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  • Post of the year? Could be.

    Originally posted by wes_kahn View Post
    But the reason I won't go to games or watch or listen has nothing to do with the labor negotiations. If you have read other posts of mine, there is one major reason why baseball has already lost me. The games suck compared to the games of my youth. How many batters today either:

    A. Walk back to the dugout after striking out.
    B. Walk to first base after drawing a base on balls or being hit by a pitch
    C. Jog around the bases after hitting the ball over the fence.

    BORING. I am not paying all that money to see all that walking and jogging.

    What happened to the action? Am I the oldest poster on this forum? Is there anybody else here that remembers when baseball had more running in it than football and basketball? I can remember the Go Go Sox of the 1950's. I can remember the Dodgers manufacturing runs by multiple strategies. I can remember the Pirates in their Lumber Yard days where at one point one year, their entire starting lineup minus pitchers were hitting over .290, and they had one real power hitter who actually was not hitting a lot of home runs that year.

    Players like Matty Alou, Pete Rose, Richie Ashburn, Nellie Fox, Pete Runnels, Curt Flood, Jackie Robinson, Jim Gilliam, and Willie Davis were real multi-talented athletes. They were the Justin Fields' and Patrick Mahomes' of the 1950s. Willie Mays was so rare that there was just one of him. To imagine him in his prime take Mike Trout. Give him Billy Hamilton's speed, and a defensive range several feet better than Trout with an arm almost the equal of Yasiel Puig, and then give him the desire of a Pete Rose. Oh, and put him in a home ballpark where it was 480 feet to dead centerfield and 455 feet to the left field power alley and 449 to the right foot power alley.

    You asked about passing Fenway Park and not wanting to go inside. Even though I was friends with both Bob Montgomery and Bobby Tillman, and even though I once got to fly fish in the same stream as the greatest hitter that ever lived, who just so happened to be the greatest fly fisherman that ever lived if not also the greatest fighter pilot that ever lived, I would not accept a free ticket to a Red Sox game to sit behind home plate or in the pressbox or even in the dugout today.

    It's no different to me than spending 100 nights a year eating in the same Cantonese-Hunan eatery flirting with the hot former Sheer Energy panty hose model who came from Taipei (I was 20 years old then), but refusing to step foot in the current version of that restaurant that wouldn't know authentic Hunan when they saw it, because all the cooks are Mexican, and the restaurant is run by two escapees from Brooklyn, who grew up eating grandmother's knishes and onion rolls and don't know from zhēnzhū ròuwán.

    If you are additionally a college football fan, and you are having the opportunity to watch college football at its historical zenith, if all of the FBS teams went back to running the ball 90% of the time and only throwing 10-yard play-action passes the other 10% of the time, would you be okay with that? Once you have seen a Mike Leach team play, having to resort to watching three blast plays between the tackles from a wing-I formation versus a split 60 defense totally selling out to the run isn't going to interest you.

    I even won't purchase new tabletop baseball sets, because there is no fun in it. I will play Dead Ball era games and have a best of the Dead Ball era for every one of the 16 franchises, and it is much more entertaining than anything at all to do with 21st century baseball. Do you pinch hit for Christy Mathewson or Grover Alexander in a 1-1 game in the 7th inning?

    Have you ever seen a sharp line drive hit into the gap at a ballpark that is deeper than 1 1/2 football fields, and the batter has speed? You expect a triple, but there is a chance at an inside the park homer, and there is going to be a play at the plate.

    When is the last time you saw two starting pitchers like Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax or Dean Chance and Mel Stottlemyre hook up in double complete games with a 3-2 final score where there were 7 important plays on the bases that could have tipped the game in the other direction. That is what made baseball the top sport. In the older days, all baseball teams played like Mike Leach football teams today. It was fast break, up-tempo baseball, and today's game is the four corners stall or the buck dive out of the single wing.

    I hate the labor negotiations and wish there were permanent percentage limits that an independent arbitration expert defined. I would love for a salary cap to be put in place and for all the 30 teams to share equally in a national media TV contract. But, what makes me stay away from the game is the lack of any value in it. There is nothing in a 9-7 game with 11 total pitchers, 5 home runs, 25 strikeouts, 11 walks, and a time of play of 3 hours and 48 minutes. Give me a 1 hour and 55 minute 2-1 game with no pitching changes, and the final out made at home plate by a brilliant throw by the right fielder.


    • Originally posted by Floyd Gondolli View Post
      Post of the year? Could be.
      In what way? Is it the anti-baseball sentiments, the fact that it was originally posted in a thread that has nothing to do with it, or its general sanctimoniousness?
      Put it in the books.


      • Originally posted by milladrive View Post

        In what way? Is it the anti-baseball sentiments, the fact that it was originally posted in a thread that has nothing to do with it, or its general sanctimoniousness?
        Seconded. What a trash post.
        "The first draft of anything is crap." - Ernest Hemingway

        There's no such thing as an ultimate stat.


        • Originally posted by abolishthedh View Post

          You would have to count me in on that one. However, we must clarify what we mean by Originalist. Yes, this is a buzzkill point, but it needs to be said.

          IMHO, this would have nothing to do with statistical analyses since the Founders of the Hall did not have such tools or references at their disposal. In the day and age of print media, all they had were Spring training guides published by Reach and the daily newspapers. Radio was still gaining its legs via early broadcasters, and therefore the storytelling over the radio would develop slowly from 1936. Lore built gradually.

          Back in that day and age, lore > statistics. It would remain this way for decades, possibly as late as the late 1970s when sports encyclopedias came out and when Bill James started to publish.

          The great majority of the "mistakes" discussed thus far, unfortunately, are in the Hall apparently because of the lore and not because of the stats. Lloyd Waner may not have the profile to stir your imagination, but he apparently had enough to stir the imagination of voters back in the day.

          To be perfectly fair, I would have to take the stance which my grandfathers would take. They, believe it or not, would count every relief pitcher as a mistake, let alone the likely inevitable selection of David Ortiz. The generation of my grandparents, who witnessed the Original Class play, would never support players who were only 1/2 of a real player. Consider for example, Mariano Rivera. Yes, I would vote him into the Hall because modern standards dictate such and I would have other relievers I would like to see in, so I could not keep a Yankee out. However, they would examine Rivera's career, find that he was a failed starter, and he would be roadkill right there. Never mind how great David Ortiz was at DH, even if he wore a cape at the plate and in the dugout, Ortiz would never make it because he would be labeled as a Designated Sitter. Such players cannot be HoFers in the view of the ancients (Originalists') mindsets, not when their gloves clank resoundingly throughout the stadium. If a team is hiding a pitcher in the bullpen until later in the game, or if a team is hiding a glove in the dugout, he would never make the Hall in the Originalists' view.

          These players would be "mistakes".

          Just taking the the counter-stance that they would take, since they are not here to make it themselves.

          Yes, I am a small Hall of Fame guy. This is a small Hall stance going forward, however. There is no weed-pulling necessary today in the Hall. We are probably lucky that the Hall is named for Fame, and not called Hall of Lore. Let's remember that the Hall was created in the name of marketing baseball during the Depression. It was never intended to be the Hall of Accomplishment.
          Trenchant, scholarly work from Toledo Inquisition!!


          • Originally posted by Floyd Gondolli View Post

            Trenchant, scholarly work from Toledo Inquisition!!
            Actually it is kudos for Abolishthedh who did this work.
            If the White Sox has not traded Sammy Sosa, they'd have probably won a few more World Series. (Chadwick)
            Play the Who am I? game in trivia and you can make this signature line yours for 3 days (baseball signatures only!)

            Go here for a link to all player links!

            Go here for all your 1920's/1930's OF info


            • Originally posted by Cougar View Post
              I may have slept with more people than are in Willshad's HOF. And I'm not Wilt Chamberlain or Warren Beatty, to be sure. I'm not even Red Klotz or Dustin Hoffman.
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe


              • Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                I don't recall any "what about Garvey?" remarks at the time of Rice's election so this is an interesting comp, but here goes:

                1. In terms of substance, Steve Garvey maintained a 130 OPS+ over a 7-year stretch (1974-1980) that codified his prime years. If you extend it to 10 years (1974-1983), his OPS drops to 125. Jim Rice, OTOH, had a 12-year stretch (1975-86) with a 133 OPS+. Rice was the better hitter, for longer. I'm not suggesting this may have been anything more than intuition for some of the electorate, but that impression very well may have existed.

                2. While Garvey won the 1974 NL MVP in a year when his team went to the World Series, there wasn't any one thing that stood out about that season. He didn't lead the NL in anything that year. It wasn't a historic or iconic season of some kind. He was just (presumably) thought of by the voters as the best player on the best team in the league. They were wrong, but it's understandable why someone in 1974 would have thought that. Rice, OTOH, had what was routinely considered an iconic year in his 1978 season for some time thereafter. In fact, as late as the 1990's, Rice's 1978 was often spoken of with the same reverence (if not more) as George Foster's 1977, when you'd read things like "this is the greatest season by a power hitter since...." Perhaps the infamous 1978 pennant race contributed some to Rice's mythos for that season as well, but there it is, in the years that passed, 1978 Rice MVP was frequently cited by sportswriters whereas 1974 Garvey MVP was not.

                3. Garvey, of course, had certain character issues that Rice did not, none of which are truly relevant to his case, but voters who abuse the character clause to justify their ballots didn't spring up, unbidden, from the ground in 2007. They've been around a while. This may be difficult for younger generations to comprehend, but once upon a time Garvey's licentiousness was generally frowned upon and certainly shunned, at least in public; it wasn't just another "lifestyle choice" back then and you have to remember that most of the voters are, generally older than the players they are voting for so this would be more true of the electorate than of fans more generally or Garvey's contemporaries, etc. I'm not suggesting that was sound judgment on the voters' part, but it perhaps played a part - and was discussed as such - during his tenure. I remember seeing more writers suggest "perhaps others are leaving him off because of this" than I do seeing "I'm leaving him off for this reason" editorials.

                4. The time in which each debuted was different enough that it had varying impacts on their candidacy.

                Having last played in 1987, Garvey debuted for the BBWAA in 1993. That year he got 41% of the vote - a lock for eventual election - and was the 5th-highest vote getter on the ballot, surpassed only by Reggie Jackson (the sole inductee), Phil Niekro, Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez. The leading holdovers, then, were a 300-game winner and three first basemen.

                In 1994, Garvey's sophomore year, two more 300-game winners debuted (Steve Carlton and Don Sutton), with Carlton getting in and Sutton garnering majority support. Garvey's percentage dropped slightly as a result. Cepeda's supporters got him to over 73% of the vote in his 15th and final year on the ballot, not quite enough. That may have siphoned votes away from Garvey, too.

                In 1995, Jim Rice (retired after 1989) hit the ballot. Whereas Garvey had been competing directly against Cepeda, Perez and (to a lesser extent) Dick Allen, Jim Rice debuted with double the support of any existing outfielder not named Tony Oliva (the best-supported of which were Minnie Minoso, Curt Flood, Bobby Bonds, Vada Pinson and George Foster). Oliva had only a few votes more than Rice and was on his penultimate ballot at this point. Thus, Rice had less direct competition from players at a similar position. With Mike Schmidt the only obvious newcomer (and only inductee in '95), and Cepeda off the ballot, Garvey bounced back to 42% in his third year.

                1996 was telling in that it was a "holdover" election. No newcomer received support from even 8% of the writers. The leading vote getter continued to be the underrated Phil Niekro, who couldn't crack 69% in a year with no new competition from an inner circle candidate. The BBWAA swung and missed this year. Top newcomers included Bob Boone, Dan Quisenberry, Fred Lynn and, tellingly, Keith Hernandez. The BBWAA weren't terribly bright in the 1990's - if they ever are - unable to get 7-in-10 of the voters to agree that a 300-game winner belonged in Cooperstown. Hernandez barely got one vote in twenty and he was the best first baseman on the ballot! If voters saw so little in a two-time World Series winner, 1979 NL MVP and greatest fielder ever (by consensus) at his position, it's not shocking that Garvey wasn't elected. That said, Garvey's support dropped by roughly the same amount of votes Hernandez got, ironically. Rice, on the other hand, made a modest gain of about 5%, as did Oliva in his final year. Heading into 1997, that would leave Rice as the only outfielder of any kind to garner more than 13.2% of the vote.

                In 1997, Hernandez nearly doubled his support, to just under 10% and, with Big Doggie, still inching towards election at two-thirds of the ballots, Garvey dropped just a percent or two to a still-solid 35%. Another holdover election with few well-regarded newcomers (Dwight Evans, Dave Parker), Phil Niekro finally got in with 80% of the vote and Don Sutton, in his 4th try, just missed (73%). Behind them were Perez and then a massive gap to the high 30's where Ron Santo had slowly climbed (to this, his 14th year), and Jim Rice had barely moved despite Oliva's absence, and Garvey had incrementally dropped to. Parker, by the way, debuted with a little over 17%, less than half Rice's support, and wasn't just the best newcomer, but the best-supported outfielder after Rice.

                It was Sutton's turn in 1998, the sole inductee - the BBWAA had now inducted 1, 1, 1, 0, 1 and 1 in Garvey's six years on the ballot. With Dick Allen falling off the previous year and fewer candidates competing for ballot space more generally, the stingy electorate found room to restore Garvey to his previous glory, back up at 41% with Perez (67%) and Hernandez (10%) gaining less slightly for their parts. The only two newcomers who were not one-and-done in '98 were Bert Blyleven and Gary Carter, the latter of whom debuted with just a hair more support than Garvey, keeping him at 6th overall in the voting. Rice had also received a similar-sized bump as Garvey and was 4th overall at just under 43%. With 3rd-place Ron Santo's 43.1% being available next year due to Santo reaching his tenure limit, surely this tightly bunched group of also-rans would see some more votes thrown their way in 1999?

                Wrong. The 1999 freshmen were an extremely strong class - Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Carlton Fisk, Robin Yount and Dale Murphy. The first of those four lead all holdovers, meaning that Perez, Carter, Garvey and Rice each lost between 9-12% support as votes were siphoned to make room for at least some of the newcomers (Murphy debuted with 19%). Ryan, Brett and Yount were ushered in to universal praise.

                The final year of the 20th century saw Carlton Fisk and Tony Perez elected. Practically all the holdovers made sizeable jumps in their support as a result of the 1,364 votes now available after last year's 3-inductee splurge by the voters. Plus, Jack Morris and Goose Gossage were the most popular newcomers this year so it was time for the holdovers - particularly the position players - to consolidate their support. That happened, for many of them. Rice, as the most popular outfielder by a mile, saw his support jump more than 20 points to just over 51%, making him a clear front runner for future election. Gary Carter, despite the direct competition with Fisk, increased nearly as much, to barely under 50%. Tony Perez's 17 point jump across the finish line, however, stunted Garvey's bounceback. Garvey's bump came in the form of 2 percentage points and while the direct comparison with the more popular Perez candidacy is the primary factor, let me suggest one more thing. Perez had 379 HR and 1652 RBI. Garvey had 272 HR and 1308 RBI. Garvey, a first baseman, had only the 8th-highest HR total of the 16 non-pitchers on that ballot - smack dab in the middle. While it's not fair, the popular imagination thinks "slugger" when they think "first base" and Garvey's career totals - nearly the only thing BBWAA voters traditionally pay attention to - don't evoke a "slugger" image. At a time when home runs were more frequent than ever before, voters were reviewing the candidacy of a first baseman who hit more than 21 HR only thrice and who had more than 86 RBI just six times in a 19 year career. It wasn't just Tony Perez than made Garvey seem less, nor just the other sluggers from his own era (like Rice), but contemporary players also reinforced that bias. Just 10 months after this election result was made known, Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas would vie for the AL MVP honors. Garvey was no Giambi or Thomas with the bat. Up until now, Garvey's support levels could be explained away due to normal phenomenon related to how the electoral process works. His lack of substantive growth from this point forward, however, represents something different than the usual suspects.

                It's 2001 and Perez is now in the Hall of Fame. Normally, one would expect Garvey to receive a fair increase in support, particularly if no substantive newcomers debut. However, newbies Dave Winfield (3,000 hits, 400 HR, 1,800 RBI) and Kirby Puckett, a Gold Glove centerfielder who would've surpassed Garvey's career totals handily without his injury-shortened career, wind up elected in their first try. Everyone ahead of Garvey, that is, Carter, Rice and the two relievers (Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage) increase their support a good deal. Our favorite Dodger, however? Only another 2% bump. The obvious answer is because Don Mattingly shows up this year and debuts with over 28% support of his own. Another MVP, with a higher peak than Garvey and, by contrast, someone viewed as not reaching loftier totals due to injury (unlike the normally healthy Garvey). Hernandez, by the way, has incrementally been dropping support at a percent or two here and there. Just as Garvey loses one direct comparison, another hits the ballot, retarding his ability to grow his base of support substantially.

                In 2002, Ozzie Smith becomes the first inductee with 90% of the vote since 1999 and most of the other candidates generally lose a couple of votes. Top holdovers are Carter (72% and still unelected), Rice (55%) and Sutter (50%). Besides Oz, you also have Andre Dawson (400 HR, nearly 1600 RBI) debut at 45%, again making Garvey's numbers look small for a COF/IB type. After Gossage (43%) there's a sizeable gap to 7th place Garvey (28%). Steve has now been on the BBWAA ballot for 10 years and this is the lowest his support has been in any given year. It's not looking good.

                We see a pattern then for a few years. In 2003, Eddie Murray (3,000 hits, 500 HR) and Ryne Sandberg debut, along with Lee Smith, who at the time is the career saves leader. Murray and (finally) Carter get elected. Sutter and Rice hold. Dawson gains 5% to get majority support. Gossage drops a tiny bit as Smith joins him in the low-40s. Sandberg debuts at basically 50% and the sabermetric community on this new thing called the Internet is starting to have a small, but gradual impact on Bert Blyleven's case. Bert just misses 30%. In all this chaos, Garvey basically stands still (amazingly), but he's now 10th overall in support on the ballot with four years left. There's no Garvey bandwagon - no reason for any - at this time to attract attention to his case or to single him out as particularly deserving over the crowd here.

                In 2004, Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley arrive (and are elected), stymying the climb of most holdovers, though voters give Ryne Sandberg a gain of more than 10%. It's a holding pattern otherwise, but Garvey falls 4% to 24% and 11th place overall as Jack Morris eclipses him for 10th in the results.

                In 2005, Wade Boggs (a first-year electee) is the only supported newcomer, making room for Sandberg to cross the finish line. You've got Sutter (66%), Rice (59%), Gossage (55%), Dawson (52%), Blyleven (40%), Smith (38%), Morris (33%) and, now, Tommy John (23%) over Garvey (20%) who continues to fall, now to 11th overall. There simply is no Garvey train. (I do find the Rice > Dawson contrast indefensible, but as a Montreal Expos Dawson must've been invisible to a lot of voters, same as Gary Carter had been for too long.)

                2006 is a holdover election with Orel Hershiser (11%) the best supported newbie. Sutter barely gets elected (less than 77%) while the rest of the top 10 make fairly good progress, but no one else getting so much as 65%. This generation of BBWAA voters was incredibly daft. Rice's 64% makes him the leading holdover after '06 while Garvey is up +6%, but the top 10 all finish in the same order as the previous year and Garvey is only 9th overall.

                2007 was a much-anticipated election as Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and Mark McGwire made their debuts. Ripken and Gwynn were shooed in without a second thought. After them, however, Jim Rice (63%) and Andre Dawson (56%) were the only non-pitchers on the ballot with as much as a quarter of the electorate supporting them. Dave Parker and Dale Murphy were around one-tenth of the vote, give or take a percent, their support dwindling since their debuts, never making up ground. The same was true of first baseman Don Mattingly, now at 9% this year. That said, to add insult to injury (in the view of some), Garvey's meager 21% in his final outing was two percent below the support received by Big Mac.

                Garvey simply had the bad luck, if you will, of reaching the ballot during a particularly stingy generation of voters, whose simple minds were overwhelmed by the notion that a first basemen doesn't have to be a slugger to be good, and who were not (as a group) particularly excellent at comparative analysis. He had the misfortune of spending the first half of his tenure behind a more popular candidate or two at the same position while the latter half was getting caught up in larger forces while simultaneously looking less relative to contemporary players and better hitters on the ballot from his own day.

                He wasn't "jobbed" by the electorate nor is there anything to suggest that, while a handful may have held the character clause against him - the fluctuations in his support and his inability to gain traction was anything more than the normal operation of the election cycle. Rice, on the other hand, benefited from the popular imagination (his 1978 peak, the slugger image at a "slugger" position) and virtually no direct competition from the outfield (at least as the BBWAA at the time evaluated candidates).

                Over the next three years, Gossage, Rice and Dawson would be elected. The electorate continued to be tightwads (only Rickey Henderson joined them over that period), with the BBWAA averaging 1.5 inductees per year during Garvey's tenure and not improving, briefly, until the late 2010's. Rice, himself, only just qualified (76% in his 15th and final year).

                That said, of the 31 individuals who finished ahead of Garvey in the voting at least once during those 15 years, 30 have been inducted to Cooperstown (plus another 8 who shared at least one ballot with Garvey, but finished lower than him in the results). The only player to get more votes than Garvey in one of those elections who still isn't in? Tommy John.
                Chadwick with some serious illumination and scholarship here!!!! Per his usual!!


                • From 5/20/2006:

                  Originally posted by ElHalo View Post

                  Are you serious?

                  Of all the possible scenarios of what could happen when a batter steps to the plate, the three most boring are walk, HR, and strikeout. There is no "play." There's either a non-event in the walk/K event, or an event that directly leads to no further player participation in the HR event. When you make a list of all the possible things that could happen every time a guy steps to the plate, those are the three least interesting.

                  And they were fun to watch?
                  "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”


                  • Post of the decade. Not just the day.

                    Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                    It's not that it's impossible to mathematically explain everything that happens in a baseball game. With enough data, you sure can explain it all (though you and I differ vastly in one respect... all that "minutia" that you so cavalierly dismiss, I consider to make up 20% or 25% of a player's worth... but that's an argument for another day). With enough data, you can mathematically explain everything. If you had the location and trajectory of every particle during the Big Bang, you could mathematically describe the entire history (and future) of the universe. With a powerful enough computer and enough detail on what every single little bit of the universe is doing (which would require some way of circumventing the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, but that's also a story for another day), you can calculate every single reaction that's about to happen, and from that you can extrapolate every single one that's going to happen immediately after that, and... well, eventually you'll be able to tell me who's winning the WS next year. It's highly unlikely that any human being will ever have all of that knowledge, but it's not really impossible.

                    No, I don't feel sorry for you because you've dedicated your life to something that can't be done... I feel sorry for you because you want to do so. The thirst for knowledge is usually a good thing. It gives us medicines and cell phones, and lets us know that volcanic eruptions aren't the result of giant Earth gods fighting epic battles under our feet. But in all those areas, there's a result that's desirable.

                    Where's the desirable result here? If you ever do come up with a mathematical model that can perfectly describe a player (or, at least do so as perfectly as you possibly can without pissing off Heisenberg), what would be the inherent value in that? You'd be able to tell with definitive accuracy who was the best at playing a children's game. That's it. You won't be giving people medicines that can save their lives. You won't be giving us a cheap and easy way to communicate over long distances. You won't be giving us some deeper philisophical understanding into the nature of existence. You'll be able to describe what happens in a children's game.

                    What is baseball? Baseball played by children is a form of exercise and relaxation. Baseball played by MLB players is, pure and simple, a form of entertainment for the rest of us. That's the ONLY reason it exists. To entertain the masses.

                    And what, in essense, is entertainment supposed to be? According to my dictionary, it's something that holds the attention of someone with something amusing or diverting. Well, baseball certainly fits that role. It's most assuredly a diversion, and it certainly can be amusing at times. It certainly provides most of us here with hours of enjoyment, just reading what other people have to say about it at this website.

                    But what would a comprehensive mathematical model of player value accomplish? Well, it would certainly remove the enjoyment factor from the game. If all these polls on "Who was better, Ruth or Cobb?" could be answered with a flat "Ruth, he beats Cobb 52-47 on the irrefutable Total Player Evaluation scale," well, that would kind of destroy all the enjoyment that we get out of arguing such things, wouldn't it? Having a proper and complete mathematical model for player evaluation would almost entirely kill the joy of being a fan of baseball, because there would be nothing to ponder or argue about... there'd just be a formula to plug into. Watching games would be kind of pointless, because we'd all know what kind of trends players would be expected to follow, and anything that happened in any individual game would be left to random chance... which would effectively make watching a baseball game the same thing as watching a spinning roulette wheel, except no one's betting on it. Mathematics have no appreciation for aesthetics, and entertainment is all about aesthetics... you might call it baseball's reason for being.

                    So now that we've established that having a comprehensive mathematical model for player evaluation would make us lose a whole, whole lot, what will it make us gain? Well, it will give us definitive answers as to who was better than whom. Ok. What's the inherent value in that? Well, it will give you the irrefutable right answer in discussion of the type that take place on this message board. But what's the real value to society? There isn't any, because in the end you have to get back to the fact that baseball is a children's game, that exists for no other reason than to entertain people. Having a mathematical understanding of it won't cure cancer. It won't give us a deeper understanding of the cosmos. It'll just make the one who has the form chart in front of him right and those who don't wrong. And it will destroy all aesthetic arguments... which, as I stated before, are the entire purpose of baseball to begin with.

                    You stated before that baseball is both a game and a science. This is basically where you're going wrong. Science exists to understand how the universe works and in what ways we can affect it. Baseball exists to give people something to do a Tuesday night. If physics isn't fun, well, that certainly won't change what happens during the compression cycle in a deisel engine. If baseball stops being fun, it basically ceases to exist. And if baseball becomes nothing more than a mathematical expression that falls into a normal distribution curve, it stops being fun.

                    I don't think your quest is an inherently fruitless one. And I don't feel sorry for you because I think that you're wrong, or headed down the wrong path. No, I feel sorry for you because the answers you're seeking give you so precious little to gain, and ever so much to lose. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is almost always a good thing. But knowledge that completely explains an activity that exists solely for people to argue about and sit on the edge of their seat in anticipation of what will come next... that's kind of counterproductive. It's like a magician showing the audience how he does all of his tricks... sure, it might be nifty to know exactly how something occurred that you couldn't figure out before. But after a moment, you find that the figuring out was the only thing that made it entertaining in the first place, and that if it's not entertaining, it's completely useless. I don't know why you'd want to ruin things for yourself and everyone else in that way.


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