Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not profess to be a disciple of baseball’s new statistical age. I do not know what Daniel Murphy’s regular season WAR was entering the playoffs, nor, do I know what his WAR is during this postseason.
I am sure somebody will find both numbers and post them with a delightful note how I don’t know anything. You may have your fun, but you will be wrong on that last point.
WAR is a mathematical formula designed to provide a definite measure of a player’s ability to perform and produce. But, it is nonsense – or crap, ca ca, doo doo, bull or any other descriptor – for the simple reasons players are human and the variables of measure aren’t identical in each case.
These playoffs have shown us Murphy’s recent tear is beyond compare. He is having a once-in-a-lifetime stretch against the highest level of competition and under the hottest lights. That it is against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta under the glare and intensity of the playoffs should account for more than it coming against the Miami Marlins in May, but it doesn’t. The math comes out the same.
WAR doesn’t account for the human element within the player, or the outside variables. If WAR were a true measure, wouldn’t all conditions be the same?
Everything would be identical, as is a true scientific survey the measuring samples should be the same: the opposing pitcher; the weather; the field conditions; the lighting; how much sleep he had; the game conditions; what he had for breakfast; is he getting along with his WAG; and the home plate umpire? (Speaking of which, it is a shame what happened last night to the Blue Jays, but then again, lousing umpiring is a human element.) Also, in the cases of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, you would need the steroid dosages.
All those variables are different for each hitter, which makes the final number nothing more than a wild guess. The only true stats are those we’ve had for over a century: hits, runs scored, runs driven in and average. Of course, the new age disregards those numbers, foolishly calling them obsolete.
I once had a conversation with a retired player about the preponderance of statistics, and he liked my idea of a do-your-job stat. Going into each at-bat a player has a specific objective, whether it be to get on base, advance a runner, or drive him in. The success of that at-bat is dependent on what he does.
That’s why strikeouts are a necessary measure, as they tell us of an empty at-bat. Today’s young, baseball minds want everything to be the same, but that is impossible.
Murphy’s do-your-job stat for this postseason is more than phenomenal. It probably is beyond comprehension as he’s not only doing his job, but everybody else’s, too.
Yeah, I know I am older than most of you, but I have no intention of lecturing. However, I have covered well over 2,000 games and probably seen another 1,000. I know this much, what Murphy is giving us exceeds amazing. It’s something beyond what WAR vainly attempts to do. It is something you can’t draft on FanDuel.
So, turn away from your calculators, computers and stat tables, because you’re missing a historical reckoning. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until Tuesday to see him play again because what he has is fleeting and I don’t want to see him lose it.