Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A softball that I can't refuse...

Seriously, what do people not understand about objective statistical analysis?

There are a myriad of points to ridicule here, but I'd rather use this piece of hack job journalism to point out some favorite fallacies in anti-statistical ravings:
  1. Accuse sabermetricians of hating a player that they love. A quintessential straw-man attack, journalists love to bring up examples of players that they believe throw wrenches in the machinery of objective statistical analysis. Invariably, the players they bring up are universally recognized by objective analysts as great players. Here, this guy actually accuses sabermetricians of hating Ty Cobb. Ty. Cobb. He of the 194 career WARP3.
  2. Accuse sabermetricians of not watching real, live baseball games. Based on purely anecdotal evidence, I'd wager (and wager a lot) that most sabermetricians watch far, far more baseball than non-sabermetricians, even journalists covering baseball. You see, sabermetricians are people who are so crazy about baseball that they spend the time they aren't watching baseball thinking about baseball. For sabermetricians, baseball isn't a job, it's a passion.
  3. Accuse sabermetricians of loving a player who only has good stats. In this case, that player is Barry Bonds.






  4. Accuse sabermetricians of not caring about the finer points of the sport. Let me ask you a hypothetical question. If I tell you that Pilot A has a 100% chance of getting you safely to your destination and that Pilot B has a 10% chance of getting you killed en route, which one will you choose?

    Now what if I tell you that Pilot A often has bumpy landings, but that Pilot B never does?

    Wait. That doesn't change your mind? You obviously don't care about the intangibles involved in flying a plane.
  5. Accuse sabermetricians of using slide rules (get it?! slide rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111), living in Mama's basement, and liking either Star Trek or Star Wars. Take that you fucking geeks!
Honestly, it makes me happy to know that one day the geeks will win because we are right. And the fact that we are right means that we can build a better, more efficient baseball team. And the fact that we can build a better, more efficient baseball team means that we will make more money. And owners of baseball teams love money. I expect at that point we will get to hear a lot of whining about the good old days, when real men ran baseball teams. And then all those guys will die, and we can all be happy again.


die Amerikanerin said...

Seriously, that guy sounded as if the main gripe he had against statistical analysis was that it was created by people smarter than himself. Bakka.

D.Cous. said...

"Invariably, the players they bring up are universally recognized by objective analysts as great players."

Not so, mon ami. You are forgetting a certain 2-foot-5-inch, 75-pound albino, the grittiest, scrappiest, hustling-est king of clutch ever to rack up a completely average set of statistics.