Is it trite at this point to criticize broadcasters for not grasping the importance, relevance and simplicity of OBP as a measure of offensive value? My first inclination is 'yes,' but then thanks to our own Jake Humphrey's judicious use of the RT button on his Twitter feed and then my perusal of some idiot named @kapaya1234's feed, I was treated to the following gems from ... well, Chip Caray, it turned out:
Ok, let's begin at the top there. What I think he meant to say is that OBP is not very important because at that point in the game, the Braves had a team OBP of .412 and yet had scored just two runs.
Let's not even delve into the correlation between OBP and runs scored (or wins). Let's just calmly point out that OBP is indeed very important because, after all, it's awfully hard to score runs when you don't have people on base. Right? I'm sure we can all agree to that. Unless there's some other way of scoring that I hadn't thought about.
Oh! Well, this guy thinks of everything! And, y'know, he's not wrong in this statement. After all, homers are one way of scoring runs, and it wouldn't be prudent to judge a team based solely on OBP. I think it's a bit harsh to call it 'stupid,' but hey, this is Twitter, and dumber things have been said. I would like to point out, though, that the most proflici home run hitting team in Braves history -- the '03 version, with Javy Lopez's monster year and Gary Sheffield's monster year and Andruw Jones' monster year and Chipper Jones' monster year and Marcus Giles' monster year and Vinny Castilla's totally above-average year and Robert Fick not straight up dying on the field -- also had a .349 OBP, which would rank second in the league this year. The 1997 Seattle Mariners have the most team home runs in history, and their .355 OBP would've led the league this year -- and, in fact, most years. The 2000 Houston Astros have the most team home runs in NL history. Their team OBP? .361, which is better than Brian McCann's career mark, or Carlos Beltan's, or Kirby Puckett's, or Eddie Murray's, or Reggie Jackson's, or ...
Generally, if you hit a lot of home runs as a team, you're probably going to have a high OBP. Because good hitters tend to be good at one or both of those things, see. I'm just glad that things never got petty here, because this is some pretty simple stuff, and
Dammit, Chip. You're going to make me look up Mork and Mindy?
Oh. It was a sci fi sitcom that ran from 1979-1982. Yo, did you guys know Robin Williams was in that? It's true!
Something that's always struck me as funny about the advanced stat-haters (and I'm going a little far out to lump OBP in there) is that they're so condescending and dismissive of the notion that people might have a better way to evaluate baseball than they do. Also, that they might live in their own apartments and houses and have full time jobs. And a Netflix subscription. I mean, Mork and Mindy? I wasn't being sarcastic when I said I had to look that up. As insults go, that was as witty as the Black Plague, only it made fewer people laugh.
But it wasn't all bad news tonight! After all, lovable slugger Jim Thome mashed his 600th tater! That will bring us all together in the end.
OH COME ON.
I mentioned this in the recap last night, but here's how the Giants scored those three runs: an error, an HBP, a walk, two sacrifice flies and a home run from Nate "No, with an I and an O and a T" Schierholtz. Do you know what the chances of that happening on a regular basis are? Neither do I, because I'm not very good at math, but you'd have a better chance of charming a girl by telling her that you're going commando tonight.
Oh, you wily bastard.