Here’s a hypothetical situation.
You’re a professional worker. You could be an Accountant, an Engineer, a school teacher or (like myself) an IT consultant. Feel free to substitute whatever profession you work in for the sake of this hypothetical situation.
Lets say, for the sake of argument, that you went to college or some advanced prepatory school for your profession. And you trained for several years before “going pro” and getting a job.
Then lets say that you have worked in your job for 10-15 years now (maybe longer). In that time, you’ve obviously become quite an expert in what you do. In fact, you’re so good at what you do that you’ve been specifically picked by the absolute leading, best employers in your field. If you’re an accountant, perhaps you’ve been named to the president’s budget team. If you’re a school teacher, you just won state teacher of the year. If you’re an IT worker, you were named to the White House’s Chief Technology Office. You’re inarguably one of the elite members of your profession, one of the few hundred or so absolute best, most highly skilled persons at what you do.
Now imagine this; a 23 year old ivy league graduate in a field completely unrelated to yours (lets say he’s an Economics major, since this will make sense later on) starts working in your office. He has NEVER worked in your field; he went to school and developed a mathematical model of behaviors that was designed to simulate the work that you do. Despite having zero days of experience doing what you do (teaching, accounting, IT development), he’s now sitting in your office telling you that all the methods that you’ve used to evaluate and perform your job are outdated and inadequate. This is the same job which (as discussed above) you’re undoubtedly the most qualified for in the entire country and you are recognized industry wide by all your peers as being one of the best in the business. Furthermore, this ivy league graduate is regularly posting to his internet blog and has no qualms about calling you an outright Idiot for continuing to do work in the way you’ve done it for the past X number of years.
Would you say the above hypothetical situation correctly describes how career Baseball men (be them Writers or GMs or Scouts or even the players themselves) consider Sabrematricians? Is that a fair hypothetical description?
I say this because the last week has seen an ungodly amount of negative articles in the baseball blogosphere from people who think its ok to denigrate and outright call writers names who vote for certain Hall of Famers that these sabrematricians don’t believe meet their own standards of entry, or who chose to vote or not vote for another guy based on a vague “character clause” in their organization’s charter (which, remember, for the most part which these same blogosphere guys are NOT members of).
How would you feel if you were the career baseball man at this point? Lets say you’re a baseball writer who covered the game day in-day out for 40 years. How exactly would YOU react to the name calling that goes on in the baseball blogosphere?
Its embarassing. Its infuriating. And while I don’t entirly mean to imply that the hypothetical ivy league graduate’s model is inaccurate … it also does not and cannot replicate a lifetime of experience in the field. In reality neither side is 100% right or 100% wrong … clearly some statistical analysis and some progress is a good thing and has been happening in sports for a while. But why is it ok for someone who has never covered the game to so harshly criticize a career baseball writer for stating his professional opinions?
I just don’t get the negativity and hate sometimes on the internet. Is it the anonymous nature of the medium? I’ve always been realtively open with who I am and what I believe and I’ve never anonymously posted something just to get a rise out of people. I’ve always used my real name, given out my real email address, and welcomed feedback. But am I in the minority?
And this is just talking about baseball! Heaven help those people who want to talk about politics or current issues or things that *really* get people’s blood boiling. My facebook feed is full of people so completely opposed to someone else’s opinions on certain issues that they can no longer have civil conversations about it. Have we always been this polarized as a society? Is this a function of the rise of the internet age, where social interactions are being replaced by chat rooms and wall postings? Where the removal of face to face conversations means the rise of bluntly stated opinions given without any consideration for the consequences of those words in a mixed crowd?
I dunno. Just something to think about.