View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Friday

8

November 2013

94

COMMENTS

Friday Notes

Written by , Posted in General

  • As you know, Rick Renteria is the new manager for the Cubs. It blows me away (but it doesn’t surprise me) that some fans are already calling the hire a failure BEFORE HE HAS EVEN GIVEN A PRESS CONFERENCE, MUCH LESS MANAGED A GAME. The front office really took their time and vetted all their candidates, so there’s no reason to think they aren’t confident that he is the right man for the job. The Renteria hire has been praised by many in baseball, and the Padres consider this a significant loss. I mean, who were we supposed to hire as manager, Jesus Christ? The most important task for the new manager is to facilitate the development of the young players that will be coming up to the big league club in the next few years, and, by all accounts, Renteria is a good teacher. His Latino heritage can only be seen as a plus in this area as well. I, for one, am happy with the move, and I’m looking forward to rooting for his success (rather than proclaiming him to be a failure in November). Besides, if you read my post from October 11, you’ll see that managers don’t really matter all that much anyway!
  • As far as Renteria’s staff is concerned, we already know one member. Chris Bosio has agreed to a two-year deal to remain the Cubs’ pitching coach. I really like this move – Bosio’s work with Travis Wood, among others, has been impressive. I think his emphasis on ground balls will serve our young pitchers well in Wrigley going forward.
  • Via Crain’s, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks granted the Cubs permission to expand the outer right field wall 25 feet into Sheffield Avenue. This step was necessary since the wall will jut into public property. The original plan was to extend the wall by 15 feet, but this compromise was reached when the Clark Street bridge plan was scrapped, along with adjustments to the hotel plans and a reduction in night games from 46 to 43. The battle with the rooftops rages on as ever (ugh). Let the barely-tangential, broad-sweeping political comments begin!
  • Who would you like to see replace Keith Moreland on the radio broadcasts? Gracey would be fun (if unlikely), and I’ve heard Kerry Wood’s name being mentioned. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
  • cap’n Obvious

    wow. Someone seems to be shilling for Carrie Muskat’s job as official Cubs spokesperson. Chris Bosio has been impressive? Really? Wood went 9-12. Samardzija? 8-13. These are good young arms…supposedly. Bosio is the 2nd coming of Rothschild. Both went over 200 innings this year when neither was even close to needed in August/September. Why abuse young arms when you are 30 games back?

    You are right, Renteria hasn’t managed a game…above AAA. Ever. And 1 season at AAA. THAT team finished dead last with a record of 58-86. Oh, and he managed a single win managing Mexico in the WBC. You are correct that managers don’t matter that much. What does matter is that a hire like this shows Cub fans that the organization still could give 2 shits about winning baseball games, and even less about championships. He is supposedly a good teacher? Based on his tenure with the Padres who have had 1 season over .500 since he arrived on the big league staff in ’08? What has he taught them? Has there been some whimsical and amazing progress being made by Padres prospects at the big league level that I am missing? Because it looks to me like this is a guy that has shown up for the past 6 years and benched coached a by-and-large lsing team.

    This is a kick the can down the road hire…a guy they can (and will) easily fire quickly. They should have kept Svuem if this was the best they could find. The front office din’t vet anything. Theo and Jed absolutely want to hire a field manager they can easily blame (again) when the product on the field is (again) garbage next year.

    • Sean Powell

      If you’re bringing up the W-L record as an indicator of a pitcher’s success, we have nothing to discuss. Take that over to the Hawk Harrelson fan club along with TWTW.

      • Congratulations on pulling your head out of your ass long enough to type that gem. Now quick, google “baseball success” and see if you can somehow correlate that to winning baseball games.

      • Sean Powell

        Even a cursory glance at Travis Wood’s advanced metrics (or even his baseball card stats) indicate he had a great season. A pitcher’s W-L record, since it’s so dependent on his offense, is one of the poorest indicators of how well a pitcher is pitching. Put Travis Wood on a team with a great lineup, and he wins 15+ games. Also, does anyone really think that a bench coach is to blame for a super-young Padres team not winning more games?

      • cap’n obvious

        for 5 out of 6 years??? Probably plenty of blame to go around, but yes…I’d put a fair amount of it on the coaching staff. Do you really believe that being a bench coach on a perennial loser makes him a quality managerial candidate?

      • cap’n obvious

        Wins and Losses are the measure of success in EVERY ASPECT of the game of baseball. Of every sport really. It is the essence of competition. Who the hell plays to lose?????

        Good pitchers win games regardless of how lousy a team is. Iwakuma went 14-6 for a bad Seattle team. Buehrle went 12-10 for abysmal Toronto. DeLaRosa went 16-6 for Colorado. Chacin 14-10. Lee 14-8 for the Phillies. ALL of these guys were on losing teams, but were winning pitchers (with solid pitching coaches). Wins and Losses aren’t an indicator of success? In tee-ball maybe. Or liberal politics. This might be the all time saber-dork statement. Hawk Harrelson is onto something. He’s a blathering moron on the air, but guys that know how to win find ways to do it. So do well coached teams. And guys that worry about sabermetrics….especially pitching ones, they seem to know a lot more about losing.

      • Eddie Von White

        Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      • Kizzfastfists

        Exactly! W-L is all that matters! I still do not understand how that bum Nolan Ryan is in the HoF when he led his league in losses during his prime, age 29 season, and only won 20 games twice in his career. I don’t want hear the garbage excuse about playing for bad teams either! I don’t care how many Ks, no-hitters or whatever other made up stat you want to throw at me!

        How is a pitcher allowed to run up over 290 losses!!! That bum should have been out of baseball after he started his career with a 29-38 record. I don’t care if his ERA was league average and I don’t care that his K rate was good. He wasn’t winning games so he should have been gone!

      • cap’n obvious

        He still won more than he lost. And there’s the 7 no-hitters and leading the league in K’s 11 times. Or should we believe he’s in the hall based upon his WHIP and his K9BB%$**nut-satchel metric?

      • Kizzfastfists

        He also led the league in walks given up 8 times. Make up your mind! Does it matter if he led the league in Ks if he had a losing record like 1976? Samardzija was 4th in the league in Ks this year. Samardzija was 2nd and 5th in K/9 in the league the last two years. Does that somehow make him a good pitcher even if he can’t win games?

      • Jedi

        There’s a legion of saberdorks who’d talked themselves into anointing Samardzija as a legitimate ace based solely on a few select ‘advanced metrics’…the titular head of saberdom, HRH Keith Law, even went so far as to claim that Samardzija’s first half warranted the Cubs’ All-Star spot more than Travis Wood’s first half. A laughable claim.

        Pretend all you like that advanced metrics are pure and a better representation of reality. Conclusions based purely on stats – any stats! – are usually less than compelling.

      • cap’n obvious

        What it makes him is a guy that lost 26 games in 2 years. Above and beyond, and before and after every other stat. He is a guy that loses games. And he did it this year with a closer that saved over 30 games, a stat that nobody in the world would have believed Gregg would attain (and it cost me $350). Is much of that a symptom of being on a garbage team? Sure. But I listed a half dozen other guys on garbage teams that managed to win. And this was never about Samardzija…its about Bozio being anything other than “impressive” as Mr. Powell described. Now, if you say, “well, he might be better than whoever Renteria would have brought with him from the garbage Father’s franchise,” I might buy that. But to call the pitching coach of a last place 66-96 ballclub IMPRESSIVE based on saber-stats and a focus on ground balls is absolutely nutjobsville. What pitching coach on gods green earth doesn’t put an emphasis on ground balls? I can’t see a guy as bad as even Chummers Rothschild himself approaching a bullpen sesh with “well, gee Jeff….today we’re going to work on hanging your fastball so hitters can backspin that sucker onto Waveland even when the wind is blowing in.”

        Holy dog turds…an emphasis on ground balls.

      • Dusty Baylor

        Ok.. so when King Felix went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA and won the Cy Young….he was just average because he was a .500 pitcher?

      • Jedi

        Remind me again how the imaginary wins are better than the actual wins?

    • Jedi

      cap’n I’m quite glad there’s someone else who sees through the front office’s thinly veiled extension of the time horizon – which as near as I can tell has been priority No. 1 since they showed up – “buy as much time as possible before anyone expects success.”

      I will say that I don’t think the Theo & Jed can afford to have Renteria crash & burn after 2 terrible seasons (like Dale did). If that happens, someone from Theo’s group of buddies will be on the chopping block as well (probably Hoyer). I really hope we won’t be back here in two years on another search for the perfect manager, relying only on HRH Keith Law’s love for our prospects as the proof that Theo is worth the unequivocal blessings his every move receives from the majority of the fan base.

  • cap’n Obvious

    wow. Someone seems to be shilling for Carrie Muskat’s job as official Cubs spokesperson. Chris Bosio has been impressive? Really? Wood went 9-12. Samardzija? 8-13. These are good young arms…supposedly. Bosio is the 2nd coming of Rothschild. Both went over 200 innings this year when neither was even close to needed in August/September. Why abuse young arms when you are 30 games back?

    You are right, Renteria hasn’t managed a game…above AAA. Ever. And 1 season at AAA. THAT team finished dead last with a record of 58-86. Oh, and he managed a single win managing Mexico in the WBC. You are correct that managers don’t matter that much. What does matter is that a hire like this shows Cub fans that the organization still could give 2 shits about winning baseball games, and even less about championships. He is supposedly a good teacher? Based on his tenure with the Padres who have had 1 season over .500 since he arrived on the big league staff in ’08? What has he taught them? Has there been some whimsical and amazing progress being made by Padres prospects at the big league level that I am missing? Because it looks to me like this is a guy that has shown up for the past 6 years and benched coached a by-and-large lsing team.

    This is a kick the can down the road hire…a guy they can (and will) easily fire quickly. They should have kept Svuem if this was the best they could find. The front office din’t vet anything. Theo and Jed absolutely want to hire a field manager they can easily blame (again) when the product on the field is (again) garbage next year.

    • Sean Powell

      If you’re bringing up the W-L record as an indicator of a pitcher’s success, we have nothing to discuss. Take that over to the Hawk Harrelson fan club along with TWTW.

      • Congratulations on pulling your head out of your ass long enough to type that gem. Now quick, google “baseball success” and see if you can somehow correlate that to winning baseball games.

      • Sean Powell

        Even a cursory glance at Travis Wood’s advanced metrics (or even his baseball card stats) indicate he had a great season. A pitcher’s W-L record, since it’s so dependent on his offense, is one of the poorest indicators of how well a pitcher is pitching. Put Travis Wood on a team with a great lineup, and he wins 15+ games. Also, does anyone really think that a bench coach is to blame for a super-young Padres team not winning more games?

      • cap’n obvious

        for 5 out of 6 years??? Probably plenty of blame to go around, but yes…I’d put a fair amount of it on the coaching staff. Do you really believe that being a bench coach on a perennial loser makes him a quality managerial candidate?

      • cap’n obvious

        Wins and Losses are the measure of success in EVERY ASPECT of the game of baseball. Of every sport really. It is the essence of competition. Who the hell plays to lose?????

        Good pitchers win games regardless of how lousy a team is. Iwakuma went 14-6 for a bad Seattle team. Buehrle went 12-10 for abysmal Toronto. DeLaRosa went 16-6 for Colorado. Chacin 14-10. Lee 14-8 for the Phillies. ALL of these guys were on losing teams, but were winning pitchers (with solid pitching coaches). Wins and Losses aren’t an indicator of success? In tee-ball maybe. Or liberal politics. This might be the all time saber-dork statement. Hawk Harrelson is onto something. He’s a blathering moron on the air, but guys that know how to win find ways to do it. So do well coached teams. And guys that worry about sabermetrics….especially pitching ones, they seem to know a lot more about losing.

      • Eddie Von White

        Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      • Kizzfastfists

        Exactly! W-L is all that matters! I still do not understand how that bum Nolan Ryan is in the HoF when he led his league in losses during his prime, age 29 season, and only won 20 games twice in his career. I don’t want hear the garbage excuse about playing for bad teams either! I don’t care how many Ks, no-hitters or whatever other made up stat you want to throw at me!

        How is a pitcher allowed to run up over 290 losses!!! That bum should have been out of baseball after he started his career with a 29-38 record. I don’t care if his ERA was league average and I don’t care that his K rate was good. He wasn’t winning games so he should have been gone!

      • cap’n obvious

        He still won more than he lost. And there’s the 7 no-hitters and leading the league in K’s 11 times. Or should we believe he’s in the hall based upon his WHIP and his K9BB%$**nut-satchel metric?

      • Kizzfastfists

        He also led the league in walks given up 8 times. Make up your mind! Does it matter if he led the league in Ks if he had a losing record like 1976? Samardzija was 4th in the league in Ks this year. Samardzija was 2nd and 5th in K/9 in the league the last two years. Does that somehow make him a good pitcher even if he can’t win games?

      • Jedi

        There’s a legion of saberdorks who’d talked themselves into anointing Samardzija as a legitimate ace based solely on a few select ‘advanced metrics’…the titular head of saberdom, HRH Keith Law, even went so far as to claim that Samardzija’s first half warranted the Cubs’ All-Star spot more than Travis Wood’s first half. A laughable claim.

        Pretend all you like that advanced metrics are pure and a better representation of reality. Conclusions based purely on stats – any stat! – are usually less than compelling.

      • cap’n obvious

        What it makes him is a guy that lost 26 games in 2 years. Above and beyond, and before and after every other stat. He is a guy that loses games. And he did it this year with a closer that saved over 30 games, a stat that nobody in the world would have believed Gregg would attain (and it cost me $350). Is much of that a symptom of being on a garbage team? Sure. But I listed a half dozen other guys on garbage teams that managed to win. And this was never about Samardzija…its about Bozio being anything other than “impressive” as Mr. Powell described. Now, if you say, “well, he might be better than whoever Renteria would have brought with him from the garbage Father’s franchise,” I might buy that. But to call the pitching coach of a last place 66-96 ballclub IMPRESSIVE based on saber-stats and a focus on ground balls is absolutely nutjobsville. What pitching coach on gods green earth doesn’t put an emphasis on ground balls? I can’t see a guy as bad as even Chummers Rothschild himself approaching a bullpen sesh with “well, gee Jeff….today we’re going to work on hanging your fastball so hitters can backspin that sucker onto Waveland even when the wind is blowing in.”

        Holy dog turds…an emphasis on ground balls.

      • Dusty Baylor

        Ok.. so when King Felix went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA and won the Cy Young….he was just average because he was a .500 pitcher?

      • Jedi

        Remind me again how the imaginary wins are better than the actual wins?

    • Jedi

      cap’n I’m quite glad there’s someone else who sees through the front office’s thinly veiled extension of the time horizon – which as near as I can tell has been priority No. 1 since they showed up – “buy as much time as possible before anyone expects success.”

      I will say that I don’t think Theo & Jed can afford to have Renteria crash & burn after 2 terrible seasons (like Dale did). If that happens, someone from Theo’s group of buddies will be on the chopping block as well (probably Hoyer). I really hope we won’t be back here in two years on another search for the perfect manager, relying only on HRH Keith Law’s love for our prospects as the proof that Theo is worth the unequivocal blessings his every move receives from the majority of the fan base.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I like Rick’s can do attitude, and I believe he deserves some rope before we decide to hang him, but I did not like the way Theo and Co decided that the manager must speak spanish to be our next manager. The manager shoud be the leader of the team, and the search should have been conducted to show that they were looking for a leader, not an interpreter. The biggest comdenation of the hire came from MLB daily e-mail which read “all teams now have a manger” if Renteria was such a hot property the headline would have read “Cubs hire Renteria”

    • PLCB3

      I made that same observation.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I like Rick’s can do attitude, and I believe he deserves some rope before we decide to hang him, but I did not like the way Theo and Co decided that the manager must speak spanish to be our next manager. The manager shoud be the leader of the team, and the search should have been conducted to show that they were looking for a leader, not an interpreter. The biggest comdenation of the hire came from MLB daily e-mail which read “all teams now have a manger” if Renteria was such a hot property the headline would have read “Cubs hire Renteria”

    • AC0000000

      I made that same observation.

  • Doc Raker

    Renteria knows Rizzo, the underwhelming overpaid Padres prospect that the Cubs had to have instead of Andrew Cashner, a winning pitcher on a losing team with a WHIP that should make everyone happy. Hiring Renteria might have something to do with helping the paid to soon Rizzo reach his expected potential. After all, if Rizzo doesn’t improve his offensive numbers the Cubs will not be a winning team.

    • Dusty Baylor

      Cashner was 10-9…5-4 at home with a 1.95 ERA, in perhaps the best park to pitch in in the NL. On the road he was 5-5 with a 4.00 ERA…a totally different result. Let’s see another full season of Cashner, if he can stay healthy, in the rotation before labeling him a winning pitcher.

  • Doc Raker

    Renteria knows Rizzo, the underwhelming overpaid Padres prospect that the Cubs had to have instead of Andrew Cashner, a winning pitcher on a losing team with a WHIP that should make everyone happy. Hiring Renteria might have something to do with helping the paid to soon Rizzo reach his expected potential. After all, if Rizzo doesn’t improve his offensive numbers the Cubs will not be a winning team.

    • Dusty Baylor

      Cashner was 10-9…5-4 at home with a 1.95 ERA, in perhaps the best park to pitch in in the NL. On the road he was 5-5 with a 4.00 ERA…a totally different result. Let’s see another full season of Cashner, if he can stay healthy, in the rotation before labeling him a winning pitcher.

  • CubRules

    Go ahead and rip-away but no one says who they would rather have. Girardi? Sure! Me too. But Yankee land is not Cub Land. Looking at those available, this looks the best. And Sveum was so over his head. Theo not helping his own hire –c’mon its not Jed — with the late timing and getting punked by Boston. Lovullo? Naahh. Who will be Renteria’s bench coach? Go get Willie Randolph! And get Ozzie for 3rd base Coach! Kidding! (But that was fun to type.)
    Mark Grace for the radio-Awesome!

  • CubRules

    Go ahead and rip-away but no one says who they would rather have. Girardi? Sure! Me too. But Yankee land is not Cub Land. Looking at those available, this looks the best. And Sveum was so over his head. Theo not helping his own hire –c’mon its not Jed — with the late timing and getting punked by Boston. Lovullo? Naahh. Who will be Renteria’s bench coach? Go get Willie Randolph! And get Ozzie for 3rd base Coach! Kidding! (But that was fun to type.)
    Mark Grace for the radio-Awesome!

  • Sean Powell

    Wins and losses matter in sports? Really? Thanks for that. I suppose I’ll be the spokesperson for “Saber dorks,” as you call them (an apt description for many people making decisions in baseball these days, actually) – don’t think that wins and losses don’t matter (obviously), they just recognize that winning baseball games is a result of many complex variables that interact with each other in complex ways. Here’s a simple example: say a pitcher throws a complete game and allows 1 run on 2 hits and no walks (and the run scores on an error by, oh, I don’t know, the shortstop). Well, on that same day, through no fault of his own, that pitcher’s offense gets shut out. Would you say that pitcher had a bad day? Could he have done something to “will” his team to victory? Pitcher wins, RBI, batting average (to a somewhat lesser extent), GWRBI, BA w/RISP, “grit,” and “bellyfire” all belong in the dustbin along with the sacrifice bunt and the “clutch gene.” Is Cap’n obvious a pen name for Hawk Harrelson, Joe Morgan, Harold Reynolds, or Dusty Baker? We can debate the predictive ability of certain statistics, and how much they account for qualitative factors, but we can’t debate that they describe what has happened and overall trends with amazing accuracy. If winning is all that matters as a measure of an INDIVIDUAL’S worth, then Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, et al. were crappy players, since none of them ever made it to the World Series. Dan Marino must have been a terrible quarterback, since he never won a Super Bowl, right? We’re talking about team sports here! If we are trying to tease-out an individual player’s contribution to the team, advanced statistics are surely the best way, since they can isolate what an individual does (wins and losses, by the very nature of the game, are TEAM statistics, not individual). This is how Andre Dawson can win the MVP on a last place team and how King Felix can win the Cy Young with 13 wins. Man, I know that this site isn’t as statistics-leaning as some others, but are there no other “saber dorks” out there?

    [As an aside, if you think that Hawk Harrelson is “on to something,” check out his track record as a GM – doesn’t really fit your definition of success, does it?]

    As for RR, I’m still waiting to hear who we should have hired instead (please say Sandberg, please say Sandberg…). Also, these same criticisms were said about Terry Francona and Bill Belichick when they were hired – neither came into their job with a track record of wins at the big league level. Sure, RR may completely fail, but there is no reason, right now in NOVEMBER, to assume he will. That’s just stereotypical Cub-fan pessimism. I’m choosing to stay positive and wishing the guy the best – especially before he even sets foot on the field. I also find it encouraging that the FO didn’t feel the need to make a “splash” hire to appease the fans (you know, the type that make the kind of comments most of you are making). It let’s me have a little hope that they actually hired the guy they thought was best for the job rather than something the media and meathead fans would approve of.

    • Jedi

      Sean, “they actually hired the guy they thought was best for the job rather than something the media and meathead fans would approve of” is a good summary of what was done two years ago and NO ONE has held them accountable for it. Blind optimism isn’t what the situation calls for at this juncture.

      Apparently you don’t like my use of the term saberdorks. You’ll pardon me if I consider it an innocuous pejorative. It aptly describes people who vilify objective stats simply because they deem it a tally of insignificance. No matter how much “advanced metric proponents” (saberdorks is a much better abbreviation, take no offense) think WAR is the stat to rule them all – it like every other stat is flawed. And yet saberdorks caution us heavily “understand what the stat is designed to tell you before you criticize it.” It’s a principle they’re unwilling to apply to those objective stats they so loathe.

      I also find your use of the 1989 NL MVP to be particularly comical – most saberdorks argue vehemently that Dawson was in no way worthy of that title. In fact, it’s advanced metrics that are typically used against him in exactly such an argument.

      But the writers, the people who watched Dawson play in actual games, on actual fields deemed him to be the MVP. It’s always going to be the people who watch the games who have the best feel for production and performance. That’s why he won the award. You can’t simply look at stats – any combination of stats – and think you have the entire picture on a player’s performance. You might get close, but so much of baseball still isn’t quantifiable. No one has a way to quantify positioning, or how professionally a ball was handled – sure the LF didn’t pick up an error on the play, but he played a single into a double or he made a bad, although not errant, throw and his team could’ve recorded an out on a runner scoring from second…I can come up with thousands of examples of plays that happen every week in baseball, plays that aren’t quantifiable in a stat sheet but should absolutely affect the perception of how that player is performing.

      I also find it interesting that of the two differing opinions on analysis, it’s far easier to find a saberdork who thinks he can definitively categorize a player’s performance based on numbers alone – and yet that’s the very complaint so often lobbied against those who haven’t yet abolished the frowned upon objective stats of yore.

      • Sean Powell

        Jedi, this is the type of reasoned argument that’s been missing so far. I think you make a lot of great points, and you do it in a manner that comes across as rational and diplomatic, thank you for that. I totally agree that statistics can’t tell the entire story (I alluded to that in my previous comment), and I agree that there is much in baseball that can’t be captured purely through numbers. I don’t accept, however, any sort of argument that doesn’t admit that advanced statistics has deepened our understanding of many aspects of the game. Those objective stats you refer to can be useful, but I contend that the reason advanced metrics are more valuable in most cases is because they allow us to determine what an individual’s contribution is, apart from the quality of his teammates (again, no stat is perfect, there are always outliers, etc…but smart statistics folks take these at assumptions anyway). If someone says WAR (or fWAR) is a PERFECT statistic, they are obviously using the statistics incorrectly (Theo has said as much on numerous occasions – that’s why they have copious notes on each player in their complex computer “system” from teammates, coaches (going back to high school), etc..). They selected Albert Almora, in large part, due to these “intangibles.” Adding qualitative analysis to quantitative is the only way to capture the entire picture (I should know, I’m a qualitative researcher by trade!).

        The main point that I’m trying to make is that a win or loss is a team statistic, not an individual statistic, and, so far, advanced metrics are the best way we have (along with qualitative observation) of determining how much an INDIVIDUAL contributed to that win or loss. Tiger Woods, Raphael Nadal? Sure, use W-L record as the sole stat to evaluate their performance, it’s just not that simple in a team sport.

        I used the Andre Dawson example only to illustrate that even the old school guys could overlook the team’s record to focus on the individual’s accomplishment. I’m not sure it’s fair to lump all saber-leaning people into one clump. There’s plenty of healthy debate among those that identify as such. (for the record, I’m super-happy that Dawson won the MVP, whether he actually deserved it or not).

        Saberdorks? I don’t mind the term at all – although I don’t discount qualitative analysis at all. Dorks and nerds are cool these days (and ruling the world).

        I think there’s only one way to solve this dispute: let’s meet on opening day at the Nisei Lounge in Wrigleyville and have a “Saberdorks” vs. “Meatheads” (I hope you don’t find offense in that term) drink-off. Whoever drinks the most shots of Jeppson’s Malort wins! If the dorks win, you have to start using wOBA in ever conversation. If the meatheads win, we’ll start complaining every time RR doesn’t call for a sacrifice bunt!

      • On a scale of one to five with four being the max, this argument gets a two.

      • Eddie Von White

        But can either one of them speak Spanish? If so, he wins!

      • PLCB3

        I think Sean is Norm in disguise

      • Jedi

        There is a chasm between “advanced metrics have deepened our understanding” and some of your other comments about the Hawk Harrelson fan club/arguments you refuse to participate in.

        It’s the strict adherence to only advanced metrics (which are in fact, just as flawed) that some of us find so repugnant. And you can say that’s lumping all saberdorks together, but in fact most saberdorks would indeed strictly adhere to advanced metrics above all else.

        I think the other place saberdorks kind of go off the rails is that some of the first proponents of what have become advanced metrics – those guys aren’t really saberdorks. Billy Beane is not a saberdork – Moneyball is about market inefficiencies NOT OBP. Theo, and his band of genius buddies, have trended away from their initial statistical push – as you note with Almora; as several have noted with Cherington’s 2013 WS Champion. In fact Cherington dumped half a team of prototypical advanced metric players…guys who the saberdorks love.

        You won’t find a meathead who says “this one stat is the most important thing to evaluate a player” – there is a growing legion of saberdorks who look only at WAR and cherry-pick other stats to back up whatever assertion WAR is making. I contend that one of those two approaches is far more “reasoned” than the other.

  • Sean Powell

    Wins and losses matter in sports? Really? Thanks for that. I suppose I’ll be the spokesperson for “Saber dorks,” as you call them (an apt description for many people making decisions in baseball these days, actually) – don’t think that wins and losses don’t matter (obviously), they just recognize that winning baseball games is a result of many complex variables that interact with each other in complex ways. Here’s a simple example: say a pitcher throws a complete game and allows 1 run on 2 hits and no walks (and the run scores on an error by, oh, I don’t know, the shortstop). Well, on that same day, through no fault of his own, that pitcher’s offense gets shut out. Would you say that pitcher had a bad day? Could he have done something to “will” his team to victory? Pitcher wins, RBI, batting average (to a somewhat lesser extent), GWRBI, BA w/RISP, “grit,” and “bellyfire” all belong in the dustbin along with the sacrifice bunt and the “clutch gene.” Is Cap’n obvious a pen name for Hawk Harrelson, Joe Morgan, Harold Reynolds, or Dusty Baker? We can debate the predictive ability of certain statistics, and how much they account for qualitative factors, but we can’t debate that they describe what has happened and overall trends with amazing accuracy. If winning is all that matters as a measure of an INDIVIDUAL’S worth, then Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, et al. were crappy players, since none of them ever made it to the World Series. Dan Marino must have been a terrible quarterback, since he never won a Super Bowl, right? We’re talking about team sports here! If we are trying to tease-out an individual player’s contribution to the team, advanced statistics are surely the best way, since they can isolate what an individual does (wins and losses, by the very nature of the game, are TEAM statistics, not individual). This is how Andre Dawson can win the MVP on a last place team and how King Felix can win the Cy Young with 13 wins. Man, I know that this site isn’t as statistics-leaning as some others, but are there no other “saber dorks” out there?

    [As an aside, if you think that Hawk Harrelson is “on to something,” check out his track record as a GM – doesn’t really fit your definition of success, does it?]

    As for RR, I’m still waiting to hear who we should have hired instead (please say Sandberg, please say Sandberg…). Also, these same criticisms were said about Terry Francona and Bill Belichick when they were hired – neither came into their job with a track record of wins at the big league level. Sure, RR may completely fail, but there is no reason, right now in NOVEMBER, to assume he will. That’s just stereotypical Cub-fan pessimism. I’m choosing to stay positive and wishing the guy the best – especially before he even sets foot on the field. I also find it encouraging that the FO didn’t feel the need to make a “splash” hire to appease the fans (you know, the type that make the kind of comments most of you are making). It let’s me have a little hope that they actually hired the guy they thought was best for the job rather than something the media and meathead fans would approve of.

    • Jedi

      Sean, “they actually hired the guy they thought was best for the job rather than something the media and meathead fans would approve of” is a good summary of what was done two years ago and NO ONE has held them accountable for it. Blind optimism isn’t what the situation calls for at this juncture.

      Apparently you don’t like my use of the term saberdorks. You’ll pardon me if I consider it an innocuous pejorative. It aptly describes people who vilify objective stats simply because they deem it a tally of insignificance. No matter how much “advanced metric proponents” (saberdorks is a much better abbreviation, take no offense) think WAR is the stat to rule them all – it like every other stat is flawed. And yet saberdorks caution us heavily “understand what the stat is designed to tell you before you criticize it.” It’s a principle they’re unwilling to apply to those objective stats they so loathe.

      I also find your use of the 1989 NL MVP to be particularly comical – most saberdorks argue vehemently that Dawson was in no way worthy of that title. In fact, it’s advanced metrics that are typically used against him in exactly such an argument.

      But the writers, the people who watched Dawson play in actual games, on actual fields deemed him to be the MVP. It’s always going to be the people who watch the games who have the best feel for production and performance. That’s why he won the award. You can’t simply look at stats – any combination of stats – and think you have the entire picture on a player’s performance. You might get close, but so much of baseball still isn’t quantifiable. No one has a way to quantify positioning, or how professionally a ball was handled – sure the LF didn’t pick up an error on the play, but he played a single into a double or he made a bad, although not errant, throw and his team could’ve recorded an out on a runner scoring from second…I can come up with thousands of examples of plays that happen every week in baseball, plays that aren’t quantifiable in a stat sheet but should absolutely affect the perception of how that player is performing.

      I also find it interesting that of the two differing opinions on analysis, it’s far easier to find a saberdork who thinks he can definitively categorize a player’s performance based on numbers alone – and yet that’s the very complaint so often lobbied against those who haven’t yet abolished the frowned upon objective stats of yore.

      • Sean Powell

        Jedi, this is the type of reasoned argument that’s been missing so far. I think you make a lot of great points, and you do it in a manner that comes across as rational and diplomatic, thank you for that. I totally agree that statistics can’t tell the entire story (I alluded to that in my previous comment), and I agree that there is much in baseball that can’t be captured purely through numbers. I don’t accept, however, any sort of argument that doesn’t admit that advanced statistics has deepened our understanding of many aspects of the game. Those objective stats you refer to can be useful, but I contend that the reason advanced metrics are more valuable in most cases is because they allow us to determine what an individual’s contribution is, apart from the quality of his teammates (again, no stat is perfect, there are always outliers, etc…but smart statistics folks take these at assumptions anyway). If someone says WAR (or fWAR) is a PERFECT statistic, they are obviously using the statistics incorrectly (Theo has said as much on numerous occasions – that’s why they have copious notes on each player in their complex computer “system” from teammates, coaches (going back to high school), etc..). They selected Albert Almora, in large part, due to these “intangibles.” Adding qualitative analysis to quantitative is the only way to capture the entire picture (I should know, I’m a qualitative researcher by trade!).

        The main point that I’m trying to make is that a win or loss is a team statistic, not an individual statistic, and, so far, advanced metrics are the best way we have (along with qualitative observation) of determining how much an INDIVIDUAL contributed to that win or loss. Tiger Woods, Raphael Nadal? Sure, use W-L record as the sole stat to evaluate their performance, it’s just not that simple in a team sport.

        I used the Andre Dawson example only to illustrate that even the old school guys could overlook the team’s record to focus on the individual’s accomplishment. I’m not sure it’s fair to lump all saber-leaning people into one clump. There’s plenty of healthy debate among those that identify as such. (for the record, I’m super-happy that Dawson won the MVP, whether he actually deserved it or not).

        Saberdorks? I don’t mind the term at all – although I don’t discount qualitative analysis at all. Dorks and nerds are cool these days (and ruling the world).

        I think there’s only one way to solve this dispute: let’s meet on opening day at the Nisei Lounge in Wrigleyville and have a “Saberdorks” vs. “Meatheads” (I hope you don’t find offense in that term) drink-off. Whoever drinks the most shots of Jeppson’s Malort wins! If the dorks win, you have to start using wOBA in every conversation. If the meatheads win, we’ll start complaining every time RR doesn’t call for a sacrifice bunt!

      • On a scale of one to five with four being the max, this argument gets a two.

      • Eddie Von White

        But can either one of them speak Spanish? If so, he wins!

      • AC0000000

        I think Sean is Norm in disguise

      • Jedi

        There is a chasm between “advanced metrics have deepened our understanding” and some of your other comments about the Hawk Harrelson fan club/arguments you refuse to participate in.

        It’s the strict adherence to only advanced metrics (which are in fact, just as flawed) that some of us find so repugnant. And you can say that’s lumping all saberdorks together, but in fact most saberdorks would indeed strictly adhere to advanced metrics above all else.

        I think the other place saberdorks kind of go off the rails is that some of the first proponents of what have become advanced metrics – those guys aren’t really saberdorks. Billy Beane is not a saberdork – Moneyball is about market inefficiencies NOT OBP. Theo, and his band of genius buddies, have trended away from their initial statistical push – as you note with Almora; as several have noted with Cherington’s 2013 WS Champion. In fact Cherington dumped half a team of prototypical advanced metric players…guys who the saberdorks love.

        You won’t find a meathead who says “this one stat is the most important thing to evaluate a player” – there is a growing legion of saberdorks who look only at WAR and cherry-pick other stats to back up whatever assertion WAR is making. I contend that one of those two approaches is far more “reasoned” than the other.

  • Doc Raker

    Did someone mention Nolan Ryan? He played 27 years in the bigs just take a minute and think about that. 222 complete games on 773 starts, a complete game rate of 29%. 5386 IP with 326 IP and 332 IP in 1973 and 1974 respectfully. 7 no hitters. 12 one hitters. 18 two hitters. All time K leader at 5714 followed by Randy Johnson a distant 839 Ks less. Ranked as the 16th all time MLB pitcher behind Bob Gibson and in front of Sandy Koufax, Phil Niekro and Bob Feller.

    After his 7th no hitter he walked off the field and went straight to the excercise bike with very little fan fare. On the very same night Ricky Henderson broke Lou Brock’s all time steals record in where Ricky ripped the base out of the ground av proclaimed, ” yesterday Lou Brock was the greatest, today Ricky is the greatest.”

    And if that doesn’t convince you of his HOF worth his RA9opp is 4.47.

  • Doc Raker

    Did someone mention Nolan Ryan? He played 27 years in the bigs just take a minute and think about that. 222 complete games on 773 starts, a complete game rate of 29%. 5386 IP with 326 IP and 332 IP in 1973 and 1974 respectfully. 7 no hitters. 12 one hitters. 18 two hitters. All time K leader at 5714 followed by Randy Johnson a distant 839 Ks less. Ranked as the 16th all time MLB pitcher behind Bob Gibson and in front of Sandy Koufax, Phil Niekro and Bob Feller.

    After his 7th no hitter he walked off the field and went straight to the excercise bike with very little fan fare. On the very same night Ricky Henderson broke Lou Brock’s all time steals record in where Ricky ripped the base out of the ground av proclaimed, ” yesterday Lou Brock was the greatest, today Ricky is the greatest.”

    And if that doesn’t convince you of his HOF worth his RA9opp is 4.47.

  • General Disarray

    @c34be2e8f0dfba574f91180ae9362396:disqus thanks for single handedly make sure I never return to this site fella

    • PLCB3

      Cool story bro

    • cap’n obvious

      my money is on Seymour….but it might be Sherm. NC is boring.

      • Seymour Butts

        Not me… I’d have cursed more…and I like to use these little dots a lot..

      • L lips es

        Those little dots are called an Ellipsis.

        An ellipsis [ … ] proves to be a handy device when you’re quoting material and you want to omit some words. The ellipsis consists of three evenly spaced dots (periods) with spaces between the ellipsis and surrounding letters or other marks. Let’s take the sentence, “The ceremony honored twelve brilliant shortstops from the Dominican Republic who were visiting the U.S.” and leave out “from the Dominican Republic who were”:

        The ceremony honored twelve brilliant shortstops … visiting the U.S.

        If the omission comes after the end of a sentence, the ellipsis will be placed after the period, making a total of four dots. … See how that works? Notice that there is no space between the period and the last character of the sentence.

        The ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in the flow of a sentence and is especially useful in quoted speech:

        the Captain thought and thought … and then thought some more.
        “I’m wondering …” the Captain said, bemused.
        Now you have all learned something today

      • Doc Raker

        Can we talk politics instead?

      • PLCB3

        How’s BarryCare going?

      • Seymour Butts

        I was hoping maybe global warming. But my IP has servers in the Philippines, so maybe another day.

      • Doc Raker

        Yes, the man made super storm. There weren’t any storms on earth until man showed up burning oil. History is not a liberals strong suit.

      • Look it up Seymour… people were swallowed by whales and all sorts of storm stuff. Giant boats and lightening and stuff.

      • Doc Raker

        It rained for 40 days way back when

      • Seymour Butts

        And then Tattoo spotted “da plane”

      • Doc Raker

        And then Al Gore made a movie………………..Why make an effort to understand the Bible when you have people like Al Gore telling you how to live…………….

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Remember he tells us how to live and then does the opposite. His carbon footprint is at least twice that of you and me combined

      • Doc Raker

        Please don’t blaspheme in front of Seymour, Thou shall not talk ill of global warming prophets. Al Gore has proselytized many and his actions and inconvenient lies of global warming are not to be refuted. Close your mind and ignore the facts……………the globe is warming……………warming……..war…………

      • PLCB3

        But Al Gore retrofitted his house so it’s carbon neutral!

      • Doc Raker

        How about his private plane? Is that carbon neutral? Al Gore’s theory is false and he is a fraud.

      • I’m going with a sad Chris Bosio.

      • cap’n Obvious

        not Impressive Chris Bozio? I guess it’s nice to know my commentary wields that kind of power. Now, on to my real goal of getting rid of everyone ahead of me in the Lizzie’s.

  • General Disarray

    @c34be2e8f0dfba574f91180ae9362396:disqus thanks for single handedly make sure I never return to this site fella

    • AC0000000

      Cool story bro

    • cap’n obvious

      my money is on Seymour….but it might be Sherm. NC is boring.

      • Seymour Butts

        Not me… I’d have cursed more…and I like to use these little dots a lot..

      • L lips es

        Those little dots are called an Ellipsis.

        An ellipsis [ … ] proves to be a handy device when you’re quoting material and you want to omit some words. The ellipsis consists of three evenly spaced dots (periods) with spaces between the ellipsis and surrounding letters or other marks. Let’s take the sentence, “The ceremony honored twelve brilliant shortstops from the Dominican Republic who were visiting the U.S.” and leave out “from the Dominican Republic who were”:

        The ceremony honored twelve brilliant shortstops … visiting the U.S.

        If the omission comes after the end of a sentence, the ellipsis will be placed after the period, making a total of four dots. … See how that works? Notice that there is no space between the period and the last character of the sentence.

        The ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in the flow of a sentence and is especially useful in quoted speech:

        the Captain thought and thought … and then thought some more.
        “I’m wondering …” the Captain said, bemused.
        Now you have all learned something today

      • Doc Raker

        Can we talk politics instead?

      • AC0000000

        How’s BarryCare going?

      • Seymour Butts

        I was hoping maybe global warming. But my IP has servers in the Philippines, so maybe another day.

      • Doc Raker

        Yes, the man made super storm. There weren’t any storms on earth until man showed up burning oil. History is not a liberals strong suit.

      • Look it up Seymour… people were swallowed by whales and all sorts of storm stuff. Giant boats and lightening and stuff.

      • Doc Raker

        It rained for 40 days way back when

      • Seymour Butts

        And then Tattoo spotted “da plane”

      • Doc Raker

        And then Al Gore made a movie………………..Why make an effort to understand the Bible when you have people like Al Gore telling you how to live…………….

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Remember he tells us how to live and then does the opposite. His carbon footprint is at least twice that of you and me combined

      • Doc Raker

        Please don’t blaspheme in front of Seymour, Thou shall not talk ill of global warming prophets. Al Gore has proselytized many and his actions and inconvenient lies of global warming are not to be refuted. Close your mind and ignore the facts……………the globe is warming……………warming……..war…………

      • AC0000000

        But Al Gore retrofitted his house so it’s carbon neutral!

      • Doc Raker

        How about his private plane? Is that carbon neutral? Al Gore’s theory is false and he is a fraud.

      • I’m going with a sad Chris Bosio.

      • cap’n Obvious

        not Impressive Chris Bozio? I guess it’s nice to know my commentary wields that kind of power. Now, on to my real goal of getting rid of everyone ahead of me in the Lizzie’s.