Opinion: ESPN’s stats are out of control


Jacob Ruffo is a junior journalism major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Jacob Ruffo

ESPN has been pushing some crazily irrelevant stats down consumers’ throats this season. With Kobe Bryant retiring, the historic Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs records, and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook being a cyborg specifically created to play basketball then sent back in time to grace our eyes with his ability, it’s easy to see why so many ridiculous things would come up.

For instance, did you know that Magic Johnson has the longest-winning streak while recording a triple-double at 24 games? Nope. Of course not. However, ESPN Stats & Info, which is verified, felt the need to tweet this factoid out. Why? Because at one point, Westbrook was fourth on that list with 15 such games. How do you even look that up?

Did you know that the Warriors’ opponents are 0-13 on go ahead field goals in the final 10 seconds of the 4th quarter and overtime this season? Does this affect how you see that team? Does this affect your life? Probably not. Is it relevant in any situation? Probably not.

The start of baseball means more completely ridiculous things to say. Another example: Did you know that Nomar Mazara, of the Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, made history this past Sunday by becoming the youngest player in the live-ball era to have three hits, including a home run, in his debut? Be sure to remember this date kiddos, it was truly a great day for the game of baseball.

Did you know that since 2014, Madison Bumgarner, a pitcher for the San Fransisco Giants, has hit a home run in one out of every 8.4 at bats at AT&T Park, the Giants’ home field since 2000? Barry Bonds, also a member of the Giants and undisputed all-time home run leader in MLB history, only hit one once every 8.8 at bats?

Wow, clearly Bumgarner, who only plays one out of every five games and only takes 2 or 3 bats during those games, has stats that can be compared to the most prolific hitter in the history of baseball.

Why does ESPN do this? What is the point? Whose legend does creating these ridiculous tweets actually grow? Who actually uses the Total QBR that ESPN fabricated? No one.  I don’t think you can argue that there is a better hitter in the game of baseball because, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Chris Davis has 35 opposite-field home runs since the start of 2012, the most in the MLB.

I understand that statistics and trends are very important. They show who does the best over a period of time, I understand. There is a bold line between the relevance in following who hits the most home runs and who hits the most opposite-field home runs. But I sincerely doubt ESPN understands that.

Jacob Ruffo is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].