Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Goold: Stats don’t tell the whole story of who Bill James is

From Tony Suck to Roberto Succo…a terrific look at Bill James.

Still prolific, James remains more writer than mathematician, more warm-blooded historian than cold-storage calculator. He’s more outgoing than he was when he coined the term sabermetrics, and he’s written a nonfiction book on crime that is soon to be published. But while he has other interests, that morning round of Ball Park reveals a perception that is true: He has one obsession.

Baseball.

“Every morning when I wake up I always remember dreams, and I always have,” James said. “Seven days out of 10, I remember a dream about baseball. Baseball is central to how my view of the world is organized, and I tend — to my detriment — to see the rest of the world as an extension of the principles that I look for in the study of baseball.

“I don’t think you could take baseball out of it for me at all.”

...“Look at the state of baseball today, how it’s covered and how it’s run. All of that is Bill,” said Rob Neyer, who writes for SB Nation. “Without him, ‘Moneyball’ isn’t published. There aren’t as many websites doing this stuff. Some jobs don’t exist. If it hadn’t been for Bill, it would still be a cult thing. There were other sabermetricians working, but they never reached the audience that Bill reached, and then populated the front offices of baseball a decade later.”

Keith Law, part of that audience who went from Toronto’s front office to now writing for ESPN.com, stated in an e-mail: “James didn’t discover fire, but he invented the match.”

Repoz Posted: February 27, 2011 at 01:08 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, history, memorabilia, projections, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. this is normal 57i66135. move on, find a new slant Posted: February 27, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3759068)
I tend — to my detriment — to see the rest of the world as an extension of the principles that I look for in the study of baseball.
that's a very interesting phrase. i've been saying a variant of it about myself for quite a while in relation to the massive amounts of time and money i waste in following a kid's game.
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 27, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3759085)
I tend — to my detriment — to see the rest of the world as an extension of the principles that I look for in the study of baseball.


I've always said you can measure a man or woman's character by how he or she reacts to a 95 MPH cutter.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: February 27, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3759098)
Probably not much here that folks who follow James don't already know, but, good story.
   4. K-BAR, J-BAR (trhn) Posted: February 27, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3759152)
At first, that phrase struck me as a bit of an overstatement. But thinking about my own experience, baseball, particularly BTF, taught me to look at the world more systematically. Before I was more prone to using post hoc causal explanations for things, ie the stock market went down today because of the price of tea in China sorta thinking. Baseball and sabremetrics has given me better tools to make sense of the world.

In fact, the focus on process that I think sabremetrics helped instill has enhanced my aesthetic appreciation of baseball by shifting my focus from outcomes to what's actually happening on the field for both teams.
   5. I Fought Vance Law and Vance Law Won Posted: February 28, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3759543)
I see what they did there with the headline.
   6. villageidiom Posted: February 28, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#3759642)
What I like to think I learned about life through sabermetrics is that (a) people often ascend to positions of high authority or responsibility without knowing how to do the job, and (b) they will make decisions not based on what works best but rather on what exposes their ignorance the least. However, if I'm really honest with myself, I probably learned that one independent of baseball and sabermetrics.
   7. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 28, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3759684)
The one thing I've learned from James and the sabermetric approach to the world is how you can — and should — try to make decisions dispassionately and with as much evidence as possible, and that being dispassionate is often most important when you're dealing with the things you're passionate about.
   8. Greg K Posted: February 28, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3759717)
I'd say sabermetrics taught me to not take people's word for things if you can look for evidence yourself.

EDIT: Or unless they show you the evidence they're interpreting.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
tshipman
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - 2018 NBA Summer Potpourri (finals, draft, free agency, Colangelo dragging)
(1845 - 10:30pm, Jun 22)
Last: Howie Menckel

Sox TherapyA Pleasant Trip So Far
(47 - 10:30pm, Jun 22)
Last: jacksone (AKA It's OK...)

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (World Cup)
(797 - 10:25pm, Jun 22)
Last: Textbook Editor

NewsblogOMNICHATTER disagrees with your presentation, for June 22, 2018
(58 - 10:22pm, Jun 22)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOTP 2018 June 18: How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game
(1448 - 10:03pm, Jun 22)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogMariners rallying to get Ichiro in Home Run Derby
(10 - 8:51pm, Jun 22)
Last: Leroy Kincaid

NewsblogMike Trout Is Compiling a Historic Season and the Angels Are Wasting It Again
(49 - 8:38pm, Jun 22)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogKelvin Herrera Trade Start of Something Big for Nationals
(55 - 7:41pm, Jun 22)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogTaking Back the Ballparks - Arizona Diamondbacks
(24 - 7:13pm, Jun 22)
Last: QLE

NewsblogBBTF ANNUAL CENTRAL PARK SOFTBALL GAME 2018
(127 - 5:24pm, Jun 22)
Last: catomi01

NewsblogLate Yankees Pitching Coach Billy Connors: A Character With A Huge Appetite For Life
(13 - 4:28pm, Jun 22)
Last: Howie Menckel

Gonfalon CubsClicking
(92 - 3:57pm, Jun 22)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-22-2018
(8 - 1:56pm, Jun 22)
Last: The Ghost of Sox Fans Past

NewsblogOmaha to host Tigers-Royals game as kickoff event for 2019 CWS
(5 - 12:56pm, Jun 22)
Last: bfan

Hall of Merit2019 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(122 - 7:34am, Jun 22)
Last: theorioleway

Page rendered in 0.2356 seconds
46 querie(s) executed