The Paradox of Baseball

It’s the top of the 11th, Cubs vs. Rockies, in the Wild Card game.

I don’t know how this game will end.  Tied at 1, both of these teams are in serious danger of going home for the season.  I don’t know how the winning run will score, I don’t know who will be the hero.  But I do know one thing.

Either team would kill for a single run.

Thinking of this, I realized something.  There is so much debate these days about traditional stats versus new school stats.  The “Sabermetrics is killing the game” debate.

So what are you? Old school or new?

I’m here to say:  The Game needs both.

If one of these teams could get a single, a steal, a bunt, and a sac fly, they’d be in great position or they’d be walking off.  That’s old school baseball, where you play for one run.  And truth be told, how often does that happen in October baseball?  Can you think of a time you were watching your team get eliminated because they fell one run short?

That’s baseball.  The difference between glory and golfing.

But when you look at the regular season… sabermetrics and advanced analytics makes perfect sense.  I think it’s hard for some people to wrap their heads around how many numbers and events go into a typical season.  Both of these teams got here by having a group of players who contribute in endless ways, infinitely quantifiable, over a large population of innings, at bats, games, and situations.  Maximizing the aggregate output is the evolution of it.

As Brad Pitt’s version of Billy Beane put it: “Adapt or die.”

This is not an argument for one side of the other, just a thought I had tonight about why both schools of thought make sense in our game, why neither one ruins the game,  and why we should embrace both as the game changes.

Now, back to Cubs – Rockies.

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