Prominent baseball blogger and stats geek Mark Richardson was shocked to learn today that baseball is an actual sport played by human beings, and not just an advanced numbers-based simulation.
Richardson, who lives in southern Florida and blogs at his site, "WARlord of BABIP", was asked by a friend if he wanted to go see a spring training game.
"I assumed we'd be going to some sort of local data center to see a team of programmers sitting at an array of supercomputers and calculating that day's results," he said. "Imagine my shock when we arrived at some kind of … I think the word was 'field.'"
The stathead, who wrote more than 10,000 words arguing why Angels phenom Mike Trout should've been last season's MVP over Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, was immediately confused by the people tossing a physical ball made of horsehide back and forth, while others were swinging wooden bats. He asked other onlookers when the calculators, tablets and graphing paper would be used, only to have a beer thrown at him.
"I've spent my whole life believing 'baseball' was just a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet, and could easily be solved via a complex formula," he said. "This… this is wrong."
"Wait, you've never seen a baseball game before," Richardson's friend Steve asked.
Richardson explained that he'd only watched the game via live play-by-play feeds and box scores, and based his entire knowledge of the "sport" on that, believing it to be the most advanced computer program ever created.
"The virtual world of 'baseball' was a masterpiece of programming," said the third-year engineering student. "Now that I know it's just people… playing a game… well, it all seems kind of pointless."
Sources close to Richardson said he was now planning on devoting his life to the statistical study of the advanced program known as "basketball."