Monday, October 5, 2009

The World Of The Stat Zombie Continues To Crumble

  • The tide has turned:

As another of their own----J.P. Ricciardi----loses his job amid incompetence, arrogance and inability to handle important aspects of running an organization; as Billy Beane's portrayal as a "genius" is under closer scrutiny; and as the truth slowly filters out and is gradually accepted among the masses that Moneyball and pure stat-based theory plainly and simply doesn't work, the stat zombies appear resigned to their fate.

One interesting thing you'll notice in my posting yesterday morning (which was linked on Baseball Think Factory----a shout out goes to William Orton for posting it) regarding the misleading attempts to again promote Paul DePodesta for a job as a general manager was the lack of conviction in the comments.

As ridiculous as they are, the zombies really do believe that they're right. They know nothing about the game of baseball aside from what pops out of their calculators; they're petrified of confronting me (or anyone) directly; and they're utterly clueless in understanding human beings, but at the very least, they've been passionate about what they say. In this case though, the fight seems to have gone out of them.

In skimming the comments, I noticed the usual array of personal attacks; riffs on my website (go to the Blogspot site if you don't like it here, or don't read it at all; your choice); and detours into subjects that have nothing to do with anything----but there were only a couple who even dared to offer a lukewarm defense of DePodesta and his Dodgers tenure. The vitriol was gone like their heart wasn't in it. This, to me, is a resignation that they're losing the battle in the context of a larger war. The end is coming for them and the few that are hanging on are locked in their bunker; reminiscing about the heady days of Moneyball when "their" way was trendy for a brief moment, but that day is over. The truth is coming out and the era of the stat zombie is nearing an end. It's no longer a war of attrition and their reactions, insecurities and fear have me winning this fight.

The end is coming as I continue construction of the ultimate weapon, the genesis of which is known only to a few key aides/associates; once it's activated, the debate will be ended once and for all. A new day will dawn as I consolidate my power and take complete control of your universe. The shroud of the Dark Side is falling. They know it and what makes it even more excruciating for them is that they can't do anything to stop it.

  • One battle is turning positive, while another front turns negative:

My desperate entreaties for the Mets to make the necessary and ruthless decision to replace manager Jerry Manuel with Bobby Valentine is looking less and less likely as the club is letting Manuel take an active role in the formulation of his staff and the construction of the club going forward. They'll settle for firing/reassigning a couple of coaches as if that's going to solve the problem.

Valentine is going to get another job somewhere. The Indians have interest, but will they pay Valentine as they're slashing costs? I dunno. One surprising club that is said to be kicking around the Valentine possibility is the Marlins. After the way the club contended for most of the season when almost no one (except me) expected it, and the job Fredi Gonzalez did, it's odd that the Marlins are even weighing a managerial change. I watched the Marlins for the whole season and thought Gonzalez did a great job and is a good manager. Never one to question the way the Marlins do business, I have to wonder what's going on behind the scenes in Florida. Would the Marlins pay Valentine what he'll want? And would Valentine sacrifice some zeroes in his contract to get back into the big league game for a team that has a chance to contend or might he sit out and wait to see what happens with the Mets in early 2010?

There's still time for the Mets to seize the opportunity, but the window is closing rapidly. My guess is that Valentine will be back in the managerial ring soon wearing a Mets uniform or not. If the Mets keep Manuel, then they're all in with him. If things go badly at the start of the next season (and I'm talking the first two weeks of the season), Manuel's going to get fired. Isn't it better to do it now under these circumstances? Or are they going to make the same mistake the Mets always seem to make as they kept Willie Randolph when they wanted to fire him after 2007 and let Steve Phillips weasel his way into holding onto his job for an extra six months after 2002? Sadly, it appears to be the latter.

  • Viewer Mail 10.5.2009:

Isaac writes two comments----one RE the stat zombies; the other RE Carlos Lee:

haha, the guys at bbtf are so smart that they only copied a part of your post. They didn't include your explanation of why depodesta wrecked the team. They can be amazing sometimes.

You tweeted the mets need to aggressively pursue Carlos lee. Why?. He's better than the LF options they have of course, but his salary is pretty big, and if the mets want the astros to eat some of it, they'll probably have to give up some prospects, and their farm system is not in very good shape right now. And McLane's reluctance to trade his veterans for young players might mean that he will want to get more than lee is worth right now.

One word about the zombies being amazing: "sometimes"?

As for Lee, he's one of the most underrated hitters in baseball. Every year the numbers go up; he hits for power and gets on base at a reasonable rate; plus he rarely strikes out and is a better all-around athlete than people give him credit for. The Astros might want to slash some salary and Lee's making a lot of money. He's a better option for the Mets than Matt Holliday and I think Jason Bay's staying in Boston. Lee's not as bad an outfielder as he's alleged to be, but the Mets could deal with him considering the ground covered by Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur. Lee's a good guy in the clubhouse too. It's something to explore very seriously. It doesn't hurt to ask and I think Lee would be a winner in New York. Plus, they can consider shifting him to first base since he's played there before.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes:

Embrace the stat zombie for being what it is: fodder. As for Towers, uh... thought that would happen a lot sooner. Not so sure I believe in the Moorad machine... yet.

Do you consider my hands around their collective throats an embrace? If so, then that's what I've been doing for quite awhile.

How much worse could the Padres be? Towers has been getting sturdy defense from the likes of Buster Olney, but 14 years is a long time and Moorad has every right to make a change if that's what he wants to do. It's his team and the mere perception of a new era in San Diego will only help the club after the way they've been run into the ground over the past few years.

*Note: My National League award winners will be posted later today.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Please explain in detail what your issue is with statistical-based analysis. Please try to avoid simple talking points like "the Oakland A's suck" and "VORP bad" and try to provide some details.

Is it your position that a high OBP is bad? Is it your position that players who create more runs than other players are bad?

If you want to point to a previous post on this subject, that's fine. I like to think I can be open-minded and if you can convince me there is something wrong with using statistical evidence, I'm all for it.