A great combination of thoughtful and fun stuff from around MLB in the last few days …
- If you are a proponent of advanced statistics as a vehicle by which you can better understand, or even better enjoy, the game of baseball, you should read this piece by Dave Cameron. If you are an opponent of advanced statistics, believe that they are a vehicle for little more than muddying up the game you love, then you should really read this piece by Dave Cameron. I can’t even carve out a small slice with which to tease you into reading, because it’s all so very good, and it all works together, brilliantly deconstructing the way the media uses the wrong statistics to tell its stories, and the way that has permeated our every thought as a collective culture of baseball. You don’t need statistics – advanced or otherwise – tell a baseball story. But if you’re going to quantify, do it with meaning.
- Cameron’s piece was a response to this turd in sheep’s clothing by Bob Ryan. The part that really rankles me – and it’s a common barb tossed at those of us who utilize advanced statistics to enhance our understanding of the game – is this: “I wonder if the New Breed Stat Guys ever actually enjoy a game, because they are so obsessed with what the manager is or isn’t doing, based on the data in front of them …. Sometimes the New Breed Stat Guys aren’t so good about accepting the vagaries of a very complex game.” Ryan suggests that “New Breed Stat Guys” – men and women who have so loved the game of baseball that they’ve devoted their professional lives to it – don’t actually enjoy baseball games (unlike, presumably, he does). This is pretty much the height of the kind of old guard arrogance that opened up a crack in baseball coverage, infiltrated and expanded by the very “New Breed Stat Guys” Ryan derides. “New Breed Stats” are about recognizing all that we don’t know about the game of baseball, and seeking to improve our understanding. And, somehow, we are the folks too entrenched in our ways to appreciate baseball?
- Ok, gotta do a fun one here, lest I lose you completely by the third item. This kid has game:
- The best part – other than the dozens of phone numbers that 10-year-old lothario inevitably picked up before the game was over – he totally pulled the ole ball switch trick. So he’s got game, and savvy.
- Back to the serious business of a serious business: former big league pitcher Dirk Hayhurst writes about the burgeoning injury problem among big league pitchers, and why it’s endemic to a system that rewards throwing harder, throwing more, and throwing younger. Until there’s a fundamental shift in what we want from baseball, we’re probably just going to have to get used to Tommy John surgery as a way of life.
- And then back to the silliness: Old Hoss Radbourn and Sam Miller debate the pitcher injury issue.
- Speaking of injuries, but back in a serious way: Gio Gonzalez has been struggling this year for the Nationals, and now he’s been shut down with shoulder inflammation.
- And back to silliness: two dudes fight over a bat in the stands.
- You may think that this is silliness winning out in the end, but no. This is very serious: Josh Reddick understands walk-up music.