Michael Lewis on his high school baseball coach Billy Fitzgerald: “We listened to the man because he had something to tell us, and us alone. Not how to play baseball, though he did that better than anyone. Not how to win, though winning was wonderful. Not even how to sacrifice.
Bill James: “I was never a particularly good student. I suppose I was capable of being a good student -- most everybody is -- but when I studied Micro Economics, for example, I would take what I learned there and figure out how to apply it to baseball. I would spend five minutes mastering the concept, 50 hours figuring out how it might apply to baseball. This was a drain on my potential to become an Economics professor.
fling93 says that a salary cap in baseball “really amounts to collusion (something the baseball owners have actually been found guilty of a couple of times). When all the companies in an industry agree to hold down salaries, that's usually illegal. What if every company in your industry put a salary cap on your job to hold down costs? How would you react? You'd scream bloody hell, that's what.
Aaron Schatz: “this league-wide rush to statistical analysis has created a problem for those optimistic that sabermetrics would have a leveling effect: Rich teams are discovering that they can play the sabermetric game, too. In the short-term, this is actually worsening the gap between some rich and poor teams, as rich teams with sabermetric approaches extend their advantage over poor teams without them.
Dan Lips: “American education could use a healthy dose of Bill James's rigorous analysis and Billy Beane's courage. For years, discussions about improving America's schools have focused on adding resources. Politicians promise to fix our schools the same way the New York Mets or Texas Rangers try to improve their franchises: spending more money, rather than focusing on efficiency.
Oakland Athletics' Assistant General Manager Paul DePodesta: “I was in Las Vegas for a weekend playing blackjack. A person at the table to my right had 17 and said they wanted a hit. The whole table stopped and even the dealer asked if he was sure he wanted a hit. Finally he said he wanted a hit. The dealer deals the card and of course it was a four. What did the dealer say? “Nice hit.” But I'm thinking, you're kidding me. It was a terrible hit.
Tom Benjamin had a revelation: “Frankly, I was shocked. Everywhere I looked I found bunk. Not only did I find bunk everywhere as a result of reading Bill James, I discovered something else that was every bit as disturbing to me. Most people like bunk! They love it! Most people hate debunkers. James was very obviously right about almost everything and hardly anybody in baseball or the baseball media liked him or believed him or listened to him!
lefauxfrog has some interesting comments on fan behaviour at the recent baseball playoff games. (I'm all about using IM handles to refer to people now.) After the Yankees-Red Sox Game 7 (which had a fan interfere with a potential triple and RBI by Matsui; luckily for that fan that the rally continued otherwise you would have seen that fan's face on the front page of The New York Post) and told him that stadiums now need to be designed to discourage fan interference in the game.
Sports Nut is currently the best section in Slate, and this article on why the Florida Marlins fans should cheer for the New York Yankees is a prime example. Right now I call bullshit on the Boston Red Sox fans wishing that the Yankees lose the World Series, and here's why: the Boston Red Sox fans secretly desire to have been beaten by the best team in baseball—defined as which ever team that wins the World Series—because at least then they can then say that it took the best team in baseball to beat them.