Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ringolsby on the BBWAA Fooforah

Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts has a great interview with Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News regarding the Baseball Writers Association of America's decision earlier this month to admit fourteen web-based baseball writers and, more notably, exclude Rob Neyer and Keith Law, who just so happen to be two of the most prominent web-based baseball writers around.

Tensions ran high on this topic when it first appeared, and Ringolsby, by virtue of his appearance in a notable thread on the subject at BTF, was in the center of it. Here, with a greater opportunity to express the reasoning which went into the BBWAA's decision, as well as his own thoughts on the matter, Ringolsby comes off pretty damn sane on the subject.

I stand by my view that Neyer and Law were hosed but this interview reveals that it was far more complicated than many, including myself, understood it to be the day the news came out. Which, of course, is almost always the case.


64cardinals said...

Wow, Tracey Ringolsby is channeling Bill Clinton. There wasn't a clearly answered question in the entire interview where he might actually have to take a stand.

Did anyone ever give him a definition of what the word "membership" meant? Because I still can't figure it out.

APBA Guy said...

I'm the same age as Tracy, and I'm impressed that he made a career without a college degree. That said, I understand the temptation to rationalize an emotional decision (the rejection of Law and Neyer) by obfuscating the real motivation.

The fact is, Neyer and Law are younger, brighter guys with often aggressive opinions who sometimes speak harshly about poor decisions and decision making in general managers, and poor analysis in columnists.

When older, established guys are confronted by younger, aggressive guys, the instinct of the older is one of exclusion as a means of revenge and protection.

Unfortunately for Ringolsby and the BBWAA, everyone sees this for what it is: weakness, both intellectual and moral.

Pete Toms said...

abpa - I think the new breed gall the old school guys also. I know Law's analyses are often peppered with old school scouting observations but this type of baseball analysis done from "between walls" as I've seen Gammons refer to it doesn't cut it with them.

The notion that with sufficiently good data the math geeks can quantify every player's contribution - without attending a game - is bunk to them. To think otherwise is to demean what they do / what they've done.

Beat writers will always fill a need though. Not for analysis maybe, but the day to day grist of who's banged up, who's getting bumped in the rotation etc.

Phil Rogers doesn't get the Ivy Leaguers like Law ( perhaps not Law in particular ). Rogers remarked from the winter meetings that they were more fun before the Ivy League crowd showed up. These types are not only in front offices but also the media.

Change is hard.