Holier Than Thou Sabermetricians Rain On Our Parade

Seattle SportsnetCorrespondent IApril 20, 2009

1989:  Steve Balboni #50 of the New York Yankees looks on during a 1989 season game.  Steve Balboni played for the New York Yankees from 1981-1983 and 1989-1990. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Sabermetricians. Ugh. It’s like Major League meets Revenge of the Nerds, except the nerds aren’t fun, and they think they’re better than you. And there’s no Bob Uecker there to keep things interesting with the occasional witty one-liner.

I can’t say that sabermetrics as a statistical form of analysis isn’t effective, because in many cases it is (on-base percentage, for example). I just really don’t like the guys behind the numbers.

Poindexters from Ivy League schools who lack the social skills to relate to other people, but can explain the value of a ground ball by drawing a diagram and involving advanced mathematics (and they say baseball is boring).

So what if a guy can run a 40 in four seconds flat? Or hit a baseball 600 feet? Or throw a fastball 100 miles per hour?

Sabermetricians would rather wet their pants over a pudgy, slow guy who draws lots of walks. Like stepping into the batter’s box, being fat, and doing absolutely nothing is some big accomplishment.

Plus, it often seems like the good people behind sabermetrics get no joy whatsoever out of baseball.

Instead of getting excited about a grand slam home run, these guys would rather lament over Jimmy Rollins’ inability to glove a ground-ball single up the middle, or Vladimir Guerrero’s tendency to swing at, well, everything.

In life, most of us search for quality rather than quantity.

Sabermetricians treat quantity like a vampire treats blood. It’s their fuel. They have a desire to quantify everything, from the UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating, essentially a detailed fielding percentage of position players) of your typical outfielder, to the number of times they’ve gotten a woody from a Kevin Youkilis at-bat.

I want to go to the ballpark, see Felix Hernandez blaze fastballs past opposing hitters, witness an Adrian Beltre crank a 400-foot jack, have a hot dog, and enjoy life.

Sabermetricians want to go to the ballpark, see a soft-tossing lefty throw ground-ball outs, witness a Kent Hrbek look-a-like get plunked in the gut by a heater (hence, get on base), enjoy a Greek salad, and come home with something to criticize:

“Dear Diary, today I went to the baseball arena and watched a muscle-bound barbarian molest the ball with extreme ferocity. It was truly horrendous. He had three hits in four trips to the plate, but on his fourth attempt he swung at a pitch that was very near the outside corner of the strike zone and was ruled out by the official standing behind home plate. He did not draw a walk today, nor is he slow enough on the base paths to truly garner my respect. Well, that’s all for now. Time to treat myself to footage of Steve Balboni getting on base.”

Yep, it’s pretty much like that. And it kills me.

Look sabermetricians, you can peddle your numbers all you want behind closed doors, or in the company of general managers and team executives. Just keep your math away from those of us who actually enjoy baseball.

Oh, and curb the attitude as well. There’s a reason you got picked last in high school, and the fact of the matter is no one likes you any better now than they did back then.