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Tell Your Statistics To Shut Up

And before you go on the attack, if you don't recognize the title of this post, it's a line from an old "Peanuts" cartoon.

A little more than a year ago, I made this post titled "Nature vs. Nurture", an attempt to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable differences between those who are intensely into statistical analysis of baseball and those who see other factors.

Yesterday, in this FanPost about Carlos Zambrano going to the DL, some heated discussion got going between several posters who cited some statistical studies they had done, and those who, um, disagreed with them.

The argument seemed to boil down to:

STAT GUYS: Thesearethenumbersandwhycan'tyouseethemyoudolts!

OTHER GUYS: Iseeyournumbersbutthat'snotallthereistoityoumorons!

First of all, the namecalling on this site will stop. NOW. Have passion, back up your arguments with facts or other factors, but do not call other posters names. That devalues your argument and makes you look like you're on a middle school playground. This site isn't a middle school playground; it is, hopefully, a place where intelligent people can get together and discuss baseball and the Cubs.

About the particular argument in question, I'm not going to take sides. However, I will point out that there generally are two (or sometimes, more) sides to any baseball discussion. Statistics, whether basic or advanced, do tell a story about baseball players or managers, and there is no doubt that advanced metrics have changed the way baseball management has viewed players and their performance over the last 20 or so years. For example, the current MLB on-base percentage is .333. Twenty years ago, in 1989, the overall MLB OBA was .320. There is no question that proves that teams see the value of getting on base.

However, in my mind there is also no doubt that there are many other factors in analyzing baseball players, whether it's viewing someone whose emotions boil over on the playing field, or something that we as fans don't see -- perhaps a player has trouble in his personal life that is affecting the way he plays. You could say that players shouldn't bring that to the ballpark, but that's human nature -- think of your own work and how things in your own life might affect the way you perform your job.

That's why I titled the original post "nature vs. nurture". Both are factors that affect play on a baseball diamond. The game is played by human beings -- and that, I think, is the beauty of watching it.

All I ask here is that you present your arguments cogently and not attack others. Thanks, and now let's win this game tonight and end the road trip on a winning note. The game preview will post at 5:30 pm CDT.