Sabermetrics useful, but not all questions can be answered with a stat: Today's News column

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Check out today's column in the Detroit News

I've written in the past, more than once, that I don't like the tenor of the debate about WAR, sabermetrics, the MVP, or whatever have you.

Link to today's column

I don't like people who ignorantly attack sabermetrics. They have been around a long time, and they are quite useful when analyzing situations and making projections. Certainly a lot of people who use sabermetrics and have high profiles are making asses out of themselves, or they use them so poorly that their track record of successful predictions leaves a bit to be desired. But I've found some statistics to be quite useful and I'm glad the research wa done.

But I also don't like that the sabermetric community will not even tolerate debate. Mike Trout wins, and any vote for anyone else is wrong. Case closed. Apparently only a five-tool player need apply for the MVP. Kind of takes the fun out of it, no? The rules lay out several things a voter might take into consideration when casting a decision. None of them state that the award is to go to the player with that highest cumulative WAR, counting stats, OPS or anything else. Voters are given the discretion to weigh different factors and allowed to capture the moment.

FInally, it's worth nothing no matter if you use traditional or sabermetric statistics, baseball is a game played by humans. They might be professional athletes, but other than being supremely talented and committed to their sport, they are human. They make mistakes. They feel pressure. They rise to the occasion or sink away from it.

So I put that all in my head, jumbled it around, made a few false starts, then penned this column largely in one setting. I hope it explains how you can be both sabermetric but still believe that Cabrera embodies everything an MVP should be and tell why he's deserving of the award -- which he will surely win.

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