Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch was asked in a chat yesterday about last year’s Cy Young Vote and whether he thought Keith law and “others in the sabermetric crowd” had undue influence in awards outcomes. His response:
There increasingly appears a
campaign to discredit pitcher wins as a consideration. They are
considered by some as a derivative of “luck,” much like RBI, in the
estimation of some spreadsheet voters. Law didn’t give the vote to
Lincecum. However, there is an increasingly strong
smartest-guy-in-the-room element that frowns on more traditional
numbers now assigned the pejorative “peripherals.” Personally, I
thought Wainwright the NL’s best pitcher in 2009 only to later be
informed he was merely “luckier” than Lincecum. Who’da thunk?
I’m guessing that, in the past, there have been other writers who are not named Keith Law and who aren’t “spreadsheet voters” who voted differently than Strauss, with such differences changing the outcome of an awards vote. I don’t recall people responding so defensively to those legitimate differences of opinion, or those voters being called out like Strauss calls out Law and others here.
Likewise, I know of no other field besides sports writing where ignoring relevant data, scoffing disdainfully at advancements in analysis and belittling those who seek to broaden knowledge and understanding of the subject at hand is thought of as a positive thing.
JaCoby Jones was called up by the Tigers and made his major league debut yesterday. His parents, from Mississippi, had to scramble to get to Detroit to watch their son in action, but it was well worth the scramble: young Mr. Jones had two hits and two RBI as the Tigers won.
Jones’ first hit was an RBI double which broke a tie. It also caused his mom to break into tears:
Baseball is weird. That could be the first hit in an illustrious big league career. It could also be his peak as a major leaguer. Nothing is ever guaranteed. But Jones and his folks have that moment forever.
I used to be pretty anti-wave because I thought it was kind of dumb and that spending effort on it and not on paying direct attention to the game was a failure of priorities. As has been the case with a lot of things in the past two or three years, however, I’ve lightened up about that. As a part of a larger change of heart in which I determined that hating what other people like and which doesn’t cause me or others harm is not generally worth my time, I’ve left the wave alone. I still think it’s rather silly, but if you wanna be silly at the ballpark, go on and do it. You paid your money to be there.
Not everyone feels this way, however. Including some players:
I dunno, man. The Mets had a lead after one inning and never relinquished it. I’m not sure when this wave went down, and I’ll grant that if it came at a super tense part of the game it would be more annoying. But the Mets are playing some great baseball right now and a well-loved player — Curtis Granderson — hit a couple of homers off the bench. Let ’em be happy, Noah.
UPDATE: This is part of a larger “ballpark rules” feature from SNY: