Most of you have heard about this ‘Harold Reynolds vs Statistics’ story. Here is a recap for those of you who missed it.
First off, Harold Reynolds turned on his evil naked lady machine (or more likely had a friend transcribe his loony thoughts while on a peyote bender) and wrote up some hilariously and confoundingly terrible argument that statistics are overrated. Or don’t work. Or something. I honestly have very little idea what his point was, but feel free to check it out yourself if you have a strong stomach and are OK with not respecting anything this man says ever again.
After reading that, you’ll probably want to read something that accurately reflects the level of batshit in those few hundred words to know you aren’t the only human whose head just did a cartoonish 360. You will also probably be in the mood to actually enjoy the act of reading words, since that last post’s abomination of the english language and reasonable thought makes you lose faith in mankind. (OK, that’s a little too dramatic. Sorry.)
Anyway, you can first direct your attention to everyone’s favorite writer Joe Posnanski, who channels Reynolds by writing:
Someone once told me Ichiro should walk more. Why? The guy gets 200 hits a year. He scores over 100 runs. Why would pitchers want to walk him more? Then he would score even more runs and he would steal more bases. This might seem like a good thing from Ichiro’s perspective, which seemed to be the original point when someone once told me that Ichiro should walk more, but no, now I’m suddenly talking about the pitcher’s perspective — why should they walk him more? In other words: Why should he walk more when pitchers would rather not walk him and, um, sluggers who walk are not really, you know, well, OPS is not good when you have a slow runner clogging up the drain like dog hair when you wash him in the sink though Ichiro is a fast runner and could score more runs if he walked more which is a bad thing because Dave Kingman is or he would be, if he was on a good team with Adrian Gonzalez, a slugger who, and, um, Adam Dunn needs to be mentioned and statistics are not good except sometimes like when a guy gets 200 hits, but then, if he walked more, he would score more and pitchers don’t want that and … that’s why OPS is not a good statistic.
That about sums it up, I’d say. But the real gem of this whole sitchyation comes in the comments section on Reynolds’s original post, when some genius and American hero wrote:
I can totally relate Harold. I am a farmer and I can’t believe how science has taken over the agriculture business. Like I had an old neighbor who was much like Dick Williams. He said, “If something is going wrong with your crops, then the situation will dictate what to do. Like, if rain is your problem, then sacrifice two goats or one pig. If pests are your problem, then yell at the moon for a forenight and bury three red stones in your field. Problem solved. But I shouldn’t have to tell you beforehand, you should know this.” Now days they have fancy inventions like irrigation, meteorology, crop rotations, and fertilizers. I am like, “Phooey and bunk!” I am just like you Harold, I don’t need their new fangled theories and hocus-pocus in order to understand farming better. I mean a meteorologist has never farmed, what can he tell me or my old neighbor about farming? We reached the pinnacle of understanding with yelling at the moon! The point is that I have nothing left to learn just like you, Harold.
Game over. This man wins the internet.
Harold Reynolds, of course, loses.