In which I wonder if Howard Lincoln is being duplicitous, being duped, or lying

DMZ · June 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I wanted to give this comment from sodomojojojo in a previous thread some discussion.

They wrote:

Howard Lincoln knows exactly how I feel when it concerns this year’s team.

I sent back a pair of tickets a Boston game with a letter that I would not be spending ANY of my money at the park this year. I told them that anyone with more than a passing interest in baseball could not seriously believe this team was constructed to compete this year and we’d be lucky to see a .500 win team on the field this year. I also hit them with a “we don’t care about your bobble-head giveaways and knitting nights,” and they might “want to join the 21st century” when it comes to evaluating talent.

I received a response from Mr. Lincoln, dated the 30th of May, he says that like me, he’s frustrated and disappointed by our team’s performance, especially given the high expectations we had at the beginning of the season and our high Major League player payroll. Also I’m simply not correct about saber metrics, they employ two people who are highly skilled in all aspects of saber metrics.

Also it was this ownership group that saved the Mariners for Seattle and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the team here. We didn’t do that for profit… (Really, then why would you do it?)

Sometimes I am so frustrated this year, I really don’t know if I should laugh or cry. This also makes we believe this front office really has no clue how to evaluate or make adjustments in regard to any aspect of the game. ARRRRRGHHHHH

First, there’s the possibility that Lincoln is lying, and the team doesn’t have two statheads on staff. Who are these two people who are highly skilled in all aspects of sabermetrics? You might ask. If they’re awesome enough that they’re highly skilled in all aspects of sabermetrics, they’d be pretty high profile, most likely — or at the very least you’d want to trumpet their presence and qualifications. If they exist, wouldn’t we or our readers know who they are?

Let’s assume the best, though, and say that Lincoln believes that he has two statheads, skilled in all aspects of sabermetrics, on staff, and they’re stealth hires. There’s another possibility, that he’s been conned: he’s hired two former Andersen consultants with statistical backgrounds who gave a great sales pitch, and now have brought in a whole group of their friends, all charging $500/hour to build a set of Access reports that measure clutchiness or something.

Because the next possibility is that he’s by omission glossing over the important part: that whoever these two are, if they’re competent, they’re certainly having absolutely no effect on the team’s moves. Not the way the team is managed on the field, not the way the lineups are built or how players are evaluated, and in no way did they have any sway over this last off-season.

So I have a couple of follow-up questions for the Mariners organization:
– Who are these two statheads you have on staff, and when did they join?
– Where did they come from? What other work have they done?
– What are they working on? What’s their involvement in the team’s decision-making?
– Where have they disagreed with the team on a major decision, and how was the disagreement resolved?
– If you have two statheads, skilled in all aspects of sabermetrics, why aren’t they involved in any of the cutting-edge research on things like Pitch f/x in the same way the Indians, Rays, and other teams are?
– How did they think the team was going to do this year?


51 Responses to “In which I wonder if Howard Lincoln is being duplicitous, being duped, or lying”

  1. Max Power on June 16th, 2008 11:40 am

    which is why it’s not very likley because it actually makes sense

    It’s just really hard for me to belive that Lincoln’s statement was anything other than the facts – if the M’s are like any other company I’ve worked for, the CEO doesn’t speak off the cuff ever – anything like the letter would’ve had to go through levels of PR and been vetted for internal/external reactions if and when it got out.

    So at any rate, I assume it highly likely that they’ve got two ‘saber dudes’ on the payroll somewhere. The question is just whether they are low-level/churning out reports that get ignored or whether they actually have some visibility. I’d guess the former.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.