Number-crunching straw man to meet his maker

22 Mar

This is either a horrifyingly stupid concept for a book or a suuuuuuper clever satire:

The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball exposes the myths perpetrated by the bestselling book Moneyball and the philosophy of baseball that it described.

Oh boy. Sensing some hardcore ignorance around the bend.

The Beauty of Short Hops demonstrates that the Moneyball approach is doubly doomed. First, it fails on its own terms: it cannot make baseball a predictable game wholly understandable in numerical terms.

Aaaaaand there it is. No one has ever claimed that as a goal. Never. Not once.

Indeed, the teams which use this approach have not fared well.

Like the two-time World Series champion Red Sox and the many-pennant-winning Oakland A’s, the two most noteworthy of many franchises who understand that analyzing success is an important part of any business? Those teams?

Second, the Moneyball approach blocks out what is most compelling about the sport ā€“ its relentless capacity to surprise.

(Starting to sense this is the book version of a commenter troll. Shouldn’t have taken the bait. Oh well, can’t stop now.) No, it doesn’t. There is absolutely no way this guy has read Moneyball, unless he’s just trying to set a world record for disingenuous claims.

The authors watched all 162 Red Sox games in 2009,

I watched every Twins game last season and am a proud supporter of sabermetrics. Did you have a point?

and catalog the crazy events (such as a game turning on a ball striking a pigeon in the outfield) that enrich baseball and defeat the best-laid plans of sabermetricians.

Not sure how a ball hitting a pigeon “enriches” baseball, but again, not one stat geek on the planet is trying to outlaw your precious spontaneity and occasional lucky bounces from baseball.

I have no problem with writing a book about the lunacy of statistics so long as it comes from a place of truth rather than good ol’-fashioned straw-man killing. Can’t we all agree that making shit up out of thin air to support your argument may not be the soundest strategy? Or at least left to the political arena?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: