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Friday, January 29, 2010

Borges: Red Sox’ UZR + DRS = Wait till next year

Ron + Borges = Murray Chass.

While teams created by Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Phillies or Brian Cashman of the Yankees cling hopelessly to National League and American League pennants and a misplaced faith in the old order represented by stats like batting average, fielding average and RBI, teams of the new millennium like the Red Sox believe those are insignificant relics of a bygone era, the buggy whips of baseball.

They have been replaced by faith in OBP, OPS, UZR (I thought those were the initials of a former Russian state only to learn it means Ultimate Zone Rating), DRS (defensive runs saved) and PMR (probabilistic model of range). Based on crunching numbers into these new formulas, one expert in baseball metrics, John Dewan, has written that the addition of Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron in the field will add nine more victories to the Sox’ bottom line. Lo and behold, we just won the pennant! Who knew?

...Moneyball, which became defined as the love of sabermetrics over old-school stats like HR and RBI, has led Billy Beane, the godfather of this con job, to build an economic Oakland A’s team that hasn’t won a pennant in 20 years or a World Series in 21, but did manage to have a best-selling book written about the concept. The A’s did win division titles in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2006, but what they have actually won during the Moneyball era is nothing. No sequel is planned.

Now it seems the Sox have headed down the same road of quantum baseball over your grandad’s version, which was mistakenly centered on foolishness like hitting and scoring runs.

Repoz Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:12 PM | 85 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, projections, red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:26 PM (#3449542)
Did this guy just wake up from a coma and here how Theo runs the team?
   2. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:36 PM (#3449545)
quantum baseball


And so it was known throughout the land. We have entered a new era.
   3. bobm Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:44 PM (#3449550)
Now it seems the Sox have headed down the same road of quantum baseball over your grandad’s version, which<strike>was mistakenly centered on foolishness like hitting and scoring runs</strike>hadn't won a World Series in 86 years


Fixed.
   4. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:46 PM (#3449551)
Together, Cameron, Scutaro and Beltre hit eight home runs more than Jason Bay but, as we now know, home runs are meaningless. Fortunately Sox fans, so are RBI because Bay had 119, which was 49 more than Cameron, 59 more than Scutaro and please don’t ask how many more than Beltre (all right, 75 if you must know but compare his DVD to Bay’s CD and divide by BVD and see what you get - a pennant, of course).

After years of searching, Repoz has finally located the Biggest Idiot Ever.
   5. Tricky Dick Posted: January 29, 2010 at 01:54 PM (#3449555)
This guy may make you appreciate Murray Chass.

Did you see this quote from the article:
According to Epstein, the Red Sox will be competitive through the use of kung fu baseball, the art of winning without scoring. They will be so flawless in the field that opponents will simply forfeit, their inability to penetrate the Steel Curtain Defense so frustrating that the other side simply resigns. Sort of like playing Bobby Fischer in chess.
   6. karlmagnus Posted: January 29, 2010 at 02:26 PM (#3449568)
This article looks pretty sound to me. Theo's obsessed with his own cleverness, and has built a deeply mediocre operation for 2010. 82-84 wins is my estimate (fewer if they suffer key injuries as in 2001, but I suppose with no stars you are at least less vulnerable to stars' injuries.)
   7. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 29, 2010 at 02:33 PM (#3449572)
aren't lester, youkilis and pedroia stars?

82-84 wins is my estimate (fewer if they suffer key injuries as in 2001, but I suppose with no stars you are at least less vulnerable to stars' injuries.)


This result would be incredible. Theo and Company have very strong track record. They've added a solid #2/3 starter and have upgraded significantly at third and in the field. I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that they win at least 90 games.
   8. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 02:45 PM (#3449576)
After years of searching, Repoz has finally located the Biggest Idiot Ever.


and it's not even a trap
   9. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 29, 2010 at 02:53 PM (#3449580)
82-84 wins is my estimate (fewer if they suffer key injuries as in 2001, but I suppose with no stars you are at least less vulnerable to stars' injuries.)

karlmagnus started writing for the Boston Herald?

(I just typed that, thinking that the quote came from the article...then I realized it actually came from km himself. I swear, you can't make this stuff up.)
   10. ekogan Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3449584)
This article is pure flame-bait, but one thing struck me as interesting:

John Dewan, has written that the addition of Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron in the field will add nine more victories to the Sox’ bottom line.


Has he really? Can anyone find a link? That seems too high.
   11. The Well-Tempered Javier Vasquez (loungehead) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:16 PM (#3449589)
Kung Fu Baseball? Here's hoping - I loved Shaolin Soccer.
   12. villageidiom Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:19 PM (#3449593)
Has he really? Can anyone find a link? That seems too high.
Link

This article looks pretty sound to me. Theo's obsessed with his own cleverness, and has built a deeply mediocre operation for 2010.
The only person obsessed with Epstein's cleverness is you.

You know who uses "he thinks he's sooo smart" as a put-down? STUPID people. I believe you're better than that, though I'm getting the sense that I'm the only one.
   13. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3449594)
I don't think I've ever seen a Borges baseball article before. I knew of him because he wrote about boxing and hated the powers that run the Patriots.
   14. My Name is Neo (Mr. Anderson) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:25 PM (#3449596)
This is right up there with Megdal nominating Tatis for second base.
   15. depletion Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:34 PM (#3449600)
There was an article about quantum baseball about 22 years ago in a physics magazine (Physics Today?). It was called "A Quantum Hit" and had a picture of Met Howard Johnson at the plate. I believe it had to do with the influence of spectators watching on TV on the outcome of the game. The spectators affect the light output of the TV phosphors, which affects the CRT electron gun, and so on back to the camera at the stadium, which affects the ball and bat.
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:39 PM (#3449603)
Has he really? Can anyone find a link? That seems too high.


Setting aside the silliness of the linked article, because I think we've beaten that horse just enough, based on the link in #12, the idea that the Red Sox are 9 wins better on defense seems almost equally silly. Dewan has Beltre adding 4 wins alone for his defense and Scutaro adding another 3, half of that from them being a combined +34 on defense in 2010. Beltre's good and Scutaro's a big improvement over what the Sox had last year, but I think +34 from the left side of the infield is probably a little bit too aggressive a projection if your infielders aren't named Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger.

This also ignores the fact that Cameron is going to give back at least some of that defensive improvement on offense compared to Bay.

Not that this translates into an 82-win team or anything, of course.
   17. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:52 PM (#3449612)
I don't think I've ever seen a Borges baseball article before. I knew of him because he wrote about boxing and hated the powers that run the Patriots.

He also got busted plagiarizing other writers' work and got fired from the Globe because of it. Naturally, he landed at the cesspool that is the Herald in the fullness of time.

Borges knows nothing about everything.
   18. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 29, 2010 at 03:57 PM (#3449616)
the idea that the Red Sox are 9 wins better on defense seems almost equally silly


Yeah, that was one of those things that I don't think anyone (probably even Dewan) seriously believed from the moment it was said. It's not that they are 9 wins better on defense but that the net gain would be 9 wins and that's extremely unlikely.
   19. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:03 PM (#3449619)
He also got busted plagiarizing other writers' work and got fired from the Globe because of it.


Ahhh, that's why I know his name. Didn't Mike Barnicle have a similar career path?
   20. villageidiom Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3449624)
Didn't Mike Barnicle have a similar career path?
Plagiarizing George Carlin, IIRC.
   21. Mudpout Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:08 PM (#3449626)
The thing I can't get over is that the Sox are getting roasted by people claiming to be old-school for thinking a guy's glove and some decent offensive production will make him a positive member of the team. Did anyone think we'd reach the "Dave Concepcion, Sabermetric Darling" stage, and have the sportswriters be AGAINST it?
   22. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3449630)
The thing I can't get over is that the Sox are getting roasted by people claiming to be old-school for thinking a guy's glove and some decent offensive production will make him a positive member of the team.

that's because it was framed in terms of UZR and them other newfangled acronyms

if it had been said "that guy can really pick it", it woulda been OK with Borges
   23. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3449631)
Yeah, that was one of those things that I don't think anyone (probably even Dewan) seriously believed from the moment it was said. It's not that they are 9 wins better on defense but that the net gain would be 9 wins and that's extremely unlikely.

I agree, but the Sox' moves do make them look better this year than last, even without Bay (whom I had no quarrel with). Lackey being in the rotation instead of Penny/Smoltz/Tazawa is an enormous upgrade; Victor will be the primary catcher instead of Varitek's cooling carcass, and while I suppose it's possible it's very unlikely that Scutaro will be worse than the depressing parade of crappy shortstops the Sox rolled out last year. Bay's loss will be felt on offense, no doubt, but I really do the the vastly improved D at LF, CF, 3B, SS, and C should go a long way towards alleviating that loss.

I'm optimistic for 2010, perhaps overly so. So be it.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3449632)
I wish there was a compilation of this guy's evaluations/predictions about the patriots over the past decade. High comedy!
   25. ChuckO Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:15 PM (#3449635)
The other puzzling things about this criticism is that there are a lot of old-school guys who think that pitching and defense win penants, guys like Bobby Cox, so it's not some new-fangled "quantum baseball" approach.
   26. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:19 PM (#3449639)
I agree, but the Sox' moves do make them look better this year than last, even without Bay (whom I had no quarrel with). Lackey being in the rotation instead of Penny/Smoltz/Tazawa is an enormous upgrade; Victor will be the primary catcher instead of Varitek's cooling carcass, and while I suppose it's possible it's very unlikely that Scutaro will be worse than the depressing parade of crappy shortstops the Sox rolled out last year. Bay's loss will be felt on offense, no doubt, but I really do the the vastly improved D at LF, CF, 3B, SS, and C should go a long way towards alleviating that loss.


This may sound dumb but I don't think they are better than last year but I think they are better in 2010 than just bringing back the 2009 team would have been in 2010. Last year's team reminded me of 2005 a lot, a very good team but a team with some holes that needed patching and I think they've done that better than they did in the '05/'06 off-season.
   27. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3449641)
I wish there was a compilation of this guy's evaluations/predictions about the patriots over the past decade. High comedy!

They are so laughable you wouldn't believe me if I told you. This guy's a piece of work.

EDIT: his all time greatest column for wrongness appeared in the Globe on 11/22/2001, the day after Belichick announced Tom Brady was his starter for the rest of that season. The column is hilarious in how many things Borges got completely, utterly incorrect. I would encourage anyone with Westlaw or Lexis access to check it out.
   28. The District Attorney Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:52 PM (#3449672)
I wish there was a compilation of this guy's evaluations/predictions about the patriots over the past decade.
Nasty Nate, the Memorious
   29. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:54 PM (#3449674)
From the Borges on Brady article:

So now Belichick has hitched his future to Tom Brady. The remaining games are his to win or lose, barring injury or waffling from the coach. How those games go, and where Drew Bledsoe goes, will decide a lot of things for the New England Patriots.

They'll also decide one thing for Bill Belichick. Whether the future is now or nonexistent for him, because there's no turning back. Some people learn from their mistakes. Others are doomed to repeat them.


"Some people learn from their mistakes. Others are doomed to repeat them."

Hey Ron, do you even read what you write?
   30. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: January 29, 2010 at 04:57 PM (#3449677)
2003 called. They want their idiocy back.
   31. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:05 PM (#3449684)
Hey Ron, do you even read what you write?

There's another tremendous line in there:
"Belichick will not be so lucky. He doesn't have [Jimmy] Johnson's personality, which can be as jovial and charming as a snake oil salesman's. Worse, this Patriot team isn't going to win two Super Bowls any time soon."


For once he was right. They won three.

And:

"Maybe Bledsoe fails miserably and fades into the night, although I doubt it. He's much more likely to fade the way Curtis Martin faded when he went to the Jets and Roger Clemens did when he left Boston in "the twilight of his career."

Maybe he goes to play in Tampa if Bill Parcells takes over the Buccaneers, as is being rumored, or for Brian Billick in Baltimore. In either place, the bet here is he would light the football world on fire again for another half-dozen years or so."


Bledsoe played 5 more years, lost his starting QB job twice in two different cities and never led his teams to the playoffs again.

It's tough to get so many things completely incorrect in one article. Borges succeeded.
   32. Ron Johnson Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3449688)
Did anyone think we'd reach the "Dave Concepcion, Sabermetric Darling" stage, and have the sportswriters be AGAINST it?


Of course I expected it. There are a significant number of people who don't understand that Rickey! is a stathead fave.

EDIT: Ozzie Smith would be a better example.

People are arguing against what they think is the stathead position.
   33. RJ in TO Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:13 PM (#3449690)
"Maybe Bledsoe fails miserably and fades into the night, although I doubt it. He's much more likely to fade the way Curtis Martin faded when he went to the Jets and Roger Clemens did when he left Boston in "the twilight of his career."


Holy hell, did I ever hate the Bledsoe in Buffalo era.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:16 PM (#3449697)
Borges on the Pats' 2001 draft: "On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson..they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon."
   35. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:21 PM (#3449701)
Bledsoe played 5 more years, lost his starting QB job twice in two different cities and never led his teams to the playoffs again.


I don't know if you remember this, but I thought it hilarious at the time. The Boston Globe gave the front page to Bledsoe when he set the record for pass attempts in a game with 70. What a ridiculous thing to celebrate. You know you don't have an HOF quarterback when one of his major records is pass attempts in a game.
   36. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:22 PM (#3449702)
"On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson..they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon."


That's spectacular.
   37. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:23 PM (#3449705)
On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson..they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour


To be fair to Borges, no one liked that pick. It was looked on as an odd pick at the time, and as far as I can remember, no one thought it was a steal. I think many people were confused because they thought there were better players on the board.
   38. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3449712)
To be fair to Borges, no one liked that pick. It was looked on as an odd pick at the time, and as far as I can remember, no one thought it was a steal. I think many people were confused because they thought there were better players on the board.

There is no more being fair to Borges, since he's never been "fair" to anyone he dislikes and couches things in such assholic, smarmy terms. Add to that fact that he rips the two players the Pats picked there (Seymour turned out to be an All Pro and Light has made the Pro Bowl) and wanted them to pick Terrell who was an enormous bust, and my contempt for this clown remains strong.

He was wrong, he is wrong, he will be forever wrong. Eff him.
   39. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:27 PM (#3449714)
I don't know if you remember this, but I thought it hilarious at the time. The Boston Globe gave the front page to Bledsoe when he set the record for pass attempts in a game with 70. What a ridiculous thing to celebrate. You know you don't have an HOF quarterback when one of his major records is pass attempts in a game.

I remember that; that was the comeback against Minnesota in Foxboro that the Pats won in OT.
   40. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:32 PM (#3449719)
I remember that; that was the comeback against Minnesota in Foxboro that the Pats won in OT.


Against Warren ####### Moon. And they barely won.

And you're right, #### Borges.
   41. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:33 PM (#3449722)
I will now subcutaneously inject reminders of his plagiarism into the official bostonherald forums. This should be great.
   42. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:34 PM (#3449724)
I will now subcutaneously inject reminders of his plagiarism into the official bostonherald forums. This should be great.


I tried it. They didn't post my comment. Keep trying though.
   43. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:46 PM (#3449737)
that's because it was framed in terms of UZR and them other newfangled acronyms

if it had been said "that guy can really pick it", it woulda been OK with Borges


I can sort of see their frustration. I'll have to check to see what the reaction was when Ernie Lanigan introduced RBI back in the 1920s. Did Grantland Rice have a cow? Too bad this is a Sox thread. I'll bet Andy knows the answer to this.
   44. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:47 PM (#3449739)
Theo's obsessed with his own cleverness, and has built a deeply mediocre operation for 2010. 82-84 wins is my estimate


Will you please shut the #### up? I usually try not to feed the trolls, but I'm sorry, I'm so sick of this ####. Go pretend some other wildly successful team has a terrible GM, and leave this one alone.
   45. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:54 PM (#3449747)
Will you please shut the #### up? I usually try not to feed the trolls, but I'm sorry, I'm so sick of this ####. Go pretend some other wildly successful team has a terrible GM, and leave this one alone.

Hear, hear.
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: January 29, 2010 at 05:59 PM (#3449755)
Hear, hear.


I think it's a little harsh.
   47. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:03 PM (#3449760)
karlhungus is just mad that Boston didn't sign Parisian Bob Caruthers. He'll get over it eventually.
   48. KingKaufman Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:04 PM (#3449761)
When I covered boxing in the early '90s for the SF Examiner, I'd run into Borges now and again at big national fights. He was a nice guy and a good boxing writer. I'd never have guessed him capable of the kind of nonsense being discussed here.
   49. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3449762)
I think it's a little harsh.

? What was, my comment, or Voxter's?
   50. jwb Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:06 PM (#3449764)
Borges has comnsistently embraced the chaos that rules the world and the character of unreality in all sports, so I wouldn't take his projections too seriously.
   51. Nasty Nate Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:07 PM (#3449765)
Voxter's
   52. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:08 PM (#3449770)
karlmangus reminds me of someone on a political website I belong to. He claims to be conservative from Boston, makes stupid statements supporting bad arguments and is roundly criticized. I've always suspected he's a liberal saying stupid stuff to make the conservatives look silly.

I think karl is a huge Red Sox fan with an autographed picture of Theo Epstein on his nightstand.

Political comments were made for comparison only and not intended as a hijack.
   53. PreservedFish Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:15 PM (#3449780)
(all right, 75 if you must know but compare his DVD to Bay’s CD and divide by BVD and see what you get - a pennant, of course).


But what was his NARWHAL?
   54. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:31 PM (#3449798)
The other puzzling things about this criticism is that there are a lot of old-school guys who think that pitching and defense win penants, guys like Bobby Cox, so it's not some new-fangled "quantum baseball" approach.

A lot of old-school guys like Bobby Cox think that anything can happen in a short series, too. But that never stopped the MSMediots from roasting Billy Bean for saying that the playoffs are a crap shoot.
   55. alskor Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:31 PM (#3449801)
When I read something like this I think of it as a mid life crisis for a baseball reporter.

He looked around at a bunch of acronyms he didn't understand and in a fit of sentimentality for old time baseball he decided he had enough. What if HE wasn't a dinosaur whose baseball knowledge had become stale... what... if... all the new stats were just fruity and useless! Of course! Then he lashed out the only way he knew how (other than attacking Bill Belichick).


Writing a negative article about UZR or VORP is the baseball writer's equivalent of buying a sportscar and leaving your wife and kids for a 29 year old.
   56. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:39 PM (#3449819)
When I read something like this I think of it as a mid life crisis for a baseball reporter.


I think it's less personal than that. I think a guy like Borges looks at the state of baseball and thinks, "Eh, why bother learning all that crap. I know I'll never really understand it. And no one will fire me for not understanding it, so I'll just ##### about it. I'm on a deadline after all."

There's almost no incentive for a reporter to try to understand the new metrics, unless he wants to do story after story about them. Because for a reporter, it's probably a waste of time learning about something if you're not going to write about it. These guys have to crank out tons of pages a year, and so they remain pig-headed because it's easier to do that than to learn something new.

And really, between the end of the winter meetings and spring training, there's almost nothing to write about. He probably has a few ideas knocking about in his head like, "I'll write one article about new stats and how they're crap. That's one day. Tomorrow I'll write about the budget, how the Sox are becoming like the Yankees." I doubt he thinks about it more than that.
   57. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3449823)
I think it's a little harsh.


I've been tolerating karlmangus' one-note horseshit for years, and it wasn't until recently that I've said anything about it. But I'm done. He needs to find a new act or shut the hell up.
   58. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:49 PM (#3449837)
And really, between the end of the winter meetings and spring training, there's almost nothing to write about. He probably has a few ideas knocking about in his head like, "I'll write one article about new stats and how they're crap. That's one day. Tomorrow I'll write about the budget, how the Sox are becoming like the Yankees." I doubt he thinks about it more than that.


You really think Borges is planning things out 24 hours in advance? You give him more credit than I do. I think his thought process is mostly "ooh, shiny" and then 20 minutes before deadline it's "uh oh, better do something" then he consults his super-secret "BBWAA List o' Stuff That Annoys Statheads" and fires out a quick column that is about as interesting as what I fire out about 2 hours after lunch.
   59. PreservedFish Posted: January 29, 2010 at 06:59 PM (#3449850)
Writing a negative article about UZR or VORP is the baseball writer's equivalent of buying a sportscar and leaving your wife and kids for a 29 year old.


I would think it's the equivalent of yelling at your teenager to turn off that goddam noise.
   60. Accent Shallow Posted: January 29, 2010 at 07:00 PM (#3449851)
Have we considered the possibility that for "old school" fans, sabermetrics is the Zahir?

/Borges
   61. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 07:00 PM (#3449852)
It's almost impossible to write a column like that, I think. My old man was a columnist (not sports, but still), and it was very taxing for him to come up with ideas. He kept folders with old news clippings, scraps of notes, weird photographs, post-its, and all kinds of stuff all over his office and our house.

Then again, he was good at his job.
   62. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 07:26 PM (#3449880)
It was 800 words. I wrote a 300 word piece this morning before I went to work.
   63. RJ in TO Posted: January 29, 2010 at 07:27 PM (#3449885)
It was 800 words. I wrote a 300 word piece this morning before I went to work.


Yes, but your piece involved thought, research, and facts. If you weren't bothered by those, you could have churned out 800 idiotic words, and signed on with the Herald as a regular columnist.
   64. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:07 PM (#3449952)
Then again, he was good at his job.


If sports columnists have taught us anything, it's that they recycle the same goddamned ideas all the time. These guys may not have a calendar laying out the month in advance, but you can be sure they all know ahead of time they're going to write one article about how someone is in the best shape of his life, one on how the Yankees have improved much more than the Red Sox, etc.
   65. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:21 PM (#3449973)
Some good comments have been made on our behalf.

From "Classless":
"Yet another unprofessional column by the plagiarist. I feel the same way about the Sox strategy, but at least educate yourself on the subject, Borges. You sound like the dumb kid in the back of class scoffing at the thought of homework while everyone else rolls their eyes at you."
   66. tjm1 Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:25 PM (#3449976)
I've heard or read somewhere that Borges is pretty good on boxing, but I don't know anything about boxing, so I can't really evaluate that claim.
   67. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:26 PM (#3449979)
I've heard or read somewhere that Borges is pretty good on boxing, but I don't know anything about boxing, so I can't really evaluate that claim.


I can send Yankee Redneck an email and see if he knows.
   68. jim in providence Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:39 PM (#3449993)
What, you don't trust the King? (See #48)
   69. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:40 PM (#3449996)
The A’s did win division titles in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2006, but what they have actually won during the Moneyball era is nothing.


This is hilarious. Is this dude actually retarded, or is he just feigning it for sympathy?
   70. villageidiom Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:58 PM (#3450023)
I WANT MY JOB TO BE EASY
by Joe Sportswriter

I've had a pretty good career. I get free admission to sports events all the time, and in return all I have to do is pound out eight hundred words or so. It can be about what I’ve witnessed at the game, or on tangentially related ideas I had while there. It can be based on hard facts and research, opinion and speculation, or a combination of those. It sounds like a great opportunity, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it sounds, and I now find myself in a line of work that I absolutely love except for the “work” part of it. I enjoy hanging out every night with Dan, Steve, and all the guys. We talk about the idiot ballplayers making lots more than we do, make side bets on postgame comments, and ponder aloud whether Amalie would put out. However, to keep those fun times going I need to keep writing. And that has become difficult.

I used to be able to cajole a player into giving a quote that feeds a column that would get people talking. But apparently the players talk and text and tweet, and now nobody trusts me before they’ve even had a chance to meet me.

I used to be able to get straightforward and useful stats pretty easily. But now people think those stats are useless, and I can’t understand the new stats, and I can’t ask anyone to explain them because they might say I’m dumb.

I used to be able to copy someone else’s good writings and pass it all off as my own. But people are wise to me now, and the last time I got caught I couldn’t hang out with the guys any more.

I want this job to be easy again. It was easy when the world was simpler, when RBIs were the mark of a good slugger and wins were the mark of a good pitcher, and my readers didn’t expect more than that. The world was simpler when readers trusted my opinion because so much of the game was hidden from them, before 24-hour sports coverage, regional networks, and the internet. The world was simpler when players weren’t wise to my ways, and didn’t blog their comments – in context – on their own.

Therefore I’ve decided – well, really it’s more a reflex than a decision – to belittle anything that makes my job harder. Rather than try to understand new statistics and what they claim to do, I’ll just claim they’re useless and mock the people who made them or use them. Instead of working with athletes to get their story out with proper context and without making them look foolish, I’ll claim every blogging ballplayer is a blowhard who wants attention. For any decision made that doesn’t fit with my narrow view of the world, I’ll call it the dumbest decision in the history of dumb rather than consider its merits.

The Red Sox are emphasizing OBP? I’ll point out that pitching and defense wins championships.

The Red Sox are emphasizing pitching and defense? I’ll point out that they’re headed for disaster.

It really doesn’t matter. If facts make the job hard, I’ll use opinion. If people make the job hard, screw ‘em. If stats make the job hard, I’ll toss them out for the simple ones I like. It’s not like those stats are bad.

Some might look at this and suggest I have a responsibility to my readers, that I should pursue a higher standard and give them the best information. That’s a steaming load of crap. If my readers are smart enough to demand that, then they don’t need me. I was never writing for them anyway. I’m writing for the people who will read my work and accept it blindly. Because of them, I get to hang out with the guys, and not have to do much in return. That’s my responsibility to me. Anyone standing in the way of my sweet, sweet life is a selfish bastard who has neither honor nor decency.

That includes Mark McGwire. How dare he take performance enhancing drugs and not be honest about it? He should have openly admitted his illegal activity while doing it, thus sparing folks like me from having to ask him about it (which I didn’t, because I would have had to remain sober before getting postgame comments). It’s unfair to expect sports journalists to pursue the truth, because nobody gets into sports journalism to be a journalist. Come on.

This job was always supposed to be very easy. Now there are too many smart people, the kind of people I used to make fun of because they weren’t smart enough to take an awesome job like this. They and their high standards make this job suck.

Hey, that’s eight hundred words; I’m done.
   71. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:03 PM (#3450027)
Hey, that’s eight hundred words; I’m done.


That's actually much better than what I read of columnists. The all-important question is: how long did it take?
   72. Ron Johnson Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:06 PM (#3450031)
#43 RBI actually first was published in a Buffalo paper (creator un-named and to my knowledge unknown) and was picked up in 1880 in Chicago. It was announced with a flourish and abandoned quickly in the face of criticism from the public. Most frequent criticism was the same that statheads make today, that position in the batting order meant that opportunities weren't equal.

Still, the concept was around now. Fierce opposition from Chadwick squelched most attempts to revive it. In 1891 it was officially designated a stat by the NL -- and was dropped within a month because the scorers refused to keep track.

It's interesting to note that in this general time frame runs/per game was also dying out as a popular stat. Chadwick had invented it and then switched to hits per game before settling on hits per at bat (with brief experiments with other metrics). Spalding continued to publish runs per game until 1882.
   73. Cat Named Manny Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:15 PM (#3450043)
My favorite:

While teams created by Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Phillies or Brian Cashman of the Yankees cling hopelessly to National League and American League pennants and a misplaced faith in the old order represented by stats like batting average, fielding average and RBI, teams of the new millennium like the Red Sox believe those are insignificant relics of a bygone era, the buggy whips of baseball.


What do the Phillies and Yankees have in common? They have both won fewer World Series in the new millennium than the Red Sox. Do you think that ever occurred to whatever passes for Ron Borges' brain?
   74. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:43 PM (#3450090)
Hey, that’s eight hundred words; I’m done.


Okay, now do it three or four times a week every week for fifteen years, without regularly repeating yourself or saying something stupid. Do it when you're tired, when your kids keep you up all night, when you have writer's block, when nothing of any interest has happened in your area in weeks and all you have to write about is high school basketball or international lacrosse.

I'm not going to disagree that there are a certain number of sportswriters who are lazy and / or dumb. The article under discussion is both. But people here significantly underestimate the difficulty of writing for deadline in this manner.
   75. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:52 PM (#3450100)
If you weren't bothered by those, you could have churned out 800 idiotic words, and signed on with the Herald as a regular columnist.


Or as Woodrow Wilson once said: "If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now."

-- MWE
   76. konaforever Posted: January 29, 2010 at 09:59 PM (#3450112)
karlmagnus Posted: January 29, 2010 at 08:26 AM (#3449568)
This article looks pretty sound to me. Theo's obsessed with his own cleverness, and has built a deeply mediocre operation for 2010. 82-84 wins is my estimate (fewer if they suffer key injuries as in 2001, but I suppose with no stars you are at least less vulnerable to stars' injuries.)


It's like he waits for a Red Sox thread so he can't jump in with the same thing each time. We get it. You think the Red Sox are a 82-84 win team. You don't need to repeat it ad infinitum.
   77. J. Bowman, upon reflection, does hate pants Posted: January 29, 2010 at 10:09 PM (#3450138)
I've heard or read somewhere that Borges is pretty good on boxing, but I don't know anything about boxing, so I can't really evaluate that claim.


Ron 'The Cut Man' Borges?
   78. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 29, 2010 at 10:17 PM (#3450149)
What do the Phillies and Yankees have in common? They have both won fewer World Series in the new millennium than the Red Sox.

Wow. Somebody who actually starts counting at "one." I should dust off my old letter to the editor about just what the hell everybody thought they were celebrating at midnight on December 31, 1999.
   79. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3450159)
Okay, now do it three or four times a week every week for fifteen years, without regularly repeating yourself or saying something stupid. Do it when you're tired, when your kids keep you up all night, when you have writer's block, when nothing of any interest has happened in your area in weeks and all you have to write about is high school basketball or international lacrosse.


What's funny is that I try and do a blog post a day or so, but when I write a biography for SABR those take forever and those are only about 2000 words.
   80. Zipperholes Posted: January 29, 2010 at 11:32 PM (#3450252)
Have we considered the possibility that for "old school" fans, sabermetrics is the Zahir?

/Borges


This was an underappreciated post.
   81. Sam M. Posted: January 30, 2010 at 12:09 AM (#3450272)
It's tough to get so many things completely incorrect in one article. Borges succeeded.

Interestingly, though, he was pretty much dead-on about Jimmy Johnson . . . . (See # 31)
   82. pkb33 Posted: January 30, 2010 at 01:55 AM (#3450344)
What do the Phillies and Yankees have in common? They have both won fewer World Series in the new millennium than the Red Sox. Do you think that ever occurred to whatever passes for Ron Borges' brain?

If so, he definitely would blame Bill Belichick for that fact.
   83. Buzzards Bay Posted: January 30, 2010 at 03:44 AM (#3450395)
I still don't understand the- either -or- proposition
don't get that approach
   84. villageidiom Posted: February 01, 2010 at 06:22 AM (#3451373)
The all-important question is: how long did it take?
About 15-20 minutes, plus another 3 or 4 to get everything south of the byline and north of the last sentence to 800 exactly. (I was over.)
But people here significantly underestimate the difficulty of writing for deadline in this manner.
I don't underestimate it at all. There are many reasons I don't do that for a living. The chief reason is that I don't enjoy the core part of sports journalism - journalism - enough to endure whatever else the job provides. It's not clear that Borges enjoys that part of it, either.

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