• What’s The Best Way To Peel Baseball?

    Posted by on March 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Ken Rosenthal threw down an interesting glove in his column today predicting who will win it all in 2008. Here is what he said:

    Bloggers, it’s your lucky day.

    Not that you ever need prompting to rip apart the latest ill-informed splattering from the mainstream media, but here’s an invitation on a gold-engraved, all-but-autographed platter:

    Embarrassing as it is to admit, my annual column predicting which team will win the World Series often defies sabermetric orthodoxy, not to mention conventional logic. Sort of like baseball itself.

    Statistical analysis is an invaluable tool; that discussion is over. But we’ve gotten to the point where everyone from the casual fantasy player to the shrewdest GM wants to know the end of the story before Chapter One is written.

    Mercifully, that’s not how the game works.

    Phil Allard, for one, is already on Rosenthal for this statement.

    It’s an interesting debate. When it comes to making declarations like these, do you go with your head or your heart? Or, do you combine the two and use the “Part Art, Part Science” approach?

    I have to confess, for me, it’s the combination thing. But, it’s not a 50-50 deal. Actually, most times, I’ll go with my feelings and then see if the numbers back it up.

    Truly, there were many things that I intended on publishing here, at one time or another – but, once I looked at the numbers behind what I felt, and realized that I was wrong, I ditched them.

    Sure, that makes it sound like I live and die by the stats. But, it’s not true. I don’t let the stats drive me towards my thoughts – I only use them to prove them out (after my gut gets me there).

    Well, at least, that’s most times. There are still some things out there where I cannot turn my back on what my sixth-sense tells me. So, I somewhat understand Rosenthal here in that, at times, you have to let the force be your guide…

    Speaking of space, there’s a line from the very first episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine entitled “Emissary” where the character Benjamin Sisko uses the game of baseball to explain the concept of linear time and essentially how humans experience life:

    “The rules aren’t important. . . .what’s important is – it’s linear. Every time I throw this ball a hundred different things can happen in a game. . . . He might swing and miss, he might hit it. . . .The point is you never know. . . . You try to anticipate, set a strategy for all the possibilities as best you can. . . . but in the end it come down to throwing one pitch after another. . . . and seeing what happens. With each new consequence, the game begins to take shape. . . .”

    It’s that “you never know” thing that made me fall in love with baseball. And, since “you never know,” why not follow your gut once in a while instead of letting the math dictate your moves?

    Comments on What’s The Best Way To Peel Baseball?

    1. Straylightrise
      March 28th, 2008 | 10:14 pm

      I work in politics and either you live on numbers and polls and stats or you live on instincts and how people work. Baseball is pretty much just like that. It’s a game that you can break down to be nearly pure numbers, using past data and current data you can (as Steve does all the time) predict past, present and future trends. And its also a game that there can be anomalies, like Brady Anderson (anomaly apparently was probably steroids) because life is random. Maybe a hitter decides to sit on a pitch when he would normally swing away. Baseball is both random and logical. Logically a batter who is a consistent .275 batter isn’t going to become a .398 batter in 1 day, month or year.

      Im probably rambling

    2. mph2373
      March 29th, 2008 | 10:36 am

      Wow! How unexpected of you Steve! A rip on Hughes! I got to the part where you say:

      “I have to confess, for me, it’s the combination thing. But, it’s not a 50-50 deal. Actually, most times, I’ll go with my feelings and then see if the numbers back it up.”

      and I thought, “Here it comes!”

      It’s exactly what you do. I think this, so let me find a way to back it up.

      Hey Steve, I’m not saying anything here. I’m just saying.

      That seems to be the way this blog goes. I’ve been reading this for a while, and when you don’t like someone, you seem to take it personally.

      I’m not a “blinders” guy. I know this team is flawed. I also know that Hughes could wind up being Andy Benes. It just gets to the point where your continued harping on it is ridiculous. I know, it’s your blog and you can write what you want. If we don’t like it we don’t have to read it.

      There is so much that is good about this blog, Steve, so you make it hard to not stop by on my daily readings of the Yankees Universe.

      Here was a good piece on starting a debate over stats or instinct. Then it gets lowered by you taking another shot at Hughes.

      I know. I know. You’re just saying…

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