Thursday, September 27, 2012

4 comments Dan Shaughnessy Hates Ideas and Loves it When the Red Sox Fail

The Boston Globe seems to have put Dan Shaughnessy behind a pay wall, which makes me laugh. They expect people to pay to read his writing? This would be like a supermarket packaging pig feces and then trying to sell it for $10/pound to their customers. Sure, customers may want pig feces if it is free. After all, you never know when having pig feces around may pay off, but customers certainly aren't going to pay for it. I'm sure Shaughnessy won't be behind a pay wall for too much longer.

Dan Shaughnessy chuckles at the idea the Red Sox need more input from Bill James. He chuckles so much at the idea Bill James has anything positive to provide the Red Sox that the curls on his head bounce and his Rosecea flames his face up so red, it looks like he is choking. Earlier this year, Shaughnessy was on the Bobby Valentine bandwagon (or maybe not, he was probably playing both sides), but now that Valentine has been a disaster Dan Shaughnessy hates every suggestion to improve the Red Sox and provides no suggestions of his own. One thing we know for sure, Bill James isn't the answer Shaughnessy is looking for.

Picked-up pieces while chuckling over the Yankees’ imitation of the 2011 Red Sox . . .
Dan thrives on the misery of others. He thrives when the Red Sox can't win games and when other MLB teams can't win games. Of course if the Yankees did a better imitation of the 2011 Red Sox then that would mean the 2011 Red Sox collapse was no longer the worst collapse in baseball history and Dan Shaughnessy could no longer rub this in the face of Red Sox fans. So I'm assuming he doesn't want the 2012 Yankees to surpass the collapse of the 2011 Red Sox. Dan thrives on the Red Sox misery and we can't have any other team's misery overshadowing the misery of the Red Sox.

You have to hand it to John Henry. Overseeing the worst Boston baseball team since the mid ’60s . . .

But hey, Bill Simmons is interested again! That means a lot to everyone.

The 1992 Red Sox were 73-89 and the 1994 Red Sox went 54-61 in a strike-shortened season. So I would argue this may not be the worst Boston team since the mid '60's as it was built at the beginning of the year. The 2012 version of the Red Sox was re-built to be bad in order to be good again. So there appears to be a purpose behind the terribleness of the Red Sox, not that Dan really cares about anything like "having a plan" or "reacting like a patient and thoughtful human being might react to a team going through a rough period."

readying for a return home to more phony sellouts with John Farrell managing in the other dugout . . .

So is Dan insinuating the Red Sox should have hired John Farrell? If so, the Red Sox totally should have fired Terry Francona after an 89-73 season in 2010 so they could have hired John Farrell, even though he had zero managerial experience. Other than the fact it would have made no sense at the time, it would have been a very smart move. It's so great what hindsight is able to teach us about what the Red Sox should have done two years ago. In retrospect, maybe the Red Sox shouldn't have signed Carl Crawford. If only the Red Sox had someone on staff who was against this Crawford signing at the actual time of the signing. Now THAT would be a person who was worth keeping around.

Hey wait, the Red Sox did have a guy who didn't seem enamored with the Crawford signing. He didn't like the way that Crawford would age. The Red Sox definitely need to keep this guy around and they know that right now. This is as opposed to Dan Shaughnessy having the experience of knowledge two years down the road and seeming to reach a conclusion he never would have reached two years prior to now when stating that John Farrell is in the Blue Jays dugout.

(It took me 10 minutes to get that sentence right and it still isn't right. Basically, the Red Sox would have had no reason in 2010 to fire Francona and hire Farrell, so complaining the Red Sox are playing against Farrell in 2012 as manager of the Blue Jays, as if he should be the manager of the Red Sox if management knew what they were doing is stupid.)

Anyone who clicked on those links knows by now, but the guy I say the Red Sox should keep around is Bill James...but Dan disagrees. I would think Dan would agree with James since Crawford is an example of everything "wrong" with the 2011 and 2012 Red Sox teams.

and the owner of the Boston Red Sox has come to the conclusion that the answer to all of the Sox’ problems is . . .WE NEED MORE BILL JAMES!

How stupid of them to rely on a person who was against one of the very signings that Dan Shaughnessy (seemingly) thinks the Red Sox should have never made. Just dumb! What the Red Sox should do is wait two years for the year 2014 and then try to figure out who they should have hired in 2012 to help solve the Red Sox problems. All problems and solutions can be identified using hindsight, and even if there is no way to solve these problems two years later, at least it makes Dan Shaughnessy feel smart to use hindsight in a sarcastic fashion.

Wow. Swell idea. Why not bring back Joe Kerrigan, Carl Everett, and Harry Frazee’s great-grandson, Max Frazee? Maybe we can round up Rick Pitino, Pete Carroll, Roger Clemens, Antoine Walker, Dave Lewis, Acie Earl, and Albert Haynes­worth while we’re at it.

Typical Dan Shaughnessy writing. He is packaging every Boston failure in with the idea of bringing Bill James back for a larger role, as if failure is endemic in the Boston area. He's so negative. Dan is choosing to chase negativity rather than focus on the fact Bill James has two World Series rings from the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007 for his contributions to those teams.

The last time we heard anything from James was back in mid-July when he made comments about Joe Paterno that might have gotten another man fired. Contrarian Bill said Joe Pa knew less about Jerry Sandusky “than everyone else there.’’

Bill James' opinion on Joe Paterno is completely irrelevant when it comes to his ability to judge baseball talent.

A few days after those remarks went public, Henry and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington had a talk with James. They told him to stop talking about Paterno. Then they issued a joint statement, distancing the ball club from James and telling us that they told him to cease and desist.

James' comments were stupid. There's no doubt about that, but his comments have nothing to do with whether he can be successful in his role with the Red Sox.

I assumed they also revoked his phone privileges and recommended he stay in the windowless basement of his Kansas abode.


Bill James is a stupid blogger who lives in a windowless basement because he spends all of his time in his basement because he doesn't like sunlight because bloggers don't like sunlight. This is as opposed to Dan Shaughnessy who is lily-white but the only reason he doesn't go out in public is because 90% of the people who read the Boston Globe want to kick his ass.

Henry tells the Herald’s Michael Silverman, “One of the biggest issues we’ve had is that Bill James was a great resource for us but fell out of favor over the last few years for reasons I don’t really understand. We’ve gotten him more involved recently in the central process and that will help greatly.’’

James, we are told, was not a fan of the Carl Crawford acquisition.

One would think being against the Carl Crawford signing is a sure sign that Bill James perhaps should be involved in the central process more actively. A person who thought this would not be named "Dan Shaughnessy." Despite the fact Shaughnessy thinks nearly everything the Red Sox have done over the last two years was a mistake, he also believes re-involving a member of the Red Sox staff who uses "data" is also a mistake.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but then it is hard to make sense when the central position in every column Dan writes is that everything is broken and nothing can be fixed in regard to whatever solution is being suggested. Dan believes the Red Sox need a change of direction, but he doesn't think re-involving James is this necessary change of direction. Perhaps Dan believes bitching, moaning and trolling Red Sox fans is the only way to truly solve any issues the team has.

Dan is at-heart a lousy politician. Everyone else's idea for a solution are terrible ideas, but Dan has no suggestions of his own and brings nothing to the table. He just knows that certain idea sucks.

Wow. Theo Epstein’s fault again, right? Apparently, everybody was powerless over the wishes of the bad boy GM in the final days.

It just seems James' point of view on Crawford was not heeded. That's all. The Red Sox are saying, "Maybe that guy who had some ideas which partially contributed to two World Series titles should be listened to a bit closer from now on." Considering the Carl Crawford signing went over like a led zeppelin I would think Dan would support a member of the Red Sox staff who spoke this view about Crawford having a larger role in the organization.

More Bill James. We’re told that Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox. We’re told that Cherington is going to be allowed to actually be a general manager.

Cherington will be allowed to be the general manager, but Bill James' point of view may take on more weight now. This isn't a difficult concept to understand as long as you are trying to understand the concept and not being stagnant and willfully stupid.

Great. Let’s get some data to find out how the Sox can solve their problems.

Yeah, let's not use data to solve problems. Let's just continue to sign the biggest free agent available and see how that works. I can't imagine how this wouldn't work.

Dan is a great backseat analyst. He knows every single problem the Red Sox face, but he has no fucking clue on how to formulate his own solution to these problems. That's not his job. His job is to serve as the person who says every idea is stupid. I can't fathom how the idea of using data to solve the issues the Red Sox team faces is a bad idea. What's the alternative to using data? Using the Red Sox own two eyes to determine how to turn the team around? John Lackey and Carl Crawford looked really good when viewed through a person's eyes.

All those losses certainly must have something to do with UZR and Wins Above Replacement.

Let's allow Dan to derisively mock something he doesn't completely understand. It only shows his ignorance, which he is too ignorant to understand.

Who needs human interaction or eye contact?

Bill James is a blogger who loves stats. He hates human interaction and has a disorder which prevents him from having the confidence to make eye contact with other humans. This is the same boring cliche and half-assed joke 100 other sportswriters have made about Sabermetricians instead of actually taking the time to understand and develop a knowledge about Sabermetrics.

A person doesn't have to like or agree with another person's point of view, but derisively discussing that point of view while engaging in cliched and tired stereotypes, while clearly not having a full knowledge of that point of view is absolutely an offense newspapers should force their writers to move away from. This is the reason newspapers are dying. They can't or refuse to connect with an audience they have some animosity towards. The Boston Globe allows Shaughnessy to write his columns in such as a way as to be trolling his audience. I have come to the conclusion the only way Dan could be fired is if he murdered someone, and even then the Globe would probably allow Shaughnessy one more column to taunt the family of the person he killed. The Globe favors cheap sports journalism that provides pageviews over thought-provoking sports journalism that can build a customer base. That's some of what is wrong with newspapers and sports journalism.

More Bill James is guaranteed to make the Sox right.

No one has stated hiring Bill James will make the Red Sox right. Stating that Bill James will have more involvement in the evaluation process for the Red Sox isn't putting him out there as a cure-all, but is simply stating he will have something productive to offer. Of course, if Dan Shaughnessy overstates what the Red Sox intentions are for James then he will consider himself as being correct when the Red Sox don't win 8-10 World Series titles in a row.

Sorry if this column is too short. I’m a little winded after running a sub-three-hour marathon with Paul Ryan.

Look a politically relevant comment!

Convincing Dan Shaughnessy that he does in fact suck at writing a coherent and persuasive column is like convincing an 82 year old man not to talk to a chair.


rich said...

Let’s get some data to find out how the Sox can solve their problems.

Everything is data. Wins, losses, runs scored, batting average, BARISP, WHIP, walks, Ks... all of it is data. The question is what does that data tell you and the answer is: very little.

For example, the "eye test" says the Phillies offense was a huge problem this year; data level data (runs) tell me that the offense wasn't great, but is still middle of the pack. Then you get into your second level data and the problem becomes a little more clear - the Phillies BARISP was fucking atrocious.

Without data, how can you diagnose what the problem is and if you can't diagnose the problem, how in the fuck are you going to fix it?

Sure, you can look at the Red Sox and go "Well they scored a lot of runs and their pitching allowed a lot of runs," but that begs several questions:

Is this year an anomaly where good pitches under performed?

Is the issue starters? Bullpen? Righties? Lefties?

How do you identify pitchers who could thrive at Fenway?

Do you focus at all on your offense? Or do you expect some regression there as well?

It's amazing to me how these "megabucks" journalists think that being a GM is as easy as "pitching staff sucks, get better pitchers"... well, from where?

Do you have a guy in your minors or do you need to go with someone in Free Agency?

If you go free agency, are you looking for an ace, a middle of the rotation guy or bullpen?

Do you go with a lefty or a righty?

Do you need a specialist or someone who can give you some innings?

It's honestly the most baffling thing to me that guys like Shaughnessy and Simmons think being a GM is as easy as "sign the guy rated 99 and watch him bring home some championships."

Who needs human interaction or eye contact?

I know this is Shaughnessy and I should have very low standards, but what in the fuck is wrong with these "old school" "journalists."

Just because you have data and statistics doesn't mean that you stop watching the games. There are a lot of things that stats can't elegantly tell you: does a guy swing at a lot of bad 3-1 pitches? Does he have a strong arm? Does he bust his ass on every play?

Stats aren't meant to take precedence over the game, they're supposed to compliment it, the fact that some of these old farts treat it like they do tells me they don't understand stats at all. I mean for crying out loud, if all that matters is "eye contact," then why even bother keeping any stats? Eye contact and gut feeling can tell you roughly what someone's BA is, so why bother keeping it?!

The fact is you always need statistics, even if it is just to prove what you're seeing is a trend or if it's just a blimp. Seeing as how many leagues there are (independent, rookie ball, A ball, college, AA, AAA, the majors, the Caribbean, Japan... you can't watch every god damn game, so this who "eye contact" bullshit goes out the window.

You can't watch every player long enough to get a meaningful evaluation of them. There were times when Jimmy Rollins would go 9-13 with 3 HRs in a series. If you went with the "eye contact" test, you'd think he was still in MVP form. If you look at his stats you'd realize that isn't the case.

There are times when I think about the fact that assholes like this are wealthy enough to retire whenever they want and yet they don't even have a basic understanding of statistics.

It's pathetic.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, that's a good point. Why even keep statistics if all we need is the eye test? There is a reason I don't want to go see "Trouble with the Curve" in theaters and that is b/c it is about a blind scout who probably finds the next great player even though HE CAN'T EVEN SEE THE GUY! It screams "bullshit" to me.

These writers rail against statistics and everything, but without statistics there isn't a way of knowing how good of a year a player has had. Like you said, if all that matters is a manager's "feel" and the "eye test" why even have the games.

I think it is hilarious that Bill James is going to have a higher profile in the Red Sox organization and Dan doesn't like it. James is probably going to try to focus on the parts of the organization that need fine tuning and finding good players without blowing $50 million on that player. It seems like something Dan Shaughnessy would support since he has been against these big signings. But no, he doesn't like the move because it will involve using principles that scare him.

Anonymous said...

What I find funny is that according to numerous writers, sports is the only business/industry that should avoid metrics to analyze the business. One of the most useful contributions of analytics guys in the front office is their ability to objectively analyze players contributions and assign a dollar value to them and hopefully exploit market inefficiencies in order to acquire undervalued talent. It's funny that you mention Simmons, by the way, considering that he wrote the seminal paper in the new field of WTFAMIREADING!?!?! economics in which he enlightened all of us about the market inefficiency so well explited by the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, outspending opponents. What sensible business doesn't use metrics to evaluate return on investment and the cost/benefit of potential future investment? That's literally what GM's and teams do.

Additionally, I agree 100% with your assessment of the newspaper/sports journalism industry. In the short term, they do receive page views which drives ad revenue. In the long term, though, I have no incentive to subscribe to a paper. They are not cultivating a life-long customer in me. If they took the time to cultivate serious, in-depth coverage of sport and local teams they would develop a much more sustainable business model that could keep them relevent into the future. Ironically, the space that newspapers used to occupy (in-depth coverage of local sports, serious discussion of national topics, etc.) is being inhabited by the same bloggers that they deride so often.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, it is interesting that many sportswriters think that using metrics to analyze the business is a bad idea. Think about using "the eye test" at your place of work. Some employees would look great, while others would look like they don't do anything.

Outspending your opponents is my favorite kind of market inefficiency! That's why I think it is funny that Dan is against Bill James, because he is against many of the big name players the Red Sox signed and didn't perform. Giving Bill James higher authority in the BoSox organization is basically looking for the inefficiencies that were largely ignored over the past 3-4 years.

I won't ever subscribe to a paper either. The main issue with papers is they provide information tomorrow when that information can be found today. So, you are right, if they take the time to cultivate in-depth knowledge of sports teams and provide some sense of analysis that can't be found other places then they could stay relevant in the future. Hiding Dan Shaughnessy behind a pay wall isn't going to increase revenue I don't believe.

I get most of my good analysis about sports from some of the blogs that I follow. I can get good analysis of each Panthers game at Cat Scratch Reader, while I get more game discussion and quotes from players from the Charlotte Observer. There is something to be said for that, but many times we get typical quotes and boring stories about players, not in-depth analysis or something people are excited to read.

The same goes for national topics as well. Newspapers can try to turn the one day turnaround on news into a positive by providing analysis that a knee-jerk story about a topic doesn't/can't cover.