NYT: Baseball broadcasts introduce advanced stats, but with caution

From Steve Eder at the New York Times on April 2, 2013:

Radio broadcasts of baseball games have filled the summer air for generations with plain-spoken voices of announcers leisurely walking their listeners through nine innings.

Now this piece of Americana — one-sided conversations that create a cozy intimacy between fans and announcers — is colliding with the cold calculations known as sabermetrics.

Statistical analysis has swept through baseball over the past decade, becoming part of the fabric of the game and an object of growing fascination to its fans. As players, managers and front office executives embrace the esoteric statistics, teams increasingly want their radio announcers just as fluent in the language of WAR, VORP and B.A.B.I.P. (Those stand for wins above replacement, value over replacement player and batting average on balls in play, for those of you dusting off your radios as the season begins.)

“They wanted a broadcaster who is at least comfortable with exploring the idea of discussing advanced statistics and what they mean,” said Robert Ford, 33, who was hired by the Houston Astros in the off-season, along with Steve Sparks, 48, a former pitcher, to call the team’s games. The advent of advanced statistical analysis, Mr. Ford said, has “changed the way we think about baseball.”

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/sports/baseball/baseball-broadcasts-introduce-advanced-statistics-but-with-caution.html

Originally published: April 2, 2013. Last Updated: April 2, 2013.