Why the closer is the most overrated player in baseball
Taking a step back, I cheered Melvin when he didn't cave into Francisco Cordero's ludicrous demand for a four-year $40 million+ contract. For a while there it looked like Melvin was going to wisely go against conventional wisdom and field a team without a highly-paid save specialist. Then he picks up Gagne (bad) for $10 million (worse) for only one year (thank God). But while it's obvious Gagne's signing was a bad idea, I hereby submit that paying any closer anything more than a poverty wage is a mistake.
Without further ado, here are the reasons why the closer is the most-overrated man on the roster.
1. People wrongly assume the closer is important because he's the only player who enters a game to his own theme music like a pro wrestler. MLB needs to make a rule that if the home team's closer stalks out of the bullpen with "Welcome to the Jungle" or something similarly awesome heralding his arrival, he must endure a head-hanging walk to the dugout after a blown save while the sound guy plays something quiet and sad by a Lilith Fair artist.
2. With apologies to Rollie Fingers and his mustache, the save is sort of a made-up statistic that wasn't even officially recorded until 1969. Look at all the ways a closer can "earn" a save. Sometimes a closer can throw one pitch and he'll show up in the box score next to the winning pitcher with an equally-important looking stat.
4. There is nothing so special about the ninth inning that you need to have one specific guy to pitch that inning. While the game may be "on the line" in a close game in the 9th, the game can also be "on the line" in the sixth inning of a 2-2 game if the bases are loaded with nobody out. It's easy to remember the closer's strike out that ends the game, but the other 26 outs recorded that game were important too.
Thanks for sticking with me. That went longer than I expected. If you only take two things away from this post, remember this: 1.) closers are the most overrated players in baseball, but 2.) the most effective Brewer closers have sported outstanding mustaches.
Memo to Gagne and Turnbow, get in touch with these guys immediately!