Hawk Harrelson and Brian Kenny had their much-hyped (if you watch MLB Network all day) clash about sabermetrics Thursday. Harrelson, the Chicago White Sox broadcaster and ex general manager, is on record saying advanced stats are rubbish and are "the most overrated thing to come into baseball" in the last decade. Kenny, who hosts "MLB Now" with Harold Reynolds, is a sabermetrics believer and ripped Hawk when he dropped the "overrated" comment.
They squared off — monitor-o y monitor-o — for a segment, that felt like a vegetarian trying to convince a meat-eater to give up the carnivorous life. Kenny got the best line when he asked Hawk, "Are you basing your critique of sabermetrics on the movie 'Moneyball'?" You see, Hawk had just admitted that he only saw "Moneyball" because his wife wanted to, but he'd never read the book. Oh, that Brad Pitt. So alluring.
But Harrelson, as he's known to do, rattled off plenty of quotables. Along the way, he introduced the nation to his advanced stat — TWTW, the will to win — which sounds magical in a "Rudy" sort of way. Here are some of our favorite Hawk lines from Thursday's debate, provided with absolutely no context. We'll leave you to imagine what he was thinking.
"TWTW, the will to win. You can't put numbers on those things."
"The more numbers and the more information you bring into the game, the more instincts you take out of the game. It's just that simple."
"How are you going to accumulate a team W, if the pitcher doesn't get his W? You gotta have a W."
"Did you box, you said? OK, so you had the will to get in that ring. I did a lot of fighting, in the street and in the ring. You gotta have the will to win."
"Brian, you've got to understand, the first rule of baseball is catch the ball."
"It wasn't Billy Beane's idea."
"They were having to manage a game they didn't know."
"This is a kid's game. It always has been and it always will be."
"I disagree with you and I still like you."
"It's not ready yet. down the road, 40 or 50 years ,when you can put some of those categories, you get your OBPS and all that, your VORPs, when you put in TWTW, and interface those numbers with TWTW, that category, then you might have something cooking."
We can't wait for Round 2, in which Hawk will hopefully tell us the answer to this riddle: "If a pitcher get a W and no one is there to collect it, is it really a W?"
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