Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach "tradition" and "respecting the game". But many of baseball's traditions go back to the 19th 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.
Kenny also points out how fossilized sportswriters have been electing the wrong MVPs 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-listen for fans, players, managers, and fantasy enthusiasts.
©2016 Brian Kenny (P)2016 Tantor
I have grown up in the age of saber metrics but this book allowed me to understand it in a more comprehensive way. The narrating is done by Brian Kenny and he does an amazing job at it. The book has long chapters that don't just give a form of thinking, but gives many facts and statistics to back it up. The book doesn't tell you that saber metrics is the only way to look at things, it's just that it is a new way which allows teams to have a competitive advantage over ones hat don't. Great book.
I've been an audible subscriber for well over 10 years and this is the first review I've decided to submit. Brian Kenny in his book Ahead of the Curve really shows us how backwards thinking baseball can be. It is wonderful to hear someone think outside the box, and show and prove that the game can change. I know it can take a long time, but it is possible. I love the fact that Brian read the book himself. Although I am sure there are better readers out there, his enthusiasm and excitement for the game and his process shines through the entire book. Highly recommended!
Kenny loves baseball, which makes him my friend. He was also a fairly early adopter of Jamesian analytics. He's been fighting the baseball Luddites for a long time and, lately, he's been winning. This is a fascinating book. Kenny filters baseball mythology through a Sabermetric filter and tells us what happened and why. If you're familiar with Moneyball you know what's coming. He does tend to end every sentence as if it were punctuated with an exclamation point. For the first hour I thought he was yelling at me. His Enthusiasm Adjusted Vocal Level (eAVL) is around a weighted 4.7, which is assertive bordering on aggressive. You get used to it after a while. Kenny loves his subject and you will too. If you're new to Sabermetrics you'll be watching the game entirely differently after this book.
The chapter on Williams/DiMaggio.
Expertise and a love of the game.
Writes an compelling history of baseball and its slow movement to analyse for everything that happens on the field. Mr. Kenny was one of the first to embrace this unique and different way of thinking about the American past time. A must read for those who love baseball.
Ahead of the Curve is a great baseball listen for the above average fan. If you like to think outside the box, this is definitely for you. Great ideas and theories that people normally wouldn't consider and go against traditional strategy. The ending was a bit slow with the MVP comparison of Trout and Cabrera and the Williams/DiMaggio debate. Other than that, I'll probably end up listening to this again later in the baseball season.
Brian Kenny, reading his own book, makes his baseball analytical arguments come to life. Hard to imagine a neutral observer reading it; they simply would not have the same passion for the subject matter that Mr. Kenny shows. Oh, and he makes strong cases for his views. I might not agree with all of them, but I loved hearing his viewpoints.
Kenny does a great job discussing the use of advanced statistics in both a historical context and present-day application. His long career analyzing the MLB affords him a unique perspective that challenges the use of outdated and imperfect performance metrics like BA and wins/losses with specific examples over the past century. Narration by Kenny is highly engaging, as well.
Christian, attorney and lover of the pursuit of excellence in sports, the arts, and life.
This is not anything like the typical reading of a book. This is a live conversation with a really smart guy that is highly informative and entertainingly told. Simply excellent all the way around.
Kenny was wise to narrate it himself. Engaging enthusiasm throughout.
Most of topics are familiar ground for baseball geeks. Yet, Kenny covered them in a way that was stimulating for those that already have been "baptized" as well as inviting for the serious fans who are skeptics.
I really like the last chapters that focused on organizational development -- the challenge of thoroughly integrating big data into strategic management in the front office and managerial tactics in the dugout. I am awed by the courage of the Astros to stay the course!
Broad historical sweep of the sabermetrics revolution
Putting Bill James and other path-breaking sabremetricians in Hall of Fame is long overdue.
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