It’s easy to get caught up in baseball’s numbers, to forget just how talented major league players are — even those .230 hitters off the bench.
It’s easy to forget the human side of the game, the importance of leadership, the need for team chemistry.
It’s easy to forget that statistics tell us only part of the story, not the whole.
It’s easy to see how sabermetrics, zone ratings and slugging percentages can mislead teams like the Cubs to sign a Milton Bradley vs. a Mark DeRosa.
And, of course, it’s easy to laugh at the notion that a 40-year-old Jim Edmonds can still pick’it in center field or hit home runs better than that 24-year-old prospect can.
But if it were that easy, however, there’s no Jim Thome playing in Minnesota, Omar Vizquel on the South Side or Pedro playing wherever it is Pedro is going to play — and you can believe he will pitch again, even at 38-years-old.
How’s that so? Because the talent pool for bona-fide major leaguers is small, which, not surprisingly, we often forget.
It’s not that I’m against measuring baseball — or its players — by the numbers, or disregarding ‘money ball’ tactics, or even suggesting the Brewers were incredible smart for signing Edmonds.
I’m just reminding us, myself included, that it’s people –regardless of age — that make this game great, and not just the numbers.