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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Lighter Side of the Keith Woolner Discussion

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2009 at 1:39 PM


We've long since passed the point where mocking ignorant writers who continue to dismiss using advanced stats in baseball as stupid is even fun. But after this morning's post on and Q&A with Keith Woolner, the Tribe's Manager of Baseball Analysis and Research, I thought it would be a nice, light-hearted distraction to go back to one of my favorite ignorant columns ever — Bill Armstrong's "Baseball Stats Mania Rates a Zero," which got the Fire Joe Morgan treatment last year. Why this one? Well, he goes off on the inventor of VORP without really knowing anything about VORP or the guy who invented it, Keith Woolner.

Onto the nonsense!:

“I don’t know about you, but I liked the way things were before some self-absorbed numbers cruncher dreamed up VORP (Value Over Replacement Player, whatever that means.) And while we’re on the subject, didn’t that guy have something better to do that day? Like getting some fresh air instead of spending the entire day in his boxer shorts in his mother’s basement?

“Let me guess. The guy spends every waking moment of every day on his computer. And his only correspondence with the outside world is with fellow self-absorbed numbers crunchers who spend every waking moment of every day in dogged pursuit of the next esoteric pseudostat.

“These are the baseball writers of today. Forget Roger Angell and David Halberstam and all those other curmudgeons. They wrote about the romance of the game, the visceral attraction of the game, the simple pleasures of the game. They wrote about the Boys of Summer and the dads who took their sons out to the yard to watch them.”

And apple pie and Joltin’ Joe and in my day we walked to school barefoot …

Bill, having sat with Keith Woolner, I can tell you that he 1) does in fact have an office for a workspace, and it’s not his mother’s basement, and 2) was in fact wearing pants.

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