Thursday, February 24, 2005
There are few writers in the game today who mix an appreciation for statistics with a conversational writing style that gives the lay reader an accessible peek into the real story of baseball. Unlike most writers he seems to grasp how tremendous Billy Beane's work in Oakland really has been, and grasped the fact that the Hudson and Mulder deals aren't the end of the A's dominance. (see also.)
Gammons is also a keen reader of trends in the game. His September 12th piece on the fact that Defense was poised to become the "next big thing" in sabremetrics was uncannily prescient. This winter we've seen two major efforts to expand on existing defensive theories and break new ground. (I refer to Dave Pinto's PMR and Mike Humphires DRA.) Gammons has also been very open-minded towards Moneyball disciples Theo Epstein and Paul DePodesta, correctly noting that their much-criticized deals at the 2004 trading deadline would actually help their teams when the conventional wisdom was that the Dodgers had foolishly dealt their clutch bat, Paul Lo Duca, and that the Red Sox were crazy to deal Nomar for Cabrera.
I'm not the only blogger who thinks Gammons is a demi-god. Aaron Gleeman has praised his writing style and so have many other bloggers I've talked to informally via email.
I suppose what bloggers really like about Gammons is his willingness to embrace new ideas. Too often writers fall into ruts, recycling conventional wisdom and old platitudes without subjecting them to any thought. (I've often complained that people who rest their arguments on tradition - "This is the way things are done" - lack the capacity to see the world outside of their box. They enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.) Gammons gives us a cutting edge look at the game and digs deep to give us a peek into what the managers and GMs are thinking when they make decisions.
Bravo, Mr Gammons. Your work is always worthwhile!