Friday, October 25, 2013

Saberfans and the Narrative

Is David Ortiz clutch?  Or is that just a myth?  (Photo source: Wikipedia)

Some saberfans get really hung up on "the narrative" in baseball.  They seem to feel that announcers and writers often fixate on a particular storyline and continue to talk about it, even though THE NUMBERS DON'T BACK IT UP!

What the saberfans they don't seem to realize is that this can be a two-way street.  For instance, saberfans enjoy debunking the theory of "clutchness" in baseball.  They enjoy debunking this narrative so much that "there is no such thing as clutchness" has become a narrative in itself.

For a good example, let's check out this recent Tweet by noted saberdouche Bill Baer of the blog Crashburn Alley:
Bill was presumably watching the World Series and listened as Red Sox DH David Ortiz was repeatedly described as being a clutch player.  Bill has made no secret of his dislike of the clutchness narrative, so he was probably all to eager to prove it false.

In this case, Bill's disdain is obviously merited because he has numbers on his side.  This proves that he is correct and the stupid people who insist on supporting this narrative are wrong.

Or maybe not.  Another Twitter user helpfully pointed out that Bill's Tweet might not be telling the whole story:
So yes, Ortiz's excellent numbers are not quite as good in the playoffs as they are in the regular season.  But, considering that just about every at bat in the playoffs is high pressure, and a guy like Ortiz is almost never going to get an easy at bat against a weak pitcher, it's impressive that his numbers are even in the same range.

By the way, Ortiz's postseason OPS of .912 would have ranked 5th in the American League this season.  A guy who puts up postseason numbers like that would certainly seem to qualify as "clutch," right?

If you were curious to how Bill responded to this:

Apparently, he's too lazy to do any research when it might not support his particular narrative.

So remember, following the narrative isn't just for traditionalists.  Saberfans can enjoy the wonders of the narrative too!

1 comment:

  1. And that tool writes for ESPN? No wonder the network is a self parody now...