Guess they have the same conflicts we have...

Sorry statheads, "Clutch" does indeed exist
Sille Skrub
Apr 13 2006, 08:22 AM
Post #1


Posts: 3,095
From: America's greatest city

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.