Thursday, December 09, 2004

Off Wing, Off Base

Eric at the excellent Off Wing Opinion fires a shot across the bow of us anti-Bowden Nats bloggers.

In an blurb pointing to an article about the role and problems of sports bloggers, Eric, quoting Bill Shaikin on Dodger Thoughts says:
Shaikin also addresses some of the limitations of arm chair GMs:
While many blogs tend to use sabermetric tools in analysis and commentary - and often make compelling points in doing so - the best bloggers understand that decisions are not made in a statistical vacuum. After the Dodgers-Marlins trade July 30, I read blogs in which DePodesta was crowned as the winner of the trade on the basis of VORP alone. But there are many other factors that even DePodesta would tell you he would consider - salaries in current and future seasons, eligibility for salary arbitration, minor league depth at various positions, the upcoming class of free agents, etc. that statistics alone do not tell the story.

That might be a lesson some baseball bloggers in D.C. might want to take heed of, as just about everyone here in Washington has been on an anti-Jim Bowden jihad for most of the past month.


From what I've read on the various Nats blogs, I haven't really seen that problem. In fact, the issues other than basic statistics, have been EXACTLY the reason why Bowden has been criticized so roundly for his signings to this point.

In a market overloaded with plenty of free agent shortstops, he went out and signed Cristian Guzman to a too-long, too-rich contract. In reading the analysis of that move, many arguments were made:
--Bowden surrendered draft picks for the signing.
--He didn't adequately consider in-house alternatives.
--The way the market would pan out as starting spots filled up and good players like Orlando Cabrera or Jose Valentin started having their options dry up.

For Vinny Castilla, similar discussions were made--including some fresh looks at the Coors field effect on his stats.

I think that Eric is seeing the passion of a fan and confusing that with the dreck that is talk radio. No, I don't think any of us Nats bloggers have developed a better mousetrap, but we're taking a look at the team with a critical eye--unlike the Tom Boswells of the world.

Those of us writing about the Nats are clearly fans and sometimes we have to take a step back to let the passion down. We're not journalists and we don't have to feign impartiality--not that I really believe that journalists don't have particular biases that they bring to a story when they write it. But, we have not been reactionary in the way someone screaming on the radio is.

Yeah, there may be some hysteria in our writing, but it's a hysteria informed because we are looking at the bigger picture.