Imagine if you could transport yourself back to 2005 and have all your baseball questions answered. That’s what this book is – a trip back in time giving you an insight into some of the earlier years of sabermetrics – at least in the eyes of the common man. (Sabermetrics have been around much longer than that!)
Divided into 27 chapters (one for each out of a ball game), this book seeks to give comprehensive, comprehensible answers to some of the big questions of the day, such as…
- What’s wrong with traditional stats like the RBI and ERA?
- Is there really such thing as a “clutch hitter”?
- Is Derek Jeter really a Gold Glove caliber fielder?
- Are the highest paid players actually overpaid?
- What impact do player salaries have on ticket prices?
- What are the effects of a new stadium on the baseball franchise and the city that hosts it?
- Does using steroids really make players better?
- Why doesn’t “moneyball” translate into more championships?
- Is there such a thing as having “too much pitching”?
- Are closers being used optimally, and if not, what is the best way to use them?
On and on the list of interesting topics goes. This book was required reading for a scouting course I was taking, so I did not pick it up out of choice. But of all the reading I had to do for this course (and there was a LOT), this was probably the most interesting. It would have been nice to have some more recent articles to read in connection with similar topics, but the general principles taught are still applicable in 2018. The subtitle of the book is “Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong”, and while that is true to an extent, it probably was truer at the start of the century when the average baseball fan still thought RBI and ERA were the ultimate measures of hitters’ and pitchers’ greatness.