Monday, February 4, 2008

"Remember the Beer"

Ken Arneson of Baseball Toaster instructs readers how to defeat a sabermetrician in an argument:

The first and most important lesson when fighting against a Sabermetrician is this: remember the beer. No, I'm not saying you should get your opponent drunk, although I suppose that wouldn't hurt your cause any. The point is this: sabermetricians almost always argue from the point of view of a General Manager. They focus entirely on how to win instead of why we watch.

If you remember the beer, you also remember that you're a fan, not a GM. Does your particular argument require a GM's perspective? If not, don't pretend that you are a GM. Embrace another perspective: the manager, the coach, the owner, the player, or the fan. The further away you get from the GM's POV, the more you disarm your Sabermetrician opponent. The opponent has plenty of weapons in a high-level, how-to-win argument, but is practically defenseless in a why-we-watch argument. Play the game you think you can win.

There's much more to the article than tips on rhetorical ju-jitsu, however, as Ken takes up and actually sheds some useful light on the tired Jim Rice/Hall of Fame debate. Really, even if you're sick of hearing about it, I highly recommend clicking through.

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