Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A "Read It & Weep Story" from Willie Runquist

A “Read It & Weep Story” from Willie Runquist

I have come across something hat may be of interest to those interested in the minor leagues. The 2005 edition of the Sporting News Baseball Guide (containing 2004 statistics) is badly flowed in that many player's records are missing for some (or maybe even all) of the teams in the leagues above Class A.

I have neither the patience nor the inclination to review all of the teams but I have checked batting and pitching records against the fielding records of several teams in the International, Pacific Coast , Eastern and Texas leagues . Almost every team I have examined showed some corruption, missing the batting and/or pitching records of as many as 1/3 of the players listed in the fielding stats. It is not just the "less thans" as many of them could be classified as regulars. I have not made an extensive review of the teams below AA, but so far I have not discovered any omissions from the California, Midwest, Northwest, Pioneer or Arizona leagues.
I wrote three times to The Sporting News starting in late October. While the letters are not terribly articulate, I even suggested a possible solution to the dilemma caused by their carelessness. I have not received a reply— or any other indication that they even give a good damn!
I am not sure what to do next. Do you think this is important enough that SABR should pursue the issue? I would dearly love to put the matter in someone else's hands.
—Willie Runquist P.S. This is not the first time that TSN as screwed up big time. In 1999, the fielding records for the Texas League are a repeat of those from the Southern League. While no one I know really cares much about fielding data, they are the only source of information about positions played.

Note: Would those of you out there who are SABR members contact me with your ideas of how to proceed. I personally doubt that SABR, as an organization, would want to cause problems for TSN, I think it might be appropriate to broach the matter with them. As they do have a webpage, maybe they could put up corrected stats there, or at least email those stats to people who have bought the guide in the first place. Any ideas would be appreciated. From those who are not SABR members, also.


Blogger JBenesch said...

Any corrections to the 2004 stats should come from the source .... TSN.
Most economic path: Add the missing data to the TSN website for access by interested parties. Those without computers can access the data at libraries. Hard copy can be made by those desiring the information. [The best alternative, if cost is ignored, would be corrected hard copy of the stats for all leagues containing omissions.]

5:51 AM  
Blogger beach64 said...

I saw this post on SABR-L and thought I would come and comment. TSN is only reporting the information that was given to them. I follow the Florida State League and also made an inquiry to TSN when the book first came out last spring. Unfortunately the records kept by the new stat service was and still is horrible through last year. I dont know if minor league baseball will change anything but unless you kept score for all the games that you are researching, you can be pretty sure there are numerous errors in the TSN records.

I dont know if teams keep their records year to year or at the end of the year they accept the stats that the service provided. I do know that last years FSL FT Myers Miracle games will probably not only be wrong but also the box scores from games will be wrong as well due to errors that were never corrected after scores were reported. One case was a player being credited with 1 more plate appearance in a game when the precedding 3 batters had 1 less than him. Another was a starting pitcher was pulled and the box score not showing the first reliever as ever appearing in the game. All the stats went to the starting pitcher. These are only 2 examples that I noticed during the season.

So if anyone actually wants to get corrct minor league stats I do not know where they should even start. Maybe the minor league team if they keep the records but that may be viewed as unoffical as well

Take Care
Brian Mohr

12:50 PM  
Blogger Joel Dinda said...

The Midwest League stats for 2004 have similar issues to those I've seen mentioned elsewhere. That there were problems was certainly common knowledge during the season; didn't expect the massive errors (incompetence) TSN's Guide seems to show, though. On the whole, I'd compare the 2004 season with mid-fifties stats--they give a sense of the season, but you need to make significant allowances and there are black holes.

First, though, let's apportion blame correctly. The NA (OK, Minor League Baseball) is most to blame, with their selected stat keeper a very close second. TSN deserves some blame, because they publish the data source most of us use, but there's really not a *lot* they could have done differently.

Everyone believes that getting things "correct" will be very difficult, if not impossible.

In the long run we'll all be using online data sources instead of the Guides. We need to make certain those have better data than the hardcover sources. And that's where this discussion really needs to go.

9:12 AM  

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