When I previewed the ALCS, "Moneyball" author Michael Lewis predicted that should the Red Sox win it all, Theo Epstein would down play the significance sabermetrics had on the team's success. I haven't followed Epstein's comments closely, but I certainly haven't noticed the mainstream media giving props to Boston's sabermetric qualities, have you? In his column yesterday, Jim Baker, who used to assist Bill James, wrote:
In the wake of the Red Sox winning it all, there has been precious little mention of Bill James and his role in their success, even as Theo Epstein is getting plenty of credit. Why is this? As my friend Tim Walker says, "It doesn't fit the story line." The whole "idiots" thing is far more intriguing to the typical media outlet than the intelligence invested in piecing together the Red Sox.
This is extremely disappointing to me because it bespeaks an anti-intellectualism that permeates our culture. Yes, the players had to execute--as is always the case--but attention must be paid to the braintrust that gathered them there and did things like limiting the team to 12 sacrifice bunts. One of two things is happening: either the media doesn't understand the extent to which James contributed, or they do and can't bear the thought of it.
I think that the media may not understand the extent of James' contributions. I know that I don't know how much influence he has or doesn't have. Clearly, sabermetrics is a valued tool by the current Boston regime. At the same time I suspect that Baker is right, many guys in the mainstream press probably can't bear the thought of giving an outsider like James credit where credit is due.