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How The Grinch Stole Numbers

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(A satire, as framed by the majestic word craft of Ted Geisel. My apologies, good Doctor!)

Image used per Uncyclomedia Commons

Back in 2010, Raadad kicked off the Holiday Season with 'Twas the Night After the Winter Meetings....An Angels Baseball.Christmas Fable. Obviously, he went after that year's Winter Meetings and Tony Reagins, and obviously he had a ball at it.

Sadly, we missed such a treat in 2011 (unless it's out there somewhere and I missed it). Perhaps we were still swimming in the champagne of the Pujols/Wilson signings.

Last Holiday Season, in 2012, I did my own take of Night before Christmas, giving props to Jerry Dipoto. My, how times change...

Well, we are back. This Season, let's switch it up a little, and go after The Grinch! In fact, let's go after a whole bunch of Grinches!! Enjoy...


(a Satire)

by Stirrups!

Every How
Down in How-ville
Liked Numbers a lot…

But the Grinch
Who lived just North of How-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Numbers! The whole Numbers schtick!
Now please don't ask why. The Grinch is simply a prick.
It's true no one cared for his words anymore.
With his schmaltzy opinions, he'd become quite a bore.
Perhaps the real reason Grinch hated the digits
May have been that he feared all the modern new widgets.
Whatever the reason,
His schmaltz or his fear,
There he sat, Laurels Eve, hating the cheer,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows far down in How town.
For he knew every How down in How-ville below
Was busy now, figuring new Numbers to know.

And they're comparing their stats! he snarled with a sneer.
Tomorrow is Laurels! It's practically here!
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep Laurels from coming!"
For, tomorrow, he knew...

...All the How nerds and brats
Would awake bright and early. They'd rush for their stats!
And then! Oh, the stats! Oh, the stats! Stats! Stats! Stats!
That's one thing he hated! The STATS! STATS! STATS! STATS!

Then the Hows, mostly young, would sit down and compute
And they'd tally! And they'd square!
And they'd take the cube root!
They would normalize all, subtract deviation
And their calculators would crunch without any cessation!

They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every How down in How-ville, the tall and the small,
Would all come together, with their Numbers as proof.
"They'd proclaim Who was Best. And they'd say that I goofed!"

They'd cheer! And they'd cheer!
And the more the Grinch thought of the How-Laurels-Cheer
The more the Grinch knew he must stop it this year!
"Why these past several years I've put up with it now!

"I MUST stop Laurels from coming!

"...But HOW? "
Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!

"I know just what to do!", The Grinch Laughed in his throat.
And he dyed his hair gray and he grabbed an old coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, and then he proclaimed:
"With some books and this beard, I'll look just like Bill James! "

All I need's a new laptop…
The Grinch looked around
But all he saw were Selectrics. There were none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch...?
No! The Grinch simply said,
If I can't find a laptop, I'll make one instead!
He took an old folder. And he painted it white.
He carved out an apple, behind which hid a light.

He added some dongles
And a case he had padded
And he pulled on some Dockers
That were fashionably ragged.

The Grinch thought, "Perfecto!"
And then he started down
Toward the homes where the Hows
Lay a-snooze in their town.
All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
All the Hows were all dreaming new Numbers with care
When he came to the first house in the square.
This is stop number one, The old Grinchy James hissed
And he climbed to the roof, empty bags in his fist.

Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight pinch.
But if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch.
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue
And saw calculations set all in a row.
"These BAPIPs", he grinned, "are the first things to go!"

Then he slithered and slunk, like a nasty old crook,
Around the whole room, every Number he took!
VORP and PECOTA! Pythag and WAR!
UZR! Win Shares! Range Factor! And more!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimney!

He slunk to the office. He took the Hows' progress!
He took every Number! He took Baseball Prospectus!
He cleaned out their O-Swing, their ISO, their FIP!
Why, that Grinch even took their last stash of WHIP!

Then he stuffed all the stats up the chimney with fervor.
"And NOW," grinned the Grinch, "I will take out their Server!"
And the Grinch grabbed the Server, and began to unplug
When at the tail of his coat he felt a light tug.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small How!
Little Tom-Tango How, who had awaken just now.

The Grinch had been caught by this little How child
Who'd got out of bed with a new Number compiled.
He stared at the Grinch and said, "Why Bill James, why
"Are you taking our Server? Why, oh dear, WHY? "

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot", the fake Bill James then lied,
"There's a hard drive within that is faulty when tried.
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, young man.
"I'll fix it up there. I'll bring it back when I can."

And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted his head
And he got him a drink and he sent him to bed.
And when Tom-Tango How went to bed with his cup,
Grinch went to the chimney and stuffed that Server up!
The last thing he took
Was the last wireless mouse.
Then up the chimney he dashed, the miserable old louse.
Not a pencil was left throughout the entire How house.

And the one single digit
That he left on the floor
Was from a sample so tiny it was too small to care for.

He did the same thing
To the other How's Numbers

Leaving nary
a digit
While the other Hows slumbered!
It was quarter past dawn...
On this day most auspicious,
All the Hows, still a-snooze
When he packed up his Prius.
Packed it up with their Numbers! Their data! Their queries!
Their systems! Their keyboards! And their intricate theories!

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,
He rode to the tiptop to dump it!
"Pooh-pooh to the Hows!", he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now that no Laurels are coming!

"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
"Then Hows down in How-ville won't have even one clue!
"They will call up the mount, begging me as they used to."

"That's a noise", grinned the Grinch,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...
But the sound wasn't sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at How-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every How down in How-ville, the tall and the small,
Was cheering! Without any Numbers at all!
He HADN'T stopped Laurels from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
"It came without unions! It came without scribes!
"It came without ballots or comments or bribes!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Numbers", he thought with a contrite little chortle,
"Are more clever than ME…and their truth is immortal!"

"My job is to tell stories...
Not know every play,
"By each team,
In each city,
Each game,
On each day.
"Analysis belongs with data, the science,
"And those with the skill and computer appliance.
"If the Numbers they make tell truths hidden from writers,
"I should set ego aside, and let stats make the game brighter!
"Let metrics refine our understanding the game.
"And let my stories then tell of these NEW feats and acclaim!!"

And what happened then...? How-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back all the Numbers! And the hardware galore!
And he...

The Grinch himself calculated the WAR!