Blake Murphy: As a Jays fan I was privy to your work with Sportsnet over the summer. I appreciated you occasionally mixing in some of the more advanced stats that may not be familiar to everyday fans. Was this something that was requested of you or something you wanted to incorporate on your own?
Dirk Hayhurst: When I started with Sportsnet for Baseball Central at Noon, Sam (Cosentino, his co-host) and I had never met each other before. So we’re going to work together on this show and I had never done broadcasting and he had never worked with me. So we were trying to get each other felt out, and he said, “I think it’d be great if we did advanced sabermetrics because that’s stuff’s getting big!” and I was like, “sure.” But I didn’t want it to be like Dungeons and Dragons conversation.
So I was intimidated. I’m not great with stats. Actually, most of the players I know don’t do any of their research themselves; it’s all brought to them by somebody who is hired to do this. So we’d get color sheets, just these squares with colors, and you want to go at the blue ones and stay away from the red ones, and that’s about it.
So I’m thinking we’ll have somebody at the radio station who does this, surely. It’s a ubiquitous part of the game, Moneyball and all. Everybody has to understand this by now, we just need somebody to make it stupid for us. But I found out no, it’s not like that in the outside world, you’ve gotta do all this yourself. I thought, “oh this will be easy, I’ll just hop online and figure out advanced sabermetrics,” thanks to Fangraphs or Baseball Reference, and they don’t explain it to you either. They’ll explain some things, but not others. And then some stats, WARP and VORP and such, are different for each site, the math that’s used for each individual site.
I actually contacted Baseball Prospectus and said, “you’ve gotta explain this to me, because I’m going to be using your site a lot.” So I got a front row seat at a lecture from the Baseball prospectus people and they broke it all down for me.