Leitch: Baseball Prospectus has made the game better

From Will Leitch at Sports on Earth on February 27, 2013, with mention of SABR members Rob Neyer, Bill James, Cecilia Tan, Christina Kahrl, Jay Jaffe and the late Doug Pappas:

My copy of “Baseball Prospectus 2013” showed up at my apartment last week. I’m pretty sure I have every edition since 2002, which isn’t as impressive as I want it to be; they’ve been doing them since 1996. (You can read that whole edition right here.) It is ostensibly a reference book, but I never treat it as one. Every year, when it arrives, I put aside everything else I’m reading and devour it cover to cover, like a novel. I look forward to it every late February, and it is not an overstatement to say that reading it is a highlight of my year. I’m so happy it exists.

Of all the specious criticisms levied against sabermetricians and baseball advanced statistics folks, the one I understand the least is the idea that they somehow don’t like watching games. (I don’t really understand any of the “criticisms,” but this is the one that makes no sense.) I’m not sure there are people who love the game more than sabermetricians.

These are at their core fans, after all. That is how they started. They didn’t get into baseball because they were blessed with a 95-mph left arm, or because their dad used to play the game, or because they had a journalism degree and needed some place to work after college. They got into this because they loved baseball in a profound way, and not in that mystical, hazy, sepia-tone bullsnoot way that Ken Burns always wants everyone to love it. They loved it enough to question it, to test it, to poke at it … to try to make it better. Bill James might have kicked off the revolution — and Rob Neyer might have helped popularize it in ways that I’m still not quite sure are completely appreciated — but these are the guys who implemented it. These were people who were engrossed with baseball, and desperately sought out other people who felt the same way.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/42043552/

Originally published: February 28, 2013. Last Updated: February 28, 2013.