We are a longtime admirer of famed baseball thinker Bill James. (We might make fun of Rob Neyer a bit around here, but we — like a lot of you, we suspect — have Neyer to thank for our initial awareness of James' work.) He opened our eyes to so many new concepts in the game we love, and, all told, we think he's probably earned a spot in the Hall of Fame someday. That said, it must be mentioned: Every time James comes down off the mount to speak to the masses anymore, he comes across as a real dick.
Take, for example, this exchange from an old ESPN chat:
Tim - Cohasset, MA: Bill, I'm very interested in your work and was wondering how a 20 year old college student would get in on the ground floor working for a team like the Red Sox.
Bill James: Learn to throw 95.
There's an element of smug dismissiveness to James' answers, as if you mere mortals couldn't possibly fathom the game in the way that he does. To be fair, this very well might be true. But still: No need to be so snotty about it.
For years I've been saying things like "It's entirely possible to be completely successful in the baseball business without ascribing to any of my work." I, much like the vast majority my followers (just look on Internet message boards everywhere), am reversing this statement, and saying that it is total bullcrap, and anyone who doesn't follow in-depth statistical baseball analysis should automatically lose the right to watch a game of professional baseball. I mean, why watch when you can't possibly understand everything what's going on? In some cases, said person should lose the right to breed, because he/she might have a son, and that would pervert this glorious eugenics of baseball I'm striving to achieve, here.
I Am Bill James, And I Am Smarter Than You [On The Show]