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Is WAR (baseball) utter nonsense?

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We're digressing but all things being relative (!) you probably are right. I WAS a bit harsh. But with media coverage being as it is ...

And besides, with the rules being what they are like, it IS an odd sports (unfortunately) by European team sports standards. Actually I find baseball quite fascinating as part of "American folklore" and history (if you know what I mean) but still it has its oddities for us here. But like I said (lest we digress further), I was not referring to the rules but to the statistics aspect. If you look a bit closer at this (and I have only barely scratched the surface too in trying to see what baseball stats are all about), you will see what I meant with my reference to imaginary additions to discographies. Hey - it's HUMANS, not machines!!!

 

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I know. I knew a couple of people from a minor league team in the 90s and they told this and that about "the scene". But to call it a "minority" sport is putting it mildly. It's even a minority sport within minority sports. BTW, Regensburg is fairly far away from where I live (by our standards - by Australian standards it would indeed be next door ^_^).

 

Of course didn`t know what "southern Germany" means in your context ;) .... do believe you being too harsh on european baseball as "minority within minority sports" - especially in Germany the sport exoerienced an solid growth and finally a german player - Max Kepler with the Minnesota Twins - made it to the MLB (no Austrians there until now, but at least Jakob Pöltl - via the Toroto Raptors - made it in 2016 to the NBA :D) .... these role models are an important factor to motivate kids for "minority sports" .... ....

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Ehhh ... you're repeating yourself. :unsure:

Its not me but the forum`s edp sending double posts (would wish these could be deleted from the administrator) ....

QUOTE

And I suppose you realized I was just poking fun when I referred to the "stats" (it's all very weird to us Yurpeens - stating with those I came across when checking out a few sites on baseball history here and there - with stats that probably are a FAR cry of what I THINK is WAR). If you want to get the lowdown on how confusing, odd rules can end up in the hands of satire or comedy-minded folk, check out "Das Schürbelspiel" by Schobert & Black if you can (sorry, couldn't find a Youtube clip)... ;)

UNQUOTE

I did realise you`re making fun about (some) baseball stats - nevertheless as former long-standing "baseball dad" (who faced the problems for baseball players in Europe) I still feel motivated to help making this sport "over here" not lesser that it is .... call it a reflex;) ....

 

Edited by soulpope

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Ha, so I bumped into the right one ... serves me right ....:D

But you see .. when you're occasionally smitten by a brief outburst of interest in baseball history (like I said .. American "folklore" 'n'all) and happen to come across this page ....

http://www.shorpy.com/node/21586

.. and follow up the comments just out of curiosity and end up here ...

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gettich01.shtml

... and realizing this probably is only the barest of statistics (I remember having seen other tables like this in "big books of baseball history" etc. which of course read like Chinese to non-experts of the game)  and realizing this chap seemed to have been a lesser light in the history of baseball and yet has been given the full treatment by statistics obsessiveness ...

... and THEN you try to follow this discussion which refers to stats that apparently are even far more complex (googling hasn't got me very far in grasping it, admittedly) ... well, does that leave anything but an initial reacion of "WTF"? ;)

 

 

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4 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Ha, so I bumped into the right one ... serves me right ....:D

But you see .. when you're occasionally smitten by a brief outburst of interest in baseball history (like I said .. American "folklore" 'n'all) and happen to come across this page ....

http://www.shorpy.com/node/21586

.. and follow up the comments just out of curiosity and end up here ...

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gettich01.shtml

... and realizing this probably is only the barest of statistics (I remember having seen other tables like this in "big books of baseball history" etc. which of course read like Chinese to non-experts of the game)  and realizing this chap seemed to have been a lesser light in the history of baseball and yet has been given the full treatment by statistics obsessiveness ...

... and THEN you try to follow this discussion which refers to stats that apparently are even far more complex (googling hasn't got me very far in grasping it, admittedly) ... well, does that leave anything but an initial reacion of "WTF"? ;)

 

 

Agreed - still I do believe the more info you can get the better .... at the end of the day it is up to us how to evaluate these .... and for instance as basis for decisions/scouting in baseball most of these stats are just base for a gamble - which can work out .... or not ....

Edited by soulpope

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2 hours ago, soulpope said:

Agreed - still I do belive the more info you can get the better ....

Of course ... in many fields of my hobbies I am more statistics-minded than most others. But here we are approaching a level where I really understand the reservations voiced by some around here. Like I said above -  it's HUMANS, not machines.

And like Nobel prize winner Nils Bohr said: "Prediction is very difficult, particularly if it is about the future." :D

2 hours ago, soulpope said:

Agreed - still I do belive the more info you can get the better ....

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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13 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

If the play on the field is all that matters to you, I assume it also matters to you whether the team you favor plays well, wins a lot more than it loses. Well, all this WAR stuff, right or wrong, is merely an attempt on the part of those who fill the rosters to assemble a team that has a better chance of winning, one that makes more good plays on the field than would have been made otherwise.

Seems like we're arguing at cross-purposes here.  Some aspects of science/technology keeps the devices we're all typing functioning and makes some devices better than others.  Most people don't really want to know what makes some devices better than others, they just wanna type.  The end. :)

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And girls just want to have fun.

 

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

And girls just want to have fun.

:D ....

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I prefer averages, not estimates. Give me numbers that actually have happened, not numbers you think will happen. 

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CareerActuary_0.jpg

2016.04.17-Beach-BBQ-687x254.jpg

 

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19 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

If the play on the field is all that matters to you, I assume it also matters to you whether the team you favor plays well, wins a lot more than it loses. Well, all this WAR stuff, right or wrong, is merely an attempt on the part of those who fill the rosters to assemble a team that has a better chance of winning, one that makes more good plays on the field than would have been made otherwise.

A  fair point, Larry.

However, I should like to think scouts and GMs place the performance they see over WAR.

7 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

I prefer averages, not estimates. Give me numbers that actually have happened, not numbers you think will happen. 

Good point.

But here again, when folks place so much value on numbers often is the time they stop considering what happens on the field.

The Giants are a perfect example. On paper, they never should have won the World Series in 2010, 2012 or 2014. On the field, it was quite a different story.

7 hours ago, Guy Berger said:

Seems like we're arguing at cross-purposes here.  Some aspects of science/technology keeps the devices we're all typing functioning and makes some devices better than others.  Most people don't really want to know what makes some devices better than others, they just wanna type.  The end. :)

Yup.

 

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8 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

I prefer averages, not estimates. Give me numbers that actually have happened, not numbers you think will happen. 

But "what you think will happen" is the most valuable information for GMs and talent planners, assuming it is reasonably accurate.  And since fans place a higher value on winning teams than on flawed-but-easy-to-understand statistics, I suspect the more complex measures are going to become more, not less entrenched among professionals.  As a result the amateur faux-statistics culture that exists within sports fandom will continue to struggle between the poles of accuracy/reality and simplicity.

Edited by Guy Berger

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Yeah, those "gut feelings" are great when they work, but horrible when they don't, and it seems that people admit to them more when they do.

And yes, "instinct" is a real thing when it IS real, but does anybody want anybody running anything based solely on instinct? If I was a  fan of a team that straight-up said, hey, fuck all this analytic shit, there's no place for that in OUR group, then, yeah, I don't want that. It's not that I don't want people who have good instincts not following them, it's just that I don't want to be involved in any effort that doesn't use every tool available, including advanced analytic. The reliability of this stuff has in no way been proven absolutely, but the longer it goes on, the more traction it gains, and the more refined the methodology becomes.

And it should be noted that any estimate of future performance that stands even half a chance of being worthwhile more or less has to based in a very large part on what actually has already happened, because if it's not, then it's not a sound estimate, it's just a lot of emo pimpiness that somebody pulls out their ass, e.g. - a guess.

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3 hours ago, JSngry said:

Yeah, those "gut feelings" are great when they work, but horrible when they don't, and it seems that people admit to them more when they do.

And yes, "instinct" is a real thing when it IS real, but does anybody want anybody running anything based solely on instinct? If I was a  fan of a team that straight-up said, hey, fuck all this analytic shit, there's no place for that in OUR group, then, yeah, I don't want that. It's not that I don't want people who have good instincts not following them, it's just that I don't want to be involved in any effort that doesn't use every tool available, including advanced analytic. The reliability of this stuff has in no way been proven absolutely, but the longer it goes on, the more traction it gains, and the more refined the methodology becomes.

And it should be noted that any estimate of future performance that stands even half a chance of being worthwhile more or less has to based in a very large part on what actually has already happened, because if it's not, then it's not a sound estimate, it's just a lot of emo pimpiness that somebody pulls out their ass, e.g. - a guess.

Absolutely.  Any "data person" that tells you "instinct" (or for that matter "subject matter expertise") is worthless is full of crap.  But it's also true that (1) most peoples' instincts are crap and (2) instinct/data work as complements not substitutes.

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On 2/1/2017 at 0:26 AM, Big Beat Steve said:

... but hardly anybody except numbers nerds pay much attention to it ...

It's the same way here; it's just that some people get upset that others aren't enjoying the game in exactly the same way they are, so they squawk about it.

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It's not so much that, it's that once WAR is cited, the conversation is supposedly over. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Dolan said:

It's not so much that, it's that once WAR is cited, the conversation is supposedly over. 

But conversation in what context?

In a fun, informal discussion among some friends/acquaintance it gets pretty annoying to have some know-it-all arrogantly lording it over everyone.  But when people take things a little more seriously and results/reality-oriented - and fandoms are susceptible to this, not just GM offices - it's inevitable that someone will pull out the facts bazooka.

4 hours ago, Jazzmoose said:

It's the same way here; it's just that some people get upset that others aren't enjoying the game in exactly the same way they are, so they squawk about it.

Moose, I think you highlight something really important - this is a characteristic of fandoms; fans take whatever they love really seriously and get into ridiculous, trivial fights over it.

The one twist is that sports aren't really subjective like musical tastes (unless people want to debate who has the most elegant fadeaway jump shot), even in the Trump era; teams win or they lose.  

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Any casual, or somewhat serious conversation, Guy. I've hit over the head with WAR by folks who have no real idea what it is, or how it's calculated. Regardless, it was used as the last word. And I find that incredibly annoying. 

These days I automatically consider someone suspect if they even bring up WAR. 

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Well, the last word is what's happened at the end of the season. How you can direct how you end up there is an open/evolving question, but really, all statistics can do is suggest the probability of future outcome based on past performance, be a trailing indicator. Nothing is a statistic until it actually happens, whatever "it" is. And a lot of things happen, right?

So, yeah, anybody gets all asshol(e)y about it, don't waste your time. As with most things, the more you know, the more you realize you don't know, so real knowledge is always tempered with just as much humility about what is not known, except when testosterone and/or money jumps to the front of the line, and then, hey, TV!

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Baseball has always been more statistically oriented than other major U.S. sports. Football has moved somewhat to that orientation, but nowhere to the degree that baseball has been and is today. So it's no surprise that there seem to be new formulations constantly appearing. For myself, I'd rather watch the games and not get caught up in numbers - especially numbers which are supposed to predict performances. I'll leave that to the geniuses who run the teams. For me, the quirks of humanity are always more interesting than numbers.  

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Yes, agree with Paul.  The one stat that I do like -- and can understand! -- is WHIP. 

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