Imagine Casey Stengel attempting to engage with
Statistics, analytics — really quite horrific,
With numbers, formulas dancing in his head,
Crashing into words that never knew such a home before —
Picture a highway with multi-directional lanes and no clear exits.
They say that the Pentagon has more than 17 miles of hallways
Twisting and turning and that is a diagram of Casey’s mind,
With the newly created words and phrases that made Congress
Laugh one day and won them over. He’d make a percent sign
Grimace at his saying, “Good pitching will always stop good hitting, and
Vice versa” and “There comes a time in every man’s life, and
I’ve had plenty of them.” How do you formulate those
Sentiments? Yes, if he were to lift his hat in the time of
Analytics, an abacus would fly out and he would
Present his lovely crooked fatherly smile that would charm
Opponents out of their arguments. Casey would sit in front
Of a MacBook Pro and overwhelm the Apple geniuses with
Keystrokes that could cause a stroke as words and numbers
Unaccustomed to each other’s company would crash into
Each other in tangential ways like chaotic pinballs, then crash the computer
As he confronted WHIP, BAPIP, WAR, UZR and scratched his head
While reporters would wait outside his office for a quote
That would explain this move or that, playing pitcher
Tommy Byrne in left to keep his bat still in the game
And bringing him back to pitch and be successful. Which
Formula informed him of that move? Which percentage
Product whispered in his ear to bring in Ryne Duren,
Watch him throw a warm-up pitch all the way to the wall
Behind home plate, straining to see through such thick lenses,
And then proceed to easily shut down the enemy and
Get a save? Casey never met a Sabermetrician but was a
True magician making losses disappear and be replaced with wins
And pulling rabbits out of his hat (not birds, not words, not
Mathematical conclusions). Yet somehow he managed
To win seven World Series titles and he never used a
Calculator or a magic wand — and which formula or set
Of numbers can explain the human being wearing
Number 37? If you were to create an equation
To produce an explanation, it would say:
Guts plus Brains plus Imagination equal why the Game
Used to be revered, the product of real people and
Not the end game of technology.