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Murray Chass: Statheads ruining baseball for real fans

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Murray Chass of the New York Times has figured out what is stalling baseball's growth, what is alienating fans and driving people away from the game.

Not steroids, not competitive imbalance, not free agency, not any of the usual suspects writers throw out there...

It is those damn statheads:

Statistics mongers promoting VORP and other new-age baseball statistics.

I receive a daily e-mail message from Baseball Prospectus, an electronic publication filled with articles and information about statistics, mostly statistics that only stats mongers can love.

To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense. For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didn't care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didn't know what it meant either.

Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Don't ask what it means. I don't know.

I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that's their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans' enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein.

People play baseball. Numbers don't.

Damn you, statheads!!! (Shake of fist) By thrusting VORP on unsuspecting fans, you are robbing them of being able to enjoy the "human element" of the game!!!

I mean, you can't enjoy baseball unless you appreciate the grit of Darin Erstad and David Eckstein (what is it with these D.E. initials and grit, by the way?)...VORP is nothing compared to EAI (the Erstad Awesomeness Index), and you can't even measure EAI with numbers anyway...

Update [2007-2-27 16:46:6 by Adam J. Morris]: -- Fire Joe Morgan takes on this article, in a much harsher and profane way than I did. WARNING -- the link contains several uses of the "F" word...