November 11, 2010 § Leave a Comment
An interesting after-effect of the takeover of Liverpool by New England Sports Ventures has been a susurrus of chit-chat about sabermetrics. Depending on your point of view, it’s either the future of football, or a pernicious (read: foreign) idea that has absolutely no application in football. A tiny nadir for the second perspective can be found in this piece from Mike Calvin’s stunningly trite and weirdly free-form blog. The piece handily synecdochises itself thusly:
Football, unlike baseball or cricket, is not a statistics-driven game.
Football fans operate on blind faith, ritual optimism, and desperate hope.
Now, the second is just a fancy way of saying that football fans are stupid. But as for the first: to say that a sport is statistics-driven is to imply that the statistics are a vital component of the game, or that without them the game would be diminished. Yet even a cursory consideration of baseball shows that this isn’t the case. It can be played to a high level or watched with great enjoyment with nothing more complicated than a basic understanding of the rules, and it doesn’t matter if you spend the seventh-inning stretch trying to put salt on your slugging percentage. « Read the rest of this entry »