(if Murray Chass owned an iPod, rest assured, the studio version of this song would not be on it)
Hey, were you aware that not only does Billy Beane’s shit “not work in the playoffs”, but it hasn’t worked so well in the regular season of late? Has it escaped your knowledge that old-school baseball evaluators have occasional discovered a decent player or two? Just in case you were oblivious to the above, former NY Times columnist Murray Chass would like to use the occasion of former Cards / current Reds GM Walt Jocketty’s 2010 success to rub it in just a little bit.
Jocketty was probably the most notable victim of the modern-day baseball war between evaluation and analysis. It mattered not to DeWitt that Jocketty™s belief in player evaluation had worked extremely well for the Cardinals. The owner was seduced by others in the organization into believing that statistical analysis was the way to go.
That was the method created by Bill James and was featured in the Michael Lewis book œMoneyball, which ridiculed one Oakland scout not for his inability to judge players but for the fact that he was fat.
Younger members of front offices have espoused analysis over evaluation, and the Cardinals were one of the places they succeeded in gaining a foothold, much to Jocketty™s dismay.
A critical factor in his effort has been the addition of three men who worked for him in St. Louis “ Jerry Walker, Cam Bonifay and Mike Squires. These scouts and scouting executives know how to use calculators and computers, but more important, they use their eyes and can evaluate what they see.
Chass’ general point is well taken — the advent of modern statistical analysis didn’t render a baseball lifer like Walt Jocketty full-of-shit. But there is something kind of astonishing about calculators being cited as a modern tool given that the contemporary portable modern has been in existence for nearly 40 years.