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Does Anyone Else Here Think Sabermetrics is a Sham?

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  • Originally posted by SABR Matt
    I'd just like to say that I know I don't speak for the whole community that is sabermetrics, but as I've learned more about the laws of probability and the workigns of the game, I've changed where I stand many times and am not working specifically toward proving I'm right about anything...we're not all self-interested single-minded sabermetricians with tunnel vision and the desire to fabricate data as diglahhh suggests.

    Here we go, somebody possibly more istigatory than myself.

    It's okay, feign objectivity in your research, as you were taught to do in school. You are always taught to let the research lead you. Eventually, those of us who hold viewpoints inconsistent with dominant values and ideology realize, that such an adage is just like almost everything else you are taught in school- a lie intended to preserve the status quo.

    I tutor students in writing and one of the first thing I tell them is that what is called objectivity in research is a means of protecting hegemony. It is always easy to find copious amounts of research to substantiate accepted ideological premises. Finding evidence for contrasting viewpoints requires more diligence and savy.

    Most of those who produce research have agendas; I'm willing to admit that I do,when I write. Why should we view our quest for research objectively, why introduce it the end of the chain? If you don't have a viewpoint, why bother writing. Numbers are merely tools and tools don't build anything on their own. Interpretation is the important part, how do you interpret X and how good are you at convincing others that your interpretation is the most accurate one out there? That's what writing is about!

    This is actually what I admire about sabermetrics. It takes courage to claim that strikeouts are not really more detrimental than other outs. In order to present evidence as such, sabermetricians must dig deeper, look harder and not be deterred by the rampant discourse that says otherwise.

    But once we get into math, the game becomes two dimensional. I don't fully agree with the argument about strikeouts, I've discussed this several times here. From a mathematical model, the qualifications to the afforementioned conclusion don't really exist.

    Hard outs are better predictors than soft, seeing-eye singles. How does sabermetrics quantify that?
    Last edited by digglahhh; 11-12-2005, 11:11 AM.
    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

    In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

    Comment


    • What the...???

      How was what I said even remotely instigatory?

      I'm speaking from experience...I've gone through something like 13 compeltely different iterations of career player evaluation over 8 years...I show no loyalty to one set of ideals aside form some of the most fundamental to baseball...anyone who's talked to me about my ongoing efforts will confirm that I am *ALWAYS* listening when someone brings a different opinion to the table and that I invariably give them hell...make them debate for days and even weeks and really convince me with a lot of logic that a change in my thinking is needed...but if there is merit, then I find it.

      Call honest research whatever the heck you want...I don't know what status quo you imagine me defending...there IS NO STATUS QUO in sabermetrics...the sabermetricians are mostly at WAR with each other over what the status quo should be! About the only things we can all agree on is that teams win when they consistantly outscore their opponants...that's it! Everyone has different ideas and I've done nothing over the past several years but try to listen to as many of them as possible and learn what I can about the workings of the game (both statistical and otherwise).

      I'm completely at a loss...your entire last post makes absolutely, positively no sense...it sounds like pseudo-intellectual university grade steaming piles of nothing.

      Comment


      • And if you knew ANYTHING about me or any of the stuff I've gone public with, you'd know I do ANYTHING but parrot what BP says or what any sabermetrician says...I've taken a multitude of very controversial stands in the field of baseball analysis and presented my logic as to why.

        a) The DH is not the largest reason for the difference in run scoring between the 1990s/2000s AL and NL...the ballparks are.

        b) The longball has not spiked in the 90s/2000s...any increase in longball rates is minor and related to a number of factors..none of which is steroids.

        c) Pythagorean logic...the very foundation of PCA...my former sabermetric effort...is flawed and not useable for detailed analysis of teams or players due to a false assumption that baseball Run Scoring probabilities can be roughly linearized.

        d) Expansion did not cause a drop in the competitiveness of baseball...it was countered by free agency, the latin wave, negro league players, and international scouting and talent evaluation improvements.

        e) Fielding is about twice as important as most sabermetricians currnetly believe due to incorrect assessments of the importance of pitchers in team defene.

        f) James is NOT a sabermetrician...he's an empiricist and talented writer.

        g) Willie Mays was NOT one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball history...he was very good...but not Andruw Jones good.

        I could go on...agree with me or don't, but you MUST concede that I'm not parroting some hegemony.

        Comment


        • Nobody is Andruw Jones good, but I still think Willie Mays is one of the best defensive CF's.

          Comment


          • He might well be...everything I've seen argues otherwise thus far...but I could be missing something.

            The point is that I have done nothing but faithfully report my findings...attempt to explain how I got them...and listen to the criticisms...and then try again....I'm not beholden to any single philosophy and NEVER HAVE BEEN...although some people have mistaken my forceful debates as defensive posturing...I have repeatedly attempting to clarify that I force my opponants into long debates because I want to see all of their "cards" and fully understand where they're coming from...I don't learn unless I do that.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by SABR Matt
              ...we're not all self-interested single-minded sabermetricians with tunnel vision and the desire to fabricate data as diglahhh suggests.
              Not instigatory?
              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

              Comment


              • Relax Matt, don't get so defensive.

                You have taken some strong stances in the face of widespread dissonance. And I actually agree with many of those statements.

                I was speaking in general and made specific effort to commned sabermetricians for bucking traditional and default explanations. All research has inherent bias due to its inclusions and omissions. You can remove the observer from the observation.

                BTW, what is a pseudo intellectual university grade steaming pile of nothing.

                I can't figure out if "pseudo-intellectual" and "university" are adjectives describing "grade." If the former is qualifying the later? Or if grade steaming is really a hyphenated noun form of a verb, ie- to grade-steam?

                Then is "pseudo intellectual university" attempting to qualify the type of grade steaming I am engaging in?

                I'm confused, and won't be overly picky and as how a pile of "nothing" can exist?
                THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                Comment


                • Very cute diglahhh...glad you decided to focus on the omitted hyphens (should read pseudo-intellectual, university-grade steaming pile of nothing) than anything of actual significance in my response...you're a real class act. (end sarcasm)

                  In any event...you baffle me...one minute you're calling me instigatory for claiming I'm not out to serve my own interests...thereby insinuating that I AM serving my own interests and am therefore not pursuing any real objectivity...the next minute you're saying you respect the non-traditional stances I've taken...which is it? Am I just some ideologue who's out to defend the status quo...who is incapable of objective research...a representative of your intellectual relativism (relativism is DANGEROUS in all forms...moral relativism leads to moral chaos...intellectual relativism leads to negative progress in scientific pursuits...either way...I don't buy it) view? Or am I actually making progress...is there a sabermetrician out there who isn't defending the status quo...thus upsetting your apple cart and disproving the idea that all "objective" pursuits are led by personal agenda and the status quo?

                  Comment


                  • Your own interests are objective- to you. That's the point. Internally, we border on moral/scientific/whatever absolutism. As a member of a social structure our personal absolutes represent a point in the arc of relativism. One's own truth represents only one of the possible ways of perceiving the greater issue. So while we think whatever work we do in effort to advance our cause, and developing our truth, we are obscuring somebody else's.

                    Kind of like baseball, a run scored is a run surrendered.

                    Serving your own interests is being objective, some say its being human. Actually, its also being Hume-an. Being subjective on the other hand allows you to consider other people's truths. The etymology of the words are self explanatory. When you are the subject, you are witnessing and interpretting phenomenon, when you are the object your are the one upon which the phenomenon is acting. Of course you can never fully seperate the two.

                    "Subjectivity" and "objectivity" and Heraclitean opposites and do not exist without one another. Your objectivity is subjective- get it?

                    There is room for both traditional and sabermetric analysis, and relying too heavily on one is detrimental to the overall pursuit. That's why I refrain from labeling myself a traditionalist or a sabermetrician.
                    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                    In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                    Comment


                    • Oh good lord...you're definitely spent way too much time in university sociology/philosophy classrooms...or some very close approximation within the field of humanities in general.

                      This whole "everyone's truth is equally valid and therefore there is no truth" ideology is sickening. It leads to Al Quaida apologists when it goes in the moral direction...and it leads to a very convenient way to dismiss anything as personally motivated in the scientific community if it doesn't agree with your opinion.

                      Subjectivity is not some pure and wonderful thing where you are "open to the thruths of others"...subjectivity is the projection of your own world view onto your surroundings.

                      When you're the object of the world, you let the data/information/evidence mould your thinking and guide you to something closer to the truth. When you're the subject of the world, it's all about you and how you interpret the data.

                      If there can be no truth...then it cannot be shown that if I go on a killing rampage tomorrow what I did was wrong. If there can be no single truth...then there is no reason to pursue higher education at all...it's all a lie right?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                        This is what started it all,


                        and it isn't true. the numbers don't say that. The numbers don't say that drunken captains are good for the economy. Nor did digglaahh say that drunken captains are good for a very select group of companies. He wasn't making a very narrow observation like you claimed, he was making a very broad generalized assertion to try and proove his notion that numbers are never objective.

                        I am talking about the economy as a whole and you keep telling me his point was certain segments. I don't see it, that maybe your point but I don't see it as his.
                        If his point was that an oil spill helps certain people, that I can't argue with, although it's very, very few people. Inflation is good for firms that have large debts, because they can pay back their loans with weaker dollars. But, beyond the novelty of imagining a situation where inflation would be good, it's sort of an irrelevant point to make, because the negatives of inflation so thoroughly outweigh it that it seems silly to go out of one's way to remind people that it can be good.

                        The original argument was, basically, "You can't trust Sabermetrics because Sabermetrics measure the wrong things. It's like with economics; all they care about is GDP, so I'll cite an example of something that will raise GDP that's clearly bad for the economy."

                        My point is that, being an economics student right now, I know that's a poor analogy. First of all, I don't really think it would raise GDP at all, but besides that, there are lots of other reasons why it would be bad. There's a lot more to economics than just GDP.

                        Likewise, I think that lots of people misinterpret what Sabermetrics actually try to do. I think I mentioned this already, but there's a guy on the MLB.com board who said, basically: "All the stat geeks only care about numbers, but if you just went by the numbers, you'd have to give Todd Helton the MVP award every year, and that's obviously not right, so the numbers must not be very important." The guy's error in logic is that he thought that being a stats-admirer meant you just look at the numbers and say the one with the prettiest line is the best. This is a very crude error; the guy wasn't very smart. But there are more sophisticated forms of fallacies, like, as discussed, assuming that Moneyball and SABR are the same.

                        It's important to understand exactly what the people you're criticizing are actually saying.
                        Last edited by iPod; 11-14-2005, 05:48 AM.
                        "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

                        Comment


                        • Indeed...there's a lot of misinterpretation of the sabermetric field going on because people are generally not interested in knowing what is actually going on when a new stat is introduced...they've got their opinions and they'll agree with the stat that shows it...that's how sabermetrics tend to be used by casual fans.

                          That's obviously not what we're trying to do...not the result we're hoping for...and we try to educate all types of fans whenever possible...but this thread's existance proves that we have a lot of work to do...the guy that posted it not only showed a lack of understanding for what moneyball is, and how it's different than sabermetrics...but he showed a lack of understanding for how the winning teams have won their games and who the most successful teams have been in recent years...he was spectacularly wrong in general.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by SABR Matt
                            Oh good lord...you're definitely spent way too much time in university sociology/philosophy classrooms...or some very close approximation within the field of humanities in general.

                            This whole "everyone's truth is equally valid and therefore there is no truth" ideology is sickening. It leads to Al Quaida apologists when it goes in the moral direction...and it leads to a very convenient way to dismiss anything as personally motivated in the scientific community if it doesn't agree with your opinion.

                            Subjectivity is not some pure and wonderful thing where you are "open to the thruths of others"...subjectivity is the projection of your own world view onto your surroundings.

                            When you're the object of the world, you let the data/information/evidence mould your thinking and guide you to something closer to the truth. When you're the subject of the world, it's all about you and how you interpret the data.

                            If there can be no truth...then it cannot be shown that if I go on a killing rampage tomorrow what I did was wrong. If there can be no single truth...then there is no reason to pursue higher education at all...it's all a lie right?
                            Wow Matt, your defensiveness is startling. Leads to al Qaeda apologetics? Come on, you're smarter than that.

                            The issue is not whether truths exist, it's to what extent we "know" them, and how we know them. We get much closer to understanding the reality of the world around us when we lose the pretenses of "objectivism."
                            Last edited by Twinskoop; 11-14-2005, 09:28 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Calling objectivism "a pretense" is the definition of a relativistic world view. There's nothing false about gravity...there's nothing false about Newtonian physics (aside from their limitations at extreme speeds and energies...but correctly applied to mundane situations they work for a reason)...there's nothing false about probability theory...it's scientific FACT...so is calculus...so is algebra...so is the field of plate techtonics...I could go on...there's nothing for you to "interpret"...no malleability here aside of course from the bounderies we haven't learned to understand yet.

                              When you extend that philosophy to the moral realm...when you say "We can't know what is right or wrong....it is only right or wrong in the subjective eyes of the person taking that action"...then you get people spouting off about how we should learn to understand and appreciate the terrorists' point of view and love them unconditionally and maybe the violence will stop...

                              The real world doesn't work that way because moral relativism can only lead to one conclusion...if there is no truth but the truth we make ourselves...then no one can be deemed morally wrong, and everyone's actions are just...the result is amoral chaos.

                              It doesn't DIRECTLY apply to baseball except that I strenuously object to all forms of relativism and hold true to the belief that there is an objective truth out there...that although we will never achieve pure and perfect objective truth, the strive toward objectivism is NOT a pretense but a noble and worthwhile pursuit that drive human innovation, civility, religion, economy and the great standard of living we now enjoy...that our desperate struggle to achieve understanding is the singular thing that makes humans better than lowly animals led by our instincts and without a moral and philosophical center that defines who we are.

                              The human race has its' problems, but one of those problems is NOT the quest for objectivity...that is our greatest strength.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by SABR Matt
                                Calling objectivism "a pretense" is the definition of a relativistic world view. There's nothing false about gravity...there's nothing false about Newtonian physics (aside from their limitations at extreme speeds and energies...but correctly applied to mundane situations they work for a reason)...there's nothing false about probability theory...it's scientific FACT...so is calculus...so is algebra...so is the field of plate techtonics...I could go on...there's nothing for you to "interpret"...no malleability here aside of course from the bounderies we haven't learned to understand yet.

                                When you extend that philosophy to the moral realm...when you say "We can't know what is right or wrong....it is only right or wrong in the subjective eyes of the person taking that action"...then you get people spouting off about how we should learn to understand and appreciate the terrorists' point of view and love them unconditionally and maybe the violence will stop...

                                The real world doesn't work that way because moral relativism can only lead to one conclusion...if there is no truth but the truth we make ourselves...then no one can be deemed morally wrong, and everyone's actions are just...the result is amoral chaos.

                                It doesn't DIRECTLY apply to baseball except that I strenuously object to all forms of relativism and hold true to the belief that there is an objective truth out there...that although we will never achieve pure and perfect objective truth, the strive toward objectivism is NOT a pretense but a noble and worthwhile pursuit that drive human innovation, civility, religion, economy and the great standard of living we now enjoy...that our desperate struggle to achieve understanding is the singular thing that makes humans better than lowly animals led by our instincts and without a moral and philosophical center that defines who we are.

                                The human race has its' problems, but one of those problems is NOT the quest for objectivity...that is our greatest strength.
                                Eloquent, Matt. But far removed from any point that anyone was making.

                                The point I made long ago was that baseball is a game - and a fluid one, decided by officials who create the rules, managers who devise game plans, and players who execute them. It is not a constant to be discovered. It is not plate tectonics, it is not meteorology. There are things (truths) to be discovered within the specifics of the game (physics addresses much) - no one disputes this. Stat analysis can also address a lot of specifics. I have no problem understanding or using principles of stat analysis when thinking and talking about the game I love. But as I've said repeatedly, there is more than one way to win a baseball game. There is also more than one way to understand a player's value to a team. I reject any system of thought that tends to lead us toward thinking of this game in terms of a constant.

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