Great Night. Rough Morning. Better Day. Worse Column.
I write this column with a headache. I went to a meeting of the SABR Analytics Conference here Thursday night. The throbbing may never stop.
SABR stands for Society for American Baseball Research. It is basically an organization that turns a child’s game into calculus. A huge room at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on the downtown campus of Arizona State was nearly full, so my cynicism must be misplaced.
...Of all the statistical gobbledygook flying around, Dipoto, though a disciple of SABR analytics, a.k.a. sabermetrics, championed the retention of the human element in what is, and always will be, a game played by humans.
“The live eyes [of scouts] do mean something,” he said.
He was realistic about the role these statistics play. He said that, despite all the written material, video presentations and discussions of other teams’ tendencies, “There is always gonna be an element of the team that says, ‘Aw, I’m just going to go out and play.’”
In my experience, that “element” never exceeds 25 players.
...Squadron spoke the SABR language perfectly. He showed pitching charts that looked like beehives. He said technology was always changing, that there are “new, faster platforms.” That “you have to keep iterating.”
My first question to Scioscia next time I see him will be: “Are you iterating?”
He’ll probably slug me.
As Scioscia would say, that’s all I got. Besides, I need aspirin.