Rob Parker led the hottest takes for Jan. 18-24.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time around, we’re breaking down the hottest takes from sports media members from Jan. 18-24.

5. Mike Klis asks “What about Juan Pierre?” with insane cherry-picked comparisons to Edgar Martinez: Klis, the former Denver Post writer now at Denver NBC affiliate 9News, has come up here before, showing some inconsistency with his stance on outside interviews of NFL assistant coaches a couple of weeks back. This time around, he chose to weigh in on the Baseball Hall of Fame vote with some lobbying for Juan Pierre, which, whatever. But he did so with a couple of cherry-picked statistical comparisons to Edgar Martinez that completely ignored the context of both players’ careers:

First, citing stolen bases here is particularly crazy, as no one was asking Martinez to steal a lot of bases. Yes, Pierre provided some value there that Martinez didn’t, but there are a whole lot of Hall of Famers who never stole many bases. But beyond that, the hits comparison is also funny; it’s not even one that Pierre wins, and it’s not one where he’s even really all that close (especially considering that it took him 312 more at-bats to come up 30 hits behind Martinez), but he’s closer there than he is in most other offensive metrics. Martinez had 514 doubles, 15 triples and 309 home runs in those hits, giving him a career slugging percentage of .515. Pierre? 255, 94 and 18, for a slugging percentage of .361. So he beat Martinez in triples, but his hits produced way less bases overall.

Pierre also was way behind in batting average (.295 to .313) and on-base percentage (.343 to .418). And yes, Martinez was mostly a DH, so he didn’t provide much in the way of defense, but Pierre’s defense wasn’t enough to make up for his poor offense; FanGraphs has Pierre with a +28.9 for their defensive component of wins above replacement, but a -58.6 for their offensive component (giving him 23.3 career WAR overall when combined), while they have Martinez with +500.8 offensively and -133.5 defensively, giving him 65.5 career WAR, or almost triple what Pierre produced. The difference is even more stark at Baseball Reference, which has Martinez with 68.4 career WAR, four times Pierre’s 17.1. But sure, Pierre stole more bases. That’s a totally legitimate way to compare these players…

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Tom Van Riper and Michael Salfino complain about Mariano Rivera’s unanimous Hall of Fame selection: Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous nominee this week, and that really annoyed a whole lot of people. Two notable ones were Tom Van Riper, author of a book about the Reds and Dodgers and a Forbes contributor (and former staff writer), and Michael Salfino, who writes about fantasy sports for The Athletic, The Wall Street Journal and FiveThirtyEight. Just ahead of the official news of Rivera’s election, with it looking like he would earn that unanimous vote, Van Riper dropped a subtle Forbes piece titled “Mariano Rivera Is The Most Overrated Player Of All Time“:

Awaiting the 2019 Hall of Fame results, all indications are that Rivera, the former Yankee star closer, will be the first unanimous choice in history. Whether the vote is actually unanimous or just very close really isn’t relevant – such an overwhelming vote for a part-time player and hyper-specialist is enough to show how out of whack the praise can get for a limited player witch such minimal impact on winning games. The even less-deserving Trevor Hoffman was elected last year, though his  79.9% vote magin wasn’t as overwhelming  as Rivera’s will undoubtedly be.

It should be obvious that all closers are overrated. Yes, in his limited way, Rivera was great at what he did. And he did it for a long time, giving him a leg up on other top closers who typically had shorter shelf lives. The cut fastball that he unveiled in short bursts (2-3 times a week), the one that flummoxed hitters who knew it was coming, was enough to put up great numbers one inning at a time. But it wasn’t enough to utilize him for 200 innings a season (a longstanding rule in sports, you may have noticed, is that the better you are, the more you play). A part-time offensive player who hits .300 and pops 10 homers in 150 at-bats isn’t going to the Hall of Fame, because no one assumes he’d produce at the same level for 500 at-bats. So why genuflect to a 70-ininng pitcher? Aside from a handful of (mostly bad) starts very early in his career, did Rivera ever have to face the same batter twice in a game?

Meanwhile, Salfino wasn’t against putting Rivera in overall, but he bashed the unanimous selection in rather strong terms (he later deleted the tweet, though):

Michael Salfino's tweet on Rivera.

Some of the points made complaining about Rivera being the first unanimous selection are fair; given his role, he did produce less total wins above replacement than many other Hall of Famers. But the unanimous selection is more about the voters themselves; past Baseball Hall of Fame voters have fallen all over themselves to deny obviously-deserving players unanimity, and that didn’t happen this year, with one voter even changing his mind to support Rivera.

The other element here is that while baseball writers can argue almost anything, they almost universally recognize how much Rivera stood out at his position. Hheck, even Salfino thinks he deserved HOF election. But some baseball writers invariably find reasons not to vote for other players with more WAR, preferring different players at their position. And criticizing this for being unanimous is silly; so some voter who knew Rivera was a Hall of Famer should have not voted for him just to preserve a weird tidbit of history? That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right that Rivera was the first here, but the outrage about it seems overblown. There’s a legitimate way to criticize Rivera being the first unanimous selection, but the way these two guys did it was pretty over-the-top.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥 for both.

3. Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith feud with Derek Carr: One of the dumber things this week came from First Take co-hosts Kellerman and Smith arguing with Oakland Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr. This started with a Smith and Kellerman segment Wednesday on if the Raiders should draft Kyler Murray, which included Kellerman saying “Carr didn’t want it” and “[head coach Jon] Gruden knows they have to move on”:

Someone tweeted that at Carr, who responded with tweets calling them both clowns and asking Dana White to set up a MMA fight against them:

And this of course led to responses from Smith and Kellerman the next day:

But both of them missed the point. Yes, it may be Kellerman’s job to tell you what he thinks (more specifically, his role on First Take appears to be to tell you what he thinks in a way that’s at least somewhat in opposition to whatever Smith’s take of the day is, and to do so in a provocative way that fits with the show), but he could have easily made the case for the Raiders to draft Murray without tossing out baseless insults like suggesting that Carr quit on his team (which is what Carr is really upset about here). And both Smith and Kellerman are trying to argue that Kellerman didn’t call Carr a quitter, but said he looked like he quit, but that’s a distinction without a difference. Kellerman attacked Carr’s character and effort without providing any evidence for that, and both he and Smith then got mad that Carr fired back. And that’s pretty hot takey.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥 for both.

2. Bob Ford argues that Roy Halladay should wear a Phillies hat in the Hall of Fame because…PLAYOFFS!!!1111?

There were a lot of bad takes from both Toronto Blue Jays’ fans and Philadelphia Phillies’ fans after Roy Halladay’s widow Brandy expressed her preference that he go into the Hall of Fame without a team cap given what both cities meant to him. Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford had perhaps the worst take, though, arguing “Roy Halladay would have wanted his Hall of Fame plaque to have a Phillies hat.” His rationale? Halladay made his only postseason appearances with the Phillies:

What the Phillies gave Halladay, however, was the thing that mattered the most to him. They gave him the postseason. They gave him the crucible where his beliefs about himself would be put to the greatest test.

…Roy Halladay was a gracious man. He wouldn’t want to insult the Toronto Blue Jays. But, in my heart, having been around him, I believe he would want his Hall of Fame plaque to portray that grim, unflinching stare that batters knew so well. And, above the brim that shaded his eyes, I think he would want a “P.”

Look, first off, this is a dumb thing for anyone on any side to argue. Which cap Halladay’s Hall of Fame bust wears doesn’t alter one stat of his career, or one memory of him, and the arguments about this just go to illustrate how these caps are silly anyway (and why most Halls of Fame don’t assign players to one specific team). And that goes for the Jays’ fans who bring up “But he said in a Toronto appearance in 2016 that he wanted to go in as a Blue Jay!” That’s at least a somewhat better argument than Ford’s making, but it’s notable that people do change their minds, and that you usually say good things about a city when you’re there. And that still comes down to “I, fan, know Roy Halladay’s wishes better than his family.” But Ford’s argument is like three levels worse than that; “having been around him” as a sportswriter means that you think you can know what he wanted better than his wife, and know that all that “mattered the most to him” was the postseason”? That’s incredibly insensitive, and very dumb.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Rob Parker says “Tom Brady will become Lance Armstrong without the bike”: We talked earlier about Kellerman and Smith needlessly feuding with Carr and escalating it after his response, and a similar thing happened over at Fox this week. Last week, Rob Parker predicted that the New England Patriots would lose the AFC championship game and their “reign of terror would be over.” They didn’t, and the team tweeted Parker’s prediction Tuesday with “Sorry to reign on your celebration”:

Well, that really set Parker off, and led to him accusing the Patriots of cheating and comparing Tom Brady to Lance Armstrong:

Here’s the clip:

And here are some quotes from that, via Boston radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub:

“They do understand that despite everything that they’ve accomplished – and they’ve accomplished a lot over the last 19-20 years – they haven’t earned the respect from everybody because of all the other stuff that’s been going on in their organization. If you have a quarterback that’s won five Super Bowls, why is there even a debate? It tells you about what they’ve done, how they’ve gone about their business, why a lot of other people in NFL America can’t fully embrace what’s going on. Belichick got caught. Belichick got fined the highest fine for any coach in the history of the NFL. They lost draft picks. Tom Brady was suspended for four games for not cooperating with the NFL’s investigation on Deflategate. … Josh McDaniels went to Denver, he got fired. Why? He was spying on another team’s walkthrough in London.”

“So when you pack all that stuff together, there are people who, despite the winning, despite the championships and despite everything else, still look at the Patriots and … they don’t embrace them. It’s hard to embrace a prickly pine of deceit and deception.”

…”I still believe that when it’s all said and done, and that disgruntled person who wasn’t taken care of comes out and writes that book and lays it all out on the table, that Tom Brady will be looked at the same light as Lance Armstrong. He’ll be Lance Armstrong without the bicycle.”

That’s all a hell of a stretch. Yes, the Patriots got into some trouble over Spygate and Deflategate (although the latter remains much more controversial, and many argue that it was an overreach by the NFL), but implying that that makes Brady “Lance Armstrong without the bicycle” is a massive jump. But when you’re Rob Parker, you’re always searching for the hottest possible take on anything. And he found it this week.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 226
Skip Bayless – 198
Phil Mushnick – 167
Colin Cowherd – 74
Rob Parker – 56
Doug Gottlieb – 53
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Ray Lewis – 25
Darren Rovell – 20
Danny Kanell – 20
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Don Cherry – 18
Jason McIntyre – 16
Andy Benoit – 15
Tony Massarotti – 15
Ben Maller – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Kirk Herbstreit – 13
Mike Felger – 13
The Sporting News – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Michael Wilbon – 12
John Middlekauff – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Greg Gabriel – 10
Rob Rossi – 10
Bill James – 10
Jason Smith – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Graham Couch – 9
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – 9
Mike Francesa – 9
Ross Tucker – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Bob Ford – 8
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Trent Dilfer – 7
Damien Cox – 7
Mike Bianchi – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
The Wall Street Journal – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Max Kellerman – 5
Mark Readings – 5
Neil Warnock – 5
Patrick Bet-David – 5
Jared Stillman – 5
Jen Rainwater – 5
Matt Walsh – 5
Jon Steinberg – 5
Bill Welt – 5
Jack Todd – 5
Aaron Murray – 5
Chris Childers – 5
Mark Knight – 5
The Herald Sun – 5
David Booth – 5
Tom Nichols – 5
Keith Hernandez – 5
Bill O’Reilly – 5
Brandel Chamblee – 5
Michael McCarthy – 5
Mike “The Reputation Doctor®” Paul – 5
Dennis Dodd – 5
Rich Lowry – 5
Chris Reed – 5
San Diego Union-Tribune – 5
David Hookstead – 5
Tomm Looney – 5
Alex Shaw – 5
Rick Reilly – 5
Randall Mell – 5
Ian O’Connor – 5
Michael Bamberger – 5
Bob Bubka – 5
Cathal Kelly – 5
Pete Prisco – 5
Bill Simons – 5
Christine Flowers – 5
Jason Lieser – 5
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Alexi Lalas – 5
John Moody – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson – 5
Rod Watson – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Mike Klis – 4
Richard Keys – 4
Peter King – 4
Bruce Levine – 4
Malcolm Gladwell – 4
That’s Kappy – 4
Mitchell Nathanson – 4
The New York Daily News – 4
“Big” Jim Murray – 4
Jeff Diamond – 4
Marc Berman – 4
Evan Roberts – 4
Corbin Smith – 4
DJ Siddiqi – 4
The Express – 4
Mark Kiszla – 4
Greg Witter – 4
Myron Medcalf – 4
Bill Polian – 4
MJ Franklin – 4
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Michael Salfino – 3
Tom Van Riper – 3
Andy Katz – 3
Tony La Russa  – 3
Jim Brady – 3
Bill Simmons – 3
Mark Teixeira – 3
Wally Hall – 3
Damien Woody – 3
Victor Cruz – 3
Andrew Walker – 3
Jim Kaat – 3
Jason Gay – 3
Steven J. Brams – 3
Aaron Isaksen – 3
Will Muschamp – 3
Buck Lanford – 3
John Feinstein – 3
Stan Fischler – 3
Sonnie Wooden – 3
Chris Jones – 3
Kelly Smith – 3
Reggie Miller – 3
Mark Madden – 3
Larry Brooks – 3
Dan Canova – 3
Steve Rosenbloom – 3
Stephen Jackson – 3
Mike Sando – 3
Walt Borla – 3
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 3
Justin Peters – 3
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Dari Nowkah – 2
Ella Dorsey – 2
The Hill – 2
John Kindt – 2
Bill Madden – 2
Tony Gonzalez – 2
Mike Greenberg – 2
Grant Paulsen – 2
Jeff Ermann – 2
Ed Werder – 2
Ben Mulroney – 2
Ron Cook – 2
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 2
Gareth Wheeler – 2
John Cornyn – 2
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
Seth Greenberg – 2
Doug Smith – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Will Cain – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.