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Thread: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

  1. #1
    Member Wheelhouse's Avatar
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    Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    Guess they have the same conflicts we have...

    Sorry statheads, "Clutch" does indeed exist
    Sille Skrub
    Apr 13 2006, 08:22 AM
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    Hey statheads, I’m looking at you!

    I can appreciate the statistical look at the game off baseball. I’ll be the first to admit I have learned a heck of a lot from you saber guys. To me, sabermetrics is a fascinating new (to me) way to look at the game. Before I started reading SoSH, I looked at the game in a totally different manner, the manner in which most fans do. But along with some of your posts, the books “Moneyball” and “Mind Game” and a few ganders over at B-P, I have come to grasp an elementary understanding of the saber point of view. To be honest, I still don’t fully understand terms like VORP, EqA, ERA+, AEqRA and WARP. One thing I do like Sabermetrics is how it especially valuable in predicting how younger players will project in the majors.

    With all that being said, it is always downright comical to me when I hear some stathead cry, “There’s no such thing as clutch!” IMHO, statheads fear (yes fear) the term “clutch.” The reasoning behind it is that there is no way for them to put their arms around the term. To quote Chris Farley in “Tommy Boy,” you can’t touch it, feel it, pet it or even massage it. There is no formula, no postulate, no book, no website where they can go to effectively quantify how “clutch” plays into the game of baseball or sports in general for that matter.

    There is a human element to sports that simply can’t be quantified by any numbers. Above all this is a game; a game played by human beings who put their pants on one leg at a time. They aren’t computers or robots. They have good days and bad. Go through family problems, weddings, divorces, births, deaths and sickness. Clutch exists. Think: David Ortiz over the past three years, Nomar in the 1999 playoffs, the Basketball Jesus (thanks sptguy33!), Tedy Bruschi grabbing an interception when you think all is lost. Now, if clutch exists then anti-clutch has to exist. Think: A-Rod when the game is on the line, Clemens against Dave Stewart, Skrub when it comes to women, etc.

    Clutch comes and goes. Clutch players aren’t always going to succeed in a clutch situation. Anti-clutch players will also sometimes succeed when the game is on the line because luck will sometime play a factor. All I’m saying is there is a factor in sports called “clutch” where certain players will exceed more often then not when the game is on the line. I will concede it is vague statement; but again, there will never be a valid away to quantify it.

    I really don’t know why I typed this all out. Heck, I’ll probably get flamed for it on this board. I just wanted to throw out an anti-stathead point-of-view. Stats are good, but they don’t tell the whole story. IMHO, stats are only good at looking at the offensive side of the game. Call me crazy, but all of the defensive metrics I have read about seem flawed.

    So, statheads, sorry to break it to you:

    Clutch exists. Deal with it.

    Fire away.
    "Don't trust any statistics you did not fake yourself."--Winston Churchill

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  3. #2
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    He could've just summarized by saying: "Clutch exists because I say so. Take that you evil-doing statheads!" That would've saved me the valuable 5 minutes I spent reading this posting.

    If you want to prove "Clutch," come with something better than a few ESPN highlights of late inning heroics. Give me something to wrap my fingers around as to how it impacts the game or should make a discernable impact on how I (and others) look and evaluate teams and players.

    There's nothing of the sort here. It's just opinionated drivel stated with conviction but no real backing at all.
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    Member harangatang's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    There needs to be a balance between both a general knowledge of the game and advanced statistics. Too much of either and not enough of the other can cause problems and frequently does.

    FWIW, the same problem exists in the weather field too. I've seen more than a couple of guys read all the weather models number for number and 95% they're wrong. Now if they couple the general trends from the weather models and throw in some theoretical meteorology their forecasts all of sudden becomes much better. There is nothing perfect to forecasts and everybody is wrong sometime no matter what. Baseball is the same way, there is no perfect way to predict a player's performance.

  5. #4
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    Seriously, if you think that is compelling in any evidentiary way then you win. That's nothing more than a pointless rant with no substance. The fact that it occured on SoSH does not give it any weight beyond what the statements made possess of themselves. So clutch is an instance. It comes and goes as it pleases and is totally unmeasurable. Whew. I sure am glad that's been settled.
    4009



  6. #5
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    This post comes from the forum that banned me simply because I don't live in the Boston area.

    I will not even dignify it by reading it.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

  7. #6
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    That's nothing more than a pointless rant with no substance.
    Guess they have the same conflicts we have...

  8. #7
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    Clutch plays exist. But do clutch players?

    certain players will exceed more often then not when the game is on the line. I will concede it is vague statement; but again, there will never be a valid away to quantify it
    That's the core contradiction of the guy's argument. It's not that hard to figure out "when the game is on the line" and then quantify how the player did in those situations and compare it to his normal level of performance and what other players do in those situations. If clutch is a true ability and they really do "succeed more often than not," such an analysis would show it. But are the likes of Ortiz and Jeter raising their games in those situations or are they just the same great hitters they always are? Guys who can't handle pressure don't get to the top of the mountain.

    And yet...

    The number of true game-on-the-line situations, as opposed to more generic clutch situations that we have shorthands for like RISP, close-and-late, etc., is sufficiently small that the sample-size argument can be invoked against drawing a conclusion one way or the other. I think that's what Bill James argued in a followup to his earlier work -- he said we may never be able to prove clutch, but we can't necessarily disprove it either.
    Last edited by IslandRed; 04-22-2006 at 10:29 AM.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    So, statheads, sorry to break it to you:

    Clutch exists. Deal with it.

    Fire away.
    Leprechauns exist too. Deal with it.
    "...You just have a wider lens than one game."
    --Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, on why he didn't fly Josh Hamilton to Colorado for one game.

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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    Someone please explain to me how clutch doesnt exist. I am not a stathead guy, never will be a stathead guy. I have watched and played tons of baseball and have seen guys who consistantly performed in big game breaking parts of the game and guys who consistantly dont perform in those same situations. This is not an always or never sitiuation but more often than not situation. It has more to do with the mental make-up of a person more so than physical attributes. This is my opinion now throw stats at me to prove me wrong.
    I was in the ORG once, best 6 months of my life.

  11. #10
    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    Quote Originally Posted by redsfanmia
    Someone please explain to me how clutch doesnt exist.
    One of the big reasons I think "clutch" is overrated, or perhaps doesn't even exist at the major league level, is because most baseball players who lack the ability to perform in "clutch" situations are weeded out long before they get to the major leagues.

    Sure, you see a Rick Ankiel every so often, where some latent issue comes to the forefront. But for the most part, guys who are adveresely affected by adreneline, butterflies, or off-the-field issues are spit out in high school, college, or the low minors.

    I used to believe that clutch mattered at the major league level (or at least the "non-choke" factor - opposite-of-clutch factor mattered), but the statheads have pretty much brainwashed me the other way.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

  12. #11
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    I am a firm believer in clutch in every aspect of every sport, including baseball, with the exception of hitting. It's the only thing I believe clutch might not exist. I'm not quite convinced completely yet as I tend to believe in clutch hiting bein the absence of choke. And my belief isn't really based on stats, it's more based on the nature of hitting. Of all athletic actions, it's the one that's more instinctive than anything else. There's no time to think about what you're doing, it's all reaction and reflex. A batter must make so several decisions and act with a great level of precision within a fraction of a second. Plus, it's an action that even the best of the best fail at more than they're sucessful. I just have a hard time believing people can change all the factors that go into hitting in certain situations. They still don't know what pitch is coming or where it's going to be, and they still have to react in less than a half of a second. You've either got it or you don't. Now I do believe that players come up to the plate in certain situations and fill their heads full of all kinds of nonsense based on that situation. Those players are likely to fail more often when they're thinking too much about the situation. But as chili mentioned, most of those guys are not going to have what it takes to make it to the pros. heck, if you'e trying to make it to the majors, all ABs could be considered clutch.

    I believe in clutch pitchers more than hitters. But it's a completely different action altogether. It's all premeditated.

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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    How do I give this guy 'rep points'?

    Rem

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    Member forfreelin04's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    I think both schools can learn something from each other. Both the old school and the sabres Billy Beane Types. However, the problems arises that stats and such can be learned by a former player. But a stathead cannot go back and be a Major Leaguer. There are certain things that "fans" will never understand because they never played competive baseball. All these stats really go from a logical standpoint is predict the liklihood a player or team will do something at a given time. It uses what already took place and then applies it to probably will occur in the future.

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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    "Clutch comes and goes. Clutch players aren’t always going to succeed in a clutch situation. Anti-clutch players will also sometimes succeed when the game is on the line because luck will sometime play a factor."

    Which side was this guy arguing for??? He makes the point for the anti-clutch crowd. If clutch comes and goes, then it's simply chance or luck. He basically admits it. Clutch doesn't exist.

  16. #15
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    Re: Interesting post from Sons of Sam Horn...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zimmazamma
    ".....If clutch comes and goes, then it's simply chance or luck. He basically admits it. Clutch doesn't exist.
    You've come and gone for the last year. How do I know that you exist?

    Rem


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