The only thing you really have to know about Baseball Sabermetrics is that they made a Hollywood movie about it starring Brad Pitt as the ubiquitous Billy Beane (General Manager of the Oakland A’s). Forgetting the fact that it was 25 years ago since the A’s appeared in a World Series, it would appear that many judge his “contribution” to baseball merely by the volume of new stats that have been generated over the past several years.
Lost in all the “hoopla”, we seem more and more to be forgetting that baseball is really a very simple game. It was designed to be that way. Moreover, that may be the prime reason it became (and still is) America’s Pass Time. To win, you have to get men on base and drive them in to score more runs that the other team. Is that complicated? Of course not. And yet, we continue to get deluged with stats like this…………… .which except for the hopeless sorts who scour every stat they can get their eyes on in the hope of gaining a small edge on their next bet………they hardly do anything to enhance the game itself.
The only meaningful hitting stats are runs scored and runs batted in. Batting average can be a skewed statistic. .A player can hit .340 but only score 40 runs and drive in 50 more while a Mark Teixera can hit .220, score 90 runs and drive in another 110 runs. Who would you rather have on your side if the object of the game is to score more runs than the other team?
Same with pitching. There are only a few stats I find meaningful when it comes to pitching. The most important of these is the AWI stat (average hits and walks per nine innings). Why?……..it’s simple…..a pitcher’s job is to keep the other team from scoring runs……….the fewer men on base the less chance there is to score. Additionally (for starting pitchers only) I look at the team’s won-lost record in their starts. Some pitchers just have bad luck leaving the game late with the score tied in the seventh and their team comes back to win the game. They do not get credit for the win but Lord knows they’ve pitched well enough to earn their team a win.
The rest of it……..I don’t need to know. When FOX puts a graphic on the screen, my eyes get dizzy. It diverts our attention from the game as well as the nuances of the game being played. Because while that all important graphic is there, we’re missing the catcher turning around to the umpire mouthing the words……”You missed that one”. Or the third baseman shifting a little to his right to guard the line.
This is not a rant. I just wonder whether or not the game is bettered by Sabermetrics. Your thoughts……leave a comment and join the conversation.