Baseball is a sport that is losing the coveted status it always had as America’s Pastime. This has caused baseball fans to wonder what went wrong. After the end of the steroid era, Major League Baseball hit a downturn for the worst. The rise of analytics coincided with this fall, and as baseball ratings plummet, they get the blame. In baseball, analytics have become been villanized.
“The good old days of baseball” is a phrase used often. People say Kevin Cash ruined the day by pulling Blake Snell in Game 6. Whatever excuse is offered, this is objectively wrong. Analytics didn’t ruin baseball, it’s the nostalgia that people use to bash the modern game that has ruined it.
Analytics Lead To Winning
The most analytical teams in baseball over the last half-decade are some of baseball’s BEST teams. The Rays, Dodgers, Astros, Red Sox, Yankees, A’s and Cubs have combined for tons of wins over the last five years. They’ve also had a lot of postseason success, with the Rays, Dodgers, Astros, Red Sox and Cubs all winning pennants.
The formula has created production at its peak efficiency and has made up for gaps in talent. The Dodgers and Rays went 6 games in the World Series, despite the Dodgers’ roster being MUCH more loaded. Analytics has created a way to get the best out of players, and it’s been conducive towards winning.
Bashing Analytics Hurts Baseball
A-Rod going on national television to bash analytics is a joke. The dude just watched the “Ivy Leaguers” dismantle the Yankees. It was a literal beatdown throughout the entire 2020 season. He just saw Dodgers’ GM Andrew Friedman (who brought analytics to the Rays) win a World Series as well. Baseball is being painted as an evil sport where idiots are running the show. Analytical teams have consistently brought forth a product worth watching in terms of consistent success for their fans. When you ignorantly call them a form of cancer to baseball, you make the entire sport look bad.
Other Sports Have Become Extremely Analytical
Basketball had the three-point revolution that dramatically changed the sport, and it is as popular as ever. The NFL is a league where the running back has been determined by analytics as not super valuable. Passing is everything, and it’s the most popular sport in America. The problem with baseball isn’t that the game is more efficient for teams, because if it was, then we’d see other sports become less popular as well.
“Only Hitting Home Runs” Isn’t New
I always hear about the good old days when in the 90s “real hitters” would play. Wasn’t that the same era of baseball that had steroids? The same era where Barry Bonds would quite literally only walk and hit home runs? Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire aren’t lambasted by people like A-Rod who hate analytics.
How is it that we look upon an era of home runs as the era in which hitters were at their best, yet look at today’s home run clobberers as bad for the game? It’s called nostalgia. It makes everything in the past feel better than it actually was. Baseball doesn’t have a home run problem or an analytics problem, it has a nostalgia problem.
Making Productive Changes in Baseball
Are analytics 100% right? Obviously, they aren’t always right, but they’re a model that is more right than wrong, so teams will follow them. You can’t be mad with the sport of baseball for wanting to win. Let’s actually talk about the things with the sport which are wrong. Things like the lack of marketability and the outdated “unwritten rules”. Analytics isn’t going to be the reason the sport loses viewers.
Next time you hear some national media pundit blame the lack of ratings on analytics, now you know; analytics isn’t ruining baseball, your nostalgia is.
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