Writers get HI

Jayson Stark, ESPN:

Nominate any scandal in the history of sports. My vote is that this is worse.

Geoff Baker, Seattle Times

This might be the worst scandal in the history of sports.

Ted Keith, Sports Illustrated

A-Rod controversy spoils entire 2009 campaign before it begins.

Alex Rodriguez taking steroids is the worst scandal in the history of sports. This revelation has ruined baseball for 2009. The world is coming to an end.

Here on FanGraphs, we’ve introduced people to a lot of new metrics over the last few years. Whether its been WPA or wOBA or FIP or UZR, we’re constantly quantifying things and giving them acronyms. So, today, I’d like to introduce you to a new one.


No, I’m not saying hello. Welcome to our newest metric – the Hyperbole Index. This measures the hilarious (and simultaneously sad) overreaction of sports writers to every event that now occurs on earth.

Santonio Holmes makes a nice catch to give Pittsburgh a Super Bowl win in a game they were hardly ever trailing? The Greatest Super Bowl Ever.

Manny Ramirez hits well for two months in Los Angeles? The Best Clutch Performance Of All Time.

Alex Rodriguez admits steroid use five years ago. The Greatest Scandal In Sports History. The 2009 Season Is Ruined.

Using the Hyperbole Index, we can quantify just how ridiculous these claims really are. There’s no more wondering how the high horses of today compare with the bully pulpits of yesteryear. Using this handy tool, you can now compare the dead horses currently getting beaten to the whipped carcasses (carcii?) of long ago.

So, stay tuned*. As your favorite writers compete to make the most ridiculous claims in the history of the universe (this sentence fragment has an HI of 183), we’ll be right here to tell you just how ridiculous their hyperbole really is. Who will win the battle to be the writer with the most HI? We won’t know until next week, which I’ve heard is going to be the most fantastic seven day stretch since living things populated the planet.

*Don’t really stay tuned. I’m going to do my best to ignore these blowhards. I suggest you do the same.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.