Monday, April 20, 2009

Sabermetrics and baseball

Another "traditionalist" has decided to flaunt his ignorance by writing a blog post bashing sabermetrics and the people who love it.

I don't know who this guy is or why he hates me (and people like me who like numbers). But his attitude tracks the attitude of many old school sportswriters -- Murray Chass among them -- who thing modern statistical analysis has no place in baseball and is practiced only by guys living in their mothers' basements.

The original blogger, "Alex," says a lot of stupid things and they're not worth refuting. But one point I want to make regards math:

These traditionalists revel in basic baseball stats: batting average, ERA, slugging percentage, and maybe on-base percentage. But they seem to have forgotten that those stats all involve math!

What's the difference between batting average and VORP or WARP or Win Shares... other than the lengths of the formulas?

So I guess the traditionalists are OK with math until it gets complicated. Which means they're not traditionalists at all but rather anti-intellectuals.

It's one thing to be ignorant. It's another entirely to hate knowledge. But that's what people like Alex do. Bravo, Alex.

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