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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Steinberg: MASN radio ads defend small ball, reject stats

“Sometimes, you believe in stats. Sometimes, you believe in players.” Sometimes you believe in taking a big ####### bite out of a gaffkaemia-jacked lobster sandwich.

If there’s a dichotomy between Jim Riggleman and the stats folks, the Nats’ manager isn’t necessarily trying to bridge the gap.

  How many ball games are won by one run? Last season, 732. A walk, a bunt, a well-placed single and a sacrifice fly. You call it small ball; I call it SMART ball.

  In baseball there’s a stat for every situation. Tie game, man on second, Ian Desmond at-bat. In day games, he’s batting .219. That’s what the stats say. Do you pinch hit for him? Absolutely not. Sometimes, you believe in the stats. Sometimes, you believe in the players.

Sure, and sometimes you order peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and yet the waiter shows up with avocado rolls, I suppose. You call it a mistake. I call it a Mississippi.

Repoz Posted: March 26, 2011 at 04:04 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, media, nationals, sabermetrics

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   1. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 26, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3778745)
As if the Nats had anyone better waiting on the bench.
   2. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 26, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3778750)
In baseball there’s a stat for every situation. Tie game, man on second, Ian Desmond at-bat. In day games, he’s batting .219. That’s what the stats say. Do you pinch hit for him? Absolutely not. Sometimes, you believe in the stats. Sometimes, you believe in the players.


Of course, Riggleman's right here. Desmond's overall batting line was .270/.308/.392 which is almost certainly a better reflection of his "true talent" than the small-sample .219. Overall, NL pinch hitters batted .223/.293/.348 last year (and Nationals' pinch-hitters were worse). So, yes, Desmond is the better option there, without even getting into the issues of roster management (who then plays SS? who does that leave to PH for the pitcher later in the game?).
   3. PreservedFish Posted: March 26, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3778754)
In day games, he’s batting .219. That’s what the stats say.


I have outgrown my annoyance at mother's basement jokes, at "you take the fun out of the game" criticisms, and at invocations of intangibles. But this characterization of statheadiness still bothers me.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: March 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3778756)
I have outgrown my annoyance at mother's basement jokes, at "you take the fun out of the game" criticisms, and at invocations of intangibles. But this characterization of statheadiness still bothers me.


agreed, what I find funny about those type of stats, is that those are the stats that tv announcers/radio announcers like to bring to the table, and those same people are the ones who belittle statheads.
   5. jwb Posted: March 26, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3778775)
So you're saying that if the only stats you focus on are either dumb, small sample size relics, or both, you'll think any attempt to approach the game using stats is also dumb?
   6. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 26, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3778781)
How many ball games are won by one run? Last season, 732. A walk, a bunt, a well-placed single and a sacrifice fly. You call it small ball; I call it SMART ball.


Ah, but how many games would have been decided by more than one run except the manager reduced the chances of a big inning with small-ball tactics? Or how many games failed to be tied up because the manager gave up outs and nothing happened anyway instead of allowing more batters the chance to do something?
   7. Brian Posted: March 26, 2011 at 07:08 PM (#3778797)
What Riggleman doesn't say is that in his scenario it's the first inning.
   8. Tripon Posted: March 26, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3778805)
So 732 out of 4860 games were decided by one run? That's a fairly high 15.06% I suppose, but you'll still need more than the one run scores advocated by small ball. It would take at least 2 runs for the team on the losing side to go to winners in 'one run games'.

I'm guess what I'm saying that, if you're losing by one run, you probably want to go for a strategy that emphasizes scoring multiple runs. Its not good enough to tie, you need to win the game.
   9. TomH Posted: March 26, 2011 at 07:25 PM (#3778806)
if the single was well-placed, either the bunt or the sac fly was superfluous. Not very SMART, Jim!
   10. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 26, 2011 at 08:11 PM (#3778818)
I just learned from Rick Sutcliffe that the Rangers won the pennant last year by making outs.
   11. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: March 27, 2011 at 02:11 AM (#3778963)
Well then the Royals are going to be unstoppable this year.

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