clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sabermetrics VS. Traditional Stats

Update: 4:45 PM: Let me once again say that sabermetrics are useful, and can definitely enhance your knowledge about the game. I'm not arguing that they can't. I'm arguing they aren't necessities for fans trying to understand the game.


If this was Toy Story, I think sabermetrics would be Buzz Lightyear, the new, advanced toy, and Traditional Stats would be Woody, the old, but still smart toy. Get the analogy? Sabermetrics are the next big thing in baseball, while fans are slowly drifting away from traditional stats.

People ask me quite often why I don't use sabermetrics and I usually choose not to answer. I'm a traditional baseball fan, and I don't think the usage of sabermetrics are necessary, therefore it is not necessary that I argue about my non-usage of them.

With all the recent talk of the Yankees' infielders UZR and Derek Jeter's WAR and all the other acronyms, I figured it was as good of a time as ever to get the explanation over with. After the jump, you can see why I don't use sabermetrics.

I am not an old person. I won't tell you my actual age, but I can tell you I was not around to see the Lou Gehrig's, Mickey Mantle's, and Babe Ruth's of Yankees history. I wasn't around when traditional stats were being used back then.

I am around now, and baseball has changed so much since then. Interleague baseball, the steroid era, changed divisional formats, instant replay, even pitch counts taking over young pitchers careers. Change.

Now, stats are changing too. This is a change that is avoidable for fans, and I plan on avoiding it. Bud Selig can't force upon us the usage of new stats, and I will take advantage of that.

Sabermetrics aren't a bad thing, don't get me wrong, but the fact that some fans try to force them onto other fans is what bothers me most. I don't want to know what WAR, BAPIP, BARND, UZR, any of those are. I don't care to know what Ramiro Pena's career high WAR was. I care to know his career high in hits, batting average, on base percentage.

The blogosphere has taken over for newspapers, and to be honest that is something I like. Considering I write for a blog, you can tell that I support that. Blogs over fresh, subjective opinions, and sometimes it is better to see what a fellow fan thinks than read what a neutral party thinks. This is a change that I support.

The majority of blogs, however, use sabermetrics. This is a change I do not support. There are many, many traditional fans out there like myself that are sick of seeing graphs and acronyms, and new stats that some guy who spends too much time on his computer figures out. We want to see baseball.

Let me rephrase my entire argument into one paragraph that will make sense, because I probably lost you already in all of this rambling.

I go to the ballpark, or watch a game on TV because I enjoy the game of baseball. I like knowing how good a pitcher is based on how many runs he gives up, what opponents hit against him, that is all great to see. Do I want to analyze each play to the point that it's more about stats than it is about having fun at the ballpark? No. Runs take place on the field. Runs you can calculate in less than a minute and see them take place in each and every ballgame. I see Robinson Cano run (with Cano, more likely jog) to a ball to his left, I don't think "hey if he reaches this, his UZR will improve!" I think "hopefully he reaches this so the Yankees can come up soon."

Basically, younger, more new age fans will use their sabermetrics and still enjoy baseball games as much as I do, likely. There's a reason stadiums show traditional stats. Baseball is a tradition. Bud Selig can't ruin that. No one can ruin that. You use your sabermetrics, I use my traditional stats. Deal? I am not less knowledgable than you because I choose to love the game the way it's always been loved. I am not arguing that sabermetrics aren't useful. I am arguing they aren't useful to me. Can't users and non-users be fine with each other?