Monday, March 29, 2010

Appreciation for Tex grows deeper and deeper

New York Yankees fans have been quick to embrace Mark Teixeira, who after a slow start last year, had a monster run in the regular season and contributed to the team's 27th World Series victory, both with his fantastic glove and a couple of timely home runs. But it's nice to see appreciation for Tex growing all around baseball.

In a power ranking of Major League Baseball teams, the Yankees are ranked first, with Tex giving them the edge over the archrival Boston Red Sox. A separate list of the top five first baseman in baseball has Tex #2 behind Albert Pujols, widely regarded as the best player in the game. The list cited his presence in the middle of the Yankees lineup, and with Derek Jeter and Nick Johnson constantly on base ahead of him, there's no doubt he will repeat and maybe even surpass the numbers he put up last year.

Leave it to the stat geeks to try to ruin the Tex love. A story surfaced last week about this Ultimate Zone Rating metric that put him 16th in the big leagues in terms of first baseman being able to prevent runs. To that, he and his teammates just roll their eyes. Anyone who bothered to watch a Yankee game last year knows how good a glove man Tex is and how many runs he saved with his spectacular play around the bag. This type of nonsense stat just proves that baseball can't be boiled down to numbers.

As much as I thought the Yankees needed to add pitching in the 2008-09 offseason, I was most excited by the Tex signing and grateful that Brian Cashman fought for the extra dollars to get him. Tex was one of those players I had long admired from afar, not only for his fantastic glove work and offense, but because he is one of the genuine nice guys in baseball. I'm glad he's on my team. He really is a difference maker.

Thanks to chris.ptacek via Wikipedia for the photo.

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