The authors at What You Did Not Learn in School are avid sports fans–and, in particular, have a passion for the advanced analytics that allow an objective comparison of players and teams, regardless of era, league, stadiums, or any other conceivable variables. We frequently visit FanGraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com, and a number of other sabermetric websites to continue our study of the increasingly advanced metrics that help unravel the mysteries within the game of baseball.
Accordingly, peppered amongst the political and musical posts on What You Did Not Learn in School will be posts about sports–and, more accurately, about baseball. The 2015 season is just a few weeks away, and some of the authors’ favorite teams (the Cubs, Cardinals, and Tigers) are the subject of considerable buzz as the first pitch of opening day approaches. Much as you may not agree with the truths presented in our political posts, you may not agree with some of the conclusions posted in our baseball-related articles. Alas, with virtually every aspect of baseball now tracked, analyzed, and investigated, your disagreement may ultimately boil down to personal bias, since it has been mathematically proven that we are able to ascertain the value of every single event on the baseball field and accurately assign credit–or blame, as it were–to the appropriate players.
A perfect example is Barry Bonds. We could count on one hand the number of baseball fans that still root for Bonds to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Regardless of personal opinions, it has been mathematically proven that Bonds’ 2001-2004 seasons were the four best consecutive seasons in baseball history, better even than Babe Ruth’s 1920-1923 explosion. Furthermore, it has been established that Bonds’ 2002 season was the single-best offensive season in baseball history. Whether you like it or not, the statistical analysis has been performed, adjustments for park factors and league averages have been made, and Bonds’ 2002 campaign stands alone as the single-greatest season in baseball history.
(For those interested, here’s a link to FanGraphs.com’s Barry Bonds page. Many of the metrics are extremely advanced, but if you hover over the metric, an explanation of how it is calculated will be displayed: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1109&position=OF)
But why argue? Let’s celebrate the achievements of all of our heroes on the diamond. That’s what our posts are for: to recognize greatness and explain it in a way that validates this greatness. Play ball!