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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Greenberg: Q&A: New Cubs ‘saberist’ Tom Tango

Saberist: The Mark of Tango!

On Monday, the advanced statistics-loving community of Chicago Cubs fans got a welcome surprise when noted “saberist” Tom Tango announced he was working exclusively for the Cubs. In a post titled Psst…wanna work for the Cubs (and with me)?” Tango noted the Cubs were looking for a Director of Research of Development in Baseball Operations and dropped that “I am now providing my consulting services exclusively the Cubs.”

The Cubs confirmed the hire to ESPNChicago.

...Theo Epstein talked about how, and I can’t think of the phrase here, there are fewer places for teams to find an edge anymore. For example, the reporters who didn’t read “Moneyball” but hate it anyway, always bring up the A’s old obsession with OBP, etc. Is pitcher health one to examine? I know the Cubs are pouring money into video analysis, etc. Is health the great unknown for teams right now?

TT: It does seem as if we were as fascinated with Stephen Strasburg’s performance as we were with his usage last year. I was anyway. I think Will Carroll will tell you that there’s a tremendous amount of injury time for pitchers every year, which means a tremendous amount of money in the dugout. Keeping the money on the field is a win-win-win for the team, the player, and the fans.

If the Cubs win a World Series, will you reveal your identity and ride a float downtown with Steve Bartman? (Editor’s note: This was a joke question he answered seriously. Which is cool.)

TT: You know, when I introduced Leverage Index to a larger audience, I did it the day after Game 6.

And what was clear then was that Bartman had very little effect to the game. There were three clear plays that had a far bigger impact: (Alex) Gonzalez flubbing a potential double play and getting no outs, (Derrek) Lee doubling as (Mark) Prior’s last batter, and (Mike) Mordecai doubling as (Kyle) Farnsworth’s last batter. It’s easier to focus on the unusual play, but the focus should have been on the substantive plays.

Repoz Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:18 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Make Meatwad great again Posted: January 30, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4358597)
Agreed, that routine double play should have happened but alas it didnt
   2. Transmission Posted: January 30, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4358653)
More than nine years later, it still pains me to read about that.
   3. villageidiom Posted: January 30, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4358693)
More than nine years later, it still pains me to read about that.
God, The Cubs, and Marty McFly
   4. The District Attorney Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4358697)
He's still got a secret identity? Sheesh.
   5. madvillain Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4358709)
Tango was one of the first guys that I read when I was getting into sabermetrics. His explanation of linear weights for batting outcomes was a revelation for me and it opened up an entire new way of thinking about the game. I just wish I had the brain I have now about baseball when I was playing in HS and low-level college. I would have been a lot freaking better.

Congrats to Tango, whatever his real name is.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4358710)
I just wish I had the brain I have now about baseball when I was playing in HS and low-level college.


I was a James disciple when I played in high school and college. I can't say it did much for my performance (though my teammates found it perplexing, and a bit amusing, when I'd rail against the strategies employed by my coaches).
   7. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:16 PM (#4358728)
You know, when I introduced Leverage Index to a larger audience, I did it the day after Game 6.
I thought he did it in December after teh Bartman game. And he did it here.
   8. Bote Man Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4358738)
I read about this somewhere. If only I could remember where...
   9. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 31, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4358941)
Congrats to Tango, whatever his real name is.


Tom Tango (unless he writes under a psuedonym).
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 31, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4358951)
His real name is Tiger Wang. He used "Tango Tiger" as a pseudonym and now he's switched again. His parents in Hong Kong are outraged.
   11. zack Posted: January 31, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4358978)
Tom Tango is a pseudonym, yes. Either the publishers or he (can't recall) wanted a more name-y name for the cover of The Book.

On the cover it's actually Tom M. Tango.
   12. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4358983)
Tango is actually Tiger Woods. His double life as a sabermetrician led to conflict with Elin. His famous car accident in his driveway occurred after a particularly heated argument in which, according to a witness, Elin and Tiger got into a profanity-laced back and forth regarding the relative worth of Dewan +/-, UZR and range factor.
   13. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4358986)
On the cover it's actually Tom M. Tango.


Yeah, that was my "source".
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4358992)
Tom Must Tango
   15. just plain joe Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4358995)
More than nine years later, it still pains me to read about that.


Nearly 30 years (jeesh, the time), and it still pains me to think about Leon F. Durham missing that grounder in the 1984 NLCS. I am no longer really a Cubs fan but I was then and I thought sure that was the year they were going to the Series.
   16. Steve N Posted: January 31, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4359283)
Its been 49 years and I still hate Chico Ruiz.

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