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Bridging The Great Baseball Analysis Divide

Yesterday I wrote a personal reaction to Gary Cohen's misinterpretation -- and somewhat haughty dismissal -- of BABIP (batting average on balls in play) during two SNY telecasts this past weekend. It was a fun piece to write and I think it generated a lot of interesting discussion here and on other sites. However, it had a clear target audience: folks who already embrace objective analysis. I was preaching to the choir, supplicating our base, and otherwise appealing to those already indoctrinated.

That's all fine, and while there will always be an expectation that readers have a certain requisite familiarity with whatever we write about, there are two things I am quite sure of. The first is that much of the audience here doesn't truly understand what BABIP is, why it's important, and how it's contextually different for pitchers versus hitters. That's true of a great number of stats and concepts, no matter how casually we refer to them or how rudimentary they may seem at times. Sure, most of the regulars know what we're talking about most of the time, but the vast majority of the 4,000+ daily readers are not active in the community and probably gloss over topics we never bothered to explain.

The second thing I'm certain of is that for every ten people reading this who don't know why BABIP (e.g.) is important -- and why it's important to us, and how it enhances our understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of baseball -- three, or five, or seven (or ten!) of you truly want to better understand this stuff and we need to do a better job of getting you there. So we're going to start doing a series of "intro to sabermetrics" posts to help ease more of you into the fold. The overarching goal will be to reach out to folks who want to learn more but don't know where to begin, an exercise which will not only strengthen this community, but hopefully foster a sense of intellectual curiosity about baseball that will stoke, not dampen, your passion for the game.

To help us out a bit, I'd like to solicit suggestions and ideas for things you'd like to see covered. I already have a pretty good framework for how we're going to approach this in a way that will be fun and interesting, but we're also on the other side of the glass to some extent and I want to make sure we don't overlook something obvious that you'd really like to see addressed. I would especially like to hear from those of you who may be reluctant to otherwise engage the community here because you're not comfortable enough with particular stats or concepts to jump in and get involved.