Everyone loves Torii Hunter, and rightly so. He is an engaging, lively and articulate person off the field, and productive player on the field. Yet his recent interaction with Brian Kenny put pay to any hope of a future career in analytics for Torii. In less than 45 seconds, Torii Hunter exposed a lack of understanding that is widespread amongst players and fans.
...1. “The numbers are good but they lie a lot…” “…the numbers lie sometimes”
This is a common fallacy. Numbers don’t lie. They cannot lie. They are simply pieces of information. They may be misused, handled poorly or interpreted in deceptive ways, but a number does not lie.
Sometimes, you have to read between the lines. Does Torii think that Max Scherzer’s numbers lie? Or that Miguel Cabrera’s numbers lie? What about Miggy’s 173 hits, 25 doubles, 43 home runs, 359/460/683 slash line? Do any of those numbers lie? Of course not, because they support Torii’s team-mate. Apparently, the only ‘lying numbers’ are the ones that negatively portray our friends. All positive number are truthful; all negative numbers are liars.
Several questions are left unanswered: which numbers are lying? How can you tell a lying number? Who judges which numbers are truthful? The short answer is: the truthful numbers are the ones that conveniently support my case. The same players that are quick to jump on Scherzer’s 19-1 record as evidence of his ability, swiftly pooh-pooh Verlander’s 12-10 record as deceptive.
Double standards are easily exposed.