Hi there. I’m a baseball fan. A Dodgers fan to be more precise. I’ve named this blog in honor of my favorite Dodgers player since the turn of the century: third-baseman Adrian Beltre. Oh how I wish that Frank McCourt had coughed up the extra million a year that would have kept Adrian wearing Dodger Blue – perhaps for the balance of his Hall of Fame career . . . instead of saving that money to sign nobody’s favorite Dodger: J.D. Drew.
My perspective as a fan is to try to balance the modern sabermetric view of baseball with certain traditional precepts that pre-date the writings of Bill James. My youthful obsession with APBA (a dice-and-charts baseball simulation game) evolved into a fascination with early sabermetrics, but today I find that some fans of sabermetrics seem more devoted to advocating for the accuracy and reliability of their treasured acronyms and numbers than they are to the actual human game of baseball. Many fans don’t seem to realize that modern sabermetrics only capture partial snapshots of the three-dimensional fully-animated elephant that is major league baseball – and while they can be useful tools, sabermetric statistics are just clues to the deeper underlying truths about which players are better and worse, and why.
In my view, certain sabermetric stats that are relatively easy to quantify (OBP! OPS!)) are often given disproportionate weight, while other vital parts of the games (e.g., running speed, the ability of pitchers to pace themselves in order to throw more effective innings) are often given too little weight because they don’t easily fit within the boundaries of concise mathematical formulae.
Sometimes, the very same fans who swear that major league managers make mistakes every day by not following the collective conventional wisdom of sabermetricians defer almost blindly to scouting reports when evaluating minor league talent. Question their opinions about major league talent and they’ll bury you in avalanche of newly-minted data. Offer an opinion based on minor league statistics and they’ll retort “don’t scout a stat line.”
I’ve been active on a few Dodgers blogs over the years, but because my views often differ from the opinions of the majority (or super-majority) of participants in sabermetric-leaning blogs, active commenting in such environments can become an unpleasant chore. Swimming against the tide of group-think is not easy! So, I have finally decided to create this humble little space where I can express and archive my views. If people find it interesting, that’s great. If nobody finds it, well, that’s fine too. I’m not setting out to climb any mountains or vanquish any foes.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. Special thanks to Mike Petriello for the inspiration.