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Monday, May 01, 2017

Before Baseball-Reference, Statheads Relied On The ‘Big Mac’

For diehard baseball fans, a world without Sean Forman’s Baseball-Reference.com is difficult to imagine. But the site is relatively new; it didn’t grace the Internet until 2000. Before that, for seamheads interested in baseball statistics there was only … print. Print? Yes, print. You remember print.

One of those print compendiums of baseball information was a 6.5-pound behemoth nicknamed “Big Mac,” and it changed how people think about the sport. A world without the Big Mac might not just mean a world without Baseball-Reference.com, it might also mean a world without Bill James, which might mean a world without sabermetrics, a world without “Moneyball,” a world without the analytics that have transformed so many other sports. As John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian, says today, “It was a revolution. This was the ‘Moby-Dick’ of baseball statistics, not only for its size, but also for its place in baseball history.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 01, 2017 at 01:48 PM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball reference, rob neyer

Friday, February 24, 2017

Are statheads “pro ownership?”

But, beyond that, something happens when statheads talk about transactions or rule changes in particular. Unwittingly, I think, we ally with ownership. When a player signs a free agent deal, and we talk about whether it’s a “good” or a “bad” deal, we’re framing that in terms of whether it helps the team that the player signs with….

But I don’t think that’s out of some sympathy with owners. Rather, I think that most analysts, whether they’re into analytics or not, are fans first and foremost. Or at least have trouble taking off their fan caps entirely when they do analysis. As fans of teams (or laundry, as Seinfeld once said), we want what’s best for the team or teams we support. We understand each club has a budget, and we want the clubs we root for to not be unduly hamstrung within that restriction by “bad” deals that limit their freedom and flexibility to make other moves. And we know that our readers do too. You are fans of the Cubs, the Giants, the Yankees, and the Rangers far more than you’re fans of Mike Dunn or Edwin Encarnacion. In this, the interests of the owners and the analysts selfishly align, at the expense of the players.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:25 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, labor, ownership, rob neyer

 

 

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