By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bill James is one of the most legendary statisticians in sports. He’s the godfather of sabermetrics and arguably the No. 1 reason that WAR and analytics are so prevalent in today’s game. He’s currently a senior adviser for the Red Sox.
But after his latest remarks on pro baseball players, the team is distancing themselves from him. James is under fire across the baseball world after a series of tweets on Wednesday, in which he appeared to dismiss all baseball players as eminently replaceable assets who are just as important to games as the beer vendors.
The tweets in question have been deleted, but via NBC Sports his most offensive comment was this: “If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever.
“The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”
That last part. Just outrageous.
James’ rant began with a response to a comment by super-agent Scott Boras arguing that too many players are overpaid. He’s been replying to people left and right in the nearly 24 hours since. Needless to say, the Red Sox and the MLB Players Association were not happy with his tweets.
Here’s how each of them responded:
The #RedSox Statement Regarding Bill James’ Recent Remarks: pic.twitter.com/JffB08Hqad— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) November 8, 2018
Executive Director Tony Clark’s regarding Bill James’ comments... pic.twitter.com/UHa4j1LSqD— #MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) November 8, 2018
James obviously took his assessment of players way too far. You can’t possibly argue that players like Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, David Price, or Chris Sale are as replaceable as a utility player or a beer vendor, or that they’re not “the game.” Last I checked, fans don’t shell out hundreds to go look at stat sheets. The players are and always will be the driving force of the game.
Even if that’s not what he meant, he clearly worded his point quite poorly. Lesson here for Bill James is probably to just log off Twitter.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.