheets, and that the Yankees had actually won the world championship, Law responded, "The World Series is an invalid determinant of the best team. What you saw was an illusion. The complex variables that go into an assessment of which team is better has nothing to do with vague and amorphous things like a pitcher's stuff, quality at-bats, momentum, fielders' instincts, and managerial decisions. To put it in terms the layman can understand, it's about what players could do...not what they do do."
Meanwhile in Kansas City, the mayor has scheduled a belated victory parade through the downtown district on Tuesday, and Bud Selig is expected to award the Commissioner's trophy to the Royals organization on that occasion.
Law, who has an MBA from Harvard and once worked as a consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays, drew similar ire when he voted Javier Vazquez second on his Cy Young ballot and omitted St. Louis's Chris Carpenter, despite Carpenter's apparent statistical advantage over Vazquez. "Any dope can cite ERA and wins; that's not what determines good pitching. I look at Games Over Ongoing Fielding Yield (GOOFY) average."
When asked who should win the world championship in 2010, Law responded, "Well, right now I'm favoring the Pirates. Their Cosine Rating At Position (CRAP) is astronomical."