Westminster Dogs, Baseballed

This year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held Monday and Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. A celebration of racial purity and shaved butts, it is a super weird event that I find relentlessly entertaining and fascinating, despite the fact that I have never and will never own a AKC registered purebred dog (since there are really cute mutts being put to sleep every day). Naturally, I spent Valentine’s Day eating failed meringues, watching the televised version of the event, and forming a baseball analogy for your edification (plus YAY DOG PICTURES YAY):

Palacegarden Malachy

Pekinese (Toy Group), Pitcher

2012 WAR: 7.1

Awards: Best In Show, Best In Toy Group, Best Pekinese, Cy Young

Malachy’s performance in 2012 was strong, but there are those in the sabermetric community who feel that he ran away with the BIS (Best In Show) award this year based on some outdated factors (weirdness, front fluffiness). Certainly, he is a dog who seems at first glance to lack the grit or determination necessary for this game, but those who judge him are missing out on this dog’s extraordinary (if a bit unconventional) control from the mound. Those that have questioned Malachy’s “hustle” and drive, consider this: he had the highest K/9 last year for a pitcher with at least 20 starts, and his shape kind of reminds me of Falcor.

Raydachs Playing With Fire V Gleishorbach — “Cinders”

Wire-haired dachsund (Hound Group), Shortstop

2012 WAR: 8.2

Awards: Best In Hound Group, Best Wire-Haired Dachsund, All-Star Game Starting Shortstop

Cinders is a real fan favorite and a living embodiment of the “intangibles” in baseball, but without sacrificing the numbers. He is a smart baserunner, a heads-up shortstop, and as the lead off batter for a Hounds team that is, of late, always part of the conversation, he knows how to get on base and stay there. He’s always fun to watch as he seems to put his oversized heart into every play he makes out there. His “Bagwell style” beard was the subject of much discussion this year and will be memorialized by Nike on a t-shirt as soon as he retires. He is also a great family pet.

Spotlights Ruffian — “Ian”

Dalmation (Non-Sporting Group), Right field

2012 WAR: 7.3

Awards: Best In Non-Sporting Group, Best Dalmation, Gold Glove

There were many who wanted to see a Dalmation win Best In Show this year, and Ian really looked like that dog at the beginning of the season — maybe the attention got to Ian’s head as he managed to let Malachy get the best of him in several matchups towards the end of the season. He still had a great performance in 2012 overall, often showing off his athletic prowess at a position that has often been filled by the weakest defensive players. He hits home runs on the field and (according to some tabloids) off the field he’s a power hitter as well… with the ladies!

Perrisblu Kennislain’s Chelsey

Kerry Blue Terrier (Terrier Group), Left Field

2012 WAR: 7.0

Awards: Best In Terrier Group, Best Kerry Blue Terrier, World Series MVP

We all know the statistics: terriers have won this BIS award 43 out of 103 times. Certainly for that reason, not to mention her striking style of play, on base percentage, and super awesome eyebrows, Chelsey did at times seem like a favorite for this year’s prize. Some questions did arise about whether she was really the best terrier in her group, especially because her breed is a less popular variety. “Come on, the fox terrier was much cuter!” said one commentator from her couch — she would like to remain anonymous, but we can tell you that her initials include a S and a B. But once on the larger stage of the Best in Show competition, Chelsey showed her true colors and they were, yes, true blue. She had one of the best performances we’ve seen in some time and she had the crowd on their feet for every at bat, waiting to see if she could push another one out of the park. And she did: she had three home runs in the final game of the season, but she was part of a crowded field. As Ford Frick award winning announcer David Frei is known for saying “there aren’t enough blue ribbons.”

Babheim’s Captain Crunch — “Cappy”

German Shepherd (Herding Group), DH

2012 WAR: 6.9

Awards: Best In Herding Group, Best German Shephard, Home Runs Leader, Silver Slugger

Cappy is a fixture of the American League Designated Hitter position and, at the rate he’s going now, he is in the conversation for being among the top three or four DHs of all time. He fits the bill physically and seems to exude the attitude of a pure hitter as soon as he steps out of the dugout and onto the field. Intimidating both pitchers and the fielders who have to contend with his violent line drives, Cappy looked for a moment like he might muscle his way into the BIS voter’s hearts. “Scrappy” and “cute” were the words of the day, but Cappy seems content to just keep right on belting home runs while the smaller dogs tremble in fear.

Shadagee Caught Red Handed — “Emily”

Irish Setter (Sporting Group), Third Base

2012 WAR: 6.5

Awards: Best In Sporting Group, Best Irish Setter, Rookie of the Year

Emily was out of the conversation for BIS seemingly as soon as she was in it, which is surprising given her reputation for being a beautiful fielder and a member of the aptly named “Sporting Group.” Irish Setters are certainly among the most popular breeds in the hearts of Americans, but Emily was up against competition that simply outmatched her skill set this year. She is a fantastic dog that is a joy to watch, but in the public perception, she lacks the ability to win “in the clutch.” Her BABIP was extremely unlucky this year so we have high hopes for this girl in the future. She has a long career ahead of her and , if she ever decides to get out of the baseball gig, she could certainly win some jobs as a model!

Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici — “Fifi”

Doberman Pinscher (Working Group), First Base

2012 WAR: 6.2

Awards: Best In Working Group, Best Doberman Pinscher, All Star Game MVP

In contrast to Emily, Fifi is a dog who always seem to perform in the clutch for her team. She is a vicious competitor and all she wants to do is “win, win, win no matter what” (as per her own batting music). However, a quick look at the numbers shows a dog who may actually be somewhat overrated. I know that in my own household, we certainly thought Scarlett the boxer was a shoo-in for her group. But that isn’t to “dog” Fifi, who is a fine first baseman and a great number three spot hitter who drove in 125 runs last year — leading the league. And although I drafted her somewhat reluctantly, I can’t ignore her contributions to my fantasy team, where she killed it for me in 5 out of 6 categories (let’s just say she’s not a fan of stealing bases, but then, neither am I).




Print This Post

Summer Anne Burton is a writer and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. She is drawing pictures of Every Hall of Famer.


8 Responses to “Westminster Dogs, Baseballed”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. glassSheets says:

    Remarkble restraint to only use the hilarious K/9 joke once. Hooray for dog pictures!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. davisnc says:

    That German Shepherd is a masher. Did a quick search to try to find what a ~7 win DH would look like. Most of the leaderboard features guys who played at least 90 games at a position other than DH. Edgar Martinez put up 7.5 wins in the strike-shortened 1995 season with a total of 56 defensive innings, and 6.4 in 1996 with a total of 36 defensive innings.

    1995: .356/.479/.628, 29 HR. He 145 games in the 144 game season thanks to the Seattle/California tiebreaker game.

    1996: .327/.464/.595, 26 HR.

    I know that in recent years, 1B has had a harsher positional adjustment than DH has, in which case we also have to consider Jason Giambi’s 2002 and Frank Thomas’ 1997.

    Anyway, dog can rake.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. MikeS says:

    The Irish Setter was robbed UZR vastly underestimates her ability to get the job done while having more fun than any two other dogs combined. Furthermore, she’s got a little dog’s mind in a big dog’s body. Can’t quantify that.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Resolution says:

    Hey Summer, I’m in a 5×5, 12 team fantasy league and have the first overall pick looming. Would you recommend Cinders or Ian (not Malachy – I don’t take pitchers in the first round). My concern is that while Cinders plays a premium position, I feel like he’s a worse bet to repeat his 2012 success so I may take Ian. Thanks!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • reillocity says:

      Your question is better suited for TotoGraphs, Resolution.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Hey Resolution,

      I would take Cinders with the first overall pick unless your league is a keeper league. I think Cinders will put up numbers in all 5 categories this year, and he plays in a group where he is definitely going to get plenty of RBI and runs batting in front of a whippet and behind this fine specimen (http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2012/photos/breed/HP24262603.jpg). He also steals a decent number of bases/hearts for a non-specialist, so he has the breadth that I always try to cover with my first round pick.

      IF your league is a keeper league with 2+ year contracts available, I would take Ian — he definitely has a long career ahead of him and will probably just continue to improve over the next 4-5 years. I’m not a fan of long-term contracts in real baseball, but in fantasy sometimes a dog like this is worth nailing down. I think we’ll see a dalmation finally win BIS in 2015.

      <3,

      Summer Anne

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    The blue terrier looks like she’d provide poor speed and range in the outfield.

    Also: I say we need a Nickname Seeks Player for “Spotlights Ruffian”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>