Meaningless statistics

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

It being November, I told myself I was not going to write any more about baseball. In November people should turn their thoughts to football and Thanksgiving, and nothing else. I am The Sports Purist after all. But seeing as the Giants World Series celebration is not until tomorrow I will chime in on one more very irritating custom nowadays, namely the overuse of statistics during broadcasts.

Statistics, most of them quite meaningless, have come to dominate baseball broadcasts nowadays. Computers can do amazing things such as tell you what a player’s average is against a certain pitcher or in a particular ballpark. Unfortunately they can also tell you what a player’s average was on days when he ate a tuna sandwhich as opposed to roast beef. One statistic that we hear all the time now, for example, is that so and so  led the league in RBIs with runners in scoring position with two outs and two strikes . Do we really care about this kind of statistic ?  I think not, especially when we learn that so and so is a lifetime .248 hitter who promptly strikes out with the bases loaded – as if on cue.

Another case in point: yesterday following the Giants triumph. Chris Rose of FOX informed Edgar Renteria that he was one of only four players to have game winning hits in two separate World Series. As he named the three other players Rose hesitated before each name with all the studied drama of Bob Barker revealing what is behind Door # 1, Door # 2 and Door # 3.  Renteria appeared dumb with astonishment to learn that he was in the class of three legendary Hall of Famers.  Or maybe he simply didn’t understand what Rose was saying since his English is not that good. Who knows, but the mere fact, that Edgar Renteria is mentioned in the same breath as Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio and Yogi Berra tells you what a meaningless statistic it was.

OK, that is enough baseball for the year.


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