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. starving to death with a full STEAGLES 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. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip 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. Starlin of the Slipstream (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 de 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

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Mike Emeigh
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(1357 - 7:18am, Dec 20)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - December 2014
(745 - 7:16am, Dec 20)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogOT: Politics - December 2014: Baseball & Politics Collide in New Thriller
(5064 - 6:34am, Dec 20)
Last: Ron J

NewsblogMax Scherzer not a realistic option, New York Yankees' Randy Levine says - ESPN New York
(76 - 6:06am, Dec 20)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogAmazin' Avenue - Cohen: Mets and Rockies discussing Troy Tulowitzki deal with Noah Syndergaard as the centerpiece
(38 - 3:52am, Dec 20)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogFull Count » Source: Red Sox close to deal sending Will Middlebrooks to Padres for Ryan Hanigan
(11 - 3:27am, Dec 20)
Last: The TVerik of Lordly Might

NewsblogTrading Justin Upton means the Braves are in full rebuilding mode | Mark Bradley blog
(79 - 2:49am, Dec 20)
Last: Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class

NewsblogOC Register | Former Angels prospect Ryan Bolden shot to death
(4 - 1:52am, Dec 20)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogThe 2015 HOF Ballot Collecting Gizmo!
(127 - 1:20am, Dec 20)
Last: Random Transaction Generator

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(9174 - 1:15am, Dec 20)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogJerry Crasnick on Twitter: "Jake Peavy has agreed on 2 yr deal with
(13 - 12:13am, Dec 20)
Last: Gonfalon Bubble

NewsblogThe 4 surprisingly quiet teams of the MLB offseason
(28 - 10:07pm, Dec 19)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogRoyals sign Kris Medlen to two-year deal - MLB Daily Dish
(32 - 8:20pm, Dec 19)
Last: WSPanic

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-19-2014
(10 - 7:47pm, Dec 19)
Last: bobm

NewsblogHow the Rays lost the City Council vote - DRaysBay
(4 - 6:55pm, Dec 19)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

Page rendered in 0.1803 seconds
48 querie(s) executed