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dabvu2498
02-27-2007, 08:21 AM
As Season Approaches, Some Topics Should Be Off Limits
By MURRAY CHASS
Things I donít want to read or hear about anymore:

∂Roger Clemens saying he hasnít decided if he will play this year or retire, and if he decides to play, which team he will play for.

Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers ever, the greatest of his era. They could put him in the Hall of Fame today and Iíd have no problem with it. But let him walk into the sunset quietly. Let him pitch batting practice to his minor league son all day, every day, if he wants, but let him remain quiet on the subject of his major league future.

ďClemens revealed very little about his future,Ē a news report from Florida said last week, ďexcept to confirm heíll be spending quite a bit of time at Osceola County Stadium in the next month or so.Ē

The report quoted Clemens as saying: ďIím not thinking anything. Hopefully until May this will be the last time I have to address it.Ē

But it wonít be. Every time Clemens appears in public, a reporter will ask him if he has decided what he wants to do, pitch or retire. And if the answer is pitch, will it be for the Astros, the Red Sox or the Yankees?

Ever since Clemensís agents, the Hendricks brothers, engineered his trade from the Blue Jays to the Yankees in 1999, Clemensís status has consumed more newspaper space and television and radio time than that of any other pitcher. Enough already.

Last year, Clemens created a bad precedent for baseball, calling his own shots on when he would start pitching and what days he would honor his team with his presence, belying the concept of baseball as a team sport.

When Alex Rodriguez was a free agent six years ago, the Mets accused him of wanting them to create a 24-and-1 plan, one way for 24 players and another way for the 25th, Rodriguez. It wasnít true then, but it has become so with Clemens. Itís good for Clemens, bad for baseball.

∂People saying the Yankees arenít being fair to Bernie Williams.

No one, not Clemens, not Nolan Ryan, not Julio Franco, plays forever. Williams isnít exempt from that reality. If he were still one of the Yankeesí three best outfielders, or a more productive hitter than Jason Giambi, or a first baseman, he would be in Tampa, Fla., preparing for his 17th season with the Yankees.

But he is none of those things, so the Yankees donít have a spot for him. They are moving on. Williams should do the same. If he wants to continue playing, he should have his agent, Scott Boras, find him a job with another team.

If Williams canít face the prospect of playing for another team, he should graciously retire and accept that he has had a great, if not a Hall of Fame, career.

∂Players like Curt Schilling, Mariano Rivera and Andruw Jones saying they will be free agents after the 2007 season.

Could they wait until we get there? Do they know how many players have made similar preseason proclamations and wound up re-enlisting with their teams before they could become free agents?

If players think their threats are going to panic their teams into giving them the contract extensions they want, they havenít been paying attention.

∂Players saying that if theyíre not signed to new contracts by the start of the season, they wonít sign during the season.

Itís an empty threat. Rare is the player who turns down a lavish offer in May or June. Oh, five years, $75 million, you say? Well, all right. I could do that.

∂Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter no longer going to dinner together or having sleepovers.

The declining relationship between the guys who play the left side of the Yankeesí infield has not prevented the team from winning the division championship in their three seasons together.

The Yankees havenít won the World Series, but they didnít win it in the three years before Rodriguez arrived either.

Many precedents exist for teams being successful despite internal turmoil, which the Rodriguez-Jeter relationship doesnít even rise to.

The Oakland Athletics won three successive World Series (1972-74) with a clubhouse loaded with ill feeling among players. The Yankees won the World Series in 1977 and í78 after Reggie Jackson said it was he, and not Thurman Munson, who was the straw that stirred the drink.

I fear that some observers of the Yankeesí scene will not let the Rodriguez-Jeter relationship rest. They will find it an occasional easy story to write, the way reporters in another section of their newspapers write about Britney Spears.

But the social interaction between Rodriguez and Jeter is irrelevant and immaterial.

∂Statistics mongers promoting VORP and other new-age baseball statistics.

I receive a daily e-mail message from Baseball Prospectus, an electronic publication filled with articles and information about statistics, mostly statistics that only stats mongers can love.

To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didnít care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didnít know what it meant either.

Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Donít ask what it means. I donít know.

I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, thatís their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fansí enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

People play baseball. Numbers donít.



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/27/sports/baseball/27chass.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=sports&pagewanted=print

TheWalls
02-27-2007, 08:35 AM
So now onto Reds topics that should be off-limits for at least a month or two:

1) Marty and Dunn - Give it a rest huh?! Maybe the new and improved Adam will change Marty's impression... or not.
2) Dunn to 1st - Been there, done that. It was bad, real bad.
3) Dumb trade proposals - Yeah I know someone out there thinks the Astros will trade us Oswalt for Deno, Paul Wilson and Rheal Cormier, just let that thought percolate for a couple of months okay?
4) Stats Wars - Look, I'm a statistician by training and profession, BUT the pissing match over Dunn versus Casey using stats the average fan doesn't know or care about was ridiculous.
5) Fire Jerry Now - Ain't gonna happen, let it rest for a couple months.

Bobcat J
02-27-2007, 08:36 AM
To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didnít care enough to go to any great lengths to find out.

This is written by a man who is obviously committed to doing his job well. :rolleyes:


I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, thatís their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fansí enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

People play baseball. Numbers donít.

Yeah, and numbers don't tell us anything at all about the game. And another thing, we should never learn anything new about the game that could enhance our enjoyment of it. That would just be ridiculous.

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 08:38 AM
¶Statistics mongers promoting VORP and other new-age baseball statistics.

I receive a daily e-mail message from Baseball Prospectus, an electronic publication filled with articles and information about statistics, mostly statistics that only stats mongers can love.

To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didn’t care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didn’t know what it meant either.

Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Don’t ask what it means. I don’t know.

I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

People play baseball. Numbers don’t.

Murray has no idea what he just started. :)

BuckWoody
02-27-2007, 09:20 AM
Murray has no idea what he just started. :)

http://www.screamingtruth.com/forums/images/smiles/popcorn.gif

BRM
02-27-2007, 09:34 AM
To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didnít care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didnít know what it meant either.

Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Donít ask what it means. I donít know.

It's much, much easier to make fun of something than to actually learn about it. At least he admitted he has no interest in learning anything new about the game he covers.

redsmetz
02-27-2007, 09:37 AM
Statistics mongers promoting VORP and other new-age baseball statistics.

I receive a daily e-mail message from Baseball Prospectus, an electronic publication filled with articles and information about statistics, mostly statistics that only stats mongers can love.

To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didn’t care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didn’t know what it meant either.

Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Don’t ask what it means. I don’t know.

I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

People play baseball. Numbers don’t.

Well, yes, this is probably a can of worms, but it's the heart of my frustration with what I regularly call "the alphabet soup" of stats. Many of us have said this, but it is a game played by human beings. Too often, some of this data is given a predetermination that overlooks that human element. Peope rising above their past, overcoming adversity and limitations that adds to the beauty of this game.

Sometimes that's for one season (or even a part of a season), and sometimes it's the precursor of an emerging talent. Sometimes washed up players have one more moment of glory within them. They beat the odds or you find that overlooked jewel.

westofyou
02-27-2007, 09:40 AM
Chass, whose BBWAA membership dates to 1962 when he was with the Associated Press bureau in Pittsburgh, his home town, is not only among the elite at his craft but also a genuine pioneer in the industry. Over 43 years, from his days with the AP in Pittsburgh and New York through his years with the New York Times, Murray has distinguished himself as a reporter of exceptional depth, ability and legendary accuracy.

Murray also has "Grumpy Old man Syndrome" and should have it checked at least once a month.

BRM
02-27-2007, 09:40 AM
Sometimes that's for one season (or even a part of a season), and sometimes it's the precursor of an emerging talent. Sometimes washed up players have one more moment of glory within them. They beat the odds or you find that overlooked jewel.

I think most people would agree with you on that. I know I would. The problem is banking on those washed up players having one more moment of glory as a key to your team's success. When it happens, it's a nice bonus and you should roll with it. Just don't bet the house on it happening.

Yachtzee
02-27-2007, 09:42 AM
It's much, much easier to make fun of something than to actually learn about it. At least he admitted he has no interest in learning anything new about the game he covers.

Good thing he's a sportswriter and not someone who actually needs to know what he's talking about.

paintmered
02-27-2007, 09:44 AM
Well, yes, this is probably a can of worms, but it's the heart of my frustration with what I regularly call "the alphabet soup" of stats. Many of us have said this, but it is a game played by human beings. Too often, some of this data is given a predetermination that overlooks that human element. Peope rising above their past, overcoming adversity and limitations that adds to the beauty of this game.

Sometimes that's for one season (or even a part of a season), and sometimes it's the precursor of an emerging talent. Sometimes washed up players have one more moment of glory within them. They beat the odds or you find that overlooked jewel.

That's the biggest misperception out there. Anyone with a love for the game never forgets there is a huge human element - even those who like to play with numbers.

M2
02-27-2007, 10:03 AM
"But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein."

Yes, it's the gravest threat to the game since the back of the baseball card was invented.

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 10:07 AM
That's the biggest misperception out there. Anyone with a love for the game never forgets there is a huge human element - even those who like to play with numbers.

That's disputable. One of the most debated theories on this board is the aspect of being "clutch".

RichRed
02-27-2007, 10:31 AM
Chass, whose BBWAA membership dates to 1962 when he was with the Associated Press bureau in Pittsburgh, his home town, is not only among the elite at his craft but also a genuine pioneer in the industry. Over 43 years, from his days with the AP in Pittsburgh and New York through his years with the New York Times, Murray has distinguished himself as a reporter of exceptional depth, ability and legendary accuracy.

Thanks for posting that, woy. This disproves my theory that Joe Morgan had begun writing under a pseudonym.

RedEye
02-27-2007, 11:00 AM
Well, yes, this is probably a can of worms, but it's the heart of my frustration with what I regularly call "the alphabet soup" of stats. Many of us have said this, but it is a game played by human beings. Too often, some of this data is given a predetermination that overlooks that human element. Peope rising above their past, overcoming adversity and limitations that adds to the beauty of this game.

Sometimes that's for one season (or even a part of a season), and sometimes it's the precursor of an emerging talent. Sometimes washed up players have one more moment of glory within them. They beat the odds or you find that overlooked jewel.

Frankly, I'm not sure you understand what you're talking about, RedsMetz. With all due respect, I don't think that so-called 'stat mongers' ever claimed to be looking past the human element. In my opinion, the 'intangibles' of a baseball situation (a retirement, a miraculous comeback, a particularly gritty dive in the outfield) are indeed part of why all fans watch the game. And yes, I'll admit that sometimes the new stats look and feel absurd to those of us who love to clutch HR, RBI and BA statlines to our chests, remembering them from our Eric Davis baseball cards from 1987.

However, for people to bash 'stat-mongers' is to misunderstand what they are all about. It's to misunderstand the spirit of sabermetrics and to fundamentally discredit something without taking a second to understand it. It's about choosing ignorance over trying something new.

Sabermetrics has always been about better measuring the 'human element' and looking for cracks in traditional measuring tools to better recognize talent. Exactly as you say, it's about finding that 'overlooked jewel.' Bill James, Billy Beane, Moneyball, all of this 'statistics stuff' is actually specifically about trying to give players a shot who normally wouldn't get them. It's about giving people like Ken Phelps a chance even though they don't have prototypical 'baseball bodies.' Most of all, it's about people with small market teams who want to see more great 'baseball moments' and are frustrated by the system of haves and have nots holding their franchises down. It's about small market teams finding a way to get a bargain--to make deals that will allow your team to win without having barrels full of money. It's about, well, human progress.

It's also become tradition. Behind our backs, little by little, sabermetric-favored stats are coming into the mainstream. VORP may not be accepted now, but what about OBP? Despite the fact that there are still 'baseball men' who think Billy Beane wrote Moneyball to promote his own genius (don't get me started), there is no denying that his techniques have fundamentally changed the game. OBP is around a lot more today than it was ten years ago. Heck, I even heard someone discussing OBP during a Little League World Series game (talk about a time traditionally reserved for 'baseball moments') Well, even traditional statistics seems now to be making way for this stat that even ten years ago was poo-pooed by people who just loved 'fundamentals' and the supposed 'people element' a little too much. They loved it so much that they didn't bother to understand what they were criticizing.

Triples
02-27-2007, 11:10 AM
[QUOTE=BRM;1250420]I think most people would agree with you on that. I know I would. The problem is banking on those washed up players having one more moment of glory as a key to your team's success. When it happens, it's a nice bonus and you should roll with it. Just don't bet the house on it happening.[/QUOTE


But isn't the "washed up player" or the "emerging talent" doing something great what is really fun about this game. It makes us feel good about the game, it's what gives us hope for our team, its what keeps us coming back to see something else exciting and unexpected? Case in point, wouldn't we all love to see JR have a 1990's kind of year? Not just for what it would do for the club in the standings but how we would feel about it? Isn't that more fun & doesn't that make us want to go to the ballpark the next night to see what he might do next more than seeing the allstar caliber player playing at the level we expect him to. For the small % of the people who truly understand the game seeing a Derek Jeter play is a pleasure but for the other 99% of the baseball fans, they want to see something special happening that sets a player apart. IMO

BRM
02-27-2007, 11:13 AM
I agree. I don't recall saying or reading anything to the contrary.

redsmetz
02-27-2007, 11:29 AM
Frankly, I'm not sure you understand what you're talking about, RedsMetz. With all due respect, I don't think that so-called 'stat mongers' ever claimed to be looking past the human element. In my opinion, the 'intangibles' of a baseball situation (a retirement, a miraculous comeback, a particularly gritty dive in the outfield) are indeed part of why all fans watch the game. And yes, I'll admit that sometimes the new stats look and feel absurd to those of us who love to clutch HR, RBI and BA statlines to our chests, remembering them from our Eric Davis baseball cards from 1987.


Well that's always an open question as to whether I understand what I'm talking about. It's been said more than once that it's possible I may just be talking to hear my head rattle.

Here's the crux of my previous post:


Too often, some of this data is given a predetermination that overlooks that human element. Peope rising above their past, overcoming adversity and limitations that adds to the beauty of this game.

There's my beef. Folks toss out PECOTA and such and talk as if it's prediction is forgone conclusion. I know that many of the traditional statistical measures fall short (a perfect example is the judgement of relief pitchers which until recently rarely examined all those bleeping runners scoring that had no impact on their personal statistics - I often wondered that back in the 70's with McEnaney and Eastwick).

Again though, while the numbers can be helpful, they don't completely tell the human story. It feels as if the plethora of statistical possibilities suck the life out of the game itself. Of course, it doesn't help when they're thrown around willy nilly and all the letters start to look like E I E I O or LSMFT. That doesn't negate them, but the games still have to be played. Otherwise we're just playing Strat O Matic or APBA.

Cedric
02-27-2007, 11:34 AM
Well that's always an open question as to whether I understand what I'm talking about. It's been said more than once that it's possible I may just be talking to hear my head rattle.

Here's the crux of my previous post:



There's my beef. Folks toss out PECOTA and such and talk as if it's prediction is forgone conclusion. I know that many of the traditional statistical measures fall short (a perfect example is the judgement of relief pitchers which until recently rarely examined all those bleeping runners scoring that had no impact on their personal statistics - I often wondered that back in the 70's with McEnaney and Eastwick).

Again though, while the numbers can be helpful, they don't completely tell the human story. It feels as if the plethora of statistical possibilities suck the life out of the game itself. Of course, it doesn't help when they're thrown around willy nilly and all the letters start to look like E I E I O or LSMFT. That doesn't negate them, but the games still have to be played. Otherwise we're just playing Strat O Matic or APBA.

Well I don't think anyone is arguing that here. Of course some fans are going to just through out an OPS or VORP and think that ends the debate. That shouldn't oveerride the majority though that actually respect the other facets of the game and can debate accordingly.

The narrow debate tactics aren't done often on this site though and those people are usually shot down by their own "stat head" crew.

westofyou
02-27-2007, 11:37 AM
Otherwise we're just playing Strat O Matic or APBA.

Big Draft this saturday.... any sleepers anyone want to throw out there?

I have a power park and the 6th pick.


Folks toss out PECOTA and such and talk as if it's prediction is forgone conclusion.

A drafted my fantasy team strictly on PECOTA last year and had my worst season by far.

It totally crashed on the pitcher side for me.


That doesn't negate them

But Mr. Chass is trying exactly that he wants to to negate them, by deriding them and how they are studied and received, in fact his manner is more combative then dismissive and that essentially masks his inability to let those types of stats into what he obviously feels is a domain that he has the ability to discern what is good for it and what is bad for it.

IMO Thats' exactly what the game doesn't need.

RedEye
02-27-2007, 11:47 AM
There's my beef. Folks toss out PECOTA and such and talk as if it's prediction is forgone conclusion. I know that many of the traditional statistical measures fall short (a perfect example is the judgement of relief pitchers which until recently rarely examined all those bleeping runners scoring that had no impact on their personal statistics - I often wondered that back in the 70's with McEnaney and Eastwick).

Again though, while the numbers can be helpful, they don't completely tell the human story. It feels as if the plethora of statistical possibilities suck the life out of the game itself. Of course, it doesn't help when they're thrown around willy nilly and all the letters start to look like E I E I O or LSMFT. That doesn't negate them, but the games still have to be played. Otherwise we're just playing Strat O Matic or APBA.

Thanks for your candor, Redsmetz. I certainly don't want to lump you with all the traditionalists I've been badmouthing.

I understand your beef with PECOTA. On the other hand, I think it's going to take a really long time before the sabermetricians outnumber the traditional baseball people. In fact, the only place where that might be the case is on places like RedsZone. In real baseball, there are still far more people who want to throw out players who strike out, who don't "play the game as its supposed to be played", and who aren't "clutch" enough.

And if you're worried about letters getting thrown around "willy nilly", well I understand that, too. It can be pretty intimidating... especially for people like me who weren't too hot at math or acronyms in high school. All I can say is that if you take some time to understand what these things mean, it can really open your eyes. I love HR, RBI, and BA just as much as the next guy. And for all we know, our children will love OBP, OPS, and VORP. Sort of like moving from "Rock Around the Clock" to "Rock the Casbah", eh?

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 11:50 AM
But Mr. Chass is trying exact to negate them, by deriding them and how they are studied and received, in fact his manner is more combative then dismissive and that essentially masks his inability to let those types of stats into what he obviously feels is a domain that he has the ability to discern what is good for it and what is bad for it.

IMO Thats' exactly what the game doesn't need.

I think Murray's "head in the sand" position is just as bad as someone who lives and dies by the VORP, RC/27 and OPS theories.

These stats work best when used as part of a discussion. No stat is the be-all, end-all.

But Murray has to get with the times and realize that a lot of these stats are pretty good representations of player performance.

M2
02-27-2007, 11:52 AM
Big Draft this saturday.... any sleepers anyone want to throw out there?

I have a power park and the 6th pick.

You must have Reggie Abercrombie, you must have Reggie Abercrombie.

Or, if your aren't considering Strat sepuku, Brian McCann or Josh Bard wouldn't hurt.

Interesting thing about those who assume "stats" folks consider projection to be predeterminism, those of us who do play Strat or APBA would tell you that the numbers aren't completely deterministic in games literally built around the numbers.

westofyou
02-27-2007, 11:57 AM
Or, if your aren't considering Strat sepuku, Brian McCann or Josh Bard wouldn't hurt.


Translation... if you value the whole game you'll pick the banging defensive catcher over Hafner or Ramirez.

M2
02-27-2007, 12:03 PM
Translation... if you value the whole game you'll pick the banging defensive catcher over Hafner or Ramirez.

Well, they don't suck either.

IslandRed
02-27-2007, 12:03 PM
But isn't the "washed up player" or the "emerging talent" doing something great what is really fun about this game. It makes us feel good about the game, it's what gives us hope for our team, its what keeps us coming back to see something else exciting and unexpected? Case in point, wouldn't we all love to see JR have a 1990's kind of year? Not just for what it would do for the club in the standings but how we would feel about it? Isn't that more fun & doesn't that make us want to go to the ballpark the next night to see what he might do next more than seeing the allstar caliber player playing at the level we expect him to. For the small % of the people who truly understand the game seeing a Derek Jeter play is a pleasure but for the other 99% of the baseball fans, they want to see something special happening that sets a player apart. IMO

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't see any of that being in the slightest conflict with being a "stats guy." I lap up statistical analysis when playing armchair GM. And then the game starts and I root for the Reds.

As for what fans enjoy, everyone's different. Junior staying healthy and going off for a 40/120 season would be a huge story, one everyone would enjoy, not to mention making us a better ballclub. I also think that "all-star caliber players playing at the level we expect them to" describes the Big Red Machine pretty well, and we were OK with that too. :thumbup:

westofyou
02-27-2007, 12:07 PM
Well, they don't suck either.

Speaking of Suck... I've read a lot of Murray Chass the past decade and I'd say his Value Over Replacement Columnist isn't exactly a world beater number, he's good, sort of like Joe Carter not the best, but in the right place at the right time and he's consistent in one aspect, he churns out columns .

vaticanplum
02-27-2007, 12:46 PM
Or, if your aren't considering Strat sepuku, Brian McCann or Josh Bard wouldn't hurt.

Strat what?

M2
02-27-2007, 01:02 PM
Strat what?

sepuku - ritualistic suicide practiced by the shogun class in Japan.

red-in-la
02-27-2007, 01:58 PM
I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't see any of that being in the slightest conflict with being a "stats guy." I lap up statistical analysis when playing armchair GM. And then the game starts and I root for the Reds.

Oh but there is a conflict. When some folks call others stupid or out-of-touch because they cannot quote the latest PECOTA numbers or care what VORP is, then that is a conflict.

Seems to me that most of these "new stats" were invented by or for the fantasy team players.....as a way to better evaluate INDIVIDUAL player value when the context of the team was removed (because in fantasy leagues, you can have a Red and a Red Sox and a Blue Jay playing right next to each other).

That, in and of itself would be fine if that is where the stats and their users were left. But on this board as in other places where baseball fat is chewed, these stats are often used to bludgeon those who has no interest in them.

In other words, it is no longer acceptable to just say, "I like this pitcher." If you do, you probably will face attack from the stat police.

Triples
02-27-2007, 02:20 PM
I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't see any of that being in the slightest conflict with being a "stats guy." I lap up statistical analysis when playing armchair GM. And then the game starts and I root for the Reds.

As for what fans enjoy, everyone's different. Junior staying healthy and going off for a 40/120 season would be a huge story, one everyone would enjoy, not to mention making us a better ballclub. I also think that "all-star caliber players playing at the level we expect them to" describes the Big Red Machine pretty well, and we were OK with that too. :thumbup:

Island Red:

We're actually closer to agreement than you might think. I too like many of the stats...at least those that I can actually understand. I also believe that they have a place in the game. I can recall when I got my first cell phone in 1984. My boss thought I had lost my mind. 3 years later he had one and you couldn't pry it out of his cold dead hands. Its called progress, but at the same time, cell phone can also be a detriment if used improperly (ever been in a meeting when one goes off and its owner actually answers the call???) Same goes for stats. Sometimes I think they get taken too far.

With respect to my earlier comment about the importance of the feel good stories; what I'm trying to say is its those kinds of instances that bring humanness (if that is a real word) into the sport which seems to be trying to become less human. Those folks who care little about stats feast on those kinds of stories and even some of the educated baseball people like them too (look at the all the attention Josh Hamilton is getting on this website alone). We all love the comeback kid/rags to riches or what ever you want to call those kinds of stories. Those emotions are what make sports, sports (baseball or otherwise). Its why we still remember the Big Red Machine. And its why there is a color commentator in the booth with the play by play guy.

In a nut shell my point was/is that the emotional part of the game, to the average fan, is as important or more important that stats. I'm not deriding stats or people who enjoy them or make a living analyzing them.

RedEye
02-27-2007, 02:37 PM
Oh but there is a conflict. When some folks call others stupid or out-of-touch because they cannot quote the latest PECOTA numbers or care what VORP is, then that is a conflict.

Seems to me that most of these "new stats" were invented by or for the fantasy team players.....as a way to better evaluate INDIVIDUAL player value when the context of the team was removed (because in fantasy leagues, you can have a Red and a Red Sox and a Blue Jay playing right next to each other).

That, in and of itself would be fine if that is where the stats and their users were left. But on this board as in other places where baseball fat is chewed, these stats are often used to bludgeon those who has no interest in them.

In other words, it is no longer acceptable to just say, "I like this pitcher." If you do, you probably will face attack from the stat police.

Actually, this is completely a misguided view. Yes, these stats were created to analyze individual players. However, they were NOT created solely for fantasy sports purposes. The logic of all sabermetrics, actually, is to better account for what human beings do on a baseball field--no more, no less.

My apologies if you perceive this as "bludgeoning", but there is quite a compelling argument that the traditional stats we all take to heart (HR, RBI, BA, SB) are blunt instruments--almost as infuriatingly blunt as comments like "he knows how to play the game" and "he's scrappy." Players, managers, and GM's are doing their teams a financial disservice in today's game when they base huge salary increases on measurements that don't actually reveal much about a player's value.

As Reds fans, we actually have quite an interesting team with which to debate new stats. That's why Adam Dunn is such a hot button topic on this board. He happens to be one of the most fascinating statistical aberrations that baseball has seen in quite some time--and he falls smack into the crevice between the way traditionalists and statisticians measure player value. Incidentally, the Reds also have Scott Hatteberg "The Pickin' Machine" on our team--another fascinating case for why new statistical measurements are a wise investment for small market franchises.

Don't get me wrong. I am certainly not advocating blind adoption of all new stats. Running a baseball team takes much more than a nerdy guy sitting in front of a computer crunching numgers. What I am saying is that we should at least listen what that nerdy guy has to say. That's what Billy Beane decided to do, and I can't argue with his results.

In terms of this board, I think new stats can help us do better as fans in appreciating the performance of our players. God knows if you post on this board, you probably spend enough time following your team to invest the small amount of money it takes to buy Moneyball. IMO, reading that book should be a prerequisite for this conversation--it's one of the most pleasurable, fascinating reads I've had in quite some time. Any baseball fan will appreciate it, no matter how traditional you might think you are. It's just great writing.

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 02:51 PM
Don't get me wrong. I am certainly not advocating blind adoption of all new stats. Running a baseball team takes much more than a nerdy guy sitting in front of a computer crunching numgers. What I am saying is that we should at least listen what that nerdy guy has to say. That's what Billy Beane decided to do, and I can't argue with his results.

In terms of this board, I think new stats can help us do better as fans in appreciating the performance of our players. God knows if you post on this board, you probably spend enough time following your team to invest the small amount of money it takes to buy Moneyball. IMO, reading that book should be a prerequisite for this conversation--it's one of the most pleasurable, fascinating reads I've had in quite some time. Any baseball fan will appreciate it, no matter how traditional you might think you are. It's just great writing.

The Oakland A's have finished in the upper half of the AL in runs scored once since 2002, and that was 6th out of 14 teams.

Beane is a smart guy and a great GM, but he gets a little too much credit. He caught lightning in a bottle around the turn of the millenium with players like Giambi (juicer), Tejada (possible juicer), Chavez (wouldn't surprise me) and 3 stud pitchers. But since he lost Giambi, Tejada and Damon, their offense has not been the same.

Don't get me wrong, I think Beane is a great GM. But everyone acts like Oakalnd has a perennial murderer's row and that simply is not true.

Matt700wlw
02-27-2007, 02:59 PM
So now onto Reds topics that should be off-limits for at least a month or two:

1) Marty and Dunn - Give it a rest huh?! Maybe the new and improved Adam will change Marty's impression... or not.

I'm sure Marty would like nothing more than to have Adam Dunn prove him wrong...



2) Dunn to 1st - Been there, done that. It was bad, real bad.

If he can't catch a ball in the outfield, fans shouldn't expect him to make a routine play in the infield


3) Dumb trade proposals - Yeah I know someone out there thinks the Astros will trade us Oswalt for Deno, Paul Wilson and Rheal Cormier, just let that thought percolate for a couple of months okay?

This ain't fantasy ball, folks...


4) Stats Wars - Look, I'm a statistician by training and profession, BUT the pissing match over Dunn versus Casey using stats the average fan doesn't know or care about was ridiculous.

Stats can be mind numbing....



5) Fire Jerry Now - Ain't gonna happen, let it rest for a couple months.

Bob Boone rules.

gonelong
02-27-2007, 03:08 PM
The Oakland A's have finished in the upper half of the AL in runs scored once since 2002, and that was 6th out of 14 teams.

Beane is a smart guy and a great GM, but he gets a little too much credit. He caught lightning in a bottle around the turn of the millenium with players like Giambi (juicer), Tejada (possible juicer), Chavez (wouldn't surprise me) and 3 stud pitchers. But since he lost Giambi, Tejada and Damon, their offense has not been the same.

Don't get me wrong, I think Beane is a great GM. But everyone acts like Oakalnd has a perennial murderer's row and that simply is not true.

I think the offense is not quite as potent as it once was, but the teams themselves have been. The A's have won 3 divisions since 2002 and averaged 94.2 regular season Ws.

What most got out of moneyball was that Oakland loved OBP. What they missed was that Oakland was preying on the ineficiencies of the other teams in evaluating players. At that moment, OBP was one way of being able to identify players that other teams might undervalue.

The book stated that Oakland was working on their own defensive metrics. I don't think the offense is "down". I think what we have actually witnessed is that Beane has placed more emphasis on defense when constructing his clubs.

GL

red-in-la
02-27-2007, 03:13 PM
Actually, this is completely a misguided view. Yes, these stats were created to analyze individual players. However, they were NOT created solely for fantasy sports purposes. The logic of all sabermetrics, actually, is to better account for what human beings do on a baseball field--no more, no less.

My apologies if you perceive this as "bludgeoning", but there is quite a compelling argument that the traditional stats we all take to heart (HR, RBI, BA, SB) are blunt instruments--almost as infuriatingly blunt as comments like "he knows how to play the game" and "he's scrappy." Players, managers, and GM's are doing their teams a financial disservice in today's game when they base huge salary increases on measurements that don't actually reveal much about a player's value.

As Reds fans, we actually have quite an interesting team with which to debate new stats. That's why Adam Dunn is such a hot button topic on this board. He happens to be one of the most fascinating statistical aberrations that baseball has seen in quite some time--and he falls smack into the crevice between the way traditionalists and statisticians measure player value. Incidentally, the Reds also have Scott Hatteberg "The Pickin' Machine" on our team--another fascinating case for why new statistical measurements are a wise investment for small market franchises.

Don't get me wrong. I am certainly not advocating blind adoption of all new stats. Running a baseball team takes much more than a nerdy guy sitting in front of a computer crunching numgers. What I am saying is that we should at least listen what that nerdy guy has to say. That's what Billy Beane decided to do, and I can't argue with his results.

In terms of this board, I think new stats can help us do better as fans in appreciating the performance of our players. God knows if you post on this board, you probably spend enough time following your team to invest the small amount of money it takes to buy Moneyball. IMO, reading that book should be a prerequisite for this conversation--it's one of the most pleasurable, fascinating reads I've had in quite some time. Any baseball fan will appreciate it, no matter how traditional you might think you are. It's just great writing.

I do call this bludgeoning because it begins with "this is a completely misguided view."

Simply put....no it isn't.

I did not say that the stats were created SOLELY for fantasy leaguers. I am not sure what they were created exclusively for.....and I really don't care. I do know that they are used by fantasy leaguers....actually quite a bit. Pick up a copy of your favorite fantasy league magazine and you will see them all over the place.

The old stats are surely blunt instruments as you pointed out. I completely agree. But many of us managed to get by for decades using just them and watching baseball games.

As for the writing on this board.....you are correct, much of it is very good. What that has to do with the issue....well, I am not sure.

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 03:15 PM
I think the offense is not quite as potent as it once was, but the teams themselves have been. The A's have won 3 divisions since 2002 and averaged 94.2 regular season Ws.

What most got out of moneyball was that Oakland loved OBP. What they missed was that Oakland was preying on the ineficiencies of the other teams in evaluating players. At that moment, OBP was one way of being able to identify players that other teams might undervalue.

The book stated that Oakland was working on their own defensive metrics. I don't think the offense is "down". I think what we have actually witnessed is that Beane has placed more emphasis on defense when constructing his clubs.

GL
But the A's haven't won because of their offense and run scoring. Their pitching has had more to do with their success. Moneyball did discuss the pitching aspect, but for all the Beane and OBP talk they typically have a mediocre offense.

Yachtzee
02-27-2007, 03:22 PM
The Oakland A's have finished in the upper half of the AL in runs scored once since 2002, and that was 6th out of 14 teams.

Beane is a smart guy and a great GM, but he gets a little too much credit. He caught lightning in a bottle around the turn of the millenium with players like Giambi (juicer), Tejada (possible juicer), Chavez (wouldn't surprise me) and 3 stud pitchers. But since he lost Giambi, Tejada and Damon, their offense has not been the same.

Don't get me wrong, I think Beane is a great GM. But everyone acts like Oakalnd has a perennial murderer's row and that simply is not true.


You make it sound like Beane got lucky. I don't know about that. Even with all the FA losses the A's have suffered, they've still managed to finish 1st or 2nd in their division every year since 1999. I think any Reds fan would take that record. Sure they've lost some sluggers and their run production has dropped. But that's only half of the equation. They've also been pretty good at preventing runs.

The key to the A's success as a small market team has not been collecting the best sluggers. It's been living within their means by evaluating the market for players and identifying those whose skill sets are undervalued and not overpaying for those whose skill sets are overvalued. It also involves making sure you've got enough talent in the pipeline so that when one of your undervalued talents hits the big time and you can no longer afford his salary, you've got someone who can step into the breach.

As far as statistics go, they're tools to be used to evaluate performance. Everyone uses stats to evaluate and compare players and to compare teams and to find out who won or lost. Nobody watches baseball games only to declare everyone a "winner" at the end so that we can all have our juice boxes and orange slices. We keep stats and we analyze box scores and use them as tools. Some use them as tools to gain a deeper understanding of the game and some use them as blunt instruments to beat people over the head with. It doesn't mean that someone who only looks at more traditional stats cares more about the human aspect of the game any more than someone who regularly calculates VORP or RC/27 or Win Shares.

gonelong
02-27-2007, 03:25 PM
But the A's haven't won because of their offense and run scoring. Their pitching has had more to do with their success.

The goal isn't to put a good offense on the field, it is to put a good team on the field. Beane has been able to do that in part to their statistical research that spans far beyond OBP. Its spans to defense, drafting, pitching, in-game stratedgy, etc. It's no mistake that the A's have pitching.


Moneyball did discuss the pitching aspect, but for all the Beane and OBP talk they typically have a mediocre offense.

Likely OBP was the only metric Beane cared to share with the writer of the book. He wasn't going to give up any of the stuff he considered extremely valuable. Generally the higher OBP guys are decent BA guys who everyone in Baseball values so there really wasn't that much to exploit there to begin with IMO.

GL

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 03:26 PM
You make it sound like Beane got lucky. I don't know about that. Even with all the FA losses the A's have suffered, they've still managed to finish 1st or 2nd in their division every year since 1999. I think any Reds fan would take that record. Sure they've lost some sluggers and their run production has dropped. But that's only half of the equation. They've also been pretty good at preventing runs.

The key to the A's success as a small market team has not been collecting the best sluggers. It's been living within their means by evaluating the market for players and identifying those whose skill sets are undervalued and not overpaying for those whose skill sets are overvalued. It also involves making sure you've got enough talent in the pipeline so that when one of your undervalued talents hits the big time and you can no longer afford his salary, you've got someone who can step into the breach.

As far as statistics go, they're tools to be used to evaluate performance. Everyone uses stats to evaluate and compare players and to compare teams and to find out who won or lost. Nobody watches baseball games only to declare everyone a "winner" at the end so that we can all have our juice boxes and orange slices. We keep stats and we analyze box scores and use them as tools. Some use them as tools to gain a deeper understanding of the game and some use them as blunt instruments to beat people over the head with. It doesn't mean that someone who only looks at more traditional stats cares more about the human aspect of the game any more than someone who regularly calculates VORP or RC/27 or Win Shares.

I think Beane got lucky when it came to the health of Zito, Mulder and Hudson. Pitching is a crapshoot in the draft and he hit big in those few years.

But I think everyone is missing my point. Beane was one of the pioneers of the OBP and alternative stat era we are now in and his offense hasn't really been anything to brag about over the last few years. I realize that he has been ridiculously successful no matter what his market is, but if he is so focused on OBP you would assume the run production of his team would be much better, no?

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 03:29 PM
The goal isn't to put a good offense on the field, it is to put a good team on the field. Beane has been able to do that in part to their statistical research that spans far beyond OBP. Its spans to defense, drafting, pitching, in-game stratedgy, etc. It's no mistake that the A's have pitching.



Likely OBP was the only metric Beane cared to share with the writer of the book. He wasn't going to give up any of the stuff he considered extremely valuable.

GL

Well, Beane's offensive evaluations haven't really worked out on the field over the past few years as run production has not been Oakland's strong suit. So his extremely valuable stuff might not be as valuable as he thought.

gonelong
02-27-2007, 03:31 PM
.. but if he is so focused on OBP you would assume the run production of his team would be much better, no?

Why would you assume he is "so focused on OBP"?

IMO OBP was a toss-away metric he gave for the purpose of the book while keeping the more valuable metrics the A's had designed for themselves.

If you know how to make gold out of straw you don't publish the secret so anyone else can do it. You guard your secret and make gold.

GL

Yachtzee
02-27-2007, 03:31 PM
The goal isn't to put a good offense on the field, it is to put a good team on the field. Beane has been able to do that in part to their statistical research that spans far beyone OBP. Its spans to defense, drafting, pitching, in-game stratedgy, etc. It's no mistake that the A's have pitching.



Likely OBP was the only metric Beane cared to share with the writer of the book. He wasn't going to give up any of the stuff he considered extremely valuable.

GL

That's probably true. As far as stats go, Moneyball didn't exactly let the cat out of the bag. It was more of a look behind the scenes at a successful organization, and a controlled one at that. It's like KFC or Coke letting someone come in to look at their management techniques. Sure you get to see how the company is run, but you're still not getting a look at the famous recipe.

gonelong
02-27-2007, 03:34 PM
Well, Beane's offensive evaluations haven't really worked out on the field over the past few years as run production has not been Oakland's strong suit. So his extremely valuable stuff might not be as valuable as he thought.

I think they are working just fine. They have traded offensive firepower for defense. Check out the A's defensive metrics over the same time frame.

The guy has limited resources, he can't have both, so he has traded one for the other.

GL

gonelong
02-27-2007, 03:34 PM
That's probably true. As far as stats go, Moneyball didn't exactly let the cat out of the bag. It was more of a look behind the scenes at a successful organization, and a controlled one at that. It's like KFC or Coke letting someone come in to look at their management techniques. Sure you get to see how the company is run, but you're still not getting a look at the famous recipe.

Exactly.

That book could have been about how to run your household finances. Know how much you have to work with, know how much things cost, and know what you are willing to spend on them.

GL

Yachtzee
02-27-2007, 03:35 PM
Well, Beane's offensive evaluations haven't really worked out on the field over the past few years as run production has not been Oakland's strong suit. So his extremely valuable stuff might not be as valuable as he thought.

Could it be because big slugging offense got too expensive? The A's still seem to find a few run scorers in the recycling bin, but their focus as of late seems to be more towards preventing runs.

redsmetz
02-27-2007, 03:37 PM
Could it be because big slugging offense got too expensive? The A's still seem to find a few run scorers in the recycling bin, but their focus as of late seems to be more towards preventing runs.

This sounds familiar. Sounds like Wayne's plan to a great degree.

5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM
02-27-2007, 03:38 PM
Well that's always an open question as to whether I understand what I'm talking about. It's been said more than once that it's possible I may just be talking to hear my head rattle.

Here's the crux of my previous post:



There's my beef. Folks toss out PECOTA and such and talk as if it's prediction is forgone conclusion. I know that many of the traditional statistical measures fall short (a perfect example is the judgement of relief pitchers which until recently rarely examined all those bleeping runners scoring that had no impact on their personal statistics - I often wondered that back in the 70's with McEnaney and Eastwick).

Again though, while the numbers can be helpful, they don't completely tell the human story. It feels as if the plethora of statistical possibilities suck the life out of the game itself. Of course, it doesn't help when they're thrown around willy nilly and all the letters start to look like E I E I O or LSMFT. That doesn't negate them, but the games still have to be played. Otherwise we're just playing Strat O Matic or APBA.
Gotta agree with ya here. If I have to hear another person tell me that so and so had a sub 3 era last year because of his ABCD factor and there is no way he can repeat it im gonna:barf:

jojo
02-27-2007, 03:45 PM
Well, Beane's offensive evaluations haven't really worked out on the field over the past few years as run production has not been Oakland's strong suit. So his extremely valuable stuff might not be as valuable as he thought.

To be fair, the point of Moneyball wasn't OBP (or any other metric) rules above all else.... it was to find inefficiencies in the market and exploit them. I'd say Beane's record as a GM indicates he's pretty good at doing just that.

BRM
02-27-2007, 03:46 PM
Gotta agree with ya here. If I have to hear another person tell me that so and so had a sub 3 era last year because of his ABCD factor and there is no way he can repeat it im gonna:barf:

It's even more sickening when those posters end up being right. ;)

FWIW, I rarely see people claim "no way he can repeat it". I typically see things like so and so "is unlikely to repeat last year's numbers". Bit of a difference there.

M2
02-27-2007, 03:46 PM
Oh but there is a conflict. When some folks call others stupid or out-of-touch because they cannot quote the latest PECOTA numbers or care what VORP is, then that is a conflict.

Seems to me that most of these "new stats" were invented by or for the fantasy team players.....as a way to better evaluate INDIVIDUAL player value when the context of the team was removed (because in fantasy leagues, you can have a Red and a Red Sox and a Blue Jay playing right next to each other).

That, in and of itself would be fine if that is where the stats and their users were left. But on this board as in other places where baseball fat is chewed, these stats are often used to bludgeon those who has no interest in them.

In other words, it is no longer acceptable to just say, "I like this pitcher." If you do, you probably will face attack from the stat police.

Well, after years of hearing Reds fans say "I like this pitcher" despite oceans of reasons not to and then having those pitchers go belly up, I'd like to think a little understanding of why it was so easy to predict they'd go belly up would be in order.

Frankly, new-fangled baseball stats aren't hard to understand. It's not like they require three-dimensional thinking. I'm not saying that as an insult, I'm just noting that unwillingness is the real barrier to understanding any of this stuff. A high VORP is better than a low VORP just like a high BA is better than a low BA. In the case of VORP the number just reflects the number of extra runs the player is worth at the plate. I don't recommend it as the be-all, end-all of all things baseball, but, as you noted, it is a useful way of comparing the overall offensive ability of different players.

And GMs have been using stuff like this since forever. Branch Rickey, who pretty much invented modern baseball, thought statistical analysis was worth his time. Back in the day, he made a habit of foisting guys like Taylor Douthit, Chick Hafey and Jim Bottomley off on the Reds when he figured they were about to slide and you can be sure he ran some numerical projections before he made those moves.

From a personal standpoint, I'm not interested in stats. I don't spend my spare time doing regression analysis for fun. I like baseball and baseball generates a lot of stats that can give you an unvarnished picture of what a guy has done (rather than rely on some wag like Murray Chass to tell you, which I suspect is his real gripe against stats -- people are coming up with conclusions he didn't lead them to). Stats have always been part of the sport. Think about the amount of time you've spent reading box scores. Those are stats. It's impossible to understand the game if you don't understand stats. Why is this guy a better hitter than that guy? What makes a guy a great pitcher? Why is my team seeking a new 3B? Why should this guy be the closer instead of that guy? What should the team's batting order be? Why shouldn't Pitcher A face this Hitter B with the game on the line?

That all goes back to stats. It's the sport that bludgeons us with numbers. So I don't get the complaint of some already past their eyeballs with stats that it's wholly indecent to submerge any part of their foreheads. Often the argument seems to boil down to "I prefer bad information to good information." You can spend the same amount of time collecting either. Me, I'd rather have a clear picture of what the numbers means than a muddy one. That numbers will forever be part of the game is a given.

Yachtzee
02-27-2007, 03:52 PM
This sounds familiar. Sounds like Wayne's plan to a great degree.

It's not a bad plan. It's actually a good one. The Reds problem in the past is that they haven't been good at preventing runs in a long time. In 2005 they were great at scoring them, but couldn't stop them to save their lives. In 2006, Krivsky made a couple of trades to give up some run scoring in favor of some run preventing. One worked out pretty well, the other not so much. Hopefully, when he's done recreating the team in his image, they'll score more than they give up.

M2
02-27-2007, 03:55 PM
Well, Beane's offensive evaluations haven't really worked out on the field over the past few years as run production has not been Oakland's strong suit. So his extremely valuable stuff might not be as valuable as he thought.

When the market began to put more value in OB, Beane shifted his emphasis to less offense with more defense. So it's not like Beane's built teams that get on base a ton that don't score. He simply can't afford as much OB as he could in previous years and he's taken steps to correct for the difference, which is the point of Moneyball -- evaluate need, identify opportunity and act on it.

gonelong
02-27-2007, 03:55 PM
Gotta agree with ya here. If I have to hear another person tell me that so and so had a sub 3 era last year because of his ABCD factor and there is no way he can repeat it im gonna:barf:

I think what gets lost in the translation is that "no way" really means the odds are heavily stacked against them.

If you read some of the posts very carefully you'll see alot of the guys go out of their way to qualify these things as "highly likely", though there are some people that will just say "no way".

On the flip side you have some posters that will take "highly likely" and translate it into "no way" themselves.

I am not saying you have done it here or anywhere for that matter, I am just makeing a general observation about the board.

Nonetheless, the season is about to start and I'd say were all happy that

GL

dabvu2498
02-27-2007, 03:58 PM
To be fair, the point of Moneyball wasn't OBP (or any other metric) rules above all else.... it was to find inefficiencies in the market and exploit them. I'd say Beane's record as a GM indicates he's pretty good at doing just that.

Agreed. The real lesson to be learned from Moneyball is not about statistics. It's about asset allocation.

BRM
02-27-2007, 04:01 PM
I think what gets lost in the translation is that "no way" really means the odds are heavily stacked against them.

If you read some of the posts very carefully you'll see alot of the guys go out of their way to qualify these things as "highly likely", though there are some people that will just say "no way".

On the flip side you have some posters that will take "highly likely" and translate it into "no way" themselves.

I am not saying you have done it here or anywhere for that matter, I am just makeing a general observation about the board.

Nonetheless, the season is about to start and I'd say were all happy that

GL


That's the point I tried to hit on but you've done a good job explaining it here.

edabbs44
02-27-2007, 04:16 PM
To be fair, the point of Moneyball wasn't OBP (or any other metric) rules above all else.... it was to find inefficiencies in the market and exploit them. I'd say Beane's record as a GM indicates he's pretty good at doing just that.

My bad...

RedEye
02-27-2007, 05:31 PM
I do call this bludgeoning because it begins with "this is a completely misguided view."

Simply put....no it isn't.

I did not say that the stats were created SOLELY for fantasy leaguers. I am not sure what they were created exclusively for.....and I really don't care. I do know that they are used by fantasy leaguers....actually quite a bit. Pick up a copy of your favorite fantasy league magazine and you will see them all over the place.

I don't really understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that they can't be used by real baseball professionals because fantasy players use them? That argument seems to be a non-starter to me. You surely don't have a problem with professionals using HR, RBI, etc... so why not VORP and BABIP? IMO, the guys that are getting paid to do it should use every tool at their disposal. Otherwise, they're just being dumb, or lazy, or both.



The old stats are surely blunt instruments as you pointed out. I completely agree. But many of us managed to get by for decades using just them and watching baseball games.


Okay... so you managed to "get by." That's great. I'm not questioning whether or not you can be a baseball fan. What I am questioning is your reactionary argument against a topic you clearly don't understand completely.



As for the writing on this board.....you are correct, much of it is very good. What that has to do with the issue....well, I am not sure.

I was talking about Moneyball, although I agree that writing on this board is great, too. Check my original post.

CINCYREDS#1
02-27-2007, 06:09 PM
how the cubs are gonna suddenly be great just cuz they spent tons of money

CUBS U SUCK u were the WORST team in the NL last year and u will be again in 2007

RedEye
02-27-2007, 06:15 PM
how the cubs are gonna suddenly be great just cuz they spent tons of money

CUBS U SUCK u were the WORST team in the NL last year and u will be again in 2007

Is this a careful demonstration of "Topics that should be off limits" or a deceptive use of sarcasm? Is it both? I'm confused... why don't people read threads before they post?

dsmith421
02-27-2007, 07:17 PM
The funniest thing about idiots like Chass ridiculing "fantasy players" for introducing all these new statistics is that the fantasy leagues 90% of baseball fans participate in use the exact statistics--BA, RBIs, W, SV--that have been the common currency of this game for decades.

It actually makes him sound dumber, if that's possible.

RedEye
02-27-2007, 07:34 PM
Gotta agree with ya here. If I have to hear another person tell me that so and so had a sub 3 era last year because of his ABCD factor and there is no way he can repeat it im gonna:barf:

That's too bad. But what if you actually took a little time and looked at the "ABCD factor" and then you discovered that it was actually a more accurate way to measure the player's performance? Would you just go on blindly rooting for ERA then, even when there are so many other factors that go into a pitcher's game than just how many runs he allows?

redsmetz
02-27-2007, 09:32 PM
The funniest thing about idiots like Chass ridiculing "fantasy players" for introducing all these new statistics is that the fantasy leagues 90% of baseball fans participate in use the exact statistics--BA, RBIs, W, SV--that have been the common currency of this game for decades.

It actually makes him sound dumber, if that's possible.

Chass never said anything about fantasy players or fantasy baseball, so it hardly makes him a dope as you suggest. Someone here threw in that piece.

pedro
02-27-2007, 09:32 PM
February 27, 2007, 08:27 PM ET
An Open Letter to Murray Chass

by Nate Silver

Hi, Murray.

I write to you as one baseball fan to another. There are only a few of us who are fortunate enough to have turned our love for baseball into a career. We are both in that lucky group. That’s why I was disappointed to read the following in your column today.

I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

Fans today have a lot of choices about how they consume baseball in general, and their baseball media in particular. Baseball Prospectus’ mission is to provide them with an informed and independent perspective that helps to accentuate their enjoyment of the game.

I am not sure whether you have made a habit of clicking on those links in our daily newsletter, but if you do, you will find that we are talking about many of the same things that you are. We’re talking about how the Oakland A’s can win the World Series, how the Veterans’ Committee is doing a poor job of recognizing the contributions of players like Ron Santo, and how recent moves in the baseball industry are shoving baseball’s most devoted fans aside.

Sometimes, our arguments involve statistical analysis and sometimes they do not. To the extent that we use statistics, we look at them as part of the puzzle rather than the whole picture. We do, however, try and ensure that where statistics are used, they are used correctly. We have argued, for example, that the writers who selected Justin Morneau over Derek Jeter in the American League MVP balloting made a mistake not because they didn’t use statistics, but because they used statistics in the wrong way. They focused on Morneau’s RBI total, while ignoring that Jeter did a far superior job of getting on base, plays a much more difficult defensive position — and actually did a better job than Morneau of knocking runners in from scoring position when he had the opportunities.

We have found that millions of baseball fans appreciate our perspective on issues like these. At worst, we hope to offer them a choice. At best, we hope to increase the caliber of baseball discussion, and to give them another way to love and enjoy the game.

I would personally invite you to attend one of the events on our book tour, to appear on Baseball Prospectus Radio, or to participate in a baseball prospectus chat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you have in common with our readers. We are all baseball fans first, and we come carrying neither agendas nor pocket protectors. Alternatively, I am in New York frequently, and would invite you to attend a Yankees or Mets game with me. You have done a lot for the game of baseball and it would be a pleasure to meet you. I hope that your comments today reflected nothing more than a lack of familiarity with our people and our product.

Sincerely,

Nate Silver
Executive Vice President
Baseball Prospectus

http://baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=233&PHPSESSID=e3d1bf52c3a97e6263e94b5c10d85264

dsmith421
02-27-2007, 11:34 PM
Chass never said anything about fantasy players or fantasy baseball, so it hardly makes him a dope as you suggest. Someone here threw in that piece.

More aimed at the general mindset than this particular article. I stand by my characterization of Murray Chass as a moron, however.

vaticanplum
02-28-2007, 12:00 AM
Dear Lord, I recognize that Murray Chass is insipid, and yet his insipid columns are one of my favorite sports-related things to read. Please reconcile. Thank you.

pedro
02-28-2007, 02:51 AM
Dear Lord, I recognize that Murray Chass is insipid, and yet his insipid columns are one of my favorite sports-related things to read. Please reconcile. Thank you.

I like to read him too. I love the sunday NY Times sports page.

westofyou
02-28-2007, 10:14 AM
I think they are working just fine. They have traded offensive firepower for defense. Check out the A's defensive metrics over the same time frame.

The guy has limited resources, he can't have both, so he has traded one for the other.

GL




On-base percentage? That's so five years ago.

Flipping a closer fresh off a great year for guys who are cheaper and more valuable? Check.

Hoarding potential starters? Only GMs who live in caves haven't tried or considered the idea.

Players with little major-league service time? Yesterday's news. (Or more accurately, today's news - and therefore, not undervalued).

So what's the latest (and maybe last) frontier in undervalued commodities?

Exploiting the 40-man roster.

The Latest Thing in Undervalued Commodities (http://www.athleticsnation.com/story/2007/2/28/4266/21892)

red-in-la
02-28-2007, 10:53 AM
Well, after years of hearing Reds fans say "I like this pitcher" despite oceans of reasons not to and then having those pitchers go belly up, I'd like to think a little understanding of why it was so easy to predict they'd go belly up would be in order.

Frankly, new-fangled baseball stats aren't hard to understand. It's not like they require three-dimensional thinking. I'm not saying that as an insult, I'm just noting that unwillingness is the real barrier to understanding any of this stuff. A high VORP is better than a low VORP just like a high BA is better than a low BA. In the case of VORP the number just reflects the number of extra runs the player is worth at the plate. I don't recommend it as the be-all, end-all of all things baseball, but, as you noted, it is a useful way of comparing the overall offensive ability of different players.

And GMs have been using stuff like this since forever. Branch Rickey, who pretty much invented modern baseball, thought statistical analysis was worth his time. Back in the day, he made a habit of foisting guys like Taylor Douthit, Chick Hafey and Jim Bottomley off on the Reds when he figured they were about to slide and you can be sure he ran some numerical projections before he made those moves.

From a personal standpoint, I'm not interested in stats. I don't spend my spare time doing regression analysis for fun. I like baseball and baseball generates a lot of stats that can give you an unvarnished picture of what a guy has done (rather than rely on some wag like Murray Chass to tell you, which I suspect is his real gripe against stats -- people are coming up with conclusions he didn't lead them to). Stats have always been part of the sport. Think about the amount of time you've spent reading box scores. Those are stats. It's impossible to understand the game if you don't understand stats. Why is this guy a better hitter than that guy? What makes a guy a great pitcher? Why is my team seeking a new 3B? Why should this guy be the closer instead of that guy? What should the team's batting order be? Why shouldn't Pitcher A face this Hitter B with the game on the line?

That all goes back to stats. It's the sport that bludgeons us with numbers. So I don't get the complaint of some already past their eyeballs with stats that it's wholly indecent to submerge any part of their foreheads. Often the argument seems to boil down to "I prefer bad information to good information." You can spend the same amount of time collecting either. Me, I'd rather have a clear picture of what the numbers means than a muddy one. That numbers will forever be part of the game is a given.

You are correct M2.....it is an unwillingness.....a deliberate unwillingness to try to understand these new stats. I have as much desire to understand VORP or PECOTA as I have to understand how to make a chocolate mousse.

I have no problem with others wanting to understand this stuff.....and I never intended to harass those who do. I have learned through some painful bashing on this board to mostly listen these days.....and I like it better than discussing. At my age, arguing just isn't on the list of energy expenditures for the day.

I have discovered that reading as you guys debate these things is really rather enjoyable.

I believe I enjoy the game just fine without the interest or understanding of "runs above average" or whatever it is called.....and I believe that 99% of paying fans do just the same.

M2
02-28-2007, 11:28 AM
r-i-l, I see where you're coming from. If you want to watch baseball, then a lot of this stuff is immaterial.

It's when you want to jaw about baseball that it comes up. That's when you start peeling the onion.

RedEye
02-28-2007, 12:01 PM
You are correct M2.....it is an unwillingness.....a deliberate unwillingness to try to understand these new stats. I have as much desire to understand VORP or PECOTA as I have to understand how to make a chocolate mousse.

I have no problem with others wanting to understand this stuff.....and I never intended to harass those who do. I have learned through some painful bashing on this board to mostly listen these days.....and I like it better than discussing. At my age, arguing just isn't on the list of energy expenditures for the day.

I have discovered that reading as you guys debate these things is really rather enjoyable.

I believe I enjoy the game just fine without the interest or understanding of "runs above average" or whatever it is called.....and I believe that 99% of paying fans do just the same.

Have you given Moneyball a chance? I realize it isn't the be all and the end all of sabermetrics but it is a fantastic read for anyone who enjoys baseball... even those fans who would rather not be into "new stats." I too was skeptical before reading it. Although I'd never call myself a sabermetrician (despite how staunchly I've argued for it in this thread), I am much more sympathetic to the cause after reading Michael Lewis's prose.

Reds Nd2
02-28-2007, 12:33 PM
I receive a daily e-mail message from Baseball Prospectus, an electronic publication filled with articles and information about statistics, mostly statistics that only stats mongers can love.
Don't you have to be a paid subscriber to receive these alerts?

I don't really understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that they can't be used by real baseball professionals because fantasy players use them? That argument seems to be a non-starter to me. You surely don't have a problem with professionals using HR, RBI, etc... so why not VORP and BABIP? IMO, the guys that are getting paid to do it should use every tool at their disposal. Otherwise, they're just being dumb, or lazy, or both.
wbmurphy428 (Syracuse, NY): To your knowledge, do any teams use PECOTA as part of their internal player evaluation process? It seems the system has been around long enough to get some real attention now.

Nate Silver: I think we have something like 75 BP Premium subscriptions from major league front offices. What they're doing with these subscriptions I don't know, but hell, if I could pay $39.95 for a product that could save me millions of dollars down the line, I'd certainly take it into consideration.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=263

RedEye
02-28-2007, 02:54 PM
Chass never said anything about fantasy players or fantasy baseball, so it hardly makes him a dope as you suggest. Someone here threw in that piece.

IMO, anyone who willingly embraces ignorance is a dope at best, a moron at worst. What makes it worse is that Chass actually gets paid to write about baseball. I think that officially does make him a moron... at least for writing such ill-informed opinions about "new stats."

Ltlabner
02-28-2007, 06:41 PM
r-i-l, I see where you're coming from. If you want to watch baseball, then a lot of this stuff is immaterial.

It's when you want to jaw about baseball that it comes up. That's when you start peeling the onion.

This is sorta where I come down on things M2. I think people confuse enjoying the game with understanding the game. Enjoying the game envolves a myrid of factors from boyhood memories, to watching top shelf atheets perform, to the specticle of the ballgame, to seeing the game winning homer and on and on and on. It's imposible to define how someone is to enjoy the game because it's a totally personal experience.

But understanding the game is a different matter. If you really want to break the game down to it's nuts and bolts it's going to take more work than just spouting off some water-cooler cliches or what we learned in little league. You are right, the basics of the stats are pretty easy. If you can understand BA you can understand EqA, if you understand the concept of adjusting for inflation for your money, you can understand the concept of adjusting for park differences or different eras.

Even here, however, people choose how deep they want to get. It may stop at OPS or go into wicked regressions and WARP this and charts that. But the important part is people are choosing to understand the game on a deeper level. But choosing to understand the game on level 3 instead of level 7 doesn't mean they are any less of fan, or some ignorant rube. In only means they have gone to whatever level of understanding of the game that meets their emotional/entertainment needs.

But it all gets back to enjoying the game and understanding the game. They are different concepts that mean different things to different people. They are also not mutually exclusive concepts.

Nugget
02-28-2007, 06:57 PM
I'm gonna take a slightly different tack to what everyone is criticising Murray about.

I think it gets down to enjoying baseball for what it is (much like every sport). Its there for being played out on the field, not a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet.

Think about your favourite car - you don't look at power to weight ration, 0-100 (or 0-60 for the imperials). You look at the car, the sight lines, how you feel when your driving it (or imagine your driving it).

I guess Murray is saying that if you get all beholden to the statistics you can lose sight of just enjoying the game.

M2
03-01-2007, 01:01 PM
I guess Murray is saying that if you get all beholden to the statistics you can lose sight of just enjoying the game.

I don't know a single person who enjoys the game less after having delved into statistics. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The majority of the most devoted baseball fans I've encountered know their way around comparative statistics. I'm talking about people who love the nuances of the game and know the history of baseball to boot.

Everyone I know who's become conversant in the numbers of the game (emphasis on of the game) has become a bigger fan. The people I know who've had their love of the game wane are actually of the non-statistical mindset. They spent a decade or two never learning anything new about the game and got bored with it. They follow their favorite team when it's good and that's about it. They aren't fans of the game like they used to be.

So I'm not really sure what Murray Chass thinks he's protecting people from, other than perhaps enjoying Murray Chass less.

Yachtzee
03-01-2007, 01:52 PM
Murray Chass's core readership doesn't like those NERDS!

http://www.tropiccomics.com/ebay/lcrotnerds27.jpg

gonelong
03-02-2007, 01:10 AM
Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works.

GL

Cyclone792
03-02-2007, 12:36 PM
Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works.

From a fan's perspective, that's about as basic of a baseball truth as you'll find.

Baseball is a entity that provides endless beauty and joy, and part of the reason it's able to provide that is the game is endless itself. There's always something more to learn about the game, hence there's always something more to love about the game.

I've never understood the reluctance from some people to limit themselves in how much they're willing to learn about and love the game of baseball. From the responses I've heard in the past, it's almost as if some people feel they're robbing themselves of some type of purity by learning and loving different aspects of the game. That couldn't be further from the truth, IMO.

Myself personally, I figured all the above out once I began opening myself up to anything and everything the game could provide me. Once I did that, I found a whole new world to baseball, and it just adds to the beauty and joy I was already experiencing. It most certainly does not take anything away from the game.