Think Blue

Obsessing over the Dodgers' minor league system so you don't have to.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Good Fight

I'll admit it. I used to involve myself with "The Sabermetrics." I would look at the VORPs and the WARPs and the DIPSs of the players I followed. But little did I know how I, a seemingly innocent observer, was single-handedly destroying the great game of Baseball.

It turns out that the game of Baseball is not played on a piece of paper but on a field, or, a "Baseball field." And on this field, what will you find? Statistics? No. Computers? Doubt it. A bunch of basement-dwelling, number-loving cybergeeks? I don't think so. What you'll find is the players! And these players are the ones who play the game!

Now, to be fair, there are certain statistics that are used that do not have a negative effect on the game. These are your RBIs and your BAs and your ERAs. These are the numbers that tell the whole story becaues they represent what really matters! And what matters is what you can actually remember! Do you honestly expect anyone to remember every play of every game? No! You would have to be a robot to do that! And, as we all know, it's people, not robots, that play the game.

So I will now introduce you to some of the heroes who are engaging in an epic battle against this immortal enemy known as "The Sabermetrics." These brave men, who both happen to write for the Philadelphia Daily News, are Bill Conlin and Marcus Hayes. Let me now share with you some of the brilliant logic and reason that these courageous defenders of America's past time use to debunk the "bunked" numbers that those saber-analysissies (TM) use.

Mr Conlin: "TO APPRECIATE the sheer scope of Jimmy Rollins epic run to yesterday's MVP award, you almost have to forget he plays a position where defense has always been the No. 1 priority.

Take that, fact-slaves! Rollins' main objective is supposed to be playing good defense and it isn't! Rollins won the Gold Glove this year, which is awarded to the best defensive player at each position as voted by the coaches and managers. So that means he was the best defensive shortstop in the NL. Now, I know the statwhores will say "Rollins wasn't the best shortstop in the NL because his PMR or PMS or whatever the hell it's called ranked him 6th in the National League!" Well, what am I supposed to believe: a statistic that records all of his plays during the season or the coaches who actually SAW him play with THEIR OWN EYES make a handful of plays in a handful of games? I think the answer is clear. NEXT!

Mr Conlin: "And while the American League has had two freaks of nature who have put up engine room numbers at shortstop - Cal Ripken and the pre-third base Alex Rodriguez - the National League hasn't seen anything quite like the season the Flying Fireplug regaled us with last season since Ernie Banks. Not from a shortstop."

Another inpregnable argument! The National League hasn't seen a shortstop like this since Mr Let's Play Two! Oh, but here come the laptop lovers with their "Rollins wasn't even the best offensive shortstop in his division! Hanley Ramirez' numbers were better!" Oh really? What's the most important thing to do on offense? Score runs! And who scored more runs this year? Jimmy Rollins! And don't tell me he's not fully responsible for the runs he scores. He's the one who has to run around the bases! Hit me Billy one more time!

Mr Conlin: "The diminishing criticisms revolved around an on-base percentage that just didn't equate to the demands of a table-setter. How were we to know that what Rollins had in mind was not only setting the table, but consuming the meal and then clearing it with a dish-scattering flurry of offense?"

Those greedy bastards! Not only do the saber-nazi's want Rollins to hit the ball, they want him to not make a lot of outs! What kind of impossible standards should a Most Valuable Player be held to??? Setting the table means putting yourself in a position to score, not getting on base! And last, but not least, in response to a blogger who was foolish enough to disagree with his masterpiece:

Mr Conlin: "The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler's time on earth-I'm sure he would have eliminated all bloggers."

See what you did, fact-fellaters? You made Bill pay a compliment to the epitome of evil. But really, who needs freedom of information? If someone's not paying for it, it probably isn't worth reading. And since I, myself, am blogging this, I'll assume Bill-o was only talking about the bloggers who disagree with him.

I think Brother Conlin has made his point well enough. Now we'll hear from Marcus Hayes on how the sins of sabermetricians should be repented.

Mr Hayes: "OBP and OPS are geek numbers, especially for run-producers. I'd rather have my 3-4-5 guys drive the best strike they see rather than wait for the perfect pitch and jog down the baseline."

Absolutely! Only a geek would look at the percentage of times a player reaches base safely! Batting average is far different, since it reflects the percentage of times a player reaches base safely via basehit. See? Completely different. And why would you want your run producers to get on base and hit for power when they could make outs that result in a runner crossing home plate?

Mr Hayes: "(Sabermetrics) are the bastion of wannabes who never could quite figure out which hand the mitt went on, a false industry created and fueled by people whose association with the game always will be vicarious, and, frankly, pathetic."

Indeed! "The Sabermetrics" are for those who don't understand the game of Baseball. If they did, they'd know the stats most people use now are accurate enough for Joe Blow or JoAnne Blow-Smolinski to understand. It's hard enough to follow the game at its break-neck speed; are we supposed to know EVERYTHING that happened? And nobody who actually uses this type of analysis has any direct association with the game.

But apparently, this insight was not intended for all our eyes to see.

Mr Hayes: "Numberheads,"

And how!

Mr Hayes: "Just letting you blogicians know:
No longer will you, or anyone else, be afforded the privilege (burden?) of corresponding with me. When I reply to an individual it is intended to be a confidential response. Since I can't trust you, I assume I can't trust anyone."

See what you people did?!?! You took a man who shared his wealth of Baseball knowledge without any responsibility to answer for his opinions and forced him to continue to have no responsibility to answer for his opinions! And when you can't trust people who are the butt of your many insults, who can you trust? Damn those bloggermetricians and their refusal to sign non-disclosure agreements...

Mr Hayes: " It is not meant to be posted on anyone's blog, and certainly not on a for-profit entity of a direct competitor.
So, no more responses. Can't trust you, so don't bother writing.
But then, if you hold my replies in such low esteem, why bother writing?"

How dare these stat-monkeys of an opposing faction share their conversations with a rival on their own website! What right do they have to commit such atrocities? And these losers can't stand Marcus yet continue to discuss him. He would never condescend to communicate with those lowlifes.

Mr Hayes: "Of course, this gives many of you more time for your World of Warcraft RPG endeavors.
Happy gaming.
Hope the eczema clears up.

See, in case you're lost, skin conditions and computer games are viewed as being "nerdy," just like "The Sabermetrics." Therefore, through the transitive property of "Nerdom," sabermetricians have skin conditions and enjoy online roleplaying games. And it seems, by his signature, Mr Hayes aspires to follow in the footsteps of Dame Judy Dench.

So I say to you, Mr Conlin and Mr Hayes, thank you for doing your patriotic duty in protecting the game America calls its own. Henceforth, I shall join you in fighting the good fight!


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