Baseball, as is much of life, is a thing of routine. The calendar flips to January and soon after the various fan fests start happening. From there, you can see that blessed day when pitchers and catchers report. A couple of weeks and game scores start showing up around the internet. From there, it’s just a matter of course until those magical words: Opening Day.
A baseball fan’s life has rhythm as well. We’ve already passed the regular uproar about the Hall of Fame voting. The new Baseball Prospectus is out, which means legions of well-read fans are descending upon its pages, giddily reading about any and all teams. Blogs around the internet will be starting their usual previews and predictions.
It happens in Cardinal Nation as well. You’ll see it over at Viva El Birdos, where they are doing their community projections. You’ll find it here in a few weeks as this space will play host to my regular Playing Pepper series. And you can see it here now with the annual look at the Cardinal Approval Ratings.
This is the sixth straight year that I’ve tried to gauge the pulse of Cardinal Nation about the players and other related folks that make up the organization that we care about. The idea, which is roughly similar to presidential approval polls, is to get an idea on where folks stand in the eyes of the fans and to see if that standing has improved or declined over the past year.
You can find the most recent ratings for people that I’ve asked about over on our links page. (We’ve never gotten around to giving them their own space, if they even need it.) I don’t ask about everyone. In fact, there’s a general method to my madness.
1) Starting a couple of years ago, I chose nine people/groups each under the headings Players, Media and Assorted. Nine because, of course, it’s baseball’s number and it seemed to fit pretty well.
2) Once I start asking about a player or person, they pretty much stay on the list until they are no longer with the club. I occasionally ask about former Cards in the Assorted section, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be on there every year going forward. Which is why, as many of you will likely ask, there’s no Al Hrabosky on the media list–I left him out the first year I did it this way and there’s never been an opening since. Besides, I’ve got a fairly good idea where he’d rank…..
Now, everyone’s approach to this ranking is going to be different. You may be a person that wants to take just the on-the-field stuff into account. That’s fine. You may feel like a player is fine on the field, but a jerk off of it and lower your number accordingly. Have at it. You may be a tough grader and the best someone will get out of you is an 80. Whatever floats your boat.
If you are wanting a rule of thumb, my personal feeling is start out at around 70. If they are strong on the field, bump them up. If they are strong off the field, bump them up. If you just think they have great taste in jersey numbers (although he’s not on here, Tyler Lyons would get such a bump from me), bump them up. And bump them down for whatever you want as well, such as not signing autographs for you or struggling in the clutch. All the voting numbers from the past few years can be found on this table, if you’d like to calibrate your scale before putting your opinions down.
I’m going to keep this open from now until Valentine’s Day. That’ll be roughly three weeks for you to weigh in and not be terribly influenced by spring training, if that really mattered. Once the voting is closed, I will release the approval ratings three at a time (one from each category) in the regular posts starting on February 17.
So get your votes in. Only one per person, so if you mess up, do it again and I’ll delete the first one. Please try to take it seriously–depending on how many people we have vote, an unserious ballot could really skew the numbers. (We had roughly 60 vote last year–would love to see us push for 100 this season.) Zeros count as zeros, blank slots are skipped. So if you don’t have an opinion on a person/organization, please just skip it so as not to bring down the average.
Oh, one quick explanation. The “Cardinal Internet Presence” takes into account their Twitter usage, their Facebook page, etc. Are they doing a good job with it? Is it lacking? I think everything else is fairly self-explanatory, but that one isn’t as clear.
All right, I think that’s it. Any questions, feel free to email/Tweet me or leave them here in the comments. Thanks for your support!