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  #331  
Old 07-19-2018, 11:28 AM
blurry blurry is offline
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As someone who likes both SABR and appreciates the old school way of thinking, the idea that one side has been more arrogant and close-minded than the other is laughable at best.
  #332  
Old 07-19-2018, 11:52 AM
mzh mzh is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
MZH: I thought it was time to meet out something to the "other" side for a change.

And my comment is not so far fetched, I've seen (and so have you) some of the most obtuse, nonsensical, immaterial "facts" spit out by some of the stat folks that have little to no bearing on the game...none... and yet some, again not all, think they are as important as the Constitution.

I'll never forget the drama regarding their prediction for the Sox in 2005 by BP and then when Sox fans called them out on it in droves as the season progressed and they won it all, the reply from the editor (and I think it was posted here) was so arrogant, dismissive of Sox fans it bordered on a "hissy fit". He refused to even acknowledge that BP completely ****ed up their prediction.

That's probably the single defining moment when I started to form my opinion of those who think that everything can be categorized, defined and graphed and that you need a degree in advanced math to understand what the hell they are talking about. Plus their arrogance is failing to understand that you simply can't measure the intangibles which often impact a season as much if not more than all the advanced metrics in the world.

I think there is a place in baseball for statistical research. I also think the "fanatics" need a big dose of humility. They are not the "be-all / end all."

Just my opinion that I've been wanting to get off my chest for some time. If any of the "stat-folks" are offended, my apologies. But I'd also suggest giving some consideration to my comments and perhaps change some things.
Hey Lip, I feel where you're coming from. That's what I'm saying about straw men, though: I don't think there's anybody here or at Fangraphs or wherever that really think it's actually the end-all be-all. Maybe there are a few editors here and there who will defend their computer systems until they die, but I'm sorry that your experience with a jerkoff BP writer in 2005 gave you such a categorical opinion of the people who make those models and predictions. The thing you're talking about there is totally different than what we're talking about. There's a difference between using math to try to predict the future (which anybody and anything can be wrong about, like BP was about the 2005 Sox) and using it to explain the fundamentals of baseball. Yes, it's a balancing act, but I think most people know that. There's nobody here saying "the computer cannot possibly be wrong and your opinion years of experience watching baseball is invalid." Literally nobody says that, and that's where you seem to think I'm coming from. That's why I mentioned that I played four years of college ball-I put a great deal of stock into the numbers and stats, but trust me, I know all about intangibles, playing "the right way," and all the things that can't be quantified.

That's the thing, though. It's like we're having two different debates. I don't think that the currently prevalent philosophy of sacrificing average and contact for power has anything to do with intangibles. If you want to talk about intangibles, my opinion (which is informed by my own, individual, personal experience with baseball) is that the emphasis on having small-ball bats is overstated, because it's not as if a guy who hits a lot of singles and can bunt well is going to do more or less for team morale or psyching out the other team than a guy who can put one in the bleachers at any given moment.

I'm curious what you think about this: given that the math (which is based on what has actually happened in games) says that what some people denigrate as an "all-or-nothing" approach is probably the most effective way of scoring, what is it that you think is being missed by de-emphasizing making contact and just getting as many hits as possible? What specific kinds of intangibles are being missed out on?

Last edited by mzh; 07-19-2018 at 12:01 PM.
  #333  
Old 07-19-2018, 12:06 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Hey Lip, I feel where you're coming from. That's what I'm saying about straw men, though: I don't think there's anybody here or at Fangraphs or wherever that really think it's actually the end-all be-all. It's a balancing act. That's why I mentioned that I played four years of college ball-I put a great deal of stock into the numbers and stats, but trust me, I know all about intangibles, playing "the right way," and all the things that can't be quantified.

That's the thing, though. It's like we're having two different debates. I don't think that the currently prevalent philosophy of sacrificing average and contact for power has anything to do with intangibles. If you want to talk about intangibles, my opinion (which is informed by my own, individual, personal experience with baseball) is that the emphasis on having small-ball bats is overstated, because it's not as if a guy who hits a lot of singles and can bunt well is going to do more or less for team morale or psyching out the other team than a guy who can put one in the bleachers at any given moment.

I'm curious what you think about this: given that the math (which is based on what has actually happened in games) says that what some people denigrate as an "all-or-nothing" approach is probably the most effective way of scoring, what is it that you think is being missed by de-emphasizing making contact and just getting as many hits as possible? What specific kinds of intangibles are being missed out on?
MZH: I played some college ball as well in the SEC so I get where you are coming from too.

I think the best way to answer the question is this. What is best for the game?

By that I mean just look at the All-Star Game. 10 home runs...a ton of strikeouts...and very little in between. In fact the AP recap story on the game spent as much time lambasting the "three outcome" approach as it did recapping what actually happened. "Action" in baseball is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The "Big Nate" comic strip today ironically dealt with this issue.

Mathematically, statistically the stat folks may be right on the money, the best way to score is to swing hard and hope to hit the ball 672 1/2 feet.

But the optics of that approach are driving fans away from the game (there are other factors as well of course, none the least of which is that like with the NBA only a small handful of teams can actually hope to win something. The rest are completely SOL) and in my opinion actually causing more harm than "good."

I've always advocated for a balanced approach, again the 2005 White Sox are a perfect example in "modern" times. Not only did they win a lot but they were entertaining. Finding different ways to score, different ways to put pressure on a defense, doing different things.

I don't know if I can explain properly things that really can't be defined. Maybe "boring" is a good word for today's game, couple that with the Sox being brutally awful the past 11 seasons (for the most part) and it's a bad mix to me. And if the "numbers" are to be believed a lot of fans are thinking the same thing given the attendance drop in baseball.

A lot of this I think IS and WAS caused by the statistical analytics approach to baseball. It wasn't those folks intentions of course, they were looking for an edge. But now it's gone to far to an extreme, causing harm to the game and rules have to be put in place (such as "no shifts," or "limited shifts" for one example) to return the game back more to a balanced approach and one fans will enjoy more.

By the way thanks for your reply, it was well done.

Now excuse me, I've got to out out and practice hitting the other way / behind the runner! (Smile...)
  #334  
Old 07-19-2018, 12:31 PM
whitesoxfan1986 whitesoxfan1986 is online now
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As someone who likes both SABR and appreciates the old school way of thinking, the idea that one side has been more arrogant and close-minded than the other is laughable at best.
Yep. the point of SABR is to tell you things about a player that the eye test can't. They must be used in tandem. I like that a lot of things are quantifiable that didn't used to be. Before, you could have arguments about which player was better and there was nothing to quantify it. WAR ends that.
  #335  
Old 07-19-2018, 12:39 PM
shingo10 shingo10 is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
Except Galileo was persecuted for his beliefs. The ones who are being "persecuted" today are the folks who don't adhere to the "stat based/mathematical" way to play the game.

Many, not all, but many of the stat folks come across as arrogant, know- it- all's (or think they know it all) with nothing but derision to anyone who don't buy into their "religion." Many won't even stoop to listening to anyone's else's point of view because they are so convinced of their "righteousness."

Many, not all, will spend hours upon hours combing historical data bases, looking up stats, printing out spreadsheets to "prove" that they are "right" over the most mundane, obscure stat...things like what Mike Trout hits against left handed pitchers in the 6th inning or later in home games on Tuesday nights with the temperature above 76 degrees. And they swear that's important! (LOL)

That not baseball... that's somebody who needs some serious help

If it can't be filed, indexed, checked, rechecked, collated, compared, sorted or put on a graph it has no place in baseball! None! By God!

Sorry Mahoney, I respect your passion (fanaticism?) and I'm not trying to attack you personally. I've run into far to many of the ilk I described earlier in this post. They need a big dose of humility / reality in my opinion.

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  #336  
Old 07-19-2018, 04:25 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Originally Posted by whitesoxfan1986 View Post
Yep. the point of SABR is to tell you things about a player that the eye test can't. They must be used in tandem. I like that a lot of things are quantifiable that didn't used to be. Before, you could have arguments about which player was better and there was nothing to quantify it. WAR ends that.
One point though, many people including stat based folks say WAR has flaws in it.
  #337  
Old 07-19-2018, 05:33 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1
Mathematically, statistically the stat folks may be right on the money, the best way to score is to swing hard and hope to hit the ball 672 1/2 feet.
Which was the entire point of the endeavor...

Mathematical analysis does not concern itself with ďtasteĒ or ďaesthetics.Ē In fact, it does its best to make sure those factors donít distract from the most important goal: scoring more runs and winning more games.
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  #338  
Old 07-19-2018, 08:06 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Which was the entire point of the endeavor...

Mathematical analysis does not concern itself with ďtasteĒ or ďaesthetics.Ē In fact, it does its best to make sure those factors donít distract from the most important goal: scoring more runs and winning more games.
Perhaps to the demise of baseball.

Care to comment on the other part of that paragraph? and the examples I presented? (Including one I forgot Tom Verducci's first half summary in SI a few weeks ago pointing out the issues baseball is now facing when strikeouts outnumber hits.
  #339  
Old 07-19-2018, 08:19 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1
Perhaps to the demise of baseball.

Care to comment on the other part of that paragraph? and the examples I presented? (Including one I forgot Tom Verducci's first half summary in SI a few weeks ago pointing out the issues baseball is now facing when strikeouts outnumber hits.
Again, if Iím a GM, the only excitement Iím concerning myself with generating is the excitement produced by ticker-tape parades after I win World Series trophies. Iím only deviating from that if the owner who signs my paychecks tells me I must. At that point, the argument takes on completely different parameters, because scoring the most runs and winning the most games has taken a back seat to an unrelated priority.
  #340  
Old 07-19-2018, 08:31 PM
whitesoxfan1986 whitesoxfan1986 is online now
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
One point though, many people including stat based folks say WAR has flaws in it.
It's the best thing we have currently
  #341  
Old 07-19-2018, 08:42 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mohoney View Post
Again, if Iím a GM, the only excitement Iím concerning myself with generating is the excitement produced by ticker-tape parades after I win World Series trophies. Iím only deviating from that if the owner who signs my paychecks tells me I must. At that point, the argument takes on completely different parameters, because scoring the most runs and winning the most games has taken a back seat to an unrelated priority.
Attendance, TV ratings, fans becoming disenchanted with the game to me seem to be more than an "unrelated priority."

But to each his own. You are wedded to your statistical approach. God bless you for it.

By the way this may shock you but I'm actually a member of SABR and just contacted one of the national guys in charge in Arizona and have proposed a research story / article on if saber metrics is actually hurting baseball now because it has limited the very thing that used to draw fans...action.

I'm hoping someone with knowledge of these things may be able to decide it's worth putting something together, I'd be willing to help although as you well know OBP, WAR, Z ratings et al are all Greek to me (and I neither speak Greek nor studied advanced statistical mathematics in college because I never thought those would be needed to enjoy watching what in the end is a game.)
  #342  
Old 07-19-2018, 08:57 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1
Attendance, TV ratings, fans becoming disenchanted with the game to me seem to be more than an "unrelated priority."

But to each his own. You are wedded to your statistical approach. God bless you for it.

By the way this may shock you but I'm actually a member of SABR and just contacted one of the national guys in charge in Arizona and have proposed a research story / article on if saber metrics is actually hurting baseball now because it has limited the very thing that used to draw fans...action.

I'm hoping someone with knowledge of these things may be able to decide it's worth putting something together, I'd be willing to help although as you well know OBP, WAR, Z ratings et al are all Greek to me (and I neither speak Greek nor studied advanced statistical mathematics in college because I never thought those would be needed to enjoy watching what in the end is a game.)


Being wed to my approach has nothing to do with it. I donít know why this is so difficult to understand.

You are inserting unrelated things like attendance, television viewership, and fan interest into the GMís job description. The GMís job is to field a winning team, not a marketable team. You think these unrelated issues are valid reasons for a GM to deliberately choose players who will provide inferior run production. Once a GM starts deliberately choosing players who will lead to inferior run production, he is prioritizing other things above winning.
  #343  
Old 07-19-2018, 11:28 PM
mzh mzh is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
By that I mean just look at the All-Star Game. 10 home runs...a ton of strikeouts...and very little in between. In fact the AP recap story on the game spent as much time lambasting the "three outcome" approach as it did recapping what actually happened. "Action" in baseball is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The "Big Nate" comic strip today ironically dealt with this issue.

Mathematically, statistically the stat folks may be right on the money, the best way to score is to swing hard and hope to hit the ball 672 1/2 feet.

But the optics of that approach are driving fans away from the game (there are other factors as well of course, none the least of which is that like with the NBA only a small handful of teams can actually hope to win something. The rest are completely SOL) and in my opinion actually causing more harm than "good."

A lot of this I think IS and WAS caused by the statistical analytics approach to baseball. It wasn't those folks intentions of course, they were looking for an edge. But now it's gone to far to an extreme, causing harm to the game and rules have to be put in place (such as "no shifts," or "limited shifts" for one example) to return the game back more to a balanced approach and one fans will enjoy more.
My thought about this is that the extent of any aesthetic damage to baseball caused by this shift is seriously overstated. I've said around here that generally I think declining attendance has more to do with the fact that it's drastically more expensive than it was even 15 years ago, which has also severely limited the accessibility of participation at the youth level. So the player pool is smaller and less diverse. Money and economics has much more to do with it, in my opinion.

Among the people that are baseball fans, there are a substantial number of people who don't think that games with lots of home runs and strikeouts are necessarily bad or boring. Personally, I think that watching a pitcher like Chris Sale or Luis Severino or Stephen Strasburg carve up a team for 12 strikeouts is fun, because watching great pitchers throw great pitches is good baseball. On the other side, I feel like there's a perception that the fly-ball approach is something like Adam Dunn's patented close your eyes and swing as hard you can, but it's not. A lot of homers means that players are swinging well and making hard contact more often, which is exciting, and also good baseball, in my opinion.

We don't have to agree on what aesthetically pleasing baseball is, I'm just saying there are a lot more people who think like this than you might think.

Good debate's always a pleasure
  #344  
Old 07-20-2018, 01:04 AM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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My thought about this is that the extent of any aesthetic damage to baseball caused by this shift is seriously overstated. I've said around here that generally I think declining attendance has more to do with the fact that it's drastically more expensive than it was even 15 years ago, which has also severely limited the accessibility of participation at the youth level. So the player pool is smaller and less diverse. Money and economics has much more to do with it, in my opinion.

Among the people that are baseball fans, there are a substantial number of people who don't think that games with lots of home runs and strikeouts are necessarily bad or boring. Personally, I think that watching a pitcher like Chris Sale or Luis Severino or Stephen Strasburg carve up a team for 12 strikeouts is fun, because watching great pitchers throw great pitches is good baseball. On the other side, I feel like there's a perception that the fly-ball approach is something like Adam Dunn's patented close your eyes and swing as hard you can, but it's not. A lot of homers means that players are swinging well and making hard contact more often, which is exciting, and also good baseball, in my opinion.

We don't have to agree on what aesthetically pleasing baseball is, I'm just saying there are a lot more people who think like this than you might think.

Good debate's always a pleasure
No problem man. But remember perception for right or wrong often becomes reality and more and more I'm reading about the "three outcome" approach causing issues for the game from different writers and broadcasters. When a Tom Verducci for example, one of the best writers and fans of the game is saying there's something wrong here I suggest that the powers that be at least listen to what he is saying.
  #345  
Old 07-20-2018, 06:40 AM
SouthSideSox SouthSideSox is offline
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I can appreciate that old-school types feel a little jaded that "nerds" have figured them out but trying to regulate completely legal shifts? C'mon. Worried about boredom and attendance? Stop paying players who are three-outcome hitters. Now there's a completely within-market approach. (But they won't because three-outcome players still earn more wins than the next best option, le sigh).

But nah, we gotta change the rules so that the guys who played ball years ago can still see shades of the game of their day.
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