Kids are the Ones Who Lose in Little League Debacle Plus the Analytics Debate

Sadly, the kids will take the brunt of the team losing their title while no one will remember the adults who cheated.

When the folks who put together the “history” portion of the Little League World Series program next year get together I hope they try something new.

Instead of typing “2014 United States Champion: Jackie Robinson West” with a bold line struck through it symbolizing their stripped title, I hope they choose a different approach.

Maybe what they can do is type “Adults ruined this title for the kids.” That way, the gist of why these 11 and 12 year old kids had their accomplishment taken from them will be as delicate as a hammer to the side of the head.

Don’t get me wrong, we can’t be giving credit to teams that so blatantly violate the rules of the game in order to win and win only. But… Did these kids have anything to do with why they lost their title?

No, they sure as heck didn’t but it will be they who are remembered for having their United States title taken from them.

I wrote back in the summer in this very spot about my disdain for the over-abundance of Little League coverage by ESPN and you’re seeing yet another reason why I feel the attention is too much.

It’s not just the team from Chicago though either. We’ve seen plenty of controversy about other American teams as well as foreign teams and they are all trying to cheat the system in the name of winning and winning only. Perhaps one day what will actually matter is having kids from the same Little League organization play together and if they win the LLWS then so be it.

At least they’ll be able to say they did it fairly.

Charles Barkley doesn't like analytics any more than I do.

Analytics Debate Gains Another Particpant

It appears I’ve gained a new ally in my personal war against the analytic nerds. National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has jumped into the fray by ripping on Houston Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey.

Barkley admitted that he’s never been on the Houston bandwagon the way some are, especially those that profess their sabremetric beliefs such as Morey does. I hate the analytics that have begun dominating sports so I can completely relate to what Barkley is saying.

In my opinion, there is nothing more important than the eye test. It doesn’t matter what sport we are talking about either because there’s nothing like being able to watch a guy and know whether he’s “got it or not.” Take the upcoming National Football League Combine where collegiate hopefuls will be put through numerous ringers so that teams can figure out which players to choose in the draft.

While there will be plenty of numbers, times and weights to be discussed, the vast majority of NFL scouts and coaches will use the most important factor in all of evaluation which is of course the “eye test.”

I can understand arguments about baseball and analytics because the game has relied on numbers longer than any other when you think about it. Go into any dugout and you’ll see three-ring binders full of information how how opponents fair against leftys and righties and at night and in the day. I really do get that part of the debate, but nothing will beat the ability to watch a player and see how he reacts in those same situations where numbers are being used.

Nothing personal analytics people but I just don’t think the numbers always add up.