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The Love Below
2003-10-28 12:17
by Will Carroll

I've touted the new Outkast album both here and my other outlets, but in listening late last night while writing on "STP" (as "Saving The Pitcher" will henceforth be referred to in this space), I heard something in "Hey Ya" that actually applies to baseball. I love things that I can see or hear multiple times and go back and find new things when I play them the millionth time. Bull Durham and Monty Python's Holy Grail are like that; It Takes A Nation of Millions ... and Pet Sounds are like that in spades.

In the song, Dre sings as an aside "You don't want to hear me, you just want to dance." Great line, potentially classic. Why's that have anything to do with baseball?

The best knowledge in baseball is being done by people that others really don't want to listen to. BP and the other places doing work to improve the game aren't being heard by the people that need it ... or at least, they don't want to listen. Most baseball teams don't apply the knowledge that's there for the taking and has been for years. Most fans don't want to do the work to understand the statistics, but that doesn't excuse them. It doesn't take a great math mind or a degree from MIT to follow Keith Woolner or Nate Silver's writings. Both of them USE numbers to develop knowledge about baseball. Both can write without numbers as well; Nate's piece on going to a playoff game at Wrigley ranks with the best baseball writing I've ever seen. Joe Sheehan can write circles around almost every other baseball writer I know. There's other research out there as well - TangoTiger, Aaron Gleeman, Christian Ruzich, and tons of others I don't mean to leave out have interesting things to say.

But how do we get the average fan to listen?

Some of us are blocked by our worldview. We know BP and Bill James and even more obscure sites and work. Why doesn't everyone? People are often intrigued by the idea that there is something more out there, that they really do want to learn more, but they don't really want to work to do it. Do we spoonfeed these wannabes until they're ready for the sabermetric equivalent of solid food? If so, not very well.

I may be in the minority, but someone's going to get to the announcers somehow and they'll be the vanguard. Moneyball was one heck of a first step.

What's next?

You tell me.

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