How well do you think broadcasters are doing at incorporating sabermetric concepts into their coverage?
I guess I’d give them a B- but I think there’s bias involved. I usually watch games on television with the sound off. Even so, I hear a fair number of games on the radio over the course of a season and I still hear plenty of analysis on TV despite my best efforts. Full disclosure: I listen to the excellent Giants broadcast team the most and I’d probably give it a B on this question.
The thing is, my standards are pretty low. I don’t want to hear foolish things about RBIs, pitcher wins or saves. I don’t want to hear about how the guy with the highest batting average is the "best hitter." It’s been almost 30 years since Bill James released his first Baseball Abstract, almost 20 years since Baseball Prospectus started, and "Moneyball" came out in 2003. Every team in Major League Baseball uses modern analysis now. There’s no excuse for not knowing the basics.
I'd like to imagine a world in which broadcasters were up to date on the latest stats. I would actually learn new things during a game. Measured against that world, today's broadcasters would receive a C-, or worse.
But my general sense is that things are considerably better than they were 10 years ago (in fact, sometimes I learn new things when I watch the MLB Network’s sabermetric-based show). I’d be interested, however, if those who listen to the broadcasts for other teams have different opinions.
To contact the writer of this article: Jonathan Bernstein at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this article: Alex Bruns at firstname.lastname@example.org.