We could go through retired Detroit News columnist Jerry Green’s 1,032 word literary assault on modern baseball analytics (and things that he believes to be modern baseball analytics), but to assign a myriad of different logical fallacies to almost every sentence would not only be unnecessarily time consuming, it would also verge on intellectual bullying.

Allow me, instead, to summarize his 1,032 word mock treatise on old time baseball, and hopefully avoid the temptation to tastelessly question the elderly writer’s senility:

I have watched, continue to watch and will in the future watch baseball in a particular way. I am incapable of appreciating multiple elements of the game, so by willingly remaining ignorant to vast amounts of data, I can safely assume that those not remaining willfully ignorant are just as limited as me. This allows me to further believe that the only way to properly enjoy the sport is the way that I do. Also, get off my lawn.

Perhaps the most humourous part of Mr. Green’s unintentionally comedic ramblings is that in aimlessly attacking the Sabermetrics community, knowingly or not, his literary assault is also targeting internet writing where much of the Sabermetric community discusses their ideas and share their analysis of baseball. This is notable because at the end of his column, we find this:

No one is crying because Jerry Green isn’t actively curious about the inner workings of the game he watches. That’s fine. Sabermetrics aren’t an evangelical pursuit. I’d like for more people to be on the same page for the sake of baseball discussion, but frankly, there’s so much good baseball writing out there already, that bad baseball writing doesn’t bother me like it once did.

However, I don’t especially enjoy the myth that somehow by showing interest in probabilities based on outcomes from previous situations in baseball (or statistics), one cannot enjoy the more narrative-based and intangible elements of the game. I’m not even that smart and I can enjoy both. In fact, I think my understanding of the seemingly random happenings on a baseball diamond and the stories that accompany them is actually enhanced by looking at numbers and the likelihoods that they establish, not diminished.

But woe to you if you don’t watch the game and enjoy only those aspects that were previously celebrated. Jerry Green is here to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

Comments (27)

  1. It’s times like these that I miss Fire Joe Morgan.

    In Jerry Green’s defense, it looks like he’s a 100 years old. He’s probably also confused that the teams aren’t all comprised of white guys.

  2. “Hollywood Jock Brad Pitts” killed me.

  3. Honestly man, you suck. You’re shitting on old men now? Classy.
    What was wrong with his article again? Because your summary of it couldn’t be more wrong. Do you even know how to read?

    Can’t wait until someone breaks the record for OPS -er, I mean WAR. No? How about DIPS? Nope. Nobody cares about that one either, eh? Hmmm, so what records do baseball fans care about? Oh yeah…

  4. The growing snobbery and arrogance from the sabermetrically-inclined is really starting to piss me off. The thrust of this article is simple: you can enjoy the great game of baseball without delving into advanced stats. This is absolutely true. If the article were written by a GM saying that you can run a team effectively without knowledge of advanced stats, then you’d be on to something here. But this piece was written from an entirely different perspective and I think you’ve completely missed that.

  5. So, everyone hates rankings, right?

    Still, you gotta admit that SI nailed it with this… http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/05/14/power.rankings.week.5/index.html?sct=hp_wr_a1&eref=sihp

    I mean, look at that WAR winning percentage…

    And all this time I actually thought the Jays had a good team this year…

    • Your comedy stylings still need to improve if you want to make the big time.

      • It might help if he used an #comedy tag or something like that. I find it hard to tell when he is making an attempt at humour. It almost seems like he might be thinking those things…

        • Nah… No one is that oblivous…. right?

        • obviously I was being sarcastic.

          I’d like to know what you numbers-lovers think of those rankings tho…

          I’ve never even heard of WAR winning percentage before….wanna know why? Its stupid.

          • Nails!

            Please compile the list of all the things you have never heard of so that we may all know for certain which stuff is stupid.

    • You may be right but not for the reasons you think. I don’t believe Fangraphs uses DRS (defensive runs saved) for its measure for defense. DRS loves the Jays, they have the #1 defense according to DRS, which might better explain their record.

      Doesn’t mean Fangraphs is out to lunch, just that they might not be using the right measure. Or maybe they are and the Jays are due for a serious regression.

      Also, sorry to throw another sabermetric acronym at you, so I’ll put it in terms you can understand, “Jays are good at catching the ball.”

      • Correct – Fangraphs uses UZR which, at the team-level takes something like 60 games to stabilize. DRS overcompensates excellent plays, which the Jays have made a boat-load of so far :-)

  6. Parkes, I had a question for you that is sort of on topic as it sort of falls between advanced metrics and old school approaches.

    I was pitching the other day, and the best hitter on the opposing team was significantly better than everyone else. I found that, for whatever reason, I was more focused against him when he came to bat. I recognize that this is an otherwise bullshit anecdote. I also recognize that in the majors, these players are very focused regardless (and my lack of focus is probably one of many reasons I’m not there), but still, I was wondering whether there is any dissent in the sabermetric community that thinks ‘clutch’ is a quantifiable term (or perhaps, potentially quantifiable, but not currently captured by the statistics created to date), accepting that most potential statistics are inevitably going to be hampered by small sample sizes.

    Is anyone trying to track this shit, or have people given up on ‘clutch’ entirely?

  7. I’m on the fence about the importance of defensive ratings and one thing that’s bothering me is how the shift factors into the calculations.

    For example: Lawrie catches a ball in shallow right field while playing rover. Is his UZR through the roof on that catch as no other 3rd baseman can be expected to make that play?

    In reverse, a weak grounder goes for a hit while Lawrie is in right field. Does that kill him as everyone should be expected to make the play?

  8. Just writing THIS! is too short for the commenting engine…

  9. Old people don’t understand that some people use advanced stats to enhance their watching experience and overreact to said stats with derision. No one has has ever told these people that the only way to explain the game is with advanced stats, they are so insecure about not understanding them, so they get defensive and attack. It’s sad, but understandable.

    This too shall pass.

    • No old people get defensive when stats geeks use metrics to mock them and their enjoyment of the game.
      To denegrate others because they watch the game differently and they cheer for for a guy because they like him reguardless of the stats,is wrong.
      Stats geeks use the stats to laud their superior knowledge of the game,even though the stats themselves can contradict each other.To suggest that the outcome is already predetermined through past performance is foolish.
      So hang in there with the “pythag wins”( pretend wins) stat and maybe you’ll overreact when an old person replies:
      Are you out of your fucking mind.?

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