On +/- and such

“Chill out! Plus/minus is not invading. It’s not here to take over. The women and children are safe. Plus/minus will not replace everything you ever thought you knew about sports. It’s not here to extreminate your coach, your MVP voter or your eyes.”

Writing in TrueHoop, Henry Abbott makes a great case for +/-, and, in the process, proves that he’s far kinder than I.

I don’t find the arguments – if they even can be considered as such – advanced by the critics of +/- (and the various other related metrics) to be even worthy of the dignity such diligence as Henry’s affords.

The ever-predictable, now laughably cliche “just watch the damn games!” contention really only serves to underscore the root of the matter: in a display of basic conceptual misunderstanding, the detractors are merely attacking a strawman.

Not one credible proponent has actually claimed self-sufficiency on behalf of the modern metrics.  Advanced stats are not intended as replacements for observational analysis nor are they meant to serve as definitive proofs. Their value is as supplemental tools; aids to quantify, not exclude, that which we actually see.

When evident, few things should more greatly be cause for embarrassment than argument on the pretense of incomprehension.

But of course, as Abbott said, it’s only natural that this anti-intellectual paranoia would so bravely defend its last sacred sphere.  The nerds cannot be allowed free rein within the heavenly domain of sports.  There would be nowhere left to hide.

This entry was posted in essays and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
Read previous post:
Phoenix Suns 118, Houston Rockets 110
LA Lakers 88, Houston Rockets 79
Discerning Morey’s Philosophy – Part 2