Vibrant Young Minority Sabermetricians
|Society of American Baseball Research meeting|
Ever since Obama`s re-election, there has been a lot of odd chest-thumping in the press conflating minorities, youth, women, and … sabermetricians (a.k.a., hobbyists devoted to sophisticated baseball statistics) versus the evil (but, fortunately, doomed) Old White Man demographic. Josh Levin, executive editor of Slate, pulls the entire emerging meme together:
The Tigers slugger was the candidate of old white men. Lucky for him, that’s who decides baseball’s MVP awards.
Mitt Romney lost the popular vote. He lost the electoral college, too, finishing behind President Obama in every swing state but one. But the GOP nominee didn’t get crushed across the board. Sixty-two percent of white men voted for Romney, and 61 percent of white men and women 45 and older voted for the former Massachusetts governor. The problem for Romney wasn’t his opponent.
It was the electorate. If he wanted to find a bloc of voters that was more susceptible to his charms, he should’ve announced his candidacy for another fiercely contested race: most valuable player of the American League.
On Thursday, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera defeated Angels center fielder Mike Trout, winning the AL MVP award with 22 of 28 first-place votes. Trout, a 21-year-old rookie, was the youthful insurgent in this contest.
Among his backers was Nate Silver, who—years before he became a political seer—made his name by inventing a system to project baseball players’ stats. Earlier this week, Silver explained why Trout, not Cabrera, was the best choice for AL MVP …
Cabrera, by contrast, was the candidate of the establishment. While Trout led all of baseball in the sabermetrically approved Wins Above Replacement statistic, the Tigers’ slugger paced the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs, winning the first Triple Crown since 1967.
So, I thought I`d go look up the demographics of hobbyists in advanced baseball statistics. Clearly, vibrant young minorities must predominate.
Oddly, even though sabermetricians are good with numbers, they don`t seem in any hurry to publish demographic statistics about themselves. So, let`s just look at pictures from Society of American Baseball Research conventions. At the top is one from the NYT. Here`s one from ESPN:
|Jim Bouton greets his fans at SABR meeting|
And here`s one from the SABR.org:
Seriously, virtually any volunteer group in modern America with an eccentric and elite taste in pushing forward the intellectual analysis of just about anything in their spare time for the sheer of love of learning is going to be dominated by white people, typically by white men. I went to a golf course architecture aficionado`s weekend: same thing. I attended a couple of Amnesty International meetings in 1982 chaired by Kundera`s translator Michael Henry Heim: same thing. Evolutionary psychology meetings have a higher proportion of women, but, pretty much the same thing.
America`s Vibrant Future is going to be cognitively catatonic.