The best compliment I have ever received in this business, absolutely the best, and I don’t even know what would be second, came from Bob Ryan.
He might not remember it, but what with him being a huge reason I’m in this business and that my respect for him only grew after I became fortunate enough to work with him, well, I’ll never forget. We were in our hotel bar in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics, having a few post-gold-medal hockey game beverages with a couple of other stray sports writers.
Bob of course knows everybody and everybody of course knows Bob and only a small subset of obsessed East Coast baseball fans knows me, and so as he was introducing me to a writer from a California paper, he said, “Chad writes really smart, funny stuff about baseball. He keeps me on my toes. HE KEEPS ME ON MY TOES!’‘
Let’s just say no other professional validation has really been necessary since.
I bring this up because—well, dammit, my massive ego likes telling the story. But there’s a more relevant and timely reason. You may have read Bob’s column last weekend, the one in which he railed against Wins Above Replacement as a judgment rather than an actual statistic of which “intelligent people have signed off on this utterly bogus piece of baseball idiocy.”
The piece whacked the hornet’s nest of animosity between old-school writers and those immersed in sabermetrics, spurring the usual exasperated and snarky rebuttals that occur whenever one side aggravates the other. I’m not sure how much grief Bob got for the piece, but there was some, and it would be patently unfair to mention him in the same breath as an ancient in-my-day troll like Murray Chass. When it comes to advanced metrics, he really does try to stay on his toes, which I think should give him plenty of leeway even if he does loathe a particular useful statistic. Plus, he votes for Tim Raines for the Hall of Fame, which is worth a couple more bonus points, I say.
Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:19 PM | 3 comment(s)
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