There has been a change brewing in baseball over the past decade. It has been a slow brew, behind the scenes, but in recent years and even recent weeks, it has catapulted towards the forefront of storylines in Major League Baseball.
The story is the argument over analytics – the “new school” way of operating a major league baseball roster and the tradition of the past – otherwise known as “old school”.
We have seen dramatic shifts in the game where young whiz kids are graduating from Ivy League schools and implementing a new wave of technology, statistics and analytics into a game run that has forever been steeped in tradition. We are seeing infield and outfield shifts that would confuse Hall of Fame players.
Could you imagine Brooks Robinson playing on the second base side of second base because of a pull heavy lefty at the plate? Could you imagine the shift that Babe Ruth would get if he played the Houston Astros? There would not be a single player on the left side of the field. Could you imagine the famous home run prediction by the Babe only being made because he knew that 72% of the time, Charlie Root would throw a fastball in that count?
Baseball historically has been run like an ancient tribe where experience matters more than intelligence. The man who has seen more, experienced more has a better feel for the pace of a baseball game. But this experience is slowly being nudged towards the door and pushed out of the game.
So the question looms “Old school verse New School”
Simple answer – both.
Like two sides to a coin, both are needed. Like two sides to a door – both are needed.
We live in a technological society that can produce astounding statistics and analytics within a computer screen.
But we also have the most amazing computer in the world in between our ears. Our mind and memory allows us to analyze, predict and anticipate upcoming events.
We as a baseball community must incorporate both elements. It is ridiculous to eliminate the new school philosophy in favor of a strict old school mentality. We must incorporate the new while holding on and embracing the past.
Use the statistics the can be produced and then let your mind take what is needed to help and improve your game. Use what helps you until it starts to complicate you as a ballplayer to the point where you second guess yourselves.