An Inherent Idiocy in Baseball Commentary

Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game: “The news just can't be intelligent about baseball because news by definition is small samples. Because it's daily, right? The most typical opinion in sports is the opinion about something that just happened. If you listen to them, they are always rationalizing the most recent events. If someone hits a home run, it becomes a reflection of that person's whole career. And they make these vast generalizations about the home run. If someone walks in the game winning run, it's a reflection of that player's character. So it's always taking some event that just happened and trying to make it signify more than it does. There's an inherent idiocy in baseball commentary. It's particularly idiotic in baseball commentary because you do have this pool of data that's available from which you can actually make some pretty intelligent statements which is just being ignored in that moment because you want to explain that moment.”

Other subjects Lewis discusses in the interview are Joe Morgan, now an announcer for ESPN, who evidently proudly claims to not have read Lewis' book; steroids in baseball; major leaguers' relationships with writers, even if the major leaguers have known the writer on a personal level for years; big trades and analyzing risk; making generalizations about events that just happened; what happens when something that was undervalued is no longer so; the inherent uncertainty of injuries; and finally, briefly about his new book, Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life.

I found this interview in a PubSub feed for 'moneyball', which you can view either in a browser or in an RSS aggregator. Since pretty much everybody who mentions Michael Lewis will also mentions in the same breath "author of Moneyball" (see above), it's been pretty easy to keep track of the author of one of my favourite non-fiction books of all time.