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Game played by humans

The age-old faith versus reason debate continues to proliferate in professional sports.
Jeff Bagwell, the MLB Hall of Famer who has recently gained influence in the Houston Astros’ front office, spoke to reporters Tuesday about his belief that the organization placed an over-emphasis on analytics under ex-GM James Click.
“Personally, for me, I just think there are certain things that go on that the numbers can’t explain, because this game is played by humans, man — it’s not played by computers,” Bagwell said.
“And there’s a lot of things that go on. Stuff goes on in the locker room, on the field, at home. A lot of things that can happen throughout a year that means something, that affects players in certain ways, and being able to know that — and that’s what makes Dusty [Baker] so great, is he knows his players on and off the field. It makes it a lot easier for him to manage because he has the communication with the guys and understands them.”
Jeff Bagwell took a dig at ex-Astros GM James Click, saying baseball is played by humans, not computers. Getty Images
From the outside, the drama that transpired with the Astros front office has been bizarre. It is unheard of for a GM to exit a team immediately after it wins a championship, but that is exactly what happened when Click declined a one-year offer, which was characterized as disrespectful. ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote earlier this month that Click and Bagwell had clashes, with Bagwell criticizing the team’s farm system.
“Jim might trust [Bagwell] more than anyone,” one person told Passan, referring to Astros owner Jim Crane.
Nevertheless, Bagwell on Tuesday was emphatic that he does not want to replace Click as general manager.
Former GM James Click exited the Astros in the immediate wake of winning the World Series. Getty Images
Speaking with reporters, Bagwell also did not totally dismiss the function of analytics in the sport.
“I think analytics is great for pitching,” he said Tuesday. “I think they they can do a lot of things to help pitchers out: spin rate, different positions in your arm, just different things that they do in pitching I think are great, and we’ve done a great job developing pitching.”



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