The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet


Ozzie is trying to sound smart


Referring to the statistics in scouting reports he requests on occasion, Ozzie Guillen announced that, "Yesterday, I was looking at on-base percentage."

I love this. It’s the year 2011, and here is a man who gets paid to run a baseball team admitting that finally — reluctantly — he has deigned to pay attention to how often his hitters reach base. You’re the goods, Ozzie.

He abruptly stopped, as if ashamed of his admission. "I’m not a computer guy," Guillen said. "I’m not."

First of all: you fucking well should be. It’s kind of your job to know information, and ain’t never been created a gizmo that’s better at telling you information than a computer. That aside, OBP has nothing to do with computers, crazyass. It’s a very simple statistic.

C’mon, Ozz. I’m sure some of your best friends are sabermatricians, even if they haven’t been outed yet. It might be a stretch to call OBP an advanced or sabermetric stat, but it also seems cause for nerd celebration whenever a manager in Major League Baseball drops it casually into conversation.

"Celebration" ain’t exactly what I’m doing.

"On-base percentage? Of course it’s very important," Guillen continued. "That’s why I ask. I want to know."

Come on, Ozzie. If on-base percentage is so important, then why don’t they put it up on the scoreboard?

"If we face Kansas City every other day, wow, do I need to read a report about [Joakim] Soria pitching? That kind of stuff, I don’t buy," Guillen said.

Yeah, no need to learn about the best pitcher on a team you’ll be facing. Best just to assume he throws all strikes and hack away!

Guillen says he prefers to manage with his instinct, or from what he’s learned on the field. Not stuff he reads at desk.

No fooling? Wow, I didn’t know this amazing fact about Ozzie Guillen. I guess that’s why his very expensive teams traditionally perform so well, huh.

"Who we playing opening day?" Guillen said. "The Indians. I want to know who’s the hottest guy in the lineup that week. Because some guy hits .390 and one (other) guy hits .190 then all of a sudden the guy who’s hitting .390 goes 0 for 7. Then the guy who’s hitting .190 is on fire. That’s why you’ve got to go with your gut feeling."

I like how Ozzie combines both permutations of the gambler’s fallacy into one kind of wonderful ur-fallacy that doesn’t begin to make sense. Let’s follow along:

• Actual skill doesn’t matter — all that matters is who’s "hot" recently, because hot streaks are an actual thing and can be expected to continue.

• A guy who’s underperforming is probably "due" to get hot. Never mind skill, because hot streaks are an actual thing and they exist to balance out cold streaks. Which, also, are a thing.

• If a paladin is allowed to roll on warrior gear, he’s 50% likely to win, which means that if two paladins roll, they’re each 50% likely to win, which means that warriors can’t possibly win. This is because of chaos theory.

• Knowledge is impossible, so acting entirely at random is as likely to succeed as acting according to a strategy.

Good work, Ozzie! You’re not at all a complete nincompoop.

Bottom line: This is why it’s the general manager’s job to stock his roster with as many good OBPs as possible. Let the Ozzie Guillens of the world use their gut. The fewer bad options they are provided, the better their teams will be.

Well, sure. Also this is why it’s the general manager’s job not to hire Ozzie Guillen. Yeah, you can work around him to minimise the damage he can cause… or you could hire somebody who doesn’t suck at managing. No?

February 21st, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments