What Part of (RS^2) / ((RS^2)+(RA^2)) Don't You Idiots Understand?
I was kind of surprised that E$PN asked me to contribute to this blog. After all, my one appearance on "Ba$eball T0night" didn't go very well, when I told those troglodytes what they could do with their whole "wins and losses" shtick. But I guess genius will out, and my regular readers at www.baseballisagameofnumbersyoumorons.com know that I'm not shy about mentioning my Mensa membership. Hey, if you got it, flaunt it...and if you don't have it, maybe you can be a monotesticled mouthbreather who once played relatively effectively for the Philadelphia Phailures!
So, anywayz, big ups to the big E for recognizing my approach, and -- like the title of my current 42nd favorite song: "Let's Get It Started"!
In case you jive turkeys don't know what I'm talking about in the title of this piece, it's the Pythagorean Equation of Baseball. This little number sentence, invented by the Great God Almighty Mr. William "Bill" James, is the most important equation ever invented for the national pastime. It helps to predict how a team should do in a year, based on Runs Scored (RS, duh) and Runs Allowed (RA, doy). Any other equation (including the retarded PRoPS and the interesting-but-bogus Win Shares) is useless.
[And yes, longtime readers will note that I come down on the side of using 1.8 as the multiplier instead of 2, because it's more accurate. But it's easier to explain if we use 2, so let's just tilt at that windmill a little later. Plus, we're not quibbling over numbers here, but celebrating them.]
In fact, I'm going to go even further with this: the Pythagorean is so important, so perfect, and so elegant that it should replace the outmoded "winning percentage" as the main evaluatory technique of Major League Baseball.
Yeah, that's right, you heard me, I said it and I'm not ashamed. That oldfangled nonsense called "Wins" is crap on a stick, pardon my French. For one thing, this stat is artificially pumped up by one-run games, which we in the sabermetric community have proven to be completely unrelated to a team's talent level, managerial expertise, and ultimate worth. These "results" are unaccounted for in statistical terms, which is tantamount to saying that they are due to luck. And luck has nothing to do with skill, and very little to do with baseball.
So toss that out, and toss out "losses" while you're at it. Just because a team finishes on the lower end of a score doesn't mean that it didn't accumulate some tasty numerals. I'm not saying that Tampa Bay is a good team by any stretch, but they are clearly better than their record, and that is true even if their record continues to not improve. A team that is good when proven by mathematics is still a good team, even in the "standings."
Box scores, in fact, just really shake the dew off my lily. To think of the mindless hordes checking those sad non-adjusted numbers every morning in their corporate-owned tabloids, missing the big picture by so far, fills me with rage and sadness. I long for the day when Mr. James' revolution of the mind happens, and water-cooler talk turns to VORP and PAP and BABIP instead of "batting average" and the asinine "games back." You'd think we were still in the Dead Ball Era or something. It's called evolution. Look into it.
As far as I can tell, the only reason anyone really cares about wins and losses anymore is that boring display in October called "the playoffs," followed by the grand sham called the "World Series." As if. Come on, those are stupid events that do nothing to further our understanding of the game; you can't even compare the players' statistics to the rest of the league, because they skew the sample size! To quote my 17th favorite movie character of all time, "Inconceivable!" I long for the day when we throw out the whole playoff charade and get back to real baseball, old-school baseball: 162 games (give or take), and cold hard science ruling the day.
Do I expect this change to actually happen? Hellz no, not in my lifetime. Do I pray that someday that maybe, just maybe, the lightbulbs will go on over a few heads thanks to our perseverance and pure-heartedness? Well, yes I do. Every night.
Okay, I'm Audi 7000. Love, peace, and hair grease.
"Spartacus" is a prominent sabermetrician who has appeared on "Ba$eball Tonight." His website, www.baseballisagameofnumbersyoumorons.com, receives dozens of hits per month.