“Sabermetrics for Dummies”: Mainstream Media Style

Jason Collette and Tommy Rancel talking with J.B. Long from the Bright House Sports Network.

Rarely do you ever see a mainstream media outlet take the time to discuss sabermetric stats. Every now and then you’ll see a passing reference to WAR or FIP on ESPN, but the announcers have a maximum of 30 seconds to introduce the statistic, explain what it means, and make their point. These mentions are great for general awareness of sabermetric statistics, but do they actually educate anyone? They can make be a good introduction to a statistic and make someone curious to learn more – and don’t get me wrong, I love when mainstream news sources mention saber stats – but to truly educate someone about sabermetrics takes more than that.

Enter the Bright House Sports Network.  While Bright House is a major sports network in the Tampa Bay area, covering topics ranging from national sports stories to local high school teams, they’ve begun augmenting their baseball coverage with some sabermetric analysis. Jason Collette, Tommy Rancel, and R.J. Anderson – three premier Rays bloggers – contributed articles on the BHSN website during the later half of the 2010 season, using their analyses as a springboard for readers to become familiarized with advanced statistics.

And now, Bright House is taking it a step further: filming “Sabermetrics for Dummies” videos with Jason, Tommy, and reporter J.B. Long. This first video is a mere introduction to the series, but more videos will be released this week and the topics will include wOBA, BABIP, LOB%, WAR, IsoP, and FIP. These are extended videos, with the idea of explaining to viewers how the sabermetric stats are calculated and why they are useful.

Is it just me or is this rather unique? Has any other mainstream sports station done something similar? I’d love to hear examples of other media outlets doing similar projects (please share!), but at least to my knowledge, the Bright House Sports Network is ahead of the curve.

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Steve is the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library. You can follow him on Twitter at @steveslow.

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Thanks Steve. I’d also like to mention that BHSN approached us about doing this not the other way around. The segments are rather short leaving us only time to stick to the basic principles of the principles – if that makes sense – and not really get into nuiances and debates. But the hope is this intro leads to some increased discussion later on. At the very least, we’re glad they are acknowledging this does exist and is used around the league.


Is there a way to look at 2011 war stats that focus only on hitting not fielding? And to chart this data between specified dates?