Hawk Harrelson is not a big fan of advanced statistical metrics in baseball. In the past, he’s called the book (and movie) “Moneyball” a fraud. Actually, he said “It’s bull---t, and he’s proven its bull---t by the moves he’s made and the deals he’s made, and the games he’s lost.”
He’s called Billy Beane “the most overrated general manager in the history of the game.”
So, by Hawk Harrelson standards, the anti-SABRmetrics rant during last night’s White Sox telecast was fairly mild. He said stats are “overrated” and he also said that the all-numbers approach has “gotten a lot of people fired.” Steve Stone, who is another member of the anti-Moneyball camp, says stats are “part of the answer…but not THE answer.”
Then the wheels fell off of Gavin Floyd, forcing Hawk and Stone back to the game itself.
The anti-Moneyball rant sent the baseball Twitteratti (of which I am a member. Follow me @RobHart1980) into a lather. Nothing gets baseball bloggers and enthusiasts more riled up than Hawk Harrelson or anti-stats rants.
An anti-stats rant from Hawk Harrelson? The perfect recipe for internet outrage.
Fortunately, it didn’t happen. At this point, Hawk Harrelson is a known quantity. He’s 72, and asking him to temper his act is foolish. It’s like asking the late Ron Santo to cut down on the hooting and hollering. It’s part of who he is. Hawk, like many current and former players and managers, doesn’t really buy into the whole SABRmetrics thing either. They typically believe the number-crunchers remove whatever mystical or intangible qualities they bring to the game.
Which means Hawk isn’t out of step with a lot of guys of his generation. Charles Pierce, a fellow Marquette alum and a terrific writer for Esquire Magazine (he’s a former sportswriter for the Boston Globe), is not a fan of advanced metrics in baseball. He railed against the stat nerds because “I refuse to believe that the enjoyment of anything can be enhanced by the inclusion of math.”
My friend Paul Reda put it best, “At this point, ‘stat-shaming baseball commentator’ is like ‘racist uncle’ Just roll your eyes and get on with the day.
Here’s hoping Hawk doesn’t start forwarding e-mails that say “Moneyball” is a conspiracy hatched by the UN.
As for the game…Ian Desmond had Gavin Floyd’s number all night. Desmond was 3 for 4 with a double and a triple. The White Sox, meantime, didn’t manufacture their two runs so much as they gave birth to them. The process was long and just as painful. Both runs were scored on RBI groundouts. Isn’t it much better to score a run without giving up an out?
During the game, Scott Merkin tweeted a disturbing statistic. This year, the Sox are 6-44 with runners in scoring position.
The Sox hope to salvage game 3 tonight. Dylan Axelrod goes up against Dan Haren.
ABOUT THE TITLE: Since Washington is a big drinking town, I’m going to name each post this week after a DC watering hole that I have enjoyed.