03.31.14

Kuiper : There’s No Accounting For Hunter Pence

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:56 pm by

It’s been a year since the Astros’ radio duo of Steve Sparks and Robert Ford were actively encouraged to pepper their broadcasts with references to what we’ll call advanced statistics, something the SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins denounces as “an effort to steer folks away from the fact that their team is awful, losing a combined 324 games over the past three seasons.” “They are lurching earnestly into the unconventional,” sneers Jenkins, and while there’s mostly agreement from a succession of Bay Area baseball broadcasters, none are nearly as dismissive as the Giants’ Duane Kuiper :

“I don’t want to disregard it, or sound like some old guy that’s not willing to change, but if you get bombarded by enough of this stuff, you feel like taking a nap, for crying out loud. I’ve never received a letter saying Mike and I should do more of it, and it’s really tough if you don’t really believe in it.

“I especially resent the discounting of traditional numbers. Stuff like RBI, ERA, wins or losses, those things tell you something. They’re part of the fabric our fans were raised with. They are part of the players’ language. And there are certain things numbers can’t really describe, like Hunter Pence (laughter).

“Just because agents and general managers use analytics, that doesn’t mean I have to. If Vin Scully starts to use it, then I’ll have to think twice. (Pause.) What team did you say is putting this stuff on the air? Houston? Well, I don’t think you have to say any more, do you?”

One Response to “Kuiper : There’s No Accounting For Hunter Pence”

  1. mrshl says:

    Yes, Mr. Kuiper, you do have to say something more than your non sequitur suggestion that a lousy team can’t have good ideas about how a game should be broadcast. You could, for example, point out that it isn’t just GMs and agents using “advanced metrics.”

    They are frequently referenced by sports media and fans as a way of capturing and explaining a player’s value and performance. If you’re in a fantasy baseball league, you probably (at least) know what OPS is. It’s an available stat in all Yahoo leagues. WAR was a highly publicized element in the Cabrera / Trout MVP debate the last year.

    These advanced stats exist precisely because they measure the game in a way that average fans can grasp without having to access a spredsheet. It isn’t that hard. And that’s why the fans are moving ahead of the broadcasters.

Leave a Reply