The political world is where baseball was almost two decades ago, beginning to see that reality. The most stubborn pundits believed that Silver’s interpretation of polling data was wrong. They believed the presidential race was a dead heat. Maybe they did so because a runaway would draw far less interest and viewership throughout the night of Nov. 6 – that their place in a television landscape riddled with choices becomes far less safe with diminished ratings, and that the idea of television punditry, already a swampland of blah, blah and more blah, would project as increasingly inconsequential.
There was some of that, sure, but Nate Silver’s truths, in baseball and politics, found people’s psyches were collateral damage from the attack of their flawed ideas. The comforts of what we know – of what we’ve been told, of what we believe, of what we want that truth to be – are a soft pillow, a warm blanket and a Tempurpedic bed. Abandoning what we think is right for something different takes curiosity and courage the likes of which so many don’t have. Nobody wants to be wrong, and Silver happens to be in a business of proving as much.
...Like those who ignore the truths of climate science and evolution – of fact – the people who dismiss Nate Silver allow their preconceptions and egos to get in the way of the ultimate goal: the truth. If the best path to that is subjective observation, may our eyes be forever honest. Should we find otherwise, however, may our pride step aside to let the greater authority guide us.
My colleagues in the BBWAA failed to do that, and when Cabrera wins – I’m guessing he gets at least 20 of the 28 first-place votes – it will not be a travesty, a sham, a mockery or a traveshamockery. It will just be wrong. A fight 15 years in the making will continue until not just the electorate but the public beyond accepts that when it comes to appreciating baseball, math is not some scary android trying to take away our game. It’s here, more than anything, to help us understand it and love it even more.