If you saw the piece about Baseball Prospectus' 1008 predictions in Sunday's Tribune then you know the publication's computer has the Sox going 77-85 and finishing third in the AL Central, and the Cubs going 91-71 and winning the NL Central. I know as much about computers as I do about astronomy, but I believe the computer term for Baseball Prospectus' Sox prediction is "fatal error." . . .The funny thing about this is that Morrissey (a) agrees with the heartless computer's prediction about the Cubs; and (b) admits that BP's 2007 prediction for the White Sox was "dead on" despite the fact that, at least to Morrissey, their 72 wins was "one of the shocks of the baseball season."
. . . Do feelings count? Or hunches? Where is there room in computers for the inexplicable? Does the fact that it's the Cubs' 100th season since their last World Series title mean anything in the computations? Does it mean anything that the Cubs could be driven by the challenge of a century of dryness or, conversely, that they could cave in under the pressure of it and finish 10 games below .500?
His only reason for disagreeing with BP is that he doesn't think they take the White Sox' "heart" and "pride" into consideration. Even if we are to grant him that those things matter, shouldn't he at least be required to explain why he thinks the Sox didn't have those things last year?
Whatever the case, this sort of ad hominem jazz has no place in a major daily. BP isn't the Oracle at Delphi. They're pretty up front about showing their work and explaining why they come down where they do. If he disagrees with their projections, Morrissey should engage them in rational terms.
But you know, there is a reason why he doesn't, and I have a feeling it has little to do with his feelings about computers or Baseball Prospectus. Rather, it's because he's writing for an ink-and-paper daily that has very strict requirements about word count and column inches. If Morrissey was blogging, he could have simply said in 200 words or so that he thinks the White Sox will turn it around this year, which is really the point of the column. Since he needs to fill space, however, he is required to come up with the whole computers-are-teh-evil! thing, which is where all of the idiocy creeps in.
It's ironic, then, that bloggers get criticized for not having an editorial filter. Seems to me that more often than not, the medium which provides that filter does more damage than a given blogger's typos do.