In 1998 and 1999, I think Kevin Hines and I talked about Rob Neyer’s espn.com columns every single day. The man who made smart baseball stats accessible, second only to Bill James. He is fascinating reading, and not just because he has consistently said Derek Jeter is one of the most overrated defensive shortstops of modern times.
For a long time I dismissed the Rob Neyer/Bill James school of thought, because I didn’t believe the analysis and appreciation of baseball should be reduced to a series of mathematical equations. But now I know that’s nonsense. It helped that, by sabermetric standards, Derek Jeter wasn’t nearly as good as Yankee fans (and the rest of the universe) made him out to be. So now I’m as obsessed with WAR, UZR, OPS and OPS+ as the next baseball nerd.