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Monday, Jul 14, 2003

balls to the walls

"In the process, James himself has become part of baseball legend. To some, he’s a philosopher-hero who brought baseball out of the Dark Ages; others consider him a calculator-punching pedant with too much time on his hands. The once proud and conservative Red Sox, by hiring James to be their Senior Baseball Operations Adviser, have joined the ranks of those teams—such as the Oakland A’s and the Toronto Blue Jays—which are now emphasizing the principles of “sabermetrics” as an alternative to the steadfast reliance on weather-beaten scouts with radar guns, hunches, and cigars. (The term, which James coined two decades ago, echoes the acronym for the Society for American Baseball Research, and denotes “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.”) The Red Sox have not merely sided with the brainiacs; they’ve enlisted the help of the founding nerd."