Say you're out to dinner with a slow chooser. The person will take his or her time making a decision from the menu, and then at last a decision will be made, and oftentimes the decision will be unremarkable and unsatisfying. Now, next time you're out to dinner with a slow chooser, introduce an arbitrary decision clock. Out of nowhere, just start screaming "TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN-" until the other person panics and makes a choice from the options he or she has narrowed down. Oftentimes the decision will remain unremarkable and unsatisfying, but you will have at least introduced an element of excitement in the lead-up. I think that's how the naming of the Gold Glove Award finalists functions. They just started naming finalists ahead of time last year. In so doing, they raised Gold Glove awareness and made it feel like more of a competition. The actual winners are still just winners of a Gold Glove Award, and I might feel more validated winning a contest under the cap of a bottle of Squirt, but now it's a thing to win, dammit. It's not just a thing to have happen. That is, if your team has Gold Glove finalists on it. The 2012have two of them. Had two of them? Are we switching to the past tense now? This paragraph is rapidly approaching 250 words. I'm beginning to feel like a phenomenologist.
Dustin Ackley has been named one of three finalists for the AL second base Gold Glove Award, along with Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia. Predicted headline if Cano wins: Cano 'Dusts' The Competition. I think after writing that sentence I have to give back my degree now. Brendan Ryan has been named one of three finalists for the AL shortstop Gold Glove Award, along with J.J. Hardy and Elvis Andrus. Not predicted headline if Hardy wins: Can't Hardy Wait. Because that doesn't make any sense. That would never be the headline.
Last year, the Mariners had zero Gold Glove Award winners and zero Gold Glove Award finalists. So this year was two better than last year, at least. So prepare for this conversation:
Man: How much better were the Mariners in 2012 than in 2011?
Man: oh okay
It's not wrong. If you're curious about the advanced defensive metrics, Ackley was tied for second in Defensive Runs Saved, behind Cano, and he was third in UZR, behind Pedroia and Cano. Ryan maimed the competition in Defensive Runs Saved and more narrowly beat out the competition in UZR. You should care about the advanced defensive metrics in general, but you probably should not care about them with regard to the Gold Glove Awards, because Gold Gloves aren't handed out according to the advanced defensive metrics. We've already had those awards announced. These are the more silly ones.
In fairness, that laughable Rafael Palmeiro Gold Glove happened in 1999, and that was a long time ago. We shouldn't criticize the Gold Gloves for something that happened in the last millennium, any more than we should criticize the Mariners for Who Let The Dogs Out. People and processes change. But then the Gold Gloves still aren't based on good science or analysis, so it strikes me as an honor that would be nice to get and not not nice to not get. Take that, ninth-grade writing teacher. Look who's writing for a full-time job! And look who's teaching writing to ninth graders for a full-time job. I'll give you a moment to consider suicide or just going and getting lost in the woods.
The Gold Glove Award winners will be announced Tuesday night. Both Pedroia and Cano have won before, so I figure Ackley has next to no shot. Last year the finalists were Pedroia, Cano, and Ian Kinsler, so Ackley's big victory is displacing Ian Kinsler and his stupid hair especially in that hot Texas weather all summer long. At shortstop, though, Ryan has a real chance, because Derek Jeter isn't in the competition, and neither is Erick Aybar, who won a year ago. Also working in Ryan's favor is that he's absolutely fucking amazing. And not just in the so-good-he-makes-everything-look-easy way. Brendan Ryan's defensive brilliance is readily visible to the eye. Even to the untrained eye, and I would hope that the eyes of the Gold Glove Award voters are not untrained.
Should we want Ryan to win a Gold Glove? On the one hand, yes, of course, yay Mariners awards. On the other hand, Brendan Ryan has never won a Gold Glove, and he's become as amazing as he is. The only Brendan Ryan that we know is the Gold Gloveless Brendan Ryan who is incredible at defense. What happens to one of the variables if you change the other variable? Maybe Brendan Ryan has just been playing for a Gold Glove Award and should he ever win one, then after that he'll just coast. Maybe he'll rest on his laurels, maybe he'll become lackadaisical. Is that the Brendan Ryan that you want the Mariners to be starting at shortstop? I should hope not! Something to think about. How well do you know Brendan Ryan, really?
If any of you actually believe that paragraph, and if you're male, then please do me a favor.