Are We Further Out of Touch Than I Thought?

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been pointing out how wins (among other stats, but mostly wins) are all but useless in evaluating a pitcher’s performance for nearly three years now. I didn’t come up with the idea, and I’m hardly the first to say it, but it’s been a pet conceit of mine. Recently, some commenters noted that they thought I’d been pointing it out too much – that it’s so obvious by this point that it’s not even worth mentioning. After all, you don’t point out how the sun rises every single day, do you?

Yet I wonder about the thought that advanced ideas, so well-known in the blogging and sabermetric community, no longer need to be discussed. Don’t we all know people who don’t put 1/100th of the thought into baseball as we do, and still think in that antiquated fashion? Sure, the ‘casual’ fan is never going to read this blog, or very likely any blog. Yet the casual fan outnumbers us in terms of attendance and merchandising power by a multiplier I can’t even imagine. It’s why guys like Joe Morgan can not only survive but thrive in the broadcast world, because they speak to the lowest common denominator. It’s refreshing to see guys like Jon Sciambi of ESPN speak about how they’re trying to bring advanced thinking to the masses, yet depressing to know that those same masses rejected a relatively simple stat like OPS as “too complicated“.

The reason this comes to mind today is because of the official Dodger Facebook page, when the topic turned to Manny’s “I probably won’t be back” comments. As I and other bloggers unanimously said on today, the story was a non-issue – Manny was almost certainly not coming back for 2011 regardless. Yet on the Facebook page – and remember, people commenting on the Facebook page are not the same kind of people who seek to comment on blogs – the sentiment was not only “we hate Manny”, but “we love Juan Pierre and the Dodgers made a huge mistake by trading him.”

I’m not going to tell anyone they should love Manny, after all he’s done. And I’m not going to tell anyone that Juan Pierre can’t be their favorite player, since that’s a matter of personal opinion. But to say that Pierre is simply a better player than Manny is really something that’s completely inarguable – it’s not close to true on this planet or any other, nor is it something we’d ever even consider.

Yet according to the overwhelming majority of the Facebook posts… well, here’s just a sample.

I mean, it goes on like that for pages. I absolutely get it if Manny lost the trust and faith that fans put into him, so I don’t mind that he’s not popular. But just look how many people are under the idea that Pierre is simply a better ballplayer, not just a better person.

It’s insane, and it shows that despite all the progress that’s been made, especially over the last 10 years, there’s still absolutely huge amounts of people out there who still just don’t get it. And that’s why I will always point out why wins are ridiculous.



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  2. [...] be pretty damned good if it gets you a .917 OPS.  It’s that kind of media fail which lead to posts like this, wondering why so many fans preferred Pierre to Manny despite overwhelming evidence that he’s [...]

  3. [...] claims that Pierre “deserved” to play because of how he played the game — here’s an entire post on that from February of 2010, for example. It mattered not that Pierre, save for a few short weeks when Ramirez was suspended, [...]