Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Slobbermetrics

This is handsdown one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. It was pointed out on Fire Joe Morgan, where Ken Tremendous decided against making an entry on it. It pisses me off way too much to not write about it though. Take it away, Ed Hardiman.

Slobbermetrics, How Bill James and Math Nearly Destroyed Baseball

Oh don't you count out slobbermetricians by using that word "nearly".....they're only gaining momentum in this war! They're still well on their way to destroying baseball! More and more of them are deviously acquiring jobs working for baseball teams because ::gasp:: baseball team front offices want smart people to help make their teams better! They say that every time someone mentions a player's RC27, a drop of magic leaves the great sport of baseball forever. Before 2009, I predict that slobbermetricians will simulate all baseball games by having computers spit out random numbers from PECOTA projections to determine the outcome of each at-bat. Who else agrees?

Sabermetrics, is the Scientology of baseball. It all started in a tiny, airless, room, where the guy who got picked last in Little League, perfected his revenge. This handy guide will help clear up the wildest misconceptions spread by this extremely annoying and exceedingly irrelevant cult.

Not fair! I doubt Bill James was that nerd picked last in Little League. He was, however, the last man picked from Kansas to join the army in the Vietnam War. He majored in traditionally calculator-nerd oriented English and Economics (presumably being homeschooled by his mother). And not all nerds sucked in Little League. Even I, the nerdiest of nerds was a first round Little League draft pick when I was 12 (woohoo! claim to fame, baby!). And my team was 13-5 that year, so suck on that, Ed.

Definition.
Sabermetrics is also known as, long winded pointless dissertation, insufferable boors with calculators, or guys with pocket protectors.


I can only conclude from this that you think "sabermetrics" are people rather than statistical measurements.

If you're like me, you don't need to know the equation for cracking oil to figure out you got a batch of bad gas in your car.

This has everything to do with baseball.

Or live near the Devil Rays or Royals, to realize beauty might be skin deep but bad goes all the way through.

This is not a sentence. It's too bad you don't buy into wonky English-sentence-making formulas, as I do.

Here's my absolute favorite example of recent memory of how conventional statistics and wisdom can be deceiving, and how sabermetrics can enlighten people to a player's true value.

Player X, in 2006, hit .260, but also had 29 HR and 103 RBI. Pretty valuable guy, right?

What if I told you that Player X is Jeff Francoeur, and that his grotesque .293 OBP hurts his value to the point where he has not only a poor .246 EqA, but also a -1.0 VORP? This means that the Braves would actually have been a little better off calling up a typical AAA corner outfielder to hit for Francoeur. Are you really going to dismiss important information like that as nonsense?

Ah who am I kidding, you probably think "Jeff Francoeur" is some sort of 17th century explorer trying to strike gold for France.

Humor.

Sabermites believe they have a sense of humor. Sadly, it can only be expressed mathmatically.


When Carl Everett's position in Baseball Prospectus 2007 was listed as "Nuisance" rather than "DH", and "Strom Thurmond" and "Harriet the Galapagos Tortoise" were listed as PECOTA comparables for Julio Franco, I deeply wondered what type of mathematical equations had led them to those jokes.

Reality.
Using pseudo-algebraic conclusions to describe the infinite intangibles of great baseball is like using cement to describe Mozart. Abstract baseball minutia stacked like pancakes doesn't get around the real consistent opinion voiced by those who watch baseball daily and this churns the guts of Sabermites.


I'd like to see cement write one of Mozart's symphonies accurate to within 4-5 notes.

Math is largely used to weed out using "intangibles" as an explanation for why a baseball player is effective. "Intangibles" tell you nothing. Numbers can explain why the White Sox didn't get the job done in 2006 and are a bad team now(it has nothing to do with losing Aaron Rowand's intensity!), or why a team as bad as the Cardinals from last year was able to win a World Series (it has nothing to do with the fire burning in David Eckstein's heart!). If you don't like information, you can go back in time and make pencils out of 100% lead and construct buildings with astronomical amounts of asbestos, if that makes you happy.

Also, the term "Slobbermetricians" is preferable to "Sabermites". It's more funnierest. And you're right, I bet they've never been to a baseball game, or like baseball, or even been outside. They just need SOMETHING to calculate (lucky thing someone started putting stats on computers!) during the lunch hour of their home school session.

Initialize.
Acronyms sow maximum confusion. Sabermites concoct bewildering thickets of initials around feeble wild BLEEP guessing. EqA's are as likely to stick a homemade shank in VORP's as they are to end up drunk at Bill James annual Christmas party where King Herod's win shares always make trading for the baby Jesus look silly.


We now need to seek a new way to quickly and accurately use the terms "NASA", "FCC", and "IRS" in casual conversation, because these sow maximum confusion.

I guess people just take a wild guess when they determine that Adam Dunn's EqA has been above average in recent seasons despite low batting averages. Random, really. It was equally possible for Slobbermetricians to determine Neifi Perez is very valuable.

Bill James' Christmas parties sound like a rockin good time.

Equate.

Never allow anyone near the prime equation of sabermetrics, A+B=Shut the Hell Up. This is sports for math club members.


Let A = "Ed" and let B = "Hardiman". HAH! I have a sense of humor that can only be expressed mathematically!

Gross Tonnage.

The complicated formula for "Hey that guy just bunted the runner to second..." would fill this entire page. SABER stat-bot hysteria amply illustrates the "Star Trek Factor," now that Kirk's too fat to worship, Sabermites invented an arcane statistical abstract to replace dialectic Klingon arguments that made their life worth living...


The formula for "Hey that guy just bunted the runner to second" is either "1-3 (sac)", "2-3 (sac)", "3-4 (sac)" or "5-3 (sac)". So you'd probably have to use like 150 pt font and type sideways.

Strength of Nattering (SON).

Sabermite's tirelessly redefine everything in SABER-speak, until, the non-SABER person drops from exhaustion or retreats to a sport like ice curling.


Dude, is that apostrophe supposed to be there? This entire thing has been syntactically and gramatically a mess. You put as much effort into proofreading things you publish as you did to understand exactly what the study of sabermetrics is. For example, the acronym is "SABR" not "SABER".

I think I'll dedicate the rest of my life to finding a way to sabermetrically analyze ice curling. Thanks for tipping me off to a possible escape route.

Value.

According to SABER dogma, a single just isn't worth a double. Take that Ty Cobb, you BLEEP because 75% of your hits aren't all that and a bag of SABER chips.


What....the....fuck?

Did I miss something here? Slobbermetricians think singles aren't good beacuse they aren't doubles? Is that what they work on all day in their parents' basements?

Uh oh, you used "75%" in this part. Careful. 75% is a number. You just researched something, and determined that about 3/4 of Cobb's hits were singles. The inner slobbermetrician is showing in you Hardiman! Careful, before you start using facts REGULARLY! Oh man, scary thought, you're going nerd, you can't help but give in......

Slide Rule

Its not, never slide head first, its never attend a game of baseball without a slide rule, so you'll have something to look at.


Always carry one, right next to my abacus and my TI-89 calculator.

Despite not even saying anything in this article, you managed to contradict yourself, because to think a Slobbermite (drooling insect?) would ever waste his time outside, at a baseball game, is ridiculous.

Worship the Stat Gods

Barry Bonds is a perfect example, the thought of losing all those succulent steroid drenched numbers sends the average Sabermite into a slobbery, mad dog, frenzy. They would rather chew off the non-math lobe of their brain than let go, or admit, that Barry might indeed be full of nincompoop


Another valid point. Slobbermetricalicians have never heard of steroids (though if they ever want to get a date, they might need to take them to bulk up a tad!), and drool regularly when they hear about Barry Bonds's .609 OBP in 2004, like a dog trained to listen for a bell before being fed.

What Can You Do?

I know the answer to every problem is "sing a song" but if organizing a world wide series of concerts is beyond your grasp, try these simple SABER killing phrases:

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."
Albert Einstein


I challenge you, Ed, to find a slobbermedical statistic that is useless and tells you nothing about a player's performance.

"The last time I checked baseball is best played on a field and not on a calculator."

Last time I checked, articles are best written when you have a clue as to what the fuck you're bashing as opposed to wildly making claims about something being stupid. For example, right now, I am bashing an arrogant, uninformed, trashhole of a writer who probably looked up the acronyms of several sabermetric stats, heard them used in conversation, decided he was too stupid to figure out what significance they might hold, so instead tried to make fun of them to cover up the fact that his pea-brain couldn't muster up the energy to learn something more about a topic that it's supposedly his job to write about. Am I close, Ed? Am I close? Are you sure that "Ed Hardiman" isn't a pseudonym for Bruce Jenkins or Joe Morgan?

"People who count don't."

Fine. Let the education system stop at preschool so that counting is never taught to anyone. You've clearly established yourself as a person who believes learning anything new isn't worth your time.

10 comments:

larry b said...

Sabermites believe they have a sense of humor. Sadly, it can only be expressed mathmatically.

that's unofficially the most ironic joke of all freaking time.

Chris W said...

it's like, even if i were on this dude's side re: sabrmetrics, these jokes still wouldn't be funny.

It's like when the nerdy kid at school is ripping on the other nerdy kid at school because he thinks that will get other kids to stop ripping on him.

only problem is: the reason he was a nerd to begin with is that he sucks.


ha! i just alienated 90% of our reader base (net total: 6)

eriz said...

we had this discussion earlier (last week), about how I put less stock in sabermetrics than most of you guys, but jesus fucking christ this article makes my head hurt. saber stats can show you a lot, as long as you don't use the stat itself to rank players and you explain why each stat you're using makes sense.

I'm old school (read: ignorant) so I really like BA when I'm watching a game. I see a .320 batter come up with runners on and I know there's more or less a 1/3 chance of getting some runs this at-bat (which isn't really the case but it helps my tiny mind). Does BA give you a clear picture of how valuable a player is in comparison to batters around the league? No. But EqA, OPS, PETOA and other saber stats aren't perfect, because there are still events that happen on the field that aren't recorded or aren't a part of the stat.

eriz said...

I don't think I made clear how much of a faggot Ed Hardiman is. Goddamn, he writes about as well as the people who leave comments on the big sports websites' blogs.

"I hate, SLOBBERMETRICS. their so dumb they get they're stupid BLEEP asses' kicked by the nerd's that are nerdlieirest then them."

Chris W said...

well the thing about eqa (and to a lesser extent ops and pecota projections) is that they're just stats--but they are the best,most comprehensive stats available--or at least moreso than traditional stats.

I like BA too. I would rather someone with a high OPS also have a high BA...although that's something that will be reflected in OPS...but the point is if you want to talk about things that happen that aren't recorded, BA is the ultimate--what are the hits? what about the walks? not to mention by eliminating a large amount of plate appearances from consideration (walks, sac's, HBP's) you're shrinking the sample size (albeit a slight amount).

If you're going to use statistics (and you never should use JUST statistics)...because after all, how else can you, in writing, make an argument for a player besides statistics? Otherwise, you'd have to chronicle ever at-bat of every game and explain exactly what happened, the situation, how hard it was hit, etc. to try to cover everything....but if you're going to use statistics, why not use the ones that most accurately reflect a player's ability.

IMO eqa is the best one we have right now, being that it takes into account pretty much everything a player can do offensively.

eriz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eriz said...

yeah but eqa doesn't show clutchness, toughness, intangibles, or all around good-guyness.

In all seriousness though, I dig what you're throwing my way, and I understand what makes eqa a nice stat, but you have to admit these stats don't show stuff like what speed guys do to pitchers when they are on the bases. Watch a great leadoff guy (on base) fuck with a pitcher's rhythm, timing and ability to concentrate on the new batter. That shit does not show up...

And I know that even if they made a stat to show a pitcher's ability with a Willy Taveras-like guy on bases, it may not statistically correlate with runs scored; but dammit, I at least want to see that kind of stuff show up so I can see for myself!

larry b said...

go back to nerdland, nerds. the rest of us will be out here in the sun talking about the only REAL sport out there: football. and twins!

pnoles said...

haha oh man....those commercials again....

Ed Hardiman said...

Thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate you taking time to not only read my scribble but also comment on it. This is very entertaining.

You can't be picky about your fans and a certain portion of them will irrationally hate your guts so its all good...

Best of Luck,
Drink in Hand,
Wish I had the Time...