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Boras proposes a new stat

July 10, 2007|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — In a sport packed with statistics, is there room for another? With a nod to the best defenders in baseball, the most powerful agent in baseball says yes.

"We need to give the fans something to identify brilliance defensively," Scott Boras said.

Boras proposes the "EP," for exceptional play. The official scorer would be asked to distinguish between an exceptional play and a routine one in the same way he is asked to distinguish between a hit and error.

In that way, Boras said, fans can debate whether a play should merit an "EP" and compare a player with 20 EPs to another with 10 EPs, whether an EP saved a game just as a big hit might have won it. The only common defensive statistic is an error, he says, and zone ratings and other such new defensive metrics are neither instantly identifiable or widely understood.

Fans can look to blocked shots in basketball, he said, or interceptions or sacks in football.

"One thing we do not do well in this game: We do not recognize defense," Boras said. "We need to bring defense to the fans. Give them a statistic, and they'll recognize the player for it. The fans get something else to enjoy the game with."

J.T. Snow, who won six Gold Glove awards as a first baseman for the Angels and San Francisco Giants but never appeared in an All-Star game, says he supports the EP concept.

"The All-Star game and Hall of Fame are all about offensive numbers," Snow said.

Boras says he plans to meet with Commissioner Bud Selig soon to discuss several ideas, including his pitch to expand the World Series to nine games and play the first two at a neutral site, preceded by a televised gala at which the MVP, Cy Young, rookie of the year and manager of the year awards would be presented.

The EP, Boras said, should be an easy sell.

"ESPN has told us we need to do this," he said. "They have web gems."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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