Old-Age Nonsense

February 28, 2007 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Baseball, Jackie Manuel | 3 Comments

Murray Chass attacks reason: chass_murray.jpg

Statistics mongers promoting VORP and other new-age baseball statistics.

I receive a daily e-mail message from Baseball Prospectus, an electronic publication filled with articles and information about statistics, mostly statistics that only stats mongers can love.

To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didn’t care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didn’t know what it meant either.

Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Don’t ask what it means. I don’t know.

I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

People play baseball. Numbers don’t.

What a load of bollocks…his respected friends don’t know, so it is absurd? Any evidence that stats like VORP, which might be the easiest stat to undertstand this side of OPS, are undermining fan’s enjoyment of baseball? This strawman argument was defeated by Bill James years ago, but still finds its way into the gray lady. People, even you Murray, don’t have to subscribe to Baseball Prospectus, but those that do use the site to enhance their enjoyment.




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  1. That’s the kind of ignorance that seems to occur in the top tiers of the baseball world (managers, teams, sportswriters, etc.) but isn’t seen nearly as much from a fan’s perspective, be (s)he casual or serious. Sure, a heated argument is sure to arise sometime, but fans more often at least have respect for the “numbers”. Like you said, Bill James proved these stats not to be flukes 20 years ago, so why can’t people like Chass just sit down and accept it, or at least have a respectful view.

    Chass talked about “The human factor” of baseball – for some people figuring out these “absurd” statistics is the human factor. It is some fan’s enjoyment. Perhaps limited and secluded views like these harm baseball more than people figuring out numbers for fun.

  2. Seth Mnookin hates Chass too.
    And he has a blog.



  3. never liked that boring game.

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