Selig on Revenue Sharing (circa 2003)

I was reading through old articles today and found the following gem from our favourite current MLB Commissioner (by default, of course, but it's the type of thing he'd want credit for) from 2003:

You wouldn't have seen Anaheim [2002] or Florida [2003] in a World Series if this were 10 years ago. I'm convinced there will be other manifestations of revenue sharing in the future.
-USA Today interview

The above quote is supposed to be about how well revenue-sharing is working, but in effect it just demonstrates that the Commissioner's Office either thinks fans are stupid or itself is stupid. Possibly both. The article was written in 2003, so that the Marlin's would not have been in a World Series 10 years earlier is unspectacular. Guess what else he could have said? "You wouldn't have seen Arizona in a World Series if this were 10 years ago." That would have only been slightly more disingenuous, just a lot more obvious. No kidding Florida probably wouldn't make the WS in 1993. Nor before. Nor in 1994. None of those have anything to do with revenue sharing, including the detail Selig is attributing to his brainchild.

In fact, the Marlins are a pretty textbook example of what went wrong with revenue sharing. In 1997, they mustered up enough payroll to crack the top third in baseball and won their first World Series. Also in 1997, MLB instituted revenue sharing. The Marlins proceeded to fall immediately to the bottom third of the league in payroll and stayed there continuously through 2003 (including their WS winning 2003 season). They eventually became notorious for pocketing revenue sharing funds rather than investing them into the team and have fielded team payrolls lower than their revenue sharing payments alone.

As for Anaheim, the only two things I can think of are:

1)that Selig assumed most fans didn't know where Anaheim was in proximity to LA (then they went and changed their name and made it obvious how full of shit he was).


2)that there was officially no "Anaheim" team ten years earlier at all.

So I guess Selig's goal here is to win by default?
Continue Reading...

Found some old sketches

I found an old sketchbook of mine from about 8 years back (judging by the dates I wrote down in it) the other day, and among the experiments and quick sketches, I found a couple of baseball related portraits. I remember doing them now that I've seen them again. The Ted Williams sketch was practice for a larger drawing of Williams completing his follow-through (an old gift which has long hung in my dad's pool room), and the Musial was one of my first (and still one of my only) goes with coloured pencils. Not a whole lot, but they took me back. Scans in the full post.

Continue Reading...

Evaluating Pitchers with FIP, Part II

This is the second half of a two part article. Read the first half here: Evaluating Pitchers with FIP, Part I

Rather than throw out stats simply because they regress, you should only throw them out if you think what it does and does not regress is wrong (possibly RBI or W-L record for pitchers, for example) or that how it regresses events is wrong (possibly WHIP, for example). FIP regresses sequencing/timing, leverage/situation, and distribution of batted balls (including things like how many ground balls happen to find holes or how many find fielders), all of which generally fall under the term "Luck", as well as factors like park effects (unless you park adjust it, which you can if you want) and quality of opponents. It does not regress defensive support. Your decision on whether or not to consider FIP in evaluating what happened should hinge on whether you feel these decisions offer a useful perspective or not. Maybe you have a problem with all of these decisions. That would make evaluating pitchers very difficult, however.

If you think sequencing or timing should not in any case be regressed, that also means opponent batting lines are out. If you think leverage or situation should not in any case be regressed, then ERA is out. Perhaps you have an issue with regressing anything termed "Luck", which, in the case of FIP, means if a pitcher gives up a line drive in the gap or one right at a fielder, you don't care if it was because of the pitcher's ability or if it was just random chance, you want to evaluate what happened. If you feel that way, however, you should ask whether you also have a problem with the other "Luck" aspects listed in the above paragraph besides batted ball distribution. They also show up in other stats like ERA and opponent batting lines. Is it luck whether a pitcher allows a single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th of a tie game or in a blowout? The former is obviously much more costly measuring by outcome, but opponent batting lines count them the same, and ERA actually counts the latter as worse (because it will often be counted as 2 ER, while the former can only ever count as 1). ERA might not even count the former case at all if there was an error in the inning that would have been a third out. If a shortstop boots a ball, do you say the pitcher had nothing to do with it, or do you not want to consider luck and look only at what happened? Opponent batting lines ignore the actual outcome and pretend the pitcher got the out as if the error never happened. ERA either ignores the event altogether or pretends the pitcher got the out even though he didn't (he won't get credit for the out in the IP part of ERA, but if it becomes the third out of the inning, he is given credit for getting out of the inning so no further runs are earned; in fact, in such a case, ERA can completely throw out even events like walks and home runs as if they never happened).

Maybe you still want to charge batted ball distribution to the hitter but not other aspects of "Luck", which is ok as long as you understand what you are doing and that you are still regressing "Luck" in other cases rather than charging the pitcher regardless. That doesn't mean you throw out FIP. You still have the other benefits of regressing "Luck" that you have chosen to regress in using other stats, and you have the advantage that FIP regresses some of those factors differently and sometimes better. For example, in ignoring distribution and regressing all events to the average value of the event, opponent batting lines assign an arbitrary value to each event. FIP weights each event to match the value of the event to its value in reality. You could also do this with opponent batting lines, but you would have to do it yourself.

You also have the other advantages of FIP, particularly that it does not regress defensive support. If a fielder makes a great play, should we credit that value entirely to the pitcher? The pitcher may have had some effect in creating the out, but did the pitcher really create as much value on a diving play in the hole by the shortstop as he does with a strikeout, or does the shortstop create some of that value? Both outs are worth the same overall (depending on the situation; the strikeout is actually worth slightly more overall, but given that both occur in a situation that gives them the same value), but in one, the pitcher created almost all of the value to the defensive team while on the other, he shares most of the value with the shortstop. Over the course of the season, some of the deviation from the average value of a ball in play will be due to the pitcher pitching better or worse than average and some will be due to the defense playing better or worse than average. Crediting all of the deviation to either the pitcher or the defense (or rather, all to the pitcher or none to pitcher, which is what both FIP and other stats like ERA, opponent batting lines, etc. do; none of them actually measure defensive value) is wrong, which means you probably shouldn't throw out either type of stat, because both tell you something about how well the pitcher pitched. Which one is less, wrong, though? It depends in part on how big your sample is, but probably crediting none of the variation to the pitcher, at least over one season. You are going to lose less by regressing the effect of the pitcher completely to the mean than by regressing the effect of the fielder completely to the mean. Even if you disagree with that, the regression that each does is wrong to some extent, so you shouldn't take one and say it does not measure value because of its regression and take the other and pretend it doesn't also regress.

So in fielding-independent stats, we have a distinct perspective on defensive support that is not provided by traditional stats. We also have a distinct perspective on other issues. Opponent batting lines and FIP both give a sequence-independent perspective, but each perspective takes a different approach in choosing how to group events to regress to the mean value and in how to decide what value to use for those events, as well as how to present that value (opponent batting lines as a pseudo-binomial rate and FIP as a run value rate). ERA and FIP both present a distribution-independent run-value rate that is based on the actual values of events, but each makes different assumptions about what values or factors should or should not be regressed. Some of these assumptions are clearly better in FIP's case (choosing not to regress defensive or bullpen support), some are more grey but still favour FIP (not discarding events that happen after a botched third out), and some simply offer differing perspectives that each have value (choosing to regress the value of events or simply take the outcome, regressing sequencing or not). It is important to consider all of these perspectives in analyzing what happened.

Most people will not consider only one stat in evaluating pitchers because they intuitively understand (even if they aren't aware that this is what's happening) the concept that each stat they look at is regressing factors, usually arbitrarily, and is not measuring all value. Many people also have the idea that some factors should be regressed, or else they wouldn't look at anything related to opponent batting lines (WHIP, AVG/OBP/SLG against, etc) that regress the value of each event to some average. They use a combination of stats to get the full picture: opponent production gives a sequence/timing-independent perspective, ERA gives a leverage/situation- and distribution-independent perspective that does not regress sequence, strikeouts and walks give a fielding-independent perspective that doesn't regress defensive support, wins/losses give a park-independent perspective that does not regress leverage or sequence (though the last one is ignored by a lot of people because it also does a lot of things that it shouldn't, and there are better measures that do the same thing). Each piece gives some part of the picture that is not the full picture. FIP and other stats of its ilk add a fielding-, sequence-, batted-ball-distribution- and leverage-independent perspective, and they give an added dimension to the perspectives considered in other stats. FIP becomes one of many stats to consider to give you a fuller perspective. It is not designed to measure everything or be comprehensive. Sometimes people will want to throw it out because they think it purports to do such and thus label it a failure for not being so. This is a mistake; you would not throw out any stat you do use for such a failure. FIP is just another of those stats to add to the equation. If you don't like how FIP handles some factors, you shouldn't throw out the entire perspective. You just balance its flaws with other perspectives that handle those factors differently, just as you would include FIP to balance the flaws of those perspectives.

At this point, the regression of batted-ball distribution is probably the number one issue taken with FIP. There are a lot of fans who can accept most of the above, and even that distribution of batted ball locations should be regressed, but not batted ball types. At this point, you've probably already accepted fielding-independent measures in general (which is really what all of the above is about; FIP is merely the most familiar of these). This is where you would want to consider a number of different fielding independent measures, such as DIPS, various forms of tRA, and xFIP. Each handles these factors differently, so if you don't like how FIP regresses batted ball types, perhaps you would prefer something like tRA. Just for bonus coverage, though, we can look a bit at whether FIP's handling of BIP is actually wrong.

A common perception is that FIP regresses batted ball type distribution to the average distribution. It doesn't really, though. It just regresses the aggregate value of all balls in play. There is a clear skill in whether a pitcher tends to allow more fly balls or ground balls that manifests even over a single season, so we probably shouldn't regress ground ball or fly ball tendencies. What is the primary difference between ground balls and fly balls, though? Home runs. So this tendency is accounted for in FIP. Once you remove home runs and only look at balls in play, the difference in the value of a ground ball and a fly ball in play is not that great. The distribution of singles and extra base hits will be different for each, but FIP doesn't care about the breakdown of hits, only their aggregate value, which is fairly similar. Ground balls are worth a bit more than fly balls in play, so extreme fly ball pitchers may be slightly undervalued by FIP (though I haven't looked at this to see whether it is true). Line drives are another story. Unlike GB/FB tendencies, line drive tendencies for pitchers tend to regress pretty heavily. Their value is also significantly different from that of ground balls and fly balls. So the question is, should we hold the pitcher responsible for high or low LD rates, or should we regress them? Because of the huge value of a line drive, this decision can make a big difference. Again, I suggest considering both perspectives here to some extent, but if we are already conceding the regression of some factors outside a pitchers control, the tendency of LD rate to regress should be enough that we should at least consider regressing it and leaving only GB/FB tendencies rather than just dismiss FIP for regressing the influence of line drives.

Maybe after all this, you still don't think FIP, et al provide any value in evaluating pitchers. Maybe you understand that FIP isn't just throwing out events and how the regression in FIP is a concept that appears in traditional stats as well, but you just don't feel the perspective FIP adds anything to the picture. If you have considered all of the above and asked yourself what you think is important and what is not important to evaluating pitchers, you are free to choose whatever stats best represent your perspectives. If you are rejecting defense-independent statistics for the more common reasons based on an incomplete understanding of the numbers, however, you should probably reconsider.
Continue Reading...

Evaluating Pitchers with FIP, Part I

Lately, I've found myself discussing the merits of FIP and other defense-independent pitching statistics quite a bit, so I've decided to compile the contents of my various posts on the subject here to address generally some of the more common issues people have taken with them. A lot of people, it seems, are reluctant to consider FIP as a tool to evaluate how well a pitcher pitched or how good a season he had, and feel that its primary use is as a projection tool that does not really evaluate what has already happened very well. There is a conception that FIP throws out events and is therefore unfit for use at evaluating what happened, or that it inappropriately favours strikeouts over other outs.

These ideas are generally based on an incomplete understanding of either what FIP does or of what other stats do. This understanding has to be addressed before a decision can be made on whether or how much to consider FIP, et al in evaluating pitcher performance. FIP is not:

-a projection
-a measure of who struck out the most hitters
-an arbitrary compilation of a few stats that someone was overly enamored with
-a stat that pretends balls in play never happened
-created by an agent (ok, hopefully no one reading this blog needs to be assured of that one)
-a comprehensive stat that tells you everything about how well someone pitched

The first place most people get hung up on is with the handling of strikeouts and balls in play. Some people think FIP only counts strikeouts and throws out all BIP events as if they don't exist. This is not exactly what is happening. FIP appears to throw out BIP events because it presents the values of other events relative to the value of a ball in play. The formula for FIP is:

(13*HR+3*BB-2*K)/IP + C

where C is a constant that shifts FIP so it is centered around the same mean as ERA. Most people notice that balls in play are not included in the formula and assume that they are simply ignored. Where do the weights for the other events come from, though? We can start with the following linear weights values for each event as published at


FIP and other defense-independent measures lump balls in play together and consider their average value rather than take the value of each event based on its outcome. FIP lumps all non-HR balls in play together (though some measures, like tRA, lump them into multiple groups). So what is the average value of a BIP according to the above table? To answer, we need to know how frequently balls in play become singles, doubles, triples, and outs. Then, we multiply the frequencies by the values of each event and sum them for the average value of a ball in play. This comes out to about -.04. So the values of each event in FIP are:


Next, we determine the value of each event relative to the value of a BIP by taking the difference between each value and -.04:


This is the value of each event used in FIP. The formula above puts these weights onto a scale of per 9 innings; in other words, each weight is multiplied by 9, and then divided by IP. That gives you 13, 3, -2, and 0 as the weights per inning. So BIP are still there, just hidden in the formula. Their value is used to determine the weights given to each other event.

So that is what FIP is: a measure that regresses the value of all balls in play completely to the league average and then weights the value of other events relative to that value. As the argument goes, a ground ball to the shortstop is as good as a strikeout...unless the shortstop doesn't field it for an out. FIP gives the pitcher credit for that ground ball, as well as every other ball in play, based on how likely it is to become an out or a hit or whatever, not based on whether a fielder got to it and converted an out or not. This is where many fans who have gotten past the first issue begin to take umbrage. Why should we regress any of the outcomes if we only want to assess what actually happened? Isn't the point of regression to form some sort of projection rather than an assessment?

Not always, no. If the point were to project, the regression and compilation of the stat would be significantly different. In this case, the point of regression is not to project future value, but to determine the value of past events. This is actually much more commonplace than most people realize; most stats regress factors to the mean, and what's more, for the most part they do so in a way that does not reflect value. WHIP regresses the value of all baserunners to the same value, so a HR is worth the same as a walk. It also regresses all sequencing and timing of events completely to the mean, as do opponent AVG, OBP, and SLG (all of which regress the value of events to some arbitrary value, i.e. all times on base or all bases to 1). All of these, along with ERA, regress defensive support completely to the mean, and ERA regresses bullpen support on inherited runners to the mean (meaning that it is assumed that the runs saved or cost for the pitcher by the defense and the bullpen are assumed to be average, and thus the actual outcomes of these effects don't have to be accounted for). ERA, while it doesn't regress sequencing of events, does regress leverage/situation and distribution across games. Just about all stats regress quality of opponents. Stats that aren't park adjusted regress park effects. That doesn't make any of these "projection" stats.

No stat considers all factors un-regressed. The factors FIP chooses to regress and leave un-regressed are designed specifically to model value produced by the pitcher. That is not true for most other stats. So why would you hold it against FIP that it regresses factors when it does so logically and empirically but not against other stats that do so mostly arbitrarily?

You can't throw out FIP or any other defense-independent stat just because it regresses the value of events unless you are going to throw everything else out the window with it. Are the outcomes of all singles the same, or of all doubles, triples, or home runs? Of course not, but when you look at a pitcher's opponent batting line, the values of these events are all regressed to their average value. Is a run in the bottom of the 9th of a tie game worth the same as a run in a blowout? Again, no, but ERA regresses all runs to the same value, or rather, all earned runs to the same value. ERA also regresses all unearned runs to the same value of zero. These things don't bother most fans because they can accept the idea that sequencing or timing of events might not reflect how well a pitcher actually pitched even though they are reflected in the outcome of what happened. This is the same concept as FIP uses: you decide what you want to look at with your stat, and then you decide where you want to stick to strictly measuring the outcomes and where you want to regress the results.

This is the first half of a two part article. Continue reading here: Evaluating Pitchers with FIP, Part II

Continue Reading...

Joe Mauer and Stealing Signs

There has been a minor sensation across the web today in response to a video a fan posted of Joe Mauer supposedly stealing signs and relaying them to the batter by touching either the earhole on his helmet or the front of his face (that's a YouTube video, by the way, so chances are it will be removed by MLB before long; if it's down when you follow the link, someone videotaped his/her TV screen during a 6th inning plate appearance by Jason Kubel where Mauer was on second base with comments inserted in the video explaining why the author is sure Joe Mauer was stealing signs and relaying them to Kubel). Of course, the discussion has mostly centered around whether or not stealing signs is cheating, whether Detroit should bean Mauer, and generally just the ethics of the game. Not to say that's not interesting, but I think there is another issue that is being overlooked. Regardless of what stealing signs means to you, does the video even make a good case that Mauer was in fact stealing signs? In case you can't see it by now, whoever posted the video seems very sure of him-/herself and that the video, along with the explanatory comments, provide clear evidence of sign stealing, even going so far as to point out at one point that sign stealing is usually not so blatant.

There's really nothing in the video that is blatant evidence that that's what is going on, though. Whoever made the video arrives at his/her conclusion based both on evidence that just isn't in the video and on a series of assumptions or logical jumps that make little sense and don't point to the clear conclusions the author of the comments seems to think.

For one, we are expected to see how Mauer is picking up the signs by looking at the signs the catcher puts down. Watch the catcher put down 2 fingers, for a curveball, the video tells us. This is impossible both because we don't know the sequence or indicator the Tigers are using with a runner on second and because the resolution of the video is too poor to see the signs anyway. I assume the person who posted the video could see the signs before recording and uploading it killed the quality, so we just have to take the his/her word for what the signs were. I am guessing that this person is just telling us the first sign in the sequence, since he/she doesn't know the pattern Detroit uses either. The problem is, this is clearly wrong. It's possible that Detroit would just go by the first sign as their pattern, but there is no reason to assume this, and checking what the pitches actually were shows that the person is reading the signs wrong.

The first pitch, that 2-for-a-curveball, was not a curveball. It didn't move like a curveball, the radar reading was fast for a curveball, and low-and-behold, Pitch F/X says there's no way it was a curveball. It was in fact a change-up that moved nothing like Verlander's curve, both by the GameDay algorithm and the pitch's recorded flight path. So we are already off to bad information in the video, as the sign that the person sees the catcher give and that we are assured is what Mauer is seeing to tip pitches to Kubel is wrong (and if 2 is really for a change and not a curve, then they are wrong later because there are 2-for-a-curveball's that really are curves).

This might not seem that important. After all, just because the person who posted the video can't read the signs properly doesn't mean Mauer can't. Mauer relays the signs to Kubel very early in the sequence, though, early enough that the sequence would almost have to just be that the first sign is the real sign. Since I suspect the first sign is probably what the video-maker is relying on to tell us what the catcher put down, and the video-maker's interpretation is wrong, it seems unlikely that Mauer can relay the pitch to Kubel so early in the catcher's sequence even if he does know the pattern.

Even if the real sign is the first one, Mauer gives his sign for one pitch after clearly missing the beginning of the sequence of signs the catcher puts down. He is checking the fielder positioning as the catcher begins giving signs but gives his signal anyway. No matter what the pattern is, if you miss the beginning of the sequence, you can't be sure you got the right sign. Then, there are other pitches where Mauer is looking straight toward the plate the whole time but relays nothing. For one of these, the explanation given is that the catcher either changed the signs or that Verlander just threw what he wanted without a sign. The latter explanation is unlikely, as the catcher gave the signs just like for every other pitch, they didn't do this at any other point in the at bat, and the catcher responded to the curve in the dirt like he knew exactly what pitch it was. The former explanation makes even less sense because it requires that:

-the catcher changed signs without notifying Verlander (possible if they worked out alternate sequences in advance with a signal to switch because they suspected sign stealing was likely, but that makes it less believable that Mauer could keep stealing signs, especially if they noticed he was doing it)
-they suddenly switched back to the signs that Mauer was supposedly stealing for no apparent reason, or Mauer knew for certain the new sequence after seeing it once.

On another pitch, the explanation as to why we don't see Mauer give the sign is that he was out of frame, but that if we watch Kubel's eyes, he looks to Mauer for the sign (another example of evidence that isn't in the video, as the resolution is too poor for us to see this as well). However, Mauer is only out of frame very early in the shot, earlier than the catcher had begun giving signs in any shot where such can be seen. Mauer is in frame for the entire range of time we would expect to see him relay the sign based on the timing of every other pitch he gave a sign in the at bat, and he gives no sign.

During one catcher sequence, Mauer gives Kubel both signs. He touches his earhole and then moves his hand to wipe the front of his face.

One bit of evidence is that Kubel steps out after he gets the sign for a curveball from Mauer, as if his stepping out will make the Tigers change the pitch they want to throw. He does not do this for any other curve signal Mauer gives.

We are told that everybody knows what is going on. Every time the camera cuts to a new person, that person knows what is going on. After Kubel eventually hits a sac fly, it's clear that the Twins knew Mauer was stealing signs because they give Kubel and the runner who scored from third high fives in the dugout for scoring and driving in a run. Michael Cuddyer knew as he stood on deck. Of course, Leyland and Laird both knew as well. But Laird's reaction to knowing someone is stealing signs is to, when he starts putting down signs and Mauer gives no signal, stop and start over (which he does in the video, accompanied by the explanation that he doesn't want to give a sign because he knows Mauer will steal it)? Is he trying to make sure Mauer gets it? The video-maker cites Laird's stopping and restarting on the signals as evidence he knows Mauer is stealing signs. If he even suspected Mauer were stealing signs, he would visit the mound and change the sequence with Verlander, not just keep putting down the same signs and looking frustrated.

Mauer was only the second Twin to reach second in the game, and the first was two batters earlier. Mauer would have had no chance to study the sequence the Tigers were using for that game. Unless Span picked up the pattern in 4 pitches and told Mauer what it was as he passed him at the plate before Mauer's at bat without Laird noticing, Mauer would have had to know that the Tigers were using the same sequence every game to confidently give a sign on the first pitch. This is not a safe assumption for an important late-season game against a division rival.

At one point, we are told that a pitch must be a fastball because the sign was given too quickly to tip. It wasn't. The camera was just on Ron Gardenhire for a few seconds as the signs were given. If the sign were abnormally quick, that wouldn't be a sign that a fastball was coming. It would be a sign that the catcher is just telling the pitcher to use the same sign he gave before calling time. For what it's worth, this pitch was probably a change-up, not a fastball. It moved like a change and was well slower than Verlander's fastball. It may have been a slow two-seamer, though.

The video is full of claims pointing out why what we are seeing has to mean Mauer is stealing signs. For the most part, this evidence is faulty. It is not nearly as clear-cut as the author of the comments purports, and much of it is just jumping to conclusions without any logical justification. The video fails to explain why, if Mauer knows the signs, he fails to relay them multiple times. It fails to explain why, if Detroit knew exactly what Mauer was doing (part of the evidence relies on the assumption that Laird's actions must be explained as being his reaction to knowing Mauer is stealing signs), they didn't meet on the mound and change the signs. There is no attempt to reconcile the unlikelihood that Mauer could know the sequence the Tigers were using so quickly, nor how could relay the sign without watching the sequence. There is no explanation as to why Mauer gives Kubel both signs before one pitch (in fact, this is just cited as evidence that Mauer knew which sign was given). Actions that don't logically lead to the conclusion of sign stealing, like Laird going through the signs multiple times, are attributed to the fact that Mauer was stealing signs.

Joe Mauer may or may not have been relaying signs, but it is unlikely that he knew the signs Detroit was using, and the video certainly presents no good evidence that he did. The more likely scenario is that Verlander and not Laird was tipping the pitches to Mauer. Verlander was pitching out of the windup, which is unusual for having men on base, and he holds his glove high enough that Mauer may have been able to see his grip over his shoulder. If Verlander is used to regripping early from the windup, Mauer may have been able to see his grip on some of the pitches. Some pitches, he probably didn't get as good a view or Verlander didn't change his grip quickly enough for him to relay a pitch, which is more likely than him missing a sign if he knew the sequence. He may have also given both signs on one pitch because Verlander regripped and then changed to another grip immediately after. After this point in the at bat, there is no evidence of Mauer relaying signals on the video (though there is only one pitch where they show him at the right time to catch it if he were), so Mauer may have figured Verlander was onto him after he gave the dummy regrip and given up on trying to relay the pitches. Heck, maybe Mauer was just adjusting his helmet and scratching his face. Seeing him do that a few times in an at bat isn't clear evidence that it's not just a coincidence or a habit of Mauer's, especially since he does both at one point, does one at a time where he probably didn't see the sign, and does neither multiple times when he did.

Fans too frequently take what they are told as fact without checking its validity first. It happens when broadcasters cite statistics or rules off memory and fans repeat them in arguments. It happens when someone mistakenly cites factual claims in a discussion and then someone who heard it takes their word. It happens when analysts make offhand remarks and people mistake them for researched analysis. The responses to this video are just another example of this tendency. This habit can get in the way of good baseball discussion because not enough people want to make sure they even have the facts straight before they run headlong into debate. How are we ever going to learn anything from each other if we can't at least do that?
Continue Reading...