Scott Ferrall loves baseball. Lifelong Pirates fan. But even he’s had his fill of MLB’s obsession with sabermetrics, which, if baseball isn’t careful, could turn fans away from the game.
“That is one thing that bothers me,” Bleacher Report senior MLB writer Scott Miller said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Doing what I do full-time with baseball, there are few things that I’ll buy into – and I get some of it. But I will say, by and large, I think that sucks the soul out of baseball. I’m more of a people person that a numbers person. If I wanted to spend every night of my life in math class, I probably would have done something other than cover baseball for a living. It’s ridiculous.”
Miller would much rather do a story about, say, a pitcher’s thoughts, habits, and preferences. Who does he like pitching against? Who does he hate pitching against?
That beats a sterile story about stats every day of the week.
“One hundred percent of the time, without even thinking about it, absolutely,” Miller said. “That’s the stuff that interests me. As the stats creep more and more into the broadcast, what I worry about from that perspective – and for the future of the game – I’ve always thought baseball, more than any other sport, is accessible to a wider range of fans. Growing up in the Midwest, my grandmother used to love baseball. My mother loves baseball. You get a pretty high continent of women fans. Not that women don’t understand the sabermetrics, but women or men, the more casual fans, they’re going to tune out of baseball if they keep having this stuff crammed down their throat. Some of the numbers out there – I spend 12 months a year in the baseball world, and there are some of the advanced analytic stats that I don’t even understand. Once I understand them, I’m not going to spend 25 paragraphs trying to explain them to somebody.”