Thoroughly modern metrics

October 23, 2012

Will Leitch published this piece on the reluctance of some sports pundits (as opposed to the hoi poloi of fandom) who are reluctant to embrace the new generation of baseball statistics.

Of course this is the time of year when segments of the media that doesn’t normally cover baseball starts up as if they invented the game, kind of like the Subway sandwich franchise whose recent advertising campaign would have you believe that they invented the avocado. To be fair, there are also viewers/readers who don’t follow sports until the post-season, so I suppose this information is useful to them (although I have no use for those who jump on the end-of-year bandwagon).

To paraphrase Crash Davis in Bull Durham, print and broadcast stories have to get comfortable with their cliches. So you’ll soon see all sorts of items about momentum, October pressure, clutchness, etc. Whether the information in them is true or false doesn’t matter much; they make for interesting narratives.

As for me, I just want to relax and watch the game, without all the numbers and probabilities. That makes it feel — again, to me — like homework, and those days are long gone.



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