The New York Mets recently put together a wildly impressive stretch of baseball, winning 15 of 16 games to climb back into the National League playoff race. Since then, the Mets have cooled off to the tune of three consecutive losses but, after their run, New York is at least tangentially relevant again, unlike the early portion of the season in which many jokes were lobbed in the organization’s direction.
On Thursday, though, Mets manager Mickey Callaway made some comments that are sure to draw the ire of many and, in this particular set of quotes, the 44-year-old took on the analytics movement.
“I bet 85 percent of our decisions go against the analytics, and that’s how it’s always going to be, because that is just on paper,” said Callaway, via Tim Healey of Newsday. “It doesn’t take into account the person is a human being, how he performs in these big spots, all those things that a manager looks at.”
Obviously, this is nonsensical. Curiously, Callaway’s comments take on a tone that is almost cocky in nature, essentially declaring that his decision-making process overrides that of the numbers. In fact, the Mets presumably pay a (very) large sum of many to develop internal metrics for Callaway to utilize and his assertion that he ignores the numbers “85 percent” of the time can’t necessarily sit well with upper management.
To be somewhat fair, he would come around to statements that indicate he would at least consider using the analytical data every so often… even if he took the long way to that realization when addressing the media.
“So you’re going against analytics most of the time,” Callaway continued. “But I think there’s something to be said when all things are equal and you’re really taking all these things into consideration and the decision still feels very equal. Then ok. Let’s lean on, what does the match-up look like? What is the projection that our analytics department is coming up with? What does it look like? And if it’s a lot of points one way or the other, I think that’s something to take into consideration to try and make a better decision.”
Callaway has been on the wrong side of a lot of criticism but, admittedly, he isn’t the only figure in the Mets organization that has been denounced over the course of a frustrating campaign. In some circles of the sports world, Callaway will undoubtedly be lauded for pushing back against the “nerd” culture of baseball but, in truth, his comments are archaic and it shouldn’t be embraced as “cool” to ignore the math that a) would help the team on the field and, b) organizational employees worked hard to uncover and decipher.