Authorities say casualties have risen sharply across America as the fighting over Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout's MVP bona fides enters its second bloody week.
New flare-ups were reported in Boston, Denver and Chicago overnight as both sides continued to engage in snarky Twitter "@ replies" and small-arms fire.
"I've done three tours in Iraq and a stint in Afghanistan," said Sgt. Matt Thompson, one of the National Guard members called in to keep the peace in Minneapolis, where the initial bloodshed began. "And for all the horror I saw over there, this stuff is hardcore. You see a middle-aged sportswriter beaten to death with a 10-key calculator stuffed in his mouth...it'll change you."
The conflict originated with a dispute over how much to factor in a modern baseball statistic, perhaps appropriately known as WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, into the discussion over the most valuable player in the American League. The Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout's MLB-leading WAR of 10.4 was more than two wins greater than his closest competitor. Meanwhile, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who had a WAR of 7.2, led the league in the more traditionally recognized stats of home runs, RBI and batting average, more commonly known as the "Triple Crown," a feat not reached since 1967. In addition, Cabrera's Tigers reached the playoffs, while Trout's squad fell short.
This type of argument is not uncommon amongst "old school" baseball writers and sabermetricians, and the invective on both sides, while heated, was "nothing that hadn't been seen before," said Craig Calcaterra, the only surviving member of NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog.
The fighting escalated when a party of unnamed Minnesota Twins bloggers ran into some area newspaper columnists at a local drinking establishment. Both sides dispute who started the argument, but the few living witnesses agree that one journalist mentioned something about one of the blogger's mother's basement, and that a blogger congratulated one of the columnists on getting his head that far up his own rectum. Shortly after that, "a flurry of snide insults and also stabbings" began, per police reports. The death toll from the so-called Park Tavern Donnybrook has reached 31 as of this writing.
From there, the "War on WAR," as some are calling it, spread to other metropolitan areas, mainly those with professional baseball teams. In Kansas City, area bloggers have banded together as "Bill's Brigade," with a coat of arms that features the bearded visage of local sabermetrics pioneer Bill James bathed in a golden light. James is believed to be a political prisoner in baseball Hall of Famer and outspoken advanced stats critic Joe Morgan's town home. Tufts of James' beard have been mailed to Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan, a SABR proponent, with a simple, four-word message: "Is this Billy Beane?"
Portland-based SABR guru Rob Neyer is said to be the de facto leader of the statistically-inclined resistance movement. He is alleged to have a necklace made entirely from the press passes of beat reporters who have used the phrase "proven reliever." He was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is the "tip of the spear" of the traditionalists, per a spokesperson. They reportedly have a framed copy of the Baseball Prospectus (a publication by and for SABR enthusiasts) masthead, with a line through each name it has "eliminated." No one from the BBWAA would comment on the story, but the spokesperson did say that "people won't dismiss RBI if they know what's good for them."
The BBWAA has also called in retired General Norman Schwarzkopf as an advisor. Although Schwarzkopf has not expressed an opinion on the matter or if he's even a baseball fan, a source close to the BBWAA inner circle said, "The General's a winner. He just knows how to win."