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Bill James widely criticized for Tweets suggesting all MLB players are replaceable

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  • Bill James widely criticized for Tweets suggesting all MLB players are replaceable

    https://mlb.nbcsports.com/2018/11/07...mpression=true

    The tweet that offended the most people was probably this one:

    “If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever. The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”

    MLBPA director Tony Clark released the following statement in response:

    “The comments Bill James made yesterday are both reckless and insulting considering our game’s history regarding the use of replacement players. The Players ARE the game. And our fans have an opportunity to enjoy the most talented baseball Players in the world every season. If these sentiments resonate beyond this one individual, then any challenges that lie ahead will be more difficult to overcome than initially anticipated.”

    The Red Sox organization had this to say:

    “Bill James is a consultant to the Red Sox. He is not an employee, nor does he speak for the club. His comments on Twitter were inappropriate and do not reflect the opinions of the Red Sox front office or its ownership group. Our Championships would not have been possible without our incredibly talented players – they are the backbone of our franchise and our industry. To insinuate otherwise is absurd.”

    My top 10 players:

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Barry Bonds
    3. Ty Cobb
    4. Ted Williams
    5. Willie Mays
    6. Alex Rodriguez
    7. Hank Aaron
    8. Honus Wagner
    9. Lou Gehrig
    10. Mickey Mantle

  • #2
    May not be politically correct, but he's not wrong. All business is run like that...the 'workers' are just spokes in the wheel that can be replaced. The average span of a major league career is a few years...MLB wouldn't last long if the guys couldn't be replaced by someone else. In fact, no business would last long otherwise...especially one where the 'workers' have such a short shelf life.

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    • #3
      Bill is just in touch with reality. We're all replaceable. It's no different for baseball players than any other profession.
      2016 World Series Champions

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      • #4
        Considering that the comment was made as free agency signings begin over the winter, I believe his comments were appropriate. It is unfortunate that the comment is made in such a short time after the Red Sox win a very deserved championship. Just about everyone here at BBF would agree the Red Sox were the most deserving team this year and over the postseason, and James would agree as well regardless of his position with the Red Sox. In fact, the Red Sox probably recognize the contributions James has made behind closed doors. James helped build this roster in one way or another, and he is surely not suggesting that luck and another roster which was randomly assembled would have worked out equally well.

        Only the fools not acquainted with his work would suggest that. BTW, a couple of those fools were on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption yesterday and stating just that. "Pardon These Idiots" showed their true colors again.

        No, I believe James times his comments in the light of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. He has always made the case that a player creates his value with the tools he brings to the game, defined within the 5-tool set from Willie Mays' repertoire: hitting for power and contact, catching and throwing the ball, and the fifth tool of speed on both sides of the game.

        IMO, Harper has shortchanged himself by not ensuring that contact hitting remains part of that package when he enters a contract sweepstakes. Further IMO, James sides with myself by suggesting that the current market economics just might allow that he gets away with that. Harper will probably sign for gajillions, when he hasn't recently shown that worth in a way that he should given the tools he was hyped and had shown in prior years. His MVP season, IMO, was not a fluke. Yet, Harper doesn't seem concerned about making it seem flukish. It is odd.

        No, James' comments were not about the Red Sox, but today's ballplayer economics as we enter the offseason and the signings and trades ahead.
        Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

        A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

        Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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        • #5
          He's not wrong. The sport of baseball is bigger than even the business that promotes it. It's something that's still ingrained in our culture even though the popularity of it has waned.
          46 wins to match last year's total

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          • #6
            Tony Clark is right - the players are the game. And if they retired and were replaced by new players they would be the game.

            But if everybody was a replacement player, how would they calculate WAR?
            They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
              Tony Clark is right - the players are the game. And if they retired and were replaced by new players they would be the game.

              But if everybody was a replacement player, how would they calculate WAR?
              Benchmark would be lower, of course.
              46 wins to match last year's total

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hammerin Hank View Post
                Bill is just in touch with reality. We're all replaceable. It's no different for baseball players than any other profession.
                Yeah, I'm siding with James here.

                There are, what, over 1100-1200 guys who play in the majors each year? Now nuke those rosters and every current player now becomes a car salesman. That's about 1200 spots available to fill every team's 40-man roster.

                Now hand-pick the 5, maybe ten-best minor-league prospects from each organization. That's already a quarter of a 40-man roster filled.

                Then take the draft, which for some ungodly reason has 25 rounds. Assuming every pick signs, that's a mere FIVE spots left on a 40-man roster to fill via foreign/amateur signings.

                In three years we'd see who are the better players, and to a point natural selection will make the true stars emerge.

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                • #9
                  To be fair the same would happen if all owners died and mlb went broke, there would new teams and a new league emerge pretty quickly.
                  I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dominik View Post
                    To be fair the same would happen if all owners died and mlb went broke, there would new teams and a new league emerge pretty quickly.
                    That's right, too. Baseball as an entertainment business is still viable.
                    46 wins to match last year's total

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SamtheBravesFan View Post

                      Benchmark would be lower, of course.
                      It was a joke, Sam. Maybe not a great joke, but they can't all be howlers.
                      They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
                        It was a joke, Sam. Maybe not a great joke, but they can't all be howlers.
                        Right, I realized it was a joke a bit after I posted the reply. : P
                        46 wins to match last year's total

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                        • #13
                          I always enjoy Deep Thoughts by Bill James.
                          3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

                          "All of which makes perfect sense on paper, unless you have actually at any time in your life watched baseball being played." - The Commissioner

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                          • #14
                            Depends on the context right? If all players retired then the MLB would take a hit, but being that there are few alternatives available, yeah it would survive. On the other hand if a league sprung up and ALL MLB players jumped to it and directly competed with MLB then I am not sure.

                            In the first scenario the MLB survives because the MLB has a monopoly in the US. Remove that monopoly and things change.
                            "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                            -Bill James

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