Why Am I Whatting The Who Now?

One of the Baseball Prospectus authors was doing one of the group’s astonishingly pervasive and well-coordinated publicity-generating interviews yesterday (they show up as guests everywhere but the Olympics and Entertainment Tonight) and was asked “why is Keith Olbermann killing your book?” 

I just re-read my entry (below) and I don’t see where anybody might get that impression. But just to be clear, to me “BP” is to the sum total of all forecasting knowledge and its statistical and actuarial bases are impeccable. Years ago, preparing a piece on Tony Gwynn for Sports Illustrated, I discovered by accident that there was a plateau – an exact range of at bats (7,500 to 9,000) at which really terrific .340-.375 lifetime hitters started to plummet back towards the .340-.350 range (Cobb was at .373 through 8,762 AB; Gwynn .340 through 8,187; Keeler .355 through 7,475; Jesse Burkett .350 through 7,273 AB, Lajoie .350 through 8,254. Among them, and Rogers Hornsby, Paul Waner, and Honus Wagner at similar peaks, these eight guys lost an average of eight points from their career averages). 
So I believe fervently in this decline-and-full stuff and BP (and the Jeter prediction, too).
Now if somebody thinks I killed “The First Fall Classic” by Mike Vaccaro… yeah, pretty much (see below).

6 Comments

Sounds to me like someone scanned your piece, and didn’t really read it. If they weren’t paying attention, they might have missed that you were talking about two completely different publications. Perhaps you should offer them a cup of coffee so that they can wake up a bit – and then ask them to read it again? :)

@unpaka27, I hear you on that. When I was in college, I remember taking an English class… and being stunned at the lack of comprehension shown by some of my classmates. The one incident that really stayed with me was this one – the teacher divided us into groups, and asked us to read a paragraph and discuss what we thought it meant. I can’t reproduce that paragraph verbatim, but I can get close enough: “When asked whether he would like to see another head added to Mt. Rushmore, the senator replied ‘Would you paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa?'” You would be amazed at how many of my fellow students thought the senator in question was saying that he’d like to put a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Seriously. I tried to explain to them that he was analogizing the two situations, and saying, in essence, that both are works of art just as they are, and should be left alone. Some of them simply did not understand, and it was a real eye-opener for me. I didn’t realize that a person could reach the level of college and still not get something like this… I thought it was very clear and easy to understand. A couple of side notes – just last year I asked someone what they thought that paragraph meant, and they were indignant that anyone would want to deface an “American masterpiece” like the Mona Lisa. No, I’m not kidding. (Insert deep sigh here.) While I may not have the greatest command of the English language (I make my share of grammatical errors) I think I have at least some grasp of the basic concepts – and I usually understand sarcasm.

Yikes… looks like I’m time-traveling again. Somehow my comment in response to unpaka27 ended up before theirs…. unless that’s just my browser. How strange. :)

As preface, I didn’t see this particular interview, so I’ll just assume that the interviewer in question is male. Pardon me if I’m incorrect….

The guy who made that comment about your review needs a course in remedial reading. He should have had my high-school reading teacher…if he had drawn such an erroneous conclusion from any text, she would’ve gone up one side of him and down the other, then given him a boatload of extra work to do as punishment. I swear, I see and hear college-educated people making reading/grammatical errors that would have earned them failing grades in my high school. It’s disgraceful how so many people really don’t have a good command of the English language.

Exhibit A: The interviewer who asked such a stupid question.

The only way someone could think you were “killing [BP's] book” would be if that person hadn’t read the original post, for whatever reason. (Laziness and illiteracy are my prime suspects.)

We have never written to you before, but since your dad’s passing, we felt a need to offer our condolences. We have watched Countdown every week night, and have both laughed and raged with you as you reviewed the new; and now we empathize with your loss.
Your dad must have been one hell of a guy, because he raised an outstanding son.

-Bill and Christa Link

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