Thoughts on dictating the Sabermetric Agenda

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Some more stuff spinning out of Brian Kenny’s crusade to Kill The Win. This from Mike Bates at SB Nation, who you may know better as The Common Man. Mike is clearly in the camp of the statistical analysts and views baseball from a sabermetric perspective. That said, he’s not on board with Kenny’s crusade. Indeed, he argues today that, while it’s wonderful if someone chooses to get into the stats stuff, it’s silly and harmful to force it upon people like his grandma. I find myself in basic agreement with him.

My thing on stats: no fan should be expected to care about sabermetrics or to even familiarize themselves with it just to enjoy baseball. I spent 20 years watching baseball before I had even heard of sabermetrics and I somehow managed to love the hell out of it. I presume most of you all did too.  Of course, getting into sabermetrics enriched my experience as a baseball fan and I’m oh so glad it did. I also think that sabermetrics will enrich most fans’ experiences in that, as in all things, information tends to make people happier. But I’m not going to force it down anyone’s throat and I don’t think anyone else should either.

There are two important caveats to all of this, of course:

1. While you can be a fan and ignore statistical analysis and what it reveals all you want, you don’t have the same excuse if you work in baseball or analyze it for a living. Scouts, GMs, and professional writers who make it their business to explain the game to people — and especially those whose job it is to hand out awards and Hall of Fame votes — have a duty to understand more deeply than a common fan. They can no sooner ignore this stuff than a doctor can ignore a new procedure or a pilot can ignore a weather report. When Brian Kenny attacks your grandma for thinking pitcher wins matter, he’s out of line. When he goes after broadcasters and analysts who do so, he’s doing God’s work; and

2. If you are a common fan who doesn’t care much for statistical analysis, but you decide you want to argue about player value and things that can be derived from statistical analysis with someone who is conversant with it, don’t sit there and complain about the person citing advanced metrics to make their case. The person doing the citing certainly does not have the right to be an obnoxious ass about it, but they shouldn’t be expected to ignore basic information just because you choose to ignore it. And if you really want to understand something better — as opposed to merely wanting to be an ass in an argument yourself — you’ll maybe think about using some of the tools to do so. Like stats.

That stuff aside? Man, enjoy the game all you want. Laud the 20-game winners and the .300 hitters and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re obligated to shovel a glimpse into the ditch of what those stats mean.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.