Tag Archives: carson cistulli

I’m Important; I’m on Wikipedia

Few SABR are notable enough–to the non-SABR–to merit a Wikipedia page. The “Major proponents of sabermetrics” section of the Wikipedia article on sabermetrics lists a lot of the usual suspects: Earnshaw Cook, Bill James, Sean Lahman, Voros McCracken, Rob Neyer, Nate Silver, Tangotiger, Keith Woolner. You get the point.

Though for someone who’s been writing about sabermetrics and baseball in general for less than two years and has contributed nothing of note either in terms of writing or research, isn’t it curious Carson Cistulli is mentioned as a “major proponent of sabermetrics?” He even has his own page.

I wonder what kind of anonymous contributor would go through the trouble of creating such an exhaustively-sourced article for an insignificant poet and wannabe deep thinker on baseball. Who could possibly care that in high school, Cistulli “began to seriously read poetry, including contemporary avant-garde poet Kenneth Koch, and began to explore writing?” And why bother with a bibliography, reviews, 19 external links, and 95 footnotes? John von Neumann only has 37 footnotes and he was like the greatest mathematician ever, or so Wikipedia tells me.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the FanGraphs Empire

I am sick and tired of FanGraphs. Their player pages remain the gold standard, both in information and usability. But it’s their “stories” that really bother me. What happened to actual analysis or discussing interesting baseball issues? Questioning the conventional wisdom? Nowadays, the author picks a player, spends 15 minutes looking at his player page, decides whether to highlight his xFIP, BABIP, LD%, or HR/FB, and spends another 10 minutes writing up why Player X is underpeforming/overperforming because his Stat Y is so far from the league/his career average.

Unless it’s Dave Allen or Albert Lyu, in which case the author spends a couple of hours writing an R script to perform a local regression of swings, home runs, or ground balls by plate location. Having done that, he picks a player, spends 10 seconds updating his script with the right player IDs, runs it, takes 2 minutes uploading his graphs to WordPress, and 5 minutes explaining what’s in said graphs. It’s important to avoid giving anything that could be construed as an opinion in this last step.

As “FagGraphs” said succintly in a comment on another post here, “You might as well have just posted a link to his player page.”

(I won’t ape the Pozterisk, but to play devil’s advocate, it’s nice to know that sabermetrics has grown to the point where someone can now earn a good amount just by mailing it in with some vaguely-sabermetric articles. Mainstream acceptance, here we come!)

I looked over the 30 or so most recent posts. And only those written by Dave Cameron, Carson Cistulli, or Alex Remington didn’t neatly fit into my overly-simplistic description. That’s pretty sad. There was word vomit on Matt Stairs, Juan Uribe, the Rockies, Madison Bumgarner, Will Venable, Zach Greinke, P.J. Walters and James McDonald, Robinson Cano, Pedro Feliciano, and Carlos Lee, to name a few. And not one has any analysis I could see.

As for the writers who break the mold, in Remington’s case, it doesn’t matter in the end since his articles were–as always–super boring and on the intellectual level of a middle schooler. Cistulli’s writing often crosses the Kahrl Line, but he has his fans (graphs! I hate myself). And everyone knows that Dave Cameron is the rock of the FanGraphs blog.

The decline of FanGraphs may be overshadowed in intensity by the decline of the Hardball Times or in longevity by the decline of Baseball Prospectus, but it was a site that held promise to be everything  a SABR could hope for and didn’t strive to appeal to idiotic mainstream fans. That the blog is now nearly indistinguishable from TMI activates the weeping circuit in my robot motherboard. If the FanGraphs overlords could manage to fire a few (or all) of the other contributors, SABR everywhere would have reason to smile.

Attention, Daves: for $10 a post, I’ll rip all the SABR out there a new one. Hell, it’s got to be better than Jack Moore finding the world’s stupidest correlation.

J.C. Bradbury Fires Opening Salvo in War on Carson Cistulli and Tommy Bennett, Possibly

Cut the life metaphors. I watch baseball because it's awesome. There is no need to bring philosophy into this.