Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Isn't the point of free articles on a pay site to make people want to read more?

Christina Kahrl asserts:

I know, sabermetric orthodoxy insists that lineup order doesn't matter; I guess I keep forgetting to drink all of my Kool-Aid, especially when lineup-related research depends on so many lazy assumptions and/or involves redoing some of the same Markov Chain analysis that's been done for decades, all of which ends up suggesting that... well, that Joe McCarthy or Earl Weaver or Casey Stengel or Bobby Cox are smarter than the models (or the modelers). Consider me a firm believer in the proposition that much of sabermetrics is about the documentation of already-observed phenomenon, and that the best-placed observers did not and do not need sabermetric re-educations, they need to be learned from to create historically-informed sabermetrics.

Yes, anyone who actually conducts research must surely be too arrogant and empty-headed to tell us anything meaningful. I'm sorry, but "sabermetric orthodoxy"? I can think of only one outfit capable of creating orthodoxy in the sabermetric community, and it is Baseball Prospectus. Actually, it was BP; nowadays they probably don't have nearly enough influence. Coming from any other site, "sabermetric orthodoxy" is in the realm of oxymoron; coming from BP, it is an absurd joke. Yes, the sabrheads who argue that lineup construction does not make MUCH difference, given that the spread in OBP talent in almost any lineup is less than 100 points, are that rarest of breeds, creating an orthodoxy that incorporates contemporary cult tactics. But though Pete Palmer's blood is indeed flavored like Kool-Aid, it kills not the person but the person's capacity to use sound judgment in studying baseball; thank goodness for renegades like Kahrl who won't submit to the theocentric order of knowledge and its attendant hierarchies and who can uncover the sage wisdom of the ignored white male prophets of baseball's elites. Those who dare question the wisdom of baseball's marginalized managerial elite will pay, and Ms. Kahrl will be their collection agency.

From Ms. Kahrl's enlightened perspective, she is enabled to do brilliant things, such as referring to Kotchman as a "Slick-fielding moderate-powered first basemen who hit[s] .269/.307/.414 against right-handed pitching." I'm waiting for the column where she rails against the sabermetric orthodoxy that you shouldn't artificially limit the size of your sample, given that she rebels against its oppressive ubiquity in nearly every column she writes.

The more I realize that baseball really is about what its old school defenders say it is about, the more I realize how much I, like Adam Dunn, hate baseball.


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