Sunday, April 04, 2010

Boston Globe Goes Saber in a Big Way

A couple of days ago Bill Simmons announced that he has joined the sabermetrics revolution.  Now, the Boston Globe has followed.  Every year, the Globe has a huge 15 or so page section previewing the baseball season.  It's always a must read but this year even more so.  The whole supplement is centered around sabermetrics and how the Red Sox use advanced statistics in their decision making.

Much of the information in the preview will not be new to those who follow sabermetrics closely but it's very significant that the Globe - one of the most influential forces in the written sports media - is focusing on it so intently. The Internet savvy Peter Benjamin seems to be leading the charge.  Benjamin has an excellent article on Ultimate Zone Rating.  Beat writer Amalie Benjamin has a nice article on Red Sox statistician Tom Tippett.  Veteran writer Bob Ryan, who has been critical of sabermetrics at times in the past, also writes about the important role that sabermetrics is playing in the Red Sox decision making.

The only Globe writer who is not on board is Dan Shaughnessy:
While baseball is played on green grass in fresh-air stadiums, an army of geeks will be holed up in their basements, under a naked light bulb, crunching numbers and finding new equations to measure something that simply can’t be quantified.
Ha! Where have we seen that before?  The truth is that Shaughnessy is a bright guy and I strongly suspect he gets sabermetrics more than he leads on.  He just likes to stir the pot and he's one of the best writers in the country in doing so.

Shaughnessy aside, I would not underestimate the impact that The Globe could have on the mainstream media and fans in regards to sabermetrics.  I think we are on the way to seeing a somewhat different coverage of the game over the next few years.

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