This terms gets bandied about by players, manager, and on this board quite frequently. However, I'd love to see a discussion about what "the right way" is. Furthmore, discussion about the validity of having a "right way".
Some quick thoughts:
- When was the game ever played "the right way"?
- Is "the right way" a set of skills/actions, or a general philosophy?
- Can that list of skills be enumerated, or the philosophy described?
- What is wrong with the "wrong way"?
- Does "the right way" really lead to more wins?
I think this topic is raised by the ongoing and increasing debate between "old school" beliefs and assumptions vs. sabermetric/analysis driven strategies.
There is a second, quite related conversation here too which was raised in an email exchange posted by Yahoo. That is, is there inherent value in certain skills or abilities, aside from solely their contribution towards winning a game -- be it aesthic, sentimental, etc.? Is there some hidden value in an Ichiro or Wade Boggs who played the game the "right way" versus an Adam Dunn who arguably does not; even if Dunn has more Win Shares, should we deride him for not playing "the right way".
Thus, rather than a scout/stats argument, it becomes experience vs. analysis argument. In my opinion, "the right way" is an attempt to mystify the value of experience and protect it (if you will) from the rigor of analysis. There is a skepticism of analysis (some healthy, some born purely of ignorance) which says "we cannot quantify the game 100%" and further that "my experience tells me winning teams bunt guys over"
For psychological reasons (I've made this case before), people place value in their knowledge, and expertise, which is frequently born out of experience. If a person's knowledge/expertise is questioned, or worse yet devalued (particularly by some other paradigm they don't understand), it threatens their security -- their ego, their job, their ability to support their family, their ego, and most importantly, their ego. So, rather than question events on their merit and explain why or why not a certain action is good/bad, they use the phase "the right way" to pump up their own supposed value while questioning the wrong action. We don't get to know whether "the wrong way" is wrong because it leads to losses, because it hurts feelings, or because the person saying it is full of BS....