(Caution: this article may contain errors and misspellings for purely comical purpose.)
Today’s Major League Baseball is a strange game. Most of the statistics are misleading. The money being earned by its participants is all out of proportion to their contributions to the business. Take the Commisioner, Bug Selig for example: his contribution has been negative by any objective assessment, yet he earns in excess of $17 million per year. But even that lofty figure pales in comparison to players that are paid hundreds of millions of dollars, but are only marginally better (if that) then players making a few hundred thousand.
Matt Holliday is one of those players that contributes precious little to a team, yet is revered by players, fans, and management alike as a “Superstar”. Fortunately, even though the little heads in the Rockies front office desperately wanted to retain Holliday and shower him with untold amounts of cash, their greed prevailed and they dumped his overinflated salary in the hopes that it would leave more money there for them. Incidentally, they got three players, any one of whom will probably contribute far more to the cause of winning games than Holliday ever would.
Why is Holliday so loved and his absence so deeply lamented by fans and pundits alike? Beats us. The Baseball Observer, with a keen sense of observation, saw in Holliday a massive ego brought about by a lifetime of being a big fish in a little pond, coupled with physical tools that made it easy for him to stand out at sports. Stand out, he did, but he never played to win. Holliday swung for the fences everytime he batted, even when the situation called for a groundout to win the game.
He had enough success to compile excellent statistics, which points out why there are so misleading. Holliday had great numbers for extra base hits, batting average, and runs batted in, which most fans see as the most important measure of great ballplayers. But any pitcher who faced the Rockies saw Holliday as a great natural hitter with zero discipline. That meant that when the chips were down, the pitcher could beat him 95 percent of the time, and they did. Matt had lots of hits and knocked in lots of runs, but very seldom when they were needed. When the game was on the line, you might as well send up a pitcher with a plastic bat.
Then there was Hollidays continuous concentration problem, exemplified by getting picked off of first base by Boston in the World Series. The more you watch Holliday, the more you wonder if he even knows how to play the game. He might, but it is hard to tell, because he drifts off frequently, probably counting his money. He normally goes into this catatonic state when he is standing out in left field, where you might notice that he doesn’t get much of a “jump” on balls hit in his direction. The Observer remembers numerous times when balls were hit to left that should have been singles, or even outs, but Holliday wasn’t paying attention until it was too late to make the play. Fans refer to these late starts as “taking a Holliday” but the uninitiated thought they were saying “holiday”.
Matt Holliday isn’t the first grossly overrated “Superstar”. Look at “A-Rod” (Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees) for example. Joe Torre’s book mentioned that other players have called him “A-Fraud” for years, partially referring to his legendary lack of success at crucial times, exhibited by his feat of only having 17 RBI in 39 postseason at games, an average of 1 every 2.3 games. During the regular season, his carreer average is 1 RBI for every 1.27 games. For contrast, Manny Ramirez averages 1 RBI per 1.2 games in the regular season, and 1 in 1.4 in the postseason. Matt Holliday averages an RBI every 1.4 games during the season, but only 1 in 2.2 games in the postseason. So, you can see the drop-off by A-Rod and Holliday are very similar. (Statistics from www.baseball-reference.com). Unless Holliday can figure out a way to step up his intensity when the chips are down, he will start getting the same reception in Oakland that A-Rod gets in the Big Apple every time he strikes out with the winning runs on base.
In the mean time, the Rockies have actually improved themselves by dumping Holliday because they will get better clutch hitting in his spot in the batting order and much better fielding in left field. If the players in the trade contribute, or the stingy management uses some of the saved money to good advantage, that will be gravy on the cake. For once Rockies management did the right thing, although purely by accident.