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Thread: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

  1. #1
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    This is an entirely personal observation on my part.

    I have been a baseball fan my entire life, starting with my childhood hobby of collecting baseball cards. I memorized the stats of every player, batting average, home runs, RBI, ERA, wins, strikeouts, etc. When most kids my age were listening to the latest rock songs on the radio, I was listening to Marty and Joe, falling asleep to the sounds of late night west coast road trips.

    I watched every baseball game that would be televised, the Cubs and White Sox on WGN, the Braves on TBS, the Reds on WLWT, every game shown by ESPN...

    I considered myself a diehard baseball fan, never simply just a casual fan. When Redszone started, I was one of the most prolific posters.

    Not long after, on base percentage and slugging percentage were the most popular stats used to rank the talent level of hitters, along with the combined OPS stat. I accepted it, and figured it out.

    Then more stats appeared, like isolated power, batting average on balls in play, WHIP, and many others. I think there are stats used to determine the effectiveness of warm up pitches and time it takes a hitter to get from the on deck circle to the batter's box. Our eyes and observations don't have any bearing on the game anymore, it's all about numbers, some of which have formulas so obviously complex you have to have a doctorate to even begin to understand how they are calculated.

    I'm going to be honest, I don't get all of these stats. I don't know what half of them mean or how you arrive at them. I'm 33 years old, probably the median age of Redszone posters. I'm in tORG because I was grandfathered in. I don't post nearly as much as I used to, because tORG posters demand a high level of Reds baseball discussion, which apparently means that EVERY thread we have anymore is filled with these complex stats and formulas that only calculator toting SABR fans can grasp. I'm not hating on those of you who love these stats and understand them, and I don't think I'm any less a baseball fan for not getting them, though the tone of many threads leave me thinking that I might be. I never liked math, and I never will. I do love baseball though. I like watching games and cheering on my favorite team.

    I don't know if this is discussion worthy or not, but it's been on my mind for a while, and I just thought that if I was thinking it, maybe there are other posters out there who feel the same way I do.
    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!

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Math and sabermetrics help me and I assume some others, grasp a stronger understanding of what goes on within the baseball game. They aren't for everyone, God knows that my 'real life' friends for the most part refuse to talk certain baseball topics with me because they know that I will get into a heated debate with them using things they don't understand. Some things just aren't for certain people. We all are here because we enjoy, or at least want to enjoy Cincinnati Reds baseball. I choose to import advanced statistics into how I enjoy or view my Reds baseball. It makes it more enjoyable to me as I feel I have a stronger grasp on a lot of things that I would otherwise. IF that isn't your cup of tea, well then it just isn't. Enjoy the Reds how you wish to enjoy them.

  4. #3
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    This is an entirely personal observation on my part.

    I have been a baseball fan my entire life, starting with my childhood hobby of collecting baseball cards. I memorized the stats of every player, batting average, home runs, RBI, ERA, wins, strikeouts, etc. When most kids my age were listening to the latest rock songs on the radio, I was listening to Marty and Joe, falling asleep to the sounds of late night west coast road trips.

    I watched every baseball game that would be televised, the Cubs and White Sox on WGN, the Braves on TBS, the Reds on WLWT, every game shown by ESPN...

    I considered myself a diehard baseball fan, never simply just a casual fan. When Redszone started, I was one of the most prolific posters.

    Not long after, on base percentage and slugging percentage were the most popular stats used to rank the talent level of hitters, along with the combined OPS stat. I accepted it, and figured it out.

    Then more stats appeared, like isolated power, batting average on balls in play, WHIP, and many others. I think there are stats used to determine the effectiveness of warm up pitches and time it takes a hitter to get from the on deck circle to the batter's box. Our eyes and observations don't have any bearing on the game anymore, it's all about numbers, some of which have formulas so obviously complex you have to have a doctorate to even begin to understand how they are calculated.

    I'm going to be honest, I don't get all of these stats. I don't know what half of them mean or how you arrive at them. I'm 33 years old, probably the median age of Redszone posters. I'm in tORG because I was grandfathered in. I don't post nearly as much as I used to, because tORG posters demand a high level of Reds baseball discussion, which apparently means that EVERY thread we have anymore is filled with these complex stats and formulas that only calculator toting SABR fans can grasp. I'm not hating on those of you who love these stats and understand them, and I don't think I'm any less a baseball fan for not getting them, though the tone of many threads leave me thinking that I might be. I never liked math, and I never will. I do love baseball though. I like watching games and cheering on my favorite team.

    I don't know if this is discussion worthy or not, but it's been on my mind for a while, and I just thought that if I was thinking it, maybe there are other posters out there who feel the same way I do.
    Sabermetrics have advanced our understanding of the game of baseball a great deal. They're a better way to evaluate hitters, pitchers and fielders than the aggregate stats found on the back of a baseball card used to give us. But no one should ever mistake them for the actual interaction on a baseball diamond.

    Theo Epstein, a big Saber guy, commented this past offseason that defense and the scouting side of front offices might be catching back up with the game. That's probably because of the paralysis by analysis that has enveloped the game the last few years that you speak of.

    For me, the sheer number of formulas and statistics are a product of so many various facets of the game that are intending to be measured. The alphabet soup of statistics have evolved not just because of new research, but somewhat because so many people are trying to reinvent the wheel. In the end, though, the game is played by humans and we can make reasonable conclusions based on our observations of that interaction. All the stats in the world just give us a better understanding of what we observed.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post

    For me, the sheer number of formulas and statistics are a product of so many various facets of the game that are intending to be measured. The alphabet soup of statistics have evolved not just because of new research, but somewhat because so many people are trying to reinvent the wheel. In the end, though, the game is played by humans and we can make reasonable conclusions based on our observations of that interaction. All the stats in the world just give us a better understanding of what we observed.
    This is an excellent point.
    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!

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    i think that a fair number of stat fans tend to think 100% of the game is stat related. things like clubhouse chemistry, hard work, comfort zone & other non measurable things are felt to be insignificant.

    now on the flip side there are 'old school' guys who look at batting average only & think the stat fans are all geeks who didn't get any dates in high school.

    i think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. maybe 75% stats & 25% old school. those non measurable things do matter. good scouting and coaching matter as well. if you can fix something in a players approach or mechanics then his older stats may not mean much.

    as to the stats themselves i think there is way too much emphasis placed on the latest greatest stat. don't chuck the ole OPS+ just because the new XYZ PDQ stat is soooo much better. i think things like OPS+, SB%, & WHIP are fine stats to judge players by. the fielding stats are another matter. i'll use them but you also have to trust your own eyes.
    .

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    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    as to the stats themselves i think there is way too much emphasis placed on the latest greatest stat. don't chuck the ole OPS+ just because the new XYZ PDQ stat is soooo much better. i think things like OPS+, SB%, & WHIP are fine stats to judge players by.
    agreed. .300/.400/.500 is all the casual fan needs to know to make a fair assessment of players in my opinion. There's indecipherable formulas out there, but any improvements they make over the basic slash lines are going to be near negligible for the casual fan.

    Things like BABIP and isolated power are good to learn though...OPS tells you the sum of a player's production, but stats like BABIP, K%, BB%, and IsoP help you piece together how the player reached that number.

  8. #7
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    This is an entirely personal observation on my part.

    I have been a baseball fan my entire life, starting with my childhood hobby of collecting baseball cards. I memorized the stats of every player, batting average, home runs, RBI, ERA, wins, strikeouts, etc. When most kids my age were listening to the latest rock songs on the radio, I was listening to Marty and Joe, falling asleep to the sounds of late night west coast road trips.

    I watched every baseball game that would be televised, the Cubs and White Sox on WGN, the Braves on TBS, the Reds on WLWT, every game shown by ESPN...

    I considered myself a diehard baseball fan, never simply just a casual fan. When Redszone started, I was one of the most prolific posters.

    Not long after, on base percentage and slugging percentage were the most popular stats used to rank the talent level of hitters, along with the combined OPS stat. I accepted it, and figured it out.

    Then more stats appeared, like isolated power, batting average on balls in play, WHIP, and many others. I think there are stats used to determine the effectiveness of warm up pitches and time it takes a hitter to get from the on deck circle to the batter's box. Our eyes and observations don't have any bearing on the game anymore, it's all about numbers, some of which have formulas so obviously complex you have to have a doctorate to even begin to understand how they are calculated.

    I'm going to be honest, I don't get all of these stats. I don't know what half of them mean or how you arrive at them. I'm 33 years old, probably the median age of Redszone posters. I'm in tORG because I was grandfathered in. I don't post nearly as much as I used to, because tORG posters demand a high level of Reds baseball discussion, which apparently means that EVERY thread we have anymore is filled with these complex stats and formulas that only calculator toting SABR fans can grasp. I'm not hating on those of you who love these stats and understand them, and I don't think I'm any less a baseball fan for not getting them, though the tone of many threads leave me thinking that I might be. I never liked math, and I never will. I do love baseball though. I like watching games and cheering on my favorite team.

    I don't know if this is discussion worthy or not, but it's been on my mind for a while, and I just thought that if I was thinking it, maybe there are other posters out there who feel the same way I do.



    I honestly believe we are all Reds/Baseball Fans here. We all follow and enjoy the game in our own way. There is no right or wrong way to be a Fan.

    As long as you enjoy the game that's all that matters.

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    a fan is a fanatic
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    a fan is a fanatic
    True, I realized that after posting, but are all fanatics fanatical? :
    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!

  11. #10
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    I find it interesting that the conversation quickly becomes watching the game versus watching the spreadsheet. I realize that's not the tone you used Sava and I appreciate that. But the general frame is similar. However, most people on the "watching the game" side will site batting average, RBI, or what-have-you.

    If it were truly watching the game versus analyzing it quantitatively, I could understand the divide. But that's not really the point of contention. It's that some people want to compliment their watching and discussion of the game only with the stats they know and grew up with while others people want to compliment it with richer stats that dig deeper in to the nuances to gain greater explanatory power.

    It's a question of "good enough" stats vs. "as good as possible" stats. It's about being able to have a debate with other people using the same caliber of ammunition. Until and unless I see the "good enough" crowd abdicate their use of batting average and RBI in making analytical statements and stick solely to what they see on the field, I'll maintain that everybody in the conversation loves stats. Some people are just more interested/willing to learn about and use the more complex ones.

    There is a frustration from feeling like you understand something and can sit back and enjoy it only to have it pointed out that your understanding is simplistic.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 04-27-2010 at 10:01 AM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  12. #11
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    I do love baseball though. I like watching games and cheering on my favorite team.
    All you need, bro.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  13. #12
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    I'm going to be honest, I don't get all of these stats. I don't know what half of them mean or how you arrive at them. I'm 33 years old, probably the median age of Redszone posters. I'm in tORG because I was grandfathered in. I don't post nearly as much as I used to, because tORG posters demand a high level of Reds baseball discussion, which apparently means that EVERY thread we have anymore is filled with these complex stats and formulas that only calculator toting SABR fans can grasp. I'm not hating on those of you who love these stats and understand them,
    It's not a "love" of stats, it's a love of baseball. Many times, these "advanced" statistics actually verify things we see on the field. Other times, they tell us some kind of skill is undervalued which leads to interesting discussion (and a desire for the Reds to exploit that.)

    Ten years ago, I thought RBI was a measure of skill, pitching record told me who was good and an "advanced" metric was "BA/RISP." It all started clicking for me the first time I saw someone explain that if on-base percentage were inverted (dunno if that's the term but 1 - OBP) and called "out-making percentage," more folks would know about it.

    Anyhow, for me, understanding the "advanced" (some of them, quite honestly, aren't that advanced) metrics helped me enjoy the game more.

    and I don't think I'm any less a baseball fan for not getting them, though the tone of many threads leave me thinking that I might be.
    That tone is bi-driectional.

    I never liked math, and I never will.
    Neither do I.

    I do love baseball though. I like watching games and cheering on my favorite team.
    So does everyone here.

    Well, except one...

    I don't know if this is discussion worthy or not, but it's been on my mind for a while, and I just thought that if I was thinking it, maybe there are other posters out there who feel the same way I do.
    I feel the same way you do. But my feeling is toward those who "poo-poo" stats and call names and make fun of it while offering no credible argument to support their case. Fortunately, the site has both an "ignore user" and "ignore thread" function AND _any_ ORG member is free to start a new thread.

    I find making use of all three raises my xE/P (expanded Enjoyment per Post) by a factor of 1.2 (no "board effect," tORG only.)

    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  14. #13
    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    I highly recommend reading Alan Schwarz's The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Obsession with Statistics. The book is a great romp through the history of statistics and analysis. Anyone with even a passing interest in this thread would love it.

  15. #14
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    I'm not sure why it matters how someone else watches the game.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Stat Love: Tool of the fan or the fanatical?

    Quote Originally Posted by reds1869 View Post
    I highly recommend reading Alan Schwarz's The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Obsession with Statistics. The book is a great romp through the history of statistics and analysis. Anyone with even a passing interest in this thread would love it.
    Yep, and it does the best refuting of the notion that stats are something "new" to baseball, when in fact the game has had stats (and its supporters) pouring out of its bum since Jim Creighton played.
    Last edited by westofyou; 04-27-2010 at 10:34 AM.


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