8.08.2006

The Revolution will be SABRized

We've seen a lot of changes in baseball media this year. ESPN is down two in their broadcast crew, and has brought in a circus side show of replacements. They've also revamped their graphics, lost rights to postseason series and decided not to repair robotic Joe Morgan. But today, I'm not going to talk about ESPN.

When Moneyball was published in 2003, it opened the eyes of a lot of baseball fans. I'd had some idea of what was going on, but the only reason was that I was in Oakland in the years previous. I'd seen what Beane was doing, and it was clear he was doing it for cheap. But at the time, I'm not sure I even knew what SABR stood for. I didn't even own a copy of Baseball Prospectus until this winter.

The internet has been a wonderful source for a poor college student (now poor government / political employee) to get information I would otherwise never come across. I've discovered statistics based on math that's too complicated for me that give a whole new meaning to understanding baseball.

The only problem has been how slow major news outlets and media sources have been to adopt these measures. We're finally seeing AVG / OBP / SLG become more common than AVG - HR - RBI, but for the most part, things like VORP, or DER, or MLV have fallen on deaf ears. Mainstream media is proving that they have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century when it comes to baseball.

Last year, when I wanted to know the Pythagorean Win-Loss numbers for a team, I had to compute it myself with data from ESPN's league page. I've been meaning to mention this for quite awhile, but you can now find it here, at the official Major League Baseball website.

Sure, it's a simple formula, and Runs Scored and Runs Allowed have been numbers that mainstream analysts have used for years, but the use of this statistic is a glimmer of hope that we won't have to cling to the old ways in baseball. Someday, we might all be able to talk about how truly, truly awful Derek Jeter's fielding is, and finally have a way to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt. It won't be the old baseball way of anecdote and error totals, but range factor, and all the other various deffensive ratings dreamed up by people with advanced statistics degrees and a love of baseball.

The Revolution is coming, and it will be SABRized.

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