Kenny: Why are we so slow to seize competitive advantage?

From SABR member Brian Kenny at Sports on Earth on July 5, 2016:

In only the time it took to research and write this book, Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution, there has been a stunning change in the baseball landscape. A final tipping point was reached in a very specific and vital place in the baseball machinery — the Major League dugout.

After years of illogical obstinance, a wall has come down. A quote like this — “We hang on to tradition. But is it tradition, or is it truth? You’ve got to seek the truth” — comes not from Bill James or a baseball outsider, but from a 50-year-old baseball manager: Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers, the 2015 A.L. Manager of the Year. Things are changing right in front of us. Revolutionary thought is now mainstream thought. Even for the manager.

Let’s see if you can spot the trend:

• The live ball is introduced in 1909. The Live-Ball Era begins 11 years later for Babe Ruth, 20 years later for the rest of baseball.

• The relief ace is first used in the 1920s, helping the Washington Senators win the 1924 World Series. Relief ace era begins 23 years later.

• Lou Boudreau introduces defensive shift in 1946, shutting down Ted Williams. Defensive shifts become widespread 65 years later.

• Sabermetric revolution introduces analytics in early 1980s. Adopted league-wide nearly 30 years later, after subject becomes a hit book, and then a hit movie.

• Bullpenning used effectively every All-Star Game, often in World Series. Bullpenning comes into widespread use …

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Originally published: July 5, 2016. Last Updated: July 5, 2016.