Stats are like a nuclear bomb or Chris Chelios

You love to hate em/im unless it/he is on your side. Your opinion on nuclear bombs, like your opinion on the usefulness of a tough dirty defensive defenseman says a lot about your personality. Are you more progressive or conservative; new school or old school; are you an ivory tower book reading intellectual elitist who understands math or an atavistic PBR drinker who would rather kick a soccer player in the nuts than listen to classical music?


Stats are just like that, especially the advanced statistics used in today’s baseball analysis. And this was revealed recently here at Twinkie Town in a number of posts where commenters ‘indulged’ themselves in a less than friendly discussion regarding the twins current front line pitcher.


Thus, I figured it might be time to throw out a few thoughts on the subject as a friendly reminder that there is room for both perspectives here at Twinkie Town. And while this post would probably be better suited for LukeinMN who actually is smart and generous and a good writer, I figured I would tackle this one because I can speak from experience. Please, take it from me, just like girlfriends and sheep, there is room for both statistical analysis and good old fashion experiential analysis here, so long as there is room in your hearts, house, barn … whatever.


There are some of us (me) who cannot add or subtract without cheating by looking at their kindergartners flash cards. There are others who can break down the physics behind the ‘sinking’ fastball but have never played the game (or any physical sport) and have difficulty appreciating the less tangible aspects of the sport.  Both sides have useful opinions that can help further the analysis of a particular player/issue.


As an example let’s take our lightning rod/favorite victim in LNP. Some people can look at his defensive metrics and formulate an opinion that he is a pretty good defender. Others can look at some of the more acrobatic plays he has made, think about how they did that when they were in college ball and yet couldn’t make the play LNP did and formulate an opinion that LNP is a pretty athletic defender. Both of them can come to a similar conclusion based on a separate set of experiences or facts. On the other hand, both parties could look at another set of facts and draw the opposite opinions; advanced metrics show that LNP isn’t that good of a defender except at third, while an experienced player would see LNP exaggerating a lot of plays in order to make it look harder than it really was.  


Both sets of experiences provide useful pieces of data that help formulate opinions. Opinions are what make this (any) blog tick. Without ‘em we’d all be sitting around discussing ‘facts’. And facts, without opinions are pretty damned boring.


In conclusion, if you don’t know the difference between a fact and an opinion, then please buy a dictionary, and shut the hell up.

Well, ok, that wasn't really my conclusion. In conclusion, please remember that there are a lot of different viewpoints out there and rarely if ever is an opinion objectively WRONG. The facts that we use to support our opinions can be wrong (Cuddyer either did bat .285, or he didn’t) but our opinions fall in a spectrum of good vs. bad, not right or wrong.  Let’s make sure we are treating each other’s opinions with that in mind. And, if you’re inclined to analyze from experience rather than exponents (I don’t even know what I just said) try to remember that statistics when handled with care can tell us an awful lot about a player’s value, and projected capabilities. If you are inclined to analyze from a spreadsheet rather than make sheet stains with your sheep/girlfriend and a bottle of Canadian whiskey (I don’t even know what the hell I even mean) please remember that there is a lot more to any professional sport than numbers can definitively tell us.  


And for the record, I’d love to have Chelios on my team, I’d hate to play against that dirty muthaf*cka.



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