Astros news: Robert Ford responds to SF Chronicle article on advanced stats

Bob Levey

A lame article by Bruce Jenkins gets refuted with extreme prejudice by Robert Ford.

At this point, I'll choose not to speak for you about how you feel Robert Ford has done in his job as the Astros play-by-play radio voice. Personally, I feel he's done a fine job, though he's had trouble finding a place in the collective consciousness after the indelibe Milo Hamilton ruled the airwaves.

Still, Ford is very good at his job and is a great follow on Twitter. He's responsive there, talks with fans and brings a behind-the-scenes element to the job that I used to love from Alyson Footer's work with the team. So, it was with great interest that I watched my Twitter feed when this dumb article in the San Francisco Chronicle dropped.

The baseball season is upon us, and as we turn our gaze to the east, we find the Houston Astros taking a most peculiar stance. They not only like the idea of their broadcasters going deep into modern-day statistics, they consider it a prerequisite for the job.

In other words, tuning into a typical Astros game: "Well, here's big Hank against a real tough lefty. You wouldn't believe how this guy's WAR stacks up against that guy's WHIP." At which point a torrent of statistical information unfolds, all about Wins Above Replacement - an effort to summarize a player's total contribution to a team in one statistic - and Walks Plus Hits Per Inning Pitched.

Why did Bruce Jenkins feel he needed to pick on the Astros? Does he assume that the team run by eggheads also makes their radio guys nerds? That all their fans are also nerds and demand nerd talk all the time? That's why we have Nerdist podcasts, right?

Well, Ford did a much better, more even-handed job of refuting all of Jenkins points, while still recognizing the value in the quotes Jenkins got from current broadcasters.

Here's a collection of his comments. What do you think about this? How do you think the Astros radio broadcasts handle advanced statistics? Have you noticed a push to have more of them on?

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