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View Poll Results: Do you AGREE with Belichick's 4th down attempt?
Yes 344 64.06%
No 193 35.94%
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:03 PM   #801
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I've said before that I think every team should have some kind of strategy coordinator that spends the week working out all of these kinds of calculations to give the coach advice.
Pats do have this guy on the staff
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:42 PM   #802
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by ClarkNasty View Post
It's actually true for most major sports in the US imo.
I agree to a limited extent - because the way each league protects bad teams - compared to say European soccer leagues - incompetence isn't sufficiently punished from the ownership's perspective. There's also something about sports that causes people to think irrationally.


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At least, there is a pretty huge variance between good and bad, and the "average" coach/gm actually isn't really that good.
I would still disagree that they are bad in the sense of, normal people making decisions bad.


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Originally Posted by Triumph36 View Post
although it sure seems to me that you are trying to use this to strongarm the thread into discussing a point which I have absolutely no interest in.
I'm not sure why you'd feel the need to discuss a point you have no interest in.


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that I can't identify and criticize some of the decisions made by people who are more successful than I am is beyond ludicrous.
You can do whatever you want. We're discussing the merit of criticizing this particular play given that:

1. The average head coach knows a lot of things normal people don't
2. Belichick is generally considered an above-average head coach.
3. General statistics seem to agree with his decision.

The point is that you need strong, rather clear-cut evidence - otherwise your disagreement is merely an argument from ignorance. That the coach can't prove clearly that his decision is correct isn't really any sort of argument in your favor.


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I suggest looking at the history of sabermetrics before bringing up Boethius's old canard - that argument from authority is the weakest form of argument. a lot of guys in their parents' basement figured out things that men at the top of the food chain had no idea about.
I don't have to look - I closely followed its development during the critical period when it gained relevance in front offices around baseball. I remember discussing the merits and limitations of DIPS, for instance, with Voros McCracken on the usenet, long before the press picked it up. I read his original usenet posting in 1999, for instance. Either way, in looking back, it's clear that many conclusions were overstated and egregiously bad front office decisions during that time mostly had little to do with not understanding sabermetrics but with lack of incentives for many executives to plan for the long term and bad executives (in terms of people skills) and poor organizational structures that led to ignoring not just sabermetric knowledge, but traditional scouting knowledge present within the organization. And by the time the studies became refined enough to add concrete value, many of those guys did get jobs with Major League teams.

There's some interesting stuff that came out, but I think on the whole, the major contribution of sabermetrics isn't introduction of new knowledge, but rather dissemination of knowledge that allows outsiders to more easily evaluate insiders. In other words, it's a communication framework that will lead to more efficient decision making. Genuine understanding of the game and talent evaluation are still an art form, but wide availability of sabermetric knowledge, which is easier for intelligent outsiders to understand than nuances of the game, made it easier for owners and fans to spot grossly incompetent executives and other talent evaluators. Over time, it will add the structure upon which people can think more intelligently about the game, but to frame this as outsiders knowing more than insiders is overstating the case. Branch Rickey understood the essence of most of what those guys had to say long before there was Bill James or SABR.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:56 PM   #803
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

PB- You're assuming that what is true of the general is also true of the specific.

You're right that the average person in a position of authority is there for a reason and the "elitist" common man is far too quick to be "LOL baseball GM what an idiot," but we aren't talking about the position as a whole. We are talking about a specific situation.


You're also kneejerking too far the other way against people who reject authority. It's the height of arrogance to think, for example, that I could become a greater authority in economics than, say, a Nobel Prize winner because I read 3 articles on mises.org, but CEOs/GMs/politicians are just people like anybody else. It's not like we're Betas incapable of understanding their Alpha decisionmaking processes. That there are variables that we are unaware of from our collective position as "idiots on the internet" doesn't mean those variables don't exist.

Earlier you implied that Robert Kraft knows more about math and game theory than us. Setting aside that this isn't a game theory situation and the math involved is multiplication(iow, the skills necessary to make the correct call here/realize the correct call was made are psychological/cognitive skills), how do you know?

He's got a MBA from Harvard so he's reasonably intelligent, but according to Wikipedia he's never worked as a mathematician or anything. He's been successful in business, but obviously we don't know the specific history of his business ventures. For his business we know the most about(the Patriots), it seems that Kraft's success stems from making excellent hiring decisions. Given my dealings with MBA students of today, I'd be stunned if his math skills were better than that of a typical 12th grade math teacher.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:23 AM   #804
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Phone Booth View Post
I
You can do whatever you want. We're discussing the merit of criticizing this particular play given that:

1. The average head coach knows a lot of things normal people don't
2. Belichick is generally considered an above-average head coach.
3. General statistics seem to agree with his decision.

The point is that you need strong, rather clear-cut evidence - otherwise your disagreement is merely an argument from ignorance. That the coach can't prove clearly that his decision is correct isn't really any sort of argument in your favor.
that's not even what i am arguing in this thread at all. what you have turned this argument into is a grandiose statement about observing decisions.

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I don't have to look - I closely followed its development during the critical period when it gained relevance in front offices around baseball. I remember discussing the merits and limitations of DIPS, for instance, with Voros McCracken on the usenet, long before the press picked it up.
yay, another argument from authority. okay, buddy.

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Either way, in looking back, it's clear that many conclusions were overstated and egregiously bad front office decisions during that time mostly had little to do with not understanding sabermetrics but with lack of incentives for many executives to plan for the long term and bad executives (in terms of people skills) and poor organizational structures that led to ignoring not just sabermetric knowledge, but traditional scouting knowledge present within the organization.
and by what authority do you now make this claim?

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And by the time the studies became refined enough to add concrete value, many of those guys did get jobs with Major League teams.
yes, they did, and that's precisely my point. people well outside the traditional 'decision making' arena nudged their way into that arena.

but of course, you go on to argue that sabermetrics has little value, while alternately arguing that baseball teams are smart by snapping up sabermetricians.

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There's some interesting stuff that came out, but I think on the whole, the major contribution of sabermetrics isn't introduction of new knowledge, but rather dissemination of knowledge that allows outsiders to more easily evaluate insiders. In other words, it's a communication framework that will lead to more efficient decision making. Genuine understanding of the game and talent evaluation are still an art form, but wide availability of sabermetric knowledge, which is easier for intelligent outsiders to understand than nuances of the game, made it easier for owners and fans to spot grossly incompetent executives and other talent evaluators.
this is a semantic distinction and i don't think it's particularly relevant anyway. to contend that sabermetrics isn't 'new knowledge' throws into question what exactly 'new knowledge' is, and why one would go about making such distinctions besides to make a point.

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Over time, it will add the structure upon which people can think more intelligently about the game, but to frame this as outsiders knowing more than insiders is overstating the case. Branch Rickey understood the essence of most of what those guys had to say long before there was Bill James or SABR.
and this is just a brutally terrible argument. you are saying that because one guy knew that 'hey, walks are good', that really, i mean, those sabermetrics guys didn't really do anything - it was the cigar-chomping GMs who understood the game through and through. considering the importance of sabermetric thought in baseball today, and the number of people employed by major league teams - the most stodgy and traditional of old boys' clubs - who never played baseball, i think you are way, way off base on this. sabermetrics is a totally new paradigm through which to evaluate players.

the irony of your post is of course that you are judging judging by saying that judges have no ability to judge, thereby judging those judges by the same supposedly faulty criteria that those judges also use to judge

Last edited by Triumph36; 11-18-2009 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:34 AM   #805
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:36 AM   #806
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by FlyWf View Post
Setting aside that this isn't a game theory situation and the math involved is multiplication
I almost brought this up, but calling this "game theory" is pretty ridiculous. Might as well say that distance=rate*time is calculus.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:37 AM   #807
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

I can't believe you guys are actually reading phone booth's novels.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:37 AM   #808
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Pudge714 View Post
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
weird, is this a meme here? I just read about it randomly on wiki a few days ago.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:45 AM   #809
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Considering that tuq has made it abundantly clear I will forgo an initial "lol" in favor of something more substantial (perhaps even moreso than the lol @ u).

I think people are leaving out an important aspect here in that the only aspect being discussed is situational strategy. Lets take something like college football. Recruiting/Development far overshadow mundane decisions that are quantifiable like game theory optimal fake percentages and punt percentages and what not. Perhaps a coach is incredibly weak at the math end of football while being easily superior in the hands on/person skills. Obv Bill B knows more than I do about football, but to suggest he wouldn't be improved by speaking to a statistician/football math nerd/etc about how to improve decisions is asinine. And apparently if Kneel is correct, the reality of the situation.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:51 AM   #810
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Max Raker View Post
I almost brought this up, but calling this "game theory" is pretty ridiculous.
I think there is room for an application of what you guys would consider game theory (I'm assuming you care about situations that suggest randomized strategies) in terms of playcalling, perhaps.

While I think Phone Booth is correct about some of the wishful thinking line of stuff, his overall stance shuts down the possibility of any type of rational argument, as it largely assumes the superiority of inside knowledge. I'm not really interested in the level of epistemological rigor involved in "knowing" whether Belichick is a good coach or the decision was good or bad so much as processes by which we can make informed guesses about these sorts of things.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:52 AM   #811
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I can't believe you guys are actually reading phone booth's novels.
I read like half and then usually get tired. His baseball ones didn't really illuminate anything beyond the first post as they were 80 different variants of the same argument. Since I fast forwarded to here and read like half of a poast, I'm pretty sure that I've gotten the same effect as reading the Cliff Notes from Ulysses when I was 14.

If I'm understanding this discussion correctly, its 100% ******ed at its core. As it would preclude any discussion of anything.
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:13 AM   #812
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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weird, is this a meme here? I just read about it randomly on wiki a few days ago.
I saw it here a while ago. In case you have been ignoring the novels posted above it was in response to this.
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the irony of your post is of course that you are judging judging by saying that judges have no ability to judge, thereby judging those judges by the same supposedly faulty criteria that those judges also use to judge
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:14 AM   #813
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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This general meme prevalent in all societies that these powerful people in important positions aren't good at what they do seems to be a compensatory, populist form of wishful thinking
it's not that coaches aren't good at what they do - it's that they aren't good at a small part of what they do. there is value to be had in further segregation of duties.
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:34 AM   #814
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Thremp View Post
Considering that tuq has made it abundantly clear I will forgo an initial "lol" in favor of something more substantial (perhaps even moreso than the lol @ u).

I think people are leaving out an important aspect here in that the only aspect being discussed is situational strategy. Lets take something like college football. Recruiting/Development far overshadow mundane decisions that are quantifiable like game theory optimal fake percentages and punt percentages and what not. Perhaps a coach is incredibly weak at the math end of football while being easily superior in the hands on/person skills. Obv Bill B knows more than I do about football, but to suggest he wouldn't be improved by speaking to a statistician/football math nerd/etc about how to improve decisions is asinine. And apparently if Kneel is correct, the reality of the situation.
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it's not that coaches aren't good at what they do - it's that they aren't good at a small part of what they do. there is value to be had in further segregation of duties.
This and this. Jim Tressel is the most obvious example of a coach who is absolutely, mind blowingly dumb when it comes to game management, but because he's a very good recruiter who manages to put an extremely good defense on the field every single year, that's enough to overcome his extreme inability to take smart risks on offense. Charlie Weis is the exact opposite, someone who goes for fourth downs with reckless abandon but whose teams can't block or tackle, so he's getting fired. Game management is among the easiest things for a statistically minded person on their couch to understand and critique, but it's more important to be able to put your team in a position where it doesn't matter because your team is so much better than it is to push every small edge in close games against mediocre competition.
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:37 AM   #815
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

HAYCHAHCHACHAHCHAHCAHCHAHCHACHAHCHAHCA

Did you just quote mai poast and a willie24 poast saying virtually the same thing?
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:37 AM   #816
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I saw it here a while ago. In case you have been ignoring the novels posted above it was in response to this.
Wow, I thought you were just using it as a response to general walls of text in the senese that it is grammatically correct but have a hard to get meaning. It is actually even better if you were also playing up the repeated word gag. Well played
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:37 AM   #817
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

I felt like being long winded.
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:24 AM   #818
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Triumph36 View Post
the irony of your post is of course that you are judging judging by saying that judges have no ability to judge, thereby judging those judges by the same supposedly faulty criteria that those judges also use to judge
LOL wow. Let everyone take notice that this is what happens when you debate trolls.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:16 AM   #819
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...-and-authority

http://www.ordinary-gentlemen.com/20...tional-wisdom/

There is a great gem in the 2nd. Ups to the first person who finds it.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:19 AM   #820
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Thremp View Post
Considering that tuq has made it abundantly clear I will forgo an initial "lol" in favor of something more substantial (perhaps even moreso than the lol @ u).

I think people are leaving out an important aspect here in that the only aspect being discussed is situational strategy. Lets take something like college football. Recruiting/Development far overshadow mundane decisions that are quantifiable like game theory optimal fake percentages and punt percentages and what not. Perhaps a coach is incredibly weak at the math end of football while being easily superior in the hands on/person skills. Obv Bill B knows more than I do about football, but to suggest he wouldn't be improved by speaking to a statistician/football math nerd/etc about how to improve decisions is asinine. And apparently if Kneel is correct, the reality of the situation.
actually i think it might be better if you just say lol
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:25 AM   #821
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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actually i think it might be better if you just say lol
Would it be better if I instead thought to myself: "Wai kno 1 maek funsies yet? I r maeeek jopke. lalalalaolololaolol" And then typed something that was funny half the time and a waste of 7s of every reader's time otherwise?

Alternatively, why u so mean to meh? That was really good analysis ldo.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:28 AM   #822
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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it's not that coaches aren't good at what they do - it's that they aren't good at a small part of what they do. there is value to be had in further segregation of duties
whether the decision-making algorithm(s) championed by the Calculator Squad would increase the probability of winning enough to offset the outrage of football fandom (fans are risk averse and their feelings are an important variable in the meta-game of football business, fans do not like what mathy-sounding stuff connotes, etc.) is an open question. how delegating a large class of in-game problems to the equivalent of a computer program would affect Team Morale is another open question. heeding the counsel of number-crunchers has potential benefits and absolutely certain non-trivial costs. sports executives and coaches may have their lapses of judgment, but i cannot find too much wrong with their reluctance to sample the wares of unconventional outsiders.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:29 AM   #823
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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whether the decision-making algorithm(s) championed by the Calculator Squad would increase the probability of winning enough to offset the outrage of football fandom (fans are risk averse and their feelings are an important variable in the meta-game of football business, fans do not like what mathy-sounding stuff connotes, etc.) is an open question. how delegating a large class of in-game problems to the equivalent of a computer program would affect Team Morale is another open question. heeding the counsel of number-crunchers has potential benefits and absolutely certain non-trivial costs. sports executives and coaches may have their lapses of judgment, but i cannot find too much wrong with their reluctance to sample the wares of unconventional outsiders.
Put some nub in "the booth" ldo.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:29 AM   #824
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

thx for links thremp.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:36 AM   #825
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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It is indeed true that OBP was for a long time a criminally underrated stat; it is not true that “a walk is as good as a hit”. (Just ask the coach with a man on third and two outs playing a team with a great double play combo.)
Unless the Cleveland Browns make the move to MLB... I'm pretty sure there would never be a DP turned here.
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