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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Donnellon: Better to judge baseball talent with the naked eye

Thing is, I saw Jack Morris pitch, and he was great. Great enough for the Hall of Fame? All I know is there are less great players in there.

It’s one reason I don’t use my Hall of Fame ballot. Statistics, even the more contrived ones, have value. Greatness, though, is a naked-eye assessment. If they’re going to argue that Morris or even Curt Schilling are less significant than guys already in there, guys like Bert Blyleven, then they ought to call the place the Baseball Bureau of Statistics. Because to the naked eye, it’s absurd.

Here’s another thing that bothers me: The valuation of regular-season statistics over postseason ones. Some of the game’s more selfish players have recorded some gaudy regular-season statistics. Others have built their impressive résumé playing for poor teams in pressureless environments. Statistics built in the AL Central over the last two decades are not equal to statistics built in the AL East.

That’s a naked-eye assessment. I’d probably put Morris into the Hall too, probably for the same reason stat mavens would throw him out. He won more games than anyone in the 1980s, but many, including our own David Murphy, have compellingly argued that a pitcher’s won-lost record is among baseball’s greatest irrelevancies.

Murphy has mentioned Cliff Lee’s 2012 season as recent evidence of this. There is no doubt that Lee deserved better. But the naked eye, the one that watched the season in its entirety, recalls at least a handful of times when he received substantial leads and could not hold them. Morris would say, I suppose, that in those cases, he failed to pitch to the scoreboard.

Clearly, statistics are not irrelevant. But they should be used to support the naked eye, not create an alternate reality.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:46 AM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. BDC Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4364793)
This is how I invest in the stock market: naked eye. Hostess Twinkies looked awfully good to me.
   2. John Northey Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4364794)
Annoying when people display ignorance openly and proudly. Morris' ability to 'pitch to the score' has been debunked many, many times by many people. Lets check the Phillies record in Lee starts last year...

Supported by >5 runs: team record: 4-1 - the loss was a 10-6 game where he gave up 2 runs over 6 IP and left in a tie situation but then the game went nuts.

Gave up >5 runs: team was 1-1 in those 2 games, 0-3 in games giving up 5 runs, one was a one run loss (what one would expect given the authors view) while the other two saw 4 runs scored by Philly total.

4 losses that were 2-1 games, 1 lost 1-0, 2 lost 5-4 and 1 6-5 (could be what the author is thinking of). To counter it 4 wins of a one run nature. So in 1 run games 4-8 but with more than 1 run of support it was 4-3 which would make sense (1 run games are generally viewed as luck based for end result).

I suspect this is a writer who preferred 'winners' like Jack Morris over 'losers' like Dave Stieb in the 1980's. A team put together by him would be slaughtered by the non-clutch team I'd suspect.
   3. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4364797)
This reads like an Onion article.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:12 AM (#4364799)
But the naked eye, the one that watched the season in its entirety, recalls at least a handful of times when he received substantial leads and could not hold them.


Not sure what a "substantial lead" is but let's go with three runs. Here's the list of games Lee blew a three run lead;

June 10 against Baltimore

Yup, it's the stats that are creating an alternate reality.



   5. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4364801)
Discussing Schilling's Hall of Fame candidacy, a stat disciple mentioned that his win total averaged out to 12 games a season.

Um, what?
   6. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4364806)
Discussing Schilling's Hall of Fame candidacy, a stat disciple mentioned that his win total averaged out to 12 games a season.

Um, what?
That's a really bizarre line on a couple of levels. First off, I don't know how they came up with that number. If you just divide Schilling's wins (216) by seasons (20) you get less than 11. Somehow they've decided Schilling has 18 seasons (216/18 = 12) but I don't know where the logic is in that.

Second, I'd like to know who this "stat disciple" is who is knocking Schilling's Hall of Fame based on this (imaginary) win per season total. You can certainly make a case that Schilling isn't a Hall of Famer, but that's not it.
   7. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4364811)
Thing is, I saw Jack Morris pitch, and he was great. Great enough for the Hall of Fame? All I know is there are less great players in there


And he has seen all these lesser HOF members? Didn't have to rely on their numbers?

   8. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4364821)
That's a really bizarre line on a couple of levels. First off, I don't know how they came up with that number. If you just divide Schilling's wins (216) by seasons (20) you get less than 11. Somehow they've decided Schilling has 18 seasons (216/18 = 12) but I don't know where the logic is in that.


Probably not counting his first 2 seasons in which he was 0-4 over 25 innings. But then he is counting his next 2 seasons in which he started 0 games. Starting in 1992 when Schilling became a full time starter (more or less), he won 212 games in 16 years, an average of 13.25 per. That includes seasons in which he started 11, 13, and 17 games.
   9. kthejoker Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4364825)
Let us make a solemn vow to never speak of pitcher wins again.
   10. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4364835)
Well, I guess I need to take off my contacts or glasses when watching baseball games.
   11. OsunaSakata Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4364837)
Cliff Lee also blew a 3-run lead to Toronto on June 16, but that's it. The writer obviously only has two fingers in his hand.
   12. AROM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4364841)
If they’re going to argue that Morris or even Curt Schilling are less significant than guys already in there, guys like Bert Blyleven, then they ought to call the place the Baseball Bureau of Statistics. Because to the naked eye, it’s absurd.


You need statistics to make sense of a player's career when he's pitched several hundred games. Jack Morris had some great games. So did Blyleven. They both had awful games. Blyleven had more 1-0 wins than Morris, but Morris had more 1-0 wins coming in game 7 of a world series.

So on going by the naked eye does this guy mean just cherry picking the games he saw to make the case he wants to make? That's pretty useless.

If he means it in a scouting sense, then my opinion is that Blyleven was far greater, and far more memorable there. Jack Morris at his best had a low to mid 90's fastball. Good, but nothing legendary. Early in his career he had an excellent slider, and later he relied more on the split finger, or forkball, or whatever he wanted to call it. It was a good pitch, but not on the level of Mike Scott's, and no better than other contemporary pitchers, like Chuck Finley.

Blyleven, on the other hand, had a curveball that has to rank in the top 5 of any pitcher ever. Watching highlights of him striking people out on the curve was breathtaking. He ignored the laws of physics with that pitch. If I hadn't seen it I would not believe that much movement was possible. His fastball was ordinary when I saw him at the end of his career. Not sure if he was a fireballer when he was young.

I'll take a HOF curveball and ordinary fastball over several HOVG pitches in my eye test.
   13. Ben V-L Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4364844)
I guess the question for me is whose naked eye to trust: a baseball writer's or those of a few hundred major league hitters? The hitters' naked eyes (some with contacts, no doubt) saw a lot of hittable pitches.
   14. AROM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4364850)
There is no doubt that Lee deserved better. But the naked eye, the one that watched the season in its entirety, recalls at least a handful of times when he received substantial leads and could not hold them. Morris would say, I suppose, that in those cases, he failed to pitch to the scoreboard.


I have more respect for Jack Morris than to think he'd make such a buffoonish statement about Lee. You guys have found 2 games where Cliff blew a 3 run lead. I suspect most 20 game winners will have some games like that over a 33 start season. Some games that define Cliff's year:

10 innings, 0 runs, no decision
8 innings, 1 run, no decision
7.2 IP, 2 R, 12K, loss
8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, ND
8 IP, 2 R, 11 K, Loss
7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, ND

   15. OsunaSakata Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4364851)
No one looked better to the eye than Bo Jackson. Why isn't he discussed for the Hall of Fame?
   16. Shredder Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4364854)
What's sad is the the bulk of the comments (that I could see) agree with him. I posted this on Hardball Talk, but if there are no consequences for writing this drivel, then why should the author care? One thing I learned from years of simply posting at Baseball Primer/Thinkfactory is that if you’re going to assert something, like the “handful of games” bit, you damn well better be right about it, because if you weren’t, someone whose opinion you probably respected (and from whom you wanted respect) was going to point out that you were wrong. And it takes all of about two minutes to check a fact like that. I can't count the number of times I was all set to make a point about what I had "seen" or what I remembered to be true, and when I went to check the facts, I found out that my recollection was not accurate. Saved myself from looking like an idiot a few times (though that doesn't explain all the other times I was unable to save myself from looking like an idiot).

But hey, who are you going to believe, actual box scores which are filled with scary statistics, or your lying, naked eyes?
   17. GregD Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4364860)
take all this naked talk to the Bill James thread, pervs
   18. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4364875)
7 out of 10 primates agree: Best to judge baseball talent while naked.
   19. zack Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4364879)
You need statistics to make sense of a player's career when he's pitched several hundred games

Yes exactly. There would be nothing wrong with judging a player by the eye test if we were comparing everyone on the basis of ability in World Series games or something.

The problem with the eye test is threefold. You can't see nearly as much of a player as stats can; you can't accurately recall what you did see 20 years later; not everybody's eye is an accurate judge of baseball talent.

Jack Morris pitched to 16,501 batters. I don't recall if he was a fast or slow worker, but (literal) back of envelope calculations are around 1 min per PA, which is about 10.5 full days of pitching. Even a Detroit beat writer might catch half of that. And that still doesn't let you compare him to others.
   20. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4364880)
7 out of 10 primates agree: Best to judge baseball talent while naked.
Well, when you're in your Mom's basement, why not be naked? There's no windows.

   21. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4364889)
7 out of 10 primates agree: Best to judge baseball talent while naked.


Only 70%? I call BS.
   22. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4364896)
Sam Donnellon isn't even a baseball specialist. This article is just random blather.

This is the 5th baseball piece he's written since the end of baseball season. The others:

1/11/13: Lidge still recalls '08 run
12/07/12: Rips on Amaro are unwarranted
11/16/12: Loria stole Marlins' hope
10/04/12: Bring back Victorino, Madson

Going back into the season, the second thing to pop up is this, which is echoed by the article this thread is about. It ends with the convincing conclusion:

These are plays not measured in any comprehensible statistics, although those scripting for something called "The Fielding Bible" have given it an honest effort. But all baserunners do not have the same speed, guts or baseball IQ. Strength of arm is not just about putouts, but by a lack of attempts to run on that arm. They have tried to measure range, but these are not dynamic or even easily understandable stats.

The good news for you people is that Amaro, whose resume is still without a championship and thus incomplete, seems to get it, too.

I can't tell you how many runs will be saved in moving Utley to third and having Galvis at second for a season.

But my eyes can tell he's right for doing it.
   23. AROM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4364906)
Jack Morris had more games where he started and pitched at least 5 innings, either finished the game with a lead, left with a lead that his bullpen never relinquished, or had his teammates take a lead while he was still the pitcher of record and which was never relinquished, within a series of years where the second digit was 9 and the 3rd digit was 8 as specified by the Gregorian calendar.

But that's just a statistic, so if you want to make a case for him solely on the eye test, you better throw that one out.

Edit: Research into the origins of the sport indicates that Jack also had more wins than any pitcher in the 980's. That was a down decade for pitchers, so the above description is safe.
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4364912)
Jack also had more wins than any pitcher in the 980's. That was a down decade for pitchers,

I don't know, this pitcher looks pretty nice.
   25. The District Attorney Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4364916)
Why would you even become a writer in the first place if you feel like "your eyes can tell" everything and there's no point delving any further?

I don’t use my Hall of Fame ballot.
Well, that's good.
   26. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4364948)
7 out of 10 primates agree: Best to judge baseball talent while naked.

Only 70%? I call BS.

Results may have been skewed by conducting the survey at the ballpark.
   27. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4364959)
Results may have been skewed by conducting the survey at the ballpark.


Come on, everyone knows we don't go to the ballpark, we just look at spreadsheets.
   28. base ball chick Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4364977)
DA Baracus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4364889)

7 out of 10 primates agree: Best to judge baseball talent while naked.


Only 70%? I call BS.


- well i agree and that's 71% right there
watching nekkid ballplayers is the very best wayt o judge them. line forms on the right. starting with matt kemp. i i will ba happy to have spread sheets
   29. flournoy Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4364978)
There are a fair amount of people who think that sabermetrics and statistical analysis within baseball means looking at things like "batting average in Thursday night home games against left handed relievers with one out and two runners on base."
   30. Dale Sams Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4364984)
I thought Schilling WAS a 'stat disciple' candidate.
   31. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4364986)
- well i agree and that's 71% right there
watching nekkid ballplayers is the very best wayt o judge them. line forms on the right. starting with matt kemp. i i will ba happy to have spread sheets

Spread sheets, or spread cheeks?
   32. base ball chick Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4364995)
FPH

hey, either way. i'm kewl with the HOTTTTTT
   33. DL from MN Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4365006)
Schilling's an obvious candidate. He has almost nothing in common with Jack Morris.
   34. Gaelan Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4365040)
This article is irrefutable. In order to refute something you have to refer to a common structure of meaning. Pointing out the many ways in which this article "doesn't make sense" is begging the question.

You wouldn't try and refute random letters scrawled in a blackboard and you shouldn't try and refute this.
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4365064)
And what is this ridiculous practice of "keeping score"?? Why, you can tell who is winning simply by using your EYES!!!
   36. LargeBill Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4365110)
I will give the guy some credit. He sent me this reply to my tweet about the column: "thanks for your polite admonishment of what was clearly a sloppy effort in my part."

In some ways maybe we have too high of standards for sports reporters with our expectations that they do research and be accurate. We should really just look at them like we do the guy who has to clean the restroom at the gas station. Sure we want it clean, but we realize there are going to be days where the guy doesn't feel like doing his best and just kind of phones it in. This column was basically this guys dirty restroom.
   37. LargeBill Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4365111)
I will give the guy some credit. He sent me this reply to my tweet about the column: "thanks for your polite admonishment of what was clearly a sloppy effort in my part."

In some ways maybe we have too high of standards for sports reporters with our expectations that they do research and be accurate. We should really just look at them like we do the guy who has to clean the restroom at the gas station. Sure we want it clean, but we realize there are going to be days where the guy doesn't feel like doing his best and just kind of phones it in. This column was basically this guys dirty restroom.
   38. The Good Face Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4365112)
This article is irrefutable. In order to refute something you have to refer to a common structure of meaning. Pointing out the many ways in which this article "doesn't make sense" is begging the question.


This article isn't right. It's not even wrong.
   39. LargeBill Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4365114)
Sorry about the double post.
   40. vivaelpujols Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4365125)
F'ing retard. How do these people not get that the naked eye is different from person to person? Or should we call the HOF the "Hall of Players who Sam Donnellon thinks were good with his naked eye"?

Stats are valuable because they are objective and verifiable. Furthermore, stuff like runs per 9 innings and innings pitched, which is all you need to quote to get Bert a HOF and Morris not, are by far the most important aspects of pitching.. uh, giving up fewer runs. Christ!
   41. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4365138)
Or should we call the HOF the "Hall of Players who Sam Donnellon thinks were good with his naked eye"?

No, that's why lots of people vote. It should be the "Hall of Players that consensus has decided were great with lots of naked eyes".

Someday, we'll have the ability to more-or-less rank players by how great they were, statistically. Maybe we already do, or close enough. When that day comes, it won't matter what people thought of players.

Isn't it far more interesting to have a record of what people thought of a player, with their naked eye, when they were contemporaries? That's information that we'll never be able to get back, unless we record those votes and opinions today.
   42. vivaelpujols Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4365141)
Isn't it far more interesting to have a record of what people thought of a player, with their naked eye, when they were contemporaries? That's information that we'll never be able to get back, unless we record those votes and opinions today.


It is interesting, but that shouldn't be confused with the HOF vote.
   43. JJ1986 Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4365144)
Isn't it far more interesting to have a record of what people thought of a player, with their naked eye, when they were contemporaries?


Morris voters are basically lying about contemporary opinion, though.
   44. BDC Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4365161)
I dunno about lying; memory doesn't work that fiendishly. They are remembering the moments after Gene Larkin hit that ball in 1991, when it did indeed seem like Morris was the love child of Cy Young and Hercules. They were forgetting the several years of just-another-starter that Morris turned in during the 1980s.
   45. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4365167)
He was treated as an ace throughout his career, by all factions of the game, as measured in a variety of ways. No one's "lying" about that.

It's even refutable!!!
   46. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4365194)

He was treated as an ace throughout his career, by all factions of the game, as measured in a variety of ways. No one's "lying" about that.

It's even refutable!!!


What accounts for the huge dropoff in opinion about him between 1994, his final season, and 2000, when he only received 22% of the HOF vote, then?
   47. JJ1986 Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4365197)
There's a pretty serious gap between ace and the obviously-would-be-in-the-HoF-except-for-stat-nerds that guys like Jon Heyman are portraying him as.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4365224)
the one that watched the season in its entirety, recalls at least a handful of times when he received substantial leads and could not hold them. Morris would say, I suppose, that in those cases, he failed to pitch to the scoreboard.

This is just strange. "Pitching to the score" is not about not losing big leads. Pitching to the score was the excuse invented to explain away Morris's high ERA by saying that, when ahead 5-1, rather than pitching at his absolute best trying to hold them at 1, he'd pound the strike zone resulting in an efficient 5-3 or 5-4 win. In short, like Ichiro, Morris's career ERA could have been 3.20 if he wanted it to. It also meant that he would magically hold the opposition to 2 runs when his team only scored 3. That has been debunked of course but that's still the way the story goes.

The knock against Cliff Lee from this mythical perspective is not Lee blowing big leads but that Lee kept losing those 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 games. Those are games where Lee needed to pitch to the score because he should have known he couldn't afford to give up those 1, 2, 3 runs that day.
   49. bond1 Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4365258)
Bill Belichick: "Stats are for losers, the final score is for winners. That's really what it's about."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t-r2HASo5M
   50. jdennis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4365334)
can anyone give morris' data in relation to:

he gets crushed in 1st or 2nd or 3rd, but pitches long enough (beyond 5th) and puts the brakes on the other team, to let his team get back in the game. that's what i always thought pitching to the score should mean, at least. because that's a noble thing for a pitcher to do and plays to the bulldog image and doesn't reflect well in the stats.
   51. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4365345)
The knock against Cliff Lee from this mythical perspective is not Lee blowing big leads but that Lee kept losing those 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 games. Those are games where Lee needed to pitch to the score because he should have known he couldn't afford to give up those 1, 2, 3 runs that day.

A lot of people on Phillies message boards are convinced that Cliff Lee's contract is an albatross of hilariously ludicrous proportions. All the anxiety over all the Phillies' big contracts is transferred to Cliff Lee. Probably because he came back to the team in such a surprising way - fans were already expecting a future of a high-priced team without Cliff Lee, and suddenly he was added to the team as well.

This team is wildly over budget! They have X million dollars already committed for 2015! Hurry up and trade Cliff Lee already! He's way past his prime!
   52. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4365399)
This team is wildly over budget! They have X million dollars already committed for 2015! Hurry up and trade Cliff Lee already! He's way past his prime!

Of course from the thinking fan's perspective*, you might well make a very similar argument -- you're wildly over budget, hurry up and trade Cliff Lee already, he's the only long-term, high-priced player you've got that anybody would want.

* I am THE thinking fan, right? :-)
   53. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4365413)
I saw both Morris and Blyleven with my naked eyes.

Morris isn't worthy of washing Blyleven's jockstrap.
   54. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:10 PM (#4365428)
Since the 'writer' doesn't mean "eye", but actually some combination of his eye, cerebellum, memory, spinal column, and so on, and since he doubts your judgment, isn't this thread more aptly titled "Donnellon: Better let me jduge baseball talent"?
   55. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4365446)
Now ... I do think the sabermetric debate of Schilling vs. Blyleven would be rather interesting. They're about even on peak. Blyleven wins on career but that's basically 250 more starts of average or slightly worse pitching (Schilling wins on WAA). Schilling wins on black ink, Blyleven on gray. Neither won a CYA although Schilling came closer. Both had lots of Ks -- Blyleven more thanks to career length, Schilling at a better rate (but maybe not relative to league) and better K/BB. Schilling gave up many fewer UER allowing them at half the rate Blyleven did. Both pitched great in the postseason but Schilling takes that one.

If Schilling had the obviously better peak, he'd win this one pretty clearly. As is, it's Blyleven's solid but unspectacular additional career value vs. a lot of ancillary stuff that is in Schilling's favor. It probably comes down to the UER difference.
   56. KingKaufman Posted: February 08, 2013 at 04:03 AM (#4365533)
Sure we want it clean, but we realize there are going to be days where the guy doesn't feel like doing his best and just kind of phones it in.


There's no excuse for phoning it in. For the bathroom guy maybe. But when you write something, it's online theoretically forever with your name on it. That ought to be a pretty bracing thought. It's not OK. The analogy shouldn't be to the bathroom guy but to an athlete. Everybody has those nights when they strike out four times or give up five runs in the first inning. Happens to the best of 'em, and crap columns happen to the best of writers.

But if a player phones it in? We don't forgive that.
   57. bjhanke Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4365555)
Sugar Bear has "He was treated as an ace throughout his career, by all factions of the game, as measured in a variety of ways. No one's "lying" about that.

It's even refutable!!!"

Was this a typo or meant as a joke or what? You write enough that's it's hard for me to think you got the word wrong. "Refutable" means "easy to beat in a debate." It's "IRrefutable" that means "impossible to beat in a debate." - Brock Hanke
   58. zonk Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4365567)
My eyes, the goggles do nothing!
   59. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4365574)
Was this a typo or meant as a joke or what? You write enough that's it's hard for me to think you got the word wrong. "Refutable" means "easy to beat in a debate." It's "IRrefutable" that means "impossible to beat in a debate." - Brock Hanke


I think by "refutable" he means "falsifiable", as in, this assertion could be proved wrong because we have actual data. An unfalsifiable assertion is unscientific because there could be no evidence either for it or against it.

Falsifiability

In this case, the point is that you can tell that people treated him as an ace because he was paid a lot of money, he was the opening-day starter on multiple occasions, etc. as SugarBeak has told us time and time again.
   60. AROM Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4365576)
If you seriously believe in "pitching to the score" here's how you can win on the cheap:

1. Sign the 5 starters who best pitch to the score.
2. Spend nothing above league minimum on your position players. You'll have an offense that makes the 2010 Mariners look good, but that does not matter.
3. Even if your pitchers have career ERAs of 4.50, they will challenge Bob Gibson's 1968 this year. Because they have to. They can pitch to the score.
4. Profit!
   61. bachslunch Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4365713)
Really, really awful article.

Clearly, statistics are not irrelevant. But they should be used to support the naked eye, not create an alternate reality.

In other words, decide first based on your gut, pick the stats that agree with your assumption, and ignore anything that makes you question that assumption. Oy....

Here's another thing that bothers me: The valuation of regular-season statistics over postseason ones.

Because as we all know, small sample sizes are way cooler than large ones.

You know these guys. They get all frothy-mouthed each time a new acronym is invented to try and quantify value, yet show little or no reaction when a difficult doubleplay is executed, or a well-thrown pitch is fought off by a batter down in the count.

Of course statheads never get any kind of emotional/visceral thrills out of watching a ballgame. Besides, strawmen are fun to create.

Thing is, I saw Jack Morris pitch, and he was great. Great enough for the Hall of Fame? All I know is there are less great players in there.

If you're looking at career ERA+, there are only two such worse HoF pitchers than Morris (105) would be, Catfish Hunter at 104 and Rube Marquard at 103. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Once, when the Internet was not as friendly and we sought to observe athletic greatness rather than quantify it, sports was a simpler world. You watched under well-lit skies and inside of electrified arenas and amid pivotal moments and you did not need to look anything up afterward to understand what you saw.

And just to make things worse, Donnellon wants those pesky kids to get the Sam Hill off his lawn.

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