November 12, 2013 | Tom Federline

The Orioles became the best defensive club in a major league season this past year. They were “charged” with 54 errors – pretty impressive. At times during the year, the Orioles fielding prowess was the only thing worth watching when tuning into the O’s. But did they really establish a new record? How many full games or parts of games did you see this year? I’ll say, I saw parts of 50%. Of that 50%, I saw at least 15+ errors that were never charged (not all on the Orioles). Whatever happened to – “If it hits the glove and you do not make a play – it’s an error”? Whatever happened to – “If you throw the ball and it is not within 5 feet of the intended player – it is a throwing error”? You have to wonder who or what entity controls the “official scorer”.

The Orioles were awarded 3 Gold Gloves for 2013. In my book, the total number of 3 was right. It’s just that I thought 2 out of the 3 were wrong. Those awarded: a) Machado – a no brainer, he deserved it. b) JJ Hardy – solid and reliable, shades of Cal – when the ball is hit to him, 98% of the time a guaranteed out. Quite refreshing. c) Adam Jones – one of the best. Two things benefited Jones this past year: 1. No one else really came close to playing as many games in centerfield this year, thus he had the most chances and 2. Jones fell into the category of “not being charged with” errors when I saw at least 5 errors he committed early in the year. A few rebuttals here were that Yunel Escober of the Tampa Bay Rays committed the least amount of errors at SS and had close to the same amount of chances as Hardy. Mike Trout (LA Angels), 1 error in center (not as many chances as Jones though) And the Tampa Bay Rays in general – they ended up with the second best defensive stats in the Major League but were awarded no gold glove winners.

The 2 obvious Orioles that were overlooked were Chris Davis and Nick Markakis. Wieters also proved a nice case for himself. Chris Davis committed fewer errors than Eric Hosmer (winner with KC), while tallying approximately the same number of games played and chances. The glaring atrocity of the GG Awards this past year was that the best right fielder in baseball (American and National Leagues) was spurned again. Nick Markakis played the most games of any right fielder (AL), had the most chances of any right fielder (AL) and was charged with ZERO errors. That’s right people, a 1.000 fielding percentage and he does not win the Gold Glove. Can you say “fix”? The GG Award is supposedly voted on by managers and coaches……are they blind, ignorant or bought? Wait-a-minute, they did add another supposed measurable component this year – Sabermetrics (SABR). In our misguided world of Information Technology and everything must be measured by numbers – a group of geek numbnuts who have probably never stepped onto a baseball field, came up with some sort of indexing of defensive stats. SABR this! Once again, no “Respect” – (Aretha Franklin) for Nick. It’s wrong, man. Just all wrong.

Shane Victorino (Boston – need I say more), was the recipient of the tainted
GG glove in right field for the American League. I am not going to go through every position in the American League – I do not have to. There is enough evidence with just the Oriole players that have been mentioned. The Gold Glove Award became a joke when Cal Jr. was spurned many a time throughout his career due to the “flashy” Omar Vizquel. And then of course there was the infamous Rafeal Palmeiro incident of 1999, when he played 28 games at first base and WON the Gold Glove. Paleease people, was the selection committee also on steroids?

The Gold Glove Award – an award that you hope a true dedicated baseball player would covet. An award that should be the reflection of an acquired high skill level that all started with a glove, a ball and a wall. An award you hope could not be tainted. Unfortunately it has been. It is a shame that the selection committee for a prestigious award commits obvious errors when near perfection should be rewarded.

Enough, let’s end on a positive…….. at least the Baltimore Orioles were recognized. Kudos to Machado, Hardy and Jones – they earned it. They are in the upper echelon in fielding at their position. The Baltimore Orioles are blessed with great defensive talent at almost every position. We the fans are the beneficiaries. The past few years it has seemed like old school – glimpses of the Oriole way.
GO O’s. T-minus around 106 days until the beginning of Preseason baseball. Lookout Sarasota.


4 Comments For This Post

  1. JC Says:


    Post season awards fixed? Say it isn’t so!

    Much of baseball’s obsession with numbers is still ultimately reliant on the human element.
    As you point out, HUMANS decide what is a hit and what is an error.
    Just like the Human umpire decides that the close pitch to the seasoned All-Star is a ball, when the rookie gets wrung up on the same pitch. How many less strike-outs would Tom Glavine have with a computerized strike zone?

    Now follow the money. Who votes? Players and coaches? How many players get financial bonuses for these awards? You can bet their agents aren’t sitting back waiting for the selections to just happen.
    I’m sure there is plenty of behind the scenes lobbying with more than just a “thanks for the vote” at stake.

    We can still be happy that the Orioles had their share of gold glovers from this remarkable defensive year. As for your future HOF’er Markakis, unfortunately he will need to hit better and win us some post-season games to get the vote. Evidently no errors isn’t good enough for right fielders. The days of the Mark Belanger Gold Glove are over.
    How about a team gold glove award each year?

    Now about these silver slugger awards……….WTF?


  2. unitastoberry Says:

    Mark Belanger was part of the Iron Curtain on the left side of the infield for the Orioles for over 10 yrs. The fact that the Orioles could have him play everyday and bat 180 along with a trio of catchers who batted 230 and pitchers who had to bat and then go out and win 95-100 games a year is mind boggling to this day!

  3. Fedman Says:

    I do not believe players vote. If they did, they would be voting for the guy who took the most steroids and didn’t get caught. Rafael Palmeiro? Now how could I forget their agents? Good point – percentage of salary = percentage in their pockets. It all falls back on teh money. “Show Me the Money”, “Say it Ain’t So” – Weezer. Yes, there is/was a group called Weezer.
    Sliver Slugger “Steroid” Award – first appeared 1980. Voting members – managers, coaches, somebody playing with numbers. Same group of greed mongers. At first, I think it was created for the guys they screwed over for the GG Award. Now, just another tainted award. “It’s all fixed.”
    Thanks for the feedback. Keep ’em rolling.


  4. Fedman Says:

    “The Blade” – 8 Gold Glove Awards. Retired having the best fielding percentage at his position. That’s with averaging about 18-20 errors per year. When an error was an error. When baseball had honor and integrity. As you say, that left side of the infield – rock solid for 10 years+ – my goodness what memories.
    The Orioles 1965 – 1983, one of the best organizations out there. Everyone had a role, everyone knew their role, all for one – one for all…………What happened? We all know……….I’m just glad we got to experience it………..prior to “Show Me the Money”.
    Thanks for the feedback. Keep ’em rolling.


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