This has to be a joke, it just has to be. Either it's a joke, or the The Batavia Daily News mistakenly published a Scott DeSmit article on sabermetrics from 2003. There can be no other explanation for this lede: "[c]omputers have ruined baseball and 'Sports Illustrated.'"
This is what I need to know and what I want to know: What's the guy's batting average, how many dingers has he hit and how many runs he batted in.
That's the second sentence. There've been a lot of bad articles written about baseball over the years. That we have made it this far without getting something like those quoted sentences is sort of amazing, really.
And look, here are two more sentences that Scott DeSmit wrote. It bears pointing out that the whole article is not so much an article, as it is a bunch of thoughts about how statistics (other than the ones he learned when he was a child) are stupid.
They actually have a yearly conference, a SABR Analytics Conference.
Scouts are no longer gruff men with beer guts and a cigar dangling from their mouth but computer geeks who wouldn't know a good baseball prospect if one came up and slapped them in the face with a Louisville Slugger.
Imagine you have a gruff man with a cigar dangling from his mouth and something you vaguely understand to be a "computer geek" sitting in your office, waiting to interview for an open position. Whichever candidate you select will be responsible for evaluating multi-million dollar assets. Who do you hire? In Scott DeSmit's world, you go with the cigar. In the real world? You interview and evaluate both, trying to make the best decision based on as much information as you can.
What is really dumbfounding about this is that over the weekend, in the year 2014, Scott DeSmit decided to write about the 2012 MVP race between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. His beef? Sabermetrics caused the debate in the first place, when Miguel Cabrera should have won outright because he won the Triple Crown.
Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012.
And there was a debate as to who deserved the MVP.
Sabermetrics, whatever that means.
Just 16 players have ever won the Triple Crown.
Cabrera bats .330, hits 44 home runs and drives in 139, you bet he deserves MVP.
It wasn't even a unanimous vote, thanks to Sabermetrics.
Mike Trout deserved the MVP because of Pythagorean expectations, speed scores, ultimate zone ratings, VORP, wOBA and PECOTA, or Player Empiracal Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.
Think baseball was boring before?
DeSmit hits all the bases the rest of his brothers in Luddism hit years ago. Incomprehensibility of sabermetrics? Check. Weird, meaningless stat used to backup his mocking of other, more useful stats? Check. Cringeworthy play on the weird-sounding nature of stats? Check.
It should go without saying that when people go to the lengths they do to understand baseball—to create whole new ways of interpreting what happens on the field—it is pretty damning evidence against the Baseball Is Boring argument. "Boring" and a "willingness to comprehend something that is new to you" are not synonymous. But you knew that, because you are an adult who understands what is outside the cave.
In closing his argument about the 2012 MVP, Scott DeSmit lists his favorite attributes in a ballplayer.
Give me that kid who dives into second base headfirst stretching a single or smashes into the outfield wall leaping for a fly ball or hits 450-feet home runs or bats .320 and steals 50 bases[.]
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