Sorry for ripping off Shakespeare. However, I think it’s appropriate. We live in a world of super-sized options, two-for-one sales, and out-sized expectations. We want, and expect more. Bigger. Flashier.
So when something is called a Single, we sneer and look the other way. It’s all in the name. It’s just one hit. Just one base. Nothing exciting. It’s not a Double. Or a Triple. It’s certainly not a home run. (Is it just me, or did Wendy’s name most of it’s items after hits?)
However, what if instead of calling a single a single we called it what it is. A hit. A NOT failure. A success.
Nick Markakis leads the National League this year in Successes with 82. 26 of his Successes have a little something extra attached. 56 of his Successes don’t. They are just good, solid, didn’t fail, didn’t swing too hard GOT THE JOB DONE Successes.
You know what his reward is for the 56 Solid, Normal Successes? The 10th best fangraphs WAR among outfielders, and 2nd best among NL outfielders despite the fact that he provides no value with his defense and negative value with base-running.
And do you know what they typically call people who rate that highly in WAR? All-Stars.
And what has Nick Markakis never been? An All-Star.
And what does it look like he might be this year? An All-Star.
Why? Because he accepts that failing while trying for Success with some secret sauce is still failure, and that Success, even garden variety success, is still . . . Success.
Or in other words, Nick Markakis may well be an All-Star this year because unlike so many modern players, he doesn’t mind hitting singles.