This is the worst Hurley wreck I’ve seen since that picture of Bobby Hurley’s Toyota 4-Runner truck was released!
I realize that by saying that I sound like the group of baseball fans who yell “Shut up, stat nerds!” at the first sight of any statistic that hasn’t been around for 100 years, but I assure you I’m not. (Unless you start equating BABIP to good or bad luck. Then we would have to fight with our fists.) There is certainly something to be gained by WAR.
But there is not that much, people.
...I’d honestly be more accepting of the stat revolution types if they didn’t seemingly make it their life goal to attack the RBI and all it stands for. “Driving in runs is meaningless!” they argue, saying a batter can’t control how often runners get on base in front of them. That’s true for sure, and it should be taken into account when trying to compare a 110-RBI man on the Yankees and an 88-RBI man on, say, the Astros. That Yankee is not necessarily better or “more clutch” than the Astro … but he still drove in 110 runs, which is damn impressive.
At-bats are different. When a hitter steps into the box in of those pressure-packed, late-inning situations, with a crowd of 40,000 going absolutely nuts and the opposing team’s best reliever on the mound, it’s different. His heart rate accelerates, he sweats more than usual and it takes more effort to focus his energy on the task at hand. If he doubles in that situation, it’s more meaningful and impressive than if he doubles in a tie game in the second inning with nobody on base. It just is, and that’s science, too.
Such factors can’t be ignored, and while considering them won’t create an easy-to-read spreadsheet, it’s still OK. You can just … watch the games and understand. Isn’t that why we enjoy the sport to begin with?
We all don’t need to war over WAR (damn, those terrible cliches are just so hard to resist). You’re not right, I’m not right, and there’s not one individual statistic that is right. Much like the way last year’s AL MVP race played out, WAR can be a factor without being the factor. Unlike the statistic itself, it’s not very complicated.
Posted: February 23, 2013 at 08:21 AM | 221 comment(s)
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