Friday, November 14, 2014

Cliff's Edge 11.14.14: Clutch Criticism #Kershaw

By @CLG2282

These days expectations for professional athletes are through the stratosphere.  Anything less than perfection is a let down. Fans expect undefeated seasons and media expects Christ like behavior both on and off the field.

Often though, many sports fans forget, these professional athletes are human.  They have made mistakes before and guess what...they will make mistakes again.  Even with that said, people always manage to create some type Litmus test.

There is always a "standard" that we use to compare athletes with. This player is compared to that player,  this generation to the next. We all do it.

I'm guilty of it myself. I'm constantly in debates about who is the best among the greats and why. About what criteria should be use to measure the performances of the stars involved.

One thing that I notice frequently is that some athletes are scrutinized more than others. Or the inverse that some athletes that should be criticized aren't criticized enough.

I say this on the heels of Clayton Kershaw winning yet another Cy Young award. Which he very much deserves. But where is his criticism for his big stage performance?

Kobe Bryant has recently broken the NBA's infamous mark of most missed field goal attempts and all types of jeers are sent his way. "Pass the damn ball Kobe." some would say.

Or what about the crushing pressure that LeBron faced getting swept in the Finals and pulling a disappearing act in 4th quarters that rival Houdini himself?

So often star athletes are beat across their back for "not getting the job done" but it doesn't seem to happen for all the star players. Have you check Kershaw's postseason numbers as of late?

Kershaw, who is rightfully drawing comparisons to greats like Gibson, is severely lacking the "clutch gene". This gene that is very often discussed when it comes to winning championships.

While Kershaw is putting up numbers that are almost unparalleled (2.48 career ERA, 98-49 W-L record) he is all but a ghost in the postseason.

The 3-time Cy Young winner (which deserve more acknowledgement in its own respect) has an astonishing bad playoff background.  Posting only 1 win in 6 career decisions.

Owning a 1-5 career record I'm the playoffs, his ERA hot air balloons to 5.11.  In fact Kershaw has never won a game past the Divisional round, going 0-3 in the NLCS. How can someone that good, be so bad when it counts?

Though there may not be a definite answer to that question,  my bigger question is where is the scrutiny?  Where is the criticism for arguably baseball's best player (this year's NL Cy Young AND MVP)? Winning both awards is another one of those "hasn't been done in decades" stats that everyone just loves.

The fact that people weren't watching the World Series that Kershaw wasn't in may have something to do with it. So next to no one was watching the NLDS or NLCS to even see Kershaw pitch.

So baseball's basement like ratings may have something to do with Kershaw's criticism but that doesn't excuse it. If you're going to get on LeBron's case, no matter how small the media platform is (in comparison to other sports) you absolutely HAVE to pick apart Kershaw's performance.

I mean, isn't that what we do to the greats? Do we not expect greater from them in the clutch? Or maybe that only apply to "certain athletes"? I guess that's a topic for another discussion.

But regard, #GoCleveland #216 #ClevelandAgainstTheWorld

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