Weinberg: The case for confronting sabermetric skeptics

From Neil Weinberg at The Hardball Times on April 16, 2015:

The Internet is one of society’s greatest achievements. It’s right up there with the wheel, soap, air travel and the ability to eradicate disease. But as with all of those extraordinary feats, there are obviously plenty of negatives associated with the world wide web. Among those negatives is how easy the internet makes it to beat a dead horse.

Now certainly no one would argue this is the worst thing that happens on the internet, but in our little corner of the world, it’s extremely common to observe the same conversations happening again and again. Specifically, any time a prominent voice makes a derisive comment about sabermetrics or analytics in sports, there’s a pretty well-prepared, cookie cutter script that we all follow.

First, the prominent voice – sometimes it’s a current or former player, sometimes it’s a media personality – makes the comment. After that, a sizable number of analytics-friendly writers and fans respond by calling attention to the original commenter’s ignorance, stupidity, etc. This, of course, leads to blowback from more traditionally minded people who call for civility or respect, and sometimes they lean on an appeal to authority. Recently, we’ve also started to see the emergence of a thread in which members of the pro-saber crowd demonstrate frustration with their compatriots due to the pointlessness of their anger.

Put another way, there is a growing number of sabermetrically friendly people who are annoyed by the echo chamber and believe the heated responses to anti-saber comments serve no purpose. It’s an interesting development. There are people who believe in sabermetrics who think we shouldn’t respond to superficial critics because there’s nothing to be gained by doing so.

Are they right?

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/the-case-for-confronting-sabermetric-skeptics/

Originally published: April 16, 2015. Last Updated: April 16, 2015.