Pizza Cutter: "there are things that are generally publicly held as sabermetric doctrine—in some cases, crucial underlying assumptions—that are demonstrably false"
[This seems like kind of a big deal (excerpted from an apology letter re: Hire/Fire Joe Morgan):]
While I did miss BP, my departure meant that I didn’t have to have something new ready every Sunday night, which meant that I could go deeper into topics than I had ever gone before.
....I came to some rather interesting conclusions. I can’t get into specifics (so please don't ask) but I will say this: there are things that are generally publicly held as sabermetric doctrine—in some cases, crucial underlying assumptions—that are demonstrably false. Statistical models are wonderful things, but they are only as good as the data that power them and the understanding of the programmer who defines them. When I wrote for BP, and before that for Statistically Speaking, in my rush to get something ready, I often went with a very simple statistical model of whatever topic I was studying. There's something to be said for one of my favorite lines, "direction before precision," but ultimately, a simple model assumes a simple reality, and baseball, as I found, is not a simple game.
Mr. Morgan, when you said that you weren’t a fan of sabermetric theories, I dismissed you as a stubborn and foolish man who wouldn’t listen to a reasonable argument. I rushed to point out that the "old school" way of doing things—the old "eye test"—was prone to all sorts of biases. People often see patterns where none exist, they can be influenced by a number of outside factors, and they are predisposed to fall back on old folklore and moralistic explanations for behavior. All of those are actually still true, but that's not the point.
My problem was that I didn’t look in the mirror and examine my own methods for the flaws inherent in them. The variables that I chose and the statistical techniques I used reflected my own biases and preconceived notions about what I thought was important, and my own assumptions about reality. When others suggested looking at an issue from another angle, I acted like a stubborn and foolish man who wouldn't listen to a reasonable argument.
[This was brought up on BtBS, here: