Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On Sabermetrics (Again)

Ol' Ricey Cube of World Series Dreaming just announced his copy of The Book arrived. This naturally led to a discussion of sabermetrics and what-not.

My addition to the thread proved quite treatise-ic, so I wanted to repost it here. It symbolizes a lot of the frustrations I've had with recent renaissance of anti-sabermetrics:
How exciting! The Book is a classic and still VERY current. Few books illuminate the game like that one.

Also, concerning the grit, hustle, and what-not: It's straight crazy (if not entirely uninformed) to think sabermetric teams value unquantifiable elements less than teams of the past. There have been PLENTY of highly successful teams stocked to the brim with @$$holes and countless heartwarming teams that played like turds.

Take me, for example: Through high-school and college I was a 2-5 sport athlete, a likable fellow, a team leader, and the smartest, hardest worker in the city and state. Unfortunately, I had (and still have) the natural athletic talents of a sweet potato and played the part of spirited leader for a number of talentless, winless teams.

I also participated in highly successful teams where hatred for your fellow man and coach reigned supreme, but talent and fortune outweighed these negatives.

THAT BEING SAID: Who wants to deliberately hire a jerk? Not many people. And I think that's partly why Bonds got blackballed: The one team that could tolerate him didn't want him; the rest of the league couldn't stand him.

Also, a greater understanding of statistics and sabermetrics does a lot to tell us how numbers lie. Half our time is spent discussing how an ERA, fielding percentage, or batting average FAILS to represent something. We have alternatives, but there are still so many gray areas and places we can improve.

Sabermetrics is about the pursuit of baseball knowledge, not the evangelism of FIP, wOBA, or win expectancy charts.
In conclusion, follow World Series Dreaming on Facebook if you don't already. He's always got some good discussions going.

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