Saturday, October 09, 2010

Torn Between Two Throwers...Feeling Like a Fool

Hoo boy, that's an old song now. This post is about the conflict that comes to pass for this writer after reading so many posts about how (statistically), Tim Lincecum's two-hit, fourteen strikeout performance against the Braves was better than Roy Halladay's no-hitter. While this writer is on the path of righteousness concerning sabermetrics and Win Scores and all the rest, on some level within the soul, there is a little boy screaming, "But who won?"

Well, they both did. Both pitchers won the game. Neither gave up a run. The Reds are a better hitting team than the Braves. Let's just say that both performances were magnificent. But heck, no-hitters may be statistically lucky, but let's just say they count more.

Some times, these arguments remind the Fan of golf statistics. Two guys are vying for a tournament. Most of the stats favor one golfer. He averaged 1.3 putts per hole. He was on the green in regulation 95 percent of the time. According to nine out of ten statistics for the tournament, this one golfer was a better golfer that week. But he didn't win. The other guy won. The guy with the lesser stats is going home with $1.3 million and the guy with all the stats is getting less than half that. That's the problem with stats being the be all and end all of conversations. The year the Cardinals won the World Series, every stat in the book says they shouldn't have won anything that year. But they did.

So the bottom line for this old Fan is that statistics are a guide. They provide useful information. They aid in planning match ups and in constructing your team. Those that ignore them get Juan Pierre to lead off for them. But in the end, a World Series win trumps the stats and a no-hitter trumps a masterpiece that Lincecum threw. That's how the Fan sees it anyway.

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