# Don't let baseball-stat nerds steal the game

## Jerry Greene says an obsession with sabermetrics threatens to ruin baseball

Let's talk baseball.

(Wait! Don't leave. Some of you must still like baseball even if we don't have any major-league teams in this state. ... What? ... We do? ... Two! ... Incredible. Why don't we know about this? Anyway, it's spring, so we can spend a few moments on baseball — and there will be other stuff later in the column, promise.)

War is hell, and baseball is being ruined by W.A.R. (Wins Above Replacement).

W.A.R. is baseball for nerds. I'm surprised it's not frequently mentioned on "The Big Bang Theory." And speaking of theories, talk to any baseball nerd for five minutes, and he is bound to mention Pythagoras.

No, Pythagoras is not a Greek first baseman for Pittsburgh. He was a Greek mathematician and philosopher who lived about 500 B.C. but somehow is believed to have known how to play winning baseball a long time before it was invented. Near as I can figure, he said something like "numbers explain everything," and sabermetrics was born.

So now we have W.A.R. and baseball nerds who said at the end of last season that Mike Trout had to be the American League MVP instead of Miguel Cabrera. For those with a really short attention span, all Miguel did was bat for the Triple Crown.

Thankfully the nerds lost and Cabrera won.

But the nerds are winning a little more each year. They now talk about a team's "Pythagorean record," which is the win-loss record they say a team should have based on its runs scored and runs allowed.

How about a team's real record? Shouldn't that still count for something?

So I've invented a new acronym: L.O.V.E.

What does it mean? Uh, give me a second. ... OK, how about this: Last Out Verification Effect. What does that mean? Who knows? But what does Wins Above Replacement mean? Maybe Pythagoras knew but he never wrote anything down, so nobody really knows what he was talking about anyway.

When you watch a baseball game, remember this: Make L.O.V.E. — not W.A.R. It may be meaningless, but it sounds good. I should trademark it — and speaking of that ...

Yankees truly are 'Evil Empire'

Not only that, the New York Yankees want to be baseball's "Evil Empire." They wanted it enough to win a three-year battle to have the phrase registered as a trademark by a panel of judges. Something called Evil Enterprises Inc. wanted the phrase, but the judges ruled that "there is only one evil empire in baseball and it is the Yankees." Somewhere Darth Vader is smiling.

Here are a few more sports trademarks of note:

•"Johnny Football" by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. This one remains unsettled, as the NCAA is watching closely to make sure Manziel's amateur status is not compromised. And we all know how efficient the NCAA is.

•"Fear the Brow" by NBA rookie Anthony Davis to celebrate his unibrow.

•"Clown Question" by Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper after responding to a reporters' request with "That's a clown question, bro."

•"Three-Peat" by Pat Riley, who got the trademark in 1988 during the Lakers' pursuit of three straight NBA titles. He now collects royalties every time any team uses the phrase. Smart man.

•"Linsanity" by Houston Rockets' Jeremy Lin, who made the request after playing just five games for the New York Knicks last year. He also has trademark requests pending in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

•"Tebowing" by Tim Tebow, although he did have a lot of folks fighting him for ownership of the term. Maybe not so much anymore.

Attendance is so bad for Singapore's leading soccer league that the members of one team are going door to door asking residents to come watch them play. How would you react if some guys came to your door claiming to be lonely soccer players? Yeah, me, too. "Hello, 911?" Of course, if things don't get better by next season, perhaps the Orlando Magic should hang on to this idea just in case.

These are the notes, folks

In the NFL combine, there were 300-pound linemen running 40 yards in 4.6 seconds, just slightly slower than a cheetah. Forget about asking them who they are dating; ask them the name of their pharmacists.

Reader O'Kane Conwell wrote: "My suggestion for a new Olympic sport is 'texting while driving.' Winner gets a gold medal and the chance to live another day."

Be cynical if you like, but Tony Stewart was classy Sunday when he left the Daytona track to visit with six fans still hospitalized because of injuries received at the track Saturday. Would have been nicer if he had not been the only driver to make the effort.

Alabama has a new \$9 million training facility, including a sign that reads: "Sweat is just your fat crying." Reason No. 912 why I will never play football for the Crimson Tide.

If history eventually credits Dennis "The Worm" Rodman with saving the world, you'd better take back everything you have ever said about him.

On the other hand, if he starts World War III ...

Assuming Rodman did not cause the world to end, Jerry plans on joining Marc Daniels from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday on The Beat of Sports, heard on 740theGame radio. He also enjoys answering emails sent to osogreene@aol.com and hopes you have a great Sunday.