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I will be embarassing myself on the radio at 4:30 today

Posted by Sean Forman on August 16, 2011

Sal Palantonio hosting on 97.5 the Fanatic has been roasting my Times article today and invited me to get ripped to shreds on the air. Being brain dead, I took him up on his offer. I'll be on at 4:30 today. My humble goal is one coherent point.

30 Responses to “I will be embarassing myself on the radio at 4:30 today”

  1. Raphy Says:

  2. Sean Forman Says:

    Thanks Raphy, I think.

  3. Fitz Says:

    You're gonna get killed for the ryan howard thing.

  4. Max Says:

    Man, that was painful to listen to. Glad you stuck up for yourself though. Some people will never be convinced, no matter how much data you throw at them.

  5. Mags Says:

    Where is the link to your article?

  6. Np Says:

    Sean did well (and I'm saying that about him as a sabermetrician, not because he's my boss :). Those radio guys were just not on the same wavelength with rational analysis. Everything Sean said was so foreign to their mindset -- especially the part at the end about the best team not always winning the World Series. They couldn't even comprehend that the Phillies could be the best team in baseball, yet not have a >50% probability of winning the Series.

  7. Mags Says:

    Nevermind. Got it

  8. Mags Says:

    Honestly, you have a very good point with that article. Because Howard is surrounded by such talent, and guys that can get to 2nd and 3rd base, he has a much better chance of driving in runs.

  9. Pageup Says:

    man, I missed it and I was working at home today, will it be available?

  10. Max Says:

    @6: Exactly. I think the coin flip comment needed to be fleshed out more for them to see where he was coming from. Changing people's minds about something is not a trivial task.

  11. Chuck Says:

    Andruw Jones, Vinny Castilla, Preston Wilson, Sammy Sosa, Darren Daulton, Mo Vaughn, Bret Boone, Kevin Mitchell, Jeff Burroughs, George Scott, Tony Armas, Ruben Sierra.......

  12. Doug B Says:

    "Honestly, you have a very good point with that article. Because Howard is surrounded by such talent, and guys that can get to 2nd and 3rd base, he has a much better chance of driving in runs."

    2008-2011 Phillies team total OPS+

    98, 104, 98, 96

    what part of that looks like an offensive juggernaught around him? I mean... the Phillies have a nice offense. But trying to deny Howard is good at driving in runs is laughable.

  13. Chris Says:

    why do people insist on using proxies for the opportunity that howard gets? i see people quote that player X missed time and the team is 7th overall in offense.

    what you are trying to get at here is that he doesn't have all that many runners on for his plate appearances. we actually have the runners counted! look them up. he is consistently among the top guys in the league for runners on base.

  14. DavidRF Says:

    Remember that lgOPS+ is not 100 in the NL because the pitchers hit. Its usually around 95.

    But yeah, what @13 said. We can easily look up RBI oppurtunities.

  15. Dan Says:

    Ugh. Tough interview to endure for this sabermetric fan. Thing is, I'm not certain that the general radio listener or even Phillie fan knows what the WAR stat really is about. I can appreciate it in a relative sense....that some players are closer to the minors and trade talks than others. If its the best stat listed that puts batters and pitchers on the same scale, I'lll live with it.
    For evaluating batters at least, I'd personally put more stock into something similar to BABIP or RC/G. Easier to explain too I think!

    RBIs to a certain degree, are absolutely lineup dependent. I'd like to see either the stat tweaked a bit or a new stat that allows for either the position in the lineup or whatever players were behind and after. Actually, isn't there such a stat out there already, as in RBI opportunities?

  16. DavidRF Says:

    There is a baserunner count table:

    They also keep track of what percentage of those baserunners score. It doesn't differentiate between easier RBIs and tougher ones, but at least its something.

    Howard leads the NL in baserunners but his baserunners-scored percentage (BRS%) is pretty solid at 19%. For his career, his BRS%'s are generally well above the league average. I'd say he drives in runners pretty well. His offensive limitation is his relatively low-OBP.

  17. Chris Says:

    The main problem with BRS% is that it counts the runners you drive in as a percentage of runners for your plate appearances. That means a walk and an out are considered the same (unless bases are loaded). This will favor players who do not walk a ton as opposed to players who do. This is how Jose Bautista ends up with 16% driven in even though he's putting up a fine line with men on base.

    The main piece of missing information here is the outs used up. Having a total of runners Left on Base would be illuminating, I think. Can't find that information anywhere though.

  18. Chris Says:

    I guess I should say that's not a "problem." The number measures what it is designed to measure. But it should be clear what types of players it will over or undervalue with respect to team run creation - a low OBP, high ISO type.

  19. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Sean, you done good, as we say here on the farm. It's just too bad that some people hate it when you clog the arguement with such mundane things as facts and cold, impersonal statistics.

  20. Sean Forman Says:

    Here is the link for others who want to hear.

  21. Luis Gomez Says:

    Sean, I think you did pretty good on the interview. After all, WAR is a stat that you don't often hear on the game broadcasts, and you won't hear it at all in spanish broadcasts. Again, well done.

    I also think that all this Howard-is-overrated-because-he-has-too-many-baserunners is similar to the Joe-Carter-is-not-a-HOFer thread from a couple a months ago.

  22. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    After all, WAR is a stat that you don't often hear on the game broadcasts, and you won't hear it at all in spanish broadcasts.

    ┬┐victorias/ganancias sobre reemplazo (VSR/GSR)? (-;├ż

  23. Scott Says:

    Stand by your article Sean. Let the radio men live with their antiquated statistics they rely on. 15 years from now sabermaticians will have their jobs.

  24. nightfly Says:

    The Yankees broadcasters mentioned WAR today - someone said he was a fan, but I didn't recognize the voice, I think it was Paul O'Neill. This was about two minutes after they praised someone for "not worrying about his OBP, he's there to swing."

    I wish I had paid more attention, but that actually caught my notice in passing, so I can't be more specific.

  25. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Nightfly, I only paid attention to some of the game tonight, but I believe that was David Cone.

    O'Neill only talks about food and stupid umpires.

  26. nightfly Says:

    O'Neill only talks about food and stupid umpires.

    This makes my morning.

  27. Chuck Says:

    It was David Cone, it was in response to the "fan poll" of the day, asking which of the traditional stats used on the network runs, RBI, average, HR, was more important.

    Cone asked where WAR was, to which his partner, John Flaherty, responded, "we don't use it."

    Michael Kay then changed the subject.

  28. Doug B Says:

    David Cone's 57.5 WAR puts him ahead of 33 pitchers already in the hall of fame (including Whitey Ford and Sandy Koufax).

  29. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Nope, Michael Kay wasn't there.

  30. Fireworks Says:

    Sean, you did a good job. You were going in there into hostile territory with typical 'sports guys'. The reactions to analysis that defies superficial counting stats and simple average stats are always the same: the ignorant people that do not understand how these things correlate with value, with wins, with runs, always respond that the game is played on the field, or that advanced stats take the mystery out of things, or any other excuse (whether polite or rude) they can find to be somewhat dismissive.

    Personally I think that better analysis of the game only leads to a better understanding of it but that mystery still abounds. Drama still abounds. The thing that really separates sports entertainment from other forms of entertainment is that it is a true drama--it is not fiction, it is not fabricated in the mind of a writer, or controlled and manipulated like in a reality television show--and just because people like you and others endeavor to shed more illumination on what actually happened, to find a truer truth, that does not mean anything is lost. To me, things are gained.

    And one thing I detest about the anti-saber argument is the dismissal in the form that baseball is not all numbers. Baseball has ALWAYS been about numbers and I don't know if anyone can be a hardcore fan without an attraction to numbers unlike any other sport.


    BTW, in response to the Yankees thing, Cone talks about advanced stats all the time, all the time, he mentions B-R and Fangraphs and is a huge fan and I think someone here (?) linked to an article about Cone talking about it and it told me just how well he understood the value of it. The other broadcasters' response to Cone is at best slightly warm, usually lukewarm, rarely outright dismissive, and I really think that probably every broadcast team out there needs a Cone that is willing to challenge some of the inane convention.