Thursday, March 8, 2012

Opinion: Brookover's recent work is discouraging on several levels

PBR - I'll be the first to admit I'm not a fan of numbers, but I comprehend their importance in today's baseball landscape. I've embraced the notion that advanced mathematics is becoming increasingly intertwined with the culture of American sport.  

I also understand the concept of success and how it hinges on adaptability, so after reading Bob Brookover's latest article on the Phillies and their use of sabermetrics I could not help but feel a bit discouraged.

Brookover, a talented scribe that I admire, knocked sabermetrics as nothing more than strange acronyms and 'convoluted equations.' 
"The theory of great pitching winning games is as old as Abner Doubleday, and KISS - keep it simple, stupid - is still the most sensible acronym in all walks of life." Bob Brookover - 3/2/2012.
I'm not a believer in Darwinism but I've always appreciated the concept of 'survival of the fittest.'

I began studying sabermetrics because I knew other baseball writers were incorporating advanced mathematical findings into their work. I could have easily taken Brookover's stance and poked fun at the notion of analytics in baseball but what would I have gained?

Ignoring analytics would have left me with less information and insight than my competitors, thus weakining my ability to analyze and report. I couldn't let that happen.

I'm a journalist and we're taught to be resourceful, so why any writer would discard information that digs beyond the surface is beyond me.
The same argument can also be made against Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies.
"There are times when I think maybe we should use it some more, but, frankly, I have a great deal of confidence in the people that we have hired to help us make some of the scouting and personnel decisions. I err on that side probably because I believe in our people." Ruben Amaro Jr. - 3/2/2012
The fact that an organization has a strong scouting staff does not inherently diminish the importance of advanced analytics. There is no reason the two have to be mutually exclusive.

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