Sunday, October 5, 2008

A couple postseason thoughts

  • Buck Martinez kept going on and on during tonight's Angels - Red Sox game about how hard closing was relative to setting up. He spouted nonsense about closers being able to pitch "with the game on the line" while setup men can't and how closers "want the responsibility" and feel like they're "carrying their 24 teammates on their shoulders."

    Sucks to be a set up man, eh? Not only do you somehow not know how to pitch with the game on the line (because, as we all know, runs in the ninth inning count twice or something), but you are also an irresponsible coward. Honestly, what compels people to talk about closing this way?

    Naturally, it gave me much satisfaction to see Jered Weaver, certified non-closer, close out a one run lead in the bottom of the twelfth against the heart of the Red Sox order. Closing: it just isn't that hard.

  • Dustin Pedroia is now something like 0 for 17 in the postseason. He is coming off an MVP caliber season. He will not be accused of choking. Why? Mostly because he's short, white, scrappy, and low-paid. People will point to earlier postseason success instead of dwelling on his current slump. I hope someone can explain to me how this is fair to Alex Rodriguez.

  • The bottom line with these two previous thoughts is that people on both sides of any argument can find anecdotal evidence to support their position. This is why eventually it becomes necessary to either prove a point logically from a set of common assumptions or to provide evidence from a rigorous examination of data. If you cannot do either of these, your argument deserves no respect.

    Interestingly, this rigorous examination of data is called "statistics." It is the science of science in a certain sense. It exists preciesly so that arguments can be settled instead of devolving into an endless series of platitudes and anecdotes. They aren't evil. They exist because sooner or later a question has to be settled from an objective basis. For the life of me, I don't understand why more people don't realize this.

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