Fox's Ken Rosenthal: Math is Racist.

In case you haven’t heard, the rules of running a Major League Baseball team have been rewritten over the last 15 years. In fact for decades, Bill James and other analysts had been honing mathematically-based tools for analyzing baseball, and predicting which players and strategies help you win more games. But it was only after the turn of the century that teams started to listen.

Fox’s Ken Rosenthal thinks that’s bad, and strongly hints that it’s racist, too.


Billy Beane - Photo by GabboT on Flickr

This article on Fox Sports I find infuriating, in the way that Rosenthal likes to float the race card without actually making a concrete statement he has to defend. Consider this key paragraph:

It’s the pattern that troubles me. And it’s a pattern that should trouble baseball, if the sport truly is interested in diversity for its top positions. Not just ethnic and racial diversity, but intellectual diversity, too.

This is a statement that is unfalsifiable. Sure, it’s a pattern that troubles him. Finding something troubling doesn’t mean it’s wrong, or that the other options are better. So he can float this idea that math is racist, without having to back it up.

As an aside, here’s a laugher:

If the main prerequisite for managing is merely sharing and implementing the GM’s vision, then a whole bunch of qualified people will continue to be shut out.

Apparently we’re supposed to feel righteous indignation at the idea that a subordinate is supposed to agree with his boss on how to do his job. In any other field that would be a given, but in baseball… troubling.

Rosenthal manages to conclude without a specific call to action of any kind. Just… expressing how troubled he is.

I am not railing against metrics; every team incorporates them, and anyone with an even remote interest in the game understands their value. Nor am I railing against any specific hire; almost all are defensible on their own merits.

Got that? All the principles are sound. All the hires are good. But yet… well, Rosenthal can’t actually tell us what’s wrong, except that it’s wrong.

Weak sauce, Fox.

Photo of Billy Beane by GabboT on Flickr