Seriously, Keith Olbermann?!?
Since we live in a day and age of hot takes, someone needs to come along and correct those who fly off the handle. The overly opinionated police...or something.
I've been on both sides of the equation, saying things that range from silly to insane and also keeping others in line. I have been called the Michael Scott of Hot Takes without the humor (not a compliment), and crafted a show based on hot take after hot take--so I know a thing or two about them.
During Friday's game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, ESPN's Keith Olbermann dished out a hot take about Harrison Bader that was so incredibly illogical that I feel the need to come here and correct it. Olbermann's 1.1 million followers were even left scratching their heads about it, because Google is a cool tool to have at your disposal and when it's not used, the reputation of opinions can be damaged. Here's Keith's initial tweet that started a dumpster fire...
Let me provide some context for this before I tear it to shreds.
Bader was picked off first base in Friday's game during a crucial moment. The Cardinals were down, and Kyle Hendricks threw to first and nabbed Bader. Based off ONE PLAY, Olbermann, who is paid a lot of money to talk about sports, judged Bader as nothing superior and not HEADY enough to play the game. Heady? Keith is not using his head here at all.
Did Olbermann say anything late in the game when Javier Baez let a grounder hit straight to him roll between his legs and into left field to score a run? Nope. Baez was heady enough for Keith.
Bader didn't waste any time firing back later in the evening.
Using a Training Day reference is always a good play in correcting someone who is clearly wrong. Well played, Bader.
Olbermann had more to say, giving the young outfielder a new name in the process.
Bro? Sonny? Nice...
Here's the thing. Olbermann could simply use Google to find out just how superior Bader is in the outfield and overall. It's called Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, MLB.com, or even his own workplace's site, ESPN.com. All of them work and will remind this guy that Bader is legit. Let me help.
According to Baseball Reference, Bader sits at a 3.9 WAR in just 368 at-bats. He's cranked 20 doubles, two triples, and 12 home runs in a little more than half of a season of work. While his .764 OPS and 108 OPS+ are above average, Bader's defense is what separates him from the pack. According to Fangraphs, Bader has saved the Cardinals 20 runs in the outfield this year. He isn't just one of the best rookie outfielders in baseball; Bader is one of the best outfielders in baseball period. Superior in a few ways.
I get it. When you have a large following like Olbermann's, there's a urge to say stupid things and try to boiler the pot a little. It happens. What I don't get is the need to stand behind it and pick a fight with a ballplayer who is clearly right.
If we judged players on a single play, the list of greats would be a small room of players. Everybody messes up. I wonder if Olbermann would call Kolten Wong, a favorite for the gold glove at second base this year, a far less superior player due to his 2013 incident in the World Series where he was picked off first base. I wonder if that would still stick. Probably not.
Some would say I am writing this just because Bader is a Cardinal and I am triggered. That would be incorrect. I am pointing out the obvious to a so-called "pro" because the numbers support it, and are so easy to find and direct. This column essentially wrote itself.
Be better, Keith Olbermann. Your 1.1 million followers deserve better.