And a neat Chass-generated shout-out from Len.
Well, fast forward from 2002 to 2012: the landscape has completely changed, and for the better, I think.
On a personal level, I just finished my eighth year in the Cubs TV booth, and I’m still pinching myself. I work with the best analyst in the game in Bob Brenly, and we have a national audience for about half our broadcasts on WGN, which gives us a good platform to talk about some of the things you read about at Baseball Prospectus all the time. We added a fun Stats Sunday feature and had a star-studded list of guest bloggers help us teach our viewers about some stats they should know. I’ve also gotten a chance to observe Theo Epstein and his incredibly bright front office do its thing up close on a daily basis. While 2012 was the first time I ever covered a 100-loss team, it was pretty enjoyable on one particular level—I am watching Theo, et al rebuild this organization from the ground up, a pretty exciting and new way of baseball business here on the north side of Chicago.
...But here is where it really crystallizes for me. Recently, two long-time New York sportswriters took personal and unnecessary shots at us “geeks.” Murray Chass called Bill James a “self-professed expert” and wore as a badge of honor the fact that he had no clue what Baseball Think Factory was. And Bill Madden wrote that WAR is ludicrous and that all the smarty-smarts have somehow disparaged guys like Miguel Cabrera and R.A. Dickey (which, by the way, is totally false in both cases).
But guess what? These horribly out-of-date, the-earth-is-flat diatribes were received by the Twitter universe and the blogosphere just how you’d expect them to be taken: with a chuckle and a figurative wave of the hand. You just can’t get away with writing uninformed stuff like this anymore in an arena in which the audience has gotten so smart.*
And that’s why we are in a better place now. We all know better, and we now have a wonderful, wide-open forum in which to make our thoughts clearly known. Keep spreading the word. It’s working.