Re: Did Bill James Denounce the Crawford FA contract offer?
posted at 10/6/2012 3:25 PM EDT
My reason is that I distrust the "Moneyball" philosophy. It seems that the Red Sox front office is dominated by corporate types. That's not so bad when your "product" is some type of commodity such as oil, wheat, automobiles or something static. Not so good when dealing with human beings, which are anything but. My perception is that the Sox pay more attention to bottom line numbers than what players do in the field. I'm not saying that the numbers aren't important. They're just not all important. The need to combine what the raw numbers say with reports from scouting staff is tantamount to a balanced approach toward player evaluation. I hope this is the approach of the Red Sox front office but I get the sense that it's not. I know from first hand experience that when too much faith is put in numbers, and not enough attention is paid to reports from the field, it can quickly lead to trouble, if not outright disaster.
It isn't that I "don't like Bill James", it's more that I'm highly skeptical of the Monyball first philosophy which he is one of the poster children for and which the Red Sox front office is seemingly so enamoured with. As for Camen (Camine?), a machine that has been given a name, as though this somehow imbues it with a personality, also believe me when I tell you, again from first hand experience, that not evereything that issues forth from a computer is necessarily the right answer. In my opinion, it's time to put a more human face on the organization.
Antibody, I think you're right about the FO being dominated by corporate types in recent years, but I don't think either Theo or Bill James falls into the category. IMO, the overbearing corporate influence in recent years is Lucchino.
James was hired in 2003 along with Theo. Look at all the success the team had from 2003 to 2009. It was after the 2007 WS Championship that the FO (namely Lucchino) got greedy and the team started heading in the wrong direction. Not coincidentally, IMO, Bill James' role in the organization was lessened shortly after that and the Red Sox continued to move further away from the philosophy that brought them so much success.
I posted on another site that I think common misconceptions about Bill James and stat geeks in general, along with the teams that employ such people, is that they have no idea about the human element of the game, and that they believe that paying attention to numbers and scouting are mutually exclusive events.
James has commented several times about how important scouting is, and that the work he does with the numbers could never take the place of the scouts. No one is saying that players should be obtained based solely on some advanced stats. That would be silly. However, I think it would be equally as silly to ignore the stats and obtain a player based solely on the scouting reports.
You said it perfectly: "The need to combine what the raw numbers say with reports from scouting staff is tantamount to a balanced approach toward player evaluation." I completely agree with that, and I'm pretty sure Bill James does too.
There is so much data available out there. Why not employ someone who understands it and can interpret it, and use it along with the scouting reports to get the most complete assessment of a player as possible?