AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Inside the Baseball Revolution
Brian Kenny—outspoken MLB Network host and commentator—uses stories from baseball’s present and past to examine why we sometimes choose ignorance over information, and how tradition can trump logic, even when directly contradicted by evidence.
Forget batting average. Kill the “Win.” Say goodbye to starting pitchers. And please, please stop bunting. In Ahead of the Curve, Brian Kenny shows how baseball has been revolutionized—not destroyed—by analytical thinking.
Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach “tradition” and “respecting the game.” But many of baseball’s traditions go back to the nineteenth century, when the pitcher’s job was to provide the batter with a ball he could hit and fielders played without gloves. Instead of fearing change, Brian Kenny wants fans to think critically, reject outmoded groupthink, and embrace the changes that have come with the “sabermetric era.” In his entertaining and enlightening book, Kenny discusses why the pitching win-loss record, the Triple Crown, fielding errors, and so-called battling titles should be ignored.
He also points out how fossilized sportswriters have been electing the wrong MVP’s and ignoring legitimate candidates for the Hall of Fame; why managers are hired based on their looks; and how the most important position in baseball may just be “Director of Decision Sciences.”
Ahead of the Curve debunks the old way of analyzing baseball and ushers in a new era of straightforward logic. Illustrated with unique anecdotes from those who have reshaped the game, it’s a must-read for fans, players, managers, and fantasy enthusiasts. A fresh, fascinating analysis of baseball, Ahead of the Curve will deepen every reader’s appreciation of the game.
Brian Kenny puts his views on new baseball that I have heard him talk about for years on ESPN, and MLB programs. With the new age of information, he explains not only the new terminology, (WAR, VORP, WHIP, WPA), to name a few there are many more. Having this information and then having him explain each one by examples of either a player from today or a player from the past is very helpful. He also goes into his discussions with Bill James who was hired by the Red Sox before they won their first of three World Series since the so called curse. Once you have all of this information it does start to make sense. Will it all change like he suggests, getting rid of wins for the pitchers I don’t think so, but you never know. I do agree with him on that the value of the home run is too high. I remember years ago Sparky Anderson saying that he would take three doubles and some singles over a home run, because a home run a lot of times was a rally killer for his team. That is something that is missing. He also talks about the use of shifts that have been put in place now and how the hitters have not adjusted their swing to take advantage of the open field that is in play. A hitter like Brian McCann, for the Yankees. When he was with Atlanta he had a career AVERAGE of .277, now with the Yankees it is .232 because he has changed his swing to take advantage of the short field in left. If he went back to using the whole field his avg. would go back up and they would have to take the shift off when he came up to bat. That is just one example. I also liked his break down of some players who should be in the Hall of Fame and he compares their stats with others at their same positions who are in. Overall a very good book and one that will help explain to anyone the sabermetrics. A very good read. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at