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There is a White House petition to ban the pitcher win statistic

Sep 1, 2013, 11:05 PM EST

MLB Network’s Brian Kenny is an interesting person to follow on Twitter. He has a pet cause symbolized by the hashtag #KillTheWin. The intent is to show the various ways in which the pitcher win statistic is flawed. It has the double-sided benefit of educating less-stat-savvy fans and providing humor to those in the know. An example:

Perhaps motivated by Kenny, someone took the time to go on the White House website to create a petition to ban the use of the win statistic via an executive order.

The petition says:

The win is an ineffective tool in pitcher evaluation, far outliving its usefulness as pitchers no longer pitch complete games. Focusing on wins as a method of pitcher effectiveness gives a distorted and inaccurate picture:

1. Pitchers can perform well and receive a loss or no decision through lack of run support or poor team defense

2. Pitchers can perform at a subpar level and receive a win if their team has excellent offense

3. Relief pitchers can record just one out and receive credit for a win.

Eliminate the win and develop more effective statistics to measure pitcher performance.

As of this writing, it has 56 of 100,000 signatures needed by September 30. Not that anything would actually happen if it got to 100,000 anyway. But it’s a funny little gag.

  1. hildezero - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    First, I read the title, I thought this is absurd. Then I read this article and now I think that this petition has some good points.

    • okwhitefalcon - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      Kenny’s a sharp guy and a helluva broadcaster but he’s become a spray paint wielding PETA member at a fur and beef convention.

      The condescending MLB Net rants and twitter outbursts are diluting the message and approaching parody.

      • km9000 - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:59 AM

        I think the problem is that he knows not everyone takes sabermetrics seriously, so he tries to toe the line between advocating it, and playing to the crowd and poking fun in a self-aware way. And, well, it doesn’t always work. “Kill the Win” is just hyperbole, but the effect gets lost on the traditional types.

  2. misterj167 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    I’m sure someone will be claiming that Obama is personally behind this because he’s an incompetent, anti-American evil genius atheist Muslim-Communist Nazi war-monging hippie weakling drug addict. Who lies.

    • chill1184 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      Well he is a warmonger but every president since the end of World War 2 has been as well.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Everyone knows the President doesn’t care about the pitcher win stat because he’s a ChiSox fan.

      • km9000 - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:05 AM

        And if he said Sale is a much better pitcher than his 10-12 record indicated, he’d be right.

        As a matter of fact, Sale’s numbers across the board are better than they were last year… when his record was 17-8.

      • Old Gator - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        And don’t forget – Obama is gay and likes barnyard animals.

        Regardless, let’s ignore the issues of wins for the nonce and keeping him from pulling his trigger happy finger on the Syrian project. We need to get involved in this like…like…we needed to get involved in Libya.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      Mister, I wish people would stop leaving out the fact that he was born in Norway, and that he has 12 toes.

      • mikecubbie69 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        Chris Sale has 12 toes?

    • largebill - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      misterj167,

      Other than the “genius” nonsense, your description is fairly accurate. :-)

    • bfunk1978 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      well isn’t he?

    • mspauto - Sep 2, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Has nothing to do with all the true statements you have made. It has to do with Obama throws like a girl.

  3. chip56 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    “…educating less-stat-savvy fans and providing humor to those in the know.”

    And herein is the problem I have with the “stat-savvy” fans and writers…why do you give a crap about how other people derive enjoyment from baseball? Why does the notion of someone caring about pitcher wins vex you so greatly that you feel the need to educate someone that they’re having fun wrong?

    I couldn’t possibly care less whether you like the win stat or not; what makes baseball enjoyable to you is none of my business so stop frickin’ telling me how to enjoy baseball the “right way.”

    • schmedley69 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      You nailed it, Chip. SABRmetricans remind me of religious fanatics who are on a mission to force feed there ideology down your throat. Brian Kenny is obviously a smart guy and for the most part he is right, but like most SABR extremists, he just comes off as a pompous know-it-all who has to constantly show you how much smarter he is than the average baseball fan. We get it Brian, pitcher wins is a bogus statistic. Next topic please.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:13 AM

        I find it funny how people still confuse SABR with Sabermetrics. The latter term may have been derived from the former, but one has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

      • schmedley69 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        I’m glad that I gave you a good laugh then, but you kind of brought home my point about “Sabermetricans” being know-it-all types who like to correct people.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        Hardly, I’m wrong about a great many things and learn a lot every day. My point is if you’re going to critique something at least crticize the right group of people.

        As far as I know most members of the Society for American Baseball Research aren’t really into sabermetrics.

        You also fail on your presumption since I’m not a sabermetrician. It doesn’t take advanced math to notice wins are a team function nowadays and are a poor way to evaluate pitching. So no, I did not bring home your point at all.

    • DJ MC - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      It’s like someone saying, “I may believe that the Earth is flat and the Sun revolves around it, but that has no effect on how I live my life.”

      It does have an effect, because it makes that person sound like an idiot, and thus no one would take that person seriously.

      If someone uses a poor statistic to defend their arguments, it is the same thing in baseball terms. And since a large portion of the enjoyment of the sports comes from the discussions and arguments, it does have that kind of effect on the others in the discussion.

      • daburghdabest - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        “It’s like someone saying, “I may believe that the Earth is flat and the Sun revolves around it, but that has no effect on how I live my life.”

        How is that like not caring about meaningless stats? It’s a cheap insult masked as an analogy.

        I have no idea when fans & writers became so possessive of personal accomplishments for players, but it was a super sad day. Is it fair at all that wins are such a huge metric of single season awards & Hall of Fame consideration? No. Then again, what does it matter to anyone besides the players involved? If they actually gave a crap you think they couldn’t get it changed? They won’t because no one wants to be the face of the “Please change this so I have a better chance at awards that pad my resume & maybe make me more money” movement.

      • chip56 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:02 AM

        I’m not talking about how “experts” evaluate players. I’m talking about how fans enjoy the game. I couldn’t care less about a player’s WAR but if you, as a fan, can’t get enough of it then more power to you.

        I’m not trying to evaluate a player, I’m not a GM debating how much to pay a free agent or a writer deciding who should get an award, I’m a fan enjoying the game and if the fact that I like pitcher wins offends your sensibilities that’s too bad.

        Do I believe that pitcher wins are the best way to evaluate pitchers? No. But by the same token, when Miguel Cabrera hit for the triple crown that should have been celebrated, instead the same segment that Kenny represents scoffed at it and what’s worse, they scoffed at the people who did think it was cool. As I said, enjoy the game your way – but be secure enough in how you’re enjoying it to leave other people alone to enjoy it their way.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:04 AM

        Out of curiosity, how much do you think the average person’s daily life directly changed because of the Copernican revolution? Do you think farmers, ranchers or merchants really saw a profound shift in the way they led their lives?

      • js20011041 - Sep 2, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        Whether the common person was directly affected by know that the Earth was round or that the Earth revolved around the Sun is irrelevant. The fact that it became common knowledge allowed us to move on to other things. It’s like evolution versus creation. Evolution is a scientific fact. It’s as accepted in the scientific community as the concept of gravity. But scientists still have to debate idiots who are either willfully ignorant or simply too stupid to understand a concept other than “god did it.” Or you could take global warming. We should strive to educate the masses because the idiots hold us back. And it’s the same thing with baseball.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Again, out of curiosity, I wonder when you think it became standard for most people to learn that much about science (or math).

        Also, I find it fascinating how the debate is getting framed here. The use of advanced stats is equivalent to a scientific revolution — as opposed to say simply adopting a different standard of measures (say, metrics v. the English system) or introducing a grid system for city planning. Both of those impacted people’s lives, but there’s less hubris attached to that comparison.

        Finally, I find it amusing that you say “the idiots hold us back” — as if they are obstacles instead of people…as if there was some pre-qualifier to watch baseball.

      • js20011041 - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Most people don’t know much about math or science. I’d actually include myself in that group. I’m not extremely well versed in science and certainly not math. But the difference between myself and those who are anti science is that I don’t fear new information or ways of thinking about the world, and they do. That holds humanity back.

        Your comparison isn’t appropriate at all. Old school versus new school baseball isn’t two ways of looking at the same problem. It’ s one side actually starting with a question and using data to come up with an answer. Harold Reynolds starts with the answer, uses no data, and when presented with data that tells him he’s wrong, says that the data is wrong. It’s not two types of thought. It’s one side thinking and the other searching for answers by digging elbow deep in it’s ass.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        That was a hilariously ahistorical response. Thank you.

        Have a nice Labor Day.

      • js20011041 - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        I’ll accept your lack of a response as a tacit agreement.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        Well, you shouldn’t, but you will — because you are only interested in feeling you are right and do not care to be persuasive or give consideration to others’ opinions. And, that’s exactly why I am not debating you.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:15 AM

      To me it has nothing to do with enjoyment. The problem only comes up when we start doling out awards based on stats that are useless in measuring a player´s effectiveness.

      • chip56 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Except Kenny, Baer, Law and the like don’t just comment about their fellow writers using the win stat (or any other stat they consider arcane); they mock the fans who follow those stats as well. What possible need is there for that?

        This isn’t about “World is round or world is flat” this is more akin to calling someone inferior because they like a movie that you don’t.

  4. chill1184 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    While funny I still think this petition still tops all

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/White-House-Petition-Death-Star,20431.html

  5. historiophiliac - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Oh, you homochromias just can’t stand it, can you? You were fine with pitcher wins until a minority threatened the record of your beloved Green Eyed Monster. You can’t beat Multi-color Max on the field, so you’re going to try to devalue his accomplishments. Your prejudice has no place in baseball, and the sooner we as a community learn to welcome and appreciate our heterochromia brothers — well, the better the game will be. No hate.

    • indaburg - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      Stop pushing your heterochromia agenda on us. Homochromia is the way nature intended us. Heterochromia is unnatural.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

        It’s not like Max chose to have brue eyes He was born that way, baby. Your intolerance is unAmerican!

      • indaburg - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:40 AM

        I’ll pray for his soul.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        BTW, more thumbs down! I win.

      • km9000 - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Just say “I could care less” over and over and over.

    • nbjays - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:27 AM

      Booooo!

      /throws Skittles (all the same colour)

      • paperlions - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        LFMAO, well done.

      • 461deep - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        WAR, OPS and other new data collecting and analysis terms are fine but despite that
        they are derived from concrete actions, they are also subjective and in a constant state of change. We now see a wish to add Wins to RBI’s as a flawed statistic because other players production influence them. But aren’t all stats determined by others or other factors. The Green Monster yields more doubles. Yankee Stadium 2 more right field home runs as you know.Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and others suffered since their ball parks dimensions lowered their stat numbers. So why pick on Wins and RBI’s when any stat can be found to be generated by a myriad of factors.

  6. km9000 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    While supporting Kimbrel for Cy Young consideration, Glavine was saying how Kershaw wasn’t a shoe-in because his record wasn’t that outstanding, and that pitchers are “paid to win games.” Felix Hernandez has exceeded 14 wins only once, and I don’t think anyone criticized his contract extension based on that. You get paid to give your team chances to win. Not go 5+ and leave with adequate run support.

    I just wish Kenny would take more time on TV to explain stuff like OPS+ and BABIP, because the way he casually throws out those terms just makes the other guys scoff.

    • js20011041 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      If anything, he should explain that stuff for the casual fan. The fact that he needs to explain this stuff to his coworkers, men that are paid to analyze baseball, is aggravating. How little pride must one have in their job to be as willfully ignorant as Harold Reynolds is?

  7. barkleyblows - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Not really sure how he can call himself a white sux fan since he couldn’t name one player on the team. But I’m not surprised coming from someone who didn’t know how many states this country has.

  8. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Yeah, but then Tyler Clippard wouldn’t “win” the 2011 All-Star game without ever recording an out.

    (Look it up. He pitched to one batter, guy got a hit, but Hunter Pence threw the runner out at the plate for the third out. The National League took the lead in their half-inning and Clippard became “the pitcher of record.”)

  9. 52nites - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Starting pitchers stats are fine. If you know baseball the bottom stat line tells you he had a lot of NDs. His ERA says he pitched well but either his team didnt score for him or the bullpen stinks. I think if we are to change anything the bullpen metrics need it. An ERA means nothing if you consistently allow inherited runners to score. It needs to be combined.

    • paperlions - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      In addition, ERA belongs to the pitcher and his defense, not just the pitcher….a pitcher with a good defense behind him will have a better ERA than the same pitcher with a horrible defense behind him. ERA is useful, but it isn’t what people treat it to be.

  10. sndvl99 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    How bout a ban of Harold Reynolds from MLB Now?

  11. hildezero - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    @misterj167,

    Shut up, you arrogant racist piece of shit.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:47 AM

      Apparently you missed his sarcasm font.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      hilde, sadly as histo notes, you scored zero on recognizing obvious sarcasm, an amusing and only slightly exaggerated compendium of claims idiots have made about our President.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:04 AM

        I guess I got thumbs down on that and you did not because you broke out the fifty-cent words. Show off.

      • Reflex - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:52 AM

        Multiii-Pass!

  12. fearlessleader - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    It’s curious to me that there’s always so much discussion about eliminating or de-emphasizing the pitcher win, and so little about redefining it in ways that could make it instantly more meaningful, if still imperfect. We already trust official scorers to award Ws at their discretion in the case of starters who don’t last five innings but otherwise qualify for the win; would it be such a bad idea to allow the scorer the option of re-assigning the W in the case of—for example—a blown save that results in a relief pitcher being rewarded with a win for failing at his job?

    (MLB could get really crazy and make the W an across-the-board judgment call, or even decree that there doesn’t need to BE a win awarded in every game, but that would probably make Bud and others nervous. Fixing the blown-save problem would be a fairly clear-cut and circumscribed step in the right direction.)

    Naturally, it still wouldn’t do anything for the guy who gives up one run in eight innings and loses 1-0, but it would shift the system a little closer to fairness.

    • Reflex - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:53 AM

      Look up Quality Starts. Its not perfect either(very defense dependent and pretty lenient) but its a move in the right direction and I do see it get used occasionally in ‘mainstream’ analysis

      • fearlessleader - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

        Obviously I know what a Quality Start is, Reflex. The point, though, is that as long as MLB, the media, and the fans have an emotional attachment to the W, it seems more sensible to re-mold it into a more useful stat than to keep trying to replace it with other ones that never gain much traction.

  13. abreathofsanity - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Yeah thats all fine and dandy but theres more pressing matters I must attend to, such as getting all up in syrias serious biz. -barack obama

  14. arkyhalo22 - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    STARTING pitchers (and to an extent, long relievers) earn their “W” meaning they did enough to WIN the game, doesn’t matter if you gave up 0 runs or 6, if you did better than the opposition, you “earned” the win, for whatever that’s worth. On the other hand, if you as a reliever come in to face one batter in the 8th inning, or later (in a tie game or trailing) and get that batter out, therefore pitching 1/3 of an inning and your team takes the lead the following inning, then yes, I can see how the Win statistic is flawed. Other than that, don’t take the Win statistic literal, it merely serves the purpose of designating who was the pitcher to not give up the lead (starter) or reliever (if a comeback) past the 5th inning……………long story short, you can say the same thing about average, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

  15. cheave7x - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    Reblogged this on thebluschelseablog.

  16. rebekahvandyke281 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    goo post ever

  17. rebekahvandyke281 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    Since I started fre+lancing I’ve been bringing in $90 bucks/h… I sit at home and i am doing my work from my laptop. The best thing is that i get more time to spent with my family and with my kids and in the same time i can earn enough to support them… You can do it too. Start here>>>>>>>

  18. 13arod - Sep 2, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    This article is stupid

  19. mikecubbie69 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    There was a time I was really interested in sabremetrics back when Bill James first came out with his books, but I think it has gotten way out of control. While I admit that a pitcher win is a poor way of judging a pitchers numbers, it is still part of the culture and a 100 years of stats cant just be wiped away. And making a White House petition to get rid of it? Yeah, like Obama is going to drop his attempts to get Congress to come together on the budget and drop his dealings with Syria just to satisfy some number geeks……..rightttttttttt…………all I can say is that someone has wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much time on their hands!

    • barrywhererufrom - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      I understand both sides in this debate. When pitchers like Phil Hughes win 18 games from superior run support it devalues the win Stat. Conversely a pitcher making the tough pitched when it counted in a close game and hanging on to win the game makes the win a valued Stat. Maybe we should make a win equal to performance..something like 7 innings pitched letting up 2 runs..that’s my take..love to comment on the PUTZ in Chief but he ain’t worth the time.

    • km9000 - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      I think the online petition is tongue in cheek. There are others that are even less serious.

  20. dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    I would change one thing, when a guy goes 5 full innings or longer and leaves with his team winning I don’t want to see some guy from the bullpen give up the tying run and then his team ends up winning and the guy who didn’t do his job gets a win. That part sucks and should be changed, if a starter leaves with his team winning and his team wins, he gets the W that’s how it should be.

  21. louhudson23 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    The validity/usefulness/accuracy/meaning of any statistic is purely in the eye of the beholder and are always open to interpretation. They mean exactly what someone thinks they mean,no more no less…the Win stat shows in how many games a pitcher has been credited with a win. The pitcher with the highest number of wins was the player credited with the most Wins,RBI shows how many runs a player has driven in. It is factual and accurate.The man with the highest total of RBI drove in the most runs.No more,no less. If you are not impressed with them,then ignore them. If you believe that no one stat alone is conclusive,then good for you…The game is played on the field,not in a computer. No algorithm will ever be created which can equal the beauty of or be worthy of the attention of a well turned DP or the excitement of seeing a triple legged out…. Watching the game for the play is why I watch and why I played,the back of the card was never as good as the front…..

  22. grumpyoleman - Sep 3, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    So if the pitchers wins stat is not a good way to judge a pitcher why don’t all of the Tiger’s starters have around 20 wins since they play with the same teammates more or less everyday?

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