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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sabermetrics make baseball even more interesting


Non-sabermetricians tend to think of the sabermetric community as a monolith. Which certainly makes it easier to throw out generalizations about moms' basements and never watching real games or talking to real players. But sabermetrics is a science of sorts, and just like every other science, if you bother to check you'll find all sorts of disagreements (most of them friendly, I'm glad to report).

Today's example … Here's J.C. "Sabernomics" Bradbury on the Phillies' new left fielder:

Got that? According to Bradbury -- a smart guy who has written a well-received book on the subject -- Ibanez will be worth more than $10 million per season.

But of course there are other smart guys, too. Tangotiger is a smart guy who has also written a well-received (at least by me) book, and he has Ibanez's value at around $10 million. Oh, but not per season. For all three seasons.

It will always be like this. One of the fears, I think, of smart guys like Dan Shaughnessy is that when every team is run by smart guys like Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman, the game will be stripped of character and diversity. But that can never happen, any more than paleontology or physics will ever be so thoroughly defined that there's no longer room for differences and disagreements.

Baseball's just as interesting as it's ever been. More interesting, probably. It's just become interesting in different ways. And you can either get on board or you can fall off, screaming all the way to the ground.