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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Baseball Great Britain: Book Review: The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

DIPS DIPS, Cheerio and all that…as a hooter from Cooter unfolds in the comments.

I honestly have to say, that as a fan of the game, I am no fan of Bill James or Sabermetrics. I believe that OPS, WHiP, Vorp, and other statisticals devices by this securtity guard from Boston have contaminated the way most writers analysize the game. They have used it to keep out deserving players from the hall of fame, and claim players of average ability are better than they actually abilty. Disples of James have even tried to bring Sabermetrics into the world of cricket, but thus far most people who cover cricket have refused buy into it.

My probelems with sabermetrics are two fold. First they turn the game i love in a mathematical exersise. They try to play the game on a computer, when it was ment to be played outdoors on grass in a field. Quite often, they happen to ignore what is actually going on down on the field. It totally ignores the performance of players who are fighting for a post season birth. This obsession with statistical analysis has produced some rather undeserving award winners in recent years, especially this year when Joe Muaer won the American League MVP. In my opinion he did not deserve to be honored. Of all three examples Muaer sticks out like a sore thumb because even though he had a solid year statistically, he really wasn’t a factor during the twins hot streak the last two weeks of the season. Mauer wasn’t even the most valuable player on his team since they pretty much continued to play .500 ball both before and after he returned from the disabled list. During the twins run, that brought them back from a six and a half game deficit, it was Micheal Cuddayer and Jason Kubel who carried the team as they were the ones who drove in the winning runs night after night. In my opinion they were the two players the twins could not do with out. Yet Muaer was award the MVP award simply because he had a high OPS and won the batting title.

This totally ignored what was going on on the field. Where some much happens that can not be measured using mathematics. There is no room in Sabermetrics for sacrifice bunts, or stolen bases. There is no measurement of range for fielding. No room for the suicide squeaze. Most advocates of Sabermetrics are also advocates of Money Ball, which is the use statistics to try and build a competative team, a theory that says outs are valuable and can not be simply given away. This is poppy ####.

Repoz Posted: January 06, 2010 at 12:43 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, international, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Rally Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:10 PM (#3429404)
Is he really talking about baseball or is baseball what they call hockey or badmitten over there? I just need to check because they call soccer football. Plus I have no idea who Muaer is.
   2. T.J. Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:19 PM (#3429410)
Lots of typos, stupid analysis; nothing to see here. Move along.

Oh, and it's "badminton," AROM.
   3. Paul D(uda) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:20 PM (#3429411)
So apparently he doesn't like math or English.
   4. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:21 PM (#3429412)
We're posting comments to articles as excerpts now?
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:27 PM (#3429413)
This totally ignored what was going on on the field. Where some much happens that can not be measured using mathematics. There is no room in Sabermetrics for sacrifice bunts, or stolen bases. There is no measurement of range for fielding. No room for the suicide squeaze. Most advocates of Sabermetrics are also advocates of Money Ball, which is the use statistics to try and build a competative team, a theory that says outs are valuable and can not be simply given away. This is poppy ####.


I agree. This whole paragraph is poppy ####.
   6. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:27 PM (#3429414)
It totally should be "badmitten."
   7. jcnyc Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:32 PM (#3429419)
fish in a barrel.
   8. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:39 PM (#3429424)
Quite often, they happen to ignore what is actually going on down on the field.

People talk about "the game on the field" as if it's somehow invisible to us poor sods in the stands. Nothing happens in secret in a baseball game: every action, every pitch, every batted ball, every fielding play creates positive or negative runs, which create wins and losses. The whole point behind sabremetrics is finding out what these values are.
   9. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:42 PM (#3429427)
People talk about "the game on the field" as if it's somehow invisible to us poor sods in the stands
The ones who have their heads in spreadsheets, yeah.
   10. tjm1 Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:43 PM (#3429428)
The actual article was quite a nice review of the book.
   11. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:54 PM (#3429435)
I believe that OPS, WHiP,


Damn you, addition! DAMN YOU.
   12. Zonk demands an audit of your post Posted: January 06, 2010 at 01:57 PM (#3429436)
It totally should be "badmitten."


Is that the meal they make out of lesser sheep parts?
   13. Hack Wilson Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:04 PM (#3429440)
Is that the meal they make out of lesser sheep parts?


Yes, in Scotland it is considered a delicacy.

And I blame the British socialized medical system for the atrocious spelling in the article.
   14. Rally Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:16 PM (#3429447)
The speling is so bad that aparently its contagus.
   15. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:23 PM (#3429457)
The actual article was quite a nice review of the book.


Right. This is a really cheap post, I think. The review of the book is good and well-written. Seriously, is it worth an entry to point out that someone anonymous boob making a comment on this article is an idiot?
   16. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:30 PM (#3429466)
I can't help but give credence to a man with "Cooter" as his surname.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3429472)
This isn't proper linking practice. We're nutpicking random dumb comments now? That's bad form, and disrespectful to the person who wrote the (quite good) review that's actually hosted at the linked page.
   18. 185/456(GGC) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:43 PM (#3429476)
Right. This is a really cheap post, I think. The review of the book is good and well-written. Seriously, is it worth an entry to point out that someone anonymous boob making a comment on this article is an idiot?

I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a basement, so hungry statheads can compute, I'll be there. Wherever there's a MSM writer beatin' up a guy for shouting "There is no clutch god!", I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys use ALLCAPS when they're mad. I'll be in the way Beanie Babies snark when they're hungry and they know the postseason's a crapshoot, and when the people are campaigning for Tim Raines and apologizing for the steroid users - I'll be there, too.
   19. Win one for Agrippa (haplo53) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:44 PM (#3429477)
Cool site overall though. Looking through it now.
   20. lar @ wezen-ball Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:57 PM (#3429491)
I'm glad others are picking up on the same thing. I read the comment thinking this was something that the guys at BaseballGB wrote, and it confused me because they're always writing quality stuff - this just seemed completely unlike them. But then I saw that it was a commenter, and though that makes sense, it's off-putting because I don't think I've ever seen BBTF do that. I just hope this doesn't confuse other people into thinking that this is what BaseballGB writes...
   21. 185/456(GGC) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 02:59 PM (#3429493)
This is the excerpt I would have led with: Each copy (of the book) is likely to end up a little battered and dog-eared, but that will be due to the regularity with which it is pulled down from the shelf, rather than its use as a door stop or ‘whacking’ tool (although I’m sure it could do a good job as either if pressed into emergency service).
   22. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:02 PM (#3429498)
Primey nomination for Geiger.
   23. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3429507)
I've got to agree with MCoA (and others) - this shouldn't be linked to and gave me, among others, a false sense of that site's (lack of) quality.
   24. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:07 PM (#3429510)
We should start linking to things Mug says in the Lounge. He never comes out here, we should share him with everyone.
   25. HowardMegdal Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:13 PM (#3429517)
Let's be honest- the "stats are ruining the game!" argument sounds a little more cogent in a British accent.
   26. Rally Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:13 PM (#3429518)
Totally agree. I never clicked on the linked article, mistakenly thinking what was posted above was the article. On most sites, 99% of the comments are absolutely worthless, like this one. Please, Repoz, don't post comments in the preview. Your previews are what I use to judge whether the writing is worth checking out.
   27. Tracy Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:22 PM (#3429532)
Mildly OT, but when interviewing George Lucas last night about his new book, Jon Stewart made passing reference to "the James sports books" and how they're so much fun to read because of all the baseball facts contained therein.

Linky (at about 6:30 of the interview is where Jon makes the reference)
   28. Greg K Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:23 PM (#3429533)
That looks like a really cool website, especially for someone considering moving to the UK in the near future. I like the section on baseball basics...

As with any new sport, you need to learn the basic ideas of the game itself and there are lots of rules you have to become accustomed with, but even after you’ve got to grips with all of this you can be left flummoxed when an announcer or writer breezily tells you that:

“The Braves head off to Shea for a three-game series against the Mets without Tom Glavine, after the veteran lefty was placed on the fifteen day DL. Buddy Carlyle will take the future hall-of-famer’s spot in the rotation, while Jo-Jo Reyes has been called up from Triple A and added to the 25-man roster to take Carlyle’s place in the bullpen”.

Your reaction will probably be along the lines of:
What the hell’s a fifteen day ‘dee ell’?!
What do they mean by “rotation”?!
What’s Triple A?!
25-man roster?!
Bullpen?!
Help!!!
   29. LargeBill Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:24 PM (#3429535)
Regarding the original article, are they a little slow over in Britain? Wasn't the book they're reviewing written several years ago? Too lazy to go to the other room and check my copy, but I know I've had it at least a few years.
   30. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:27 PM (#3429538)
Regarding the original article, are they a little slow over in Britain? Wasn't the book they're reviewing written several years ago? Too lazy to go to the other room and check my copy, but I know I've had it at least a few years.
Different time zone. It's 2001 over there.
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:37 PM (#3429551)
Let's be honest- the "stats are ruining the game!" argument sounds a little more cogent in a British accent.


Blimey! Ten if i' was written in Cockney, 'oward. Nuff said, yeah?
   32. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:40 PM (#3429554)
Different time zone. It's 2001 over there.
Not only that, but different zip code, too.
   33. BFFB Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:44 PM (#3429557)
in defense of the British education I feel obliged to say we don't all spell that badly, apart from all the extra "u" we add to words...
   34. tjm1 Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:52 PM (#3429563)
Regarding the original article, are they a little slow over in Britain? Wasn't the book they're reviewing written several years ago? Too lazy to go to the other room and check my copy, but I know I've had it at least a few years.


The site promises "a growing archive of book reviews." Most baseball books have received no reviews whatsoever in Britain. Starting with the "classics" isn't a bad idea.
   35. RobertMachemer Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:53 PM (#3429565)
Thaut's suilly.
   36. 185/456(GGC) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 03:56 PM (#3429570)
This is one of the baseball books that I revisit rather often; along with other Jamesiana.
   37. HowardMegdal Posted: January 06, 2010 at 04:24 PM (#3429590)
Different time zone. It's 2001 over there.

Not only that, but different zip code, too.


Not only that, but they refer to sausages as "banger in the mouth".
   38. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3429594)
I thought that meant "your mom"?
   39. Hack Wilson Posted: January 06, 2010 at 04:31 PM (#3429596)
And don't get too excited if a lass asks you to "knock her up."
   40. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2010 at 04:35 PM (#3429600)
Or if you overhear someone saying "thanks, I really needed a fag between my lips just now"
   41. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 04:36 PM (#3429601)
and lets not even talk about "shag"
   42. jwb Posted: January 06, 2010 at 05:22 PM (#3429651)
"Shag," "shag carpet," eeew!
   43. bjhanke Posted: January 06, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3429652)
I completely agree that the actual review is very very good, especially since the reviewer knew so little about the subject matter that he thought Runs Created and Win Shares are the same order of statistical method. If you haven't clicked to the link and read it, I suggest that you do, just as a sample of what a good book review looks like.

As for the timing thing, my guess is that, as was mentioned, cricket has started to develop its own sabermetricians, so it may well be that the British have just started to research this "sabermetrics" stuff that happens over in "the colonies" in a game called "baseball" that may have been derived from rounders. - Brock Hanke
   44. Flynn Posted: January 06, 2010 at 06:21 PM (#3429706)
The site promises "a growing archive of book reviews." Most baseball books have received no reviews whatsoever in Britain. Starting with the "classics" isn't a bad idea.

Furthermore, those are the most widely available books on baseball in the UK. Amazon has made it easier to get more specialized books, but there's a three week wait while you can go into a big bookstore in a bigger city and find these right away.
   45. Ron Johnson Posted: January 06, 2010 at 06:50 PM (#3429757)
apart from all the extra "u" we add to words


Quotas are euvil.
   46. amcg Posted: January 07, 2010 at 03:42 PM (#3430726)
Decent review. "Joe C"'s comments, however, are actually hilarious.

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