Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Stat Zombie Militia

  • Clinging to a "revolution" choked into lifelessness by reality:

Rather than going for a GM with the breadth of experience to be both a scout and to utilize stats, Padres owner Jeff Moorad is staying the course set by his predecessor John Moores and is hiring Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer as his new GM. Hoyer is respected and well-liked, but there's no way of knowing whether he'll be able to handle the big job on his own except in retrospect. It's hard to criticize the move beforehand. That said, the stat zombies are using this decision as another specious validation of their faulty, dogmatic and sectarian beliefs.

Much like the Michigan militia; the "birther" movement; and any other bizarre and misinterpreted attempt to adhere too directly to what amounts to a floating series of tenets or put forth an agenda, the zombies are referring to the Hoyer hiring as another step in the "revolution".

Quote from Rob Neyer's Sweet Spot on ESPN yesterday regarding Hoyer:

And so the revolution continues. Hoyer's not an Ivy Leaguer, but he did pitch (and pitch well) at Wesleyan University. Oh, and he's not afraid of on-base average or Ultimate Zone Rating. On the one hand, it's hard to know exactly what Hoyer brings to the table, given that Paul DePodesta and Sandy Alderson -- who still work for the Padres -- are perfectly well-versed in roster-building, contract negotiations, and sabermetric analysis.

The Michigan Militia portrays itself as a defender of freedom against government encroachment on dissenting citizens; the "birthers" call President Barack Obama's citizenship into question; the stat zombies suggest a revolution between old-school scouting techniques and sabermetrics is still being waged.

It's not.

The fall of the house of Moneyball has continued unabated as the years have passed. With the proponents of the system using stats, stats and more stats under fire (Billy Beane); fired outright (J.P. Ricciardi, Paul DePodesta); and altering their team construction for convenience and survival (Theo Epstein), this so-called revolution doesn't exist because Moneyball hasn't wooooooooooooorked!!!!!

The holdouts remain. Like a lunatic fringe on the outskirts of society and clinging to an ideology despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary and reality kicking them in the teeth at every turn, they refuse to go quietly into the night. It's past the point of someone fervently believing in their point-of-view; it's relegated to the few who have so much personally invested in being "right" that they can't adjust their views for fear of alienating their base.

I can't even get into the Alderson and DePodesta references as competent executives anymore. I've repeated it so many times that you can find my statements on such matters using any search engine. That the Padres are staying on that road signifies that the holdouts of this so-called "revolution"----which is being effectively strangled not just by the non-believers such as myself, but by objective reality----aren't going to stop; and those that buy into it are going to learn the lesson the hard way if Hoyer follows the DePodesta blueprint for destroying a club in 20 easy months; and the Alderson recipe for creating a front office full of backbiting, bickering, paranoid spies.

Then again, the Padres have been so inept in recent years that they couldn't possibly get much worse regardless of whom they hire as GM and what strategies they implement----or could they? The spiral of Michael Lewis's hackneyed creative non-fiction continues, but there are still teams and individuals who believe it and assert a "revolution" of Ivy League educated "geniuses" still exists and will replace every last old-school baseball guy even if it's never going to happen.

My admiration for the audacity is dwindling. If I were capable, I might feel pity for them. But I don't have that ability, so I'll let nature take its course and watch them self destruct with my characteristic indifference.

  • Viewer Mail 10.24.2009:

Michael writes RE Joe Girardi:

a delicious skewering! - well it would have been more delicious if I wasn't a yankee fan...

let be known i am not a band wagon girardi critic--i've thought he's been awful for two years.

I'll repeat what i said over at jane's :

a rollercoaster from hell. i have a few thoughts. one could make an argument either to leave AJ in after only 80 pitches or take him out as he had sat there for a half an hour. with a day off and ALL hands on deck i was shocked when he came back out. but so be it. the minute he gave up the hit to Mauer - ooops sorry, Mathis there should have been joba or in my opinion robertson and a lefty ready to come in instantly. no excuse to leave hum in to walk that little creep aybar after having down 0-2. furious that hughes shook off posada who was no doubt calling for another curve... lesson learned? we'll see. but YES--taking alex out for a pinch runner who didnt run was absolutely idiotic --i understand you do it with matsui but then he had alex AND matsui out of the game with no one with pop off the bench. now he's counting on scoring not only the tying run but the winning run. in the end it was all for naught but he's a terrible manger who has a team that usually wins despite his bungles. i sincerely hope that last night proved the AJ/ Molina project has stopped being funded by the Girardi foundation.

Leaving Burnett in the game wasn't simply a mistaken decision based on pitch counts or that he'd settled in and pitched quite well after that first inning; it was a failure to properly assess the situation. The first inning was so hideous that to get as much as they got from Burnett and to take the lead while he was still on the mound should've been enough. To let him sit in the dugout; to cool off; and evidently lose the groove he'd established and then send him back out for the bottom of the seventh showed a remarkable hard-headedness and lack of judgment on the part of the manager. It would've been one thing if they didn't have the relievers to get the outs, but they did.

Managers have to think in terms of the worst possible scenario. If this, if that, if then. Was Girardi sitting there and seriously thinking that if the first two Angels batters got on that he'd bring in Damaso Marte? And then go to Hughes after that? If that was the case, why wasn't Hughes warming up alongside Marte? If you remember, Joba Chamberlain was warming up before Hughes ran and started rapidly getting loose.

There appeared to be no pre-planning; no preparation----just panic. And the Yankees organization from the front office all the way through to the players must be sitting in anticipation and terror as to what's going to happen if games 6 and/or 7 come down to a Girardi decision because, so far, he's thrown things at the wall and had them bounce back and hit him right in the face. The lack of managerial experience is killing them and it could signal the end in ways that had not been anticipated, but should've.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes:

At least Michael Myers had the good sense to wear a mask, take bullets without falling down, and, y'know, kill anyone who got in his way. Giardi doesn't have that "killer instinct"... unless you consider "baseball suicide" to count for that.

McCourt, Steve Phillips... hey, isn't it about time Harold Reynolds got himself involved in some type of sex scandal again?! 'Tis the season!

Michael Myers worked on instinct; Girardi works on...I dunno what. And I'm not sure I'd like to know. It could be catching.

A week ago, I'd have said that Reynolds wouldn't be that stupid, but I also would've said the same thing about Lumbergh/Phillips. My innate judgments should probably stick to baseball because I have no idea what drives humans (myself included) to self-destruct as they inevitably do. I'm not sure I'd like to know that either.

Peter at Outside the Phillies Looking In writes:

Leaving AJ in was somewhat of a surprise... maybe Girardi should invest in a scary mask then he could use a stand-in for bad decisions... or did he just want to get the win at home for celebratory purposes...

If the Yankees blow this series, he'll need a mask to get out of town. And if he wants to be part of the celebration, I'm quite sure the Angels will be more than happy to let him join theirs----he'll have been a major part of their accomplishment in winning the pennant!


Joe said...

You say "Moneyball hasn't wooooooooooooorked!!!!!" When you refer to "Moneyball" what do you refer to? It is unclear.

I go back to my earlier questions from a few weeks back. Is a high OBP bad? Is identifying market inefficiencies a bad thing?

I enjoyed the whole spectral/Halloween kinda thing you did there on "woooorked." Quite entertaining.

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