Yadier Molina won his fifth consecutive NL Gold Glove on Tuesday, inspiring mixed feelings among St. Louis Cardinals fans. First, the celebration of baseball's best defensive catcher; second, a question that typifies the internet response to baseball's beleaguered defensive awards. Hey, when did you stop caring about the Gold Glove? For me, it was when I first heard that Rafael Palmeiro won his third one, in 1999, for a season in which he'd played exactly 28 games in the field. The coaches and managers thought he was the American League's best first baseman, but the Texas Rangers thought he was not quite the best one on the team. (Instead they played Lee Stevens there.)
Everybody's answer is different. Bernie Miklasz, for his part, calls this year's Andrew McCutchen pick a joke, and he's absolutely right; it couldn't be any more clearly predicated on McCutchen's offensive breakout, and none of the many defensive metrics out there have him as one of the league's best center fielders. Others will tell you that when Derek Jeter, a notoriously subpar fielder at shortstop, began picking up awards in his mid-30s, they lost all interest.
Whatever it is, baseball needs to do something about it. They're putting fans in an awkward position: The more you love baseball, the less respect you have for their end-of-the-year awards. The baseball writers make some awful mistakes with the MVP—and they likely will again, giving Miguel Cabrera a reward for winning the Triple Crown at the expense of the much better Mike Trout—but it's clear that baseball's coaches and managers aren't any better.