Michael Wilbon found a new target for his anti-analytics ire in MLB tracking exit velocities for hitters like Pittsburgh's O'Neil Cruz. Credit: Pardon the Interruption

After Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop O’Neil Cruz smacked two off-the-charts line drives in a game this week, MLB fans marveled at the speed with which the ball soared off the bat. That’s thanks to a recently developed stat called exit velocity, which MLB tracks via its Statcast system.

However, both hits stayed in the park and failed to generate many runs for his team, leading Pardon the Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon to decry the hits as boring and unimportant.

Wilbon went so far as to say the league tracking this stat could be the “ruination” of his interest in baseball, and as advanced analytics continue to proliferate through sports, he wants to watch sports even less.

“It angers me,” Wilbon said of the hype around Cruz’s exit velocity. “He’s a .260 hitter, so why do I care about the exit velo? I don’t, and so I guess people need this to become interested and more fascinated and go, ‘Oh wow.’ Not only do I not go, ‘oh wow,’ it has started the ruination of watching sports for me, numbers like this put up on the screen repeatedly, day in, day out.”

Wilbon has a history of being stubborn and crotchety about what he vaguely refers to as “analytics.” Earlier this year, he ripped sports broadcasters who “buy into” advanced statistics rather than sticking to the old-fashioned stuff.

Part of PTI‘s charm these days is that you’re tuning in to watch old guys say old-guy stuff.

But when you hear Wilbon in the clip above say he’s “glad” PTI is covering the Cruz topic, it’s about as obvious as anything could be. It’s well-worn territory for Wilbon to rail against numbers in their sports, and he hardly tries to be clever with his complaints anymore.

[Pardon the Interruption]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.