Back in the early eighties when I was catching bullpen sessions for Charleston in the Sally League, I came across a young hot shot from Missouri who lit up radar guns and hurt my receiving hand with a fastball harder than a hammer. I knew right away he was going to be a successful Major Leaguer. And sure enough, he went on to win 194 games in the big leagues. That kid’s name was David Cone.

194 wins is great and everything, but unfortunately for Cone, he lost focus late in his career and ruined any chance he had of becoming a Hall of Famer. With a stronger mental game, Cone could’ve been one of the all-time greats and won even more World Series rings.

Even more unfortunately, it seems that the weak mind that plagued his later playing days has continued to affect him after his playing career came to an end. In a recent interview with the New Yorker that I was told about, Cone admits that his favourite website is FanCharts and that he likes to evaluate players based on graphs, charts and numbers.

No wonder he was fired by the YES Network.

You can tell a lot about a website by it’s name. FanCharts mentions two things in its title alone that don’t know a lick about baseball: fans and charts.

As I mentioned in my last newsletter entry, the only analysis worthwhile is that which comes from someone who has actually played the game. FanCharts employs no such person. As for the other half of its moniker, you can’t tell me anything about the game of baseball in a chart. You need to watch the actual game and base your judgments on what you see. Otherwise, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

After all, where did stats ever get the Oakland A’s?

I’ll even go a step further and suggest that websites like FanCharts are nothing but modern day snake oil salesmen. The so called stats revolution is all a big scheme perpetrated by poindexters who never made their high school baseball teams, but still wanted a say in what that team does.

Can a chart measure swagger? Can it measure momentum? What about hunger?

No. No. And no. Therefore, it doesn’t measure the three biggest factors affecting baseball teams.

It’s unfortunate that someone like Cone, who obviously has a lot of experience in the game would align himself with a bunch of calculator jockeys, who know nothing of the game they write about, but I suppose you can’t expect much from a player who lacked the mental fortitude to get to 200 wins, let alone have a shot at 300.

Show me a baseball player who cares at all about anything more than batting average, runs batted in, errors and wins, and I’ll show you that you’re actually showing me a player who overthinks and probably hasn’t reached his potential because he’s incapable of getting timely hits.

In all my years in the game, I’ve learned to go by my gut and nothing else. I remember back when I was playing for the Jacksonville Braves in the early seventies, we had a spread prepared for us between double header games that included tuna fish sandwiches.

I was a couple hours late to the spread because I had met a school teacher in the crowd that day who later went on to become my second ex-wife. I was expected to play in the second game of the set and so I knew I’d need to restore my energy after spending time with her. However, all the sandwiches had mayonnaise in them and had been left out.

The clubhouse attendant, who was a science major at Florida State College at Jacksonville, told me that it took at least three hours for mayonnaise to go bad, so I’d be safe to eat as many as I pleased. My gut told me to eat something else, but instead, I trusted the attendant. Boy, was that a mistake. I had to leave the game in the third inning with “flu-like symptoms” if you know what I mean.

That was the last time I ever trusted science. And I believe my career in the game speaks for itself. You don’t last as long as I have without knowing how to ignore the other stuff and listen to your gut.

Hunter Roscoe is a former Minor League Baseball player and coach. You can follow him on Twitter.

Comments (17)

  1. Well, I’ll never get those minutes back.

  2. Swagger and Hunger are the biggest factors? Come on man, if you dismiss everything except what your eye can tell you or what a commentator will tell you well then you should not be a baseball writer because you know jack shit

  3. Awwww. Clever fellas can’t spot the satire?

  4. These posts are a lot funnier once you realize it’s not serious.

  5. Wow. This is SO funny and original. At first I was like “does he really think swagger and hunger are the most important things?” but then after thinking about it for about three hours I realized that this was an elaborate and well hidden piece of sarcasm! Then I remembered his last article, and wondered if there was any chance that he was less than sincere there. AND HE WAS!!!! I laughed so hard I pooped my pants, at work no less!
    Well, I for one hope we can have a few more drippingly sarcastic articles with no actual baseball news or analysis. The worst part is I’m sure he’s a fine writer, I’d just love the articles to actually be about, you know, baseball instead of some grudge against the traditional stereotypes of “baseball people.”

  6. By far the best part of Roscoe’s articles are commenters’ reactions. It’s sort of like telling people in the middle of a meal that the burger they’re eating is made of donkey genitals.

  7. I realize all the coaches posts are satirical… does not mean they are any good.
    I feel like I am reading Parkes’ character he created for a baseball comic book and this is the evil old school coach trying to kill all the nerds.

  8. @Ray,
    Yea pretty much sums up my feelings.
    I think we all accept the baseball paradigm has shifted in terms of stats. Hence the reason we come to this blog in the first place. It is time to move on.

  9. @ Ray & Eric:

    You guys know that you can just not read articles written by this moniker right? If you see that it is authored by Hunter just don’t click through…. Or you can whine about it.

  10. Hey, if you’re getting paid till five NOTHING is a waste of your time. Except this article, which was kind of a waste of my time……

  11. I once saw a chart that actually COULD measure “clubhouse influence” but Shea Hillebrand scribbled something obscene on it, so it became worthless in a hurry.

  12. This has become my favorite column on this blog! From his last post: “If statistics don’t match my personal perceptions they don’t mean anything” or something like that. Hilarious!

  13. I read David Cone’s autobiography and it epitomized “waste of time”. It smelled of douchebag from beginning to end.
    Hunter can buy me a beer anytime.

  14. I love that the “author” cannot even get the name of the website correct. My gut tells me that he’s probably lucky that he found the on switch on his computer.

  15. i LOVE Hunter Roscoe

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