This one time, I emailed Keith Law and asked him if he’d be willing to do an interview and he didn’t respond to my email until six months later! He was all, “sorry I got behind on my emails.” And I was all, “Oh, whatevs, Klaw. I didn’t want that interview anyway. Talk to the virtual hand.”

My point: I’ve had occasion to wonder, “hey, maybe this Law is a bit of a d-bag?” But never did that taint my opinion of his writing or his player analysis. Because, really, what does one have to do with the other?

SI’s Jon Heyman thinks there’s a connection. This week Heyman criticized Law’s Cy Young ballot, which cast a second place vote for Javier Vazquez and omitted NL ERA leader Chris Carpenter entirely. Heyman had this to say about Law’s voting:

I have no problem with Tim Lincecum winning the Cy Young award, though I supported Chris Carpenter. But those two, plus Adam Wainwright, have to be the top three, no? The two voters who omitted Carpenter who led the league in ERA and winning percentage erred, I believe. The reasoning seemed to be about the slightly lower number of innings he pitched (Javier Vazquez had about 30 more innings). But I think the issue may also be the voters’ great emphasis of the strikeout. At least one ballot seemed to reflect gross strikeout total.

Since that rather bland critique, Heyman has taken to Twitter to bash Law. Over and over, he’s wondered, if Law’s methodology is so great, why aren’t his ESPN colleagues rushing to his defense? (Heyman has conveniently overlooked Rob Neyer’s declaration of support for Law.)

He even retweeted this Buck Martinez quote: “I worked with Keith Law in Toronto and he doesn’t have a grip on anything.” Zing!

And all this has got me wondering, what is Jon Heyman doing? Is he really taking Law’s vote personally? Did Law steal his date to the prom? Did he talk trash about his mamma? I don’t get it.

Yankee Universe was wondering the same thing, and they asked Heyman about it via Twitter:

Yankees Universe: @SI_JonHeyman His colleagues have stuck up for him. You just don’t read their work.

Heyman: @jonathangallo i meant co-workers at espn, not stats sites. what do co-workerrs think of him? by the way, i am not a COLLEAGUE. hes at espn

Yankees Universe: @SI_JonHeyman You don’t really make sense here. You want the non-stat guys to agree with him on a position built on numbers?

Yankees Universe: @SI_JonHeyman And what they think of him is really irrelevant to the question of whether he made a logical decision- why shift focus there?

As much as it pains me to side with anyone who roots for the evil empire, I’m with Yankees Universe. Maybe Law is a popular guy in Bristol. Maybe he’s not. Either way, Javier Vazquez had a very good year, and he was arguably more valuable than Chris Carpenter. And that’s all that matters.

I’m not surprised Heyman disagrees with Law. Anybody who jumps on the Emilio Bonifacio bandwagon after six games clearly has a lack of appreciation for modern statistics.

But, Jon, let’s abandon the whole “where are his coworkers?” tact, eh? Because it really doesn’t matter if John Kruk agrees with Law or not.

4 Responses to “We’re with you, Keith Law.”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    I’ve emailed with Keith. He has great taste in literature. Also, I have to give him props for biting the bullet and eventually writing back to you after six months. When that happens to me, I just hide in shame and hope the person forgets I ever existed.

  2. Boom. Called that. Vasquez was second in most significant categories to Lincecum except for straight ERA.

    I like to imagine KLaw as a baseball analyst version of Dr. House; he’s a genius, and he’s amusing, but he’s a generally just a big prick.

  3. Sarah, I give Keith credit for writing back, too. And I wasn’t really mad that he lost my email. It happens to the best of us.

  4. Emailed Law before and he responded fairly promptly and seemed to be a solid guy. I agree with Yankeesfan as well, for better or worst… Law makes sense.

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