The last stop on our five-part series this week about how technology is being discovered, acquired and applied at WVU was at Hawley Field and with Randy Mazey. He coaches baseball, of course, and when you think about what I’ve tried to make you think about this week and you consider statistics and scouring and advanced scouting, you probably think “Baseball!” Or just “Baseball.” I’m not sure.
I read Moneyball before I saw “Moneyball” and I see defenses shift when a batter comes to the plate and barely move when that batter hits right into the scouting report. I’ve see Fox and ESPN show hot zones and cold zones in the nine segments of the strike zone. Baseball is numbers and expected outcomes and sabermetrics.
So, logically, the very experienced, very astute and very successful Mazey has something to explain his success, yes? No!
“I’m probably going to answer your question with my next question,” Mazey said. “What is sabermetrics?”
He’s not being philosophical. He’s being serious. Numbers are for scoreboards, putouts and the backs of jerseys.
“We’re not like pro baseball, which picks and chooses its players and pays certain guys whatever he wants so you can get him,” Mazey said. “When we go recruit, we identify good players. We get some of them and we don’t get some of them. But it’s not like I can take the guys who have a good OBPSPB or whatever you call that.”
OBPSPB! Well, that is that. It didn’t end the conversation or, in truth, the series. We decided to put this story at the end this time because it proves that the examples from volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and soccer are not required. They’re accessories and supplements, but you can win without them. And many choose to do that.
Mazey has worked with expensive video equipment before, but he prefers to see players working with tees and fungo bats and getting in extra work with a coach on the side. He values trust over technology and, let’s be honest, no one here is complaining.
Thanks for playing along this week and for the feedback, whether in the comments, on Twitter or in email. I’m hoping this entertained or educated and filled a slow week in the long summer just to make the bridge to football season a little shorter.
I had fun and I had my eyes opened, too. Listen, I’m really smart. But I had no idea about some of these things. I’m certain there’s more out there. I trust it flushed out other story ideas from some who didn’t want to participate or didn’t know they had what they have. I think it’s neat and I know it brings coaching and preparation into a different focus.
And that’s all for me today. Significant home improvement project going sideways this morning and I have some meetings that came out of nowhere. We’re back in full swing come Monday with a more regular week of action and a look at recruiting and fundraising. Until we meet again.