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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keith Law on Cabrera MVP win: “What is wrong with these people”

Keith Law let’s it all hang out on Boston talk radio.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:17 AM | 112 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mvp, sabermetrics

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   1. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4304851)
"Nothing they do can convince me that the Orioles are a good team."

Shut up, Keith Law.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4304855)
Law is every bit as arrogant and obnoxious as the Chasses of the world. He's smart and insightful but I can't listen to him or read his stuff because he's so insulting and condescending.
   3. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4304862)
*
   4. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4304865)
He's smart and insightful but I can't listen to him or read his stuff because he's so insulting and condescending.

I guess he's "smart" but he's not smart enough to understand that sabermetrics carries within its core principle that which should cause one to be humble. I can tell Keith Law how many runs a team will score in a year and how many runs its opponents will score and Keith Law can't tell me how many games that team will win. Not only can't he tell me how many games that team will win, he can't tell me how many games plus or minus 15 that team will win.

His reaction instead is to double down on the condescension, huffiness, and pissiness. His stomping of feet, and taking his game and going home, when the Orioles' actual wins didn't match their modeled wins tells you pretty much all you need to know.

Except, uh Keith ... it's not your game.
   5. calhounite Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4304869)
I would have voted for Trout, but as a cause de injusteece, it's like contributing to OJ's defense fund. Cabrera played passible d at a so-called skills position, but the real rare skill is hitting. And Cabrera is an elite hitter having a peak season.
   6. BDC Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4304873)
as a cause de injusteece, it's like contributing to OJ's defense fund

Like many here, I'm also having trouble summoning up outrage. Fulminating should be reserved for the next guy who wins an MVP with a large empty RBI total. But there just haven't been many of those cases recently.
   7. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4304877)
Cabrera isn't even the least deserving Detroit Tiger to win the MVP in the last two years.
   8. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4304878)
I can tell Keith Law how many runs a team will score in a year and how many runs its opponents will score and Keith Law can't tell me how many games that team will win. Not only can't he tell me how many games that team will win, he can't tell me how many games plus or minus 15 that team will win.
Um, how many teams have been more than +/-15 games from thier Pythag record?
   9. phredbird Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4304879)
he doesn't sound so bad. but like a lot of other observers, i don't think this is OMFG teh sukc!!11!! territory.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4304889)
The arc of baseball history is long, but it bends towards sabermetrics.

Law needs to keep perspective. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown - something that hadn't been done since 1967 - and six voters did not select him first. 15 years ago, do we think this would have happened? Cabrera would have been the unanimous pick as recently as 10 years go. The fact that over 20% of the voters saw Trout's year as better than a Triple Crown winners is real progress. In 15 years, under similar circumstances, Trout will win that award.

This is progress...not as fast as I'd like. But a lot faster than I ever thought it would be.
   11. Squash Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4304892)
Law needs to keep perspective. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown - something that hadn't been done since 1967 - and six voters did not select him first. 15 years ago, do we think this would have happened? Cabrera would have been the unanimous pick as recently as 10 years go. The fact that over 20% of the voters saw Trout's year as better than a Triple Crown winners is real progress. In 15 years, under similar circumstances, Trout will win that award.

This is progress...not as fast as I'd like. But a lot faster than I ever thought it would be.


Well said.
   12. Xander Posted: November 17, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4304898)
Well said, Steve Balboni. You didn't even mention the fact that Cabrera performed that feat on a team that won the division. The 6 writers voting for Trout were able to also ignore the Angels failure to make the playoffs. Good on them.

Go back to 1984. Cal Ripken Jr. is probably the best player in baseball. He won the MVP in 1983 and he has a season just as good, if not better, in 1984. Ripken gets all of 1 MVP vote that year. Not 1 first place vote, 1 vote total. Why? Because the Orioles went 1st place in 1983 to 5th place in 1984.
   13. snowles Posted: November 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4304899)
Does Law sound like a arrogant twit sometimes? Yeah. But hey, at any one time at least 40% of people here do too. Such is life, the message is still there buried in the noise. He's playing a role. At least, that's the hope.
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4304903)
Law needs to keep perspective. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown - something that hadn't been done since 1967 - and six voters did not select him first. 15 years ago, do we think this would have happened?

In 1942 and 1947, the Triple Crown winner didn't even win the MVP. In both of those years, the winning candidate won on the basis of being the better all-around player---which of course is an argument for Trout that fell flat this year.
   15. Kurt Posted: November 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4304904)
I heard Law yesterday on the show that precedes Chris Russo's (whoever that host is), and I thought he did very well, presenting a good case withough being overy arrogant. To his credit, the host was respectful in disagreement and gave Law plenty of room to talk (surprisingly on Mad Dog Radio).
   16. kthejoker Posted: November 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4304913)
1942 and 1947 definitely had a "best player on the best team" vibe.
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 17, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4304915)

In both of those years, the winning candidate won on the basis of being the better all-around player---which of course is an argument for Trout that fell flat this year.


The idea that Trout would have been ignored as a candidate X number of years of go is ridiculous. People have always done their little WAR calculation in their head.

I would say that the Saber waaaah-fest this awards season has done more harm than good.
   18. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: November 17, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4304928)
You didn't even mention the fact that Cabrera performed that feat on a team that won the division. The 6 writers voting for Trout were able to also ignore the Angels failure to make the playoffs
... even though the Angels still won more than Detroit while playing a far more difficult divisional schedule. Of all the arguments for Cabrera over Trout, the this is by far the weakest, and the one that deserves real scorn.
   19. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 17, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4304930)
I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4304932)

I'd have taken Trout over Cabrera - but once I factor in how happy it makes me to see idiots like Keith Law go so ballistic over this, I have to say that I prefer this result after all.

Miggy! Miggy!

   21. Quaker Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4304933)
He's also been devoting a lot of time in his chats to p.c. crap (e.g. how he won't say the name Indians or Braves.)
   22. The District Attorney Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4304936)
Similarly, Joe Sheehan went on local New England ESPN Radio.

Although certainly both Sheehan and Law can come off obnoxious, I don't think either one did here.

(And although I think it's preferable to come off as a nice guy, I don't buy the theory that people who currently reject sabermetrics would accept them if there were zero non-obnoxious sabermetricians.)

(Of course, it's impossible that there could ever be zero non-obnoxious sabermetricians, just like any other field.)
   23. Bob Tufts Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4304938)
I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?


Law is just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.

Should we have adjusted Trout's stats downwards, as he had an advantage over Miggy by being under the legal drinking age for a portion of the 2012 season?
   24. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4304947)
Should we have adjusted Trout's stats downwards, as he had an advantage over Miggy by being under the legal drinking age for a portion of the 2012 season?


Is there an age minimum for DUI?
   25. cmd600 Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4304950)
And Cabrera is an elite hitter having a peak season.


Is he though? Cabrera had a higher AVG, OBP and OPS+ just last year. Cabrera had highs in HR and RBI, but that doesn't necessarily mean he had a peak season. This was a pretty ho-hum for him.
   26. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4304954)
By oWAR it wasn't ho-hum--but he was better last year.
   27. Gamingboy Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4304959)
At night, the Baltimore Orioles and Miguel Cabrera haunt Keith Law's dreams.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4304960)
In both of those years, the winning candidate won on the basis of being the better all-around player---which of course is an argument for Trout that fell flat this year.

The idea that Trout would have been ignored as a candidate X number of years of go is ridiculous. People have always done their little WAR calculation in their head.


Of course they did. Long before WAR came along, there was the idea that in a close race, the "all-around player" was more valuable than the offensive standout with no fielding or baserunning skills. That's how Williams was beaten out by Gordon and Dimaggio in 1942 and 1947.

I think it's safe to say that Cabrera got extra credit this year for the sheer rarity (in recent years) of his feat, and the fact that it probably hasn't quite sunk in yet just how great a year Trout really had. When Williams lost those two MVP awards, Triple Crowns had been achieved many times over the previous decade, and he was beaten out by two high visibility players on championship teams, one of whom was universally acknowledged as baseball's best overall player. If Trout had been a few years older and had built up a prior resume, or if someone else had won Triple Crown a few years ago instead of 45 years ago, I suspect the result might have been different.

   29. cmd600 Posted: November 17, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4304962)
By oWAR it wasn't ho-hum--but he was better last year.


That's with ~10 extra runs from being switched to 3B. If we just looked Rbat, Rbase, and Rdp it's his 4th best season (out of 9 full seasons).
   30. Austin Posted: November 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4304980)
Say what you will about Law's strong points, but I think it's hard to deny that he's bad for the image of sabermetrics.
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4304988)
I can tell Keith Law how many runs a team will score in a year and how many runs its opponents will score and Keith Law can't tell me how many games that team will win.


I can tell SugarBearBlanks how many bullets I will fire into a crowd and SugarBearBlanks can't tell me how many people I will hit and who they will be.

You can only get so close, SugarBear. You can't predict the future with the level of specificity you are asking for, and nobody - including Law - has ever said otherwise.

Not only can't he tell me how many games that team will win, he can't tell me how many games plus or minus 15 that team will win.


The vast, vast majority of the time, yes, he can.
   32. BDC Posted: November 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4304989)
Looked at in another light, some comments here are making a strong HOF case for Cabrera: a guy who can win an MVP while having his ordinary season. If that's not a Keltner question it should be …
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4304992)
Law needs to keep perspective. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown - something that hadn't been done since 1967 - and six voters did not select him first. 15 years ago, do we think this would have happened? Cabrera would have been the unanimous pick as recently as 10 years go. The fact that over 20% of the voters saw Trout's year as better than a Triple Crown winners is real progress. In 15 years, under similar circumstances, Trout will win that award.

This is progress...not as fast as I'd like. But a lot faster than I ever thought it would be.


As I keep pointing out, the focus on the voters utterly misses the point. This was about non-voters. Because it was the statheads posting here and in other places who abandoned logic to say they were "ok" with an undeserving player winning the MVP because he happened to finish first in a non-ideal grouping of three categories.
   34. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4304997)
I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

Or, to recall a scene from Frasier:

Frasier: Roz? Our leader in this fight with management is Noel Shempsky?! The man has all the backbone of a paramecium! A lot of peoples' jobs are riding on this!

Roz: Well, do you think that it's my idea? Noel and I were the only two who volunteered. Of course, they voted me down. I'm smarter than he is, more confident, more articulate... But those stupid little WUSSES think I'm a HOT-HEAD!!

   35. Suff Posted: November 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4305013)
The average fan thinks the Triple Crown winner is obviously the best player. At one time, the beat writers delighted in being "expert" or "in-the-know" enough to be able to pick out a better all-around player "beyond the stats."

Now it is the analysts who delight in being "informed" enough to be able to pick out the better all-around player (and they have some numbers with which to make their arguments). Having now been usurped as "in-the-know" by the analysts, the beat writer types have gone the other way, defending the perspective of the average fan (and players/managers, the source of their "insider" knowledge), whose man is Cabrera.

On top of that, you have the story, which is what writers write all the time. In 1942 and 1947, there was a Triple Crown winner within the last 5 years each time, so the story wasn't that remarkable. You have to be over 50 to really remember the last Triple Crown now and well over 60 to have covered it professionally. This is the first Triple Crown of almost everyone's career. It's really hard to vote against that story, if you are a story-teller.

If I had a vote, I would WANT to vote for Cabrera's Triple Crown, because it is cool that he won it. It's something I've never seen. But I recognize Trout was almost certainly more valuable, so I would probably vote for Trout.

There is nothing "wrong with these people."
   36. alilisd Posted: November 17, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4305034)
@ 32: Cabrera has a strong HOF argument. He doesn't really need much of one made for him. Not that he's a lock right now, but he's been healthy and durable. Given a normal decline through his 30's he'll have a shot at 3,000 hits, over 500 2B and HR, 1,500 RBI, good ratios, hardware, post season play, everything old school voters like and he should end up with plenty of sabre cred, too.
   37. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4305039)
Given a normal decline through his 30's he'll have a shot at 3,000 hits, over 500 2B and HR, 1,500 RBI, good ratios, hardware, post season play, everything old school voters like


Except when your name is Rafael Palmeiro.
   38. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 17, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4305069)
I guess he's "smart" but he's not smart enough to understand that sabermetrics carries within its core principle that which should cause one to be humble.

Part of a columnist's job is to rile people up. To paraphrase Bierce, what's the point of writing if you can't make someone mad?

Fact is, sabermetrics has never been advanced by those talking softly and politely. Not by James, not by Lewis, not by the BP crowd, and so on and so forth. The meek don't inherit jack-####.
   39. thok Posted: November 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4305077)
Cabrera has a strong HOF argument. He doesn't really need much of one made for him. Not that he's a lock right now, but he's been healthy and durable. Given a normal decline through his 30's he'll have a shot at 3,000 hits, over 500 2B and HR, 1,500 RBI, good ratios, hardware, post season play, everything old school voters like and he should end up with plenty of sabre cred, too.


From a practical point of view, this year helped Cabrera's Hall of Fame chances significantly (ignoring the "everybody is blamed for steroids" contigent.) Cabrera literally doubled his Black Ink score this year. (Yes, this is a fancy way of saying the obvious that Triple Crown + MVP = much improved Hall of Fame case to the sportswriter contingent, but it's true.)

In fact, I could see some of the old school sportswriters voting Cabrera for the Hall of Fame, thinking it would annoy the sabermetric crowd. That would be hilarious.
   40. Monty Posted: November 17, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4305085)
I'd have taken Trout over Cabrera - but once I factor in how happy it makes me to see idiots like Keith Law go so ballistic over this, I have to say that I prefer this result after all.


If you enjoy idiots going ballistic, you probably couldn't lose. If Trout had won, it would have just been different idiots.
   41. vivaelpujols Posted: November 17, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4305092)
The triple crown argument is ok I guess. But I abhor the playoff arguments people are making.
   42. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4305095)

"If Trout had won, it would have just been different idiots."

true, but I find dullards less insufferable (except Albom, who is on on his own Hall of Fame path of sorts).

   43. shoewizard Posted: November 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4305125)
ballfan Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4304862)


*


aw c'mon , tell us how you feel. :)
   44. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4305135)
Fact is, sabermetrics has never been advanced by those talking softly and politely.

Definitely. But that also drives people away from sabermetrics, because people see it as very know-it-all (at least, that's how it seems to me). All I know is that I stopped reading MGL a while back, even though he's a very smart individual who taught me a lot, because he's also insufferable and arrogant, but I make sure to read writers who I enjoy, and, for me, enjoyment correlates a lot with personality. That might just be me, but I think hoping that prominent sabermetricians (no, Tango, not "saberists") be politer/humbler is a reasonable request.

This is one of those things where it diverges very much into the world of personal taste. I'm one of those people who finds controversy purely for the sake of controversy a waste of time (and potentially very offensive, though I've given up getting upset about this kind of thing and it's been pretty good for my personality), but you might disagree on that, in which case we're probably just looking at this from two totally different, incompatible vantage points.
   45. alilisd Posted: November 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4305137)
@ 37: I don't think it has anything to do with his name.
   46. Swedish Chef Posted: November 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4305153)
Fact is, sabermetrics has never been advanced by those talking softly and politely. Not by James, not by Lewis, not by the BP crowd, and so on and so forth. The meek don't inherit jack-####.

Funny, I seem to remember more than a few nice guys doing Sabermetrics.
   47. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4305164)
Wasn't Law a sabermetric apostate at one point?


Funny, I seem to remember more than a few nice guys doing Sabermetrics.



A few examples: Studes, Chris Jaffe (if his stuff is sabermetrics. Is historical research sabermetrics?) Josh Kalk. Dan Turkenkopf. Jim Furtado.

   48. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 17, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4305176)
Funny, I seem to remember more than a few nice guys doing Sabermetrics.

I wasn't talking about "nice" versus "not nice." Plenty of nice guys aggressively put forth opinions. My point is that if you look at all the steps forward in public acceptance and/or media saturation of sabermetrics, they all come from very opinionated people writing very opinionated things.
   49. vivaelpujols Posted: November 17, 2012 at 07:34 PM (#4305180)
A few examples: Studes, Chris Jaffe (if his stuff is sabermetrics. Is historical research sabermetrics?) Josh Kalk. Dan Turkenkopf. Jim Furtado.


Add Pizza Cutter, Mike Fast, Sky Andrecheck, Dave Allen, Jeremy Greenhouse, Sky Kalkman, David Gassko, Phil Burnbaum. There are way many friendly sabermetricians than their are ########. The only guys I can think of are MGL, Dave Cameron and maybe Keith Law if you stretch you definition of sabermetrician.

I'll posit that a much higher percentage of sabermetricians are nice guys compared to mainstream media where you have guys like Joe Strauss, Jon Heyman, Murray Chass, Mitch Albom, etc.
   50. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 17, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4305182)
Speaking of MSM, Dan Shaughnessy has been surprisingly courteous and responsive the handful of times I emailed him. Speaking of Albom, does he post here as SBB?
   51. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 17, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4305184)
Speaking of MSM, Dan Shaughnessy has been surprisingly courteous and responsive the handful of times I emailed him.


One of ST guys either knew him or knew someone who knew him and said he was a decent fella. Which only makes his loathsome in-print persona more perplexing.
   52. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4305186)
Jose Bautista. If Jose Bautista doesn't injure his wrist and miss 70 games, he quite possibly leads MLB in HR's again for the 3rd straight year. No Triple Crown for Cabrera, completely different media narrative, and all the attention is drawn to Trout. A fortuitous season for Cabrera.
   53. pep21 Posted: November 17, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4305188)
Tom Verducci made the best argument I heard regarding this and said that last year Ben Zoberist led the AL in WAR in 2011. Apparently he didn't win the MVP and the seam heads weren't up in arms. Take that Keith Law, you asssssssshole!

   54. RJ in TO Posted: November 17, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4305190)
Tom Verducci made the best argument I heard regarding this and said that last year Ben Zoberist led the AL in WAR in 2011. Apparently he didn't win the MVP and the seam heads weren't up in arms. Take that Keith Law, you asssssssshole!

He beat Verlander by 0.3 that year (8.5 to 8.2) in B-R WAR, with a very large chunk of his value being on the much harder to measure accurately defensive side (dWAR of 3.2), and Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Bautista being very close behind. In Fangraphs, he was only at 6.6 WAR, vs. Verlander's 6.8, both of which were well behind Ellsbury (9.4) and Bautista (8.3) (and Pedroia, and Kinsler, and close to Granderson, Cabrera, Gordon and Sabathia) in the AL. The reason seamheads weren't up in arms as a group was because there wasn't any real agreement between the different flavors of the superstats as to who was the best player in the AL.

This year, there's a whole lot of agreement between the superstats as to who really was the best.
   55. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 17, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4305192)
Loved the two WAR swing for Zobrist among calculations of essentially the same stat. Just screams "legitimacy".
   56. Austin Posted: November 17, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4305195)
Verducci's argument is meaningless because B-R changed its defensive numbers from TZL to DRS during the offseason. Zobrist was nowhere near the lead in their WAR when the MVP was awarded, because TZL had his defense as being much closer to league average.
   57. JJ1986 Posted: November 17, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4305197)
It's all defense. Zobrist had 26 batting runs, 3 base-running runs, 23 replacement runs and 0 positional runs in each system. 29 defensive runs from b-r, 10 from Fangraphs. More specifically, he had 23 DRS at 2B and a UZR of only 7. I'd guess it's the shift.
   58. bjhanke Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:05 PM (#4305200)
In both 1942 and 1947, the issue is complicated by two factors: 1) a large number of the people who voted for the MVP actively disliked Ted Williams, and 2) Ted's stats the previous years (1941 and 46) were just a little better than the Triple Crown years, and I mean that the three component stats of the Triple Crown had been a bit better. He just didn't lead the league in all three stats in those previous years. This second factor is the weird one. It's like there was a small offensive drop in 1942 and 47, but Williams fought the trend off better than the other Usual Suspects, and ended up winning the TC while looking like he had fallen off just a wee tad. - Brock Hanke
   59. OsunaSakata Posted: November 17, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4305203)
One of ST guys either knew him or knew someone who knew him and said he was a decent fella. Which only makes his loathsome in-print persona more perplexing.


I have an ex-GF who is also an editor. She's worked with both Dan Shaughnessy and Buzz Bissinger and said they were both nice people. She's currently working with Terry Francona on his book. Of course, no one has a bad thing to say about Terry Francona unless it's about beer, fried chicken and clubhouse discipline.
   60. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4305262)
In both 1942 and 1947, the issue is complicated by two factors: 1) a large number of the people who voted for the MVP actively disliked Ted Williams, and 2) Ted's stats the previous years (1941 and 46) were just a little better than the Triple Crown years, and I mean that the three component stats of the Triple Crown had been a bit better. He just didn't lead the league in all three stats in those previous years. This second factor is the weird one. It's like there was a small offensive drop in 1942 and 47, but Williams fought the trend off better than the other Usual Suspects, and ended up winning the TC while looking like he had fallen off just a wee tad. - Brock Hanke

And as noted above, it's also complicated by the fact that in both years, the winner was from the championship team, and in 1947 the winner was Joe Dimaggio. You would have had to look far and wide to find a single writer in 1947 who wasn't at least somewhat influenced by Dimaggio's deserved reputation as the best all-around player in the game, and if that sentiment flipped the vote of only one writer, that would have been enough to tip the scales to Joe.
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4305272)

But Miggy easily wins the "who would you want to have a beer with" over Trout, who couldn't even buy you one legally for most of the year.

Whereas Miggy probably wouldn't even notice if you piled up a few free ones onto his voluminous tab.

   62. vivaelpujols Posted: November 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4305291)
Loved the two WAR swing for Zobrist among calculations of essentially the same stat. Just screams "legitimacy".


Dude, #### off. Would you rather their be no difference between the two calculations? The reason they differ b 2 wins is that it's hard to measure defense. Of course that's better than not trying to measure it at all.
   63. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4305308)
Loved the two WAR swing for Zobrist among calculations of essentially the same stat. Just screams "legitimacy".

Most of the times, WAR measures agree. Sometimes they don't and in the extreme cases, they can come up with quite different results.

That's hardly unusual in any field. For example, not all illnesses are easy to diagnose - it's not uncommon for doctors to believe different things are going on with the same patient and the same objective information and it's not uncommon for doctors to propose different courses of treatment. That's a poor basis for announcing that medicine is illegitimate, throwing our hands up in the air, and start uses leeches again.
   64. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4305309)
Add Pizza Cutter, Mike Fast, Sky Andrecheck, Dave Allen, Jeremy Greenhouse, Sky Kalkman, David Gassko, Phil Burnbaum. There are way many friendly sabermetricians than their are ########.

Except this wasn't the argument it all. I never said anything about whether people are "nice" or not.
   65. Moe Greene Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4305312)
These Dan Szymborski and DJS fellows seem like they might get along well.
   66. Darren Posted: November 17, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4305323)
This happens every time a stat guy dares to give back anywhere near what he's taking from the other side. Look asst some of thaws pieces that are getting written. At best, they're barely coherent, at worry they are contradict the premises they invoke. Oh, and for extra fun, they usually include snide mockery of the other side. Sure, it would be nice if Law coif rise above the fray, but what has the other side done too deserve even the smallest amount of respect? Why be polite to someone who holds you beneath contempt?
   67. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4305336)
These Dan Szymborski and DJS fellows seem like they might get along well.

I sometimes accidently log in under my old account. Since here I'm now just a commenter like everyone else, it made sense to have an account that wasn't linked with a decade of articles and blog entries.
   68. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2012 at 12:50 AM (#4305366)

"Why be polite to someone who holds you beneath contempt?"

Why even address someone who holds you beneath contempt?

   69. winnipegwhip Posted: November 18, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4305369)
I follow Joey Kiethley's viewpoint on Sabrmetric Measurement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqR9SQGrlBE
   70. Moe Greene Posted: November 18, 2012 at 12:53 AM (#4305371)
I sometimes accidently log in under my old account. Since here I'm now just a commenter like everyone else, it made sense to have an account that wasn't linked with a decade of articles and blog entries.

No worries. I'm just amusing myself over here.
   71. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4305376)
There's a difference between saying "I disagree with you" and saying "I think you're an idiot". It is the latter that many of the LOUDEST saberists seem to be saying.

And to bring up members of MSM who are equally obnoxious, well..

"You started it!!"

"No, you did--you invaded Poland!!!"
   72. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 18, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4305404)
I have an ex-GF who is also an editor. She's worked with both Dan Shaughnessy and Buzz Bissinger and said they were both nice people. She's currently working with Terry Francona on his book.


Was she the one Francona was sexting towel pics to?
   73. OsunaSakata Posted: November 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4305466)

Was she the one Francona was sexting towel pics to?


You never know who the FBI is investigating.
   74. Shaun Payne Posted: November 18, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4305469)
Law is every bit as arrogant and obnoxious as the Chasses of the world. He's smart and insightful but I can't listen to him or read his stuff because he's so insulting and condescending.


The difference between someone like Law and someone like Chass is that Law has the data and reason on his side. It's easy to see why one would be condescending and arrogant when folks completely ignore data and reason to refute or accept an argument.

But I don't know that I would call it arrogance. If you are telling someone he or she doesn't have data and reason on his or her side, that might be interpreted as arrogance, no matter how nicely you try to do it. It seems to me the type people who aren't going to accept a well-constructed argument based on data and reason are also the type people who are going to take such arguments personal.
   75. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4305470)
The difference between someone like Law and someone like Chass is that Law has the data and reason on his side.

He has neither -- Ben Zobrist 2011 -- but that aside, a baseball columnist/beat writer's job doesn't involve merely applying "data and reason." "Analysis" is but a small subset of writing and thinking about baseball.

But I don't know that I would call it arrogance. If you are telling someone he or she doesn't have data and reason on his or her side, that might be interpreted as arrogance, no matter how nicely you try to do it.

The arrogance stems from the comically obtuse belief that his niche is the only niche.
   76. vivaelpujols Posted: November 18, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4305482)
There's a difference between saying "I disagree with you" and saying "I think you're an idiot". It is the latter that many of the LOUDEST saberists seem to be saying.


No but seriously, what's an example of a saberist calling someone else an idiot (besides MGL and Dave Cameron)?
   77. cmd600 Posted: November 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4305525)
He has neither -- Ben Zobrist 2011


I like how SBB's argument has devolved solely into "something kinda funny happened one time, so throw all the results out entirely". When is the last time he posted something that didn't include him typing "Zobrist"?
   78. Darren Posted: November 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4305528)
"Why be polite to someone who holds you beneath contempt?"

Why even address someone who holds you beneath contempt?


The same reason Paul Krugman argues with the austerity scolds--it's part of the job. It's the realm in which he works. Keith Law covers baseball and the debate over the MVP is mostly made up of a bunch of contradictory nonsense + "Get your nose out a spreadsheet egghead," it's a pretty reasonable response to say, "What is wrong with these people?" That kind of crap doesn't deserve respect. It doesn't deserve a respected place in the debate. It deserves derision.



   79. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: November 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4305529)

But Miggy easily wins the "who would you want to have a beer with" over Trout, who couldn't even buy you one legally for most of the year.

Given Miggy's past problems with alcohol, I would not be so sure about that.
   80. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4305531)
Economically illiterate #######.
   81. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4305535)

"The same reason Paul Krugman argues with the austerity scolds--it's part of the job."

Another good example of a guy who undermines even his best arguments with his obnoxiousness.

It's distracting, frankly, in either case.


   82. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 18, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4305552)
Krugman's opponents could convince our elected representatives to pursue destructive public policy. Law's opponents could convince whom to do what exactly?
   83. Swedish Chef Posted: November 18, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4305554)
That kind of crap doesn't deserve respect. It doesn't deserve a respected place in the debate. It deserves derision.

Yeah, it's a great strategy to show the strengths of clear reasoning, to reduce it all to a contest of insults. That'll show them.
   84. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 18, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4305568)
I like how SBB's argument has devolved solely into "something kinda funny happened one time, so throw all the results out entirely". When is the last time he posted something that didn't include him typing "Zobrist"?


Hey, at least he hasn't called people who disagree with him "fanboys" yet.
   85. Darren Posted: November 18, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4305572)
Krugman's opponents could convince our elected representatives to pursue destructive public policy. Law's opponents could convince whom to do what exactly?


I agree that the argument over the MVP is a lot less important than the argument over the economy, but I was pointing out that both guys argue against people they find ridiculous because that's the argument that's being had.
   86. Darren Posted: November 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4305573)
Yeah, it's a great strategy to show the strengths of clear reasoning, to reduce it all to a contest of insults. That'll show them.


The clear reasoning has been done. The reaction has been to spout a bunch of nonsense and call people names. At that point, treating the other side's argument as reasonable only gives them more legitimacy than they deserve.

What if we were arguing about global warming? Scientist Keith uses mountains of data to show that Earth is warming and that it's related to human activities. Pundit Mitch starts talking about how Keith is just saying this to get that sweet government grant money, how there are scientists (paid by big oil) who don't agree, and how it snowed last week so 'where's your global warming now, Mr. Corrupt Egghead?" Keith goes back at him by again calmly explaining his points again with more detail and in simpler terms, then Mitch repeats his nonsense. What happens? At best, non-expert lay people think these are two sides of a reasonable debate and that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. At worst, they may even start to think that people like Keith, with their facts and numbers, can't be trusted.
   87. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4305585)
Loved the two WAR swing for Zobrist among calculations of essentially the same stat. Just screams "legitimacy".


Most of the times, WAR measures agree. Sometimes they don't and in the extreme cases, they can come up with quite different results.

That's hardly unusual in any field.


It's unusual w/r/t offense stats. How often do we see the same player with a 160 OPS+ but only a .270 EqA?
   88. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 18, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4305591)
I like how SBB's argument has devolved solely into "something kinda funny happened one time, so throw all the results out entirely". When is the last time he posted something that didn't include him typing "Zobrist"?


I think you're misrepresenting his argument. He brought up Zobrist as a clear example, but it's hardly the only example.

And I don't think he's arguing that we should "throw all the results out entirely" - if he is, I disagree - but we should take defensive stats with a significant degree of skepticism even now. And that is extremely problematic for an uber-stat like WAR.
   89. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4305630)

"Keith goes back at him by again calmly explaining his points again with more detail and in simpler terms, then Mitch repeats his nonsense. What happens? At best, non-expert lay people think these are two sides of a reasonable debate and that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. At worst, they may even start to think that people like Keith, with their facts and numbers, can't be trusted."

And what is that happens when Keith acts like a jerk instead?

Do you think that non-expert lay people suddenly race to Keith's side? Why? Out of fear he'll start insulting them next?

If you just want to feel better by venting about what poopyheads your opponents are, then go for it. But if you think that Keith's style is going to win friends and influence people, I beg to differ.

   90. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 18, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4305634)
Keith Law isn't an "expert" at anything (*), and the people on the other "side" from him aren't "lay people."

The (trivial) award he's railing about isn't amenable to the application of "expertise."

(*) Any more than if he'd spent 18 hours a day staring at traffic lights and pronounced himself an expert on the color red.
   91. vivaelpujols Posted: November 18, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4305641)
And I don't think he's arguing that we should "throw all the results out entirely" - if he is, I disagree - but we should take defensive stats with a significant degree of skepticism even now. And that is extremely problematic for an uber-stat like WAR.


I agree with all of this, but that's not a good criticism of WAR. If WAR decided not to try to measure defense at all I bet FG and B-R would match up very well (park factors and replacement level being the biggest sources of disagreement). But I think measuring defense poorly is better than not measuring it at all. Obviously if you get a player with a +20 run defensive rating and the scouting reports don't match that, it's fair to adjust his WAR downward, but in the cases where defense looks about right, I don't see the problem with taking WAR at face value.
   92. vivaelpujols Posted: November 18, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4305643)
Keith Law isn't an "expert" at anything (*), and the people on the other "side" from him aren't "lay people."


Keith Law has worked for a major league baseball team. He's written for ESPN and BPro and has been paid for his analysis (rather than his journalistic ability like other writers). What is your definition of an "expert"?
   93. vivaelpujols Posted: November 18, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4305644)
I agree that there is no such thing as an "MVP expert", but there certainly are people who are experts at quantifying player value.
   94. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 18, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4305659)
And what is that happens when Keith acts like a jerk instead?

Do you think that non-expert lay people suddenly race to Keith's side? Why? Out of fear he'll start insulting them next?

If you just want to feel better by venting about what poopyheads your opponents are, then go for it. But if you think that Keith's style is going to win friends and influence people, I beg to differ


Honestly, do you really think people aren't coming to the saber side (whatever that is) because there are a few people like Law and mgl? This feels like a straw man argument. And why is contentious debate something to be avoided? Frankly, all this talk about decorum seems designed to avoid real substantive discussion.
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4305662)

If you want to know what a straw man argument looks like, try this one: "And why is contentious debate something to be avoided?"

It is possible to be contentious without being a jerk about it. You can directly challenge an opposing view, point by point, and explain vociferously why you believe in your position.

Once you start insulting other people, you lose a lot of credibility. I am sorry if this is not obvious to you.

   96. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 18, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4305663)
I agree that the argument over the MVP is a lot less important than the argument over the economy, but I was pointing out that both guys argue against people they find ridiculous because that's the argument that's being had.

It's not a matter of importance so much as a matter of what Law hopes to accomplish. AFAICT the best possible outcome from all this is that next year's version of Mike Trout will win the BBWAA's MVP award over next year's version of Miguel Cabrera. But nobody here cares about the opinion of the BBWAA beyond the excuse it affords us to serve our addiction to righteous indignation.

To use another analogy, is any serious sabermetrician unskewing his WARs to figure out ways to build a Value function that comports with the BBWAA's insights? No, of course not.
   97. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 18, 2012 at 08:01 PM (#4305666)
It is possible to be contentious without being a jerk about it.


Ok, but then why dwell on Law's argument? Fine, he's a condescending jerk or whatever. There is still a real debate here. And why hasn't anyone answered the question posed in 76? Name the people who have been guilty of what Law has done.
   98. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 18, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4305668)
Once you start insulting other people, you lose a lot of credibility. I am sorry if this is not obvious to you.


Do you see how that's insulting to me?
   99. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 18, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4305670)
There is still a real debate here.

You mean who should be the MVP? Probably Trout, but Cabrera has a good case, too. I probably would have voted for Trout, but I'm really happy to see Law's "side" "lose." The entertainment value of seeing a guy that absurdly arrogant so unhinged is tough to top. Hall of Fame voting season should be fun.
   100. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4305697)
"Do you see how that's insulting to me?"

I do not, but I welcome your insight, as it can help me communicate better in the future.
From your previous comments, I drew the conclusion that you did not find that insulting those opposed to your position was out of bounds, or suboptimal.

Please review our posts and see if you can show me where I went down the wrong path. I found it unfortunate that I thought you did not see how insults can be counterproductive. Obviously, we have a disconnect that I would like to rectify, and I thank you for your time.

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