The first time I posted this piece, M2 asked me a pretty good question.
"RFS, just curious, what things have you bought into that you previously were resisting?"
In general, I resisted the idea that someone without playing or coaching knowledge could evaluate a player just from numbers. And that was before I ever heard of sabermetrics, so my skepticism towards stat-based evaluation was relative to the stats my generation, and many before us, all knew chapter and verse.
Don't get me wrong, I knew the stats of my day inside-out and backwards, far better than most of my peers. But I always had the belief that you could see things that the numbers didn't tell you, and more importantly that there were a myriad of factors that people on the outside didn't see that carried a huge amount of weight.
When I first started hearing about sabermetrics, I considered it an interesting extension of the same old stuff, and I really didn't pay much attention to them until the past 5 or 6 years.
I've known a lot of scouts and coaches and players over the years, and traditional scouting methods were what I've always believed in.
The funny thing was, that I grew up in an era of a lot of change and advances in how baseball was taught. Radar guns, stopwatch timing of pitchers moves and catchers release times, we considered ourselves to be very much on the cutting edge. We were the guys who had the old guys scratching their heads with our new fangled approach.
How ironic it is to me that that dance goes on now, and I'm the old guy, making the new guys prove it, rather than just accepting what they say.
I really have no interest in doing the math, the regression analysis, proving or disproving the theories. I'm perfectly content to leave that to the guys who enjoy those challenges, and to sit back and watch them argue the math until they're sure it's right. But I want to know what they conclude, once there's a consensus.
Their conclusions and how they mesh with the established thinking is what interests me the most about the whole thing, and has had me doing a lot of reflection on what I really know in the past few years.
To me, making an effort to understand what the cutting edge thinkers of today are coming up with keeps you young. When you stop learning, you're old. You're the guy yelling at the kids to get off your lawn. I don't ever want to be that guy.