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Friday, March 08, 2013

Bill Dwyre: Angels’ Jerry Dipoto speaks to the SABR rattlers

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.

Repoz Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:33 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4383870)
I'm assuming Dwyre's a known anti-intellectual, reactionary idiot?
   2. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4383921)
SABR stands for Society for American Baseball Research. It is basically an organization that turns a child’s game into calculus


Wow is this spectacularly wrong. Yes, a portion of the organization is stat minded folks doing stat things but SABR is so much more than that. It is an organization that actively explores the history of the game and tries to keep it at the forefront. For every sat based presentation at the convention there is one about scouts or some historical figure that is forgotten about or so much more.

The informal discussions (my favorite part of every convention) are often just good old fashioned but informed baseball discussion. I can't imagine a more fun group of baseball fans, not number crunchers, baseball fans anywhere.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4383924)
I need aspirin.
The people who made aspirin surely used math, science and technology to do it. Maybe sacrifice a goat instead?
   4. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4383929)
Wow is this spectacularly wrong. Yes, a portion of the organization is stat minded folks doing stat things but SABR is so much more than that. It is an organization that actively explores the history of the game and tries to keep it at the forefront. For every sat based presentation at the convention there is one about scouts or some historical figure that is forgotten about or so much more.

The informal discussions (my favorite part of every convention) are often just good old fashioned but informed baseball discussion. I can't imagine a more fun group of baseball fans, not number crunchers, baseball fans anywhere.


Bingo. To me the most important/rewarding work I've read over the years as a member has been the non-stat related work. The quality of material that is published is often at an extremely high level, and as noted, local chapter/convention meeting banter is unmatched.
   5. Mark Armour Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4383932)
SABR has done more to shine a bright light on scouting than any people in the world.

Several years ago SABR created the Chadwick Award, to honor the greatest researchers in history, a veritable Hall of Fame for the field, Of the 22 honorees thus far, five could be said to lean toward the statistical in their research,

Chadwick Award.

That strikes me as fairly representative.
   6. dlf Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4383936)
Bingo. To me the most important/rewarding work I've read over the years as a member has been the non-stat related work.


Most especially including the fine biographical material produced under the guidance and assistance of the gentleman who posted immediate after this.
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4383937)
Classic example of bloodless technobabble, this book, one of my favorite books of any sort.
   8. Matthew E Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4383945)
SABR stands for Society for American Baseball Research. It is basically an organization that turns a child’s game into calculus


Wow is this spectacularly wrong. Yes, a portion of the organization is stat minded folks doing stat things but SABR is so much more than that. It is an organization that actively explores the history of the game and tries to keep it at the forefront. For every sat based presentation at the convention there is one about scouts or some historical figure that is forgotten about or so much more.

The informal discussions (my favorite part of every convention) are often just good old fashioned but informed baseball discussion. I can't imagine a more fun group of baseball fans, not number crunchers, baseball fans anywhere.
I don't see why these writers keep getting this wrong. If they really do like the non-stat approach to baseball, why don't they notice it when it's around? How can you go to a SABR convention and not see the things that are there that you appreciate? Choose your explanation: stupid or evil.
   9. Mark Armour Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4383955)
To be fair, the SABR Analytics Conference (which is what is going on now) is specifically focused on the analytical parts of SABR. This is only the second such conference, as opposed to the summer conventions which are more broad-based. This summer is #43.
   10. Shredder Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4383999)
I'm not sure there is one thing in this column that is accurate. I generally like Bill Dwyre, but this is Dwyre trying to do Simers for some reason.

And for God's sake, can we PLEASE finally put away the "they told Torii there was no money and then signed Hamilton" bulls**t?! Hunter signed with Detroit on November 16th. The Angels were still pursuing Zack Greinke at that time, who signed for kind of a lot of money with LA about 3-4 weeks later, and suddenly the Angels had a lot of cash they were willing to part with, and a willing taker. Maybe if Hunter had waited it out a bit, he'd still be in Anaheim.
   11. vivaelpujols Posted: March 08, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4384141)
#3 made me laugh.
   12. Rally Posted: March 08, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4384198)
Maybe if Hunter had waited it out a bit, he'd still be in Anaheim.


I love Torii and everything he did for the Angels these last 5 years.

But Hamilton is 1) 5 years younger and 2) a bigger star. Seems to me the Angels took a go big or go home approach here, and had they not landed Hamilton they would have gone with internal options. I don't think it likely they were going to spend in Hunter's range, he did the right thing to sign with the Tigers.
   13. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: March 08, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4384226)
Is Bill Dwyre happy with himself for making a living writing about a child's game?
   14. Matt Welch Posted: March 08, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4384259)
Bill Dwyre was the L.A. Times Sports Editor for a quarter-century, beginning at around the time Bill James went to a major publishing house. If I was the sports editor of the L.A. Times, I would fire him over this terrible, childishly inaccurate, willfully ignorant piece of anti-journalistic trolling.
   15. Shredder Posted: March 08, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4384313)
I don't think it likely they were going to spend in Hunter's range, he did the right thing to sign with the Tigers.
But that's kind of beside the point. The fact is, when Hunter wanted to sign, the Angels DIDN'T have the money to sign him, so what they said is completely true (if you assume they had a particular budget in mind). I'm just sick of implication that the Angels lied to him when they told him they didn't have the money to sign him. That money was earmarked for another deal. That deal fell through, and when the money became available, Torii was gone.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4384366)
I don't see why these writers keep getting this wrong.

Because Bill James made the well-intentioned mistake of calling it "sabermetrics" and now it's a connection that SABR can't avoid no matter what SABR really is. If you want to do your bit for helping clarify what SABR is, stop using the term sabermetrics.
   17. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4384669)
Is Bill Dwyre happy with himself for making a living writing about a child's game?
With rules created by adults and played by adults who are paid by adults to watch it?
   18. Tripon Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4384684)
Bill Dwyre retired over a decade ago, yet still gets his work published in the sports section of the L.A. Times. Its just a weird arrangement. And it snot like the L.A. Times didn't have to layoff a bunch of people over the years, and drastically cut down the sports section. Yet, despite that, Dwyre still gets published. He's not even a 'name' like Plaschke or Simers is.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:53 PM (#4384777)

The SABR Rattlers would be a good new for a nerdy alt rock band.

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