Kasper: Bringing sabermetrics into the broadcast booth

From Len Kasper at Baseball Prospectus on October 16, 2012:

After I was hired for my first full-time baseball gig calling Florida Marlins games on television in 2002, my baseball world was turned on its head. Number one, I got to broadcast every day with the great Tommy Hutton, so career-wise, I was in heaven. He helped polish me into a confident, yet still nerdy and goofy play-by-play guy. I also forged a fast friendship with Jon “Boog” Sciambi, who was working with eventual Ford C. Frick Award winner Dave Van Horne on Marlins radio.

Well, this was the time of the Oakland A’s early-2000s success—the “Moneyball” era. Boog was paying close attention and was excited to find an eager student of the game in me with whom he could share his intellectual take on the game on a daily basis.

Suffice it to say, the Woody Allen-like subtitle to the essential BP book, Baseball Between The Numbers (Why Everything You Know About The Game Is Wrong), became my mantra. I started thinking about out avoidance, walk rate, and slugging percentage and began to look skeptically at individual runs scored and RBI totals. It was exhilarating because my views of the game were being totally re-wired in a way that really meshed with my intellectually curious personality. I liked that a player’s value wasn’t immediately obvious from simply watching him play and looking at the basic numbers ingrained in my head as a kid. I’ve always been very comfortable with the idea that there is a lot I don’t know, and sabermetrics opened up an incredible new world to me.

If Bill James taught us nothing else, he showed us that questions are as important as answers. Our curiosity leads us (and more importantly, others who might be better equipped to find the answers than we are) on an exciting journey and, in James’ words, adds to our collective bank of knowledge. I’ve long said that it doesn’t really matter to me if we ever find the answers. I just like that we are trying to get there.

Well, fast forward from 2002 to 2012: the landscape has completely changed, and for the better, I think.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18680

Originally published: October 16, 2012. Last Updated: October 16, 2012.