Friday, February 12, 2010

Murphy vs. Jacobs: The Battle for First

In history and in fiction, there have been great battles that will stand the test of time and forever remain emblazoned on the mantle of legend and immortality: Godzilla vs. Mothra, the Jedi vs. the Dark Side, Boadicea & British Rebels vs. Roman Tyranny, Average Joe vs. the Purple Cobras, GI Joe vs. Cobra Commander, North vs. South, Gondor vs. Mordor, Tyson vs. Holyfield, Allies vs. Axis, David vs. Goliath, Joan of Arc vs. England, Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Navy vs. Spanish Armada, Indiana Jones vs. the Nazis, Rocky vs. the Russian, Alien vs. Predator, and now…Murphy vs. Jacobs.

Before we dive into the ensuing battle that will take place in Port St. Lucie this spring, let’s cover our poll results. Despite our Facebook reminder to vote that had been sent 2 days ago, we still only garnered 5 votes. Sadness. We asked you which of our Favorites was your Favorite? We’re not sure where we went wrong here. We assumed that you’d like this poll. Did we give you too many options or something? Not the right options? Anyway, the winner, with 2 votes, was “Tiny” Tim Lincecum. No surprise there as we DO have an entire holiday dedicated to him in August and he IS an honorary TBB. Who doesn’t love that gangly, shaggy haired “Freak?” The next 3 boys each earned 1 vote: Johan Santana (which we know was #1 fan, Steph), Mike Jacobs (it’s cos’ he’s hot, isn’t it?), and Ken Griffey Jr. (a bit shocking that someone as timeless as Griffey only earned 1 vote, but oh well). Apparently, no one got into Huston Street (did we mention he was very bendy?), Adam LaRoche (is it because you don’t know who he is?), Justin Morneau (apparently Serena is this man’s only stalker), Barry Zito (okay, admittedly he has not been on par with his pitching), TOWSNBN (he totally deserves having no votes), and Daniel Murphy (but he’s got that cool Irish last name and everything!).

On Tuesday, a source on spread the rumor that the Mets were closing in on a 1 year minor-league deal with free agent Mike Jacobs (who began his career with the Mets). Jacobs would receive an invitation to big-league spring training on a non-guaranteed contract, where he’d compete with Daniel Murphy for at bats at first base or off the bench. Yesterday, the Mets made it official. Naturally, this got us pondering about who would win in a face off between our two Favorites, Jacobs and Murphy. Let us examine the facts, shall we?

Daniel Murphy “The Defender”
We call Murphy “The Defender” since he is the current first baseman for the Mets and therefore, defending his turf. Since everyone loves offense so much, we’ll begin with the boy’s offensive numbers from last season. In 155 games, he had 508 at bats and scored 63 RBI’s on 135 hits. Of these 135 hits 38 were doubles, 4 were triples, and 12 were home runs. He walked 38 times and struck out 69 times. He ended the season with a .266 batting average, .313 OBP, .427 SLG, .741 OPS.

On defense, he started the season in left, playing 27 games in the outfield (all of which he started). Since we’re focusing on who should play first, not overall defense, we are not going to discuss his stats in left field. Therefore, moving on. He played in 101 games at first (97 in which he started), totaling 849.1 innings. In that time, he had 874 total chances, 790 put outs, committed 10 errors and participated in 81 double plays. His range factor was rated at 9.16 and his fielding percentage was .989.

Stats aren’t the only pieces of information that are important to us. We also care about personality. We don’t want another Carlos Beltran on our hands. Murphy was born on April 1, 1985 in Jacksonville, Florida. Not only is his birthday April Fools’ Day, but he also shares a birthday with our #1 fan, Steph! His number is 28, which is an even number, and as we know, Serena likes even numbers. The last name “Murphy” looks way better on the back of a t-shirt than “Jacobs” does. Most importantly, Murphy is the mascot for Serena’s Irish-themed birthday party.

Mike Jacobs “The Intruder”
We’re calling Jacobs “The Intruder” because while he did play for the Mets first, he is still invading what is currently considered “Murph’s Turf.” With Kansas City, Jacobs unfortunately spent much of the season in the DH role instead of at first. Therefore, while we will provide you with his last season’s stats, we are also going to show you his 2008 stats with the Florida Marlins, in which he played first regularly (since there is no DH role in the National League). You might think that this gives Jacobs an unfair advantage, but Murphy’s stats have not differed much between the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Also, the Marlins are not only in the same league as the Mets, but also in the same division, which gives us a better idea as to how Jacobs will perform against similar pitching in the same ballparks as Murphy has.

With KC, he batted in 128 games (but only played 15 in the field) with 434 at bats. In that time, he totaled 99 hits, 16 of them doubles, 1 triple, and 19 home runs. He had 61 RBI’s, walked 41 times, and struck out 132 times. He ended the season with a .228 average, .297 OBS, .401 SLG, and .698 OPS. In his 15 games at first, he played 112 innings with 110 total chances and 94 put outs. He committed 2 errors and participated in 13 double plays. His range factor was rated at 8.68 and his fielding percentage was .982.

In 2008, he played in 141 games (putting him closer to Murphy’s total of 135 games) with 477 at bats (again, closer to Murphy’s 508). Of his 118 hits, he hit 27 doubles, 2 triples, 32 home runs, and scored 93 RBI’s. He walked 36 times and struck out 119 times (which makes us think that his 132 strike outs with KC could be attributed to the learning curve of switching leagues). He ended the season with .247 batting average, .299 OBS, .514 SLG (87 points higher than Murphy’s SLG), and .812 OPS. In Florida, he started in 119 games at first, totaling 927.1 innings. In that time, he had 898 total chances with 825 put outs, committing 11 errors and participating in 67 double plays. His range factor and fielding percentage hasn’t varied much, which is to be expected, coming in at 8.61 and .988 respectively.

Jacobs was born October 30, 1980 (just one day prior to one of the most awesome holidays ever in which you can dress up as whomever you want). His middle name is James, which flows from the tongue fluidly. Think about it. “Michael James Jacobs, you drop your pants right now!” The best piece of trivia we’ve found thus far on the man is the fact that despite not being Jewish, on May 28, 2006, the Marlins proceeded to give out Jacobs t-shirts to young fans on Jewish Heritage Day. That is classic, ladies and gentlemen. We know how this feels firsthand because contrary to popular belief, Lisa is not Spanish. Furthermore, we’re not really how many times we have to tell you this, but he’s HOT! Unfortunately, in December 2006, Jacobs married another…not one of us…but another. Not only did he shatter our hopes by marrying a woman without dating us first, but he also had twin girls with her. So the man is married with child, which means off limits. *Sigh*

Based on playing ability, Jacobs should technically win the position. His fielding is slightly better than Murphy’s (and it should be since Jacobs is a natural first baseman whereas Murphy is a converted first baseman), but it’s his offensive power that gives him the advantage. That being said, we’re still voting for Murphy. We know that we’ve oozed compliments galore about Jacobs’ physique and overall hotness factor, but he’s married with children. We’ve had enough of young, sexy ball players up and marrying in the prime of their youth when they should be sowing their wild oats…with us. We just can’t take yet another man down in a sea of should be single baseball players (the TBB are not home wreckers. We don’t do married). Examples? Ryan Langerhans, Jeff Francoeur, Justin Morneau, Javy Lopez, we could go on here, folks. Therefore, though it pains us, we bid you farewell, you fine piece of man, Mike Jacobs. Perhaps one day, you will find yourself single again and then you can call us. Meanwhile, we believe in miracles…you sexy, sexy hunk of burning love.

Baseball Notes: King Mustache, aka: Keith Hernandez, spent 2 hours on Monday and Tuesday instructing Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans in art of playing first at the Mets’ training camp in Port St. Lucie and thank goodness for Murphy! Opposition will be rolling into town soon enough. A source informed that unsigned free agent Chien-Ming Wang is expected to make a decision about which team he’ll sign with in the next 7-10 days. The field has supposedly been narrowed down to the Washington Nationals (where former teammate, Brian Bruney currently plays) and one other unidentified team, which prompts us to assume that it will be the Nationals. On Wednesday, reported that the Braves have offered Johnny Damon a 1 year deal. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but a source (always with these damn sources) indicated that the contract’s total value is less than $4 million. Really? What happened to the $20 million/2 years, Scott Boras? Jerk. However, the Braves have got some competition on their hands. Reportedly, the Tigers and Rays are also in the running to nab Damon. Yesterday was a sad day in baseball. Tom Glavine officially announced his retirement and has been hired by the Braves to be a special assistant to the team’s president, John Schuerholz. He will be working with Schuerholz on baseball and business related projects (how vague does that sound?) and occasionally assist Wren and manager, Bobby Cox. He also plans to work about once a week with the team’s radio and TV crews. Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas also called it quits prior to receiving his lifetime achievement recognition from the Comcast SportsNet Sports Award to benefit the March of Dimes at the Hilton Chicago. He ends his career being 18th on the all time home run list. There was a snippet of rumor on regarding the possibility of Jim Thome retiring as well, but it’s all too depressing to think about. Soon we’ll be surrounded by countless young, arrogant, and unfamiliar faces while the glory of our youth’s baseball gods retire. We’re going to become our parents! Instead of, “I remember when Ron Guidry threw 18 strikouts…,” we’ll be saying, “I remember when Aaron Boone hit the game-winning, ALCS-winning home run off of Tim Wakefield.”

Lastly, we’d like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Have a lovely day.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. I found a tie-in between the Winter Olympics and baseball! Apollo Anton Ohno's facial hair is starting to resemble the creature that is growing on Jayson Werth's chin! -CM

  2. Good Observation CM .
    Even olympic athletes make mistakes.
    Hopefully a lesson can be learned to all sports figures around the world and that is to tame the unruly creatures that form from your chiney chin chin .