The New York Times had a lovely piece yesterday on Ken Harrelson, White Sox broadcaster and sabermetric denier. We at NotGraphs caught up with him yesterday evening, while he was putting on a pair of lead boots just in case gravity were to suddenly disappear, to get his thoughts on the banking industry:
The banking industry? I remember when you could just go into a bank, ask for money, and they wouldn’t worry about all that crazy stuff, like checking your balance, or adding and subtracting. You didn’t give people money because of how much they had in their accounts — you gave them money because you could see what kind of people they were, and whether they looked like people who would have money. Too many good bankers have lost their jobs because they weren’t able to calculate interest rates, or determine whether a number was above or below zero. Good bankers, who’d spent their career giving money to people, getting penalized just because all of sudden they were expected to know the difference between a number and a letter, or how to count. Counting is nonsense — one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever seen. A good banking man can look at a pile of money and know exactly how much is in there, or at least be close enough that the details don’t matter. If you start distilling banking into dollars and cents, you’re making a huge mistake. The numbers are ruining banking, I’m telling you. Ruining it. Now excuse me while I go push on the wall for a few minutes — it takes every one of us to make sure the Earth keeps on spinning, so I’m just trying to do my part.
Thanks, Ken. Here’s to 38 more years of broadcasting, since you can’t trust those doctors to tell you how long a person’s lifespan is. You’ll be broadcasting — and making almost as much sense as you do now — for decades after those silly numbers on the heart rate monitor say you’re no longer breathing!
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