Really, this book is two books. The first is an academic criticism of how the Sabermetric community has gone off the deep end in their use to advanced data to try to predict and simulate baseball outcomes. The second is diary of the 2009 season from the perspective of two Red Sox fans of why the game of baseball is unique and wonderful...but Tim Kurkjian, George Will or Bob Costas, they are not.
Half of this book is written as criticism of using a Social Science approach in studying baseball. Unlike books written by baseball "lifers" like John Scherholtz's Built to Win, which praises tobacco-stained, traditional methods and scouting...This criticism from two academics looked promising. Their attack of the collection and classification methods used to input data in advanced fielding metrics has merit. But those who create and use these methods, don't claim their new tools are infallible, they are just trying to bring more information in a game of uncertainty and incomplete information...Bill James, the Godfather of this movement states as such, to paraphrase "Just because a new metric isn't perfect, doesn't mean we should stop trying to search for more knowledge." The discussion of the LaRussization of the bullpen and how even Sabermetrically inclined GMs have to designate an established closer is also worthwhile.
Yes, we get it...baseball, sports, like the weather is unpredictable. But to close your eyes to new avenues of information, technology and data, the authors instead suggest an approach that would be akin to saying that all meteorologists should just embrace the uncertainty of the weather and not try to find scientific trends, reasoning, technology and analysis and just give limited forecasts.
Also, to many Sabermetrically inclined baseball fans, they lose a lot of credibility when there are glaring errors in the book...There are plenty mistakes in the book that an editor or baseball fan would notice. For instance, The Detroit Tigers did not win the 2006 World Series...St. Louis did. Also while attacking Jeremy Brown, the pot-bellied catcher that Billy Beane coveted in Moneyball, he didn't go to Arizona State as they stated, he was the catcher for Alabama.
Their diary, musings and observations of the 2009 season amounts to fodder that you could find in average baseball blog.
Overall, you want a well-written book about baseball..this is not it. So to the casual fan or causal reader..save your time. If you are a well-educated fan who regularly plays Fantasy Baseball and spends plenty of time pouring over WAR, VORP and UZR numbers, this is worth your time, so that you can properly understand the applicability and limitations of data. Also this will help you carve out good counter-arguments to those who have Dinosaur-like resistance to Sabermetrics.