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RedEye
09-22-2010, 08:46 PM
If he doesn't believe in them, that's his prerogative. Not everyone thinks they're useful. No harm in that, right?

Sure. But if he doesn't believe in them, then why even post them in his article? Why not just write "Bruce is a really good fielder, I know so because I saw it with my own two eyes." Instead, he cites the stats just to take a shot at them.

Brutus
09-22-2010, 08:49 PM
Sure. But if he doesn't believe in them, then why even post them in his article? Why not just write "Bruce is a really good fielder, I know so because I saw it with my own two eyes." Instead, he cites the stats just to take a shot at them.

It's his article. I suppose if he doesn't like them, he's free to take shots at them. Round-Earthers were scorned until they were proven right. If they had been wrong, Flat-Earthers would have been able to discredit them. Until either side knew for sure, it was all conjecture.

RedEye
09-22-2010, 08:57 PM
It's his article. I suppose if he doesn't like them, he's free to take shots at them. Round-Earthers were scorned until they were proven right. If they had been wrong, Flat-Earthers would have been able to discredit them. Until either side knew for sure, it was all conjecture.

I'm not questioning his freedom of speech. I'm just wishing that a writer who I otherwise tend to like would stop stooping to such low levels. It isn't becoming. Neither was his whole "couch theory" about Dunn and Griffey. But the prose is eminently readable--so I continue to hope he'll wise up.

Really, all he had to take out of the passage I quoted above was the phrase "Don't ask how"--which undermines the entire rest of a paragraph that actually seemed relatively open to fielding stats.

Brutus
09-22-2010, 09:10 PM
I'm not questioning his freedom of speech. I'm just wishing that a writer who I otherwise tend to like would stop stooping to such low levels. It isn't becoming. Neither was his whole "couch theory" about Dunn and Griffey. But the prose is eminently readable--so I continue to hope he'll wise up.

Really, all he had to take out of the passage I quoted above was the phrase "Don't ask how"--which undermines the entire rest of a paragraph that actually seemed relatively open to fielding stats.

Fair enough. I personally don't see what's unbecoming about it, at least other than the fact you disagree with him on the methodology, of course. Slamming something he feels is convoluted seems perfectly reasonable if that's how he feels about it. I used to tear a lot of math to shreds before I understood it. Some of it I don't care for even now, but live & learn I suppose.

Everything seems to be unbecoming if it's something we don't agree with. There are a lot of people that probably are glad he's taking those stats to task. It's all about perspective.

jojo
09-22-2010, 09:15 PM
He's not taking them to task though he's just being dismissive with empty platitudes.

Brutus
09-22-2010, 09:19 PM
He's not taking them to task though he's just being dismissive with empty platitudes.

OK... but what's the point? He's every right to be as perfectly dismissive of them as he wants. Empty platitudes, statistical observations or rational analysis, the result is the same: if he doesn't want to believe in them, hey, more power to him. In the end, perhaps he's missing an opportunity to understand something that may or may not be helpful. But prying that apart from his work is seemingly about personal validation for something the reader apparently agrees or disagrees within their own belief system.

RedEye
09-22-2010, 09:29 PM
Fair enough. I personally don't see what's unbecoming about it, at least other than the fact you disagree with him on the methodology, of course. Slamming something he feels is convoluted seems perfectly reasonable if that's how he feels about it. I used to tear a lot of math to shreds before I understood it. Some of it I don't care for even now, but live & learn I suppose.

Everything seems to be unbecoming if it's something we don't agree with. There are a lot of people that probably are glad he's taking those stats to task. It's all about perspective.

What is unbecoming is the dismissive tone that he writes about stats with--not his opinion. This article isn't his worst example, as I'm sure you know. I'm not asking Doc to like stats or to believe them, I'm just asking him to respect them. I find it frustrating when someone in a position of intellectual authority disparages research that is in his or her own field just because they don't want to take the time to understand it. IMO it borders on intellectual dishonesty to slam something you don't understand rather than just admitting that you, well, don't understand it.

Of course it is about perspective. I readily admit that not all stats hold the key to everything. I also understand that Doc writes the sort of column that is based more on heartfelt, pithy observation than anything else. I just wish he had a little more patience for stats. He's a talented writer, and I think he could really use his position to teach folks about them rather than just bashing them.

RedEye
09-22-2010, 09:33 PM
Empty platitudes, statistical observations or rational analysis, the result is the same: if he doesn't want to believe in them, hey, more power to him.

I guess I really disagree with this. One of the problems with American public discourse, IMO, is that we trade too readily in empty platitudes. People have a right to believe what they want to believe, but that's not a reason to condone willful ignorance.

But this is probably a discussion for another forum. :-)

Brutus
09-22-2010, 09:43 PM
What is unbecoming is the dismissive tone that he writes about stats with--not his opinion. This article isn't his worst example, as I'm sure you know. I'm not asking Doc to like stats or to believe them, I'm just asking him to respect them. I find it frustrating when someone in a position of intellectual authority disparages research that is in his or her own field just because they don't want to take the time to understand it. IMO it borders on intellectual dishonesty to slam something you don't understand rather than just admitting that you, well, don't understand it.

Of course it is about perspective. I readily admit that not all stats hold the key to everything. I also understand that Doc writes the sort of column that is based more on heartfelt, pithy observation than anything else. I just wish he had a little more patience for stats. He's a talented writer, and I think he could really use his position to teach folks about them rather than just bashing them.

You can't force someone to respect something they don't. It seems that the readers are the ones responsible for changing whether or not they want to read someone that doesn't respect the things they do. He shouldn't have to change what/how he writes. It's the responsibility of us, the reader, to decide if what he writes is worth our time.

If you feel his lack of respect toward stats is too dismissive, and you find that problematic, or to use the term, unbecoming, then hey... tune it out.

The worst thing a person can do is compromise their belief system because others don't like it. Aaron Tippin wrote, on the words of some great philosopher I'm sure, you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

I really think the stat community is still looking for validation from mainstream writers, and it's upsetting when they don't get it. It takes some people longer than others to come around on new beliefs. Some never do come around. But I also think respect is earned. While it's unfortunate some people are dismissive of new concepts without taking the time to learn or understand them, it's also unfortunate the others cram such concepts down the throats of people telling them how wrong they are for not believing them, instead of letting those people come around when they're ready, willing and able.

I used to be someone, like him, that didn't want to hear about these stats. And honestly, it was as much about other people trying to force them down my throats as it was me not being willing to listen. But by taking that approach, when I finally was ready, and gave them a chance, I was glad I did. I sometimes fret that people are too dependent on the statistical analysis of the game and we've tilted the see-saw too far in one direction, now sometimes overlooking the human element, but I think we need a delicate balance of that. It's guys like him that make us appreciate baseball is a game played within lines by humans, and without these differences of opinions, even flat refusal to believe in things uniformly, it would not be as exciting an experience.

Sorry if that sounds a little too saccharine, but I think pushing him, sending him emails as I'm sure others do, and citing all these stats and why he should believe in them does nothing to help him come around. Until he does, if he's elected to dismiss them and make snide, throw-away remarks... don't let that bother you.

Brutus
09-22-2010, 09:47 PM
I guess I really disagree with this. One of the problems with American public discourse, IMO, is that we trade too readily in empty platitudes. People have a right to believe what they want to believe, but that's not a reason to condone willful ignorance.

But this is probably a discussion for another forum. :-)

But have you considered the possibility that the reason for the empty platitudes is that the other side has engaged in hostile (I use that term loosely) debate as to why his beliefs are wrong?

Telling someone how he's an idiot, as I'm sure many people do, for why he doesn't believe in UZR might cause a non-believer to take such liberties when discussing them. Both sides have to be respectful of the position, no matter how closed, before any meaningful debate can happen. He's clearly not open to hearing about it, but the other side has probably not approached it in a open, inquisitive tone either.

I'm sure if someone approached him and asked nicely if they could pick his brain as to how and why he believes what he does about defensive stats, you'd be surprised at how many fewer liberties he takes with the platitudes. Humans are funny that way.

westofyou
09-22-2010, 09:54 PM
Daugherty is a schmuck, stats heavy or not, that's my platitude on the subject.

wheels
09-22-2010, 10:02 PM
Daugherty is a schmuck, stats heavy or not, that's my platitude on the subject.

Hah!

That might be the most un-Zen thing I've ever seen you write.

How does it feel?

westofyou
09-22-2010, 10:07 PM
Hah!

That might be the most un-Zen thing I've ever seen you write.

How does it feel?

I am able to loath.

It gives me strength to know what I want to avoid.

RedEye
09-22-2010, 10:11 PM
But have you considered the possibility that the reason for the empty platitudes is that the other side has engaged in hostile (I use that term loosely) debate as to why his beliefs are wrong?

Telling someone how he's an idiot, as I'm sure many people do, for why he doesn't believe in UZR might cause a non-believer to take such liberties when discussing them. Both sides have to be respectful of the position, no matter how closed, before any meaningful debate can happen. He's clearly not open to hearing about it, but the other side has probably not approached it in a open, inquisitive tone either.

I'm sure if someone approached him and asked nicely if they could pick his brain as to how and why he believes what he does about defensive stats, you'd be surprised at how many fewer liberties he takes with the platitudes. Humans are funny that way.

Sure, there have been hostile folks on either side of the debate, no question. But communication needs to be based on some sort of reason if it is to happen in a productive way. There are plenty of sympathetic sports writers who make every effort to write about stats in an accessible way for everyday fans (Erardi comes to mind). Reading what they have to say is actually quite pleasant and doesn't involve busting out a calculator even once. It would be nice to see one of the Reds highest-profile writers take the time to learn a bit about his field before providing more fodder for platitudes.

Brutus
09-22-2010, 10:14 PM
Sure, there have been hostile folks on either side of the debate, no question. But communication needs to be based on some sort of rational agreement if it is to happen in a productive way. There are plenty of sympathetic sports writers who make every effort to write about stats in an accessible way for everyday fans (Erardi comes to mind). Reading what they have to say is actually quite pleasant and doesn't involve busting out a calculator even once. It would be nice to see one of the Reds highest-profile writers take the time to learn a bit about his field before providing more fodder for platitudes.

I think what you describe here is advisable from a career standpoint. No question. He should be as amendable as possible to his entire readership base, and not alienate any portion of it. I completely agree that it's better for him to be more open to the subject.

I guess where I'm drawing a line is whether or not it's a big deal if he doesn't. What I think he's doing isn't wrong, just not smart.

If WOY is right and he's a schmuck, then I guess it explains his resistance :D

RedEye
09-22-2010, 10:23 PM
I guess where I'm drawing a line is whether or not it's a big deal if he doesn't. What I think he's doing isn't wrong, just not smart.


I think we mostly agree. My initial post wasn't claiming that Daugherty is wrong to dismiss stats--just that it is frustrating when he does so. He's a writer who is obviously smart and who doesn't take the time to dig into the complexities of the discipline he is paid to write about. Not only that, but he defends his laziness by throwing up his hands and writing "Don't ask me how."

I do think, however, that willfull ignorance thrust in the face of counter-evidence can be wrong--especially when propagated by those in power. I don't kid myself that baseball (or Daugherty) is that important--but I think we can all make connections quite easily to other forums where this sort of thing is a real problem. Heck, I just have to click onto the tab next to this one on my browser! ;)

wheels
09-22-2010, 10:25 PM
I am able to loath.

It gives me strength to know what I want to avoid.

Me too.

I think maybe I just tend to loath more stuff than you.

Then again, mine can be a rather solitary existance.

Red in Chicago
09-22-2010, 10:27 PM
over 1000 posts, so please continue under part 2 thread