"You compare me to a Qantus seatbelt? Geez." Getty Images

Is there anything more farcical than the number of times the word "safety" is used when you get on, sit down and take part in a commercial flight? While air safety is an absurdly reliable foregone conclusion—the flight itself is "manned" almost entirely by computers, thousands of flights take off and land simultaneously daily around the world (this is cool) and the average fatality rate per person is in the 2,000,000,000 miles traveled range—we're given specific instructions on how to preserve our own lives before every flight. Each time we stand, we are warned of the perils. When we sit, we are reminded to buckle up.

Can you imagine a cab driver giving a similar demonstration before he whisks you off to the airport at terrifying speeds through freeway traffic, with you buckled or not, chattering away on a phone? Of course not. And yet airlines do it, even though it is the equivalent of providing blender lessons for children with each new push of the "puree" button. "Grip your blueberries as so, and drop them in, one by one."

But at least now we can understand K-Rod better, the human equivalent of an airplane seatbelt. With Anaheim now knocked out of the playoffs by Boston, K-Rod's line for the series was 2.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. So out of the 39 innings played, he was involved in not quite three, and took one loss. People will consider his season brilliant, and we'll bask in the numbers, but it's hard not to remember that he is still a great seatbelt. If over 95% of games led after the eighth inning are won, regardless of the pitcher, what does that make a guy who saves them more often, or in flashier fashion? The answer is something like a fraction better. But is he as valuable as a guy who can bat 16 times in the series and field every inning? Of course not.

A sexy seatbelt is still that. Useful sure, but on airplanes, like baseball, nearly every time you didn't even need it on to assure a safe landing. Much less a "good" one.


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