Monday, July 28, 2008
Mondays with Murray
It's funny that my fellow blogger RC posted about Mr. Chass below because, as luck would have it, I just received an email response from the journalist-turned-blogger. Late one night, after a few hours of studying, and feeling a bit loopy, I decided it was as good a time as any to email Mr. Chass. He was one of the sportswriters I looked up to when I was younger, so it had been a bit disheartening to me to see him come out so strongly against the numbers revolution in baseball. After all, hadn't numbers been a part of the game forever? From Babe Ruth's topping 30 home runs in the 1920s, to Cy Young's 511 wins, to the feats of the present day, baseball has been defined by numbers. You hear 3,000, 300, 755, or .400, and you know the context immediately. I talked about how many of the proponents of the numbers game were guys who had played sports at high levels. For example, Billy Beane was a bench player in the majors for a handful of seasons and Paul DePodesta was a two-sport athlete at Harvard.
So, I emailed this to the great baseball writer, and anxiously awaited his reply...
Well, to cut the suspense short, I didn't get much. He essentially repeated his disdain for the new-age numbers, saying that they cheapened the human element of the game. I obviously don't agree, but the guy was cordial enough in his email, and most importantly, I'm just some random law student who isn't going to change his mind anytime soon. I replied, thanking him for his response, and that was that.
I don't know exactly what I was expecting, and I don't know that it was even worth the trouble to send off that email. But, those of us who are a bit more enlightened can hope that things will change, and can be happy that there are sites like Baseball Prospectus, Hardball Times, and others.