Monday, February 8, 2010
'Sabermetrics' (the word) remains free to all
All's well that ends well:
The widely used baseball term "sabermetrics" will not be trademarked, and will instead remain in the public domain.
The marketing firm that tried to trademark it, Deep Focus Inc., withdrew its application Wednesday following opposition from the Society of American Baseball Research, according to a joint statement posted on SABR.org on Monday.
Most Major League teams currently use sabermetrically derived statistics as part of their player evaluations, and players, team executives, the media and fans alike frequently use the term.
In addition, "sabermetrics" has expanded as a generic term to describe the application of mathematical and statistical reasoning to a problem -- a method that has been taught at colleges such as Columbia University, Bowling Green State University, the United States Military Academy and others, according to the release.
An odd thing about "sabermetrics" (the word) -- when Bill James coined it some 30 years ago, it was with the idea of honoring SABR, an organization which was then just a few years old. But a significant percentage of SABR members -- maybe a majority, maybe not -- isn't particularly interested in sabermetrics (the pursuit). Bill, I think, has publicly wished that he had come up with something else, so that all his fellow SABR members wouldn't be tarred with the same brush.
But it's out there, and it's not going away. Some teams shy away from "sabermetrics" (the word) because (yeah) it sounds geeky, so they'll go with something like "objective analysis" or "analytics" or "quants" or whatever. Me, though? I usually stick with sabermetrics. Not to honor my fellow SABR members, but rather to honor Bill James, who's done so much for me and for baseball.