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Thursday, May 31, 2018

For sabermetric crusader Brian Kenny, the argument over baseball stats will never be over

Brian must have been a member here at some point.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:26 AM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, brian kenny

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5683030)
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5683112)
from TFA:
Kenny receives plenty of criticism, not only from saber-skeptics who prefer wins and RBIs to FIP and wRC+ but also from members of the analytics-oriented crowd he seeks to represent. In a scathing review of Kenny’s (generally well-received) 2016 book “Ahead of the Curve,” Baseball Prospectus wrote that Kenny “characterizes the sabermetric movement as wholly virtuous and falls into every old, lazy trap he himself decries,” adding that he “creates a new dogma with new unassailable figures and new (unquestioned) metrics.” Hang around Baseball Twitter for a while, and you’ll inevitably find fans who see Kenny as overly strident, who accuse him of rejecting nuance and who believe he’s stuck fighting yesterday’s war.


I agree--I'm not sure he's someone who should be the front man
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 31, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5683118)
Kenny is a terrible public face for the stathead movement.
   4. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 31, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5683121)
I got to meet Kenny briefly at last year's SABR Convention. Super chatty and a very friendly guy. I did mention that I had bought the audiobook for "Ahead of the Curve" in which he does his own reading, and that when he talked about the arguments between sabermetrics and traditional numbers, he clearly sounded angry. He seemed genuinely surprised by that, and even laughed. "Really?" he said, "I thought was just being enthusiastic!" It was a fun little exchange.
   5. Blastin Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5683154)
Kenny is a terrible public face for the stathead movement.


Here's the quandary: public faces need to be faces people want to see. A lot of the traditional ex-player crowd is telegenic and, much as we may be annoyed by them, knows how to be on TV and connect with audiences, not at all a minor skill (I'm in professional development/adult ed myself).

So we need people who are less strident but still telegenic.

Basically they should hire me.

(but more seriously, let David Cone do it. He's doing a good job of straddling the line with respect as an explayer but knowing the value of the advanced stats.)
   6. wjones Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5683174)
Kenny is a terrible public face for the stathead movement.

Totally disagree with you. He's an experienced studio host, he's doggedly staunch in his viewpoints while not being totally rude to his dissenters, knowledgeable enough to present his stuff and defend it, and able to inject a lot of humor into his show. Bill James was so successful not because he knew so much more than the 'stat-heads' who came before and after him, but because he combined a thirst for truth and knowledge with the ability to write in an entertaining fashion. Likewise, someone like Kenny has to be the one to do this because he combines an astute knowledge with an ability to control a sports talk show.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5683177)
Ryan Spilborghs, who is now a Rockies color announcer, clearly loves the advanced stats. You can hear the excitement in his voice whenever he gets to explain FIP (usually in the context of why people should be patient with Jon Gray).
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5683191)
I'm with Pat Rapper's Delight.

   9. Khrushin it bro Posted: May 31, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5683224)
Ryan Spilborghs was in the same dorm as me at UCSB, super nice guy.
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5683263)
I'm glad to hear that. He's certainly very appealing on the Rockies telecasts.
   11. Panic Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5683292)
Brian must have been a member here at some point.



May still be...

Totally disagree with you. He's an experienced studio host, he's doggedly staunch in his viewpoints while not being totally rude to his dissenters, knowledgeable enough to present his stuff and defend it, and able to inject a lot of humor into his show. Bill James was so successful not because he knew so much more than the 'stat-heads' who came before and after him, but because he combined a thirst for truth and knowledge with the ability to write in an entertaining fashion. Likewise, someone like Kenny has to be the one to do this because he combines an astute knowledge with an ability to control a sports talk show.


   12. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5683311)
Nah... that's Kenny's Italian wife. Or maybe it's tina.
   13. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 31, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5683312)
Curt Schilling likes advanced stats. He isn't doing much.
   14. Blastin Posted: May 31, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5683332)
Curt Schilling likes advanced stats. He isn't doing much.


Maybe he likes them because they make his HOF case look better?
   15. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 31, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5683405)
Chicago has 2 great pbp guys who integrate more advanced stats well into the broadcast without being obnoxious. I'm sure they'd be written off as nerds though since they aren't ex-players. Their color counterparts...Deshaies is not shockingly much more into the integration than Stone, though he's much less cranky without dopey Hawk around.
   16. . Posted: May 31, 2018 at 05:13 PM (#5683407)
"Advanced stats" are unnecessary to reporting or analyzing baseball games as the news events they are.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 31, 2018 at 05:14 PM (#5683410)
Kenny feels like a guy fighting the battles of 15 years ago. The teams have very clearly embraced advanced metrics and at this point it's probably true that the best stuff, the stuff that James et al would have been doing, is now all proprietary team information. That my 73 year old father isn't interested in WAR or UZR doesn't really matter.
   18. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: May 31, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5683411)
That my 73 year old father isn't interested in WAR or UZR doesn't really matter.


Au contraire. He should have you taken away.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 31, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5683424)
Au contraire. He should have you taken away.
Golf clap.
   20. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: May 31, 2018 at 06:17 PM (#5683433)
Kenny feels like a guy fighting the battles of 15 years ago.
I think that is because of the guys that MLBTV hires as their analysts. Their thinking is generally 15 years out of date in regard to analytics.

My problem with Kenny is his seeming lack of knowledge or interest in baseball history.
   21. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: May 31, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5683438)
Baseball Prospectus wrote that Kenny “characterizes the sabermetric movement as wholly virtuous and falls into every old, lazy trap he himself decries,” adding that he “creates a new dogma with new unassailable figures and new (unquestioned) metrics.”


Pretty rich from the folks that gave us "PECOTA says Wieters is a HOFer". B-Pro is responsible for more saber backlash than perhaps any other single org or person.
   22. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 31, 2018 at 06:48 PM (#5683441)
Pretty rich from the folks that gave us "PECOTA says Wieters is a HOFer". B-Pro is responsible for more saber backlash than perhaps any other single org or person.


Was thinking the same thing. The arrogance at times from guys like Sheehan and the like was off the charts and to question their "secret sauce" of formulas was to incite scorn and be looked down upon like some neophyte who'd never even heard of sabermetrics.

   23. Stormy JE Posted: May 31, 2018 at 07:25 PM (#5683453)
I think that is because of the guys that MLBTV hires as their analysts. Their thinking is generally 15 years out of date in regard to analytics.
And of course, MLB Network execs stoke this tension on a daily basis.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: May 31, 2018 at 08:06 PM (#5683480)
Not a single "It's over. It's always been over" reference? Sad.

BPro certainly had its era of arrogance but I'm not sure any of those guys are left there now. I only occasionally read it now when something is linked here but they seemed to have found more of a "balance", especially on the prospect side. (Note "balance" here isn't necessarily a good thing.)

Anyway, the arrogance of some was always somewhat annoying but it served a purpose back when "we" were the outsiders. Following our glorious victory in the War of WAR, such arrogance comes across as orthodoxy ... and given the detailed work of teams and analysts going far deeper than WAR, quite possibly over-simplified or flat-out wrong. (Or maybe not.)

I should know ... when it comes to bouts of arrogance, I'm the King.
   25. djordan Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:09 PM (#5683671)
Yeah, sometimes he can get a bit trollish on Twitter. Understandable in some respect - have to keep the numbers up, but the to the point many of you have made, he often seems to be currying favor as much as seeking deeper meaning in a "Hey fellas, wait for me" sensibility.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: June 01, 2018 at 12:42 AM (#5683814)
Blastin is too modest - he is a handsome guy.
   27. DFA Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:35 AM (#5683827)
I thankfully don't have to listen to sports radio anymore, but Brian Kenny was terrific, so I disagree that he is a terrible public face. He is passionate and informed, and not so disrespectful of other points of view.
   28. QLE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:26 AM (#5683831)
And of course, MLB Network execs stoke this tension on a daily basis.


And it doesn't help matters that they'd rather air this schlock than, say, repeats of the surviving baseball broadcasts of decades past.
   29. Leroy Kincaid Posted: June 01, 2018 at 06:38 AM (#5683835)
And it doesn't help matters that they'd rather air this schlock than, say, repeats of the surviving baseball broadcasts of decades past.


I'm with you, but maybe schlock attracts more viewers.
   30. Blastin Posted: June 01, 2018 at 09:13 AM (#5683865)
Blastin is too modest - he is a handsome guy.


I'm good on TV too, the once or twice it's happened.
   31. Darren Posted: June 01, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5683871)
I should know ... when it comes to bouts of arrogance, I'm the King.


Look at this guy, thinking he's the king.
   32. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5683931)
And it doesn't help matters that they'd rather air this schlock than, say, repeats of the surviving baseball broadcasts of decades past.
I still can't figure out why MLBN insists on airing a tiresome rotation of six or seven baseball films on Sunday night in lieu of rebroadcasts of, say, All-Star Games from the 1970s or the 1967 World Series.
   33. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5683936)
32 - I suspect the answer, as it is in most cases, is money. I'd bet getting viewers and by extension advertising dollars for Bull Durham is easier than old games. Sunday night there is live baseball for people who want it on ESPN. Actually I wonder if there is an agreement NOT to show any games, even old ones, opposite ESPN's broadcast.
   34. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5683941)
I'd bet getting viewers and by extension advertising dollars for Bull Durham is easier than old games.
You think so, Jose? I seem to recall NFL Network showing plenty of abridged and unabridged rebroadcasts of games from yesteryear.
Actually I wonder if there is an agreement NOT to show any games, even old ones, opposite ESPN's broadcast.
This seems more plausible. Most unfortunate, but plausible.
   35. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5683953)
You think so, Jose? I seem to recall NFL Network showing plenty of abridged and unabridged rebroadcasts of games from yesteryear.


I don't know. My general assumption when this kind of thing happens is to assume it's financially driven. Does the NFLN show those games in Sunday primetime? That's prime (no pun intended) TV real estate and programming for it tends to the family related. I would think Rookie of the Year or The Natural or whatever is viewed as a more appropriate bit of fare than Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS or something regardless of what you or I would prefer.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5683965)
That's prime (no pun intended) TV real estate and programming for it tends to the family related. I would think Rookie of the Year or The Natural or whatever is viewed as a more appropriate bit of fare than Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS or something regardless of what you or I would prefer.
You're saying you don't think the '86 Mets were family-friendly?
   37. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5683969)
I don't know. My general assumption when this kind of thing happens is to assume it's financially driven. Does the NFLN show those games in Sunday primetime? That's prime (no pun intended) TV real estate and programming for it tends to the family related. I would think Rookie of the Year or The Natural or whatever is viewed as a more appropriate bit of fare than Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS or something regardless of what you or I would prefer.
NFL Network has live programming, featuring highlights and analysis, opposite NBC's Sunday night broadcast.

Even during the offseason, MLB Network doesn't schedule many classic games. Sitting at home in the middle of January, I'd love to watch replays of old World Series games. (OK, maybe not those from 1956. Or 1958. Or 1961. Or 1962. Or 1977. Or 1978. Or 1996. Or...)
   38. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5683975)
Classic games are what you run when you have no original content. Well, that or Andy Griffith reruns. Viewerships and thus ad money/carriage fees/subscription fees for non-original content is very low which is why if able to a network will run original content.
   39. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5683983)
Classic games are what you run when you have no original content.
Little Big League is original content?
   40. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5683984)
(but more seriously, let David Cone do it. He's doing a good job of straddling the line with respect as an explayer but knowing the value of the advanced stats.

Cone interjects more advanced stats per inning than any broadcaster I've ever heard, and he does it in such matter-of-fact a way that he doesn't even get much pushback from Paul O'Neill.
   41. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5683990)
Even during the offseason, MLB Network doesn't schedule many classic games. Sitting at home in the middle of January, I'd love to watch replays of old World Series games. (OK, maybe not those from 1956. Or 1958. Or 1961. Or 1962. Or 1977. Or 1978. Or 1996. Or...)

Then 1973 or 2000 or 2015 should be right up your alley.
   42. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5683994)
Little Big League is original content?

No but I bet it gets better ratings than a low def telecast from 1982 featuring two teams that 95% of the nation care little about.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5683998)
Even during the offseason, MLB Network doesn't schedule many classic games. Sitting at home in the middle of January, I'd love to watch replays of old World Series games.

Maybe they don't want us to see how much more enjoyable baseball was back then.

When you watch those games, it's a stunning contrast. Batters rarely leave the box. The pitcher and catcher look like they're playing catch, given how fast they work. And the batters actually try to hit the ball, if it's a strike, rather than "working the count".
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5684004)
I still can't figure out why MLBN insists on airing a tiresome rotation of six or seven baseball films on Sunday night in lieu of rebroadcasts of, say, All-Star Games from the 1970s or the 1967 World Series.

AFAIK there aren't any full games from the 1967 World Series that were saved, and other than 1970 and 1971, the All-Star games from the 70's were pretty much all lopsided snoozers. If they're going to get into "classic" games, there are far more nailbiters from the past 20 or 25 years to choose among.
   45. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5684098)
AFAIK there aren't any full games from the 1967 World Series that were saved,
Seriously, Andy? How do you know this?

I seem to recall watching the clinching game of the 1965 World Series not *too* long ago, although it might have been on YouTube.
   46. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5684101)
When you watch those games, it's a stunning contrast. Batters rarely leave the box. The pitcher and catcher look like they're playing catch, given how fast they work. And the batters actually try to hit the ball, if it's a strike, rather than "working the count".
I'm fine with batters working the count, just not the unnecessary delays like stepping out of the box after every pitch.
   47. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5684107)
I've heard the same thing Andy has about the '67 series. A few years back (probably more than that now because I'm old) NESN (Red Sox Pravda) dug up a print of the final game of the regular season and aired it. Prior to that though they didn't have a copy of it.
   48. Stormy JE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5684110)
   49. , Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5684112)
I'm sure the fees to air Little Big League or Bull Durham aren't super high but MLB actually owns the content for classic games. They just put it on and any ad dollars are profit. I can't imagine their ratings are going to be all that high, regardless, Sunday nights when MLB games are ongoing on another network. Most baseball fans watching TV will be watching that. And MLB isn't going to get a lot of folks who aren't baseball fans. They'd probably make more money doing infomercials than either option.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5684113)
They'd probably make more money doing infomercials than either option.
Where's Tom Emanski when you need him?
   51. Rally Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5684114)
Even during the offseason, MLB Network doesn't schedule many classic games. Sitting at home in the middle of January, I'd love to watch replays of old World Series games. (OK, maybe not those from 1956. Or 1958. Or 1961. Or 1962. Or 1977. Or 1978. Or 1996. Or...)


I don't know how often MLB network plays classic games since I cut the cord, but if you are an MLBTV subscriber you can watch the classic games they have archived any time you want. Checking my phone, these WS years are covered (at least 1 game from the given series):

1952
1965
1968
1969
1970
1971
1974
1975-1978
1980-1991
1993
1995
1997
2000-2007
2010
2013-2017
   52. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5684117)
I'm sure the fees to air Little Big League or Bull Durham aren't super high but MLB actually owns the content for classic games. They just put it on and any ad dollars are profit. I can't imagine their ratings are going to be all that high, regardless, Sunday nights when MLB games are ongoing on another network. Most baseball fans watching TV will be watching that. And MLB isn't going to get a lot of folks who aren't baseball fans. They'd probably make more money doing infomercials than either option.


They don't have to pay ABC or CBS or NBC to replay content they originally broadcasted?
   53. QLE Posted: June 01, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5684156)
Seriously, Andy? How do you know this?

I seem to recall watching the clinching game of the 1965 World Series not *too* long ago, although it might have been on YouTube.


It's reasonably common knowledge- the TV audio for most of the 1967 World Series is known to exist, but none of the footage has, and it's the most recent World Series for which that is the case.

As for 1965, that World Series (as well as those of 1968, 1969, and 1970) were saved on kinescopes by the CBC.

In general, NBC did a poor job of archiving their sports broadcasts, and their coverage of the World Series is a case in point- the earliest games that were saved by the network are Games 3-5 of the 1969 World Series (all pre-1969 materials come from other sources), and the earliest one that they kept in its entirety appears to be 1975.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: June 01, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5684283)
Look at this guy, thinking he's the king.

Haters gotta hate.

On MLB network content (that doesn't affect me at all), it would be cool if they'd finance some baseball documentaries. (Maybe they do.) Those would be cheap to produce with lots of old clips and interviews with the former players. Some bios, some on famous games, the Negro Legaues, histories of Latin American and Japanese baseball, the hapless Browns, the Expos. Of course they'd probably still only pull 25% of the audience of the 1 millionth broadcast of Bull Durham.

On the NFL Films -- football fan or not, those films were just exceptionally well-done. They were always the high watermark for that kind of effort. The old baseball counterparts never matched up.
   55. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 01, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5684298)
The penultimate game of the 1967 season between the Twins and the Red Sox - the Twins were one game up with two to play - is available on YouTube.
   56. shoewizard Posted: June 01, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5684339)
We just had Robothal and Manfred blaming analytics for the increase in strikeouts, without ever mentioning velocity. The war isn't over.

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