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

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NY Times: Douthat: A Baseball Golden Age?

That’s the bold claim advanced last week by Michael Brendan Dougherty, who just took a step away from political writing to found a baseball newsletter (news-email?) called “The Slurve” [http://www.theslurve.com/], and who gives a great interview about the decision here. His case that baseball is peaking acknowledges the sport’s various difficulties (the Hall of Fame’s steroid problems, the pace of games, the Florida Marlins), but then follows with this:

   But overall the sport has never been better. The league has achieved a wonderful balance of parity and dynastic success, feeding just enough hope to smaller-market teams and just enough resentment of larger, perennially competitive ones. Most of the league’s ballparks have been updated in the last 20 years, and on the whole they are better than the stadiums that preceded them, less claustrophobic, better staffed, safer, and, yes, more expensive.

   And for all the faults of the league office, the sport has effected a revolution in how we find the sport. Online watching allows fans to see every out-of-market game on their computers or on television. The league has opened up the data about itself available to the nerds. You now can quantify the movement of every pitch thrown.

   Advanced statistical analysis has given us greater depth of insight into the players and the franchises themselves. But at the same time we don’t have to be intimidated by the spreadsheets.

   Some self-designated “old school” writers like Murray Chass complain that the new stat freaks think the game is simply a clash of abstracted probabilities. But the geek view of the game has not penetrated the experience of the ballpark or even the way the game is portrayed on television. During a televised game, we’re not told a player’s VORP—his Value Over Replacement Player—which would add nothing to the narrative drama of a televised game. But we’re still informed of his batting average, giving us a sense of what is about to happen. The fan’s experience of baseball has not become an embodied math problem. It is still a game of leather, ash bats, cleats. It remains an athletic endeavor. We just understand it better.

bobm Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, pay site

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. Steve Treder Posted: April 11, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4411222)
This is an excellent piece.
   2. Publius Publicola Posted: April 11, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4411224)
Well, let's not forget about the game itself, which aesthetically encroaches into the sublimely beautiful.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4411243)
Was the original piece ever posted on here? It's great to see someone writing about the positives of this game. For all the doom and gloom naysayers out there, the simple fact is that the sport is doing extremely well right now. Not just in a profitable way, but in the way pointed out in the slurve article, that it does a good of balancing parity/dynasty and generally putting the best teams into the post season.

edit: I see why it wasn't included... a subscription service...
   4. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4411287)
Well, let's not forget about the game itself, which aesthetically encroaches into the sublimely beautiful.


Like freedom, baseball is that state where energy and order merge, and all complexity is purified into a simple coherence.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM (#4411317)
Well, let's not forget about the game itself, which aesthetically encroaches into the sublimely beautiful.

piffle, or not piffle?
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM (#4411319)
Baseball is the embodiment of the exhilarating tension between being and becoming.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Brian
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - 2016 February 8: There’s baseball, politics … and real problems
(2126 - 4:35am, Feb 14)
Last: Morty Causa

NewsblogCricket Star Kieran Powell Tosses His Bat and Picks Up a Smaller, Rounder One | NYTimes
(4 - 4:10am, Feb 14)
Last: bobm

NewsblogCC Sabathia: Alcohol rehab couldn’t wait until after postseason | Newsday
(6 - 3:38am, Feb 14)
Last: Batman

NewsblogTop 100 Prospects - BaseballAmerica.com
(16 - 2:23am, Feb 14)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogA wild pitch from Montreal: Split the Rays with Tampa Bay | Tampa Bay Times
(16 - 2:14am, Feb 14)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogDusty Baker survived ruin and humiliation. With the Nationals, he can go out on top. | The Washington Post
(31 - 2:09am, Feb 14)
Last: theboyqueen

NewsblogWorld Baseball Classic Qualifier (Sydney) Day 1 OMNICHATTER
(23 - 1:25am, Feb 14)
Last: Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - February 2016
(772 - 12:20am, Feb 14)
Last: being STEAGLES isn't the same as having a STEAGLES

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread - February 2016
(171 - 11:54pm, Feb 13)
Last: just plain joe

NewsblogBrian Kenny: HALL OF FAME'S ANTI-RECENCY BIAS
(83 - 10:46pm, Feb 13)
Last: Ithaca2323

NewsblogJennry Mejia permanently banned by MLB for third PED test
(25 - 9:28pm, Feb 13)
Last: Cargo Cultist

NewsblogWrigleyville - What a Slutter Does, Has Done, and Might Do for Jake Arrieta
(14 - 8:28pm, Feb 13)
Last: Squash

NewsblogDeadspin: Kansas City Star Baseball Writer Publishes Same Column He Wrote A Year Ago
(13 - 8:00pm, Feb 13)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogRed Sox should be better than last year ... but are we sure they’re going to be good? - Red Sox - Boston.com
(6 - 7:57pm, Feb 13)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogJacob deGrom to Mets: ‘Willing’ to do long-term deal now
(17 - 6:37pm, Feb 13)
Last: Walt Davis

Page rendered in 0.2783 seconds
47 querie(s) executed