Big Time Kudos

Dave · June 20, 2007 at 7:34 am · Filed Under Mariners 

From Geoff Baker’s recent blog entry:

First, let me deal with the issue of the posts from this morning and yesterday. You know, when enough people tell you you’re wrong, you start to think that maybe they’re on to something. So, I went back and had another look at those numbers using the suggested ERA+ method to account for park factors. The reasoning I listened to, from “Sammy” in the comments thread, Dave at the USS Mariner site, and others, has convinced me that comparing teams using a statistic that could adapt to changing year-to-year run conditions — rather than a static number that couldn’t change — was the best way to go.

Geoff has been paid to write about baseball for a long time. He’s a very smart guy, and he puts a lot of work into what he does. And yet, when some fans challenge a point he made, he’s willing to listen, evaluate what they’re saying, and take another look at his stance. Truth is more important than pride, and Geoff proved that in spades.

Baker deserves a lot of credit for taking the time to dive into the issue. He’s already set the bar for Mariner beat-writers to follow, and now he’s just pushing it even higher.

Congratulations to the Seattle Times – you made a fantastic hire.


26 Responses to “Big Time Kudos”

  1. TheEmrys on June 20th, 2007 7:52 am

    Amazing. Hats off to a pheonominal writer who isn’t too big for his britches.

  2. lemonverbena on June 20th, 2007 8:12 am

    now if only he had a Major League Baseball team to cover.

  3. BrianV on June 20th, 2007 8:35 am


  4. msb on June 20th, 2007 8:44 am

    Geoff is particularly refereshing if you ever got an email response from the previous beat reporter.

  5. Jar on June 20th, 2007 8:48 am

    Wow, that is great, Baker just went up 10 respect points in my book. It is so rare for someone to admit when they are wrong these days, not to mention someone in a high postion on a pretty public stage like Baker. Seems like a great guy.

  6. PositivePaul on June 20th, 2007 9:01 am

    Yesss. How can you not love the guy!

    And, of course, Kudos to you for the way you handled the whole situation — tearing apart Baker’s argument while being very careful not to attack him. One bitter dude over there equated it to you patting “Geoff on the back and at the same time slips him a bloody dagger in the back as they rip his non-sabremetric analysis.” I don’t see how your post attacked Geoff in any way, shape or form. His analysis, sure, but not Geoff. You did well to be careful about this, and IMHO, succeeded.

    And, of course, it worked.

    It’s a win-win situation, really, for baseball fans around here, having both an outstanding beat writer and an outstanding blog-o-sphere to check his facts. We’re a much smarter bunch.

    And are much more ready to handle a guy like Antonetti!

    Antonetti in ’08!!!!

  7. carcinogen on June 20th, 2007 9:17 am

    I appreciate that Geoff seems to understand the “blogosphere,” and the web more generally, than other beat writers. This process of posts, responses, responses to posts, etc. is a conversation. Geoff understands that he is not only a sender, but also a receiver of information in this conversation.

    Ahhhhhh….discourse, its so refreshing. I don’t say that simply because he came over to Dave’s side. If he would have responded with counter-arguments and empirical data to support them, we’d still be having a conversation, and that would be a good thing.

  8. mark s. on June 20th, 2007 9:18 am

    Very cool. I’m amazed any sports writer actually wants to learn “new” baseball stats.
    What next? Down with RBI’s? Up with OBP? Felix not throwing FBs? But now I’m just talking crazy.

  9. Steve T on June 20th, 2007 9:24 am

    Wow. Getting it wrong, and then realizing it, and admitting it is a million times harder to do than getting it right in the first place. THIS is what it’s all about, folks: an open mind. A rare and beautiful thing. Ultimately the process is more important than the result, because it leads the way to future results. Bravo, Mr. Baker! You’re now my favorite newspaper writer, because you’re the only one I’ve ever seen do that.

  10. dw on June 20th, 2007 9:27 am

    Geoff gets the new media environment. That’s the best news, in my mind, even more than his willingness to listen to sabermetrics.

    He writes something, gets feedback, then has a dialogue with commenters and bloggers. He’s not scared of feedback.

    Compare this to the previous occupant of that seat, who was always right and the bloggers should get off his lawn.

  11. Chris Miller on June 20th, 2007 9:33 am

    I’m all for attempted analysis, especially if they’re willing to listen to critisism. He knew teams with bad pitching usually don’t make the playoffs, and attempted to show it through statistics, he got some feedback and posted an update on his blog. That’s just awesome. It beats the heck out of repeated calls to bring Griffey back and strange math that somehow puts the M’s at #3 in payroll yet simultaneously showing they’re not. Oh and the fact that he looks at OPS instead of Batting Average, RBI, and HR is also encouraging. I can’t stand baseball broadcasts for that reason, like “so and so is 4 for his last 12”, or quoting fluky RISP stats as though they mean something. And batting average, sorry, it does measure SOMETHING, but honestly, if they insist on using ONE stat, use OBP or OPS, not batting average.

  12. metz123 on June 20th, 2007 10:20 am

    Wow, Now maybe we’ll have some insightful trade analysis this year instead of Pocket Lint parroting whatever line the M’s fed him or local scribes just repeating whatever piece of ridiculous “news” Gammons decides to make up.

    All I really ask out of scribes is to put some thought and effort into their work. I’m very excited that Baker cares about his work and is willing to put effort into understanding what he is writing about. Hiring Baker and continuing to let him engage in productive discussion with readers just extended my Times subscription for another year.

  13. bookbook on June 20th, 2007 10:59 am

    Agreed with all above.

    In return, we do owe it to him to listen with an open mind when he describes some of the intangibles that he may have access to see in action, and that we outsiders’ll never be able to prove one way or the other.

  14. David Corcoran on June 20th, 2007 11:56 am

    Geoff Baker is the man!

    or to paraphrase Pocket Lint e-mail response style:

    gb is teh man

  15. CaptainPoopy on June 20th, 2007 12:09 pm

    We should convince him to make a push for Antonetti next year when it’s clear that Bavasi is out. It would be glorious.

  16. joser on June 20th, 2007 12:11 pm

    I agree, this is refreshing and Baker deserves a lot of credit. It’s going to take a while, and the general public will always be behind the curve, but the old guard does eventually go away.

    So now everybody should go pile onto Baker’s blog and compliment him there, rather than just doing it here. We want to make sure his bosses (and other other media outlets) keep him around, and hire more like him.

  17. Dave on June 20th, 2007 12:25 pm

    Better yet, just send Kathy Henkel an email. She heard from a ton of USSM readers about how horrible Finnigan was (including the infamous suspension incident for how he responded to a bunch of readers), so I’m sure she’d love to hear that a large, passionate group of sports fans are really enjoying Baker’s work.

  18. DB on June 20th, 2007 2:09 pm

    Actually, it’s Cathy with a C.

  19. Typical Idiot Fan on June 20th, 2007 2:20 pm

    You all should invite him over here to post every so often, or at the very least get involved with the fanbase through regular thread conversations. He seems like a neato guy.

  20. JI on June 20th, 2007 2:39 pm

    “…including the infamous suspension incident for how he responded to a bunch of readers”

    do tell

  21. Paul B on June 20th, 2007 2:48 pm

    I remember in the old days (before ’95) the Times would stop publishing ANYTHING about the Mariners by July each year.

    Of course, back then, only about 8000 people went to each home game in August or later. I imagine that is why they started writing about the Seahawks and pretty much ignored baseball.

  22. David Corcoran on June 20th, 2007 3:38 pm

    20: Unfortunately I just deleted my email correspondence with him, but the situation was that he published some faulty payroll numbers and received emails in droves, and responded in very obnoxious language, using unprofessional tone and misspelling most of the words. I’ll see what I can track down.

  23. Gomez on June 20th, 2007 3:47 pm

    Does you e-mail’s trash bin stored deleted e-mails, Corco? I know Yahoo’s does for a spell. Might wanna check.

  24. David Corcoran on June 20th, 2007 4:04 pm

    20: Here was the original article.

    Here is the USSM thread

    Here are the only published responses I can find

  25. David Corcoran on June 20th, 2007 4:06 pm

    Note that that was a 16 year old, entirely immature Corco. I would never write something that mean now.

  26. PositivePaul on June 20th, 2007 4:45 pm

    Wow. That totally brings me back to the day! I was inspired enough to finally create my own blog back then. The first topic for discussion. Yep. This whole Finnegan controversy…

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