As you know from reading this blog, I’ve loved the game of baseball since I was a little girl but only recently started writing about it. You also know from reading this blog that I am not a stats guru.
The good thing is, I know what my strengths are. I know enough about the game of baseball to allow myself to not sound like an imbecile when I post about it and I can be a bit of a smart ass so I can make my game recaps fun to read.
The bad thing is, I am a little terrified of sabermetrics. I don’t know what it is about numbers that makes me so fearful. Maybe I’m having flashbacks to high school math classes. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s been two decades since I have actually set foot in a math class.
And even though I am trying to learn about stats, I still feel like I’m in way over my head. I’ve been reading books, going to different websites to look at their stats glossaries and just when I think I’ve learned enough, something new comes along.
Truth be told, it’s all a bit overwhelming for someone like me.
I follow a lot of smart baseball writers and bloggers on Twitter. They write some of the best baseball articles you can find on the Internet. They delve into the numbers with the sort of reckless abandon that I am in constant awe of. I wish I could just whip up a piece about wRC+ or wOBA and sound like I know what I’m talking about.
And the people who actually invented the metrics? Wow. Sometimes I sit here, staring at my laptop screen and wonder what on earth I was thinking when I decided to start writing about baseball.
But the positive here is that I want to learn.
I am of the belief that both watching the game and playing around with numbers will help you have a better understanding of baseball. When you want to know about all of the different aspects of a sport and different ways to look at something, the better you will be writing about it, right?
One would hope.
Still, there are a lot of other baseball writers out there who don’t give sabermetricians they credit they deserve. Those people believe in just watching the game and think that is enough for them to analyze players’s performances. They also feel the need to dismiss a lot of the work the stats guys do. They rely on wins and losses to judge a pitcher’s performance or RBI to judge a hitter’s performance.
Although, the tides have been turning a little in recent years, for instance when Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners won the Cy Young award in 2010 despite only having 13 wins. A lot of people – casual fans and some writers – were up in arms about it but the people who embrace sabermetrics knew Hernandez was the right choice because his W-L record was the only thing not Cy Young worthy and why should that alone keep him from winning the award?
I made a joke this morning on Twitter about wishing that there was a college for sabermetrics; a place where us newbies could go to be taught by some of the most brilliant baseball minds there are.
So can someone please make this happen? I will be the first person to sign up for it. I was the type of student who actually enjoyed sitting through lectures in college so I am up for anything: Whiteboards, blackboards, over head projectors, Power Point presentations, straight talking for three hours.
Bring it on.
I want to be the kind of writer who can write about stats and not be afraid to press the submit button when I’m done. I want to sit back and know that what I wrote was good, informative and something that people with the propensity to favor stats-based articles will want to read.
The bottom line is, I really don’t want to be fearful of stats anymore so can somebody help a sister out? Thanks.
If you’re one of those apprehensive people, you can visit the following sites:
I also highly recommend reading Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know About The Game Is Wrong by the brilliant minds over at Baseball Prospectus.