Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Here's what I don't understand

I'm going to leave the MVP debate(s) up to people who really give that much of a fuck, except to say this: I thought Pujols was the better choice, but I could see a good argument for Howard; There is absolutely no fucking way in a million years ever that Justin Morneau should be the AL MVP. If Bartolo Colon hadn't won the AL Cy Young last year, I'd start dropping shit like, "Worst award pick ever." But, this is becoming par for the course with baseball, a sport that consistently goes out of its way to look as stupid as possible.

More interesting to me is this, a question I posed to a friend of mine at the bar last night that I'll now ask the chorus: Why are "geeky" statistics OK in football, but verboten in baseball?

I was thinking to myself today that if Steve McNair somehow gained traction for an MVP bid, and he was up against fellow quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, there would be no fucking way that anyone would ignore quarterback rating when making the decision. Sure, everyone knows quarterback rating isn't the only statistic worth looking at. But it's a heck of a tiebreaker, and more often than not people look to it as the most well-rounded stat when comparing quarterbacks.

Now, here's where I can see one issue: There are probebly about three or four metrics that can be considered baseball's QB rating. One (which is my favorite) is VORP, which is a measure of the number of runs a player is worth over a replacement at his respective position. Another is WARP3, which is a measure of the number of wins a player was worth to his team, based solely on offensive numbers and irrespective of position, and adjusted for "all-time" so it's valid as a comparison against previous eras when offenses performed at different levels. There's also EqA, which is a batting-average type metric that attempts to take into account a player's total offensive production in a number form baseball fans are already comfortable with. Then there's OPS+, ERA+, Win Shares ... I understand, it can be a little numbing.

But while I understand that sabermetrics can be a little overwhelming, and maybe even off-putting, I cannot understand why there isn't a sportswriter in America, who while writing about the MVP choices they disagreed with (and with good reason), didn't point out that the respective VORPs proved the point they were otherwise making. Would it be so hard to say, "And, to top it all off, Jeter had a way better VORP than Morneau," without being run out of the profession? Because there isn't a single football writer that won't mention QB rating, and that equation is about as confusing, if not more, than anything sabermatricians have come up with.

So, tell me sportswriters, [super snarky text]why the fuck do you hate the truth?[/super snarky text]

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