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Bill James on 60 Minutes
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 3/31/2008 1:46:00 AM
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I found Sunday's 60 Minutes segment on Bill James, like the Al Gore segment that preceded it, to be little more than an uninspired puff piece. The profile at once misleadingly named him kingmaker of Boston's two titles and failed to capture his profound significance to the national pastime. I'm not a weekly viewer of 60 Minutes, so maybe I expected too much, but the segment stank with superficiality. Nerdy night watchman reads boxscores to pass the time and -- presto! -- the Red Sox are World Series champs! Some context for the non-sabermetric viewer -- which I'm guessing comprised 99 percent of those tuning in -- was needed. Swing and a miss, 60 Minutes.


60 minutues always does that for topics like this. They just skim the serface. It's kind of like Readers Digest. Not a shock. It's just to take a subject like this and make it basic for people over 60.
Posted by bmowery at 3/31/2008 7:38:00 AM
I kinda felt the same way. Bill James has been a part of my life for 25 years now, so I guess I kind of already knew all the surface details about him. 60 Minutes did nothing more than bring the masses up to speed.

I thought when they said "James invented sabermetrics" but didn't bother to say what it was and what came out of it was a missed opportunity. And I know they mentioned Billy Beane, but there was very little - if any - reference to Moneyball.

His effect on fantasy baseball and the formation of STATS, Inc. were also not covered at all, which I thought were probably his two biggest indirect contributions of his career. I guess it's easier to just say "The Red Sox hired this stat geek, and then they won the World Series! Twice!" and play up that story.
Posted by kennruby at 4/1/2008 10:09:00 AM
Just keep in mind who the target audience of 60 Minutes is - it's not us. The average non-sabermetric baseball fan isn't even the target audience. It's the very casual baseball fan, one that probably only watches during the playoffs and a couple of token games during the season. Just introducing James and having Costas extol his virtues is better than nothing, even with all the faults of the piece.
Posted by Erickson at 4/1/2008 10:26:00 AM

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