The Beauty Of Short Hops Taken To Task

A glove slap to Tom Tango for pointing out this really solid interview with Alan Hirsch, author of the new book The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball.

Shaun Payne -- whom I've not heard of before -- does a straight excellent job of taking Hirsch to task on his book, while apparently not offending the guy. No small feet.

The final "question" -- which actually does not feature any question marks -- is a treatise unto itself. I will reproduce the most of it here:

I see no reason why in-depth statistical analysis and sabermetrics would squeeze the life out of the game unless one is reaching for something that will squeeze the life out of the game.

I'm not a sabermetrician, but I'm very sympathetic to sabermetrics and try my best to learn and understand as many sabermetric concepts as possible. Perhaps it's because I'm not really a sabermetrican that I don't understand the joylessness of those sad sabermetricians who are merely watching the game of zombie or robot baseball.

The predictable and the statistical have taught me a great deal about the game and give me more appreciation of its majesty and mystery, not less.

I appreciate the unpredictable as much now as I ever have, largely because I have a better understanding, through statistics and sabermetrics, of what the numbers say is supposed to yet doesn't happen. The fact that the meaningful numbers usually get things right makes the unexpected events in baseball seem even more miraculous.

I would argue that sabermetrics in a certain sense is an anti-statistical movement in that it opens the door to the organic parts of the game. Sabermetrics make baseball statistics into a language and not just cold and limited symbols on the backs of baseball cards.
For those who don't know, Short Hops is largely about how sabermetrics is flawed and increasingly useless.

I'm no fan of groupthink, so I generally like a touch of dissension in the crowd. Still, as Tango points out, the book appears to be criticizing a 2-D cutout of sabermetrics, attacking a "monolithic view of sabermetrics" that few in the field really possess.

Also, he appears to make the absurd claim that sabermetrics ruins the majesty of the game, when in fact nothing has enhanced it more for me.

Baseball and the Value of Sabermetrics: An Author's Perspective | Bleacher Report

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