Brown: Sabermetrics, TV, and not using too much of a new color in your painting

From Maury Brown at on August 17, 2016, with mention of SABR member Brian Kenny:

More than once on radio or television, I’ve been asked about sabermetrics, the advanced statistical analysis in sports, most commonly associated with baseball. I’d also say I’m a firm believer in information. That you can’t have enough of it, and that the value of it in sports should never be discounted.

This would make sense, coming from me. I was approached early on to write about the business side of baseball from internet outlets that were steeped in reaching out to those that saw not only value in the numbers game in baseball, but for some that were repeat visitors to the sites, sabermetrics verged somewhere on par with religion. Whether that was The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, or to a lesser extent Baseball America, looking at new statistics to better understand baseball was, unlike the mainstream sports media, not frowned upon.

While I was part of this culture and never looked down my nose at it, my interests and what I covered were not known for being big sabermetrics hot beds. There absolutely were economists that centered on sports, but they were mostly in academia. You knew of Roger Noll, or Rodney Fort, but it was really only Andrew Zimbalist that seemed to move the needle in the baseball fan culture.

That changed some with the late, great Doug Pappas. Doug most well-known metric creation was Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins to show efficiency and effectivity of how clubs were spending on player talent. Still, myself or Neil deMause would touch on this in later years, with Neil doing adjustments to Doug’s formulas, but the honest to goodness truth was—and still is—business of baseball writers exploring advanced metrics have always been the musical version of the backing band to the rock stars that delved into looking at the players themselves. After all, people don’t go to the ballpark to watch how payrolls are constructed. They go to see the players and the teams they support.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 18, 2016. Last Updated: August 18, 2016.