Revenge of the Nerds


Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have recently concluded that Derek Jeter is the worst fielding shortstop in the Major Leagues.  Using a method called Spatial Aggregate Fielding Evaluation, or SAFE, they have come up with this earth shattering conclusion.


Who funded this grant, the Boston Red Sox??


Stop the madness!  There is no way that Derek Jeter is the worst fielding shortstop in baseball.  You could put a gun at my head and I still wouldn’t say it.


And I’m not even a Yankee fan.


 The nerds are running the asylum.  Don’t they have anything better to do in Universities these days?  Apparently not.  Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a computer scientist?  I rest my case.


The premise is so absurd it’s laughable.  I didn’t even want to write a column about it, but they have really gotten to me.  Count me amongst the conspiracy theorists.  Bill James, the godfather of sabermetrics, tried valiantly to get a job in Major League Baseball for 26 years.  After knocking on many doors, the Red Sox finally hired him in 2003.  All his minions have to be Yankee haters.


Baseball research has no business being conducted in universities.  I mistakenly thought they spent their time on more noble issues, like the theory of relativity.  And these U of Pennsylanvia guys came from Wharton.  Wharton!!  Isn’t that a business school?


I can see it now.  The head of hedge funds at JP Morgan is interviewing candidates who have graduated from Wharton to join his firm on Wall St. If I was the guy from JP Morgan, presumably I’d be a Yankee fan.  I’d also probably read both the sports and business pages.  Then why, I’d be asking myself, would they be conducting this nonsense at the most prestigious business school in America.  Talk about a great opening question that could put the candidate on the defensive.


I was going to do lots of research on to defend my position, but I’m not going down to the nerds level.  I do now that Jeter has three gold gloves.  I vividly remember the play he made to win the ALCS against Oakland.  There are many other special plays that I recall he made from years of watching him on TV.


Nerds go home!


Does he need to improve?  Yes.  He will turn 33 this year, and he has worked hard in the off season in an effort to improve his agility.  There are questions that he may have lost some range going to his left.  That I can accept.  I cannot and will not accept the conclusion that he is the worst fielder in Major League Baseball.


Now I know why there may be a subprime crisis on Wall St……


Start a Conversation