A small change has been introduced in the voting for Gold Glove awards, given annually to the players judged to be the best defensively at their position.
It is overdue.
Major league managers and coaches will now vote for two corner outfielders (right field or left field) and one centre fielder, ending the practice of selecting three centre fielders every year. Research by the Los Angeles Times discovered that centre fielders won 34 of 36 American League Gold Glove outfield awards in a 12-year period from 1988 to 1999. Corner outfielders received virtually no recognition.
"They're all distinct positions," Mike Scioscia, the manager of the Los Angeles Angels, told the Times. "If you're going to do that for outfielders, [when] you give out Gold Gloves for infielders, take four shortstops.
"That doesn't make any sense."
Indeed, although center fielders are often the most athletic of outfielders and usually possess the best speed because of the ground they are asked to cover, corner outfielders have their own specific skills.
It's a long-held belief that not enough voters make informed picks. Rafael Palmeiro once won a Gold Glove despite spending all but a dozen games as his team's designated hitter. Derek Jeter, has been awarded Gold Gloves far past his defensive prime.
Perhaps new guidelines such as the one introduced for outfielders will result in more careful voting.