Marx Lennon

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.

Someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey after a vigil

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.

That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”

The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.

 

What Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher would you ask to pitch today?

Mike Mussina
Associated Press
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In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?

The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.

My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.

If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.

So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?