Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 18, 2004
BASEBALL: Time Warp

Matt Welch and the Primates tear into this turgid muck of a column by know-nothing LA Times sportswriter Bill Plaschke, ripping into the Dodgers for hiring the young, stat-oriented Paul DePodesta as GM (unsurprisingly, I like the move, as does Pinto). From what I've seen online, the LAT is something of a West Coast version of the Boston Globe -- the same dull, biased newswriting, the same dreary, don't-read-me layout, the same fatuous editorials and idiot left-leaning op-ed columnists, and the same bitter, flat-earth troglodytes on the sports page. In short, a newspaper where nothing has changed and nothing has been learned since 1975. Anyway, Welch has more patience than I usually do for plowing through this stuff, and promises to start a "Moneyboner of the Day" feature mocking this kind of anti-knowledge baseball writing. Good luck.

I did get one useful thing from this, though; the Clutch Hits thread had a link to this proto-sabermetric LIFE Magazine article by Branch Rickey, reprinted at Jim Fraser's homepage (I've added it here as the link by the Rickey quote as well), in which Rickey lauded on base percentage, a combined OBP/Slugging % metric and ERA and its components as the keys to evaluating players. As Rickey noted at the time:

It is the hardest thing in the world to get big league baseball to change anything—even spikes on a pair of shoes. But they will accept this new interpretation of baseball statistics eventually. They are bound to.

An optimist, Rickey was; and an incredibly forward-thinking guy, for a man whose playing career began in 1905.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:32 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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