I write to you as one baseball fan to another. There are only a few of us who are fortunate enough to have turned our love for baseball into a career. We are both in that lucky group. That’s why I was disappointed to read the following in your column today.
I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.
Fans today have a lot of choices about how they consume baseball in general, and their baseball media in particular. Baseball Prospectus’ mission is to provide them with an informed and independent perspective that helps to accentuate their enjoyment of the game.
Sometimes, our arguments involve statistical analysis and sometimes they do not. To the extent that we use statistics, we look at them as part of the puzzle rather than the whole picture. We do, however, try and ensure that where statistics are used, they are used correctly. We have argued, for example, that the writers who selected Justin Morneau over Derek Jeter in the American League MVP balloting made a mistake not because they didn’t use statistics, but because they used statistics in the wrong way. They focused on Morneau’s RBI total, while ignoring that Jeter did a far superior job of getting on base, plays a much more difficult defensive position — and actually did a better job than Morneau of knocking runners in from scoring position when he had the opportunities.
We have found that millions of baseball fans appreciate our perspective on issues like these. At worst, we hope to offer them a choice. At best, we hope to increase the caliber of baseball discussion, and to give them another way to love and enjoy the game.
I would personally invite you to attend one of the events on our book tour, to appear on Baseball Prospectus Radio, or to participate in a baseball prospectus chat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you have in common with our readers. We are all baseball fans first, and we come carrying neither agendas nor pocket protectors. Alternatively, I am in New York frequently, and would invite you to attend a Yankees or Mets game with me. You have done a lot for the game of baseball and it would be a pleasure to meet you. I hope that your comments today reflected nothing more than a lack of familiarity with our people and our product.
Executive Vice President