Baseball Analytical Stats are Killing the Games Popularity
Okay, be honest here: How many people really give a crap about the "Exit Velocity" and "Launch Angle" of a home run in baseball?? How many people even know what w/RC+ or ISO or w/OBA are?? Do you understand what a pitchers FIP or xFIP or BABIP are?
If you do, congratulations---you likely spend far too much of your time breaking down the minutiae of a baseball players performance.
You also are what is slowly killing the game---from the inside out.
Go ahead, call me old fashioned, behind the times or any other Twitter insult you can think of---but if you take that step, please do me a solid and try explaining why advanced analytics make the game more fun.
Seriously, I want to understand the rationale behind bombarding the casual fan with all of these acronyms and abbreviations and why it "Improves" the fan experience.....
Ask the family of four who are spending $150 bucks to bring their kids, kids who haven't made it far enough in school to get to an Algebra class why this stuff is important.
Listen, I get the fact as a society we've advanced far enough where we can track and quantify all these various little things impacting the performance of a player. And I get if you own a baseball team making a Bazillion dollars a season, you can use these statistics to justify not paying older players or paying a player market value.
After all who better to save a couple bucks than someone who has billions of them??
It's also the reason you see All-Star, Hall of Fame level performers like Craig Kimbrel not on anyone's roster to start the 2019 season. It's not that he hasn't performed at an elite level, it has everything to do with his advance statistical profile saying he's due for a decline over the span of what a new contract for his services would cover.
I also understand the premise of not wanting to waste money like so many Baseball teams in the past have.
Just ask the Los Angeles Angels how well their $240 million deal with Albert Pujols worked out. Or ask the Braves how much value they got out of Melvin (B.J) Upton when they dropped $75 million for his .190 batting average.
And to some extent, yeah, you need things like advanced analytics to tell you whether someone is going to perform at the level you are paying for. If teams use it, that's great.
Really, to be more clear, the issue is when those advance stats make it to TV Broadcasts or game coverage. I don't need to hear John Smoltz trying to quote xFIP, BABIP or any other acronym during a game. Just tell me why a pitcher throws the pitches he does or why that pitcher is struggling or what are they doing wrong.
I don't need ESPN showing me a highlight of the "Slowest Exit Velocity" on a home run (I saw just that on TV this morning before writing this). A homer is a homer, if it went out of the park, it counts. It doesn't matter how fast it left the park or how high in the air it went.
All this being said---baseball does not need to jump in and make rule changes because of teams shifting strategies based on analytics. That part if fine, it is largely meaningless to fans. Does anyone in the stands start complaining because a team shifts their infield to the right side for a left-handed pull hitter?
Really, do you hear people booing because of that (Philadelphia doesn't count, they boo everything)?
If a team decides to implement an extreme shift, it's up to the batter to do something about it by hitting the ball the other way. That's a skill and something Major League Baseball needs to stay away from.
Same thing with the attempt at making relief pitchers throw to three batters. It takes ALL the strategy out of the game. If a team chooses to have a specialist face one batter---it's their choice. They have to live with the results of that decision.
What I'm saying I think is this: Sometimes we live in a world of Analysis Paralysis, just because you have the ability to dig into the finer points of what is happening is fine if that's what you do for a living.
Just understand most people are casual fans and don't give a shit. Keep trying to force it on them, they'll rebel.
And then you have nobody to watch the game and enjoy it for what it is.....a Game.