Fire Jim Tracy

Sunday, May 01, 2005

More Through The Looking Glass

So sitting here working on my Plaschke piece (you didn't think I'd let that one go, did you?), and watching the end of the Nats/Mets game. Mets have runner on first with no out in a tie game in the ninth. Willie brings in Marlon Anderson to pinch hit. This is what Joe Morgan would call a bunting situation. Well, Marlon Anderson, to my amazement, and likely to the amazement of all three million viewers, did not bunt. That's right. Put this one in your journal. Willie is not beyond help.

In fact, Marlon Anderson blooped a broken-bat looper into right field for a base hit. After Jose Reyes beat out his bunt, the Mets were on their way to three runs and a win.

So how did Joe Morgan react to all of this? Here was the conversation as Mike Piazza grounded out to end the Top of the 9th:

JonM: Well, we have to give credit to Willie Randolph tonight, Joe. Most managers would have bunted in that situation.

JoeM: You're right, Jon.

This is simply representative -- Morgan was unsurprisingly unwilling to stand up for what he believed in the face of contrary evidence.

And this is where I simply refuse to accept results-based analysis. Rather than having any sort of system whatsoever, Morgan simply suggests that if it "works," it must have been the right decision. That is nonsense. It also suggests that had Dave Roberts been thrown out, Joe Morgan's conclusion would have been very different.

Sure, results are important. Wins and losses are baseball's currency. But Morgan's ongoing opposition to "Moneyball" suggests adherence to a strategy of baseball that he thinks wins games -- call it what you will. Abandoning that strategy simply because it "works" post hoc in any individual situation suggests that "theory" as such is not worth considering. And that leads to the question of why Morgan wastes so much time worrying about theory at all -- his or anyone else's. If anything, it suggests Baseball Chaos Theory.

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