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A stat-savvy player talks about the value of Michael Young, intangibles and clubhouse chemistry

Mar 13, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

Diamonbacks' Brandon McCarthy delivers a pitch against the Reds during their MLB Cactus League spring training baseball game in Scottsdale Reuters

I and a lot of other sabermetrically-inclined writers have taken our shots at clubhouse chemistry and the lionization of players who are thought to be far better than their numbers suggest due to any number of intangible factors.  I and those same sabermetrically-inclined writers have also developed a fondness for Diambondbacks’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy because he is one of the more stat-savvy players out there (and because he’s active and interactive on social media and the like).

But if you think McCarthy is going to fall in line with our thinking on the clubhouse chemistry and soft/intangible factors thing, you’re wrong. To the contrary, he will tell you straight up that those things matter to players on a team and have value that the so-called smart set usually fail to acknowledge.  I had an offline discussion with McCarthy to this effect a few months ago, and — though it hasn’t stopped me from ripping Michael Young and all of that in my usual ways — did make me appreciate that it’s not just the fanboys of those gritty leader types who think that way.

Now, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic goes on-the-record with McCarthy who explains why he understands how Young got MVP votes and how much clubhouse leaders matter. After explaining some of the little things Michael Young does that most of us don’t see in terms of giving advice to other players, he talks generally about good clubhouse guys:

It doesn’t have to be veterans at the top or guys that everybody regards as good clubhouse guys, but it’s just good people – and the more of them that are around usually the better things will kind of go. I think. It’s one of those things that I think misses in the sabermetric community, especially among the super snarky writers. But it is there. You don’t have to build a team around that, but I’m a big believer in at least having one or two of those guys on every team. Not overpaying him necessarily, but getting him in there. Guys that just have that infectious nature, they get in there – they’re good cancer, they spread everywhere – and guys are like, ‘I love that guy.’”

It’s certainly not anything that is quantifiable and for that reason I am and will continue to be skeptical when baseball writers and awards voters make claims about just how valuable that sort of thing is. And I simply will never buy that that sort of thing comes close to equalling let alone outweighing actual on-the-field production when it comes to helping teams win ballgames.

But I can see where he’s coming from and I can see how these factors can be important to ballplayers. We all want to work in supportive, friendly and collaborative environments and for that reason these things are valuable.

UPDATE: McCarthy makes a clarification:

  1. chacochicken - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    My robot brain can’t comprehend your human love…0111001. I don’t think sabremetrics are telling you that Michael Young is worthless or any player for that matter and it obviously doesn’t attempt to quantify “chemistry”. However, it can tell you with some accuracy that PADMY shouldn’t be an everyday starter at third base, or bat fifth, or even be considered for an MVP. McCarthy is even hedging in his quote.

    • polonelmeagrejr - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Sorry, Guys. a lifelong baseball fan (I learned to read from the backs of basebnball cards) and I understand that the basic stats I grew up tell a very limited story.That said, the totallly committted sabermetric guys have to understand that even their extremely comprehensive statistical analysis still only tellls part of the story. And it had the added side effect of making them seem like people who get together to play and talk about Worlds of Warcraft. NOthing wrong with that, if you like WOlrds of Warcraft.

      • chacochicken - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        I’ve never played WOW but I have played little league, high school and DIII ball. Baseball is more enjoyable when you’ve got great teammates. Do you win more, hit more, or play better defense with fun or leadery players? I don’t know. Having PADMY on the team is great if he’s a part time player as the stats will tell you and essentially what McCarthy is saying as well. How much of the “story” is told by stats/advanced metrics vs. gut and “intangibles”? I’ll go 95% to 5%

  2. lewp - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Craig, in my opinion, your opinion is spot on.

    As a Ranger fan, I watched, (and suffered) with each at bat Michael Young had last season.

    First of all, Michael Young is a great guy. He has/had done everything the organization asked him to do, moving to various positions for the sake of the team. He was a great influence on other team mates. I get all of that.

    But last year, it was like as good a guy as MY was, I dreaded when it came his time to bat. It seemed like the entire season he was in a batting slump. What made matters worse is Washington wouldn’t bench him. It certainly then looked like he was a “teacher’s pet”.

    I wish him well in Philly, but hopefully he has a better season than last year.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    ” I think. It’s one of those things that I think misses in the sabermetric community, especially among the super snarky writers.”

    … and with that comment, somewhere, Craig drives another pin into his Sabermetreically correct Michael Young voodoo doll and places his Brandon McCarthy voodoo doll on order….while listening to the Violent Femmes…drinking his mocha latte something or other.

    Interesting enough, practical chemistry can be measured to the atomic level, while clubhouse chemistry can’t be measured at all? Isn’t there some creative college kid who can create his own major in clubhouse chemistry to figure this all out for us?

    Where’s Gandalf when we need him..

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Wait! Why’d you have to drag the Violent Femmes into this? Back off.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        Seen Grosse Point Blank recently and they’ve popped up on my MP3 random play. I can picture Craig jumping around his basement and occasionally typing while listening to Blister in the Sun.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        You say that like it’s a bad thing…

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Not at all! The image with the backround music would be a scene of comedy, not tragedy, A good thing, in my mind.

      • bigmeechy74 - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        I hate blister in the sun

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        Boooo!!!!

        /throws dead kennedys

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        ( shakes fist at anyone who throws dead kennedy’s or dead milkmen anything )

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        He he

        I saw the Milkmen back in the day….

      • bigmeechy74 - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        I admit I have kind of a dumb reason for hating that song. But in the mid 90’s every single cover band would play it, and what would annoy me is how all the girls would run out on the dance floor and sing along to it like it was their all time favorite. But in reality they had never even heard of it until they heard these lame bands play it. Because in 1983 they were listening to the radio. Not the violent femmes…. or the cure, or new order, or REM, or anyone like that… sorry for the long-winded reason. Jeez I even bored the hell out of myself with this. Sheesh.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 14, 2013 at 7:25 AM

        It’s okay, Robert Smith.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      I, like every kid since the early 80s, was forcibly-issued a copy of the Femmes’ first album when I turned 15. And yes I loved it and still do and occasionally still listen to it.

      FWIW: my favorite song on it is “Add it Up”

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!!

  4. randygnyc - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    I think, Derek Jeter for example, as good as he’s been, exemplifies the value of intangibles. He’s been more or less a singles hitter with an average glove. He’s also becoming a legendary player that will be revered along with the likes of Mantle, Ruth, Mays and Aaron. That reverence is partially due to the way he carries himself on and off the field and in the club house as well.

    All that to say that leadership skills, along with the intangible qualities of good sportsmanship and a respect for the game, can be an enormous value to their team as well as MLB as a brand.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      “…more or less a singles hitter…” Uhh, less. Much less. Plus power for his position, without turning into a musclehead who can no longer field his position. Lifetime slugging % .135 higher that BA. Numbers don’t lie.

      You’ve made smarter comments.

    • Ben - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      If “intangibles” means “gift basket” then sure!

  5. paperlions - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    There is a difference, I think, to the value a guy contributes to winning baseball games and the value a guy contributes to making BEING on a baseball team enjoyable. Is there value in having good clubhouse chemistry? To the players, of course there is….who wants to work in a joyless place? Does that value translate to wins? Seems unlikely….didn’t the Pirates have great chemistry last year? That didn’t help them down the stretch. The Royals seem to have a lot of great guys, they still can’t win baseball games.

    It is important to differentiate between value in terms of win (things on the field) and value to team mates that makes work more enjoyable (good guys in the club house). There just hasn’t been any evidence that the good clubhouse leads to more wins, it just makes being on a team more fun (wins do that too).

    • hasbeen5 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      I pretty much agree here. Mocking Young’s performance, and how overrated he is on the field, is legitimate and the fact that he got MVP votes is ridiculous. However, there are times when Craig’s writing seems to turn personal against Young. It isn’t Young’s fault that other writers are stupid and overvalue his on field contributions.

      And I agree that clubhouse chemistry can’t be quantified in terms of on field performance, and it most likely has very little effect. However, I would bet that most of us have higher job performance when we’re content with our surroundings. And it never hurts to have another coach/mentor type around.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Seriously. Are you the guy in the office who drains the coffee pot and doesn’t start a new one?

      It’s not just about it being pleasant. Positivity can make a difference in performance as well. I’m not saying that makes up for all performance. It is a contributing factor though.

      And before you say it, that is not meant as a defense of Young specifically.

      • umrguy42 - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        I was gonna say, aren’t there probably 80 gazillion studies that show a happy workplace is a more efficient workplace? Gotta hold somewhat true in baseball, although I totally agree with ‘philiac that it’s only a contributing factor. Like the icing on cake.

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Yes, but efficiency is not the same as skill. Happy baseball players don’t suddenly hit with more power, have more range in the field, or suddenly learn how to work the count. Jeff Franceour is the most happy positive person on the planet and he still can’t control the strike zone. In short, enjoying the locker room is nice….but it won’t enhance the skills of team mates…and like it or not, skill leads to production.

        Of course, there are exceptions in the other direction, a parent/spouse/child dying may negatively affect focus/performance over the short term…but these are guys that have so much ability to focus already, it is unlikely that a happy locker room leads to anything improvement on the field.

        Baseball isn’t a good parallel to the job place. There are few jobs in which you are constantly motivated to excel because if you do not, you will be replaced. Any analogous effect of contentedness on productivity/efficiency in a “normal” job is already accounted for by the fact that if you aren’t good at your job in baseball, you won’t have it for long.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        Except if you have a contract and they have to live with your sorriness. Also, good camaraderie contributes to team cohesiveness which can positively influence performance TOGETHER on the field. When players on a team don’t gel, you can tell.

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Of course, baseball is the most individual sport there is….compared to any other team sport, it is easily the most performance isolated.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        But it is not totally an individual sport.

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        No, I’m the person that cleans up after everyone else without mentioning it.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Sucker. I’ve pretty much scared the bejesus out of most of the guys in my office. If any of them were under the delusion that making coffee is a woman’s job, I have disabused them of that. Don’t people raise their boys to be independent?

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        Mine did….but then, when you move all around the world starting at 18, you don’t have much choice.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        I’d ask about that, but I’m pretty sure someone would gripe again.

  6. Charles Gates - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Just because something can’t be adequately measured via test and control doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. But in that same regard, it does mean that you can’t weigh it too heavily. Similarly, just because something is expressed numerically doesn’t make it exclusively right. Or even right at all.

    McCarthy seems to align with how I feel when he says, ‘Not overpaying him necessarily…’ In other words, it has some value, but not exceedingly beyond what their on-field contributions are.

  7. stlouis1baseball - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Good team chemistry, camaraderie…whatever you want to call it is very much infectious.
    When you see a guy routinely bust his is ass (arrive early…leave late),..it can’t NOT rub off on the other guys. A guy like Nick Swisher is credited with keeping a clubhouse loose wih his “infectious” personality. A guy like Albert Pujols leads by example with his “infectious” work ethic (showing up early…leaving late). I have often heard Nick Punto (your Boy C.C.!) is a player guys want to play with. Sure…you don’t want break to break bank to bring them on board (as McCarthey said).
    But they absolutely add value.
    How anyone who has ever played team sports can argue this point is lost on me.
    As for Michael Young…he has the respect of his peers.
    That aforementioned respect from his peers is most telling in my opinion.
    Of course…I realize routinely railing on the dude is what all the cool kids are doing.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      There are lots of guys with tons of respect who can no longer play the game. They’re called managers.

      Respect is nice, but being able to hit and field a baseball is required for a good clubhouse guy to bring more to the table that he’s taking off of it.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/y/youngmi02.shtml

        Small window, I know, but his Spring Training line thus far doesn’t look like managerial material to me.

        He’s moving to a band box of a ball park against National League pitching. Who knows what kind of year he’s going to have, despite what the cool kids like to say.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        The numbers you’ve produced have absolutely no predictive value for the regular season. Thank you for playing, though.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        ” Thank you for playing though.”

        Interesting, arrogant answer that a seven year old could produce without taking into account the fact that I admitted it was a small sample size and you didn’t even address the second part of my comment.

        Anything else enlightening rolling around in that gum ball machine of a brain of yours?

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        You’re right about everything, as long as he gets to play 1B and DH he should stay healthy and have a career year at the age of 37. What team did you say he was going to again?

      • Alex K - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        I wouldn’t really call Philly a bandbox. It’s a worse park to hit in in almost every single way. Last year in total it was the 19th best hitters park (worse than all NL East parks but Citi Field).

        Rangers Ballpark, however, was the 4th best place to hit last year.

        So while he will be facing NL pitching his home ballpark is much worse for hitting.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        I’m just saying who knows what’s going to happen, the other side of the argument kind of thing, Mo. Like getting shot in the eye while you’re getting a massage, one never knows what the season will bring.

      • Alex K - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        For full disclosure the other 3 ballparks in the AL West were worse than Citizen’s Bank last year.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        Alex,

        If you were using the ESPN metric, then go back more than one year. The park seems to slide between 10 and 19 depending on the year.

        Also, if you consider the math they get they’re number from, then you also would have to go further into the year considering the home team itself, injuries and performances of both hitters and pitchers ( Issues the Phils dealt with in a major way last year ), and the strength of the division as those would be bulk of the opposing teams ( Nats formidible, Bravos not so bad, Mets and Marlins, c’mon man, you can’t compare that to the AL West)

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        Your last point is well taken Moses. To that I will add Michael Young very much does bring more to the table than he’s taking off. Especially if we are viewing him as a “clubhouse guy.”
        Clubhouse house guys don’t tend to hit at Michael Young’s level. See Nick Punto.

        The first point I don’t necessarily agree with. I mean…I understand what you are referring to from a Manager’s perspective. But that isn’t ground breaking news. Personally, I haven’t seen the tons of guys you are referring getting the level of respect (escpecially publicly)…that Michael Young has.

      • Alex K - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        Going back to 2011 CPB was #11. The park factor was .997 which is as damn near neutral. I looked back until 2007 and it plays right near the middle of MLB pretty much every year. It’s not a bad place to hit, but it is not a band box, either.

  8. kvanhorn87 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Why would any saber metric stat dork ever believe, you know, someone who actually plays the game

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Because most players are extremely cautious and political about what they will say to the press. If you could have a private, honest conversation with almost any athlete, they’d say give me the super-talented headcase over the “good guy” who is underperforming. Winning is the most important thing for actual competitors.

  9. danaking - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Some make way too much of intangibles, and deny anything that can’t quantified. What gets ignored is how the “good clubhouse guy” or “coach on the field” can have an effect on other players’ stats by keeping them loose or in a good frame of mind. As has been said above, it’s not worth overpaying for–there are a lot of guys who can do this–but it shouldn’t be ignored, either.

  10. craigjedwards - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    If you are at a pound and choosing between two equally fun and adorable dogs, it makes sense to choose the dog that gets along better with others. Voting Michael Young for MVP is like going home with a cat.

  11. DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I always wonder why people who say “leadership” or “positive attitude” are bunk never take the opposite approach. If it’s all sabermatics, isn’t a guy who has a major attitude still a good bet if he can hit?

    No one facet of the game is a be all end all benefit. But if A and B have identical stats, but A is a joy to be around, of course A is better then B.

    I say that from work. I have a desk. And a chair. And a computer. And an iPhone. I must have a great spot to work in….or the worst….or……

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      The funny thing is that people were all over what a drag Heath Bell was last year and how he negatively impacted the Marlins. So many on here agreed with the socialization he received from the team. They believe in the negative effect of intangibles, but not the positive. Which I find interesting. That said, if Bell was having a career year last year, he wouldn’t have gotten the response he did.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        I will never agree w/ solicization Philiac. It negates incitives.
        You know how I feel about this.

        s/

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        We’ll fund your social security anyway, Woodpecker. :)

  12. gunpowderjones - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I consider myself a nice guy and will fill this role for the minimum.

  13. andreweac - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Michael Young is the Tim Tebow of MLB.

    He’s a litmus test on the value of “leadership” over, well, talent.

    Watch me get struck by a meteorite later today for daring to question the greatness of “The Professional Hitter”

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      You can’t be serious! Say all you want about 2013 Michael Young (or 2012), but no one would deny that he accompished things in his career. Tim Tebow has completed 173 passes and he may be done!

      They may be alike in that opinons are divided, but that is about it

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        Exactly. The problem with the narrative around Young’s career isn’t that he wasn’t good…he was a productive player a long time. The problems are 1) that many act like he’s always been the guy he was in 2005, when he had a great offensive season and 2) he’s hasn’t been a plus fielder at for over a decade and has been really bad much of that time (some of which isn’t necessarily his fault as he was playing a position beyond he skill).

        In short, Young was a good MLB player for a decade, but he was rarely as good as the narrative suggested….and the narrative wasn’t Young’s fault.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      Say what you want about Michael Young, but he’s played at an adequate professional level for a good part of his career.

      Tim Tebow has never produced at an adequate professional level for more than 1 or 2 games his whole career.

      I think a more apt football comparison would be London Fletcher or Takeo Spikes.

  14. echech88 - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    I lean towards advanced stats and even I agree 100% with what he is saying.

    You do not overpay for it or give MVP votes for it, but it is pretty important to have good, positive personalities in any work place.

    I don’t think it is a coincidence that Jerry DiPoto, a former major league player, emphasized the importance of people and personalities during his panel on advanced stats last week. He is very much a “sabr guy” but as someone who has actually been in a locker room, gets that there is some value in intangibles.

    Things inevitably go bad for every team/business and you want people who have the right attitude and perspective to help right the ship and not let it blow up or spiral out of control into apathy or negativity.

    There is a reason a guy like Delmon Young got traded so much even when he was still considered a promising prospect. Toxic personalities can negatively impact a team so why can’t strong character also have some kind of impact?

    • IdahoMariner - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      I agree. I don’t get why this is so hard. Saying that there is some value or benefit to a team from having a positive workplace (“team chemistry” or “great clubhouse”) is not the same as saying we know exactly how to measure or quantify it. It is just acknowledging what we all know in our non-baseball jobs. I was in an office that went from a positive place to a really negative one with the addition of two negative jerks with some modicum of power. productivity went down measurably for our office, as measured in output over the period before and after the additions….and we lost good people because the environment was bad. why we expect baseball players to not be similarly affected is weird. I love sabermetrics, but the idea that this specific group of professionals should be impervious to emotional or environmental influences is crazy – they are people, not machines. hell, they seem to be uniquely superstitious, emotional people (i have never encountered anyone in my career who didn’t change socks for a week because they won a case wearing them, or threw a water cooler at a wall after losing a case) (and if someone did throw a water cooler in a law office, they would either be fired, or they would qualify as one of the jerks who contributes to a negative environment).

      We all work better in a positive workplace, we all contribute or produce more. How that is measured is really problematic for a baseball team – do we measure it in wins? how enthusiastic a player is about doing PR? and how do we KNOW when there is a positive clubhouse environment, and. who has contributed to that? beat writers, as mccarthy notes, will know way better than national writers…but even they only get what they get from the guys willing to talk about it.
      a positive workplace is something every good manager should strive for, if for nothing else than to make managing employees easier. more importantly, though, it does affect productivity if you keep assholes out of the workplace and it helps people have better, less crappy lives. i don’t think you get to add it to a player’s WAR or consider it for awards determinations… but each team’s general manager and team manager should be looking at it.
      for an enlightening read on the impact of positive vs. negative people in the workplace – and the value of a positive workplace, read The No Assholes Rule. it does include some quantitative analysis, as i recall, but again, i think a baseball team is going to be impervious to that kind of thing. it’s not for us to evaluate or reward, but for managers to keep an eye on.

  15. Jeremy T - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Are we sure he’s not just saying this to impress his new manager?

  16. andreweac - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Michael Young of 2012, 2013 and beyond = Tim Tebow.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      You are really fixated on Tim Tebow for some odd reason. That is neither pro-Tebow or anti-Young – just a bizarre comparison.

      Kind of like saying Roy Hallday is RG III

  17. thegreatstoneface - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    …you know, good team chemistry is a wonderful thing, for the folks in the locker room. makes everyone’s day more pleasant, it’s good to have good folks around you, no matter what you’re doing for a living.

    doesn’t have a thing to do with winning baseball games, though. the good face doesn’t win a game just by being a good face, the good face has to produce, too.

  18. dsmaxsucks - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    You know no one actually calls them “the smart kid set” without the prefix “self proclaimed”.

    And people who proclaim good people don’t have a thing to do with winning baseball games expose why no one really considers the statisticians to be so smart to begin with. The fact that the smart kids haven’t figured out a way to quantify something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The smart kids who fail to recognize this are in a different set, the one called douchebags.

  19. elmo - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Refreshing sense from Brandon McCarthy. Just about anybody who’s ever participated in any kind of group project realizes that intangibles like chemistry can help contribute to producing positive outcomes. At the same time, the reason it’s not always wise to talk about these things as baseball fans is because we’re not in the heads of the players or in the clubhouse with the team, and because of media distortion and so forth, we can’t really know what the “intangibles” really are. Better, then, to focus on measurable outcomes. But such a cautious approach can be taken to absurd extremes–to claim, for example, that only that which is objectively quantifiable exists, and subjective states either do not exist or are irrelevant, is not smart, it’s naive and silly.

  20. grumpyoleman - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I say we give all good guys half a point towards war since it is all subjective anyway.

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